Scientists researching treatments for disorders of the nervous system are looking at ways of restoring either neurotransmitter levels or nerve-cell function. There are promising developments in drug research and in other fields such as gene therapy and stem-cell technology. As scientists understand more about the processes underlying these disorders, it will be possible to make treatments more targeted and effective.
Can neurons be replaced?
Researchers are investigating replacing neurons lost in neurodegenerative disorders and stroke. One approach is to transplant small groups of neurons into the damaged areas. Scientists are concentrating on growing neurons successfully in the laboratory. Alternatively, the remaining neurons can be encouraged to grow and divide, like other cells in the body. Researchers have found that under the right conditions, adult brain cells can indeed regenerate.