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Archives Of Neurology News Blog From Medicineworld.Org


May 20, 2008, 9:43 PM CT

Protein key to neuro-regeneration

Protein key to neuro-regeneration
Scientists at the Peninsula Medical School in the South West of England, University College London, the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan and Cancer Research UK, have for the first time identified a protein that is key to the regeneration of damage in the peripheral nervous system and which could with further research lead to understanding diseases of our peripheral nervous systems and provide clues to methods of repairing damage in the central nervous system, as per a paper published this week in the Journal of Cell Biology.

The team looked at a protein called c-Jun, a transcription factor that regulates the expression of other genes. They observed that the c-Jun protein plays a vital role in the regulating the plasticity of Schwann cells which is vital for the way in which the peripheral nervous system regenerates and repairs itself after injury.

Schwann cells produce the sheaths that surround and insulate neurons. When there is damage to the peripheral nervous system Schwann cells unwrap themselves from the degenerating axon. During this process of repair, Schwann cells then provide the correct environment for the neurons to re-grow and complete the process of repair.

By identifying this transcription factor, the research team believes that there is scope to produce eventual cures for damage and diseases of the peripheral nervous system, such as the inherited condition Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and the autoimmune disorder Guillain-Barre disease.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


May 19, 2008, 8:17 PM CT

Stroke Victims Experiencing Seizures More Likely to Die

Stroke Victims Experiencing Seizures More Likely to Die
Seizures may be a sign of significant brain injury, and may occur in patients that experience any type of stroke. A new study finds that stroke patients with ensuing seizures are more likely to die in the 30 days following stroke than patients without seizures. The findings show a mortality rate of over 30 percent at thirty days after stroke.

The study, would be reported in the recent issue of Epilepsia, finds that the overall occurence rate of seizures within 24 hours of an acute stroke is 3.1 percent. Patients with intracranial hemorrhages (bleeding within the brain), have an even higher occurence rate of seizures - 8.4 percent - in the first 24 hours after stroke.

Cerebrovascular diseases, including strokes, have long been recognized as a risk factor for the development of epilepsy, especially in elderly populations. However, the occurence rate of seizures within 24 hours of stroke has not been studied extensively.

The authors also aimed to establish any racial differences in the occurence rate of these post-stroke seizures. They observed that, despite the fact that blacks are known to have higher prevalence rates of both seizures and strokes (particularly in younger age groups), there were no racial differences in seizure incidence or mortality rates in the studied population.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


May 19, 2008, 6:44 PM CT

Old antibiotic may find new life as a stroke treatment

Old antibiotic may find new life as a stroke treatment
Drs. David Hess and Susan Fagan
An old intravenous antibiotic may have new life as a stroke therapy, scientists say.

Minocycline appears to reduce stroke damage in multiple ways inhibiting white blood cells and enzymes that, at least acutely, can destroy brain tissue and blood vessels, respectively, says Dr. David Hess, chair of the Department of Neurology in the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine. The broad-spectrum antibiotic also seems to reduce cell suicide in the minutes and hours following a stroke, enabling more cells to recover.

He and other scientists leading a clinical trial that will study the drug in 60 stroke patients in Georgia, Kentucky and Oregon say they believe the antibiotic will be a safe, effective adjunct treatment for tPA, the only FDA-approved drug treatment for strokes.

Its a safe drug that is easy to give and tolerate, that gets into the brain well, and may reduce bleeding, the primary side effect of tPA, says Dr. Hess, principal investigator on the $1.8 million National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke-funded clinical trial. We think it will make strokes smaller and patient outcomes better.

Their animal studies have shown the drug, given within six hours of a stroke, then every 12 hours for up to three days - the peak time of inflammation - reduces stroke damage by up to 40 percent.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


May 14, 2008, 7:33 PM CT

Alzheimer's-like brain tangles in nonhuman primates

Alzheimer's-like brain tangles in nonhuman primates
Alzheimers brain tangles
Scientists at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, have discovered the first conclusive evidence of Alzheimer's-like neurofibrillary brain tangles in an aged nonhuman primate. The unprecedented finding, described in the online issue of the Journal of Comparative Neurology, has the potential to move the scientific community one step closer to understanding why age-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, are uniquely human and seem to never fully manifest in other species--including our closest evolutionary relative, the chimpanzee.

