X-Message-Number: 28358
From: "Basie" <>
Subject: Mild hypoxia is good for you
Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2006 15:05:18 -0400

Oxygen Deprived Brains Repaired And Saved
Scientists from Melbourne's Howard Florey Institute have found special 
proteins that protect the brain after it has been damaged by a lack of 
oxygen, which occurs in conditions such as stroke, perinatal asphyxia, 
near-drowning and traumatic brain injury.
Dr Nicole Jones and her team discovered that during oxygen deprivation, or 
'hypoxia', these proteins (HIF1 and PHD2) increase.

These proteins regulate processes like the production of red blood cells and 
new blood vessels, and the flow of glucose to the brain. Therefore they are 
involved in preventing further brain damage and repairing damage caused by 
the initial injury.

This discovery takes the Howard Florey Institute's scientists closer to 
developing preventative and regenerative treatments for brain damage caused 
by hypoxia.

Dr Jones said her discovery resulted from looking at how the body tries to 
protect itself and how the brain reacts when it experiences mild, 
non-damaging hypoxia.

"I found that mild, non-damaging hypoxia actually protected the brain 
against a subsequent injury by activating certain proteins," Dr Jones said.

"Mild hypoxia appears to pre-condition neural tissues against a mass 
'suicide' of healthy neurons after a stroke or other brain trauma.

"In an experiment in rats, mild hypoxia followed by a major stroke resulted 
in less brain damage than if the rat experienced just a major stroke -- all 
because these protective proteins were increased by the first non-damaging 
exposure to hypoxia.

"I am now looking at developing both preventative and regenerative 
treatments that mimic these proteins' protective and repairing effects," she 

Dr Jones is now testing drug candidates, and would like to develop new drugs 
that activate these protective proteins in the brain.

While further research is required, Dr Jones and her team are hopeful that 
their investigations will lead to effective treatments that will help people 
experiencing hypoxia, and also to improve recovery from hypoxic induced 
brain damage.

Dr Jones' research has been recently published in the Journal of Cerebral 
Blood Flow and Metabolism and Neuroscience Letters.

The Howard Florey Institute is Australia's leading brain research centre. 
Its scientists undertake clinical and applied research that can be developed 
into treatments to combat brain disorders, and new medical practices. Their 
discoveries will improve the lives of those directly, and indirectly, 
affected by brain and mind disorders in Australia, and around the world. The 
Florey's research areas cover a variety of brain and mind disorders 
including Parkinson's disease, stroke, motor neuron disease, addiction, 
epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, autism and dementia.

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