A brain like a sponge! – Brain awareness week 2014

In CReSA , among other diseases, we study the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, a group of diseases that drill holes in the brain! This means that when we look under the microscope the brains of animals with this disease we see lots of little holes, this image reminds us of the holes found in sponges and from here comes its name!

And where do these holes come from!? The holes are spaces left by brain cells which are dying because of the prions that accumulate there. Prions are the causative agents, the bad guys, of these diseases for which no treatment or vaccine have yet been discovered.

We are especially interested in the mad cow disease prion disease because it can infect people.

Of these two photomicrographs of a mouse brain , which do you think has a spongiform encephalopathy?

Of these two photomicrographs of a mouse brain , which do you think has a spongiform encephalopathy?

Every year, from 17 to 21 March the Brain Awareness Week is celebrated to raise awareness of the importance and benefits of brain research and again, this year, CReSA participates offering to schools, upon request, a talk on transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and three visits to the center’s facilities, which include a talk about prion diseases.

Download the PDF of the program here.

About the author of this post:

Investigador del subprograma de malalties exòtiques. Laboratori PRIOCAT - SESC (Suport a Escorxadors) - Diagnòstic TBC. enric.vidal@irta.cat