Scientists have raised hopes that brain damage caused by strokes, stab wounds and even bullets could one day be repaired by converting structural cells into functioning neurons.

For the first time, they have managed to regenerate damaged areas of the cerebral cortex of living animals by transforming a type of support cell found in the brain.

The cerebral cortex, which is the outer layer of tissue in the brain, is involved in controlling movement, interpreting the senses, conscious thought and memory. Usually almost no new neurons are grown in this area of the brain in adults, so once the cells are damaged or die, they are not replaced.

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