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Cell therapy not just for Parkinson's

Transplanted nerve cells have helped some patients with Parkinson's disease control their tremors. Now, a small study suggests that such cells can survive in the brains of people who have suffered strokes and may alleviate some brain damage.

Douglas Kondziolka of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center led a team that transplanted nerve cells into damaged regions of the brains of 12 people who had had stroke-induced movement problems for the previous 6 months to 6 years.

This is the first time researchers have tried implanting nerve cells in the brains of stroke patients, says Kondziolka. No patient experienced complications from the surgery. In six patients, increased metabolic activity at the site of the implants suggests that the transplanted tissue may have integrated with existing tissue and begun functioning, he says.

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