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March 14, 2006

Nanotech (Not Stem Cells) Heals Blind Hamsters

Very cool:

Nanotechnology has restored the sight of blind rodents, a new study shows.

Scientists mimicked the effect of a traumatic brain injury by severing the optical nerve tract in hamsters, causing the animals to lose vision.

After injecting the hamsters with a solution containing nanoparticles, the nerves re-grew and sight returned.

Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team hopes this technique could be used in future reconstructive brain surgery.

...

The researchers injected the blind hamsters at the site of their injury with a solution containing synthetically made peptides - miniscule molecules measuring just five nanometres long.

Once inside the hamster's brain, the peptides spontaneously arranged into a scaffold-like criss-cross of nanofibres, which bridged the gap between the severed nerves.

The scientists discovered that brain tissue in the hamsters knitted together across the molecular scaffold, while also preventing scar tissue from forming.

This is big. There really can't be that much of a difference in the way hamster's nerves work and the way humans' work.

Thanks to Old Coot, who just sent me the story with the tip, "Hey, check it out! They're cutting into hamsters' brains! Like Planet of the Apes, but with hamsters! It's HILARIOUS, man!!!"

I think he missed the main point of the story, but it's a good tip anyway.


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posted by Ace at 06:08 PM

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