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Why don't woodpeckers have brain damage?

Discussion in 'Health News and Research unrelated to ME/CFS' started by Marco, Feb 3, 2018.

  1. Marco

    Marco Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I have to admit that the idea of woodpeckers and headaches gives me the giggles.

    But it's a valid question when you appreciate that their pecking can generate forces up to 1200G.

    Scientists have now found some evidence of the accumulation of tau protein - the same proteins linked to neurodegenerative diseases in humans.

    Perhaps they do eventually show behavioural signs of brain damage or maybe tau proteins in the woodpeckers' case are an adaptive response :

    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/02/could-woodpeckers-teach-nfl-how-prevent-brain-injuries
     
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  2. Valentijn

    Valentijn Not a moderator

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    The future of American football: played by woodpeckers :p

    Edited to add my illustration of how this will look:
    :emoji_hatched_chick::emoji_bird: :emoji_football::emoji_baby_chick:
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
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  3. arewenearlythereyet

    arewenearlythereyet Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Its possible that they may not remember they have a headache?
     
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  4. Adrian

    Adrian Administrator Staff Member

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    If a lifespan is short (I don't know the how long woodpeckers live) then degenerative diseases may not be a problem. Evolutionary adaptations will lead to survival so it could be that something that would lead to degenerative disease later in life but have short term benefits could be useful in an animal with a relatively short lifespan and where the time they look after their babies is short.
     
  5. Marco

    Marco Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Yes indeed. All they need to do is make it to reproductive age and a little beyond. But what if they do live to a ripe old age (relatively speaking).
     
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  6. Valentijn

    Valentijn Not a moderator

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    A long life for a woodpecker still wouldn't be at all comparable to a long life for a human. The tissues simply aren't around for as long.
     
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  7. Marco

    Marco Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Isn't tissue longevity related to metabolism?

    Possibly : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15855403
     
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  8. Mij

    Mij Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  9. arewenearlythereyet

    arewenearlythereyet Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I thought that as well. Also with regards to heart rate, doesn't a mouses heart have as many beats in it as an elephant during their very different lifetimes ? I thought that this was related to new cardiac muscle cells being a lot slower to be replaced than normal cells. Having said that the last time I studied cell biology and anatomy was the late eighties at uni so I may be remembering it wrong ot it may be out of date.

    Besides, I have no idea what a woodpeckers heart rate is in relation to its normal lifespan so ....:ill:
     
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  10. arewenearlythereyet

    arewenearlythereyet Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  11. Dechi

    Dechi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Have you watched « Concussion » with Will Smith ? If you like this subject I think you’d like it !
     
  12. Marco

    Marco Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Thanks. My interest in this and related issues is more generally what may happen to the brain after an 'insult' but I'm always on the lookout for a decent movie.
     
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  13. Skycloud

    Skycloud Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That's a coincidence - I'm watching this right now!
     
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  14. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It seems that woodpeckers live up to about 15 years.

    This guy seemed an old bird.

    It took me ten years to find it, eventually in Latvia - the elusive white backed woodpecker.



    A91A0908.JPG
     
  15. Daisybell

    Daisybell Moderator Staff Member

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    Slightly off-topic (which seems to be what my brain does nowadays...), I have a chook who is over 6 years old. It’s been interesting watching her ageing. She sleeps for most of the time, and if I don’t get her up in the morning, she will stay in the coop and then of course doesn’t eat. When I persuade her outside, she is very slow to eat and I have to remind her where the food is. So far, she is remembering to drink unaided. But - definitely cognitive deterioration as well as physical stiffness and I suspect painful joints. Some days, she goes round for hours with one eye shut!! However, she still has a good life!
     
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  16. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I thought they have some sort of shock-absorber mechanism.
     
  17. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Or too brain damaged to know it?
     
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  18. Marco

    Marco Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Very nice photo. Well you're a doctor. Did he seem compos mentis?
     
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