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POST-GAZETTE, FEBRUARY 1,2013 Page 7 IX) SAPEVATE CHE ... Un comune metodo di cura contro molte malattie neuro- degenerative, tra cui l'Alzheimer ed il Parkinson, e' possible e consiste nell'impedire la morte dei neuroni disattivando una proteina coinvolta in queste malattie. La prospettiva e' quindi arrivare a sviluppare un unico farmaco che vale bene per tutte. II grande passo avanti, che apre un campo di indagine totalmente nuovo ed insperato per la cura di queste patologie, si deve ad uno studio di Giovanna Mallucci del reparto di tossicologia della Universita' di Leicester (UK), condotto su topi afflitti dal morbo di Crentzfeldt-Jacob (malattia prionica simile a 'mucca pazza'). Disattivando la proteina si impedisce la morte dei neuroni, tipica di questa e di alter malattie neurogenetaive, ha spiegato alI'ANSA la Mallucci, nata a Londra da papa' italiano e da madre irlandese. Bloccando la stessa sostanza si riscrive il destino dei neuroni salvandoli da morte certa ed arrestando la malattia. "Si tratta di un lavoro rivoluzionario, se il risultato fosse confermato in altri modelli di malattia neurodegenera- tive. Potrebbe essere un buon meccanismo per cominciare a pensare ad una terapia comne a molte malattie", ha com- mentato Maurizio Pocchiari, direttore del reparto Patologie Neurologiche Degenerative ed Infiammatorie dell'Istituto Superiore di Sanita'. Mallucci ha spiegato che i neuroni muoiono perche' l'accumulo delle proteine tossiche li porta a fermare del tutto la sintesi di qualunque altra proteina. I neuroni hanno bisogno di produrre tantissime proteine per vivere e funzionare. II neurone ha bisogno di proteggersi dall'accumulo di proteine tossiche per non morire. DID YOU KNOW THAT ... A common form of therapy against many neurodegenera- tive illnesses, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, is pos- sible and consists in preventing the death of neurons by blocking a protein causing these illnesses. A significant step forward, which opens up an entirely new investigative and unexpected field for the treatment of these pathologies, is the work of a study by Giovanna Mallucci of the Toxicology Department of the Leicester University (UK) and performed on mice ,mcflictedwithkh C'entzfeldt-Jaeob disease (typl- cal of the 'crazy cow' illness). By deactivating the protein, the neuron stays alive, as in the case of other degenera- tive illnesses, MaIlucci explained to the ANSA (Italian News Agency), Ms. Mallucci was born in London of an Italian fa- ther and of an Irish mother. By blocking the same protein the neurons remain alive and the illness is stopped. "It is quite a revolutionary work, if the results are confirmed in other neurodegenerative ex- amples. It could be a new mechanism, just thinking of a common therapy on many illnesses," remarked Maurizio Pocchiari, Director of Regenerative and Inflammatory Neuro- pathologies, of the National Institute of Health. Mallucci explains that the neurons die because the concentration of toxic proteins makes them stop entirely the synthesis of any mother protein. The neurons need to produce a lot of proteins to live and function. The neuron needs to have protection from heaping up toxic proteins to live. East Boston Kiwanis Club VA -y The Kiwanis Club of East Boston is presenting a pre-Valentine's Day Bash at the VFW in Beachmont (Revere) on Saturday, February 2 nd from 7:00 pm- 11:00 pm. With your ticket you'll get a heart-warming dinner buffet of comfort food and music from DJ Phil Brangiforte of Perfect Sounds. What better way to pass a cold winter's night than with friends you've known for a long time and the new ones you'll meet that night? Come on, spread some love! Please call Kiwanian Bill Chisholm for tickets at 1-339-226-1029. Sap Here is a very interesting article I read. Can Cats Deliver Your Mail? This is one of the strangest cat facts I've ever dug up. We all know the ol' dog-chasing mailman cliche, but what if I told you the mailman was a cat? According to an 1876 article in the New York Times, an organization known as the Belgian Society for the Elevation of the Domestic Cat once came up with the outlandish idea to use cats as messengers between vil- lages. The first step was to test whether these house- cats could find their way back home from a strange location in the middle of no- where. So three dozen cats (plus one more for safe mea- sure, apparently, for a total of 37) were rounded up, placed into a big bag, and then trotted out on horse- back for 20 miles into the Belgian countryside. Then they were released and left to their own devices. You can email your questions