By Ruairi J Mackenzie, Science Writer for Technology Networks
Research conducted at the Università degli Studi di Milano (University of Milan) examined the effect of restricting mice from using their hind, but not their front legs, for a period of 28 days. The paper detailing the research was published in Frontiers in Neuroscience. Whilst the mice were able to eat and groom themselves as normal, and didn’t show signs of being stressed, subsequent analysis showed significant changes in the mice’s brains, including impairment of the mice’s neural stem cells. The researchers noted that the number of neural stem cells – which produce all neurons and glia during development and persist in certain areas into adulthood – that were actively producing new neurons was reduced by 70% in the restricted mice as compared to mice that hadn’t had their movement restricted.