A decade ago, Zaal Kokaia and Olle Lindvall of the Lund Stem Cell Center in Sweden revealed that neural stem cells can respond to emergency traumas, such as a stroke, and differentiate into neural cells to replace those that have been damaged or killed. They have now contributed to another study which reveals another mechanism by which the brain attempts to repair itself and regain function following a stroke. The principal investigator on the study was Jonas Frisén of Lund University, and the paper was published in Science.
Strokes, or cerebrovascular accidents, affect 795,000 people per year in the United States. They occur when there is a blockage in the blood supply to the brain, resulting in death of brain cells and a loss of motor, neural, and sensory function. After a stroke, the brain can undergo neurogenesis and begin to grow new cells to replace those that have been lost.