The brain may be able to repair itself — with help | Jocelyne Bloch

The brain may be able to repair itself — with help | Jocelyne Bloch

So I’m a neurosurgeon. And like most of my colleagues, I have to deal, every day,
with human tragedies. I realize how your life can change
from one second to the other after a major stroke
or after a car accident. And what is very frustrating
for us neurosurgeons is to realize that unlike
other organs of the body, the brain has very little
ability for self-repair. And after a major injury
of your central nervous system, the patients often remain
with a severe handicap. And that’s probably
the reason why I’ve chosen to be a functional neurosurgeon. What is a functional neurosurgeon? It’s a doctor who is trying to improve
a neurological function through different surgical strategies. You’ve certainly heard of
one of the famous ones called deep brain stimulation, where you implant an electrode
in the depths of the brain in order to modulate a circuit of neurons to improve a neurological function. It’s really an amazing technology in that it has improved
the destiny of patients with Parkinson’s disease, with severe tremor, with severe pain. However, neuromodulation
does not mean neuro-repair. And the dream of functional neurosurgeons is to repair the brain. I think that we are approaching this dream. And I would like to show you that we are very close to this. And that with a little bit of help, the brain is able to help itself. So the story started 15 years ago. At that time, I was a chief resident working days and nights
in the emergency room. I often had to take care
of patients with head trauma. You have to imagine that when a patient
comes in with a severe head trauma, his brain is swelling and he’s increasing
his intracranial pressure. And in order to save his life, you have to decrease
this intracranial pressure. And to do that, you sometimes have to remove
a piece of swollen brain. So instead of throwing away
these pieces of swollen brain, we decided with Jean-François Brunet, who is a colleague of mine, a biologist, to study them. What do I mean by that? We wanted to grow cells
from these pieces of tissue. It’s not an easy task. Growing cells from a piece of tissue is a bit the same as growing
very small children out from their family. So you need to find the right nutrients, the warmth, the humidity and all the nice environments
to make them thrive. So that’s exactly what we had
to do with these cells. And after many attempts, Jean-François did it. And that’s what he saw
under his microscope. And that was, for us, a major surprise. Why? Because this looks exactly the same
as a stem cell culture, with large green cells
surrounding small, immature cells. And you may remember from biology class that stem cells are immature cells, able to turn into any type
of cell of the body. The adult brain has stem cells,
but they’re very rare and they’re located
in deep and small niches in the depths of the brain. So it was surprising to get
this kind of stem cell culture from the superficial part
of swollen brain we had in the operating theater. And there was another
intriguing observation: Regular stem cells
are very active cells — cells that divide, divide,
divide very quickly. And they never die,
they’re immortal cells. But these cells behave differently. They divide slowly, and after a few weeks of culture, they even died. So we were in front of a strange
new cell population that looked like stem cells
but behaved differently. And it took us a long time
to understand where they came from. They come from these cells. These blue and red cells are called
doublecortin-positive cells. All of you have them in your brain. They represent four percent
of your cortical brain cells. They have a very important role
during the development stage. When you were fetuses, they helped your brain to fold itself. But why do they stay in your head? This, we don’t know. We think that they may
participate in brain repair because we find them
in higher concentration close to brain lesions. But it’s not so sure. But there is one clear thing — that from these cells, we got our stem cell culture. And we were in front
of a potential new source of cells to repair the brain. And we had to prove this. So to prove it, we decided to design
