CNN Food and Health

Health Briefs

October 25, 1995 Web posted at: 5:50 a.m. EDT

Scientists grow 'human' ear on lab mouse

mouse with human ear

MASSACHUSETTS (CNN) -- Researchers in Massachusetts have created something that sounds more like science fiction than science fact. They've taken a prototype human ear made of polyester fabric and human cartilage cells, and implanted it on the back of a hairless mouse.

The mouse's tissue nourished the ear while the cartilage grew to replace the fiber. Scientists hope the technology will someday help them routinely regrow ears, noses, skin, bones, and even internal organs.

Drug may permanently alter addicts' brains

lines of cocaine

ANN ARBOR, Michigan (CNN) -- Drugs and alcohol can cause permanent changes in the brain's chemical messenger systems, according to some scientists at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. The researchers arrived at the theory after experimenting on rats (332K AIFF sound or 332K WAV sound).

Kent Berridge from the University of Michigan says if the theory is correct, that means an addict whose brain has been altered by drugs is truly different from an ordinary person. Berridge says the theory may explain why addicts want drugs, even though they no longer derive pleasure from them. It may also help doctors understand why some people crave drugs even years after becoming clean.

More studies are still needed, but if the theory is proven true, Berridge says it could mean finding a drug to treat addiction will be very difficult, because the changes to the brain is permanent. For medication to cure addiction, it would have to somehow reverse those changes.


Copyright © 1995 Cable News Network, Inc.