Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New research offers clues to prevent brain damage in premature babies

08.08.2005


Factors inhibiting the brain’s natural self-healing process identified



Factors that inhibit the brain’s natural self-healing process and that may offer new insights into how to prevent brain damage in premature babies have been identified by a team of researchers supported in part by the March of Dimes.
The research is published online today in Nature Medicine.

Stephen A. Back, M.D., Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology at the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine, Portland, and colleagues identified some of the key factors that prevent brain damage repair in premature babies and patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) or certain other neurological diseases. Their findings offer important clues about why the nervous systems fails to repair itself and suggest that some forms of brain damage could be reversed.



Dr. Back, who studies developmental brain injury in premature infants, previously found a link between damage to white matter in the brain associated with premature birth, and damage to immature cells in the brain and spinal cord, called oligodendrocyte progenitors. These cells normally mature to become oligodendrocytes that make myelin (the insulating sheath surrounding nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord) throughout life. In some cases, these cells fail to mature and cannot repair damage to the white matter of the brain.

The white matter is made up of long nerve fibers wrapped in myelin. Different kinds of white matter injury cause cerebral palsy and learning problems in children born prematurely, and MS in older children and adults. Dr. Back and his colleagues found that hyaluronic acid (HA) prevent immature oligodendrocytes from maturing and coating nerve fibers with new myelin. Astrocytes, the first-responders to nerve damage in the brain, produce HA, which accumulates on nerve fibers where myelin is missing.

"Preterm birth can interrupt the normal myelination process. Therefore, this report may help to explain the brain damage seen in premature babies, some of whom have cerebral palsy," said Michael Katz, M.D., Senior Vice President for Research and Global Programs at the March of Dimes, which is supporting Dr. Back. "Until we find the answers to preventing prematurity, research such as this may lead us to new ways to prevent brain damage and has the potential to improve the lives of thousands of infants."

Prematurity is the leading killer of America’s newborns and has increased 29 percent since 1981. More than 470,000 babies are born prematurely each year in the United States. Premature babies often die or suffer lifelong consequences, including cerebral palsy, mental retardation, chronic lung disease, blindness, and hearing loss.

According to research conducted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 25 percent of extremely premature babies have neurological problems at 18 to 22 months, and 17 percent will develop cerebral palsy.

"Hyaluronan Accumulates in Demyelinated Lesions and Inhibits Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Maturation," published in the September 2005 issue of Nature Medicine, volume 11, number 9, was a collaborative effort of Dr. Back, senior researcher Larry Sherman, Ph.D., an Adjunct Associate Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, OHSU School of Medicine, and other colleagues at OHSU, the National Institutes of Health, and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

Elizabeth Lynch | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.marchofdimes.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Are there sustainable solutions in dealing with dwindling phosphorus resources?
16.10.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Nutzierbiologie (FBN)

nachricht Strange undertakings: ant queens bury dead to prevent disease
13.10.2017 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

Im Focus: New nanomaterial can extract hydrogen fuel from seawater

Hybrid material converts more sunlight and can weather seawater's harsh conditions

It's possible to produce hydrogen to power fuel cells by extracting the gas from seawater, but the electricity required to do it makes the process costly. UCF...

Im Focus: Small collisions make big impact on Mercury's thin atmosphere

Mercury, our smallest planetary neighbor, has very little to call an atmosphere, but it does have a strange weather pattern: morning micro-meteor showers.

Recent modeling along with previously published results from NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft -- short for Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

Conference Week RRR2017 on Renewable Resources from Wet and Rewetted Peatlands

28.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A single photon reveals quantum entanglement of 16 million atoms

16.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The melting ice makes the sea around Greenland less saline

16.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

On the generation of solar spicules and Alfvenic waves

16.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>