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Scientists growing miniature human brains

Research using cerebral organoids could help prevent and cure diseases

Induced pluripotent stem cells

TOKYO -- The human brain is something so close to all of us, yet it remains one of humanity's greatest mysteries. Understanding precisely how it develops and functions is one of the biggest challenges for modern science. A new way of trying to unfold its secrets involves growing a miniature brain in a lab. 

To date, much has been discovered about the human brain by experiments using mice and rats. But there is an important difference between their brains and ours: whereas the mouse brain has a flat surface, the human brain has a surface that contains many ridges and folds. Some scientists believe that this difference, among other dissimilarities, might have prevented scientists from finding a cure for various brain diseases, such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease, in experiments using such animals.

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