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Brain's hidden sewers revealed

Specialized cells host a hitherto unknown cleansing system

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2:05pm, August 15, 2012

The brain is a self-cleaning machine. A previously unknown plumbing system blasts out waste by flushing it with the brain’s cleaning solution — cerebrospinal fluid.

Jeffrey Iliff of the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York and his colleagues watched cerebrospinal fluid flowing through the brains of living mice using an advanced imaging technique called two-photon laser scanning microscopy. First, the fluid rushed into the brain by piggybacking on the outer surfaces of arteries. Once in the brain, the fluid swept away wastes such as the protein amyloid beta, which accumulates in the brains of people with Alzheimer&rsq

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