As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Songbirds pinpoint effects of Huntington's disease

Action of gene traced in brain area for complex movements

Date: March 7, 2016
Source: Duke University

Scientists have parsed the role of the Huntington's disease gene in an area of the songbird's brain responsible for complex, sequential movements. These findings not only give a clearer view of how the genetic mutation that causes Huntington's disease alters brain and behavior, it may also offer a new therapeutic target for treatment.

Although Huntington's disease is caused by mutations in a single gene, understanding how it ravages the brain and body has been anything but simple.

A new study by Duke University scientists parses the role of the Huntington's disease gene in an area of the brain responsible for complex, sequential movements like those used to talk to a friend, play the violin, or swing a golf club.

Described March 7 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the findings not only give a clearer view of how the genetic mutation that causes Huntington's disease alters brain and behavior, it may also offer a new therapeutic target for treatment.

"These new results make a direct link between the genetic mutation, the insults that mutation causes to brain structure and function, and the behavioral pathology," said Richard Mooney, the George Barth Geller Professor of Neurobiology in the Duke School of Medicine.




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