Although there are several drugs and experimental conditions that can block cognitive function and impair learning and memory, researchers have recently shown that some drugs can actually improve cognitive function. The new multi-national study, published in the 21 February issue of the open-access journal PLoS Biology, reveals that these findings may implicate scientists' understanding of cognitive disorders like Alzheimer's disease. There are trillions of neuronal connections, called synapses in the human brain that are dynamic and constantly change in strength and property. This pattern of activity, known as synaptic plasticity, controls people's cognitive functions, and scientists hypothesize this to be the cellular basis for learning and memory. They also believe that changes in synaptic plasticity mechanisms are responsible for various cognitive deficits, including autism, Alzheimer's disease and several forms of mental conditions and disorders.
According to a study published in PloS ONE, researchers have been able to successfully stimulate wound healing by combining two bioactive peptides. The peptides stimulate blood vessels to grow and promote re-growth of tissue. Further development of these peptides could result in new treatment for acute and chronic wounds. The study was supported in part by grants from the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, and Wound Care Partners, LLC. In pre-clinical models designed to simulate impaired wound healing as observed in individuals with uncontrolled diabetes or vascular diseases, the researchers tested a newly-developed peptide called UN3. UN3 was developed and modified from two naturally occurring peptides usually present in trace amounts and found in human platelet-rich plasma.
A study led by Case Western Reserve University in the US has revealed the first molecular evidence of a link between the circadian rhythm or the body clock and sudden cardiac death. The researchers, who did their investigations in mice, hope their discovery will lead to new diagnostic tools and therapies to prevent or treat vulnerability to sudden cardiac death in humans. They reported their findings online in the journal Nature on Wednesday. Previous studies had suggested a link between sudden cardiac death and circadian rhythm, in both acquired and hereditary forms of heart disease, but none had yet, until this discovery, revealed the underlying molecular explanation. The lead author of the study is Dr Darwin Jeyaraj, assistant professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and a cardiologist at Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute at University Hospitals Case Medical Center.
Scientists at the University of California, San Diego have developed a new method for making scaffolds for culturing tissue in three-dimensional arrangements that mimic those in the body. This advance, published online in the journal Advanced Materials, allows the production of tissue culture scaffolds containing multiple structurally and chemically distinct layers using common laboratory reagents and materials. According to the UC San Diego researchers, this process is more affordable and widely feasible than previous methods that required expensive equipment and expertise. The new approach is remarkably simple: solutions of the components of each layer, including polymers, are mixed with varying concentrations of a common inert reagent to control density. The solutions are layered so that the difference in density segregates each solution, and then polymerized so that they form a gel.
Using a technique called "DNA origami", US scientists have made programmable molecule-transporting nanorobots that can seek out particular cell targets and deliver specific instructions for them to follow. One example of such use could be to tell cancer cells to destroy themselves. The researchers write about their findings in Friday's online issue of Science. The programmable nanorobots carry cargoes of molecules that are released when aptamers (peptide molecules that bind to a specific target) in their structure bind to specific proteins on the surface of targeted cells. Researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University modeled the technology on the immune system's white blood cells that patrol the bloodstream, looking for signs of trouble. They hope one day it will be used to program immune responses to treat diseases.