Editorials

New Species of Fossile Bird named after Veterinary Scientist Fritz Huchzermeyer

In a paper published online on October 29th in the Chinese Science Bulletin, a research team from the Institute of Verte …

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Reviews

Canine and human insulinoma

The pancreas Function The pancreas is a glandular organ in the cranial abdomen that has both endocrine and exocrine func …

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Articles

New discovery on how the inner ear works

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Researchers have found that the parts of the inner ear that process sounds such as speech and music seem to work differently than other parts of the inner ear. Researchers from Linköping University are part of the team behind the discovery. “This helps us understand the mechanisms that enable us to perceive speech and music. […]

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Current stimulation to the brain partially restores vision in patients with glaucoma and optic nerve damage

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Vision loss due to glaucoma or optic nerve damage is generally considered irreversible. Now a new prospective, randomized, multi-center clinical trial demonstrates significant vision improvement in partially blind patients after 10 days of noninvasive, transorbital alternating current stimulation (ACS). In addition to activation of their residual vision, patients also experienced improvement in vision-related quality of […]

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It’s not just a grunt: Pigs really do have something to say

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The grunts made by pigs vary depending on the pig’s personality and can convey important information about the welfare of this highly social species, new research has found. Scientists specialising in animal behaviour and welfare devised an experiment to investigate the relationship between personality and the rate of grunting in pigs. They also examined the […]

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Artificial pancreas likely to be available by 2018

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  The artificial pancreas — a device which monitors blood glucose in patients with type 1 diabetes and then automatically adjusts levels of insulin entering the body — is likely to be available by 2018, conclude authors of a paper in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes). Issues such […]

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* Treating autoimmune disease without harming normal immunity

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Preclinical study shows that engineered T cells can selectively target the antibody-producing cells that cause autoimmune disease. In a study with potentially major implications for the future treatment of autoimmunity and related conditions, scientists from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have found a way to remove the subset of antibody-making […]

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Unsilencing silenced genes by CRISPR/Cas9

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Scientists have developed a new technique to unleash silenced genes and change cell fates using CRISPR/Cas9. The ability to control gene expression in cells allows scientists to understand gene function and manipulate cell fate. Recently, scientists have developed a revolutionary gene-editing tool, called CRIPSR/Cas9, which employs a system naturally used by bacteria as protection against […]

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Surprising number of businesses selling unapproved stem cell ‘treatments’ in the US

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At least 351 companies across the United States are marketing unapproved stem cell procedures at 570 individual clinics. Such businesses advertise “stem cell” interventions for orthopedic injuries, neurological disorders, cardiac diseases, immunological conditions, pulmonary disorders, injured spinal cords, and cosmetic indications. In Cell Stem Cell on June 30, bioethicist Leigh Turner (@LeighGTurner) and stem cell […]

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Our ancestors evolved faster after dinosaur extinction

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Our ancestors evolved three times faster in the 10 million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs than in the previous 80 million years, according to UCL researchers. The team found the speed of evolution of placental mammals — a group that today includes nearly 5000 species including humans — was constant before the extinction […]

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Cerebrovascular disease linked to Alzheimer’s

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Study finds association between diseases in brain blood vessels and dementia. While strokes are known to increase risk for dementia, much less is known about diseases of large and small blood vessels in the brain, separate from stroke, and how they relate to dementia. Diseased blood vessels in the brain itself, which commonly is found […]

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Copper-induced misfolding of prion proteins

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Iowa State University researchers have described with single-molecule precision how copper ions cause prion proteins to misfold and seed the misfolding and clumping of nearby prion proteins. The researchers also found the copper-induced misfolding and clumping is associated with inflammation and damage to nerve cells in brain tissue from a mouse model. Prions are abnormal, […]

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Gene-therapy trials must proceed with caution

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Jesse Gelsinger was 18 and healthy when he died in 1999 during a gene-therapy experiment. He had a condition called ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency (OTC), but it was under control through a combination of diet and medication. Like others with the disorder, Gelsinger lacked a functional enzyme involved in breaking down ammonia, a waste product of […]

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Natural metabolite can suppress inflammation

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An international research team has revealed a substance produced in humans that can suppress the pro-inflammatory activity of macrophages — specific immune cells. The substance known as itaconate is released in large quantities by macrophages themselves and according to the scientists, acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. These properties make itaconate promising for the […]

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The relentless dynamism of the adult brain

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Scientists from the Institut Pasteur and the CNRS were able to make real-time observations over a period of several months that reveal how new adult-born neurons are formed and evolve in the olfactory bulb of mice. They made the surprising discovery that there is constant structural plasticity in the connections established by these new neurons […]

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New anti-cancer strategy mobilizes both innate and adaptive immune response

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Scientists have developed a new vaccine that involves injecting cells that have been modified so that they can stimulate both an innate immune response and the more specific adaptive response, which allows the body to keep memories and attack new tumor cells as they form. Though a variety of immunotherapy-based strategies are being used against […]

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* New technique helps link complex mouse behaviors to genes that influence them

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Mice are one of the most commonly used laboratory organisms, widely used to study everything from autism to infectious diseases. Yet genomic studies in mice have lagged behind those in humans. “Genome-wide association studies — matching genes to diseases and other traits — have been a big deal in human genetics for the past decade,” […]

