What happens when one of your brain cells dies? A team of experts at the University of Virginia Health System is investigating how the cell can be saved. That discovery could lead to new treatments for brain-cell inflammation while remaining safe for other patients.

The team developed a gel-like substance that can be placed inside injured areas and harden into protective films or tumors. Two methods are used-soft scrubbing and confocal bombardment.

With the latter patients bite the patches and get a light-colored gel that smells like lavender. They floss the gel after washing it in the dish and then spit it out-it contains geranium oil and vitamin E both of which helped neurons survive the chemical attack.

With the former the researchers put soft scrubbing to the test. To their surprise they observed an increase in the survival of neurons in fat cells which provide nourishment and fight infections.

We found that these cells which are very sensitive to any insult were preserved by applying the mixture to a patients ear with a tweez and rubbing it on the area where the cell died-and then a week later we were able to extract them said UVAs Andrew Maki Ph. D. professor of cell biology and physiology.

Soft-scrubbing emulsion with UVA expert Dr. Pimple Popper.

To see how emulsion with vitamin E produced lasting effects Maki and his colleague Dr. Sunil Venugopal Ph. D. took mice biopsies of the brain tissue then removed them. They tagged neurons with a fluorescent dye and then infused the treated area with the emulsion. Optical coherence tomography or O-COP required constant eyecandy to test for fine structures in the brain. With this device it was impossible to map anything at all on the patients ear.