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MIT: Nanotech repairs brain damage in hamsters

From Live Science, a summary of a recent paper in PNAS:

“Scientists partially restored the vision in blinded hamsters by plugging gaps in their injured brains with a synthetic substance that allowed brain cells to reconnect with one another, a new study reports.

“If it can be applied to humans, the microscopic material could one day help restore sensory and motor function to patients suffering from strokes and injuries of the brain or spinal cord. It could also help mend cuts made in the brain during surgery…

“The substance contains nano-sized particles that self-assemble into a fibrous mesh that mimics the body’s natural connective tissue when placed in contact with living cells.”

Caveats: the damage was done in the form of sharp, clean cuts, and the material was applied immediately, so this technique may not work as well with messy, older damage where scar tissue has had time to form. Still, it’s encouraging. They are now testing it on spinal cord injuries, and when applied after a period of time has passed since the damage. —Christine

5 Responses to “MIT: Nanotech repairs brain damage in hamsters”

  1. Adrian Wilkins Says:

    I saw this on the BBC news and thought “That’s good”.

    In _this_ context though, my first thought was “maybe it’ll help graft cybernetic congnitive enhancement devices into the brain.”

    Amazing what a switch of website will do for your perceptions…

  2. James Lynch Says:

    Maybe this method can be used to “grow” new neural pathways for expanding controls and senses rather than interpreting existing signaling. Optical interfacing would be awesome, much better than HUDs. Diabetics could monitor insulin levels in real-time without repetitive intrusive devices.

    Personally I would love a fully embedded PC, even a simple one.

    Of course nothing in the article even hints of those applications but they will someday be within our reach.

  3. Gabriel Cruz Says:

    Wow its amazing. In a no longer future we could keep our brain working for many time than now. Ous life expectation might be maximized.

  4. Brandon Penney Says:

    I agree w/ Adrians statement. But that’s just a start. Imagine combining this process with Resprcytes or a type of nano tech that can utilize a chemical code to target specific area’s of the brain. If we can discover how information is converted in the electrical stumuls (learning) via the Hippacampus then basically we can learn by a shot, drink, or enhance are current ability to do such. Perhaps it can be used to increase the size of the Cerebral Cortex.

    Thus far experiments’ have shown with Carbon Nano Fiber’s that can be geared to target the chemical code of various types of cancer. Once attached to the cancer cell they nano tubes’ heat up. Which results in the destruction of the cancer cell.

    Exciting times are ahead concerning Nano Tech.

  5. MIT: Nanotech repairs brain damage in hamsters | Anchorscience LLC Says:

    [...] From Live Science, a summary of a recent paper in PNAS: “Scientists partially restored the vision in blinded hamsters by plugging gaps in their injured brains with a synthetic substance that allowed brain cells to reconnect with one another, a new study reports. “If it can be applied to humans, the microscopic material could one day [...] more [...]

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