Re: Neural replacement therapy?

Anders Sandberg (
21 Nov 1997 16:58:19 +0100

Arjen Kamphuis <> writes:

> Mitchell Porter <> wrote:
> >*** Scientists in breakthrough to replace brain cells
> >British scientists have discovered a method of replacing damaged
> >brain cells which could offer hope to millions of sufferers of
> >neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.
> //snip//
> >story, see
> >
> Anders? Any other neurologist in the house? How realistic is this?

I haven't been able to access the article, but I think there is reason
for optimism. We are learning a lot about how neurons differentiate
into their functions, and how different substances make them seek out
the right places to connect. Implanting neurons to restore function is
becoming more and more feasible. The problem is to get back to
normal function, and what kinds of implanted neurons work best. But
at least the second is likely solvable in the near future.

> My mother is suffering from Parkinsons disease (diagnosed in '84) and 8
> weeks ago she had a pallidotomy, a surgical procedure were a number of
> disfunctional braincells are killed to keep some of the wordt symptoms at
> bay (trembling, swaying with arms and legs, variations in body
> temperature). Thing are a *lot* better now but it's no cure, we're just
> fighting symptoms.

I'm happy to hear that your mother is better. Parkinsons disease is
basically an imbalance between the movement-activating basal ganglia
and the movement-inhibiting basal ganglia. Pallidotomy restores some
of the balance, but to be honest I think it is slightly
inelegant. That is why I would really like if we could develop the
capability to implant cells that replace the lost substantia nigra

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y