Damage to nerve fibers in the spinal cord, brain, and optic nerves normally lead to practical losses as the nerve fibers are not able to redevelop. A group at RUB (Ruhr-Universität Bochum) from the Department of Cell Physiology spearheaded by Professor Dietmar Fischer has invented new methods that allow the recreation of such fibers. This might enhance up new treatment methods for the injuries to optic nerve, brain, and spinal cord.
The scientists report on these outcomes in the Nature Communications Biology journal. The spinal cord, brain, and optic nerves are referred to together as the central nervous system. Axons (the nerve fibers) are not able to develop back after the injury, indicating that injury is permanent. “It is possible to partly reinstate the nerve cells’ regenerative capacity in the central nervous system by removing PTEN (the inhibiting protein),” claims Dietmar Fischer.
“On the other hand, a knockout of this type also activates various reactions in the cells simultaneously, which often result in cancer.” Consequently, the direct inhibition of this protein is not appropriate for humans’ therapeutic approaches. Also, the initially postulated method below the renewed regenerative capacity after PTEN knockout might not be verified in further researches, leading the researchers to look for optional explanations.
On a related note, researchers have discovered the answer to “how does the brain find order in the middle of chaos and noise?” by employing enhanced simulation methods to probe the way neurons interact with one another. They discovered that by operating as a team, cortical neurons can react even to weak input in opposition to the backdrop of chaos and noise, letting the brain to get order.
Neurons interact with one another by sending out spikes (quick pulses of electrical signals). At first glimpse, the creation of these spikes can be very dependable: when a remote neuron is frequently given precisely the same electrical input, we get the same spikes pattern.
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