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‘Human brains’ grown in a lab, migraines ’cause permanent brain damage’ and the first Google Glass surgery in the US

Miniature ‘human brains’ have been grown in a lab in a feat scientists hope will transform the understanding of neurological disorders, the BBC reports this morning.

The pea sized brains reached the same level of development as in a nine-week-old foetus, but are incapable of thought.

The study, published in the journal Nature, has already been used to gain insight into rare diseases. Professor Paul Mathews, from Imperial College London, has used the breakthrough to investigate a disease called microcephaly. He called the breakthrough ‘mindboggling’

He told the BBC: ‘I think it’s just mindboggling. The idea that we can take a cell from a skin and turn it into, even though it’s only the size of a pea, is starting to look like a brain and starting to show some of the behaviours of a tiny brain, I think is just extraordinary.

‘Now it’s not thinking, it’s not communicating between the areas in the way our brains do, but it gives us a real start and this is going to be the kind of tool that helps us understand many of the major developmental brain disorders.’

From miniature brains to migraines, as the Telegraph reports this morning that migraines- which are suffered by between 10% and 15% of the population- can cause permanent brain damage.

Danish researchers discovered that migraines raise the risk of ‘white matter’ brain lesions and altered brain volume compared with people who don’t suffer from the debilitating headaches.

The association was stronger in those with migraine with aura- when there is a flashing light before the migraine begins.

Dr Messoud Ashina, one of the study’s authors from the University of Copenhagen, said doctors should rethink the idea that migraines do not have consequences: ‘Traditionally, migraine has been considered a benign disorder without long-term consequences for the brain. Our review and meta-analysis study suggests that the disorder may permanently alter brain structure in multiple ways.’

The Daily Mail reports on the first ever US live stream of an operation via Google Glass, made by a surgeon in Ohio.

The surgeon used Google Glass to consult with a distant colleague using live, point of view video from the operating room. Google Glass comes in the form of eyeglasses that can record videos, take photos, chat, get directions and look up facts on the Web.

Dr Christopher Kaeding, director of sports medicine at Ohio State, who performed the surgery said: ‘It’s a privilege to be a part of this project as we explore how this exciting new technology might be incorporated into the everyday care of our patients,’

‘To be honest, once we got into the surgery, I often forgot the device was there. It just seemed very intuitive and fit seamlessly.