The researchers at Penn State University have been responsible for a number of studies that point to new hope in therapeutic brain injury treatments. One such study
looked at the possibility of using glial cells to regenerate healthy
neurons in people who have suffered brain injuries or debilitating
illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease.
What Can Glial Cells Do For Brain Injuries?
Glial cells are the “support” cells of the brain. When an injury
occurs, these cells become more branched and numerous, possibly as the
body’s way of attempting to repair the damage. They also prevent toxins
and bacteria from entering healthy tissue. While this is an important
function, the resulting scarring can cause a limitation of the regrowth
of damaged nerve cells, leading to permanent brain damage.
One of the researchers compared the glial cells to the ambulances,
fire trucks and police cars that rush to the scene of an accident.
While necessary, if too many of them congregate in a small area they can
prevent new reinforcements from arriving and ultimately harm those at
the accident site. Similarly, glial cells pose the threat of blocking
nutrients and other substances from reaching damaged tissue, leading to
The study looked at ways to convert glial cells into functioning
neurons at an injury site. By using induced pluripotent stem cells or
iPSCs, the researchers were able to reprogram skin cells into stem
cells. These cells could then possibly be used to transform the glial
cells into functioning neurons.
Could This Research Have Implications for Brain Injury Victims?
This research was actually targeted at Alzheimer’s patients. However, in vivo conversion of glial cells could theoretically be used for stroke victims and brain injury victims as well.
Scarlett Law Group is dedicated
to helping victims of brain injuries explore every possibility for
treatment or recovery. They do this by helping these victims recover as
much as possible in monetary damages
to pay for available medical treatments that may have some effect on
their physical injuries. Further, by helping victims and their families
recover compensation, the families may be able to pay not only for
medical care but also living expenses and other costs associated with
taking care of someone with a serious brain injury. Victims and their
families may also be entitled to compensation for their pain, suffering
and emotional anguish due to the accident.