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Bioengineers have created three-dimensional brain-like tissue that functions like and has structural features similar to tissue in the rat brain and that can be kept alive in the lab for more than two months.

Confocal microscope image of neurons (greenish yellow) attached to silk-based scaffold (blue). The neurons formed functional networks throughout the scaffold pores (dark areas). Image courtesy of Tufts University.

As a first demonstration of its potential, researchers used the brain-like tissue to study chemical and electrical changes that occur immediately following traumatic brain injury and, in a separate experiment, changes that occur in response to a drug. The tissue could provide a superior model for studying normal brain function as well as injury and disease, and could assist in the development of new treatments for brain dysfunction.

This technique may become a vital therapeutic requirement for any human long duration space travel missions.  Yet another reason to make human space travel times short and safe! To read more, click here.