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Posts from the ‘Sci/Health/Enviro’ Category

Parkinson’s disease eliminated in mice

“Xiang-Dong Fu, PhD, has never been more excited about something in his entire career. He has long studied the basic biology of RNA, a genetic cousin of DNA, and the proteins that bind it. But a single discovery has launched Fu into a completely new field: neuroscience. 

For decades, Fu and his team at University of California San Diego School of Medicine studied a protein called PTB, which is well known for binding RNA and influencing which genes are turned “on” or “off” in a cell. To study the role of a protein like PTB, scientists often manipulate cells to reduce the amount of that protein, and then watch to see what happens. 

Several years ago, a postdoctoral researcher working in Fu’s lab was taking that approach, using a technique called siRNA to silence the PTB gene in connective tissue cells known as fibroblasts. But it’s a tedious process that needs to be performed over and over. He got tired of it and convinced Fu they should use a different technique to create a stable cell line that’s permanently lacking PTB. At first, the postdoc complained about that too, because it made the cells grow so slowly.

But then he noticed something odd after a couple of weeks — there were very few fibroblasts left. Almost the whole dish was instead filled with neurons.  

In this serendipitous way, the team discovered that inhibiting or deleting just a single gene, the gene that encodes PTB, transforms several types of mouse cells directly into neurons. “

From: UC San Diego New Center – June 24, 2020
https://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/pressrelease/one-time-treatment-generates-new-neurons-eliminates-parkinsons-disease-in-mice

Life extension update – how to slow aging

University of Minnesota Medical School researchers “showed it was possible to reduce the burden of damaged cells, termed senescent cells, and extend lifespan and improve health, even when treatment was initiated late in life.  They now have shown that treatment of aged mice with the natural product Fisetin, found in many fruits and vegetables, also has significant positive effects on health and lifespan.

As people age, they accumulate damaged cells. When the cells get to a certain level of damage they go through an aging process of their own, called cellular senescence. The cells also release inflammatory factors that tell the immune system to clear those damaged cells. A younger person’s immune system is healthy and is able to clear the damaged cells. But as people age, they aren’t cleared as effectively. Thus they begin to accumulate, cause low-level inflammation and release enzymes that can degrade the tissue.

Robbins and fellow researchers found a natural product, called Fisetin, reduces the level of these damaged cells in the body. They found this by treating mice towards the end of life with this compound and see improvement in health and lifespan. The paper, “Fisetin is a senotherapeutic that extends health and lifespan,” was recently published in EBioMedicine.

Read the full article here:  https://www.med.umn.edu/news-events/university-minnesota-medical-school-researchers-have-discovered-how-slow-aging

Violent video games found linked to aggressive behavior

Violent video game play and aggressive behavior have a relationship according to reports in Scientific American and Dartmouth College.  Both reports are based on a study by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (1)

The Gig Harbor Times published a list of violent video games available for viewing on YouTube was in 2012 titled Fixing the mass murder mentality“.