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Astrocytes are a non-neuronal cell type in the brain that play an important supportive role – nurturing neurons and helping to maintain homeostasis in the central nervous system.
When neurons get damaged or stressed, however, astrocytes can do a Jekyll & Hyde-like transformation and start releasing a toxic substance that helps to kill neurons. This nasty change in the temperament of astrocytes is believed to play a role in neurodegenerative conditions.
Exactly what the released toxic substance is has long been a mystery.
Until now it seems.
But the nature of the presumed substance is something of a surprise to the research community.
In today’s post, we will review a new research report that points towards saturated lipids as the mediators of astrocyte-induced toxicity and we will consider what this could mean for future therapies for neurodegenerative conditions.
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One of my favourite scientists to listen to is Ben Barres.
It is wonderful to go back and watch some of his old videos. Not just because you learn so much from him, but also for the passion that he always had when discussing general science, his research, and other things he believed in.
For example, watch the first 10-15 minutes of this video:
The presentation above was made on January 9th 2017, and despite knowing that he had less than a year to live, you can hear the energy and excitement in his voice for the material he is presenting. He desperately wanted to share the information and to learn what others might think about it.
He was truly an amazing individual.
Even more so, because almost 4 years after he died, Ben is still publishing spectacular research.
Continue reading “ELOVL me tender”
At 23:30 on the 3rd August 2017, the results of a phase II clinical trial investigating the use of a Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonist called Exenatide (Bydureon) in Parkinson’s were published the Lancet journal website.
The findings of the study were very interesting.
And after years of failed trials, the Parkinson’s community finally had a drug that appeared to be ‘doing something’. Naturally these results got many in the Parkinson’s community very excited.
Over the last couple of weeks, further research related to this topic has been published. In today’s post we will review some of this new research and ask some important questions regarding how to move forward with these results.
In 2012, the Golden Goose Award was awarded to Dr John Eng, an endocrinologist from the Bronx VA Hospital.
Dr John Eng. Source: Health.USnews
The Award was created in 2012 to celebrate researchers whose seemingly odd or obscure federally funded research turned out to have a significant and positive impact on society.
And despite the name, it is a very serious award – past Nobel prize winners (such as Roger Tsien, David H. Hubel, and Torsten N. Wiesel) are among the awardees.
This week a research report was published in the journal Nature Medicine that expanded on the work of Dr Eng (some 25 years after his big discovery).
And it could be very important to the Parkinson’s community.
Sounds intriguing. What did Dr Eng do?
Continue reading “What do you do with a problem like Exenatide?”
Today’s (experimental) post provides something new – an overview of some of the major bits of Parkinson’s-related research that were made available in January 2018.
In January of 2018, the world was rocked by news that New Zealand had become the 11th country in the world to put a rocket into orbit (no really, I’m serious. Not kidding here – Click here to read more). Firmly cementing their place in the rankings of world superpowers. In addition, they became only the second country to have a prime minister get pregnant during their term in office (in this case just 3 months into her term in office – Click here to read more about this).
A happy New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardine
In major research news, NASA and NOAA announced that 2017 was the hottest year on record globally (without an El Niño), and among the top three hottest years overall (Click here for more on this), and scientists in China reported in the journal Cell that they had created the first monkey clones, named Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua (Click here for that news)
Zhong Zhong the cute little clone. Source: BBC
Continue reading “Monthly Research Review – January 2018”