Brain can rewire itself, claim Oz scientists

Updated: Jul 13, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

Melbourne: Australian scientists have claimed that the human brain has the ability to "rewire itself" and the findings could revolutionise the way brain injuries are treated in the future.

The Hobart-based Menzies Research Institute has been investigating how the brain responds to trauma, particularly what occurs within the cerebral cortex or the outer layer of grey matter, according to an AAP report.

"The most unique finding that we`ve found is that another group of these nerve cells are actually able to remodel their processes and change their shape in order to respond to the injury," Tracey Dickson, a senior researcher at the institute, said.

It appeared the cerebral cortex was capable of significant remodelling following injury, she said. Dickson said that the changes happen in healthy parts of the brain.

"Previously a lot of people have thought that once you`ve had an injury to your brain, there`s not much that can happen," ABC news quoted her as saying.

The research is now focused on trying to identify ways in which the healing response could be boosted, creating a new therapy to treat brain injury.

For the past four years, scientists at the institute have studied the brain`s response to injury using laboratory tests on rats and mice.

Bureau Report