Making memories stronger and more precise during aging.

As the human brain matures, the connections between older neurons become stronger, more numerous, and more intertwined, making integration for the newly formed neurons more difficult. Neural stem cells become less productive, leading to a decline in neurogenesis. With fewer new neurons to help sort memories, the aging brain can become less efficient at keeping separate and faithfully retrieving memories.

The research team selectively overexpressed a transcription factor, Klf9, only in older neurons in mice, which eliminated more than one-fifth of their dendritic spines, increased the number of new neurons that integrated into the hippocampus circuitry by two-fold, and activated neural stem cells.

When the researchers returned the expression of Klf9 back to normal, the old dendritic spines reformed, restoring competition. However, the previously integrated neurons remained.

read the full article.. www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-09/hms-mms083116.php


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Cancer and Unstable Genomes Linked to Junk DNA Changes.

Researchers have long known that all humans are 99.9% identical, genetically speaking. But that tiny 0.1% variation has big consequences, influencing the color of your eyes, the span of your hips, and your risk of getting sick.

Although variants are scattered throughout the genome, scientists have largely ignored the stretches of repetitive genetic code once dismissively known as “junk” DNA in their search for differences that influence human health and disease. Now, new research shows that variation in these overlooked repetitive regions may also affect human health. /…/

Even though the sequence of the human genome was declared complete more than a decade ago, it retains several glaring gaps, especially in the repetitive sequences around centromeres, the twisty ties that hold a pair of chromosomes together in a floppy X shape and coordinate their movement during cell division.

read the whole article.. www.genengnews.com/gen-news-highlights/cancer-and-unstable-genomes-linked-to-junk-dna-changes/81253153


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Immune system plays major role in regulation of body weight.

New research involving a team of Irish, American and Canadian researchers reveals that the immune system could be responsible for as much as 40% of our body’s ability to regulate weight.

/…/ “We know that once weight is gained, for the majority of people, it is very difficult to lose that weight. It is too simplistic to say eat less, move more and the weight will come off. It doesn’t actually work like that. The body has a very powerful reaction to defend against weight loss, which we now know involves the immune system.” /…/

read the whole article.. medicalxpress.com/news/2016-09-immune-major-role-body-weight.html


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Researchers use a single molecule to command stem cells to build new bone.

Researchers at the University of California San Diego have discovered an easy and efficient way to coax human pluripotent stem cells to regenerate bone tissue — by feeding them adenosine, a naturally occurring molecule in the body. The stem-cell-derived bone tissue helped repair cranial bone defects in mice without developing tumors or causing infection.

read the full article.. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160831142859.htm


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Believing in free will makes you feel more like your true self.

Believing in free will helps people exert control over their actions. This is particularly important in helping people make better decisions and behave more virtuously.

For instance, research has found that promoting the idea that a person doesn’t have free will makes people become more dishonest, behave aggressively and even conform to others’ thoughts and opinions. And how can we hold people morally responsible for their actions if we don’t believe they have the free will to act any differently? Belief in free will allows us to punish people for their immoral behaviors.

read the full article.. medicalxpress.com/news/2016-09-believing-free-true.html


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One in six younger Americans wants to die before 80.

The fear of growing old may be stronger than the fear of death among many Americans, a new survey suggests.

About one in six young and middle-aged adults in the United States wants to die before age 80, according to researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City. And negative views of old age are a key reason, the study authors said.

read the article.. medicalxpress.com/news/2016-09-younger-americans-die.html


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