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To Combat Alzheimer's, Scientists Genetically Reprogram One Kind of Brain Cell Into Another
Myriam
Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2012 3:02 PM
Joined: 12/6/2011
Posts: 3326


From Alzheimer's Daily News:


(Source: Scientific America) - We all lose brain cells as we get older. In people with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's, neurons shrivel and die at alarming rates. Currently, no known drugs reliably halt or reverse such staggering cell death in people, although some drugs are thought to protect neurons from degradation.


An alternative to saving dying neurons is creating brand new neurons. One way to accomplish this is transforming non-neuronal brain cells into functional neurons. A recent study suggests that it's possible to turn at least one class of adult human brain cells known as pericytes into functional neurons. The fact that pericytes help defend and heal the brain makes them all the more appealing as candidate replacements for damaged and dying neurons.

 

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http://blogs.scientificamerican.com