Image: Erica Johnson

Damage control Researchers have found that inosine, a naturally occurring nucleoside whose levels are elevated in the brain following trauma, can induce axonal reorganization following a stroke and improve the performance of several sensorimotor tasks (P. Chen et al., "Inosine induces axonal rewiring and improves behavioral outcome after stroke," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 99:9031-6, June 25, 2002). A stroke can cause massive damage to the brain, which has limited capabilities of rewiring itself to attain its previous level of function. Inosine was previously shown to induce regeneration in existing neurons by switching on numerous genes required for axon growth, says Larry Benowitz, associate professor of neuroscience at Harvard Medical School. Using a murine model, researchers induced a stroke in one of the cerebral hemispheres, which damaged the sensorimotor cortex, an area required for fine motor control of the limbs. Researchers applied...

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