News Archive

Johns Hopkins scientists say they have evidence from animal studies that a type of central nervous system cell other than motor neurons plays a fundamental role in the development of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal degenerative disease. The discovery holds promise, they say, for identifying new targets for interrupting the disease’s progress.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - 16:26

Usually, science starts in the lab and then moves to patients. Gastric bypass surgery has taken the opposite path. Originally offered as a radical treatment for severe obesity, the surgery's effects on the digestive system and metabolism have turned out to be far more mysterious and fascinating than anyone expected. Now, a new study probes another of the surgery's effects: its impact on microbes in the gut and how changing these microscopic communities might drive weight loss.

Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 14:48

Researchers are finding new drugs for chronic pain and autoimmune diseases by modifying animal venom-derived molecules that target the nervous and immune systems.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 14:55

Study reveals ‘evolutionary glitch’ as possible cause of common childhood ear infections. Researchers at King’s College London have uncovered how the human ear is formed, giving clues as to why children are susceptible to infections such as glue ear.

Monday, March 25, 2013 - 15:17

The mystery of exactly how consumption of extra virgin olive oil helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) may lie in one component of olive oil that helps shuttle the abnormal AD proteins out of the brain, scientists are reporting in a new study. It appears in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience.

Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 15:16

Signs of Parkinson's disease have been relieved in a small animal study conducted by International Stem Cell Corp., which is developing its own kind of stem cell therapy for various diseases.

The study used rats and monkeys to test the therapy's ability to replace the kind of brain cells destroyed in Parkinson's and relieve the disease's movement disorders. The animals were given a neurotoxin to induce Parkinson's symptoms. Rats showed improved movement and the monkeys produced higher levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter essential for movement.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 16:16

A mutual curiosity about patterns of growth and development in pig brains has brought two University of Illinois research groups together. Animal scientists Rod Johnson and Ryan Dilger have developed a model of the pig brain that they plan to use to answer important questions about human brain development.

Friday, March 15, 2013 - 14:14

For the first time, scientists have transplanted neural cells derived from a monkey's skin into its brain and watched the cells develop into several types of mature brain cells, according to the authors of a new study in Cell Reports. After six months, the cells looked entirely normal, and were only detectable because they initially were tagged with a fluorescent protein.

Thursday, March 14, 2013 - 15:12

It happens to everyone: You stay up late one night to finish an assignment, and the next day, you’re exhausted. Humans aren’t unique in that; all animals need sleep, and if they don’t get it, they must make it up.

The biological term for that pay-the-piper behavior is “sleep homeostasis,” and now, thanks to a research team at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, one of the molecular players in this process has been identified – at least in nematode round worms.

Monday, March 11, 2013 - 15:21

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis believe they've uncovered a vital step in developing a vaginal gel that may prevent the spread of HIV, which causes AIDS.

Nanoparticles carrying a toxin found in bee venom can destroy human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), while leaving surrounding cells unharmed.

Friday, March 8, 2013 - 14:58

Most people think that veterinarians are doctors who treat cats and dogs, provide compassionate, expert care but also charge amply for their services. This narrow view means that a vet's work is underestimated and, often, not respected. In reality their role is substantially broader and yet their leadership potential is generally overlooked.

While many vets are caregivers for our domestic animals -- and it's very important work -- a larger mission is to focus on minimizing the transmission of infectious disease and help tackle world hunger issues.

Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 10:41

Alligator blood is showing to be a potent antibiotic in lab testing at McNeese State University. These keepers of the bayou are known for their tenacity, but behind the alligator's piercing eyes and sharp teeth is an immune system that is as ferocious as the primitive creature.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 15:45

Scientists may be better able to study how heavy drinking damages the liver using a new mouse model of alcohol drinking and disease developed by researchers from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health. The model incorporates chronic and binge drinking patterns to more closely approximate alcoholic liver disease in humans than any existing method. A report of the new model appears in the March issue of the journal Nature Protocols.

Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 15:27

New research from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation shows that eating a high-fat diet produces a similar effect to starvation in cells and could be key in understanding why cells “flip the switch” to burn fat instead of sugar in the early stages of diabetes.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 09:58

Mollie Heinz had two surgeries to remove parts of her bowel due to flareups of Crohn’s disease.

Even so, the 37-year-old mother from Maryland Heights isn’t so hot about the idea of ingesting the eggs of pig whipworms to treat the condition. The eggs, it seems, might be the latest icky way to treat a bacterial balance gone bad in the human gut.

Friday, February 22, 2013 - 13:41

For years, researchers have worked to decode the mysteries of how dogs that race 1,000 miles perform so well -- and how to help them. Research on the physical stamina and the high-performance metabolism of Iditarod dogs has led to changes in the way the animals are conditioned, cared for, fed and rested. Now, from the wintery reaches of the northern United States, the iconic dogs of Alaska's Last Great Race are helping keep American soldiers safe in the deserts of Afghanistan.

Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 17:20

Stanford scientists have demonstrated a technique for observing hundreds of neurons firing in the brain of a live mouse, in real time, and have linked that activity to long-term information storage. The unprecedented work could provide a useful tool for studying new therapies for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 10:06

When it comes to hanging on tight, the lowly mussel has few rivals in nature. Researchers have sought the secrets behind the bivalve's steadfast grip on wet, slippery rock. Now, reporting here today at the annual meeting of AAAS (which publishes ScienceNOW), a researcher said he has used the mollusk’s tricks to develop medical applications. These include a biocompatible glue that could one day seal fetal membranes, allowing prenatal surgeons to repair birth defects without triggering dangerous premature labor.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 16:11

Gene therapy has successfully banished type 1 diabetes in dogs, the first time this treatment has worked to treat the disease in a large animal, according to a study published online in the journal Diabetes earlier this month (February 1).

Friday, February 15, 2013 - 17:26

What would happen if all clothes were made to fit only one person, or at most, that person and his or her identical twin? Whoever it was, this one person wouldn’t represent all people. I hope this is an obvious statement—we all have differences in every measurement possible, and certainly no manufacturer would make a line of clothing tailored only to one person’s size.

But imagine taking this person and testing a new drug in her. Or him. Would you consider the drug fully tested for all people? No, it’s common sense that different people would respond differently, a concept borne out by the presence of side effects of varying severity for every significant pharmaceutical. But historically, that’s how most drugs have been selected for development until very late in the process. And that’s just one reason why it’s important to discuss the full story behind the recent New York Times article “Mice Fall Short as Test Subjects for Humans’ Deadly Ills.”

Friday, February 15, 2013 - 09:54