Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

More Brain Research Suggests 'Use It Or Lose It'

Date:
February 12, 2008
Source:
University of Queensland
Summary:
Scientists have found another important clue to why nerve cells die in neurodegenerative diseases, based on studies of the developing brain. "It appears that if a cell is not appropriately stimulated by other cells, it self-destructs" said one of the researchers.

QBI neuroscientists are using a molecule derived from bee venom (Tertiapin) to help them to understand why some nerve cells die.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Queensland

Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) scientists have found another important clue to why nerve cells die in neurodegenerative diseases, based on studies of the developing brain.

Neuroscientists at The University of Queensland have just published findings, which add more weight to the "use it or lose it" model for brain function.

QBI's Dr Elizabeth Coulson said a baby's brain generates roughly double the number of nerve cells it needs to function; with those cells that receive both chemical and electrical stimuli surviving, and the remaining cells dying.

In research published in the Journal of Neuroscience, Dr Coulson and her colleagues have identified a crucial step in the cell-death process.

"It appears that if a cell is not appropriately stimulated by other cells, it self-destructs," Dr Coulson said. This self-destruct process is also known to be an important factor in stroke, Alzheimer's and motor neuron diseases, leading to the loss of essential nerve cells from the adult brain.

"We know that a lack of both chemical and electrical stimuli causes the cells to self-destruct," Dr Coulson said. "But we believe that nerve cells will survive if appropriate electrical stimuli are produced to block the self-destruct process that we have identified."

The researchers' next step is to test whether dying cells receiving only electrical stimulation can be rescued.

More than three years' research has gone into understanding these crucial factors regulating nerve cell survival, but it is a major step in the long process of discovery needed to combat neurodegeneration.

QBI Director, Professor Perry Bartlett said the research is an extremely exciting finding because it also provides the missing piece of information as to how the brain likely keeps alive the new neurons it generates in some brain areas as an adult.

"Combining this with our knowledge of how to stimulate new neurons in the brain of adults following to disease processes such as stroke, it provides new mechanisms for the treatment of a variety of diseases from depression to dementia," he said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Queensland. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Queensland. "More Brain Research Suggests 'Use It Or Lose It'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080207091859.htm>.
University of Queensland. (2008, February 12). More Brain Research Suggests 'Use It Or Lose It'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080207091859.htm
University of Queensland. "More Brain Research Suggests 'Use It Or Lose It'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080207091859.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is blaming doctors for the low number of children being vaccinated for HPV. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins