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Researcher hopes new cells could bolster brain against crippling disease

By HARVEY BLACK

Special to the Journal Sentinel
Posted: Oct. 14, 2007

While many researchers look to stem cells as a way to cure or improve treatment for such ailments as Parkinson's disease and diabetes, Clive Svendsen of the University of Wisconsin-Madison is exploring the possibility that these cells may one day be able to treat depression.

Svendsen's idea to use these so-called progenitor cells, which can develop into any one of the body's many cell types, comes against a background of research findings that suggest anti-depressants, such as Prozac (chemical name fluoxetine), operate by causing the growth of new nerve cells in the brain.

"The idea is that new neurons can somehow provide a new environment under which depression dissolves away," said Svendsen, a professor of anatomy and neurology.

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