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Highlights from Neuroscience 2012

A collection of reports from the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, New Orleans

Stem cell implants for Parkinson’s show promise in monkeys
Specialized human stem cells can mature in the brains of monkeys with a Parkinson’s-like disease. That finding, presented October 15, suggests that stem cells may be able to replenish dying brain cells in people with Parkinson’s. Three months post-transplantation, the human cells seemed to be flourishing in rhesus monkeys’ brains. The cells assumed the triangular shape of neurons and sprouted long, elaborate projections that send and receive messages. “We were just blown away when we saw these cells,” said study coauthor Dustin Wakeman of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Observations suggested the cells produce the brain chemical dopamine, just like the cells that are destroyed in people with Parkinson’s.

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