Supplementing a single protein found in the spinal cord could help prevent symptoms of Lou Gehrig's disease, according to a new study out of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Researchers found high levels of the protein--called mitofusion 2 or Mfn2--prevented nerve degeneration, muscle atrophy, and paralysis in a mouse model of the disease. Since Mfn2 is often depleted during Lou Gehrig's, the new study suggests supplementing it could
A prospective new method of treating patients with multiple sclerosis has been proposed by researchers of the Mainz University Medical Center working in cooperation with researchers of the University of Montreal. In model trials and experiments employing human endothelial cells, they discovered that the EGFL7 protein hinders the migration of immune cells into the central nervous system by stabilizing the blood-brain barrier. These findings have recently been published in Nature
Systemic clearing of senescent astrocytes prevents Parkinson's neuropathology and associated symptoms in a mouse model of sporadic disease, the type implicated in 95% of human cases. Publishing in Cell Reports, researchers in the Andersen lab at the Buck Institute provide a new potential therapeutic avenue for the incurable, progressive neurological disorder that affects up to one million Americans, robbing them of the ability to control movement. Senescent cells, which stop dividing
An international group of researchers led by Professor Wim Versées (VIB-VUB) has unraveled the workings of an essential mechanism in 'Parkinson's protein' LRRK2. Their study demonstrates a direct link between the protein's 'dimerization' - two copies that are bound together -and mutations that lead to Parkinson's disease. This process could eventually lead to a promising therapy route. This research has been published in the leading academic journal Nature Communications. Approximately 4
A team led by UCL and Cardiff University researchers has developed a novel measure of disease progression for Huntington's disease, which enabled them to identify a genetic modifier associated with how rapidly the disease progresses. "We've identified a gene that could be a target for treating Huntington's disease. While there's currently no cure for the disease, we're hopeful that our finding could be a step towards life-extending treatments," said Dr
A team led by engineers at the University of California San Diego has developed nanowires that can record the electrical activity of neurons in fine detail. The new nanowire technology could one day serve as a platform to screen drugs for neurological diseases and could enable researchers to better understand how single cells communicate in large neuronal networks. “We’re developing tools that will allow us to dig deeper into the
By using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the brains of infants who have older siblings with autism, scientists were able to correctly identify 80 percent of the babies who would be subsequently diagnosed with autism at 2 years of age. Researchers from the University of Washington were part of a North American effort led by the University of North Carolina to use MRI to measure the brains of "low-risk"
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children's Hospital and King's College London have discovered a treatment that improves the neurological symptoms in a mouse model of juvenile Batten disease. This discovery brings hope to patients and families affected by the disease that a treatment might be available in the future. The study appears in Nature Communications. "Patients with juvenile Batten disease
Stroke patients are starting a trial of a new electronic device to recover movement and control of their hand. Neuroscientists at Newcastle University have developed the device, the size of a mobile phone, which delivers a series of small electrical shocks followed by an audible click to strengthen brain and spinal connections. The experts believe this could revolutionise treatment for patients, providing a wearable solution to the effects of stroke.
There is new hope in the fight against Huntington's disease. Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes discovered that changing a specific part of the huntingtin protein prevented the loss of critical brain cells and protected against behavioral symptoms in a mouse model of the disease. Huntington's disease causes jerky, uncoordinated movements and a loss of control of motor function. It also results in deficits in learning and memory, as well as
A new, non-invasive way to track the progression of Parkinson’s disease could help evaluate experimental treatments to slow or stop the disease’s progression. University of Florida researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging to reveal areas where Parkinson’s disease and related conditions cause progressive decline in brain activity. The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, was published in the journal Neurology. While current treatments focus on controlling symptoms, biomarkers
Brain tissue can die as the result of stroke, traumatic brain injury, or neurodegenerative disease. When the affected area includes the motor cortex, impairment of the fine motor control of the hand can result. In a new study published in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, researchers found that inosine, a naturally occurring purine nucleoside that is released by cells in response to metabolic stress, can help to restore motor control after
A new research report appearing online in The FASEB Journal shows why, for some people, having a genetic predisposition to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) may not be enough to actually guarantee having the disease. In short, researchers examined identical twins--one afflicted with familial ALS and one not--and found that environmental factors were likely necessary to alter the expression of some immune genes (epigenetic changes) before the disease could take hold.
For more than five years, urine and cerebral-spinal fluid samples from patients with Parkinson's disease have been locked in freezers in the NINDS National Repository, stored with the expectation they might someday help unravel the still-hidden course of this slow-acting neurodegenerative disease. Now, research by Andrew West, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Alabama at Birmingham has revealed that the tubes hold a brand-new type of biomarker -- a
Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine say tiny micro-vesicle structures used by neurons and other cells to transport materials internally or dispose of them externally carry tell-tale proteins that may help to predict the likelihood of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) developing into full-blown Alzheimer's disease (AD). The findings, published online this week in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia, represent a quicker and less invasive way to
Just as members of an orchestra need a conductor to stay on tempo, neurons in the brain need well-timed waves of activity to organize memories across time. In the hippocampus--the brain's memory center--temporal ordering of the neural code is important for building a mental map of where you've been, where you are, and where you are going. Published on May 30 in Nature Neuroscience, research from the RIKEN Brain Science
New research by Steven Laviolette's research team at Western University is contributing to a better understanding of the ways opiate-class drugs modify brain circuits to drive the addiction cycle. Using rodent models of opiate addiction, Dr. Laviolette's research has shown that opiates affect pathways of associative memory formation in multiple ways, both at the level of anatomy (connections between neurons) and at the molecular levels (how molecules inside the brain
Chronic stress can make us worn-out, anxious, depressed--in fact, it can change the architecture of the brain. New research at The Rockefeller University shows that when mice experience prolonged stress, structural changes occur within a little-studied region of their amygdala, a part of the brain that regulates basic emotions, such as fear and anxiety. These changes are linked to behaviors associated with anxiety and depressive disorders There is good news,
A class of drug that inhibits estrogen production and is used to treat breast cancer has been found to quickly and effectively suppress dangerous brain seizures, according to a new Northwestern University study. "The effect was profound and very clear," said Catherine S. Woolley, senior author of the study, which was conducted in a rat model of status epilepticus, a condition characterized by a prolonged episode of seizure activity. "This
In Alzheimer’s disease, plaques of amyloid beta protein accumulate in the brain, damaging connections between neurons. Now, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School have found that the enzyme Protein Kinase C (PKC) alpha is necessary for amyloid beta to damage neuronal connections. They also identified genetic variations that enhance PKC alpha activity in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The study, published May 10