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Recovery Roundup

September 15, 2006

Scientists have thought that brain cells that die during a stroke can’t be replaced. But the brain seems to have a different idea.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
How your brain recovers from a stroke. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

After a stroke, the brain gives birth to new neurons in an attempt to repair itself. That’s according to new research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The scientists found the newborn cells in the areas immediately surrounding the stroke damage. The creation of new neurons is rare in adult brains, and it’s not clear how functional these ones are. But if they are useful, the researchers hope to find ways to enhance this natural healing ability.

In related news, scientists report that statins—which have long been used to prevent heart attacks by lowering cholesterol—also help the heart recover after a heart attack. They found that statins help restore bloodflow to blood vessels in the heart. They say the drugs do this in a totally different way from how they lower cholesterol.

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.