Silicon chips offer new tool to repair nerve damage

Researchers at Edinburgh University have grown neurons, the basic cells of the nervous system, on silicon chips. And the process could eventually serve as a radical new approach to repairing damaged nerve and muscle fiber.

The scientists printed patterns on the silicon chips during the manufacturing process and then immersed them in a sauce of proteins. The neurons grew along the patterns in the chip, opening the door to growing new tissue or implanting them in prosthetic devices.

"One of the areas this could be used in is prosthetics--if we can cause cells from damaged tissues to grow where we want," said Professor Alan Murray, head of Edinburgh University's School of Engineering and Electronics. "It is going towards the realms of science fiction--there is a definite Incredible Hulk feel about it."

- check out the report from the BBC