Our brain operates differently than any other part of our body so it’s difficult trying to understand how the brain deals with injuries. In recent years, whether or not our brain can repair damaged brain cells has been a hot topic of debate in research circles. In this article, we will discuss brain injury symptoms, how your brain repairs damaged brain cells, and how brain cells can be reproduced.
How to Repair Damaged Brain Cells
The brain operates differently than the rest of your body when it comes to repairing itself after an injury. When adult brain cells are injured, they revert to an embryonic (em-bree-aa-nuhk) state, similar to the state of the brain cells at birth. Recent studies have found that the cells become capable of re-growing new connections that can help restore lost function.
Unfortunately, this can be a very long process, and beyond that, sometimes the damage is so extensive that recovery is not possible. Even if the brain cells do begin to regenerate, there’s no guarantee that they will grow back as strong. Repairing damage to the brain and spinal cord has been some of the most daunting challenges for medical researchers but there has been some progress in recent years.
Do Brain Cells Reproduce?
One of the ways the brain recovers from injury is through a brain cell reproduction process known as neurogenesis (nur-ow-jeh-nuh-suhs). This is a very important process when an embryo is developing, and it involves the creation of new neurons. It was once a common belief in research circles that the number of neurons we’re born with is fixed. Recent research and the discovery of neurogenesis have led researchers to believe this is no longer true.
The older we get, neurogenesis decreases, which can cause our ability to remember and learn new things to decrease. However, researchers believe that these changes are not permanent. They believe that if you can reverse the shrinkage in the hippocampus, you can reverse memory loss.
What Happens When Brain Cells are Damaged?
There are many different ways the brain can suffer an injury. More often than not, these injuries are caused by external forces whether that be from a fall, accident, or attack. Other factors such as infection, meningitis, and seizures can cause brain damage. Here are some of the signs of brain damage and signs that brain cells may have been affected:
- Affected balance
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty speaking clearly
- Memory problems
If you or a loved one has recently suffered a head injury and are experiencing these symptoms, you should seek immediate medical assistance. Head injuries are nothing to mess around with. It’s important to recognize the symptoms of a brain injury, as these symptoms can often be subtle.
How Long Does it Take Brain Cells to Regenerate?
Researchers and experts are still unsure as to whether or not your brain cells can actually regenerate and recover. But that’s not to say that you can’t recover from a brain injury. Obviously, the biggest factor being the severity of the injury. But other factors such as age, physical makeup, and overall health can play a key role.
One thing that must be understood when dealing with a brain injury is that it does have the chance of being a life-altering event. Some people may be able to recover from an injury soon after an accident while others will never completely recover. Broken bones and cuts can be serious but usually do heal in time. Unfortunately, brain cells do not replicate themselves the same way as these other types of injuries. It’s not uncommon for people to notice their loved one seems like a different person after sustaining a TBI. And, in many ways, they might be a different person with actual personality changes since the brain doesn’t function the same as it did before.
Can Dead Brain Cells Recover?
As mentioned earlier, some recent research points to the possibility that our brain may be able to recover after an injury. However, there are some instances where brain damage is final. For the most part, our brain is very resilient. In fact, even after heartbeat and breathing cease, sparks of brain activity can often linger. in some cases, even deeply comatose patients — unable to breathe on their own — can maintain simple reflexive responses. Their brain waves, however slight or erratic, are still measurable by EEG.
Brain death, in contrast, is final. If there are signs of brain activity, there is still a chance - however slim - for a recovery, even in comatose patients. However, brain dead individuals aren’t comatose or in a vegetable state. There is no chance of recovery.
What causes brain cells to die?
You may have heard the phrase “I’m losing brain cells” once or twice in your life, and oftentimes this is simply an overreaction to dealing with something you don’t want to deal with. However, there is some truth to the phrase. This is because we are born with millions upon millions of neurons in our brain. These neurons can be very sensitive and even shy. For example - the neurons in our brain can die off if they don’t like a certain smell. In the long run, losing a few neurons here and there isn’t a big deal. However, there are some diseases and outside forces that cause the unnatural death of neurons. Here are some examples:
- Parkinson’s disease - Neurons that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine die off in the area that controls body movements
- Huntington’s disease - A genetic mutation causes over-production of a neurotransmitter called glutamate, which kills neurons in the basal ganglia (gang-glee-uh)
- Alzheimer’s disease - Unusual proteins build up in and around neurons in the neocortex and hippocampus, parts of the brain that control memory. When these neurons die, people lose their capacity to remember and their ability to do everyday tasks
- Blows to the brain - A blow to the brain or damage caused by a stroke can kill neurons outright or slowly starve them of the oxygen and nutrients needed to survive
- Spinal cord injury - A spinal cord injury can disrupt communication between the brain and muscles when neurons lose their connection to axons located below the site of injury. These neurons may still live, but they lose their ability to communicate
As you can see, neurons play a huge role in our overall wellbeing and brain health. Losing neurons in mass can cause major issues.
Supplements Can Help
One supplement that can help encourage positive brain growth and prevent cognitive decline, as well as other aging side-effects, is spermidine. This is because spermidine helps induce something called autophagy. This is the body’s process of replacing old and potentially damaged cell parts with newer, healthier ones. Autophagy literally means ‘self-eat.’
This process helps keep you feeling and looking young while also dramatically lowering your chances of developing aging diseases such as Parkison’s and Alzheimer’s. While it is possible to get your recommended daily intake of spermidine through your diet, it’s recommended to take supplements so you ensure you get the right dose. Simply taking your supplements with your dinner is a great way to remember to take spermidine supplements every night.