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Open Access Composite Brains: Toward a Systems Theory of Neural Reconstruction

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Abstract:

The results of uncontrolled, open-label clinical trials indicate that reconstructive cellular therapies have the capacity to produce meaningful functional improvements in patients with brain disorders. However, the transplantation of fetal cells has not progressed to viable best practice treatment for any brain disorder. A conceptual approach, referred to as the Repair Model, has served as a useful heuristic for initiating research in the field and guiding the development of new practices. Analysis of evidence for the treatment of Parkinson's disease indicates that recovery following neural grafting is a complex process influenced by factors beyond the replacement of neurons. An alternative approach, the Composite Brain Model, is outlined to address limitations of the Repair Model. A hierarchical, open-system model is proposed, which aims to track the interactions between the grafted cells, the host brain, and the environment. The Composite Brain Model emphasizes the importance of the interactions between the patient, their physical and social environment, and the provision of rehabilitation during recovery. It is proposed that the Composite Brain Model is useful in providing an alternative perspective for research, theory building, and practice.

Keywords: Cellular therapy; Functional recovery; Neural grafting; Neural plasticity; Parkinson's disease (PD); Rehabilitation

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/096368912X656072

Affiliations: School of Health Sciences and Human Biosciences, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia

Publication date: March 1, 2013

More about this publication?
  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.
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