Fresh understanding of aging in the brain offers hope for treating neurological diseases

Scientists from the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI) have shed new light on aging processes in the brain. By linking the increased presence of specialized immune cells to conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and traumatic brain injury for the first time, they have unearthed a possible new target for therapies aimed at treating age-related neurological diseases.

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The research, which benefited from a collaboration with experts at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and focused on microglia in the brain and spinal cord, is published in leading international journal, Science Advances.

Microglia are a unique type of immune cell whose job it is to support nerve cells, defend against invading microbes, clear debris and remove dying nerve cells by engulfing and eating them. Emerging research indicates that microglia can have different functional responses depending on molecular and biochemical changes occurring within these specialized cells. 

In fact, various subtypes of microglia can be distinguished based on a property called autofluorescence. This is the tendency of cells to emit light of one color after they have absorbed light of another, and it occurs because specific substances inside the cells absorb light. The substances stored in specialized cellular compartments include fat molecules, cholesterol crystals, metals and other misfolded proteins. 


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5 responses to “Fresh understanding of aging in the brain offers hope for treating neurological diseases

  1. I find your post of significant interest as my own memory of quite recent events is appalling! It doesn’t interfere with what I do on a daily basis or thinking about the future. In general I am a fit 78 year old and not overweight.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Myra Fisher Burton

    Morning, Tony! Just thinking about you and wondering how you are doing. Prayers and best wishes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good morning. I am still plugging along. Energy remains on the low side. Getting three walks a day in with the dog.So, about 3 miles walking. Not enough energy to ride bike yet. Thanks for asking.


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