Friday April 27, 2018

Protein found in brain may increase risk of stroke, says research

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New York: A special protein found in the brain’s tiniest blood vessels may increase the risk of stroke, find researchers.

The protein called FoxF2 is found in the brain’s smallest blood vessels called capillaries and are essential for the development of the blood-brain barrier.

In a study done on mice, the team found how the blood-brain barrier develops and what makes the capillaries in the brain different from small blood vessels in other organs.

“Mice that have too little or too much FoxF2 develop various types of defects in the brain’s blood vessels,” said Peter Carlsson, professor at the University of Gothenburg’s department of chemistry and molecular biology.

The brain’s smallest blood vessels differ from those in other organs as, in the one’s in brain capillary walls are much more compact.

The nerve cells in the brain get the nutrients they need by molecules actively being transported from the blood, instead of passively leaking out from the blood vessels.

This blood-brain barrier is vital, because it imposes strict control over the substances with which the brain’s nerve cells come into contact.

“It has a protective function that, if it fails, increases the risk of stroke and other complications,” the authors noted.

The FoxF2 gene is an extremely interesting candidate.

“The research is now underway in collaboration with clinical geneticists to investigate the extent to which variations in the FoxF2 gene affect people’s risk of suffering a stroke,” Carlsson said.

The findings appeared in the journal Developmental Cell. (IANS)

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Stronger people have sharper brains: Study

Previous research by the group has already found that aerobic exercise can improve brain health

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It is best to begin your gym workout with a dynamic warm-up routine. Pixabay

 If you thought hitting the gym only builds your physical strength, think again. A study of nearly half a million people has revealed that stronger people perform better in brain functioning tests.

Muscular strength, measured by handgrip, is an indication of how healthy our brains are, said the study published in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin.

“Our study confirms that people who are stronger do indeed tend to have better functioning brains,” said study co-author Joseph Firth from NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University, Australia.

Strong people have sharper brains. Wikimedia Commons

Using data from the 475,397 participants from all around Britain, the new study showed that on average, stronger people performed better in brain functioning tests that included reaction speed, logical problem solving, and multiple different tests of memory.

The study, which used UK Biobank data, showed the relationships were consistently strong in both people aged under 55 and those aged over 55. Previous studies had only shown this applies in elderly people.

The findings also showed that maximal handgrip was strongly correlated with both visual memory and reaction time in over one thousand people with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

Also Read: Riding a bike to work as good as gym workout: Study

“We can see there is a clear connection between muscular strength and brain health,” Firth, who is also an honorary research fellow at the University of Manchester in Britain, said. “But really, what we need now, are more studies to test if we can actually make our brains healthier by doing things which make our muscles stronger — such as weight training,” he added. Previous research by the group has already found that aerobic exercise can improve brain health. “These sorts of novel interventions, such as weight training, could be particularly beneficial for people with mental health conditions,” Firth said.

“Our research has shown that the connections between muscular strength and brain functioning also exist in people experiencing schizophrenia, major depression and bipolar disorder — all of which can interfere with regular brain functioning,” he added. “This raises the strong possibility that weight training exercises could actually improve both the physical and mental functioning of people with these conditions,” he said. IANS

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