Science Podcasts

Naked Scientists episode

Sat, 24th Oct 2009

The Diseased Brain

Drawing of a cast to illustrate the relations of the brain to the skull. (c) Gray

We explore the basis of brain diseases on this week's Naked Scientists.  We find out what happens to the brain in Huntington's disease, discover the genes behind Alzheimers and a potential treatment for autoimmune diseases like Multiple Sclerosis or MS.  Also, the nerve cells in the ear that make loud sounds painful, the extraordinary eyes of the Mantis Shrimp and the world's largest web spinning spider.  Plus, how spiders make glue from silk and snot, and in Kitchen Science, we show you a way to fool your brain into making your body do something unexpected.

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

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  • 21:17 - Huntington's and Immunity

    Ed Wild explores how understanding our bodies immune response to huntington's disease could help develop a potential treatment....

  • 30:07 - Damping Down Multiple Sclerosis

    David Wraith explains how we may be able to damp down Multiple Sclerosis by de-sensitizing our immune system...

  • 37:01 - The Genetics of Alzheimers

    Professor Julie Williams and her team at Cardiff University recently discovered a pair of genes that seem to be linked to Alzheimers disease...

  • 48:44 - Which Arm is stronger?

    When I link my fingers together so my arms are connected, and I try and push or pull them against each other, to find out which arm is strongest, my hands stay in the middle and my stronger arm never seems to get anywhere. Why is this?

 

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*How Long Do Brain Disease Last For?* Luke, Sun, 25th Oct 2009

How Long Can system functions Last For? Luke, Tue, 27th Oct 2009

Unfortunately, probably a life time since the brain and spinal cord are notoriously poor at self-repair in adulthood.

Chris chris, Wed, 28th Oct 2009

The insulation on the nerve ‘wires’, (myelin on axons) , can grow back if damaged.
This is why near-miraculous recoveries can spontaneously occur in MS because re-myelination is possible. But when the nerve ‘wire’ (axon) is damaged  typically it does not re-grow.
RD, Wed, 28th Oct 2009


I guess it depends what you call a brain disease.
Some injuries heal quite well. I'd be prepared to bet that there's someone in an ER/ casualty department right now who is currently unconscious but who will recover by tomorrow with no discernable after-effects. Bored chemist, Wed, 28th Oct 2009

In relation to the above, I think that depends what you call "discernable". At sufficiently high resolution it's almost certain that someone would have permanent changes to their brain if they were sufficiently ill to be rendered unconscious. This might be only the loss of a few nerve cells in the long run, but a permanent loss nonetheless.

Chris chris, Thu, 29th Oct 2009

Joseph Frank asked the Naked Scientists: Your guest said that Alzheimer's is progressive and I have read that before but my father was diagnosed with it using extensive tests 15 years ago and he isn't that bad. I wonder if he really has it or if the new medications are just very effective for him or if he has a rare form of it. What do you think? Joseph Frank , Fri, 4th Dec 2009

Re:  RD 28/10/09 msg stating:  "The insulation on the nerve ‘wires’, (myelin on axons) , can grow back if damaged.  This is why near-miraculous recoveries can spontaneously occur in MS because re-myelination is possible. But when the nerve ‘wire’ (axon) is damaged  typically it does not re-grow."

I believe that it is an overgeneralization to imply that all myelin can grow back if damaged.  While not an incorrect statement per se, I think it's worth it to point out that absent stem-cell transplantation, the oligodendrocyte precursors necessary to remyelinate in the CNS would not be present in sufficient quantities.


nurselawyer, Sun, 4th Apr 2010

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