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October 13, 2016

Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2016 Goes to Japanese Researcher into Autophagy

It's not Medial Monitoring day, but I thought I'd mention this. There are claims -- I don't know if these claims are true -- that Intermittent Fasting promotes autophagy, the cells' self-eating of their own defective parts, because the body diverts metabolic energy to self-eating when it's not digesting food from outside the body.

Anyway, here's a translation of this article.

Nobel Prize in Medicine, 2016: What is autophagy?

The Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2016 has been awarded, on October 3rd, to the Japanese biologist Yosinori Oshumi, 71, for having shed light on the mechanisms of autophagy, a process of breaking down and destroying the defective components of the cell.

This process is essential for the survival of the cells. Some mutations in the genes that control autophagy can cause disease, stated the message of the [Nobel Prize] jury, and problems in this process have, importantly, been linked to infections, to neurodegenerative diseases (when misformed proteins are not eliminated), to diabetes type 2 and to cancer.

I think I've mentioned this, but if I haven't, Taubes talks a lot about these misformed proteins, glycoproteins if I remember right, which form when a protein divides imcorrectly and then sticks to a glucose molecule. These glycoproteins collect in the brain and may be directly linked to one of the forms of Alzheimer's.

I think the problem is that other proteins are supposed to break down proteins in the brain, but there aren't any proteins that bond to this weird mutant hybrid protein-sugar molecule, so they're left to accumulate. And they cause loss of brain function in accumulation.

Supposedly a low-carb diet helps prevent this. Maybe. It's complicated; the more insulin you have in your body, apparently the less brain-clearing hormone you have. (This is all sketchy, from memory.)

And I suppose, though now I'm just speculating, that IF may promote the autophagy which removes these defective malformed proteins from the brain. (I'm just guessing on that -- because I don't think there's anything that can clear out these mutant proteins once they're formed and stuck between your neurons. But maybe autophagy eats up the badly-formed proteins which will wind up forming glycoproteins, before they can bond with sugar.)

"The discoveries of Oshumi have led to a new paradigm in the understanding of the manner in which the cell recycles its own parts." The concept of autophagy appeared in the 1960s when scientists observed for the first time the destruction by the cells of their own defective parts. The waste products of the cells is concentrated in the small vesicles, which are transported to the lysosomes, the cell organelles which destroy them [the waste products].

The understanding of this phenomenon, however, remained limited until the work of Mr. Oshumi who, in the beginning of the 1990s, led some "brilliant experiments," according to the Nobel jurists. He had virst worked on the [levures -- a scientific word I don't know], in which he had demonstrated the mechanisms of autophagy and proven them. Then, by several experiments, always among the [levures], he had proven the 15 key genes involved in this process. These results were published in 1992. He had shown that the comparable mechanisms are at work in human cells.

The biologist, professor at the Institute of Technology in Tokyo, had also notably received the Canada Garidner International Award of 2015 for his work. He is the sixth Japanese to win the Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Oh, so I looked up levure. Um, the "lev" is a root seen in the word "elevation."

It's not a scientific word -- it just means "yeast." Levure -- something that rises or raises. Makes sense.

So he did his research in yeast cells, then proved that the same mechanisms were observable in human cells.



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posted by Ace at 06:48 PM

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