Our brain is the seat of learning and it is where we have all our learning stored, we think and decide, we figure, understand, see, listen, sense etc. All these functions and more just make our brains a very unique organ. The current medical research has uncovered a lot of the diseases that are related to the brain where they just totally deteriorate the brain functions. Our brain is made up of billions and billions of cells and these cells are connected to each other through synapses and the communication of the nerve cells occurs through chemicals, which we also known as neurotransmitters. It is really important for us to understand that since the brain is such a vital organ and performs so many important functions, any clinical abnormality of the brain can lead to a disastrous situation, hence it is very important to save the brain from any outside or inside the body insults to prevent it from degenerating. It is really important to state here that once the brain cells are damaged it becomes near to impossible to cause regeneration of the brain cells.
There was a new research that was conducted by the scientists in which they have found out that there the neurodegenerative diseases such as HIV, dementia, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis as well as Parkinson’s. The scientists said that when a brain goes through an inflammatory condition the process of thinking just makes the brain to become more prone to injury and this makes the situation more worse and this ultimately results in more damage to the brain. Scientists say that the process of learning and thinking and remembering things, which are the normal daily routines of an individual are something that is going to hurt the brain more if the brain is going through the degenerating illnesses. Scientists say the best bet here is to decrease the normal activities of the brain to bare minimum.
The researchers have found an amino acid, which is known as glutamate that is considered responsible to cause excitatory activity of the neurons, which thus can cause damage and death of the cells. This excitatory activity then leads to the increased damage of the nerve cells in the neurodegenerative diseases of the brain. Therefore there are drugs that are made to lower down the excitatory effect of the amino acid, glutamate, to prevent the injury by blocking the glutamate, but this did not go well and the researchers kept on finding out as to how the excitatory activity really damages the functional capacity of the nervous system.
The researchers then moved on from their focus on analyzing the neurons to the dendrites that are the projections arising from the neurons and it is these that carry impulses from the nerve cell and makes a connection to another nerve cell through the synapses and causes the exchange of information from one neuron to another neuron. The diseases in which there is increased damage to the dendrites is seen in Alzheimer’s disease and HIV dementia in which the dendrites are seen with a characteristic finding of decrease in their size, beading, as well as loss of the spines of the dendrites.
The researchers then started to conduct experiments where they exposed the brain cells to the platelet activating factor, which is a compound that takes part in the working of the synapses, the activity related to the learning as well as memory. This platelet activating factor is also responsible for causing inflammation as well and is produced by neurons and also by the immune cells during the process of inflammation. It was found that the activity of the platelet activating factor increasing many folds in the neurodegenerative diseases.
It was then known by the researchers that the platelet activating factor was the one that promoted the beading of the dendrites and injured the synapses that occurred with the bursts of the synaptic activity. Thus the researchers concluded that it is not only the glutamate that is responsible for the damage alone and that when the individual is suffering from the neurodegenerative disease then they are more vulnerable to the excitatory activity of the brain. It was also stated that this mechanism of the deterioration of brain is implied by a number of diseases and this includes Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s along with any other neurodegenerative diseases that involve the synaptic dysfunction with inflammation.
These findings open up a whole new world for the drugs that can be made to treat these disorders and to lower down the process of inflammation and damage to the brain. The scientists gave an idea that the people who are suffering from the neurodegenerative disease, a specific chemical adaptation can be made in their brain cells that would prevent the injury from occurring in the nerve cells and hence would prevent excessive damage and ultimately loss of the nerve cells. The scientists said that the people will be more resistant to stressful situations with the chemical preconditioning and hence would be able to offer more resistance to the damage that takes place.
There is a drug that the researchers are talking a lot about these days is known as diazoxide to precondition the brain cells. Again if we go in the labs and see the experimentation that was being done, we will see that the nerve cells that were treated with the diazoxide and then exposed to the platelet activating factor, it was amazing to see that there was no beading effects caused by the platelet activating factor and thus it showed that the adaptations caused by the diazoxide makes the dendrites resistant to the changes caused by the insults. Therefore the scientists concluded through their research that it is important to make the cells withstand the injury by causing them to adapt rather to preserve the cell body.