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Drugs shown to stop and even reverse Alzheimer's in mice

Drugs shown to stop and even reverse Alzheimer's in mice | Medical Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

Although no one is announcing a cure for Alzheimer’s disease just yet, research recently conducted at the University of Southern California does at least offer a glimmer of hope. Using drugs known as TSPO (translocator protein) ligands, scientists there have successfully halted and even reversed the effects of Alzheimer’s in mice.

 

The mice, all of which were male, had been genetically engineered to develop the disease. The drugs were tested on both 7-month-old young adult mice and 24-month-old elderly mice. Because the TSPO ligands increase production of steroid hormones, it was important that the animals’ existing testosterone levels be kept low before beginning the treatment. While this had already occurred naturally with the older mice as a result of aging, the younger ones had to be castrated in order to bring their levels down.

 

 


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Insular Cortex Mediates Increased Pain Tolerance in Yoga Practitioners | Cerebral Cortex

Insular Cortex Mediates Increased Pain Tolerance in Yoga Practitioners | Cerebral Cortex | Medical Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

ABSTRACT: Yoga, an increasingly popular discipline among Westerners, is frequently used to improve painful conditions. We investigated possible neuroanatomical underpinnings of the beneficial effects of yoga using sensory testing and magnetic resonance imaging techniques. North American yogis tolerated pain more than twice as long as individually matched controls and had more gray matter (GM) in multiple brain regions. Across subjects, insular GM uniquely correlated with pain tolerance. Insular GM volume in yogis positively correlated with yoga experience, suggesting a causal relationship between yoga and insular size. Yogis also had increased left intrainsular white matter integrity, consistent with a strengthened insular integration of nociceptive input and parasympathetic autonomic regulation. Yogis, as opposed to controls, used cognitive strategies involving parasympathetic activation and interoceptive awareness to tolerate pain, which could have led to use-dependent hypertrophy of insular cortex. Together, these findings suggest that regular and long-term yoga practice improves pain tolerance in typical North Americans by teaching different ways to deal with sensory inputs and the potential emotional reactions attached to those inputs leading to a change in insular brain anatomy and connectivity.

 

Villemure, C. et al (in press). Insular cortex mediates increased pain tolerance in yoga practitioners. Cerebral Cortex. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bht124


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CLARITY Clears the Path to a See-Through Brain

A new approach to brain imaging called CLARITY could revolutionize how scientists study the brain. Researchers replaced a mouse brain’s opaque fats with a clear gel that supports neural tissue, resulting in a transparent organ with all its internal structures still intact and visible for study. Unhindered observation of the entire brain’s neural circuitry will help “clarify” scientists’ understanding of how this still-mysterious organ functions.


Via Sakis Koukouvis
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Interesting concept

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Deborah Verran's comment, May 22, 2013 8:47 PM
Great video
Rescooped by Karen Moore from Eldritch Weird
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5 fascinating reasons cockroaches will outlive us all

5 fascinating reasons cockroaches will outlive us all | Medical Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

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They are bullet-proof!

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Drugs shown to stop and even reverse Alzheimer's in mice

Drugs shown to stop and even reverse Alzheimer's in mice | Medical Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

Although no one is announcing a cure for Alzheimer’s disease just yet, research recently conducted at the University of Southern California does at least offer a glimmer of hope. Using drugs known as TSPO (translocator protein) ligands, scientists there have successfully halted and even reversed the effects of Alzheimer’s in mice.

 

The mice, all of which were male, had been genetically engineered to develop the disease. The drugs were tested on both 7-month-old young adult mice and 24-month-old elderly mice. Because the TSPO ligands increase production of steroid hormones, it was important that the animals’ existing testosterone levels be kept low before beginning the treatment. While this had already occurred naturally with the older mice as a result of aging, the younger ones had to be castrated in order to bring their levels down.

 

 


Via Ray and Terry's
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Hmmmm. . . .

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RNA Interference: Nanocoatings on bandages could deliver RNAs to shut off disease-related genes

RNA Interference: Nanocoatings on bandages could deliver RNAs to shut off disease-related genes | Medical Breakthroughs | Scoop.it

Medical researchers think specially tailored RNA sequences could turn off genes in patients’ cells to encourage wound healing or to kill tumor cells. Now researchers have developed a nanocoating for bandages that could deliver these fragile gene-silencing RNAs right where they’re needed (ACS Nano 2013, DOI:10.1021/nn401011n). The team hopes to produce a bandage that shuts down genes standing in the way of healing in chronic wounds.

 

Small interfering RNAs, or siRNAs, derail expression of specific genes in cells by binding to other RNA molecules that contain the code for those genes. Biologists have developed siRNAs that target disease-related genes. But for these siRNAs to reach the clinic, researchers must find a way to deliver the molecules safely to the right cells. Unfortunately, free oligonucleotides like siRNAs don’t fare well inside the body or cells as enzymes and acids quickly chop them up, says Paula T. Hammond, a chemical engineer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 

Other groups have tackled this delivery challenge by attaching siRNAs to chemical carriers that protect the oligonucleotides as they travel through the bloodstream. The pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis asked Hammond to design a vehicle that would work at the site of a wound or tumor, releasing the siRNAs over a long period of time. The company hoped that putting the biomolecules right where they’re needed, without them having to survive a trip through the bloodstream, would increase the efficacy of the treatment.

 

Hammond and her colleagues produced an siRNA-containing nanocoating that could be applied to a wide range of medical materials, such as bandages or biodegradable polymers doctors could implant during surgery to prevent an excised tumor from coming back. As the coating slowly dissolves, it releases siRNA molecules tethered to protective nanoparticles.

 

The thin films consist of two different materials: a peptide called protamine sulfate and calcium phosphate nanoparticles decorated with the therapeutic siRNAs. Other researchers have shown that similar nanoparticles help the nucleotides evade destruction once they’re taken up by cells (J. Controlled Release 2010, DOI: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2009.11.008).

 

The team alternately dips whatever they want to coat in water solutions of the two materials. The RNA and nanoparticles are negatively charged, and the peptides are positively charged. The two substances cling together due to electrostatic force, producing a film when the water dries.

 

To test their delivery method, the researchers coated woven nylon bandages with 80-nm-thick films and applied the bandages to layers of human and animal cells in culture. In one experiment, a bandage loaded with 19 µg of siRNA per square centimeter released two-thirds of its load over 10 days. Other bandages made using siRNAs targeting the gene for fluorescent green protein almost completely shut down the protein’s production in cells expressing the gene. Hammond says the group is now testing bandages that knock down MMP9, a collagen-destroying protein associated with slow healing in chronic wounds.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald, Ray and Terry's
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