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Scientists Discover How the Brain Ages

Researchers at Newcastle University have revealed the mechanism by which neurons, the nerve cells in the brain and other parts of the body, age.

 

The research, published today in Aging Cell, opens up new avenues of understanding for conditions where the ageing of neurons are known to be responsible, such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

The ageing process has its roots deep within the cells and molecules that make up our bodies. Experts have previously identified the molecular pathway that react to cell damage and stems the cell’s ability to divide, known as cell senescence.

However, in cells that do not have this ability to divide, such as neurons in the brain and elsewhere, little was understood of the ageing process. Now a team of scientists at Newcastle University, led by Professor Thomas von Zglinicki have shown that these cells follow the same pathway.

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Scientists Reverse Alzheimer's-Like Memory Loss in Animal Models by Blocking EGFR Signaling

EGFR inhibitors used to fight cancer show surprising efficacy in fly, mouse models of beta amyloid-associated memory loss.

 

Cold Spring Harbor, NY – A team of neuroscientists and chemists from the U.S. and China today publish research suggesting that a class of currently used anti-cancer drugs as well as several previously untested synthetic compounds show effectiveness in reversing memory loss in two animal models of Alzheimer’s’ disease.

CSHL Professor Yi Zhong, Ph.D., who led the research conducted in fruit flies and mice, says he and his colleagues were surprised with their results, which, he stressed, used two independent experimental approaches “the results of which clearly converged.”

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Neural Stem Cells Regenerate Axons in Severe Spinal Cord Injury

New relay circuits, formed across sites of complete spinal transaction, result in functional recovery in rats

 

In a study at the University of California, San Diego and VA San Diego Healthcare, researchers were able to regenerate “an astonishing degree” of axonal growth at the site of severe spinal cord injury in rats. Their research revealed that early stage neurons have the ability to survive and extend axons to form new, functional neuronal relays across an injury site in the adult central nervous system (CNS).

The study also proved that at least some types of adult CNS axons can overcome a normally inhibitory growth environment to grow over long distances. Importantly, stem cells across species exhibit these properties. The work will be published in the journal Cell on September 14.

The scientists embedded neural stem cells in a matrix of fibrin (a protein key to blood clotting that is already used in human neuron procedures), mixed with growth factors to form a gel. The gel was then applied to the injury site in rats with completely severed spinal cords.

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