Researchers build more accurate brain model for chemical testing

Unknown side effects of drugs taken by pregnant women can cause various birth defects in newborns and can be very difficult to test for. A recent UW-Madison discovery could provide a cheaper, faster and more reliable way to test for these potential side effects and help avoid neurodevelopmental disorders like autism, according to a university release. Michael Schwartz, an assistant scientist in biomedical engineering at UW-Madison, co-authored the study with Zhonggang Hou of the Morgridge Institute, who is now a researcher at Harvard. The research team used stem cells to build parts of the brain that are usually targeted by toxic chemicals or drugs. These brain-imitating tissues are called “organoids” and were used in various drug tests to make models to test other chemical compounds. The organoids provided surprisingly consistent…


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