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A protein atlas of the brain

Garden City: Doubleday, , p. These for him constitute the "psychological person. This existential reality, the ontological person, under certain conditions is capable of manifesting itself differently, not because of any radical change in its being, but because of modifications in its bodily or mental life. The " person " ontologically understood is the subject in which the changes occur.

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It remains identically itself throughout aberrations of mind and body. The ontological person, therefore, is the fundamental reality which originates with conception or shortly thereafter and remains unchanged until death. Obviously the behavioral changes associated with mental illness occur in the ontological person, but they are changes of the psychological person. Hence, a schizophrenic is one being, one rational, existent being, manifesting more than one emotional and behavioral pattern.

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The ontological person is an autonomous totality composed of numerous interdependent functional parts. All the parts live by the same life, the unique life of the person, and yet each part has its distinctive vital function.

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Certain functional parts are so thoroughly dependent upon others that the distinctiveness of specific functions and parts is not infrequently called into question. One important problem much discussed today and in the past concerns the relation of the mind to the brain. Is the mind, as some insist, nothing more than the brain in its functional capacity? If so, is an injured brain the same as an injured mind? Or is the mind a reality distinct from the brain?

If so, how do they interact in normal thought, and where is the failure causing mental disease? If the mind is a reality distinct from the brain, how does a chemical compound interact with it? And if mental illness is nothing but a malfunctioning of the brain whose function is ultimately dependent upon molecular activity , how can psychotherapy, that is, a non-chemical treatment , be effective in reversing an abnormal brain Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.

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Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves. UCLA Professor David Eisenberg and an international team of chemists and molecular biologists reported in the journal Nature in that amyloid fibrils contain proteins that interlock like the teeth of a zipper.

Their hypothesis has been supported by recent studies. More than 5. Rebeccah Warmack, who was a UCLA graduate student at the time of the study and is its lead author, discovered that a specific version of age-modified beta amyloid contains a second molecular zipper not previously known to exist.

Proteins live in water, but all the water gets pushed out as the fibril is sealed and zipped up. What goes wrong with beta amyloid, whose most common forms have 40 or 42 amino acids that are connected like a string of beads on a necklace?

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The researchers report that with age, the 23rd amino acid can spontaneously form a kink, similar to one in a garden hose. This kinked form is known as isoAsp The normal version does not create the stronger second molecular zipper, but the kinked form does. The normal form of beta amyloid has six water molecules that prevent the formation of a tight zipper, but the kink ejects these water molecules, allowing the zipper to form. When one of its amino acids forms a kink, beta amyloid creates a harmful molecular zipper, shown here in green.

Clarke thinks the kinks in this amino acid form throughout our lives, but we have a protein repair enzyme that fixes them.


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If not repaired or if degraded in time, the kink can spread to virtually every neuron and can do tremendous damage. The research offers clues to pharmaceutical companies, which could develop ways to prevent formation of the kink or get the repair enzyme to work better; or by designing a cap that would prevent fibrils from growing. Clarke said beta amyloid and a much larger protein tau — with more than amino acids — make a devastating one-two punch that forms fibrils and spreads them to many neurons throughout the brain.

All humans have both beta amyloid and tau.

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Researchers say it appears that beta amyloid produces fibrils that can lead to tau aggregates, which can spread the toxicity to other brain cells. However, exactly how beta amyloid and tau work together to kill neurons is not yet known. She used a modified type of cryo-electron microscopy to analyze the crystals. Cryo-electron microscopy, whose development won its creators the Nobel Prize in chemistry, enables scientists to see large biomolecules in extraordinary detail.

Professor Tamir Gonen pioneered the modified microscopy, called microcrystal electron diffraction, which enables scientists to study biomolecules of any size.

He said regular exercise can help protect the brain.