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UVA scientists could find new treatments for swallowing disorders

(FILE)
(FILE)
Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 11:39 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - There’s a new study out of the University of Virginia School of Medicine and the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences that could lead to new treatments for swallowing disorders.

The team at UVA says it identified a unique genetic fingerprint of the nerve cells that function the movements of the esophagus. Researchers say they knew this region controlled the area, but they had never been able to identify the neurons there. They say now knowing this could lead to new therapies.

One of the team members, John Campbell, says this wasn’t the initial goal of their research. though he says they knew aren’t a lot of pharmacological targets or drug targets for treating esophageal motility disorders. What they found, could end up helping that.

“We’ve identified these neurons, so we can get access to the neural circuits that control swallowing and we can understand how they work and maybe how they don’t work in cases of disease and disorders,” Campbell said.

The team says there’s still some things to investigate, so it is hoping to see how the neurons get affected and find how to activate them in diseases.

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