Growing human retinas in vitro, patching damaged brains, and imaging an entire brain's activity.

In the journal Nature earlier this month a paper was published by one Dr. Valeria Canto-Soler who works in the field of regenerative medicine at the Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns-Hopkins University. Medical science has gotten pretty good at creating induced pluripotent stem cells, or stem cells which started out as other kinds of human body cells that were hacked to devolve back into pluripotent stem cells which can then be caused to differentiate into other, more specialized kinds of cells. Dr. Canto-Soler and her research team have taken this process to the next logical step: Causing those cultured stem …

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Blind, but still with eyes to see.

The first time I read through this article it threw me for a loop: a patient at a hospital in Geneva, Switzerland referred to by the initials 'TN' suffered two strokes a couple of weeks apart. Each CVA damaged one half of his visual cortex, thus rendering him completely blind for all intents and purposes. While he was recovering, physicians discovered that TN still had the ability to read the facial expressions of people around him and correctly interpret their emotional states. Some tests showed that his amygdala was still operational, which lead neurologists to wonder what else he was …

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