As the world begins another calendar year, I urge all readers to try to open the minds of the international community to the momentous work that Israel is doing. Israelis certainly have been using their brains and also focusing on making a clean start to 2013.
Beginning with the brain itself, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, together with the Max Planck Society of Germany, is to build a 3 million euro Brain Research Center in the nation’s capital, Jerusalem. When complete, it should initiate new treatments for destructive neurological diseases. Even before the new center is complete, Hebrew Uni researchers have discovered a key protein, Calphotin, whose absence can cause Alzheimer’s. Calphotin regulates the amount of Calcium contained in the body’s cells. Loss of Calphotin (e.g. due to aging) causes Calcium levels to rise and accelerates cell death. Finally, a study by Israeli neurologist Dr. Rivka Inzelberg has identified an interesting side effect of dopamine-stimulating medication to control symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Patients have contracted artistic or literary creative skills that they never had previously. Reducing the medication suppresses these new skills. (Read more…)