Scientists grow miniature brain

Signal of change / Scientists grow miniature brain

By Jennifer Revell / 20 Mar 2019

Cambridge Researchers have succeeded in growing a miniature brain similar to the human foetal brain at 12 to 16 weeks of pregnancy.  Their aim is to use this technology to better understand the nervous system and work towards treating illnesses such as motor neurone disease, epilepsy and schizophrenia.

Grown from human stem cells, this tiny brain sent out connections to link up with a spinal cord and muscle tissue. However, the scientists said the structure was still too small and primitive to have anything approaching thoughts, feelings or consciousness.

 

So what?

1 in 6 of the population suffers from neurological diseases. Advancing cures for these has the potential to enable this approximately 1 billion people to contribute to society, benefiting economies and communities.

Advancing our knowledge about the human brain poses numerous opportunities for health care. Cures for illnesses such as motor neurone disease offer a higher quality of life to those suffering. It is common for people to live with neurological diseases for many years, therefore this science has the potential to lessen the strain on healthcare resources.

 

Sources

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/mar/18/scientists-grow-mini-brain-on-the-move-that-can-contract-muscle

 

 

What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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