Restoring Function After Stroke

Sept. 3, 2001 (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Neurons implanted in to the damaged areas of the brain after a stroke show promise in restoring function in patients.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh studied 11 stoke patients with motor impairments. The patients were part of the first human trial to determine the efficacy of implanting neurons to repair damaged brain tissue. In lab studies, the neurons, which are called LBS-neurons, reversed cognitive and motor deficits in animals that had suffered a stroke. After implanting the neurons, researchers used Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans to determine if they were beneficial.

Results showed the implanted neurons gave rise to more than a 10 percent increase in brain function in the damaged areas of some brains. This translates to better motor and behavioral functions. One year after implantation, researchers say 5 of 11 patients still had an increased level of function.

Carolyn Cidis Meltzer, M.D., from the University of Pittsburgh, says this study provides evidence that these neurons were becoming integrated into the brain. She says, "Although this is not direct evidence of synapse formation, it does suggest that the new neurons are being wired into the brain."

SOURCE: Neurosurgery, 2001;49:586-592