Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Glial Cells


More and more it seems that the cause of SIDS resides in the brain stem. A new study shows that glial cells hinder the growth of nerve cells.
Based on the results of our new study, the increase in glial cells in SIDS babies could be the cause of a compromised growth of brain stem neurons that control the cardiorespiratory function and, ultimately, cause death.

The new study also shows that glial cells direct the growth of brain stem neurons caused by BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor), another molecule found by the Balkowiec lab to play an important role in cardiorespiratory control.
Why is this important? It is important because if they can trace the problem to these glial cells, then scientists can start working how to diagnose and treat infants who are found to have to many glial cells and then the nerve cells can hopefully develop normally. However, as the study points out "Our study shows that the picture is more complex than we had previously thought."

Daddy knows that a cure for SIDS is years (probably decades or more) away, but to find that scientists are starting to fill in more of the blanks is encouraging and gives hope that your death (while senseless) actually happened for at leas t a tangible biological reason.

I love you and miss you!

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