According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 1.7 million people are affected by some form of traumatic brain injury. These injuries range from severe disabilities to mild concussions, but a professor from Duke University, Dr. Chay Kuo, is offering new hope for victims. Dr. Kuo is performing tests with cells called astrocytes that he believes may be an answer to brain recovery. He says one of the first things that needs to happen when the brain suffers trauma is to stop the bleeding and swelling. The astrocytes help the brain to do this.
The tricky thing about the astrocytes is that they are commonly associated as a block to healing the damaged tissue. However, Dr. Kuo says using stem cell research, he is very interested in how these cells create neurons as neurons do not regenerate. Dr. Thomas Seastrunk, a physician who can no longer practice due to a traumatic brain injury he sustained from a drunk driver, said he was excited about the outcome. He said currently what is being focused on for brain injury victims is rehab and not regeneration.
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