Scientists bring back activity to the dead brain


The scientists did this by connecting the brains of the slaughtered pigs, 32 in total, to a device in the laboratory. Among other things, this device gave the brain a special fluid to replenish blood, which in turn gave them a little oxygen.

Molecular processes

The pigs had died for a few hours, but pigs' brains began to show some activity after they had connected to the device. It was about activity in cellular and molecular processes. The point of contact between the nerve cells, the so-called synapses, transmitted signals again. Also important: inhibited brain breakdown.

The research, conducted by neurologists at Yale University, USA, was published today in the journal Nature.

"This is not a living brain"

Scientists emphasize that the brain showed no signs of consciousness. The different parts of the brain did not suddenly send signals to each other. "This is not a living brain, but it's an active cellular brain," says Nenad Sestan of Yale University who led the research.

So what was successful was that scientists were able to stop the collapse of the brain. They kept the pig brain for nine hours at a level comparable to that of a brain that was dead for an hour.

If we can do that in humans as well, Huib Mansvelder, a professor of neurophysiology at the VU in Amsterdam, told the Trouw newspaper, which allows us to better study brain diseases such as Alzheimer's or schizophrenia in people who have died. This is very difficult at the moment because molecular and cellular functions are stopped.


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