PerspectiveNeuroscience

Supporting recovery from brain injury

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Science  06 Apr 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6384, pp. 30-31
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat2450

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Summary

The beauty and intricacy of the human brain is unfortunately also mirrored by its vulnerability. Damage to the brain is typically permanent. Because cells of the adult brain, apart from rare exceptions, no longer divide, there is essentially no regrowth of damaged brain tissue. Acquired brain injury in the majority of cases occurs directly through traumatic events such as an accident involving a blow to the head or indirectly through interruption of the blood supply, namely a stroke. Brain injury is a major burden, with an estimated 1.7 million people in the United States suffering a traumatic brain injury and nearly 800,000 Americans suffering a stroke each year (1, 2). However, current treatment options for such brain injuries are still limited and are focused on the first hours after the insult. On page 50 of this issue, Abe et al. (3) describe a new approach in mouse and primate models that aims to enhance the ability of the brain to regain functionality in the days and weeks after brain injury.