Written by Melissa Healy
In the year to come, an estimated 1,688,780 people in the United States are expected to get a cancer diagnosis, and cancer will claim the lives of a projected 600,920.
That death toll, however grim, represents a death rate from cancer that is 25% lower than it was a quarter-century ago — a drop driven by steady reductions in smoking rates and advances in early detection and treatment. Between 1991 and 2014, that boost in cancer survivorship translates to approximately 2,143,200 fewer cancer deaths than might have been expected if death rates had remained at their peak. Read more.
Fish. Frogs. Worms.
While you’d expect to find them in your local pond, they’re also some of the biggest contributors to modern medical research. And there’s a reason these so-called “lower” organisms have been swimming, hopping and squirming their way into labs at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation: They’re key players in the war against disease.
“Humans are incredibly complicated and it’s difficult to do experiments with them, so we have to use animal models instead,” said OMRF researcher David Jones, Ph.D. Read more.
By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.
DECEMBER 22, 2016
In a scientific triumph that will change the way the world fights a terrifying killer, an experimental Ebola vaccine tested on humans in the waning days of the West African epidemic has been shown to provide 100 percent protection against the lethal disease.
The vaccine has not yet been approved by any regulatory authority, but it is considered so effective that an emergency stockpile of 300,000 doses has already been created for use should an outbreak flare up again. Read more.
Scientists are searching for the evolutionary roots of human math in the barnyard and the zoo
By: Susan Milius Dec 12, 2016 — 7:00 am EST
When Christian Agrillo runs number-related experiments in his lab, he wishes his undergraduate subjects good luck. For certain tests, that’s about all he says. Giving instructions to the people would be unfair to the fish.
Agrillo works at the University of Padua in Italy. There, he studies how animals process information. He is finishing up several years of pitting humans against fish in trials. Those trials test their abilities to compare quantities. He can’t, of course, tell his angelfish to choose, say, the larger array of dots. He can’t tell them to do anything. So in recent tests he made his bemused students use trial and error too, just like the fish. Read more.
New research findings provide insight into the immune system pathways that may be key to developing an effective tuberculosis (TB) vaccine. The study, to be published Thursday in the journal Nature Communications, was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.
Globally, an estimated 10.4 million new TB cases occurred in 2015, according to the World Health Organization. A TB vaccine called bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is currently used in countries with a high prevalence of TB to prevent severe forms of the disease in children. However, the protection provided against pulmonary TB in adults is very variable, and people vaccinated with BCG are more likely to give false positives on skin tests for TB. Read More.
Written by Ed Yong
When a crowd starts to applaud, each person initially does so to their own rhythm. But in some cases, those claps can synchronize, with hundreds or thousands or millions of hands striking in unison.
Something similar happens in the brain. When a single neuron fires, it sends an electrical pulse down its length. But large networks of neurons can also fire together, creating regular cycles of electrical activity that resemble the synchronized applause of a rapturous crowd. Formally, these are called neural oscillations; more colloquially, they’re brain waves. Read more.
By James Gallagher
Health and science reporter, BBC News website
Scientists in California say they have transformed understanding of Parkinson’s disease.
Their animal experiments, published in the journal Cell, suggest the brain disorder may be caused by bacteria living in the gut.
The findings could eventually lead to new ways of treating the disease, such as drugs to kill gut bugs or probiotics.
Experts said the results opened an “exciting new avenue of study”. Read more.
By ERIC BOODMAN
At parties and bars, he introduces himself as a “rat tickler.”
The title makes Shimpei Ishiyama sound like he belongs in some forgotten guild of yore, with the Victorian “pure-finders,” who collected dog dung for a living, and the “flankers and flaggers,” who kept partridges in the range of hunters’ guns.
But he is, in actual fact, a neuroscientist, and his rat-tickling is anything but antiquated. By trying to titillate these rodents — and recording how their neurons respond — Ishiyama and his adviser are unraveling a mystery that has puzzled thinkers ever since Aristotle posited that humans, given their thin skin and unique ability to laugh, were the only ticklish animals. Read more.
BY: LAURIE MCGINLEY
The Washington Post
Flyer, a 70-pound golden retriever, lies patiently on her left side on an examination table as technicians scurry around, placing little sandbags on her legs and neck to keep her still. She’s getting chest X-rays to answer a critical question: Has a deadly bone cancer spread to her lungs?
When the session is over, Martha MaloneyHuss, a veterinarian at the University of Pennsylvania’s Ryan Veterinary Hospital, glances at the images. “I don’t see anything hugely obvious,” she says, “but we’ll see what the radiologist says.” Oblivious to the good news, Flyer hops down the hall on three legs, eager to find her owner.
After the 8-year-old retriever began limping last year, she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a painful, aggressive cancer that often strikes Great Danes, Irish wolfhounds and other large breeds. At Penn Vet, she got the standard treatment: One of her left legs was amputated, and she underwent chemotherapy. Read more.
Written by: Rae Ellen Bichell
A few months ago, neurosurgeon Jocelyne Bloch emerged from a 10-hour surgery that she hadn’t done before.
“Most of my patients are humans,” says Bloch, who works at the Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland.
This patient was a rhesus macaque.
The monkey’s spinal cord had been partially cut. So while his brain was fine and his legs were fine, the two couldn’t communicate.
“Normally, the brain is giving commands, and the legs are responding to the commands through the spinal cord. When you have a spinal cord lesion, then this command is interrupted,” says Bloch. Read more.