Stem cells help repair traumatic brain injury by building a “biobridge,” USF researchers report.
Scientists at the University of South Florida have identified a new way by which stem cells might repair a traumatic brain injury (#TBI). The research, published in PLoS ONE, shows that transplanted #stemcells serve as a “bridge” to link the injured brain site with healthy areas of the brain where new neural cells are being created. Previous work had given rise to two different hypotheses about how stem cells could repair TBI damage: the stem cells actually replaced the injured tissue or they secreted chemicals that told the brain to repair the injury. This latest study indicates that it might occur by a third way. Rats that received stem cell treatments after a TBI didn’t have any proliferation of stem cells but did of their own neural cells. Further experiments indicated that it was the transplantation of the stem cells that enabled the rats’ own brain cells to proliferate. The researchers concluded that the stem cells likely form a bridge that enables their ability to repair the injury, although they still don’t know exactly how this is accomplished.
I was 18 when he wrote to me in the irresistible voice of Holden Caulfield, though he was 53 at the time. Within months I left school to live with Salinger; gave up my scholarship; severed relationships with friends; disconnected from my family; forswore all books, music, food and ideas not condoned by him. At the time, I believed I’d be with Jerry Salinger forever.
His was a seduction played out with words and ideas, not lovemaking, but to the young girl reading those words — as with a few million other readers — there could have been no more powerful allure.
Salinger wasn’t simply brilliant, funny, wise; he burrowed into one’s brain, seeming to understand things nobody else ever had. His expressions of admiration (“I couldn’t have created a character I love more than you”) were intoxicating. His dismissal and contempt, when they came, were devastating.
I was 19 when he put two $50 bills in my hand and sent me away. Years after he dismissed me, his voice stayed in my head, offering opinions on everything he loved and all that he condemned. This was true even though, on his list of the condemned, was my own self.
I am now 59. Let a man tell me now that I am of no worth or value, and never will be and the man will be diminished in my eyes. But when a man who had become for me the possessor of all wisdom told me these things, when I was 18, the one diminished was myself.
There is art, and there are artists. Let’s not confuse the two.
LC #eqp A National Institutes of Health (NIH) working group has laid out nine research areas the new American federal neuroscience initiative – Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (#BRAIN) – will fund. While these research areas are still broad, firmer priorities may be set in the group’s final report, due June 2014. http://bit.ly/1aVT536
Research opens up longer therapy window for children with neurodevelopmental disorders
The development of fine motor control – the ability to use your fingertips to manipulate objects – takes longer than previously believed, and isn’t entirely the result of brain development, according to a…
Patient Patricia Reed is having a second brain tumor removed. Dr. Meg Verrees from Community Regional Medical Center, performs the delicate and tricky procedure while Patricia is awake and talking on her phone to her mother.
The ability to maintain mental representations of ourselves and the world — the fundamental building block of human cognition — arises from the firing of highly evolved neuronal circuits, a process that is weakened in schizophrenia. In a new study, researchers at Yale University School of Medicine pinpoint key molecular actions of proteins that allow the creation of mental representations necessary for higher cognition that are genetically altered in schizophrenia. The study was released July 1 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Working memory, the mind’s mental sketch pad, depends upon the proper functioning of a network of pyramid-shaped brain cells in the prefrontal cortex, the seat of higher order thinking in humans. To keep information in the conscious mind, these pyramidal cells must stimulate each other through a special group of receptors. The Yale team discovered this stimulation requires the neurotransmitter acetylcholine to activate a specific protein in the nicotinic family of receptors — the alpha7 nicotinic receptor.
Acetycholine is released when we are awake — but not in deep sleep. These receptors allow prefrontal circuits to come “online” when we awaken, allowing us to perform complex mental tasks. This process is enhanced by caffeine in coffee, which increases acetylcholine release. As their name suggests, nicotinic alpha-7 receptors are also activated by nicotine, which may may help to explain why smoking can focus attention and calm behavior, functions of the prefrontal cortex.
The results also intrigued researchers because alpha7 nicotinic receptors are genetically altered in schizophrenia, a disease marked by disorganized thinking. “Prefrontal networks allow us to form and hold coherent thoughts, a process that is impaired in schizophrenia,” said Amy Arnsten, professor of neurobiology, investigator for Kavli Institute, and one of the senior authors of the paper. “A great majority of schizophrenics smoke, which makes sense because stimulation of the nicotinic alpha7 receptors would strengthen mental representations and lessen thought disorder.”
Arnsten said that new medications that stimulate alpha-7 nicotinic receptors may hold promise for treating cognitive disorders.
Publication of the PNAS paper comes on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the death of Yale neurobiologist Patricia Goldman-Rakic, who was hit by a car in Hamden Ct. on July 31, 2003. Goldman-Rakic first identified the central role of prefrontal cortical circuits in working memory.
“Patricia’s work has provided the neural foundation for current studies of molecular influences on cognition and their disruption in cognitive disorders,” said Arnsten. “Our ability to apply a scientific approach to perplexing disorders such as schizophrenia is due to her groundbreaking research.”