Mitochondria are specialized subunits inside a cell that produce the cell’s energy and regulate its metabolism. Research suggests that mitochondria may play a central role in neuronal cell survival because they regulate both energy metabolism and cell death pathways. Using genetic mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease, researchers from Mayo Clinic have found that mitochondria in the brain are dysfunctional early in the disease. The findings were recently published in the open access journal PLoS ONE.
The single largest cause of adult disability in the developed world is ischemic stroke, in which blood flow in or to the brain is blocked. It precipitates immense amounts of social and financial costs. Currently, therapies for stroke focus on prevention or acute phase treatments that arrest the stroke while it is happening. But many patients are not fortunate enough to get acute phase treatment and suffer neurological damage that leads to functional and cognitive impairment. Until now, there have been almost no options for such patients. But last February, a company called ReNeuron received approval to begin a clinical trial of neural stem cell therapy for disabled stroke patients . Two patients have been treated thus far and the therapy appears to be safe.
The first high-resolution structural connection map of the human cerebral cortex was published earlier this month in the journal PLoS Biology. The study reveals regions that are highly connected and central, forming a structural core network . Intriguingly, this core network consists of many areas that are more active when we’re at rest than when we’re engaged in a task that requires concentration.