Monday December 16, 2019

Space Radiation Can Hinder Formation of New Cells in Astronauts’ Brain Memory

The new research has filled an important gap in scientific knowledge in the study of the types of neutrons produced in the atmosphere or inside spacecraft during their atoms’ interactions with cosmic rays

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nasa
The team began with a simple mixture of hydrogen and 0.3 per cent carbon monoxide and heated it to 330-1,230 Celsius. They also exposed it to a high dose of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Pixabay

While several agencies are planning to establish new orbital space stations and send expeditions across the solar system, a team of Russian scientists has found that space radiation could temporarily hinder formation of new cells in brains’ memory centres.

The team from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), however, found that effects of low-dose neutron and gamma ray (Y-ray) radiation had no impact on rodents’ intellectual capabilities, the Sputnik news agency reported.

It means the mice’s mental abilities and behaviour remained almost unaffected by the radiation, with memorisation occurring as normal and the rodents behaving in ways that were no different from the non-irradiated control group.

Irradiated and non-irradiated mice “showed no differences in terms of exploratory behaviour or anxiety, six weeks after the irradiation,” with their “ability to form hippocampus-dependent memory also unaffected,” according to the study published in the NeuroReport academic journal.

NASA
According to report, the biggest concern is radiation as such a mission would expose astronauts to levels of radiation greater than permitted under current guidelines. That would not necessarily prevent a mission, but it remains a concern. Pixabay

“We are not asserting that the behaviour and memory of irradiated mice remained completely unaffected,” Sputnik cited Alexander Lazutkin, a senior research scientist at the MIPT as saying to RIA Novosti news agency.

“The data on other types of radiation suggests that despite the apparent preservation of memories, its individual fine components may suffer. That means our work is just the beginning of this kind of research,” he said.

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The new research has filled an important gap in scientific knowledge in the study of the types of neutrons produced in the atmosphere or inside spacecraft during their atoms’ interactions with cosmic rays, the researchers said. (IANS)

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Alzheimer’s Drugs Improve Memory and Slow The Ageing Process

Old age is the biggest risk factor for Alzheimer's disease and above the age of 65, a person's risk of developing the disease doubles about every five years

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Alzheimer's
The contribution of old age-associated detrimental processes to the disease has been largely neglected in Alzheimer's disease Drug discovery. Pixabay

Researchers have found that two experimental Alzheimer’s Drugs, known as CMS121 and J147, improve memory and slow the degeneration of brain cells.

The research, published in the journal eLife, suggests that the drugs may be useful for treating a broader array of conditions and points out a new pathway that links normal ageing to Alzheimer’s disease.

“This study further validated these two compounds not only as Alzheimer’s drug candidates, but also as potentially more widely useful for their anti-aging effects,” said the study’s co-author Pamela Maher, a senior staff scientist at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in the US.

The researchers have shown how these compounds can slow ageing in healthy older mice, blocking the damage to brain cells that normally occurs during ageing and restoring the levels of specific molecules to those seen in younger brains.

Old age is the biggest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and above the age of 65, a person’s risk of developing the disease doubles about every five years.

“The contribution of old age-associated detrimental processes to the disease has been largely neglected in Alzheimer’s disease drug discovery,” said Antonio Currais, a Salk staff scientist and first author of the new paper.

In the new study, the researchers turned to a strain of mice that age unusually fast.

A subset of these mice was given CMS121 or J147 beginning at nine months old — the equivalent to late middle age in humans.

Alzheimer's
Researchers have found that two experimental Alzheimer’s Drugs, known as CMS121 and J147, improve memory and slow the degeneration of brain cells. Pixabay

After four months, the team tested the memory and behaviour of the animals and analysed the genetic and molecular markers in their brains.

Not only did the animals given either of the drug candidates performed better on memory tests than mice that had not received any treatment, but their brains also showed differences at the cellular and molecular levels.

In particular, expression of genes associated with the cell’s energy-generating structures called mitochondria was preserved by CMS121 and J147 with ageing.

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“The bottom line was that these two compounds prevent molecular changes that are associated with ageing,” said Maher.

More detailed experiments showed that both drugs affected mitochondria by increasing levels of the chemical acetyl-coenzyme A (acetyl-coA). (IANS)