Sunday, 29 April 2007

Brains even brainier

REMEMBER that old threat thrown at people with a liking for liquor: “You’ll kill your brain cells and they won’t grow back.”
Here’s a slight reassurance – only the killing part is right.
Research from Auckland University’s brain research team has shown that we do grow new brain cells.
Professor Richard Faull and his team discovered that amazing fact back in 2003.
This year, they have made another major breakthrough.
“We have found the pathway which the new brain cells follow in the human brain,” Prof Faull says.
This finding offers new hope for people suffering from Huntington’s, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, plus stroke victims.
“It’s not a cure; it’s another means whereby we can help people with brain disease in the future,” he says.
“By knowing how stem cells move around, we can now look at new ways to regenerate cells and repair damage to the areas of the brain affected by these conditions.”
Prof Faull, originally from Tikorangi in Taranaki, has the more brains than anyone else – literally.
He is responsible for amassing the world’s largest human brain bank, which has provided the neurological material for his team to study.

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