KHN Morning Briefing

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Protein Found In Umbilical Cord Could Hold Key To Rejuvenating Memory Center In Brain

In a study, cold blood improved the performance of aged mice as they engaged in memory and learning tasks, such as maze-running and fear-conditioning exercises.

The Washington Post: A Protein From Human Umbilical Cords Revitalizes Memory — At Least In Mice
You leave your car in a vast, crowded parking lot, and when you return, you have no idea where it is. The ensuing search is frustrating, time-consuming and a little embarrassing. That experience occurs more frequently as we get older, because the functions of the part of the brain that encodes spatial and episodic memories — the hippocampus — decline with age. But now neuroscientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have shown that — in mice — an infusion of plasma taken from human umbilical cords improves the hippocampus's functioning, resulting in significant gains in memory and cognition needed for tasks such as finding a car in a full parking lot. (Bernstein, 4/19)

NPR: Blood From Human Umbilical Cords Helps Aging Mice Remember
From the beginning, the findings were exciting, complex and, sometimes, contradictory. For example, scientists have shown that young blood can restore cell activity in the muscles and livers of aging mice. They've also found that linking old mice to young ones helped reverse heart muscle thickening. On the other hand, researchers weren't able to replicate some of the most eye-catching findings and another study concluded that, in mice that swapped blood without being connected surgically, the negative effects of being exposed to old blood outweighed the benefits of getting young blood. (Bichell, 4/19)

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