an experimental paradigm. The idea was to biopsy a piece of brain in a non-eloquent area of the brain, and then to culture the cells exactly the way Jean-François
did it in his lab. And then label them, to put color in them in order to be able
to track them in the brain. And the last step was to re-implant them in the same individual. We call these autologous grafts — autografts. So the first question we had, “What will happen if we re-implant
these cells in a normal brain, and what will happen
if we re-implant the same cells in a lesioned brain?” Thanks to the help
of professor Eric Rouiller, we worked with monkeys. So in the first-case scenario, we re-implanted the cells
in the normal brain and what we saw is that they completely
disappeared after a few weeks, as if they were taken from the brain, they go back home, the space is already busy, they are not needed there,
so they disappear. In the second-case scenario, we performed the lesion, we re-implanted exactly the same cells, and in this case, the cells remained — and they became mature neurons. And that’s the image of what
we could observe under the microscope. Those are the cells
that were re-implanted. And the proof they carry, these little spots, those
are the cells that we’ve labeled in vitro, when they were in culture. But we could not stop here, of course. Do these cells also help a monkey
to recover after a lesion? So for that, we trained monkeys
to perform a manual dexterity task. They had to retrieve
food pellets from a tray. They were very good at it. And when they had reached
a plateau of performance, we did a lesion in the motor cortex
corresponding to the hand motion. So the monkeys were plegic, they could not move their hand anymore. And exactly the same as humans would do, they spontaneously recovered
to a certain extent, exactly the same as after a stroke. Patients are completely plegic, and then they try to recover
due to a brain plasticity mechanism, they recover to a certain extent, exactly the same for the monkey. So when we were sure that the monkey
had reached his plateau of spontaneous recovery, we implanted his own cells. So on the left side, you see the monkey
that has spontaneously recovered. He’s at about 40 to 50 percent
of his previous performance before the lesion. He’s not so accurate, not so quick. And look now when we re-implant the cells: Two months after re-implantation,
the same individual. (Applause) It was also very exciting results
for us, I tell you. Since that time, we’ve understood
much more about these cells. We know that we can cryopreserve them, we can use them later on. We know that we can apply them
in other neuropathological models, like Parkinson’s disease, for example. But our dream is still
to implant them in humans. And I really hope that I’ll be able
to show you soon that the human brain is giving us
the tools to repair itself. Thank you. (Applause) Bruno Giussani: Jocelyne, this is amazing, and I’m sure that right now, there are
several dozen people in the audience, possibly even a majority, who are thinking, “I know
somebody who can use this.” I do, in any case. And of course the question is, what are the biggest obstacles before you can go
into human clinical trials? Jocelyne Bloch: The biggest
obstacles are regulations. (Laughs) So, from these exciting results,
you need to fill out about two kilograms of papers and forms to be able to go through these
kind of trials. BG: Which is understandable,
the brain is delicate, etc. JB: Yes, it is, but it takes a long time and a lot of patience and almost
a professional team to do it, you know? BG: If you project yourself — having done the research and having tried to get
permission to start the trials, if you project yourself out in time, how many years before
somebody gets into a hospital and this therapy is available? JB: So, it’s very difficult to say. It depends, first,
on the approval of the trial. Will the regulation allow us
to do it soon? And then, you have to perform
this kind of study in a small group of patients. So it takes, already, a long time
to select the patients, do the treatment and evaluate if it’s useful
to do this kind of treatment. And then you have to deploy
this to a multicentric trial. You have to really prove
first that it’s useful before offering this treatment
up for everybody. BG: And safe, of course. JB: Of course. BG: Jocelyne, thank you for coming
to TED and sharing this. BG: Thank you. (Applause)

