"Stem cell technology has long offered the hope of regenerating tissue to repair broken or damaged neural tissue. Findings from a team of UC Davis investigators have brought this dream a step closer by developing a method to generate functioning brain cells that produce myelin—a fatty, insulating sheath essential to normal neural conduction".
NEW YORK, Aug. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Tisch MS Research Center of New York announced today that it has received Investigational New Drug (IND) approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to commence a Phase 1 trial using autologous neural stem cells in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is a chronic human autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that leads to myelin damage and neurodegeneration and affects approximately 2.1 million people worldwide.
Before the digital age, neuroscientists got their information in the library like the rest of us. But the explosion of neuroscience research has resulted in the publication of nearly 2 million papers — more data than any researcher can read and absorb in a lifetime.
That's why a UCLA team has invented research maps. Easily accessible through an online app, the maps help neuroscientists quickly scan what is already known and plan their next study. The Aug. 8 edition of the journal Neuron describes these new tools. "Information overload is the elephant in the room that most neuroscientists pretend to ignore," said principal investigator Alcino Silva, a professor of neurobiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. "Without a way to organize the literature, we risk missing key discoveries and duplicating earlier experiments. Research maps will enable neuroscientists to quickly clarify what ground has already been covered and to fully grasp its meaning for future studies."
Progress in regenerative medicine has been coming fast and furious in recent months: scientists are now using far-out tissue engineering techniques to restore liver function in mice, regrow human muscle, and even implant bioengineered blood vessels into ailing patients. Now, a team at the University of Pittsburgh has managed to grow human heart tissue that can beat autonomously in a petri dish — an exciting step towards devising transplantable replacement organs.
The group used induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) to accomplish the feat. These mature human cells are first "reprogrammed" to an embryonic state, before being spurred to develop into a specialized type of cell. In this instance, iPS cells derived from human skin were induced to become multipotential cardiovascular progenitor (MCP) cells — basically heart cells that can further differentiate into three varieties of highly specialized cells required for cardiovascular function.
From there, scientists transplanted the cells onto a mouse heart that had been completely stripped — turning the organ into what's known as a "scaffold." Over a period of weeks, the transplanted human cells proliferated and differentiated, rebuilding the scaffold into a functional organ capable of beating on its own. Right now, the heart tissue contracts at a rate of 40 to 50 beats per minute (on-par with a human's resting heart rate) but needs to be further refined before it's capable of beating strongly enough to distribute blood, or speeding up and slowing down when necessary.
This isn't the first time that scientists have managed to engineer heart tissue — in recent years, other teams have created lab-grown beating rat hearts and even human heart tissue. The latter breakthrough, however, relied on embryonic stem cells, which can't be derived from a specific patient for subsequent, personalized transplant the way this new technique allows.
A full-sized, fully functional replacement human heart is, of course, several years off. But in the near future, scientists hope to develop personalized "patches" of human heart muscle to repair damaged organs, and hope to see their technique used to more accurately study the effects of new pharmaceuticals to treat cardiovascular ailments.
Data scientist has been deemed the sexiest job title of the 21st century, and there’s ample evidence to suggest that skills in the field are pretty much a license to print money. The only question is how much.
During a Tuesday afternoon panel at the ACM Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining conference in Chicago, four folks who’ve successfully made the jump from academia to entrepreneurship — and even into venture capital — shared some advice on how to maximize the return on a data science education. And although data scientists might have better prospects than most right now, it’s actually great advice for anybody finishing up a graduate program in any field or sitting pretty with a professorship and wondering what’s next. (And for a few more tips about starting big data companies, check out my recent post:
Want to start a big data company? Here are 5 things you need to know.)
What is Huntington’s disease?Huntington’s Disease (HD) mainly affects nerve cells in the brain called medium spiny neurons (MSNs). MSNs receive and coordinate information from other neurons in the brain to control movement of the body, face and eyes.
