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Biotech Idle

Brain Cells Made From Urine 116

Press2ToContinue writes "Scientists have found a relatively straightforward way to persuade the cells discarded in human urine to turn into valuable neurons. The technique, described online in a study in Nature Methods this week (abstract), does not involve embryonic stem cells. These come with serious drawbacks when transplanted, such as the risk of developing tumors. Instead, the method uses ordinary cells present in urine, and transforms them into neural progenitor cells — the precursors of brain cells. Researchers routinely reprogram cultured skin and blood cells into induced pluripotent stem cells, which can go on to form any cell in the body. But urine is a much more accessible source."
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Brain Cells Made From Urine

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  • by Kergan (780543) on Monday December 10, 2012 @02:03AM (#42239845)

    The future might include pee brains in addition to pea brains.

  • Sorry that's all I've got...
    • by edelbrp (62429) on Monday December 10, 2012 @02:38AM (#42239969)

      Don't joke! It leaves us only an inch away from shit for brains.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Might leave you only one inch away, but for me it's about eight.

      • Re:Piss for brains? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by interkin3tic (1469267) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:41AM (#42242019)
        Not to step on the joke, but while your feces do have a lot of your cells in them, they're mostly dead cells which would be useless for induced pluripotency. Furthermore, I've heard it's about one third bacteria, so you'd have contamination problems. Urine, on the other hand, is much more sterile and free from bacteria, and it would presumably be much easier to spin down urine and collect living cells than it would be to separate cells out from feces.

        Most importantly, the reason they were using urine was not to make brain cells from weird places, they had previously discovered that kidney cells took much less time to turn pluripotent than some other cell types, such as skin cells. I'd assume that colon cells wouldn't have this advantage even if you did isolate them living from poop. And I'm not going to test that hypothesis either...
        • by cfulton (543949)
          Thank you for your serious and thoughtful comment. You piss head. (now technically that was a complement)
      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Don't joke! It leaves us only an inch away from shit for brains.

        Speak for yourself. ;-)

  • by Ardx (954221) on Monday December 10, 2012 @02:08AM (#42239865)
    ...of thinking with my penis. Guess who's just got the last laugh now?
    • by adolf (21054)

      Rather, this just validates a simple truth: My penis thinks for me, and I'm OK with that,

      (Disclaimer: I'm married, and have been for darn near a decade, and we understand that her penis is larger than mine -- even if hers cannot be seen. Furthermore, she doesn't care where my penis goes, while also encouraging it to go places it has not yet been. YMM unfortunately V...)

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Wow. This went from a rather cheerful and funny discussion about pee brains to a rather disturbing self-gratifying statement on your penis going places its never gone before, like Spock and Kirk in a dark place.

    • I always tell her (Score:4, Informative)

      by drainbramage (588291) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:00AM (#42241585)

      It's okay to point.
      Just don't laugh.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 10, 2012 @02:15AM (#42239883)

    Alcohol kills brain cells. Beer makes you pee. Finally, we're close to making this a zero-sum game. Cheers!

  • Only problem: The brains made of those neurons always feel pissed ...

  • A real revelation (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Grayhand (2610049)
    We finally have scientific explanation for the deficit and the fiscal cliff.
  • by obarthelemy (160321) on Monday December 10, 2012 @02:30AM (#42239935)

    This sounds wrong. But I'm shuddering to think what step #2 might be

  • by flyingfsck (986395) on Monday December 10, 2012 @02:37AM (#42239961)
    So now brain cells can be free as in beer too...
    • by gtall (79522)

      I want to see Mr. PeeBrain, run on a single AA battery. You take Mr. PeeBrain into the bar, and down a few pints. Plug in Mr. PeeBrain (discreetly, of course), and whallah, any brain cells you lost to the alcohol in the beer have now been replaced by New and Improved brain cells automatically reinjected into your brain.

  • by Anonymous Coward where I can sign up to sell my urine now?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How long before humans become nearly valueless because our components can be assembled from raw materials?

    A human is the definition of "conscious" away from being worth as much as the atoms that put us together. I'm as big a fan of urine-brain jokes as the next guy, but for the sake of individuality let's all hope the theory of emergent consciousness is so much horseshit, yeah? Otherwise, you might very well be worth less than your weight in printer ink.

    • Humans are already assembled from raw materials over the course of about nine months...

    • by mark-t (151149)

      Heck, do you know how much your weight in printer ink would cost???

      A cursory examination of current retail prices at nation-wide computer and electronics stores, and then working out the cost per unit of weight brings it to around $45 per ounce. That makes the average adult worth over $100,000!

  • Will "pissed" mean "smart" in the future?

    Oh....and the average public toilet is apparently a smart room.

  • ... we've been pissing away all those neurons since... forever?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Like, literally?

  • Name (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fph il quozientatore (971015) on Monday December 10, 2012 @04:30AM (#42240323) Homepage
    I suggest the name "reverse alcohol" for this methodology.
  • I have always supported research. I'm ready to donate samples.
  • If this is for real, it may provide a (relatively) cheap source of neurons for biotech industry research.
    Mass-production may be feasible once there is a product to industrialize.
    Anybody know what's cooking on the bio-chips front nowadays?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 10, 2012 @05:10AM (#42240443)

    42. ...Thou shall not take of the piss that thou'st passeth after a heavy night at the inn and make of it an addition to thine body, or use it to adorn thyself, or for any medical purpose whatsoever.

