Common Ways Youre Killing Your Brain Cells
There are a number of ways in which brain cells can die. Lack of blood or oxygen is one of them. Other causes of brain cell death include chemicals, medications, lack of sleep and more. Avoiding these things is the most effective way to prevent brain cell death, leading to a longer, clearer and happier mind or brain. Here are six common ways that people kill brain cells.
1. Lack of SleepMany people work jobs that require them to be awake at odd hours. Basically, a study has determined that loosing sleep can lead to irreversible brain damage. This actually makes a ton of sense when one thinks about it. Many animals, including humans, sleep to allow their body to heal, and skipping this important process can be detrimental.
2. Smoking Most smoke, including tobacco smoke, contains not only carcinogens but gases such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Both of these gases, especially carbon monoxide, are known to cause brain cell death. The main reason for this is that these gases take the place of oxygen, a necessary gas for brain cells to function.
4. Severe DehydrationTypical, average dehydration wont cause enough water loss that will result in brain damage. However, severe dehydration, such as being stuck in the desert for days, can lead to significant brain-cell death. This is mainly because of the fact that brain cells need water to survive, and the body is mainly made of water.
Can Nerve Damage Be Repaired
Once the inflammation caused by the immune attack is over, it is possible for the body to replace damaged myelin. This process is known as remyelination. Although the new myelin can work effectively, it tends to be thinner than unaffected myelin and so messages through the affected nerves may not be as fast as before the attack.
Remyelination tends to occur in the earlier stages of MS but, with repeated relapses or attacks, oligodendrocytes become damaged and destroyed. Eventually, they may not be able to produce more myelin. If an axon is left without the protection of myelin it will be more vulnerable to damage and may die.
Your central nervous system is able to overcome small areas of nerve damage by rerouting messages using undamaged nerve cells. This ability to adapt to avoid damaged areas is called plasticity. Messages may take longer to get through but your symptoms will improve to some extent.
Should the area of damage become too large, this rerouting process is no longer able to compensate. Messages to or from that part of the central nervous system are permanently blocked, resulting in symptoms that do not improve for you.
Remyelination and neuroprotection are potential areas where new treatments could be developed. Some research is looking into drugs that protect nerves from damage and so halt or slow down the progression of MS. Some research is investigating drugs that promote myelin repair, which would mean that damage could be reversed and function improved.
Why Dont Neurons Undergo Mitosis
Cells dont start out knowing what their function is. They are like babies with an unknown future. These early cells replicating during zygote formation are called embryonic stem cells. They can form any cell in the body and have an almost limitless capacity to divide. But as they replicate more times, the cells begin to pick their function. This process is called differentiation. As cells continue to specialize in a certain set of functions, they lose the capacity to divide.
Neurons are extremely specialized cells. Due to their unique power and function within the body, the connections and pathways that are established between nervous centers are interconnected and valuable. Most of the cellular resources in a neuron are devoted to communicating and carrying electrochemical messages to other neurons.
Similar to cardiac muscle cells dedicating all their energy to pumping your blood, neurons dont have time or resources to copy themselves and reproduce.
Furthermore, since these cells are so highly specialized and the intricate network of communication is so complicated, the addition of new nerve cells could disrupt those pathways, affecting the normal function of the body, its muscles, and ability to communicate effectively.
For this reason, protecting your brain and spinal cord is of the utmost importance. Any potential damage or risk to your nervous system should be taken very seriously, as those cells wont simply replicate overnight.
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How Whippets Affect The Brain
But while their short-term effects are dangerous, do whippets kill brain cells? Researchers have made clear that whippets can deprive the heart and brain of much-needed oxygen, a condition formally known as hypoxia. Its also common knowledge that the brain cant function without oxygen, and the longer it lacks oxygen, the more damage occurs. So yes, whippets can kill brain cells.
Similar to many other drugs, using whippets long-term may cause irreparable brain and nerve damage. Many people have landed in the hospital and have even died suddenly as a result of hypoxia. While many people consider this another easy or fun drug to use, the aftereffects of substance abuse are anything but enjoyable.
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How Then Does The Brain Repair Itself
Learning about the limitations of neurons compared to skin cells, you may be disappointed that an organ as important as the brain seems to be unprepared for damaging events. The truth is, the central nervous system has an ingenious strategy to repair itself that is entirely different from the strategy used by other organs. The brain will never be the same as before the damage, but it will try to compensate for its losses. Neurons in the brain are able to change their connections with each other. This process is called plasticity, and it helps the brain to adapt to the loss of neurons. Forget for a moment about dying cells, the responsibility for plasticity lies entirely with the surviving cells. How does this work?
- Figure 3
- In response to an injury, a brain cell can adapt by growing new arms and also by increasing or decreasing the strength of existing connections .
