Stem cells can be used to heal the damage in the brain caused by Parkinson’s disease, according to scientists in Sweden. They said their study on rats heralded a “huge breakthrough” towards developing effective treatments.

The disease is caused by the loss of nerve cells in the brain that produce the chemical dopamine, which helps to control mood and movement. To simulate Parkinson’s, Lund University researchers killed dopamine-producing neurons on one side of the rats’ brains.

They then converted human embryonic stem cells into neurons that produced dopamine. These were injected into the rats’ brains, and the researchers found evidence that the damage was reversed.

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