Reopening avenues for attacking ALS
Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) researchers at Harvard University and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT have found evidence that bone marrow transplantation may one day be beneficial to a subset of patients suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal neurodegenerative disorder more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
In the photo of the murine spleen shown, lymphoid tissue (purple) is responsible for launching an immune response to blood-born antigens, while red pulp (pink) filters the blood. Mutations in the C9ORF72 gene, the most common mutation found in ALS patients, can inflame lymphoid tissue and contribute to immune system dysfunction.
ALS destroys the neurons connecting the brain and spinal cord to muscles throughout the body. As those neurons die, patients progressively lose the ability to move, speak, eat, and breathe. Read More.
Use it or Lose it: Visual Activity Regenerates Neural Connections Between Eye and Brain
NIH-funded mouse study is the first to show that visual stimulation helps re-wire the visual system and partially restores sight.
A study in mice funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows for the first time that high-contrast visual stimulation can help damaged retinal neurons regrow optic nerve fibers, otherwise known as retinal ganglion cell axons. In combination with chemically induced neural stimulation, axons grew further than in strategies tried previously. Treated mice partially regained visual function. The study also demonstrates that adult regenerated central nervous system (CNS) axons are capable of navigating to correct targets in the brain. The research was funded through the National Eye Institute (NEI), a part of NIH. Read More.
Do Politics Trump Chimpanzee Well-being? Questions Raised About Deaths of US Research Chimpanzees at Federally-Funded Sanctuary
A number of countries have ended some types of research with chimpanzees over the past decades. For example, the US National Institutes of Health announced in November 2015 that it would no longer support many types of chimpanzee research. In Europe, the fate of former research chimpanzees has depended upon a mix of private wildlife parks and zoos for the animals’ care and management. The outcomes in term of chimpanzee health and survival remain relatively unknown. Read More.
Flies sleep just like us. And they might help give humans a good night’s rest
Sleep is a mystery. It’s essential — without enough sleep, we die — and yet scientists still aren’t sure why we need it.But the how of sleep is just as intriguing as the why.
Amita Sehgal, a sleep researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, has discovered some of the key genes that control our 24-hour circadian cycle, making us fall asleep at night and rise again in the morning. Sehgal didn’t find these genes in people, however. She found them in flies. Read More.