New research to be published in The Journal of Neuroscience suggests that the brain does in fact remodel itself after brain trauma, however it is impaired by multiple head traumas. According to a press release the study was done on mice comparing a control group to mice that has simulated brain trauma with impaired or no ability for the hippocampus to created neurons from stem cells, essentially brains that have been traumatized multiple times.
“We have discovered that neural stem cells in the brain’s memory area become activated by injury and remodel the area with newly generated nerve cells,” Dr. Kernie said. “We also found that the activation of these stem cells is required for recovery.”…
“This suggests that injured mice who lack new nerve cells fail to progress to a more efficient spatial strategy to find the hidden platform. We interpret this result as a mild but statistically significant learning deficit,” he said.
The hippocampus portion of the brain is responsible for memory, and inside this area are stem cells that become activated upon injury, essentially “remodeling” the effected area to mend the brain. It is not as the brain is creating more cells, they are already there, waiting to be activated in case of injury. What the research is suggesting is there may be a limit to the amount of stem cells, and that the time needed for remodeling is key to functional “repair”. As Dr. Steven G. Kernie, senior author on the study says;
“The ability to self-repair may be limited,” he said.
This new information may lead to further studies on pharmacological interventions, obviously through more research. However this study is the first to fully describe how the brains memory center may repair itself.