Good News for Everybody who has a Brain

Brain in Jar photo

Rejuvenating The Brain
A study published in The EMBO Journal has identified proteins (calpain and cortactin) that help regulate the sprouting of connections between neurons, a phenomenon known as neural plasticity.

Neurons, or nerve cells, process and transmit information by electrochemical signalling and are the core components of the brain and spinal cord. During development, growing neurons are relatively plastic and can sprout new connections, however their plasticity levels drop rapidly as they mature and become integrated into neuronal networks. […]

“This discovery is exciting because we now know that neurons haven’t lost their capacity to re-grow connections, but instead are under constant repression by the protein calpain. If we can target therapies that block this mechanism, then neurons should be able to sprout new connections, therefore stimulating the brain’s ability to repair its wiring network.” […]

“The next step is to find a way to enhance neural plasticity without interfering with the good connections that are already in place.”

This surely has positive implications for the fight to extend healthy life in humans. For more on this topic, see Aubrey de Grey’s TED talk and his book Ending Aging.

Sources: Physorg, The University of British Columbia

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