Ways to Bring the Brain Dead ‘Back to Life’

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Would you get a brain cell transplant? And just how many cells can you have replaced without becoming a whole new person?


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Thanks to medical advances, we can use things like organ transplants and mechanical ventilators to keep us alive – we can even resuscitate a heart that’s stopped beating. So why can’t we bring a brain back to life? Well, our brains are made up of trillions of connections, and generating new brain cells or neurons is complicated. The research, and methods, are pretty controversial. The results – bringing a seemingly brain dead person back to life – could have huge implications. Procedures also come with a big risk of making things worse and they raise ethical questions. Would you elect to have a brain cell transplant?

BrainCraft was created by Vanessa Hill (@nessyhill) and is brought to you by PBS Digital Studios. Talking psychology, neuroscience & why we act the way we do.

Hosted, Produced and Animated by Vanessa Hill 🐨
Written by Bahar Gholipour

References 🕯
Falkner, S., Grade, S., Dimou, L., Conzelmann, K. K., Bonhoeffer, T., Götz, M., & Hübener, M. (2016). Transplanted embryonic neurons integrate into adult neocortical circuits. Nature, 539(7628), 248-253.

Trials of embryonic stem cells to launch in China

Zhang, L., Yin, J. C., Yeh, H., Ma, N. X., Lee, G., Chen, X. A., … & Wu, G. Y. (2015). Small molecules efficiently reprogram human astroglial cells into functional neurons. Cell Stem Cell, 17(6), 735-747.

Li, H., & Chen, G. (2016). In vivo reprogramming for CNS repair: regenerating neurons from endogenous glial cells. Neuron, 91(4), 728-738.



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