Tuesday, 13 January 2015
Sound Mind and Sound Body? This Protein Helps Both by Malak Ghayoor| January 12, 2015 03:03pm ET Submit 1it An artist's image of the human mind and heart within the body. Pin It Credit: Naeblys/Shutterstock.com View full size image A sound mind in a sound body: The Roman poet Juvenal wrote 2,000 years ago that it was worth praying for. And now, scientists at Johns Hopkins University have identified a single protein that indeed supports the health of both the brain and the heart. The scientists have found that a nerve-growth factor called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) — which was already known to enhance memory, nourish blood vessels and nerves and act as natural antidepressant — also helps the heart beat properly. The finding may explain the association seen in recent years between depression and heart disease, and also lead to new treatments for heart failure, the researchers said.