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Electronic nose smells pesticides, nerve gas

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The best-known electronic nose is the breathalyser. As drivers breathe into the device, a chemical sensor measures the amount of alcohol in their breath. This chemical reaction is then converted into an electronic signal, allowing the police officer to read off the result. Alcohol is easy to detect, because the chemical reaction is specific and […]

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HPV vaccine reduced cervical abnormalities in young women

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Young women who received the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine through a school-based program had fewer cervical cell anomalies when screened for cervical cancer, found a new study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). “Eight years after a school-based HPV vaccination program was initiated in Alberta, 3-dose HPV vaccination has demonstrated early benefits, particularly against high-grade […]

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* The story of how a touch screen helped a paralyzed chimp walk again

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The case of Reo, a male chimpanzee that learned to walk again after being paralyzed due to illness, shows how much can be done to rehabilitate animals injured in captivity. So says lead author Yoko Sakuraba of Kyoto University, in an article in Primates, the official journal of the Japan Monkey Centre published by Springer. […]

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* The snow leopard — world’s most mysterious big cat — may be more common than thought

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The snow leopard has long been one of the least studied — and therefore poorly understood — of the large cats. No longer. Scientists studying snow leopards now say the big cats may be more common than previously thought. New estimates focused on areas described as ‘Snow Leopard Conservation Units,’ covering only 44 percent of […]

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Infant bodies were ‘prized’ by 19th century anatomists, study suggests

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A new study of the University of Cambridge anatomy collection suggests that the bodies of foetuses and babies were a “prized source of knowledge” by British scientists of the 18th and 19th centuries, and were dissected more commonly than previously thought and quite differently to adult cadavers. Historical research combined with the archaeological assessment of […]

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A sense of direction in the brain: Seeing the inner compass

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A team of neuroscientists led by Dr. Andrea Burgalossi of the Tübingen Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative Neuroscience (CIN) at the University of Tübingen has taken an important step towards understanding the ‘inner compass’. Investigating so-called head direction cells (HD cells) in the rodent brain, they were able to find evidence of networks that had […]

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Exploring ways to ‘coexist with wildlife’

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Although protected areas such as national parks can play a crucial role in conserving wildlife, most species of large carnivores and large herbivores also depend on being able to occupy human-dominated landscapes. This sharing of space is often associated with conflicts between humans and wildlife, and between different groups of humans with divergent interests. In […]

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* Imaging study in mice sheds light on how the brain draws a map to a destination

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Columbia scientists have uncovered a key feature of the brain’s GPS that helps a mouse find what it is seeking. The study enabled scientists to define the precise duties of cells in a particular region of the hippocampus, the brain’s learning and memory center. The research also advances a long-standing quest in the field of […]

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* Electric assist bikes provide meaningful exercise, cardiovascular benefits for riders

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Electric assist bicycles (“pedelecs”) are equipped with a built-in electric motor that provides modest assistance while the rider is actively pedaling, making it easier to cover greater distances and hilly terrain. Pedelecs have steadily grown more popular with consumers over the past decade, especially in Europe and Asia. While an assist from an electric motor […]

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Imaging technique could help focus breast cancer treatment

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Cancer Research UK scientists have used imaging techniques as a new way to identify patients who could benefit from certain breast cancer treatments, according to a study published in Oncotarget. The team at King’s College London, in collaboration with scientists at the CRUK/MRC Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology, used fluorescence lifetime imaging to confirm if […]

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* Monkeys in Brazil ‘have used stone tools for hundreds of years at least’

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New archaeological evidence suggests that Brazilian capuchins have been using stone tools to crack open cashew nuts for at least 700 years. Researchers say, to date, they have found the earliest archaeological examples of monkey tool use outside of Africa. In their paper, published in Current Biology, they suggest it raises questions about the origins […]

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On the path to controlled gene therapy

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The ability to switch disease-causing genes on and off remains a dream for many physicians, research scientists and patients. Research teams from across the world are busy turning this dream into a reality, including a team of researchers from Charité — Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg. Led by […]

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Pituitary tissue grown from human stem cells releases hormones in rats

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Researchers have successfully used human stem cells to generate functional pituitary tissue that secretes hormones important for the body’s stress response as well as for its growth and reproductive functions. When transplanted into rats with hypopituitarism–a disease linked to dwarfism and premature aging in humans–the lab-grown pituitary cells promoted normal hormone release. The study, which […]

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Cats seem to grasp the laws of physics

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Cats understand the principle of cause and effect as well as some elements of physics. Combining these abilities with their keen sense of hearing, they can predict where possible prey hides. These are the findings of researchers from Kyoto University in Japan, led by Saho Takagi and published in Springer’s journal Animal Cognition. Previous work […]

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Mothers will do anything to protect their children, but mongooses go a step further

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Mongooses risk their own survival to protect their unborn children through a remarkable ability to adapt their own bodies, says new research published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. Pregnancy can takes a physical toll that, according to some theories, may increase the mother’s levels of toxic metabolites that cause oxidative damage. Increased oxidative damage […]

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