    43. For the Lord thy God is a fastidious god, and does not like to see people messing around with things that are iccky. Nor does he want to give an opportunity for the unbelievers of Phillistine and Gath to make stupid puns about 'taking the piss'. Thine body is made in the image of the Lord, and if He had wanted you to employ the spillings of thy loins to improve thy brain, he would have made thy member long enough to place in thine ear. Nor yet shall ye retain this water in any kind of receptacle, lest ye be tempted by Satan to do what is unclean, but ye shall cast it out onto unshriven ground, where the dogs may smell it as they please.

    44. And Abraham spoke and said unto the Lord: "Lo, thy words are as a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. But what shall our brethren do if they are caught short at a party and cannot reach a station of comfort? Or, as it may be, some of thy handmaidens are already in there and taking their time about coming out?

    45. Then the Lord waxed exceeding wroth, and swore at Abraham, saying "Thou dissembler! It is not for the likes of thee to question my instructions! Should you try to catch out the Lord thy God again, thy throat will catch fire, and not one of thy tribe shall be found who may pee in your mouth....

    from the third Book of Emissions (Golden Showers edition)..

  • Every post I can currently see is a pun. Every. Single. One. What have you done OP? What have you done!?
  • ....when your brain trauma or spinal cord injury is repaired by this method, how can you possibly be pissed off?
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday December 10, 2012 @07:12AM (#42240927)

    After the revelation that stuff in semen halts aging, now stuff in piss creates brain cells.

    Ladies, here's proof, anything coming out of my dick is good for you!

    • by meetpi (2776369)

      Ladies, here's proof, anything coming out of my dick is good for you!


      • by Anonymous Coward

        Crickets are coming out of your dick? Sounds painful, you should get that checked!

  • Former Prime Minister of India Morarji Desai [] and his side kick and Minister of Health Raj Narayan were pioneers ahead of their times, it looks like. They were practitioners of auto urine therapy [].
  • to piss head!
  • turn in to tumors?! And that's a known hazard?? That's a bit of info I never read in all the articles I've seen here that are 'pro' embryonic stem cell research/use.

    • They can turn into almost any other cell so why not. All a tumor is is a bunch of otherwise normal cells gone wacko.
  • Dickhead.

  • A golden shower, one might say.

  • by davidbrit2 (775091) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:31AM (#42241923) Homepage
    Granted, they've only been able to create a Youtube commenter as of yet, but there's still a lot of untapped potential.
  • Call me when they figure out how to directly translate a gin and tonic to brain cells.
  • by Suffering Bastard (194752) on Monday December 10, 2012 @12:27PM (#42243657)
    Samson: (John Cleese) Blood donors that way, please.
    Donor: Oh, thank you very much.
    Samson: Thank you.
    Grimshaw: (Eric Idle) (whispering)
    Samson: What?
    Grimshaw: (whispering)
    Samson: No, no. I'm sorry, but 'no'.
    Grimshaw: (whispering)
    Samson: No, you may not give urine instead of blood.
    Grimshaw: (whispering)
    Samson: No. Well, I don't care if you want to.
    Grimshaw: (whispering)
    Samson: No. There is no such thing as a urine bank.
    Grimshaw: Please.
    Samson: No. We have no call for it. We've quite enough of it without volunteers coming in here donating it.
    Grimshaw: Just a specimen?
    Samson: No. We don't want a specimen. We either want your blood or nothing.
    Grimshaw: I'll give you some blood if you'll give me...
    Samson: What?
    Grimshaw: ...a thing to do some urine in.
    Samson: No, no. Just go away, please.
    Grimshaw: Anyway, I don't want to give you any blood.
    Samson: Fine. Well, you don't have to, you see. Just go away.
    Grimshaw: Can I give you some spit?
    Samson: No.
    Grimshaw: Sweat?
    Samson: No.
    Grimshaw: Ear wax?
    Samson: No. Look, this is a blood bank. All we want is blood.
    Grimshaw: All right. I'll give you some blood. (produces some blood in a jar)
    Samson: Where did you get that?
    Grimshaw: Today. It's today's.
    Samson: What group is it?
    Grimshaw: What groups are there?
    Samson: There's 'A',--
    Grimshaw: It's 'A'.
    Samson: (sniffs blood) Wait a moment. It's mine. This blood is mine! What are you doing with it?
    Grimshaw: I found it.
    Samson: You found it?! You stole it out of my body, didn't you?
    Grimshaw: No.
    Samson: No wonder I'm feeling off-colour. (drinks from bottle, Grimshaw takes it from his hands) Give that back!
    Grimshaw: It's mine.
    Samson: It's not yours. You stole it.
    Grimshaw: Never.
    Samson: Give it back to me.
    Grimshaw: All right...but only if I can give urine.
    Samson: Get in the queue...
  • A study of congressmen and women has determined that their brain cells are made from urine. Until this study it was assumed they had no brains or, if a brain existed, then it was made of feces. But the newest studies show that the brain cells of congress, and quite possibly all other government personnel worldwide are made from urine. Where the urine comes from is still a mystery, however it's effectiveness as brain material is still considered to be quite low. "We knew their heads had to be full of som
  • this news sound so incredible. but one day ,it brings out that, the news is feasible. Is this not a solution to solve the tumor problem.
  • As easy as p!$$! (As the Aussie slang goes).

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