News Archive

Parkinson's disease appears to spread through the brain by means of a simple, yet insidious mechanism, according to research to be published Friday by University of Pennsylvania scientists.

When molecules of a certain protein become corrupted in the brain, they can pass on their distorted shape to healthy proteins through nothing more than physical contact.

Like something out of a bad science-fiction movie, more and more healthy proteins latch onto the ones that have gone bad, adopting their "misfolded" configuration until deadly clumps build up in brain cell after brain cell, the Penn team found in its study of lab mice.

Friday, November 16, 2012 - 14:36

UNC researchers track a gene’s crucial role in orchestrating the placement of neurons in the developing brain. Their findings help unravel some of the mysteries of Joubert syndrome and other neurological disorders.

Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 16:14

Scientists at Indiana University and international collaborators have found a way to link two hormones into a single molecule, producing a more effective therapy with fewer side effects for potential use as treatment for obesity and related medical conditions.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 10:57

Tumor cells circulating in a patient's bloodstream can yield a great deal of information on how a tumor is responding to treatment and what drugs might be more effective against it. But first, these rare cells have to be captured and isolated from the many other cells found in a blood sample.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 15:00

Many devoted pet owners are happy to spend thousands on operations for their cats and dogs – and these procedures could help teach scientists about human diseases, too.

Monday, November 12, 2012 - 17:25

Researchers use the electric potential of a guinea pig’s inner ear to harvest enough energy to run a tiny sensor.

Monday, November 12, 2012 - 12:29

The brain holds in mind what has just been seen by synchronizing brain waves in a working memory circuit, an animal study supported by the National Institutes of Health suggests. The more in-sync such electrical signals of neurons were in two key hubs of the circuit, the more those cells held the short-term memory of a just-seen object.

Friday, November 9, 2012 - 12:23

Biologists are well-known for using lab rats in experiments, but a few may now have the chance to work with rats in a unique way.

A team of engineers has set up a system that lets lab rats control a human-shaped avatar in a virtual environment, while humans control a rat-size robot inside the rat's cage. The result? A six-foot human and a six-inch rat get to interact with each other remotely, and they get to each get to see either a virtual avatar or a robot that's close to their own size.

Friday, November 2, 2012 - 14:02

For mice, the Goliath of lung cancer has a vanquisher in the form of a tiny David.

In a study published in the November issue of Cancer Research, Yale biology researchers Frank J. Slack and Andrea Kasinski revealed that short strands of microRNA, non-coding RNA inhibiting protein translation, were successful in both preventing and curing lung adenocarcinoma in mice. The research is the first to propose that, in a clinical trial using mice, microRNA can be used as a therapeutic to suppress the activation and expression of oncogenic, or cancer-causing, proteins.

Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 15:52

Among the smaller but still important casualties of Hurricane Sandy were thousands of laboratory rodents, genetically altered for use in the study of heart disease, cancer and mental disorders like autism and schizophrenia, that drowned in basement rooms at a New York University research center in Kips Bay.

Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 15:51

Primates' brains see the world through triangular grids, according to a new study published online Sunday in the journal Nature.

Scientists at Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, have identified grid cells, neurons that fire in repeating triangular patterns as the eyes explore visual scenes, in the brains of rhesus monkeys.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - 10:02

Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researchers have created the first true mouse model of typhoid infection. The development promises to advance the study of typhoid and the creation of new vaccines against the infection, which remains a major health threat in developing countries. The paper was published today in the online edition of the journal Cell.

Friday, October 26, 2012 - 10:55

The three rats snoozing in Cage 57 don’t know it, but they could someday help save thousands of human lives.

Friday, October 26, 2012 - 09:49

Oregon Health & Science University's development of a new gene therapy method to prevent certain inherited diseases has reached a significant milestone. Researchers at the university's Oregon National Primate Research Center and the OHSU Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology have successfully demonstrated their procedure in human cells. It's believed that this research, along with other efforts, will pave the way for future clinical trials in human subjects.

Friday, October 26, 2012 - 09:40

An African mouse’s ability to regenerate body parts may have implications for medical treatment in humans, according to a recent study by UF researchers.

Friday, October 19, 2012 - 15:50

A quintessential English gentleman educated at Eton and a Japanese orthopedic surgeon. Not the most likely of traveling companions, you might think. But very soon the two of them will be journeying to Stockholm to collect the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, for research carried out on different continents, using different animal species and decades apart, yet intimately linked. The work of both men is elegant and beautiful and has one of the features that characterizes the truly revolutionary in biology -- as soon as you understand it, it seems so self-evident that it's hard to believe no one had ever thought of it or done it before.

Friday, October 19, 2012 - 15:49

Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have shown for the first time in an animal model that vitamin C actively protects against osteoporosis, a disease affecting large numbers of elderly women and men in which bones become brittle and can fracture.

Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 13:51

Recent studies have linked caffeine consumption to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and a new University of Illinois study may be able to explain how this happens.  “We have discovered a novel signal that activates the brain-based inflammation associated with neurodegenerative diseases, and caffeine appears to block its activity. This discovery may eventually lead to drugs that could reverse or inhibit mild cognitive impairment,” said Gregory Freund, a professor in the U of I’s College of Medicine and a member of the U of I’s Division of Nutritional Sciences.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 15:12

Two Americans shared this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry for deciphering the communication system that the human body uses to sense the outside world and send messages to cells — for example, speeding the heart when danger approaches. The understanding is aiding the development of new drugs.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 13:00

John B. Gurdon of the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge and Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University in Japan have won the 2012 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for finding that cells of an adult organism—once thought be terminally locked into their developed state—can start anew. The discoveries, awarded the prize this morning (October 8) by The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, have ignited research in areas ranging from cloning to cancer treatment.

Monday, October 8, 2012 - 12:49