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  • Imagine the brain could reboot,

    想像一下,若人腦也能重開機

  • updating its withered and damaged cells with new, improved units.

    自動更新受損的細胞單位

  • That may sound like science fiction,

    科幻小說般的情節,卻極有可能成真

  • but it's a potential reality scientists are investigating right now.

    這也正是科學家們在探討的事項

  • Will our brains one day be able to self-repair?

    究竟,大腦會不會有自動修復的一天?

  • It's well known that embryonic cells in our young developing brains

    我們知道胚胎細胞,在發育初期的腦部

  • produce new neurons,

    製造腦神經元

  • the microscopic units that make up the brain's tissue.

    這些是構成腦部組織的微小單位

  • Those newly generated neurons migrate to various parts of the developing brain,

    在發育中的腦裡,新的神經元移至各處

  • making it self-organize into different structures.

    自行組成不同構造

  • But until recently,

    直到最近

  • scientists thought cell production came to an abrupt halt soon after this initial growth,

    科學家們認為腦細胞的製造, 會在最初的生長後突然停止

  • leading them to conclude that neurological diseases,

    由此推斷出腦神經元疾病,

  • like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's,

    如阿茲海默症、帕金森氏症

  • and damaging events, like strokes, are irreversible.

    以及中風等讓腦部受損的事件,都是永久的傷害

  • But a series of recent discoveries

    然而,最近一連串的新發現

  • has revealed that adult brains actually do continue to produce new cells

    證實成人的腦至少在腦部的三個特別區塊

  • in at least three specialized locations.

    可以再生新的神經元

  • This process, known as neurogenesis,

    此過程稱為「神經生成」

  • involves dedicated brain cells, called neural stem cells

    其中包含的腦細胞,被稱作神經幹細胞

  • and progenitor cells,

    及祖細胞

  • which manufacture new neurons or replace the old ones.

    這些細胞製造出新的神經元,取代舊有的

  • The three regions where neurogenesis has been discovered

    而有「神經生成」的三個區域也被發現

  • are the dentate gyrus, associated with learning and memory,

    分別是與學習和記憶有關的「齒狀回」

  • the subventricular zone, which may supply neurons to the olfactory bulb

    以及為傳輸嗅覺資訊至腦部的嗅球

  • for communication between the nose and brain,

    提供神經元的「腦室下區」

  • and the striatum, which helps manage movement.

    和管理動作的「紋狀體」

  • Scientists don't yet have a good grasp on exactly what role

    然而,科學家們至今尚未能掌握

  • neurogenesis plays in any of these regions,

    「神經生成」在這三區裡扮演的角色

  • or why they have this ability that's absent from the rest of the brain,

    或是這三個區會與眾不同的原因

  • but the mere presence of a mechanism to grown new neurons in the adult brain

    單就「成人的腦能再生神經元」這個機制的存在

  • opens up an amazing possibility.

    就開啟了驚人的可能性

  • Could we harness that mechanism to get the brain to heal its scars

    我們是否能將此機制用於腦部的傷口的癒合呢

  • similar to how new skin grows to patch up a wound,

    就像皮膚上的傷口會癒合

  • or a broken bone stitches itself back together?

    斷掉的骨頭能重新長好

  • So here's where we stand.

    所以我們想

  • Certain proteins and other small molecules that mimick those proteins

    某些蛋白質及其他可模擬出蛋白質的小分子

  • can be administered to the brain

    可在腦部作用

  • to make neural stem cells and progenitor cells

    促使神經幹細胞及祖細胞

  • produce more neurons in those three locations.

    在腦部的三個區域中產生新的神經元

  • This technique still needs improvement

    這項技術仍待加強

  • so that the cells reproduce more efficiently

    讓細胞再生更具效率

  • and more cells survive.

    且有較高的存活率

  • But research shows that progenitor cells from these areas

    但科學家發現,這三區的祖細胞

  • can actually migrate to places where injury has occurred

    其實會移動到腦部受損的部分

  • and give rise to new neurons there.

    並在那產生新的神經元

  • And another promising possible approach

    而另一項極有可能成功的方法

  • is to transplant healthy human neural stem cells,

    便是以實驗室培養的健康的

  • which are cultured in a laboratory, to injured tissue,

    人類神經幹細胞,移植到受傷的組織

  • like we can do with skin.

    就像皮膚移植一樣

  • Scientists are currently experimenting

    現今科學家們仍在嘗試

  • to determine whether transplanted donor cells can divide, differentiate

    究竟移植的細胞是否能分裂、分化

  • and successfully give rise to new neurons in a damaged brain.

    成功的為受傷的腦部增添新的神經元

  • They've also discovered

    他們也發現

  • that we might be able to teach other kinds of brain cells,

    或許我們能教其他的腦細胞

  • such as astrocytes or oligodendrocytes

    如星形膠質細胞、少突膠質細胞

  • to behave like neural stem cells and start generating neurons, too.

    像神經幹細胞一樣,產生新的神經元

  • So, a couple of decades from now will our brains be able to self-repair?

    所以,幾十年後,我們的腦是否能自我修復呢?

  • We can't say for sure,

    一切還很難說

  • but that has become one of the major goals of regenerative medicine.

    但這儼然已是再生醫學的重要標的

  • The human brain has 100 billion neurons

    人類的大腦有1兆個神經元

  • and we're still figuring out the wiring behind this huge biological motherboard.

    而我們仍在試著了解這龐大的生物主機板, 是如何佈線的

  • But everyday, research on neurogenesis brings us closer to that reboot switch.

    神經生成的研究, 正帶領著我們邁向腦部能重開機的一天

Imagine the brain could reboot,

想像一下,若人腦也能重開機

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B2 中高級 中文 美國腔 TED-Ed 神經元 腦部 細胞 幹細胞 再生

【TED-Ed】你的大腦可以自我修復? (Could your brain repair itself? - Ralitsa Petrova)

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    稲葉白兎 發佈於 2015 年 06 月 15 日
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