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Muhammad Ali: The Boxing Legend and Fighter who transcended sports world, dies at 74

Ali spoke out against racism, war and religious intolerance, while projecting an unshakeable confidence that became a model for African-Americans at the height of the civil rights era and beyond

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Muhammad Ali. Image source: Collider.com
  • Along with a fearsome reputation as a fighter, Ali spoke out against racism, war and religious intolerance
  • Ali, who had long suffered from Parkinson’s syndrome which impaired his speech
  • Ali was stripped of his world boxing crown for refusing to join the U.S. Army and fight in Vietnam

The death of Muhammad Ali, the former heavyweight champion known as much for his political activism as his boxing brilliance, triggered a worldwide outpouring of affection and admiration for one of the best-known figures of the 20th century.

Ali, who had long suffered from Parkinson’s syndrome which impaired his speech and made the once-graceful athlete almost a prisoner in his own body, died on Friday, June 3 at age 74.

The cause of death was septic shock due to unspecified natural causes, a family spokesman said on Saturday, June 4. Ali was admitted to a Phoenix-area hospital, HonorHealth, with a respiratory ailment on Monday, May 30.

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“He’ll be remembered as a man of the world who spoke his mind and wasn’t afraid to take a chance and went out of his way to be a kind, benevolent individual that really changed the world,” the family spokesman, Bob Gunnell, said at a news conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Despite Ali’s failing health, his youthful proclamation that he was “the greatest” rang true until the end for millions of people around the world who respected him for his courage both inside and outside the ring.

President Jimmy Carter greets Muhammad Ali at a White House dinner, 1977. Image source: Wikipedia
President Jimmy Carter greets Muhammad Ali at a White House dinner, 1977. Image source: Wikipedia

Along with a fearsome reputation as a fighter, Ali spoke out against racism, war and religious intolerance, while projecting an unshakeable confidence that became a model for African-Americans at the height of the civil rights era and beyond.

Stripped of his world boxing crown for refusing to join the U.S. Army and fight in Vietnam,Ali returned in triumph by recapturing the title and starring in some of the sport’s most unforgettable bouts.

“I think when you talk about Muhammad Ali, as great an athlete, as great a boxer as he was, he was the greatest boxer of all time, he means so much more to the United Statesand the world,” said Ali’s long-time friend, boxing promoter Bob Arum.

"I'll leave you with one that I have hanging on my office wall, compliments of Nike: Impossible is nothing," Muhammad Ali. In photo- Michael Jordan vs Muhammad Ali (Image source: likesuccess.com)
“I’ll leave you with one that I have hanging on my office wall, compliments of Nike: Impossible is nothing,” Muhammad Ali. In photo- Michael Jordan vs Muhammad Ali (Image source: likesuccess.com)

“He was a transformative figure in our society.”

Bursting onto the boxing scene in the 1960s with a brashness that threatened many whites, Ali would come to be embraced by Americans of all races for his grace, integrity and disarming sense of humor.

“In the end, he went from being reviled to being revered,” civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson told CNN on Saturday.

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Pam Dorrough, a tourist in New York’s Times Square, admired Ali’s refusal to apologize for what he believed.

“The confidence – and I know everybody thought it was an arrogance about him – he always projected a confidence,” she said. “And he stood by that.”

President Barack Obama, the first African-American to reach the White House, said Ali was “a man who fought for us” and placed him in the pantheon of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela. (Reuters)

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Immune Cells Become Active and Repair Brain While Sleep: Study

For the findings, researchers conducted the study on mice

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Study suggests that the enhanced remodeling of neural circuits and repair of lesions during Sleep may be mediated in part by the ability of microglia to dynamically interact with the Brain. Pixabay

Researchers have found that immune cells called microglia, which play an important role in reorganising the connections between nerve cells, fighting infections, and repairing damage, are also primarily active while we sleep.

Microglia serve as the brain’s first responders, patrolling the brain and spinal cord and springing into action to stamp out infections or gobble up debris from dead cell tissue.

“This research shows that the signals in our brain that modulate the sleep and awake state also act as a switch that turns the immune system off and on,” said study lead author Ania Majewska, Professor at University of Rochester in the US.

In previous studies, Majewska’s lab has shown how microglia interact with synapses, the juncture where the axons of one neuron connects and communicates with its neighbours.

The microglia help maintain the health and function of the synapses and prune connections between nerve cells when they are no longer necessary for brain function.

For the findings, researchers conducted the study on mice.

The current study points to the role of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that signals arousal and stress in the central nervous system.

This chemical is present in low levels in the brain while we sleep, but when production ramps up it arouses our nerve cells, causing us to wake up and become alert.

The study showed that norepinephrine also acts on a specific receptor, the beta2 adrenergic receptor, which is expressed at high levels in microglia.

When this chemical is present in the brain, the microglia slip into a sort of hibernation.

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Researchers have found that immune cells called microglia, which play an important role in reorganising the connections between nerve cells, fighting infections, and repairing damage, are also primarily active while we Sleep and affects Brain. Pixabay

The study, which employed an advanced imaging technology that allows researchers to observe activity in the living brain, showed that when mice were exposed to high levels of norepinephrine, the microglia became inactive and were unable to respond to local injuries and pulled back from their role in rewiring brain networks.

“This work suggests that the enhanced remodeling of neural circuits and repair of lesions during sleep may be mediated in part by the ability of microglia to dynamically interact with the brain,” said study first author Rianne Stowell.

ALSO READ: Scientists Link ‘Brain Fog’ to Body Illness

“Altogether, this research also shows that microglia are exquisitely sensitive to signals that modulate brain function and that microglial dynamics and functions are modulated by the behavioural state of the animal,” Stowell said.

The study was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience. (IANS)