Lead scientists Rebecca Rosen, a doctoral student who is conducting her research at Yerkes, and Lary Walker, PhD, a neuroscientist and research professor at Yerkes, in collaboration with colleagues at UCLA, made the unanticipated finding during a routine post-mortem study of an aged, female chimpanzee that died of natural causes. The scientists also discovered deposits of beta-amyloid protein in plaques and blood vessels of the chimp's brain tissue, eventhough these changes were infrequent in comparison to Alzheimer's disease in humans.

"We've seen these plaques in aged chimpanzees before, but this is the first time scientists have found both hallmark features of Alzheimer's disease--plaques and neurofibrillary tangles--in a nonhuman primate," explains Walker.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


May 12, 2008, 9:34 PM CT

Seeing Alzheimer's amyloids

Seeing Alzheimer's amyloids
A-beta peptide fibril shown using electron microscopy.

Credit: Nikolaus Grigorieff, Brandeis University
In an important step toward demystifying the role protein clumps play in the development of neurodegenerative disease, scientists have created a stunning three-dimensional picture of an Alzheimers peptide aggregate using electron microscopy. The study, in this weeks issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reports that scientists from Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., and the Leibniz Institut in Jena, Gera number of, have shownfor the first timehow A-beta peptide, found in the brains of Alzheimers patients, forms a spaghetti-like protein mass called an amyloid fibril.

This study is a significant advance regarding our understanding of how these fibrils are built from the A-beta peptide (Alzheimer's peptide), said co-author Nikolaus Grigorieff, a biophysicist at Brandeis University and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. People have been guessing for decades what these fibrils look like, but now we have an actual 3D image.

In healthy people A-beta peptide does not aggregate, but in Alzheimers patients it clumps first and then forms long fibrils, like tentacles, in a so-called cross-beta structure. Researchers disagree whether it is the clumps that kill neurons in the brain or the fibrils. Grigorieff wants to discover which part of the amyloid structure is toxic; that would be an important step in designing drugs to prevent or treat disease.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


May 6, 2008, 9:44 PM CT

Neurons duke it out for survival

Neurons duke it out for survival
The developing nervous system makes far more nerve cells than are needed to ensure target organs and tissues are properly connected to the nervous system. As nerves connect to target organs, they somehow compete with each other resulting in some living and some dying. Now, using a combination of computer modeling and molecular biology, neuroresearchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered how the target tissue helps newly connected peripheral nerve cells strengthen their connections and kill neighboring nerves. The study was reported in the April 18th issue of Science.

It was hard to imagine how this competition happens because the signal that leads cells to their targets also is responsible for keeping them alive, which begs the question: How do half of them die? says David Ginty, Ph.D., a professor of neuroscience and investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Target tissues innervated by so-called peripheral neurons coax nerves to grow toward them by releasing nerve growth factor protein, or NGF. Once the nerve reaches its target, NGF changes from a growth cue to a survival factor. In fact, when some populations of nerve cells are deprived of NGF they die. To further investigate how this NGF-dependent survival effect works the scientists looked for genes that are turned on by NGF in developing nerve cells.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 30, 2008, 5:55 PM CT

Salk study links diabetes and Alzheimer's disease

Salk study links diabetes and Alzheimer's disease
Diabetic individuals have a significantly higher risk of developing Alzheimers disease but the molecular correlation between the two remains unexplained. Now, scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies identified the probable molecular basis for the diabetes Alzheimers interaction.

As per a research findings reported in the current online issue of Neurobiology of Aging, researchers led by David R. Schubert, Ph.D., professor in the Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory, report that the blood vessels in the brain of young diabetic mice are damaged by the interaction of elevated blood glucose levels characteristic of diabetes and low levels of beta amyloid, a peptide that clumps to form the senile plaques that riddle the brains of Alzheimers patients.

