Stem Cells Improve Working Memory After Traumatic Brain Injury

doctor reviewing brain scans

stem_cells_memoryThe loss of working memory is one of the more common complications after a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury, and can frequently become disabling enough to cause a loss of independent living.

Researchers have been testing the use of stem cells as a therapy for brain disorders, including the complications resulting from traumatic brain injury. However, both the most effective time of administration of stem cells, and the complications most likely to respond to stem cell therapy have been unclear. A recent animal study found that stem cell therapy administered in the first few days of a traumatic brain injury 1) decreased inflammation, 2) decreased lesion size, and 3) improved working memory for up to ten weeks after administration. In addition, the stem cell therapy was associated with new neural development in the hippocampus, the area of the brain related to memory.

The study provided evidence that stem cell therapy administered in the first few days after a traumatic brain injury not only reduces the initial injury, but can also prevent long-term memory problems that frequently occur after more moderate and severe brain injuries.

Watanabe J, Shetty AK, et al. Administration of TSG-6 improves memory after traumatic brain injury in mice. Neurobiology of Disease. (October 2013).