100 Replies to “The brain may be able to repair itself — with help | Jocelyne Bloch”

  1. Great finding! But What is it that’s preventing these cells acting like that, when theyre intact? From my understanding, they don’t do any alterations to them apart from isolating and keeping in nutritional environment.

  2. We're better off with out electricity and wicked scientist.

    One is building a new world solely for themselves with the other.
    We are not to be part of there new world.

  3. My son have brain damage from the medication Roaccutane/Accutane when he was 27 year's old, now he is going to be 50 year's old and he can not orientate or have any conversation, his vocabulary is very limited now.
    I which one day can any doctor help him to restore his memory
    and his brain one day.
    Thanks for you video.

  4. I had a stroke since 7 months ago. My half body were paralyzed. Now I can walk without a stick at home. I'm getting better. My advise is never give up and be patience. Most of all, appreciate every little achivement you had. Cheers

  5. What a shame monkeys had to suffer for this development.  In Gandhi's words: "I abhor vivisection with my whole soul.  All the scientific discoveries stained with innocent blood, I count of as no consequence."  MOST experiments on animals DO NOT have positive consequences for humans.  Truly disappointing that we humans still think we have the right to 'use/abuse fellow beings for well being.  Why not experiment on humans?

  6. I survived a very serious TBI in which I was hit in the head by a 30 lb chunk of metal flying through the air and my doctors said I would never get better. They gave me no hope for the future and no options so I took it upon myself to do as much research as I could. I was suicidal but I held onto a glimpse of hope in my heart that someday I would get better. Luckily I did my research and found out about the benefits of the Ketogenic Diet, high dose fish oil, cardio exercise and Noopept. The Ketogenic diet helps for many reasons. It increases blood flow to the brain and when you have a TBI your brain has an impaired ability to use glucose as a fuel source. It’s a catch 22 because when your brain needs energy the most to heal itself, it’s unable to use glucose to do so! So it only makes sense to switch your body into the mode of burning ketones instead. Additionally, Keto increases the amount of mitochondria in the brain and increases their efficiency as well as reducing inflammation. Inflammation caused by carbohydrates is a huge problem when recovering from TBI. That brings me to the benefits of fish oil. I was taking 20,000 mg of fish oil per day for 6 months. I definitely recommend you talk to your doctor before taking that much fish oil because it can increase bleeding and interact with medications. I had an MRI done to check for bleeding in my brain before taking that much. But the benefits of high dose fish oil are staggering. I only recommend Nordic Naturals fish oil. The EPA in fish oil increases blood flow in the brain and the DHA grows new neurons. Exercise has numerous benefits in the healing process and studies have shown that those who do light-moderate cardio recover much faster than those who don’t. Noopept and exercise increase BDNF and NGF which also grows new neurons and helps you feel happier. I hope this can give someone suffering from TBI hope. Never give up, if you implement these strategies I promise you will get better. I’m still not where I was before but I’m light years away from where I was in that dark hole of hopelessness. It takes a lot of time. I have been on this journey for a year and a half. Have patience, I wish you all the best.

  7. i grew up with an abusive mom & i feel like i act slow sometimes cause she beat my head a lot, even made my lil brothers brain shut down on one side from the abuse

  8. They say they have studies show recovery from stem cells work for stroke patients or is a fluke to get more money.

  9. It's said that neurology is "diagnose then adios", because there is very little that can be done given any brain pathology. Hopefully Jocelyne's work can start to change that!
    Speaking of 'I know somebody that can use this', there was a great episode in the 'This Week in Parasitism' (TWiP) podcast where they talk about how the parasite Toxoplasma gondii creates cysts/holes in the brain.. millions are affected worldwide.

  10. I would love to participate in any study she's behind. I have intracranial damage from pseudo brain tumor and have been looking for other ways of not only lowering my fluid, but healing my brain. I notice an immense difference in before and after and it's like I'm a different person. I just want to be me again. Have started some new vitamins lately, let's see how it goes.

  11. How are the cells inserted in the brain I mean what type of operation is done do they inject the cells in the brain or what?

  12. Why isn't this done to people who suffered brain injury and stroke instead of killing the guy? Do this experiment to them who are going to die instead of letting them die try this on humans too.

  13. Something as logical and promising as this will take years and years and much heart ache to ever become available to the public. Yet, toxic medications can be rolled out with a study lasting 4 weeks. Or no study at all. Only to be recalled after it damages people. That's progress…

  14. The fact all our cells die and have new ones created not only makes us clones of our selves but it also means that the only thing that stays with us from birth tod eath is our concioua spirit and soul .

  15. I don’t ever say this despite hearing impressive stuff but hands down, Can you say Nobel Prize in Medicine if this works out in human trials. This is amazing.

  16. This is amazing but I can’t help but feel bad for what we do to monkey, mice, and other animals though. I always carry guilt even though I am in no way in the field of research. I still feel guilty knowing that I am sure I have benefitted from the pain of animals. We should use death row inmates instead.

  17. Finally, something that's informative and fascinating, as opposed to what Ted is doing currently, which is more or less, to inspire us to do something.

  18. I fell into a coma in 2005 after a car accident. I was asleep and the driver made a wrong turn into an open sewer and so the car proceeded to flip 3 times in a row. Being asleep I flew forward and hit my head on the roof of the car. It split wide open and I instantly fell in a coma. I lost more than 40% of my blood and more than 90% of my brain died. The doctor said I had no hope. I wake up after 21 days to be diagnosed a quadriplegic. 14 years later, I'm completely recovered with a university degree and a grad certificate. Doctors don't know how I did that either. I don't either. While comatose I had a vision full of love and happiness. God saved me, it's as simple as that.

