As the largest resource of information specific to women's brain health, we are sure you will find what you are looking for, and promise that you will discover new information.
Published on: September 26, 2012
by The Press Association:
Scientists are to launch a major study of little-known proteins they believe are a contributing factor to diseases such as dementia and multiple sclerosis.
The team of biologists at the University of Portsmouth have been awarded £600,000 to research the impact on the ageing of the brain and cognitive decline.
The study will focus on a protein known as Kir4.1 which is a key element in controlling special cells in the brain and spinal cord which form myelin, a substance which insulates the brain’s wiring. They discovered that the protein is critical in ensuring these cells, known as oligodendrocytes, function well.
The researchers already know that myelin acts as the insulating layer around nerve cells and is essential for rapid conduction of information and when it is damaged this interferes with messages between the brain and other parts of the body.
They are also researching another protein called Gas6 which they have discovered can stimulate oligodendrocyte production and survival. The team’s combined research will focus on signals in the brain which stimulate the growth and regeneration of oligodendrocytes and myelin.
Professor Arthur Butt, from the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, said: “These cells in the brain are generated at birth and during the first years of development. But they continue to be generated in the adult brain and are important for replacing cells lost during the normal ageing process.
“We think that the brain slows down its production of these cells as it ages and this decreases the rate at which the brain repairs its white matter – important for cognitive function. The area of the brain known as the hippocampus, important for storing memory, is also affected.
“Through investigating the signals used by the brain to control these functions we hope to gain further insight into the ageing brain and better understand diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.”
The research, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society, will start later this year and take three years to complete.
The scientists hope the results could be used to develop experimental treatments for diseases of the brain and MS, and also contribute to future diagnostic tools for clinicians to predict Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Picture: Oligodendrocytes, pictured, help the body to form myelin, a substance which insulates the brain’s wiring (University of Portsmouth/PA)
Consumption of canola oil is linked to weight gain and declines in memory and learning ability in mice that model Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports. Canola...
Low memory scores are an early marker of amyloid positivity, but have limited value as a screening measure for early Alzheimer’s disease among persons without dementia, according to a study published online in JAMA Psychiatry. Willemijn J....
Can the brain heal and preserve itself—or even improve its functioning—as we get older? For some time, many scientists have tended to think of our brains as machines, most commonly as computers,...
The material presented through the Think Tank feature on this website is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. WBHI strongly advises all questioners and viewers using this feature with health problems to consult a qualified physician, especially before starting any treatment. The materials provided on this website cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment. The materials are not exhaustive and cannot always respect all the most recent research in all areas of medicine.