Research in animal models shows physical exercise can induce changes in the brain. In humans, studies also revealed changes in brain physiology and function resulting from physical exercise, including increased hippocampal and cognitive performance (1). Several studies in mice and rats also demonstrated that exercise can improve learning and memory and decrease neuroinflammation in models of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative pathologies (2); these benefits are tied to increased plasticity and decreased inflammation in the hippocampus in mice (2). If regular time pounding the pavement does improve brain function, what is the underlying molecular biology of exercise-induced neuroprotection? Can we identify the cellular pathways and components involved? Can we detect important components in blood plasma? And, is the benefit of these components transferrable between organisms? De Miguel and colleagues set out to answer these questions and describe their results in a recent study published in Nature.Continue reading “Run to Remember: A Mouse-Model Study Investigating the Mechanism of Exercise-Induced Neuroprotection”
It is fall and the season for American football. For this football fan, watching the game is a bit less enjoyable than it used to be, as more and more information is available about the serious and permanent brain injuries suffered by football players.
In the introduction to a recent paper in the journal Cell, “P7C3 Neuroprotective Chemicals Function by Activating the Rate-Limiting Enzyme in NAD Salvage”, not a word about American football is mentioned.
However, the paper begins, “No substantive therapeutics are available for the treatment of almost any form of disease entailing nerve death” (1). The authors list a range of neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington’s, Alzheimers and Parkinson’s diseases, as well as ALS or Lou Gherig’s disease. They also note that there are currently no effective treatments for trauma to the brain or peripheral nervous system.
The authors note that a chemical treatment that could interfere with nerve cell death would have a “transformative impact in modern medicine”. Continue reading “Insights into the Function of P7C3 Compounds in Neuroprotection”