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
It’s been three months since Hurricane Sandy barreled along the East Coast, plunging the majority of Manhattan and surrounding boroughs into darkness, and displacing hundreds of people from their homes. As neighborhoods continue to rebuild, and in honor of the three-month anniversary, President Obama recently signed the much-anticipated Sandy Relief Bill for $50.5 billion.
One group awaiting some of that recovery funding are scientists and researchers from New York University (NYU), who lost years of research in cancer and neuroscience when the storm knocked out the power supporting their freezers, and water flooded their animal facilities, drowning their mice.
Thursday, February 14, 2013 - 17:21
Mice carrying human disease genes have proved valuable for learning what goes awry in people. Now, researchers have tapped the rodents to understand human evolution. Mice with a human version of a gene called EDAR have more sweat glands than normal, providing clues to how East Asians adapted to a humid environment 30,000 years ago.
Thursday, February 14, 2013 - 17:20
Geneticists led by University of Utah Nobel Prize Laureate Mario R. Capecchi, Ph.D., have engineered mice that develop clear cell sarcoma (CCS), a significant step in better understanding how this rare and deadly soft tissue cancer arises.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 16:27
A team led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has identified specific cellular events that appear key to lupus, a debilitating autoimmune disease that afflicts tens of millions of people worldwide. The findings suggest that blocking this pathway in lupus-triggering cells could be a potent weapon against the disease.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - 16:27
A Midwestern company has returned to its Hub roots to try to adapt drugs made for humans into treatments for cats and dogs.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 14:47
A discovery about the aging process in mice might one day help efforts to develop treatments for age-related diseases in humans, researchers report.
Monday, February 4, 2013 - 12:33
Zebrafish, the staple of genetic research, may hold the answer to repairing damaged retinas and returning eye-sight to people. University of Alberta researchers discovered that a zebrafish's stem cells can selectively regenerate damaged photoreceptor cells.
Friday, February 1, 2013 - 16:14
The most sensitive patch of mammalian skin known to us isn't human but on the star-shaped tip of the star-nosed mole's snout. Researchers studying this organ have found that the star has a higher proportion of touch-sensitive nerve endings than pain receptors, according to a study published Jan. 30 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Diana Bautista and colleagues from the University of California, Berkeley and Vanderbilt University.
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 17:08
Jasper, a 7-year-old rescue dog from San Jose, has a personality that endears him to everyone -- even to cats. He also has lymphoma, a cancer that sprouts from the body's defense system and is similar to non-Hodgkin lymphoma in people.
Right now, Jasper's treatment plan is based on laboratory tests, ultrasounds and the expertise of his veterinarian, Linda Fineman, a cancer specialist at the SAGE center in Campbell. In the future, however, tests on Jasper's DNA could determine the best medications for him and show how long they'll work, according to scientists who study the DNA of dogs. And those researchers are increasingly discovering that cancer and other diseases are caused by the same genetic mutations in pooches and people. So as scientists develop new therapies for canine cancers, they're also finding more effective methods to treat similar problems in humans.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 15:51
Rats injected with stem cells 30 minutes after a stroke had almost normal brain function restored within a fortnight.
Monday, January 28, 2013 - 17:03
Scientists believe the genes of virus-resistant and long-living wild bats might hold clues to treating cancer and infectious diseases in humans.
Friday, January 25, 2013 - 14:45
In the first study that non-invasively measures oxytocin levels in wild animals, researchers have found in chimpanzees that this hormone likely plays a key role in maintaining social relations among both related and non-related animals.
Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 13:36
Vanishing White Matter (VWM) disease is a devastating condition that destroys the brain's white matter. This white matter protects the axons of neurons, and leads to seizures and the progressive loss of motor function, eyesight, and speech. Also known as Childhood Ataxia with Central Nervous System Hypomyelination (CACH), the disease has no cure, and victims do not typically live longer than the early teens.
Marisol passed away from the disease in 2008, but her DNA pattern and specific genetic mutation were the basis for Prof. Elroy-Stein's breakthrough development of the first population of laboratory mice — called "Marisol's mice" — with a VWM disease mutation. With this invaluable biological tool in place, researchers have been able to make important progress into understanding how the disease functions.
Through these mice, the researchers were able to discover that VWM disease was in essence a developmental disorder — the mutation causes delayed development of the myelin that forms after birth, they reported in the journal Brain. The researchers' most recent findings, published in the journal PLoS One, add to this understanding.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 16:35
Historically, the "lab rats" scientists use to test new medicines and run studies have been, well, rats. But that may be changing. A growing number of laboratories have begun using zebrafish as their test subjects, and there is reason to believe that trend is growing.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 17:42
A new study has found that tamoxifen, a well-known breast cancer drug, can counteract some pathologic features in a mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). At present, no treatment is known to produce long-term improvement of the symptoms in boys with DMD, a debilitating muscular disorder that is characterized by progressive muscle wasting, respiratory and cardiac impairments, paralysis, and premature death.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 15:25