The Sci-Files – 09/12/2021 – Ti’Air Riggins – Astrocytes: the Guardian of the Brain

Chelsie Boodoo and Daniel Puentes

Ti'Air Riggins
Ti’Air Riggins

On this week’s The Sci-Files, your hosts Chelsie and Danny interview Ti’Air Riggins. Have you ever wondered what it’s like to wake up one day and realize that you can move anything below your neck? For some people who have a stroke or have been in major accidents, this is a reality for them. Fortunately, there has been a recently developed technology called implantable probes also known as microelectrode arrays which are little metal or polymer sticks you can implant into the brain. They receive signals from specialized brain cells called neurons that help communicate to a computer for that person to move a limb again. The problem is another specialized cell called astrocytes acts as the bodyguards of the brain and attacks the probes. In the process they kill neurons. The goal of Ti’Air’s research is to look at intervention strategies to minimize astrocytes from flipping from normal function to attack mode so that the probes can perform longer in patient brains.
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