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Brain Cells Reprogrammed in Live Mice

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Scientists have shown that it's possible to reprogram specialized brain cells in young mice — a breakthrough that they say could lead to new treatments for neuron-killing disorders like Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Also called Lou Gehrig's disease, ALS slowly paralyzes the body by attacking neurons that control muscle movement. In the study on live mice, researchers were able to create neurons similar to corticospinal motor neurons (one of two types of neurons that ALS kills) from callosal projection neurons, which connect the two hemispheres of the brain and are typically unaffected by ALS.

The find suggests that doctors might be able to use intact neurons to replenish the supply of cells ravaged by neurodegenerative disease.


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