Wednesday April 24, 2019

Can our brain regulate its loss of control?

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New York, Our brain could actually be regulating the progression of glaucoma and other neuro-degenerative diseases, researchers say.

The result has implications in the pursuit of neuroprotective therapies. Glaucoma is a neuro-degenerative disease where patients lose seemingly random patches of vision in each eye.

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medicalxpress.com

Scientists have long thought that glaucoma’s progression is independent of – or uncontrolled by – the brain.

However, the study found that the progression of glaucoma is not random and that the brain may be involved after all.
The study said patients with moderate to severe glaucoma maintained vision in one eye where it was lost in the other – like two puzzle pieces fitting together (a ‘jigsaw Effect’).

This pattern of vision loss is in stark contrast to lose from a brain tumor or stroke, which causes both eyes to develop blind spots in the same location.

“This suggests some communication between the eyes must be going on and that can only happen in the brain,” said study’s lead author William Eric Sponsel from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Sponsel found that the jigsaw effect begins at the earliest stages of glaucoma and discovered clues as to which part of the brain is responsible for optimising vision in the face of glaucoma’s slow destruction of sight.

“Our work has illustrated that the brain will not let us lose control of the same function on both sides of the brain if that can be avoided,” Sponsel said.

The progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, which have neuro-degenerative biology similar to glaucoma, may also be actively mediated by the brain.

It seems likely that the same kind of protective mechanism will be at work with other neuro-degenerative disorders.”

The researchers say if the brain regulates neuro-degeneration – that is, if the brain controls how it loses control – then scientists now should be able to look for opportunities to slow or stop the progression of these diseases.

Next Story

Know Which Gene in Your Body Could Help Brain Heal Itself After A Stroke

It is unlikely that gene therapy delivered by viruses will become the go-to treatment for strokes.

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Jung further added that not all inflammation in the brain is bad as it plays a role in fighting infection and helps clear away dead tissue. However, inflammation for a long duration could lead to the death of neurons. Pixabay

Researchers have found that a gene could help the brain heal itself after a stroke or any other head-related injuries.

The study, published in Cell Reports, suggested that a dose of the TRIM9 gene could reduce brain swelling after stroke, prevent damage following a blow to the head (concussion) or encephalitis, which is the inflammation of the brain.

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The is because TRIM9 is abundant in the youthful brain but grows scarce with age. Pixabay

In addition, in a lab model, the researchers from the University of Southern California found that older brains with low TRIM9 levels — or engineered brains missing the TRIM9 gene entirely — were prone to extensive swelling following a stroke.

The is because TRIM9 is abundant in the youthful brain but grows scarce with age.

On the other hand, when the team used a harmless virus to carry a dose of the gene directly into TRIM9-deficient brains, the swelling decreased dramatically and recovery improved, the findings further revealed.

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The study, published in Cell Reports, suggested that a dose of the TRIM9 gene could reduce brain swelling after stroke, prevent damage following a blow to the head (concussion) or encephalitis, which is the inflammation of the brain. Pixabay

It is unlikely that gene therapy delivered by viruses will become the go-to treatment for strokes, head injuries or encephalitis as the best shot at treating stroke is within the first 30 minutes to one hour, said lead author Jae Jung at the varsity.

Also Read: This Slum School in Gurugram Has Walls That Speak Through its Wall Paintings

Jung further added that not all inflammation in the brain is bad as it plays a role in fighting infection and helps clear away dead tissue. However, inflammation for a long duration could lead to the death of neurons. (IANS)