Research News from the Howard Hughes Medical Insti

Franks afranks at nospam.burnesscommunications.com
Thu May 24 21:07:17 EST 2001


Research News from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)
May 25, 2001

Vitamin Deficiency May Worsen Motor Neuron Disease

HHMI researchers have found evidence that suggests 
that insufficient amounts of folic acid and vitamin 
B12 in the diet may exacerbate spinal muscular 
atrophy (SMA), a genetic disease that attacks motor neurons.

SMA is the most common genetic cause of infant mortality, 
affecting about one in 6,000 newborns. The disease causes 
progressive muscle weakness, wasting, and atrophy as motor 
neurons degenerate. The scientists are planning to collaborate 
with clinicians to determine whether folic acid and
vitamin B12 might ameliorate the severity of symptoms 
in people with SMA.

Research published in the May 2001 issue of the journal 
Molecular Cell.

For the full story go to: 
http://www.hhmi.org/news/dreyfuss2.html

-----------------

Protein Synthesis in Living Neurons: Seeing Is Believing

During the last two decades, neuroscientists have been 
building the argument, buttressed by data from many 
experiments, that dendrites -- the fine fibers that 
extend from neurons -- can synthesize proteins. If
dendrites can synthesize proteins, they may also have 
the capacity to modulate the strength of connections 
between neurons and ultimately influence neural activities, 
including learning and memory.

HHMI researchers have developed a new technique that has 
allowed them to see protein synthesis occurring in intact 
dendrites.

Research published in the May 25, 2001, issue of the 
journal Neuron.

For the full story go to: 
http://www.hhmi.org/news/schuman.html




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