Single protein plays important dual transport roles in the brain

Just as a packaging breakdown can hamstring delivery of cables, switches and connectors to a house under construction, removing a protein from neurons can block the “shipment” of proteins to developing axons. Axons are the telephone wires of the nervous system. They convey information to dendrites on other nerve cells, in a processing network of phenomenal complexity that is the […]

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Scientists reverse aging process in rat brain stem cells

New research, published today in Nature, reveals how increasing brain stiffness as we age causes brain stem cell dysfunction, and demonstrates new ways to reverse older stem cells to a younger, healthier state. The results have far reaching implications for how we understand the ageing process, and how we might develop much-needed treatments for age-related brain diseases. As our bodies […]

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Gene linked to Alzheimer’s disease is involved in neuronal communication

A study published today in the journal Cell Reports sheds new light on how the CD2AP gene may enhance Alzheimer’s disease susceptibility. Integrating experiments in fruit flies, mice and human brains, a multi-institutional team led by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine found that the CD2AP gene is involved in synaptic transmission, the process by which neurons communicate. Digging deeper, […]

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New insight into microRNA function can give gene therapy a boost

Scientists at the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Oxford have shown that small RNA molecules occurring naturally in cells, i.e. microRNAs, are also abundant in cell nuclei. Previously, microRNAs were mainly thought to be found in cytoplasm. The scientists also discovered that microRNA concentrations in cell nuclei change as a result of hypoxia. The findings strongly suggest […]

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Keeping a cell’s powerhouse in shape

A German-Swiss team around Professor Oliver Daumke from the MDC has investigated how a protein of the dynamin family deforms the inner mitochondrial membrane. The results, which also shed light on a hereditary disease of the optic nerve, have been published in Nature. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of our cells, generating energy in the form of chemical compounds such as […]

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Cascade exacerbates storage diseases: Researchers show that a defective degradation enzyme triggers a series of consequential damages

In rare, hereditary storage diseases such as Sandhoff’s disease or Tay-Sachs syndrome, the metabolic waste from accumulating gangliosides cannot be properly disposed of in the nerve cells because important enzymes are missing. The consequences for the patients are grave: They range from movement restrictions to blindness, mental decline and early death. Scientists at the University of Bonn now demonstrate why […]

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Certain cells secrete a substance in the brain that protects neurons: Finding helps explain cascade of events leading to neurodegeneration

USC researchers have discovered a secret sauce in the brain’s vascular system that preserves the neurons needed to keep dementia and other diseases at bay. The finding, in a mouse model of the human brain, focuses on specific cells called pericytes and reveals that they play a previously unknown role in brain health. Pericytes secrete a substance that keeps neurons […]

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Breaking down pathological protein aggregates

Aggregates of the protein alpha-synuclein in the nerve cells of the brain play a key role in Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. These protein clumps can travel from nerve cell to nerve cell, causing the disease to progress. A team of researchers led by ETH scientists have now discovered how the body can rid itself of these damaging aggregates. Their […]

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Ragweed compounds could protect nerve cells from Alzheimer’s

As spring arrives in the northern hemisphere, many people are cursing ragweed, a primary culprit in seasonal allergies. But scientists might have discovered a promising new use for some substances produced by the pesky weed. In ACS’ Journal of Natural Products, researchers have identified and characterized ragweed compounds that could help nerve cells survive in the presence of Alzheimer’s disease […]

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Technology automatically senses how Parkinson’s patients respond to medication: Novel approach doesn’t require patient or physician engagement

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic, progressive neurological disorder affecting approximately 6 million people globally and is expected to double by 2040. PD leads to disabling motor features including tremor, reduced speed, and gait/balance impairment leading to falls, as well as non-motor symptoms such as cognitive impairment and sleep and speech disorders. One of the most prevalent complications in PD […]

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