  19. Neuroplasticity requires no surgery. Science (meaning "to cut") interrupts the body's innate ability to heal itself. Diet is primary, and surgery is intended for emergencies. She is where she is needed as a Neurosurgeon, in an Emergency room. Neurosurgeons speak nothing about Neuroplasticity. I've reduced the symptoms of my TBI with Neuroplasticity. She also says nothing about what the patients eat. She says "brain spasticity". Hmmmm? This isn't in a clinical trial phase yet, whereas Neuroplasticity has been studied since 1973. Why is this breaking science, if they haven't even had their Phase 1 study? TED thinks this is phenomenal, obviously..

  20. I have got a Parkinson disease diagnosis, and I would like to congratulate Jocelyne Block for her effort … and good luck ….and sorry for my english

  21. This vid has a lots languages 👀🧠👍🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼pretty interesting!

  22. This is INCREDIBLE.
    I feel SO sad for animals used in experiments, and yet they are HEROES, as are the scientists who are pioneering this treatment.

  23. ….Do you know about ''neurogenesis''? ''Neurogenesis'' transforms your brain, without surgery and transplantation and cures with natural ways most of neurological damages like parkinson, dementia, depression, bi polar, etch.

  24. I went to school like nearly everyone else. It's only now that I'm older that I realise how much school doesn't teach you.

  25. It's very interesting how our brain can recover itself. However, I think to test in animals it is not ethical or moral. Why does mankind think that they can cause lesions in animals so they can learn about their brains? Why do we think nature serve ourselves? Why do we think we can do everything in animals? Sometimes I think if we were the animal, would we like them to do this to us?

  26. I would love to be a neuroscientist or biomedical researcher but at the same time I don’t want to experiment on animals. Are there specific fields of the two mentioned professions that doesn’t use animals for testing?

  27. I was fine with it, until she so casually said, "we thank professor… for giving us monkeys to test on". That was it for me, everything beyond that was tainted with pain and suffering of creatures that have nothing to do with our quest for knowledge or health or discovery. Alas!

  28. Nature is infinite intelligence. The body heals all by itself, its called fasting thus allowing the body to do so. Nature is not blind, man is blind as he tries to do "better" than something that's already perfect by design because of the modern ways in which he is taught/conditioned to believe. Even our own using urine can cure all known diseases paired with fasting.

  29. I prayed to Jesus Christ and to God to help heal my brain due to severe trauma damage …. over the last 5 months I have been healed !!!

    Praise God and Jesus Christ …. never underestimate the power of prayer and the unseen power of God.

  30. No one seems to care that you "…give a legion" to fellow earthlings (monkeys), "pelagic" them, and I'm sure much, much more in order to gain your amazing discoveries. It seams as long as HUMANS benefit–who cares? The benefits will make it all well worth it, as in our laboratories, as long as a HUMAN benefits…what is that saying about the ends and the means?

    I HAVE Parkinson's learning the NEW MEDICAL Science. Thinking about stints, For my trimmers.
    HELP ME OUT. Enjoy

  32. My earthly mother had a stroke and doctor could no believe when he saw that her brain recovered without any medical assistance in love 😍 after three months I went to see her with my two daughters.

    She could not walk than she started to walk in two weeks.

  33. How do you get a monkey with a lesion on the brain, or do you have to inflict a lesion on a monkey.? If so how? Can you explain..

  34. ما أسباب جلطة الدماغ
    يوجد العديد من الأسباب المؤدية لحدوث الجلطة ومنها: النزيف الدماغي يحدث نتيجة تمزق في جدار الأوعية الدموية ، هذا يسبب ارتفاع ضغط الدم، ويحدث ضعف في الأوعية الدموية. أمراض و إعتلالات في القلب. الضغوط النفسية كالخوف و القلق. هبوط في الدورة الدموية المخدرات وبخاصة الكوكايين السمنة و زيادة الوزن ارتفاع نسبة الكولسترول الردئ في الدم ارتفاع ضغط الدم التقدم في العمر صداع مستمر من الممكن حدوث ضمور في العضلات عدم وضوح في الرؤية فقدان السمع تدريجياً اختلال الحركة و التوازن الوراثة التدخين.

    نصائح لتجنب الجلطة الدماغية قدر الإمكان التزم بالنصائح التالية:الامتناع عن التدخين ممارسة الرياضة بإستمرار و بشكل منتظم ولتجنب الوزن الزائد وحدوث السمنة تناول مضادات التجلط تناول أدوية الضغط، لتجنب الإرتفاع في ضغط الدم أو قد يكون العلاج عن طريق الجراحة وتتطلب طبيب مختص في جراحة المخ والأعصاب.

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