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'Survival' genes hold key to healthy brains in babies and the elderly

apies to help halt the progress of neurological diseases.

He added: "Our work also bears relevance to the potential harm that can befall an unborn baby if it is exposed to substances which suppress its brain activity, like alcohol, and certain drugs like Ketamine and PCP (Angel Dust). The brain cells of young, developing brains are particularly reliant on signals from these 'survival' genes, but these signals are suppressed if their mothers are taking drugs or drinking alcohol.

"This in turn can lead to serious health problems such as foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, which affects up to one per cent of live births in the UK and can cause mental retardation, behavioural problems and diminished growth. Some of this harm may be reduced or minimized if we know exactly how it is taking place."


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Contact: Linda Menzies
linda.menzies@ed.ac.uk
44-131-650-6382
University of Edinburgh
5-Dec-2005


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