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Immune cells gobble up idle brain cells

Posted on Saturday, 2 June, 2012 | Comment icon 7 comments | News tip by: questionmark


Image credit: Andrew Mason

 
A type of immune cell has been found to demolish idle circuits and connections within the brain.

Scientists studying the process in an effort to learn more about degenerative brain diseases have found that brain connections that aren't used are at risk of being demolished by the immune cells even if they are healthy. Up until now the microglia cells were thought to only protect the brain from damage and disease.

"The idea they can clean up brain debris has been well established in studies of brain disease," said Beth Stevens. "But now, even without damage, we've found them to respond to subtle changes in synaptic function."

"Use it or lose it: a class of immune cell demolishes idle circuits and connections in the brain, even a healthy one."

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 Source: New Scientist


  Discuss: View comments (7)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Bella-Angelique on 1 June, 2012, 17:05
Maybe the trigger will have something to do with whether use releases any stress hormones. Hope to see good follow up on their work.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Abramelin on 1 June, 2012, 17:27
We use our brains in many different ways, not only to 'think'. You use them when you smell, touch, hear, and see. You use them when you dream and when you day-dream. when you talk and read. I think when someone gets deaf or blind later in life, then these cells might destroy some of those unused braincells associated with these senses. But I don't think it's about using your brains like in learning math or a new language. Anyway, interesting article.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Rolci on 2 June, 2012, 11:27
There goes our psychic abilities, goodbye and thanks for **** all.
Comment icon #4 Posted by schizoid78 on 2 June, 2012, 13:18
Don't cells died by millions each night for all of us? I presume those are not just idle, but also old and dysfunctional. Anyway the bottom line is that we don't understand how our brain works, in this study's result won"t likely help us much in this.
Comment icon #5 Posted by csspwns on 3 June, 2012, 2:30
so basically we are killing ourselves
Comment icon #6 Posted by Paracelse on 6 June, 2012, 12:47
So, don't use your brain and your body will eat it up...explains a lot... You mean like French people???
Comment icon #7 Posted by Drev on 6 June, 2012, 22:11
Maybe the trigger will have something to do with whether use releases any stress hormones. Hope to see good follow up on their work. We use our brains in many different ways, not only to 'think'. You use them when you smell, touch, hear, and see. You use them when you dream and when you day-dream. when you talk and read. I think when someone gets deaf or blind later in life, then these cells might destroy some of those unused braincells associated with these senses. But I don't think it's about using your brains like in learning math or a new language. Anyway, interesting article. Maybe we get... [More]


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