Scientists use stem cell ‘mini-brains’ to better understand signs of frontotemporal dementia

Dementia is a general term that describes a set of diseases that impair the ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interfere with doing everyday activities. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 50 million people worldwide have dementia with nearly 10 million new cases every year. Although it primarily affects older people … Continue reading Scientists use stem cell ‘mini-brains’ to better understand signs of frontotemporal dementia

Meet the man who is unlocking the secrets of autism and sending mini-brains into space

THIS BLOG IS ALSO AVAILABLE AS AN AUDIO CAST Normally if you meet someone who has a mini-fridge filled with brains, your first thought is to call the police. But when that someone is Dr. Alysson Muotri, a professor at U.C. San Diego, your second thought is “do tell me more.” Alysson is a researcher … Continue reading Meet the man who is unlocking the secrets of autism and sending mini-brains into space

Scientists use stem cells to create Neanderthal-like “mini-brain”

The evolution of modern day humans has always been a topic that has been shrouded in mystery. Some of what is known is that Neanderthals, an archaic human species that lived on this planet up until about 11,700 years ago, interbred with our species (Homo sapiens) at some point in time. Although their brains were … Continue reading Scientists use stem cells to create Neanderthal-like “mini-brain”

“Mini-brains” model an autism spectrum disorder and help test treatments

Rett syndrome is a rare form of autism spectrum disorder that impairs brain development and causes problems with movement, speech, and even breathing. It is caused by mutations in a gene called MECP2 and primarily affects females. Although there are therapies to alleviate symptoms, there is currently no cure for this genetic disorder. With CIRM … Continue reading “Mini-brains” model an autism spectrum disorder and help test treatments

City of Hope scientists use stem cells to develop ‘mini-brains’ to study Alzheimer’s and to test drugs in development

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions. According to the non-profit HFC, co-founded by CIRM Board member Lauren Miller Rogen and her husband Seth Rogen, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. It is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S and it is estimated … Continue reading City of Hope scientists use stem cells to develop ‘mini-brains’ to study Alzheimer’s and to test drugs in development

A step forward in finding a treatment for a deadly neurological disorder

THIS BLOG IS ALSO AVAILABLE AS AN AUDIO CAST Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a nasty disease that steadily attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. It’s pretty much always fatal within a few years. As if that wasn’t bad enough, ALS also can overlap with a … Continue reading A step forward in finding a treatment for a deadly neurological disorder

Two studies identify a molecule that could be used to block Zika virus and kill cancer cells

Zika virus is caused by a virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. People usually develop mild symptoms that include fever, rash, and muscle and joint pain. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can lead to much more serious problems. The virus causes infants to be born with microcephaly, a condition in which the brain does not … Continue reading Two studies identify a molecule that could be used to block Zika virus and kill cancer cells

Adding the missing piece: “mini-brain” method now includes important cell type

Although studying brain cells as a single layer in petri dishes has led to countless ground-breaking discoveries in neurobiology, it’s pretty intuitive that a two-dimensional “lawn” of cells doesn’t fully represent what’s happening in our complex, three-dimensional brain. In the past few years, researchers have really upped their game with the development of brain organoids, … Continue reading Adding the missing piece: “mini-brain” method now includes important cell type

Organoids revolutionize approach to studying a variety of diseases

There are limitations to studying cells under a microscope. To understand some of the more complex processes, it is critical to see how these cells behave in an environment that is similar to conditions in the body. The production of organoids has revolutionized this approach. Organoids are three-dimensional structures derived from stem cells that have … Continue reading Organoids revolutionize approach to studying a variety of diseases

UC Davis researchers make stem cell-derived mini-brains that contain blood vessels

Growing neurons on a flat petri dish is a great way to study the inner workings of nerve signals in the brain. But I think it’s safe to argue that a two-dimensional lawn of cells doesn’t capture all the complexity of our intricate, cauliflower-shaped brains. Then again, cracking open the skulls of living patients is … Continue reading UC Davis researchers make stem cell-derived mini-brains that contain blood vessels