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Dementia: Scientists have made a ‘promising’ discovery – could a cure be in sight?

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One of the hallmarks of neurological disease is the death of brain cells, which causes progressive degeneration of the brain over time. Researchers now believe one brain cell, known as an astrocyte, may play a key role in their death. Studies have shown that these cells release toxic chemicals to which neutrons succumb. This phenomenon, scientists believe, could be the driving factor behind most, if not all, neurodegenerative diseases.

A team of researchers at the New York University made the breakthrough discovery while conducting a study on mice. 

The findings, they believe, could pave the way for the development of effective new treatments and help inform preventative measures against the diseases.

The lead author of the study, Professor Shane Liddelow, said: “Our findings show the toxic fatty acids produced by astrocytes play a critical role in brain cell death.”

The star-shaped astrocytes had long been known to clear the toxins that accumulate in the brain after head trauma.

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