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Lab Reports
March 7, 2007

Shattered Nerves

JAMA. 2007;297(9):941. doi:10.1001/jama.297.9.941-d

Scientists at the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, have identified a gene that produces a protein essential for nerves to stretch without shattering (Hammarlund M et al. J Cell Biol. doi:10.1083/jcb.200611117 [published online January 29, 2007]).

Although the study was done in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, it could have implications for spinocerebellar ataxia type 5, a disease tied to a human version of the gene. This neurodegenerative disease destroys nerve cells in brain regions that control movements and causes loss of coordination in walking, speaking, writing, and swallowing.

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