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March 06 2014


August 31 2013


A Single Protein May Help Explain Memory Loss In Old Age : Shots - Health News : NPR

If you’re finding it harder to remember where you put the car keys, the culprit could be a brain protein with a name that’s easy to forget: RbAp48.

A shortage of this protein appears to impair our ability to remember things as we age, researchers report in the current issue of Science Translational Medicine. And boosting levels of RbAP48 in aging brains can reverse memory loss, at least in mice, they say.

The protein was studied in an area of the brain that is generally unaffected by Alzheimer’s disease. The research “reinforces the emerging idea that Alzheimer’s disease and aging are separate entities,” says Scott Small, a neurologist at Columbia University and one of the study’s authors. It also suggests that, eventually, it should be possible to treat memory loss that’s not related to Alzheimer’s.

Small and a team that included Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel discovered the protein after studying postmortem brains from eight people ranging in age from 33 to 88. The scientists focused on one specific region of the hippocampus, a structure that’s highly involved in memory.

"We simply asked: Can we find a molecular change in that brain region across the lifespan?" Small says. The answer was yes. In the brains of young people, the RbAp48 protein was abundant, the researchers report. But in older people it was scarce

The team still needed to show that this protein really is responsible for memory loss. So they found a way to artificially reduce levels in young mice, Small says.

"What was remarkable is that if you just manipulate this one molecule in this particular area of the brain, you now have a young mouse that looks very much like an old mouse," Small says. These young mice had trouble remembering new objects and things like how to get through a maze.

Then the researchers tried something even more ambitious. They boosted levels of RbAp48 in old mice with failing memories. The effect was dramatic, Small says. “Their ability to detect novel objects went back to the way a young mouse is able to perform that task,” he says. …

July 22 2012

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… “My findings strongly suggest that both of these designs were capable of functioning as replacements for the lost toe and so could indeed be classed as prosthetic devices,” Finch said, according to a release from the university.

“If that is the case then it would appear that the first glimmers of this branch of medicine should be firmly laid at the feet of the ancient Egyptians,” Finch wrote.

Previously, archaeologists believed that the earliest known prosthesis was a Roman artificial leg made out of bronze, dating back to 300 B.C., according to New Scientist.

To put her thesis to the test, Finch constructed copies of the two toes.

She then asked people who were missing their big toes to try to walk using the copies while wearing replica sandals of the type favored by ancient Egyptians.

Both volunteers were able to truly walk like an Egyptian.

“The results were extremely surprising in that for at least one of the volunteers, the replica worked amazingly well and produced an amazing amount of movement,” Finch said, according to New Scientist.

The big toe supports about 40 percent of a person’s weight when walking and helps provide propulsion for each step.

When ancient Egyptians died, they were often buried with reconstructed body parts, in the belief that this would help them in the afterlife.

Finch maintains that these toes were intended for use in this world, as they are more sophisticated than any previously found. …

(via False Toe Helped Mummy Walk Like an Egyptian)

Reposted byAncientEgyptian AncientEgyptian
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