to postgazette@aol.com to the attention of Freeway. Don't forget folks, Freeway is not a vet, so please keep the questions light-heartedl Thanks. Wouldn't you know, the first of the cats arrived back home in Liege, Belgium, five hours later. And within a day's time, every one of the cats had reportedly returned to their houses, looking by all accounts as if nothing had happened out of the ordinary. Based on these surprising results, the society hoped, somewhat illogically, that a regular postal system could be set up using cats to deliver messages between villages. It would be like carrier pigeons, but using cats instead and the mes- sages would be inserted into waterproof baggies tied to the cat's neck. Did this plan ever come to fruition? Apparently not. And Sources: I don't think anyone has The New York Times "Postal ever been surprised that Cats" March 4, 1876. this idea was a big dud. Then The Western Argus (Kal- again, was the whole thing goorlie, Washington) "Cats just a hoax? as Messengers" April 11, Good Question. I'm hon- 1922. estly not sure, but it's clear That's all for now/ P.S. I would like to congratulate my human Marie Simboli who was elected to North EndWaterfront Resident's Association (NEWRA) as Sergeant-at-Arms. I guess I'U be home another night alone/ that the New York Times had a great deal of fun writing its tongue-in-cheek article. (The newspaper jokingly predicted a day when "swift and discreet" felines could be entrusted to relay messages even between lovers and their mistresses.) Let's be grateful that we live in an age when the mail is not delivered by cats. Don't get me wrong. I am only a pooch and I love cats. But I'm not sure I'd trust a cat to deliver my human companion's rent check Would you? I hope my boss isn't going to ask me to go to the Post Office and get the mailI Don't Write Off Frank Baker's School Committee Idea Too Quickly City Councilor Frank Baker, who represents Dis- _trict 5,-qn the Bostqn City Council, recently introduced what I consider a much- needed reform as far as the Boston School Committee is concerned. Baker seeks to have four members ap- pointed by the mayor and three members elected at- large by the voters of Boston. Presently, the entire Boston School Committee is ap- pointed by the mayor. Baker believes a hybrid system would be more democratic and closer to the parents of Boston's public school stu- dents. Baker is not alone in this reform measure. All we have to do is look back over recent history and we see the anguish shared by many parents trying to get their kids into the best schools out there and at the same time have their children not spending so much time riding buses to and from by Sal Giarratani schools distant from home and neighborhood. The Boston Herald editorialized against Baker's idea re- cently saying the last thing the children and parents of Boston need are more politics back in the school system. Taking a closer look at the editorial I see the Boston Herald puzzled why the people should be handed the power to elect members to its school board since parents years ago elected horrible (in their eyes) members of the old elected five-member school committee. Aren't we a government of, for and by the people? Are the people the government and don't our governors all work for us? Just because the electorate may have elected members who may have not shown the greatest leadership doesn't mean you strip the people of power. The same argument could be also made against giving the people of Boston the right to elect members to the Boston City Council since some times their own voices in government leave much to be desired. To quote the Boston Her- ald's opinion, "It was simply put, a disaster, and kids in the school system were the ones who paid for it. That particularly bad bite of his- tory must never be repeated." What I find very disastrous is the lack of faith in the American people to freely choose their leaders through the vote which many over generations sacrificed their very being to protect. Let's hear out Frank Baker and the people of Boston before writing off this reform measure. Thomas Jefferson once stated, "We are not a democracy of the people but a democracy of the people who participate. Let the people participate in the decision-making of their own government. SUPER BOWL SI]NI)AI00 I(iokoff your Super 00owl Sut4day with S! i N i, LLi S ! All 1 Y 1 lbIY S I00udng half-time enjoy ... Party size pizza, eggplant parmesan, deli platters, buffalo tenders, chicken fingers, 6 foot subs .._. lvINELLI'S Ravioli & Pastry Shop 282 Bennington Street, East Boston Rt. 1, South Lynnfield 617-567-1992 781-592-5552 www.spinellis.com