Head injuries can be harmful. A new study shows that there might be even be more harm created by head injuries. Head injuries change genes leading to brain diseases.
Researchers have identified the master genes that control other genes. Damage to these master genes could result into a subsequent damage to other genes as well. A head injury has the potential of turning these master genes as triggers for a number of brain diseases.
Xia Yang is the senior author of the study. He is also an associate professor of Integrative Biology and Physiology at UCLA. He said there are a number of ways that head injuries can change the master genes and affect other genes.
One way is for the injury to make the genes produce proteins in irregular forms. Another way is for an injury to change the number of genes being copied in each cell. With these changes, genes will not work properly and would lead to illnesses.
Fernando Gomez-Pinilla is the co-senior author of the study and a professor of Neurosurgery and Integrative Biology and Physiology. He said that it is not yet fully understood how head trauma can lead to brain diseases later in life. The study has been made in order to learn how the process works, according to the UCLA Newsroom.
For the research, 20 lab rats were put in a maze. 10 of the rats were given a fluid which made them be in a concussion-like state. The other 10 rats remained normal. The rats who were given the fluid took 25% more time to get through the maze than the normal rats.
Five of the rats from each group were analyzed to see how brain injury affected their genes. The researchers took RNA from the hippocampus, a part of the brain that deals with learning and memory. 268 of the genes taken showed signs of alteration from the rats that had concussion, as Science Daily reports.
The altered genes have been found in the brain and blood of the rats with concussion. Measuring these could help doctors determine if a person might develop brain disorders later on. Head injuries can change genes leading to brain diseases. A study has found that yoga can help fight depression.