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GnomAD: Stunning Variation Seen in Largest Collection of Human Genomes

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-06-06 Research News In seven papers in Nature journals published May 27, the Genome Aggregation Database (gnomAD) consortium unleashed analyses of 125,748 exomes and 15,708 whole genomes, hailing from unrelated people living on six continents across the globe. ...

Low-Dose BACE Inhibitors Might Preserve Synaptic Function

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-06-05 Research News BACE inhibitors, with their ability to squelch Aβ production, seemed like a promising preventative therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, their trials foundered, with some of them worsening cognition in an apparent class effect (Dec ...

New Astrocyte Marker Allows Purification from Mixed Cultures

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-06-05 Research News Astrocytes have been implicated in Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, but these beautiful, star-shaped cells are notoriously difficult to study. Animal models are little help, because their astrocytes are quite different from ...

Without SORL1, Endosomes Swell in Neurons but not Microglia

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-06-02 Research News Scientists have linked loss-of-function mutations in SORL1 to overproduction of Aβ and to early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Now, in the June 2 Cell Reports, researchers led by Jessica Young at the University of Washington, Seattle, report ...

Shiny SEQUIN: New Technique Counts Synapses Over Large Brain Volumes

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-06-01 Research News Synapses are central in Alzheimer’s disease, but they are hard to study. The microscopic techniques that offer a glimpse at these tiny structures require expensive equipment and laborious ultra-sectioning of brain tissue, and cover only very ...

Molecular Transport Vehicle Shuttles Therapies into Brain

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-05-29 Research News Researchers have devised a new way to sneak therapeutic cargo across the blood-brain barrier. Into the constant region of a human IgG1 antibody, they slid a domain that latches onto receptors that carry transferrin into the brain. On the ...

Paper Alert: CryoEM Structures of α-Synuclein Published

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-05-27 Research News In the May 27 Nature, scientists publish the first-ever cryo-electron microscopy of α-synuclein fibrils. With resolution down to the atomic level, the analysis revealed two types of asymmetric fibril, each comprising two different ...

Massive Proteomics Studies Peg Glial Metabolism, Myelination, to AD

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-05-23 Research News RNA sequencing studies of postmortem human brain samples have generated massive datasets implicating all manner of biological functions in Alzheimer’s disease. But how do these findings translate to proteins—where the biological rubber meets ...

The Air We Breathe—How Might Pollution Hurt the Brain?

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-05-23 Research News Part 2 of 2 For decades, studies of pulmonary and vascular systems dominated the air-pollution-research landscape. Researchers paid scant attention to the brain, which they considered safely ensconced behind the blood-brain barrier. But the ...

Air Pollution and Dementia—Through Hazy Data, Links Emerge

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-05-22 Research News Part 1 of 2 As coronavirus lockdowns have led to noticeably clearer skies above many metropolitan areas, people are beginning to wonder anew about the effects of air pollution. Traffic and industrial exhaust have long been linked to ...

Widely Used Tau Seeding Assay Challenged

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-05-22 Research News Many research groups study tau misfolding and propagation using in vitro models, but interpreting findings from artificial systems can be dicey. In a preprint on bioRxiv, researchers led by Eckhard Mandelkow at the German Center for ...

Gut Microbes: The Difference Between Life and Death in C9ORF72 Mice

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-05-15 Research News When Kevin Eggan of Harvard University decided to raise some C9ORF72-deficient mice down the road at MIT’s Broad Institute, he had little inkling of the can of worms—or microbes—that he was about to open. At Harvard, the C9-deficient mice ...

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