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Brain Oxygen Deprivation: The Basics
Doctors typically refer to two distinct forms of oxygen deprivation: anoxic brain injuries occur when the brain is totally deprived of oxygen due to sudden cardiac arrest, choking, strangulation, and other sudden injuries. Hypoxic brain injuries occur when the brain receives less oxygen than it needs, but is not completely deprived of oxygen. Because the effects of the two injuries are similar, many brain experts use the terms interchangeably.
A few seconds of oxygen deprivation won’t cause lasting harm, so a child who holds his breath in frustration, a combatant choked unconscious during a Jiu-Jitsu match, and a diver who needs a few extra seconds to come up for air are unlikely to experience brain damage. The precise timeline of anoxic brain injuries depends on a number of personal idiosyncrasies, including overall brain and cardiovascular health, as well as the level of blood oxygenation at the time of injury. Generally speaking, injuries begin at the one-minute mark, steadily worsening thereafter.
What Are Tau Tangles
Tau tangles or neurofibrillary tangles are clumps of a protein called tau and happen inside the neurons, inside brain nerve cells that are important for memory.
Tau protein is abundant in neurons and helps stabilize their axons. Thus, tau is important for normal neuron function.
During Alzheimers disease tau changes and clumps together, like the amyloid beta. But in this case the clumps happen inside the cells.
These clumps are called tangles because the tau protein looks like a helix similar to DNA but its a single helix. And these helices tangle up like a hairball.
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Cardiolipins Effect Reduced In Brain Cells
In order to find out how brain cells deal with incorrectly folded alpha-synuclein, Prof. Ryan and his colleagues carried out experiments using human stem cells.
We thought, says Prof. Ryan, if we can better understand how cells normally fold alpha-synuclein, we may be able to exploit that process to dissolve these aggregates and slow the spread of the disease.
The researchers compared normal stem cells with those from people with Parkinsons disease who carried a mutated version of the alpha-synuclein gene.
Through these experiments, the team discovered that alpha-synuclein attaches to mitochondria inside brain cells, and that the cardiolipin in the mitochondria refolds the protein into non-toxic forms, thus delaying the process of alpha-synuclein toxicity.
The scientists also found that the buffering capacity is reduced in cells that had the mutated forms of alpha-synuclein that lead to familial Parkinsons disease.
Thus, the researchers suggest that the ability of cardiolipin to slow or halt the progress of alpha-synuclein toxicity is eventually overwhelmed and leads to the death of cells in people with Parkinsons disease.
They believe that their results could lead to a new drug that slows the progression of the disease by targeting cardiolipins role in the folding of alpha-synuclein.
The hope is, says Prof. Ryan, that we will be able to rescue locomotor deficits in an animal model. Its a big step towards treating the cause of this disease.
Watching What Happens When A Brain Cell Dies
When neurons die, cellular garbage collectors mobilize in a highly choreographed procedure to dispose of the corpse and clear away debris. A failure to fully remove neurons can lead to neurodevelopmental disorders early in life and declines in cognitive abilities later in life. Yale researchers Eyiyemisi Damisah and Robert Hill from Jaime Grutzendlers neuroscience lab have for the first time captured images of this process at the level of a single neuron. In the June 26 issue of the journal Science Advances, they show how specialized brain cells closely coordinate the removal of neuronal corpses and dendrites from the central nervous system.
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What Kind Of Effect Does A Stroke Have
The brain is an extremely complex organ that controls various body functions. If a stroke occurs and blood flow can’t reach the region that controls a particular body function, that part of the body won’t work as it should. If the stroke occurs in the part of the brain that controls muscle movements , for instance, it’s likely that some weakness or paralysis will result. The effects of a stroke depend primarily on the location of the obstruction and the extent of brain tissue affected.
The effects of a stroke depend on several factors including the location of the obstruction and how much brain tissue is affected. However, because one side of the brain controls the opposite side of the body, a stroke affecting one side will result in neurological complications on the side of the body it affects. For example, if the stroke occurs in the brain’s right side, the left side of the body will be affected, which could produce any or all of the following:
- Paralysis on the left side of the body
- Vision problems
- Memory loss
If the stroke occurs in the left side of the brain, the right side of the body will be affected, producing some or all of the following:
- Paralysis on the right side of the body
- Speech/language problems
- Memory loss
Back of Brain
If the stroke occurs in the back of the brain, some or all of the following symptoms may occur:
- Difficulty with balance
Front of Brain
- Impaired attention span
How Do Cells Die
Cells can die because they are damaged, but most cells die by killing themselves.
There are several distinct ways in which a cell can die. Some occur by an organised, programmed process. Some cell death processes leave no trace of the dead cell, whereas others activate the immune system with substances from the dead cell.
