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Insulin helps in learning and memory

A new research has demonstrated how the signaling pathway of insulin and insulin like peptides plays a critical role in helping to regulate learning and memory.

People think of insulin and diabetes, but many metabolic syndromes are associated with some types of cognitive defects and behavioural disorders, like depression or dementia, said Yun Zhang, associate professor of organismic and evolutionary biology, who led the research.

“That suggests that insulin and insulin like peptides may play an important role in neural function, but it’s been very difficult to nail down the underlying mechanism, because these peptides do not have to function through synapses that connect different neurons in the brain,” he stated.

Gut microbes help regulate blood pressure

A new study has suggested that gut bacteria are an integral part of the body’s complex system for maintaining a stable blood pressure.

Using mice models, researchers at The Johns Hopkins University and Yale University have discovered that a specialized receptor, normally found in the nose, is also in blood vessels throughout the body, sensing small molecules created by microbes that line mammalian intestines, and responding to these molecules by increasing blood pressure.

“The contribution that gut microbes apparently make to blood pressure regulation and human health is a surprise. There is still much to learn about this mechanism, but we now know some of the players and how they interact,” said Jennifer Pluznick, assistant professor of physiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Can’t stop overeating? May be it’s in your blood

Researchers have found that bone marrow cells that produce brain-derived eurotrophic factor (BDNF), known to affect regulation of food intake, travel to part of the hypothalamus in the brain where they “fine-tune” appetite.

The finding could provide a new target to fight obesity, said researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and Shiga University of Medical Science in Otsu, Shiga, Japan.
“We knew that blood cells produced BDNF,” said Dr. Lawrence Chan, professor of molecular and cellular biology and professor and chief of the division of diabetes, endocrinology and metabolism in the department of medicine and director of the federally funded Diabetes Research Center, all at BCM. The factor is produced in the brain and in nerve cells as well.

“We didn’t know why it was produced in blood cells.”

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