2016-Jan-29, Friday

Medical research

2016-Jan-29, Friday 15:22
texxgadget: (Default)
Its all about proteins.

First, they have identified one of the mechanisms for cataracts.

In the old days, theyd scrape them off the eyeball.
Now they actually remove the defective lense from the pocket in the eyeball and slip in a plastic replacement.
I have always known my Dad with cokebottle lenses.
Before cataracts, he was 20-300, legally blind without glasses.
When he got cataracts and had them fixed, our family had to get to know him all over again.
Now he wears "readers" when reading or playing keyboard only.
The replacement lenses allow him to do almost everything else without glasses at all.

Now, UCSF has been researching cataracts.
The original lenses we are born with are made of flexible protein.
The eye focuses by squeezing it on the outer edge to change its shape.

Proteins start out as long curly kinky threads.
They get folded back and forth to build things like lenses.
When the proteins get incorredtly folded, we end up with things like cataracts.
As we age, the body replaces things and sometimes has to re fold protins, and if it makes an error, trouble ensues.

Enter UCSF. The are researching a solvent that will allow us to fix cataracts without removing the lense.
The goal is to treat cataracts with eyedrops instead.

Other research at UCSF is into the plaques that are at the heart of some types of dementia.
Alzheimers is a subtype of dementia, as if FTD and a few otheres/
Alzheimers & FTD have issues with these plaques that build up around the nerves and eventually smother them out.
Theoretically the cataract solvent would be a starting point for these amyloid plaques which are at the heart of Alzheimers syndrome.

This is quite exciting because we have the babyboomer generation scared to death of dementia and coming to the age when it starts showing symptoms.
Having an expanding cohort of Alzheimers patients will add to an already strained medical system.

Now, the other exciting news is with schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia tends to show symptoms in late teens or early adult years.
The big question is "Why THEN?"
Its looking like there is an answer.

Somewhere around kindergarten or 1st grade, the body kills off a bunch of excess neural connections.
This is similar to when they do into a forest and mark the less viable trees for removal so that the rest will grow in a more healthy manner.
The same thing is happening in the brain.
A certain amount of pruning is needed to optimize development.
In fact, there are some health consequences if the body does not cull enough neurons at that age.

This is process is related to the "C4" gene which is also part of the immune system.
In late teens, there is a second culling of excess neurons, and its more severe that the one in 1st grade.

Its been theorized that the reason kids who start piano after 1st grade seldom become concert calibre.
The theory says that starting piano before this culling of neurons, flags extra capacity for preservation and thus enables concert calibre skills to fluorish.

Back to the second culling.
The second culling is a more thorough culling.
Schizoprenics have a thinner layer of cross connections.
They now think that something goes awry in some people and too many neurons get flagged for removal and THAT is the root cause of schizophrenia.
This also explains the timing of the symptoms.

How to fix it, is quite another challenge.

With all the news concentrating on Donald Trump and trailer trash Sara Palin, I dont think this research got any press.

I wonder why good Christians hold in such high regard a woman who quits her governorship mid term, has a wife beater for a son and a daughter who cant be bothered to get married before getting preggers.

Ive become a republican supporter for Sanders...(Whos have thunk it?)


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