Apoptosis: is a form of cell death that prevents immune activation. Apoptotic cells have a particular microscopic appearance. The cell activates proteins called caspases that are normally dormant. These caspases dismantle the cell from within. The apoptotic cell breaks into small packages that can be engulfed by other cells. This prevents the cell contents leaking out of the dying cell and allows the components to be recycled.
Necrosis: occurs when a cell dies due to lack of a blood supply, or due to a toxin. The cells contents can leak out and damage neighbouring cells, and may also trigger inflammation.
Necroptosis: is similar in appearance to necrosis, in that the dying cells contents can leak out. However, like apoptosis, necroptosis is a programmed suicide process triggered by specific proteins in the dying cell.
Pyroptosis: is a form of cell death that occurs in some cells infected with certain viruses or bacteria. A cell dying by pyroptosis releases molecules, called cytokines, that alert neighbouring cells to the infection. This triggers inflammation, a protective response that restricts the spread of the viruses and bacteria.
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Neurons Could Outlive The Bodies That Contain Them
Most of your body is younger than you are. The cells on the topmost layer of your skin are around two weeks old, and soon to die. Your oldest red blood cells are around four months old. Your livers cells will live for around 10 to 17 months old before being replaced. All across your organs, cells are being produced and destroyed. They have an expiry date.
In your brain, its a different story. New neurons are made in just two parts of the brainthe hippocampus, involved in memory and navigation, and the olfactory bulb, involved in smell . Aside from that, your neurons are as old as you are and will last you for the rest of your life. They dont divide, and theres no turnover.
But do neurons have a maximum lifespan, just like skin, blood or liver cells? Yes, obviously, they die when you die, but what if you kept on living? Thats not a far-fetched question at a time when medical and technological advances promise to prolong our lives well past their usual boundaries. Would we reach a point when our neurons give up before our bodies do?
Lorenzo Magrassi, a neurosurgeon at the University of Pavia, thinks not. He recently transplanted neuron-making cells from mouse embryos into the developing brains of longer-lived rats. These cells matured into neurons that looked like mouse neurons but with rat lifespans. They survived for up to 36 months, around twice as long as they normally do in their native mouse brains.
What Happens During A Stroke
If something happens to block the flow of blood, brain cells start to die within minutes because they cant get oxygen. This causes a stroke.
There are two types of stroke:
- An ischemic stroke occurs when blood clots or other particles block the blood vessels to the brain. Fatty deposits called plaque can also cause blockages by building up in the blood vessels.
- A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel bursts in the brain. Blood builds up and damages surrounding brain tissue.
Both types of stroke damage brain cells. Symptoms of that damage start to show in the parts of the body controlled by those brain cells.
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Why Do Neurons Die Off
Now, the human brain is remarkably robust. When we encode a memory, its not saved in a single place like it would be in the memory of a computer chip. All of our memories are encoded across thousandsin some cases millionsof neuronal cells.
If a few of those cells die, the memory will still be accessible. If a few neurons involved in performing some skill you know die off or are destroyed by injury, youll still be able to perform that skill.
However, if enough neurons die off at a constant rate, eventually the system starts to be compromised. Those basic abilities measured by cognitive testing decline.
Many things can cause a neuron to die, including physical injury. There is a large body of evidence now demonstrating that frequent trauma to the headeven trauma that doesnt result in a trip to the hospitalresults in cognitive decline even more than that associated with typical aging.
Sports like boxing and American football come with this risk of premature shrinkage of the brain and the cognitive deficits associated with aging. Disease can kill neurons as well.
There are particular viruses and bacteria that specifically attack brain tissue. Circulatory issues can kill brain tissue. If an artery is blocked, preventing blood from flowing to a region of the brain, the neurons in that region will quickly begin dying off.
Grow And Maintain New Brain Cells With A Mental Workout
One of the most fascinating examples of neurogenesis in action has been observed in the brains of London cab drivers.
London cabbies give their brains a tremendous workout by memorizing the streets and landmarks of London.
Using MRIs, researchers discovered that the hippocampus of a typical London cabbie is significantly larger than that of their non-taxi-driving peers. 01267-X” rel=”nofollow”> 54)
The hippocampus is the part of the brain responsible for storing and organizing memories and for spatial navigation.
But, you dont have to memorize the 25,000 streets and 20,000 landmarks in London to grow your hippocampus.
Any time you challenge your brain with something thats new and complex, it helps build your brain in two ways.
It stimulates the formation of new brain cells, and it assures that new ones stick around.
For the brain, as for muscles, use it or lose it applies.
Any brain cells or neural connections that are not regularly used are allowed to die.
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