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Researchers increase understanding of muscular dystrophy-related cognitive impairment

Researchers increase understanding of muscular dystrophy-related cognitive impairment
9th August 2012

Researchers have increased their understanding of the processes behind cognitive impairment in muscular dystrophy patients.

Brain function is hindered in those with adult-onset muscular dystrophy as a result of molecular missteps that disrupt cognitive processes.

A new study has used an animal model to understand why this is, recreating cognitive and behavioural symptoms of the condition to act as a base for the development of future drug therapies.

Dr Maurice Swanson from the University of Florida and his team focused on the effects of the protein MBNL2, which is found in the brain.

After removing the protein from a mouse model, they observed that subjects developed rapid eye movement during sleep, and learning and memory problems.

Toxic RNAs were also found in the hippocampus and fetal proteins were being produced in the brains of mice.

This indicates that low levels of MBNL2 cause cognitive impairment in muscular dystrophy patients. However, further research is needed.

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