Bioethics News

Frightening Images Show the Insidious Way Zika Appears to Attack Babies’ Brains

April 12, 2016

(The Washington Post) – In one of the first studies that sheds light on exactly how Zika attacks, researcher Patricia Garcez of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro took human neural stem cells and infected them with virus taken from a Brazilian patient. Neural stem cells — which are able to turn into three major cell types that make up our central nervous system — are the key players in embryonic brain formation. Garcez and her colleagues used two models for their experiments. The first involved looking at what are known as neurospheres, which are clusters of neural stem cells. The second used brain organoids, which are often referred to as miniature brains growing in petri dishes, but are actually just bundles of human tissue that have some features of the early human brain in the first trimester.

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