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Stress and anxiety play a significant role in ageing our brain and us

on 04 April 2019
The birth of another cell

Hypothalamic stem cells are the birthplace of new brain cells (neurons) and, as it turns out, the more of them the better, albeit quality is way ahead of quantity. So, it makes good sense to do what we can to get more of them; but how. . . .

Perhaps one of the best ways I know to assist our brain to do its job (with the obvious need to provide it with sufficient air, water (good liquids) and good food), is by being calm and relaxed. And one of the most effective methods, I know of, to stimulate the brain is by using hypnotherapy. Hypnosis allows our brain to discover how to create that calm and relaxed environment that manifests as a feeling and obviously to do so for as long and often as we can. If we understand that it is our brain that stimulates us into certain behaviours that lead us to seek out our favourite drug supplier, then we understand the nature of addiction and that the nebulous "we," to a certain extent, are merely the gofer of our brain, it is commanding us, we are not managing it!

Substances like, nicotine, alcohol and narcotics stress the brain, some of it is oxidative and some psychological and this has the potential to diminish the production and quality of neural stem cells, the consequences of which can affect learning and memory and also make us to age more quickly. Whether age-related cognitive decline is consequential of physical age or brain/body age, could factor into this. Of course, this information has no value it remains rhetorical or semantic in nature, to get the full quota of your life, the best is to have a brain and body that is younger than your physical age; hypnotherapy can help you achieve that!

The stem cells I mentioned above and those which are the topic of this research, begin their life in the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus, an important area of the overall hippocampal region. The biggest of life's problems, that can interfere with the process of new stem cell production, is stress and anxiety. This is because stress and excess anxiety (the fight or flight response), badly affect their numbers. Since it turns out that stress and anxiety, including depression, have a negative impact on the brain's ability to replenish its stocks of neural stem cells, then stress not only makes you feel bad, it also is ageing you more quickly too! So, to stay as young as possible, for as long as possible; you need to get with the programme - Trans4mational Hypnotherapy Anxiety and Stress Management programme!

Hypnotherapy stands out as one of the most effective strategic life management methods there is, especially in its ability to redesign the way our deeper mind encodes beliefs. The many behaviours that make life challenging are often a result of dysfunctional neurotransmission in and across the brain. It is important to consider first dealing with any stress and anxiety, which are almost always present in many disorders that I treat, then to deal with the underlying issues, So it makes perfect sense to use a methodology that addresses the subconscious mind's role in perpetuating these conditions. If you would like to address any concerns you have in this direction, or, if you just want to make your life feel better,  then why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation? Hypnosis gives you the ability to have a good life!

The objective here is to help people understand how and why we become illogically trapped into irrational emotional experiences that may actually be happening for reasons different to that which we would imagine! If you want to know more about how Hypnotherapy can help you; why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation?

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The Research: Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine have found that stem cells in the brain's hypothalamus govern how fast ageing occurs in the body. The finding, made in mice, could lead to new strategies for warding off age-related diseases and extending lifespan. The paper was published online today in Nature.

The hypothalamus was known to regulate important processes including growth, development, reproduction and metabolism. In a 2013 Nature paper, Einstein researchers made the surprising finding that the hypothalamus also regulates ageing throughout the body. Now, the scientists have pinpointed the cells in the hypothalamus that control ageing: a tiny population of adult neural stem cells, which were known to be responsible for forming new brain neurons.

"Our research shows that the number of hypothalamic neural stem cells naturally declines over the life of the animal, and this decline accelerates ageing," says senior author Dongsheng Cai, M.D., Ph.D., (professor of molecular pharmacology at Einstein. "But we also found that the effects of this loss are not irreversible. By replenishing these stem cells or the molecules they produce, it's possible to slow and even reverse various aspects of ageing throughout the body."

In studying whether stem cells in the hypothalamus held the key to ageing, the researchers first looked at the fate of those cells as healthy mice got older. The number of hypothalamic stem cells began to diminish when the animals reached about 10 months, which is several months before the usual signs of ageing start appearing. "By old age -- about two years of age in mice -- most of those cells were gone," says Dr Cai.

The researchers next wanted to learn whether this progressive loss of stem cells was actually causing ageing and was not just associated with it. So they observed what happened when they selectively disrupted the hypothalamic stem cells in middle-aged mice. "This disruption greatly accelerated ageing compared with control mice, and those animals with disrupted stem cells died earlier than normal," says Dr Cai.

Could adding stem cells to the hypothalamus counteract ageing? To answer that question, the researchers injected hypothalamic stem cells into the brains of middle-aged mice whose stem cells had been destroyed as well as into the brains of normal old mice. In both groups of animals, the treatment slowed or reversed various measures of ageing.

Dr Cai and his colleagues found that the hypothalamic stem cells appear to exert their anti-aging effects by releasing molecules called microRNAs (miRNAs). They are not involved in protein synthesis but instead play key roles in regulating gene expression. miRNAs are packaged inside tiny particles called exosomes, which hypothalamic stem cells release into the cerebrospinal fluid of mice.

The researchers extracted miRNA-containing exosomes from hypothalamic stem cells and injected them into the cerebrospinal fluid of two groups of mice: middle-aged mice whose hypothalamic stem cells had been destroyed and normal middle-aged mice. This treatment significantly slowed ageing in both groups of animals as measured by tissue analysis and behavioural testing that involved assessing changes in the animals' muscle endurance, coordination, social behaviour and cognitive ability.

The researchers are now trying to identify the particular populations of microRNAs and perhaps other factors secreted by these stem cells that are responsible for these anti-aging effects -- a first step toward possibly slowing the ageing process and treating age-related diseases.

The article is titled, "Hypothalamic stem cells control ageing speed partly through exosomal miRNAs." The other authors are Yalin Zhang. Ph.D., Min Soo Kim, Ph.D., Baosen Jia, Ph.D., Jingqi Yan, Ph.D., Juan Pablo Zuniga-Hertz, Ph.D., and Cheng Han, Ph.D., all at Einstein.

The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (DK078750, AG031774 , HL113180, and DK099136).


Story Source:

Materials provided by Albert Einstein College of MedicineNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Yalin Zhang, Min Soo Kim, Baosen Jia, Jingqi Yan, Juan Pablo Zuniga-Hertz, Cheng Han, Dongsheng Cai. Hypothalamic stem cells control ageing speed partly through exosomal miRNAsNature, 2017; DOI: 10.1038/nature23282