Bindiya Dave, Mays Landing
Mini brains are scientifically known as brain organoids. Essentially, they are in a blob format and are the simplified model of an actual human brain. They contain actual human tissues, something like this could be used in basic research, drug development, and even computer science. They are made from stem cells embedded into a protein-rich matrix. In order for the mini brains to form different types of tissue, scientists use different molecules and growth factors in order to increase the tissue diversity.
The advancement in research using a mini brain that is similar to an actual brain makes it so much easier to gain access to experimental studies and things of that nature. Brain organoids are so advanced that scientists are even questioning whether or not it could gain consciousness due to its profound similarity to an actual human brain.
The thought of a lab grown brain that is not connected to any sort of body or person gaining consciousness is while interesting, also quite terrifying. These mini brains
contain multiple cells that are found in actual human brains, are able to copy certain functions of human brain tissue, and show similar spatial organization to isolated regions of the brain.
Even though these brains are somewhat terrifying, they are extremely useful in developing different types of research and advancements in health care. Scientists are able to use them on a variety of health problems relating to the human brain since they are so similar. Diseases such as brain tumors and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers and Parkinson’s can be modeled on the mini brains. This could lead to further research and potentially some sort of treatment for those diseases.
Not only can these brains help scientists further understand brain diseases, but they can potentially even be able to replace the need for primate cells in order to test upon them. This means that the need for animal research could be greatly reduced.
Furthermore, scientists are hoping that these mini brains will lead to new drugs and medicines. Currently, they are testing whether the brain can be repaired by “plugging injuries with lab-grown mini brains". Advancements in healthcare such as this could lead to the lessening of brain deaths and neurological disorder, ultimately helping the majority of society.
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