Program ID: Innovation Anthology #38
Program Date: 06/07/2007
Program Category: Health and Medicine
Healing Injured Brains in Infant Rats
Rats seem to recover better from brain injury that occurs during infancy than if it occurs later in life. But there are still problems with the healing.
For example, as part of her postdoctoral research at the Canadian Centre for Behavioral Neurosciences in Lethbridge, Dr. Nicole Sherrin has looked at what happens when only one side of the frontal cortex is removed.
She expected if there was damage to the right brain, the left side of the rat’s body would be affected, and vice versa.
However, she was surprised to find instead, the rats developed a motor problem in both their front paws, and the damage wasn’t even to the motor cortex.
DR. NICOLE SHERRIN: Well it could be that in fact the other side of the brain has reorganized to compensate for the damaged side, and this has actually somehow created a problem in the motor cortex, perhaps by cell axons which aren’t supposed to be there growing in, or connections not being pruned away during development.
Dr. Sherrin has found that the nerve axons are no longer crossed the way they should be, so as one side of the brain recovers, it doesn’t exert the proper amount of control that it should over the other side of the body.
Thanks today to The University of Lethbridge.
FOR INNOVATION ANTHOLOGY, I’M CHERYL CROUCHER