It does bones, too.
Gel Heals Injured Brain and Bone
Sept. 14, 2009 -- Scrambled brains and broken bones can both be healed with a new nanoparticle-infused hydrogel.
Developed by scientists from Clemson University, the gel creates new blood vessels and later encourages the body's own stem cells to replace dead bone or brain cells.
Twelve weeks after a devastating brain injury some test rats had recovered almost all of their original muscle and sensory functions.
"The goal of this project is to encourage the neurological regeneration of damaged tissue," said Ning Zhang, a Clemson University scientist developing the hydrogel. "The functions controlled by the damaged regions will be lost permanently if not restored."
Zhang used a controlled cortical impactor, basically a small, pneumatic spear with a conch-shaped tip, to strike the rat's forehead, destroying most of the brain's cortex and some of the striatum. These are areas responsible for memory, learning, sensory information and muscle movements, among other functions.
For a human, that amount of brain damage would be roughly equivalent to being in a bad car crash.
Fluid quickly filled area around the head wound. The Clemson scientists drained the fluid and replaced it with a liquid cocktail of three different neural growth factors, each one encased in a different biodegradable nanoparticle.