02 February 2010

Neuronal Pedophilia for Neurodegenerative Conditions

The old seem to imbibe an elixir of life by associating with younger ones of their kind. Swedish researchers have discovered that transplanted stem cells can rejuvenate degenerative neurons, litterally injecting new life into them.
The new report, co-authored by several international research groups and led by Karolinska Institutet, shows that stem cells transplanted into damaged or threatened nerve tissue quickly establish direct channels, called gap junctions, to the nerve cells. Stem cells actively bring diseased neurons back from the brink via cross-talk through gap junctions, the connections between cells that allow molecular signals to pass back and forth. The study found that the nerve cells were prevented from dying only when these gap junctions were formed. The results were obtained from mice and human stem cells in cultivated brain tissue, and from a series of rodent models for human neurodegenerative diseases and acute brain injuries.

"Many different molecules can be transported through gap junctions," says Eric Herlenius, who led the study. "This means that a new door to the possible future treatment of neuronal damage has been opened, both figuratively and literally."

The international team of scientist, beside Karolinska Institutet, included researchers from Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Harvard Medical School and Université Libre de Bruxelles.

Their report is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences _SD

Stem cells may derive either from embryos or from more mature cells. With improvement in techniques for switching on and off expression of various genes will come the ability to create specific stem cells and tissues from a wide variety of mature cells originating within the patient's own body.

Growth factors produced by stem cells tend to regenerate older cells. Studies involving the use of growth hormones and growth factors directly to rejuvenate aging tissues and organisms tend to support the thesis. Using stem cells as "growth factor factories" obviates the need for repeated injections of hormone or factor. Here is a way to make "old stem cells" work like young stem cells again.

It is an analogous phenomenon to older men or women seeking out younger women (or men) for amorous association -- younger women (or men) disseminate pheromones into the local environment which tend to excite various passions -- including, but not limited to, the sexual ones.

When Gandhi routinely slept (chastely) with two underage girls, no doubt he experienced the benefits of "vital transference" at the same time he was strengthening his ability to resist temptation.

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