Neurotrophic factors—chemicals that promote the survival and birth of neurons—seem to play some role. Researchers have known for some time that exercise produces these chemicals in rodents, and that more exercise leads to a larger hippocampus—a brain region important for memory.
The role of exercise in strengthening bones might also offer brain benefits. Regular weight-bearing exercise such as walking, running and weight-lifting can help counteract the bone weakening that comes with aging, and strong bones release a hormone called osteocalcin. Mice lacking osteocalcin have major cognitive defects.
A study published this week in Nature shows the vital connection between the gut and the brain. The metabolites of microorganisms living in the gut have double edge sword on our bodily functions from brain to immune system.
The new research focuses on the influence of gut microbes on two types of cells that play a major role in the central nervous system: microglia and astrocytes.
Microglia are an integral part of the body’s immune system, responsible for scavenging the CNS and getting rid of plaques, damaged cells and other materials that need to be cleared. But microglia can also secrete compounds that induce neurotoxic properties on the star-shaped brain cells known as astrocytes. This damage is thought to contribute to many neurologic diseases, including multiple sclerosis.
The study shows that especially the byproducts dietary tryptophan may limit inflammation in the brain through their influence on microglia. The metabolites resulting from tryptophan degredation were shown to control microglial activation and TGFα and VEGF-B production, modulating the transcriptional program of astrocytes and CNS inflammation through a mechanism mediated by the aryl hydrocarbon receptor.
Why life is chiral has puzzled scientists for well over a century.
Let us say one has a cancer and received chemotherapy, a regimen of chemicals (drugs) used to harm fast dividing cells.
Boom! Some of the cells in the tumor get addicted to this drugs and they are better of with chemotherapy. When the drug is withdrawn (stop chemotherapy), those cells start dying or killing themselves. The underlying mechanism of this phenomenon: UNKNOWN.
Much research on Alzheimer’s disease has focused on the amyloid protein that accumulates in the brains of people who have the condition, but therapies to slow amyloid buildup have not yielded improvements. Now there is renewed focus on a protein called tau, which forms tangles in Alzheimer’s brains.