While the health risks of tobacco are well known, several studies have shown that people with a history of cigarette smoking have lower rates of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinsons and Alzheimers disease. However, the explanations for nicotines neuroprotective effects continue to be debated.
Now a team of neuroscientists at the University of South Florida College of Medicine presents new evidence of an anti-inflammatory mechanism in the brain by which nicotine may protect against nerve cell death. Their study was published today in the Journal of Neurochemistry.
In laboratory experiments, the researchers demonstrated that nicotine inhibits activation of brain immune cells known as microglia. Chronic microglial activation is a sign of brain inflammation that is a key step in nerve cell death. The researchers also identified the specific site, the alpha-7 acetylcholine receptor subtype, to which nicotine binds to block microglial activation.
Anne DeLotto Baier | EurekAlert!
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Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.
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Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.
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Discovery by Brazilian and US researchers could change the classification of two species, which appear more akin to jellyfish than was thought.
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Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have discovered a completely new way of capturing, amplifying and linking light to matter at the nanolevel. Using a tiny box, built from stacked atomically thin material, they have succeeded in creating a type of feedback loop in which light and matter become one. The discovery, which was recently published in Nature Nanotechnology, opens up new possibilities in the world of nanophotonics.
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