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If human brain organoids are the answer to understanding dementia, what are the questions?


Ooi, L and Dottori, M and Cook, AL and Engel, M and Gautam, V and Grubman, A and Hernandez, D and King, AE and Maksour, S and Targa Dias Anastacio, H and Balez, R and Pebay, A and Pouton, C and Valenzuela, M and White, A and Williamson, R, from the Australian Dementia Stem Cell Consortium, If human brain organoids are the answer to understanding dementia, what are the questions?, The Neuroscientist, 26, (5-6) pp. 438-454. ISSN 1073-8584 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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© The Author(s) 2020. This is an open access article published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) license (

DOI: doi:10.1177/1073858420912404


Because our beliefs regarding our individuality, autonomy, and personhood are intimately bound up with our brains, there is a public fascination with cerebral organoids, the "mini-brain," the "brain in a dish". At the same time, the ethical issues around organoids are only now being explored. What are the prospects of using human cerebral organoids to better understand, treat, or prevent dementia? Will human organoids represent an improvement on the current, less-than-satisfactory, animal models? When considering these questions, two major issues arise. One is the general challenge associated with using any stem cell-generated preparation for in vitro modelling (challenges amplified when using organoids compared with simpler cell culture systems). The other relates to complexities associated with defining and understanding what we mean by the term "dementia." We discuss 10 puzzles, issues, and stumbling blocks to watch for in the quest to model "dementia in a dish."

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:stem cells, dementia, organoids, induced pluripotent stem cells, Alzheimer’s disease, neurodegeneration, cerebral, cortical, disease model
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Neurosciences
Research Field:Cellular nervous system
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Cook, AL (Associate Professor Tony Cook)
UTAS Author:King, AE (Professor Anna King)
ID Code:138532
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:14
Deposited By:Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2020-04-14
Last Modified:2022-08-23
Downloads:14 View Download Statistics

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