2009 IoN News Archive
- Grant for research into new epilepsy treatments
- Professor Martin Rossor has been recognised by the The Alzheimer's Association
- Drug discovery collaboration on inclusion body myositis
- PDS awards Training Fellowship to Institute of Neurology researcher to understand how the brain controls Parkinson’s symptoms
- Alan Thompson to lead UCL Partners Neurological Disorders theme
- World MS Day - Wednesday 27th May - Global initiative to highlight Multiple Sclerosis
- Queen Square leads on new UK recommendations for bladder management which can dramatically improve quality of life in Multiple Sclerosis
- John Hardy most-cited Alzheimer's disease researcher in the UK
- Prestigious awards for Institute researchers
- Drug study offers hope for Alzheimer’s treatment
- Brain activity predicts our choices
- Professor George du Boulay CBE, FRCR, FRCP
- Brain awareness week: the impact of UCL research
- Parkinson's-linked mutation makes neurons vulnerable to calcium-induced death
- Second round of NIHR Senior Investigators announced
- 'Mind-Reading' Experiment Highlights How Brain Records Memories
- Anti-malaria drug does not appear to help with human prion diseases.
- UCL Partners is one of UK’s first Academic Health Science Centres
- "Opening doors for patients with MS"
- Are we as decisive as we think?
- "Magnets stop the nightmare of tinnitus, researchers say."
- Prestigious award for Professor Hugh Bostock
- Untangling the Brain
- Young UCL Investigator Award in neuroimaging techniques
- Brain disease "resistance gene" could offer insights into CJD
- Neurology: A Queen Square Textbook
- Headache: annual evidence update
- Roads closed for powerful MRI scanner delivery
- Long-term risks lower for surgical treatment of carotid stenosis
- Memorandum of collaboration signed
- Professor John Hardy joins the ranks of science greats
- Drug study offers hope for Alzheimer's treatment
- Prestigious award for Professor David Miller
- Magnets stop the nightmare of tinnitus, researchers say.
- Brain activity predicts our choices
- Jon Driver Award
- Professor Sander named recipient of the American Epilepsy Society 2009 Clinical Science Award
- Study highlights effect of brain waves on human behaviour
- New podcast describes the significance and impact of highly cited paper
- NIH Grant for research into inherited neuropathies
- How the brain knows a dog is a dog: concept acquisition in the human brain
- Prof Elizabeth Fisher elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)
- Locating literacy in the brain
- Dopamine enhances expectation of pleasure in humans
- Queen Square scientists question memory theory
- IoN scientist to front Alzheimer’s Research Trust national appeal
- New doors open to the understanding of the origin of brain tumours
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Brain disease "resistance gene" could offer insights into CJD
20 November 2009
A community in Papua New Guinea that suffered a major epidemic of a CJD-like fatal brain disease called kuru has developed strong genetic resistance to the disease, according to new research by Medical Research Council (MRC) scientists, from the MRC Prion Unit in the UCL Institute of Neurology.
Kuru is a fatal prion disease, similar to CJD in humans and BSE in animals, and is geographically unique to an area in Papua New Guinea. The infection was passed on at mortuary feasts, where mainly women and children consumed their deceased relatives as a mark of respect and mourning. This practice was banned and ceased in the late 1950s. Medical Research Council experts assessed more than 3,000 survivors of the mid-20th Century epidemic and found a gene variation, G127V, in people from the Purosa valley region of the Eastern Highlands.
This gene mutation, which is found nowhere else in the world, seems to offer high or even complete protection against the development of kuru and has become frequent in this area through natural selection over recent history, in direct response to the epidemic. This is thought be perhaps the strongest example yet of recent natural selection in humans.
Professor John Collinge, Director of the MRC Prion Unit & Head of the Department of Neurodegenerative Disease said: “It’s absolutely fascinating to see Darwinian principles at work here. This community of people has developed their own biologically unique response to a truly terrible epidemic. The fact that this genetic evolution has happened in a matter of decades is remarkable. Kuru comes from the same disease family as CJD so the discovery of this powerful resistance factor opens up new areas for research taking us closer to understanding, treating and hopefully preventing a range of prion diseases.”
Dr Simon Mead who led the research said: "This work is a classical example of recent and strong human evolution, and sheds light on the mechanisms of the protein misfolding diseases"
The study which began in 1996, was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on 19 November 2009.
Reference >> A Novel Protective Prion Protein Variant that Colocalizes with Kuru Exposure. Simon Mead, Jerome Whitfield, Mark Poulter, Paresh Shah, James Uphill, Tracy Campbell, Huda Al-Dujaily, Holger Hummerich, Jon Beck, Charles A. Mein, Claudio Verzilli, John Whittaker, Michael P. Alpers, and John Collinge. New England Journal of Medicine Volume 361:2056-2065. November 19, 2009
Text derived from material supplied by the MRC.
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