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Medical Biotechnology: Brain Neurology
Transcript of Medical Biotechnology: Brain Neurology
Due to recent discoveries in stem cell biotechnology, there is hope for new treatments to treat spinal cord injuries and other problems for the central nervous system. Here are the treatments researchers are trying to discover to help injuries and diseases...
Almost everything you do involves your central nervous system, which is why keeping it injury free is very important. Damage can be minor, psychological, or life-threatening, and usually gets worse over time. Today, scientists are using the latest tools and technology to research the many ways that your brain can become damaged, and how the damage can be treated. Stem cell therapy and the replacement of neurons are just a few ways that scientists are working to repair brain damage, along with breaching the blood-brain barrier and studying "brainbows."
1. Stem Cells
Stem cells are used to help our bodies regrow hair, our nails, and our red blood cells that get replaced every four months. In teenagers and adults, stem cells are found in every tissue in the body to maintain and build the tissue that have cells replaced. Stem cells are also found in our brains. They form cells that support neurons and cells that wrap around neurons to insulate them so they can send information over long distances. Researchers are studying what stem cells of the central nervous system do in normal brains after injury and/or disease. Researchers are also interested in certain kinds of stem cells as an endless source of cells for various medical therapies.
2. The Brainbow
3. The Blood-Barrier
One neuron in your brain makes hundreds upon hundreds of connections to other neurons so you can achieve the activities you do on a daily basis. When certain neurons are not connected to the correct neurons, information in your brain gets lost.
Researchers from Harvard University recently discovered a way to look at neurons in the brain through a new biotechnology development called the "Brainbow." This "Brainbow" makes neurons in a brain show up as 90 different colors, which allows scientists to see the connections between them, as well as where one neuron stops and another neuron starts. Being able to see the circuits that neurons create and where they send information can help scientists understand how the brain works in health and disease, and discover how to rewire the faulty "pathways" in the brains of people with autism, schizophrenia, and other disorders.
Our bodies create a blood-brain barrier between our blood vessels and neurons, which keeps bacteria and toxins out of our brains, and allows oxygen and carbon to pass through.
Although this barrier may seem like a good thing, it keeps out and blocks various medicines, which could be used to treat neurological disorders.
Scientists and Biologists are currently trying to develop medicines that breach this barrier, so that they can treat these disorders.
There are many jobs in the field of brain neurology. Some of the jobs include people who study the nervous system, such as a neuroscience and a neuroanatomist. Neurobiologists and neurologists also study the chemistry and biology of the nervous system. A neurological surgeon does surgery on the nervous system. A neurologist finds treatments on the nervous system, and a neuropathologist studies diseases of the nervous system. These occupations are all very important to the field of medical biotechnology.
Looking at how we think can tell us things about cultural changes that have impacted our lifestyle. Your culture can have a lot to do with how you think and act. Studies show that your health is changed based on your culture, genetic inheritance, your behaviors, and your able-ness to get medical assistance. Research has grown between social and cultural factors and health. Where you live has a big impact on your health. If you live around places that prodice alot of toxins and harmful things, then your health might not be as good as someone who lives in clean, fresh air.
This is what neurosurgeons look at when they analyze the brain. Their jobs are to perform surgery on the brain, spine, and nerves. They may also specialize in aneurysms, brain injury and others.
The environment that you grow up in and learn in has a major impact on your brain development as a child. Recent studies have proven how much environments do matter, from the number of books in a home, to a family's economic status, to exposure to abuse. Brain regions involving memory and cognitive controls are impacted by parental education, as well as the environment that parents were raised in. Adults who grew up in poverty showed a higher deficit in memory that other adults from different economic backgrounds.
Several factors of a person's childhood can impact the capabilities of their brain.
From the ages of 5 to 20, a person's brain develops significantly.
Because of growing public awareness of ethical issues in neuroscience, the topic has been given the nickname "neuroethics." Some of the issues debated around this topic include enhancement of normal functions, and "brain-reading." The nature of these issues revolve around our rights of equal opportunity, privacy, and freedom, making this debate a widely controversial issue.
Researchers are curious; if drugs can improve the mood and behaviors of people with problems in these areas, what effects would the drugs have on "normal" people? Enhancement of mood, sleep, and appetite are a few of the benefits of creating these drugs for normal people, but the negatives include significant risks and side effects, which makes the topic controversial.
Psychological traits such as personality, veracity, attitudes, and behaviors are being measured so that scientific data can be collected, and hopefully analyzed to bring psychological meaning into the research of "brain-reading." Most of this data comes from patterns of brain activity in mental disorders, and the biggest problem with the research is the concern of privacy. These tests reveal personal information about an individual, which most would not want to be publicly available.
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The human brain is one of the greatest mysteries in the world of science, with almost 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion connections, making it one of the greatest challenges in the field of medicine. Neurological and psychiatric disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, autism, epilepsy, schizophrenia, depression, and traumatic brain injury, take a major toll on individuals, families, and society. The causes of these conditions remain mostly u known, because of how complex the human brain is. Researchers are attempting to find more tools and information to understand the functions of the brain in both health and disease.
Scan of a normal patient (left) and Alzheimers patient (right). Blue/black areas show reduced brain activity (Photograph: SPL)
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