• Question: Do you think it will ever be possible to treat damaged parts of the brain with a human transplant?

    Asked by marden to Hannah on 20 Jun 2013.
    • Photo: Hannah Brotherton

      Hannah Brotherton answered on 20 Jun 2013:

      Hi marden,
      oooooo tough tough question, but I like it! I don’ think we could ever transplant part of a brain like we transplants hearts or kidneys. This is because the brain is full of so many tiny tiny connections, we can’t even see them under a microscopy. So with a heart transplant, you just connects the veins and ta da its up and ready to go. You can’t do that with the connections in the brain.

      Also, this is what I love about the brain, if you damage a bit of it, then the brain will activate another part of it. It is alive and knows when it is damaged and will try and fix itself. So…there was a guy in the 1900s where a large pole went through the front of his brain….but he lived. The only thing that changed about him was his personality. He was a nice, sweet man and then became angry and upset.
      This accident would have killed most people, but with this man he lived and all that changed was his personality. The brain was able to work without the front part of his brain. But obviously the brain can only deal with so much damage, and it couldn’t repair his personality.

      BUT going back to transplanting, maybe we could transplant an entire brain……..because medicine is amazing, we now have things called stem cells. These are small cells that can form any part of your body. Scientists have grown an ear and a kidney from these already. So maybe in the future, if you take stem cells from your own body, you could grow a backup brain in case something happens 😀