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Scientists Uncover Protein That Aids Human Movement

Each time a person bends to pick something up, takes a step, or points to something there is a complex system of reactions taking place within the body. Even the blink of an eye creates a pattern of nerve cell signals. It is the responsibilities of the neurotransmitters – tiny chemical messengers – to carry those messages from the nerves to the muscles needed for that movement.

Researchers at Syracuse University recently found that a particular protein plays a large role in this process as well. Its job is simply to carry those neurotransmitters to the nerve synapses, where they will be passed along via another nerve cell. Though only a small piece of a very complex system, this is a huge finding for the scientific field. Understanding how the messages are conveyed within the body can assist the discovery of meaningful treatments and cures for patients of diseases, such as Parkinson’s or even chronic depression.

Each and every message sent by each and every nerve cell within the body is transmitted in the same fashion. Comprehending how this occurs can mean treating a wide variety of conditions under the same basic premise. Grasping how a healthy nerve cell operates means having the ability to ‘shut down’ those that aren’t firing correctly. This could mean closing down the lines of transport for dopamine, which is thought to be an underlying cause of many mental illnesses, including depression. It could also mean stopping the ‘fire commands’ for certain muscles, so they could relax. It is theorized that this would create relief for patients of muscle spasm. It is literally research that could benefit millions.

For more information on the team’s findings, visit the full article

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