Summary: "The face distinguishes one person from another. Postnatal orofacial tissues harbor rare cells that exhibit stem cell properties. Despite unmet clinical needs for reconstruction of tissues lost in congenital anomalies, infections, trauma, or tumor resection, how orofacial stem/progenitor cells contribute to tissue development, pathogenesis, and regeneration is largely obscure. This perspective article critically analyzes the current status of our understanding of orofacial stem/progenitor cells, identifies gaps in our knowledge, and highlights pathways for the development of regenerative therapies".
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report a simple, easily reproducible RNA-based method of generating human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) in the August 1 edition of Cell Stem Cell. Their approach has broad applicability for the successful production of iPSCs for use in human stem cell studies and eventual cell therapies.
Stem cell discovery: Astrocytes could repair stroke brain damage Medical News Today Stem cell research has focused until now on developing stroke treatments using therapeutic neurons to stimulate electrical impulses in the brain, and restore tissue...
Geneticist Anne Brunet, PhD, thinks a lot about aging. Much of her research focuses on understanding why some people and animals live much longer than their peers. She’s characterized some proteins, including one called FOXO3, that play a role in this process.
International Stem Cell Corporation, (ISCO, www.internationalstemcell.com), a California-based biotechnology company developing novel stem cell-based therapies, announced today that it has entered into a master clinical research agreement with Duke University to conduct clinical trials research in Parkinson's disease using ISCO's innovative neural stem cell product.
Science owes much to both Christianity and the Middle Ages by James Hannam The award of the Templeton Prize to the retired president of the Royal Society, Martin Rees, has reawakened the controversy over science and religion.
One challenging aspect of the clinical assessment of brain-injured, unresponsive patients is the lack of an objective measure of consciousness that is independent of the subject’s ability to interact with the external environment. Theoretical considerations suggest that consciousness depends on the brain’s ability to support complex activity patterns that are, at once, distributed among interacting cortical areas (integrated) and differentiated in space and time (information-rich). We introduce and test a theory-driven index of the level of consciousness called the perturbational complexity index (PCI). PCI is calculated by (i) perturbing the cortex with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to engage distributed interactions in the brain (integration) and (ii) compressing the spatiotemporal pattern of these electrocortical responses to measure their algorithmic complexity (information). We test PCI on a large data set of TMS-evoked potentials recorded in healthy subjects during wakefulness, dreaming, nonrapid eye movement sleep, and different levels of sedation induced by anesthetic agents (midazolam, xenon, and propofol), as well as in patients who had emerged from coma (vegetative state, minimally conscious state, and locked-in syndrome). PCI reliably discriminated the level of consciousness in single individuals during wakefulness, sleep, and anesthesia, as well as in patients who had emerged from coma and recovered a minimal level of consciousness. PCI can potentially be used for objective determination of the level of consciousness at the bedside.
I theorize that our bodies are merely the biological vehicle/temple that house our spirits, which are a piece of the greater whole - the universal higher consciousness. I believe dreams are a travel state, in which a minimal amount of our consciousness stays with our bodies in this 3D reality we perceive. The brain is a powerful computer which allows us the gift to manipulate the word - as do our hands, eyes, feet, etc. The electrical connections we share with other people in the passing of knowledge (communication, teaching, learning, gestures, eye contact, etc.) are a part of the conscious surge/current.
I believe consciousness is outside the brain - as I also believe memories are stored outside the brain, and we tap back into them. They become electrical signals floating in our exterior world - like a cloud of information, which we tap back into.
Of course these are very speculative theories - but why not?
No one has successful incorporated the mind into the brain, and it is due to the lack of acceptance that spirituality is a huge part of our essence.
Scientists at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) of the University of Luxembourg have developed a model that makes predictions that allow for deciding which differentiated cells — for instance skin cells — can be very efficiently changed into completely different cell types — such as nerve cells, for example.
Researchers from the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona have managed to regenerate the retina in mice using neuronal reprogramming. There are currently several lines of research that explore the possibility of tissue regeneration through cell reprogramming. One of the mechanisms being studied is reprogramming through cell fusion.