Eventhough the damage took place long before the first plaques appeared, the mice suffered from significant memory loss and an increase in inflammation in the brain. Eventhough the toxic beta amyloid peptide was first isolated from the brain blood vessels of Alzheimers patients, the contribution of pathological changes in brain vascular tissue to the disease has not been well studied, says Dave R. Schubert, Ph.D., professor and head of the Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory. Our data clearly describe a biochemical mechanism to explain the epidemiology, and identify targets for drug development.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 28, 2008, 5:43 PM CT

Brain's Reaction to Potent Hallucinogen

Brain's Reaction to Potent Hallucinogen
Jacob Hooker
Brain-imaging studies performed in animals at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory provide scientists with clues about why an increasingly popular recreational drug that causes hallucinations and motor-function impairment in humans is abused. Using trace amounts of Salvia divinorum - also known as "salvia," a Mexican mint plant that can be smoked in the form of dried leaves or serum - Brookhaven researchers observed that the drug's behavior in the brains of primates mimics the extremely fast and brief "high" observed in humans. Their results are now published online in the journal NeuroImage.

Quickly gaining popularity among teenagers and young adults, salvia is legal in most states, but is grabbing the attention of municipal lawmakers. Numerous states have placed controls on salvia or salvinorin A - the plant's active component - and others, including New York, are considering restrictions.

"This is probably one of the most potent hallucinogens known," said Brookhaven chemist Jacob Hooker, the lead author of the study, which is the first to look at how the drug travels through the brain. "It's really important that we study drugs like salvia and how they affect the brain in order to understand why they are abused and to investigate their medicinal relevance, both of which can inform policy makers."........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 24, 2008, 10:11 PM CT

How Neurons Generate Movement

How Neurons Generate Movement
April 24, 2008 cover of Neuron
When the eye tracks a bird's flight across the sky, the visual experience is normally smooth, without interruption. But underlying this behavior is a complex coordination of neurons that has remained mysterious to scientists. Now, UCSF scientists have broken ground in understanding how the brain generates this tracking motion, a finding that offers a window, they say, into how neurons orchestrate all of the body's movements.

The study, published in the April 24 issue of Neuron, reveals that individual neurons do not fire independently across the entire duration of a motor function as traditionally thought. Rather, they coordinate their activity with other neurons, each firing at a particular moment in time.

"Researchers have known that neurons that connect to muscles initiate movement in a coordinated fashion. But they have not known how the neurons we are studying - which coordinate these front-line neurons -- commit the brain to move the eyes,"says co-lead author David Schoppik, PhD, who conducted the study while a doctoral candidate in the laboratory of senior author Stephen Lisberger, PhD, at the University of California, San Francisco.

"For decades, researchers have been asking, 'Do the signals involve a handful of neurons or thousands? What is the nature of the commands?' The classical understanding has been that one class of neuron is responsible for one movement, such as generating eye movement to the left, and that it remains active across the entire duration of a behavior," he says.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 17, 2008, 8:26 PM CT

Breakthrough in migraine genetics

Breakthrough in migraine genetics
Migraine is the most common cause of episodic headache, and by far the most common neurological cause of a doctors visit. It affects some 15% of the population, including some 41 million people in Europe, and places a considerable burden on healthcare in both the developed and the developing world.

During the last few years, great strides have been made in discovering common genes influencing the susceptibility to common diseases, such as diabetes, Crohns disease and schizophrenia. However, no genes have yet been convincingly linked to migraine susceptibility, probably due to the high degree of variability of the disease phenotype combined with the lack of viable laboratory tests.

To address this problem, we developed a new analysis technique concentrating on different symptoms of migraine, says Professor Aarno Palotie (University of Helsinki, Finland, and the Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK). The new technique was used in the large international study including 1700 migraine patients and their close relatives from 210 Finnish and Australian migraine families. The Finnish families had been ascertained through neurology clinics, while the Australian families had been collected through a twin study. An initial genome-wide microsatellite study was followed up by an independent targeted replication study.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
The drug Ativan is better than Valium or Dilantin for controlling severe epileptic seizures, according to a new review of studies.Ativan, or lorazepam, and Valium, or diazepam, are both benzodiazepines, the currently preferred class of drugs for treating severe epileptic seizures. Dilantin, or phenytoin, is an anticonvulsant long used for the treatment of epileptic seizures.

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