June 21, 2012 |
Last week, scientists reported on a 5-year study of all the bacteria that inhabit the human body - 100 trillion of them, weighing 2 to 6 pounds total (in a 200-pound person) - and of 10,000 different types, though not all of them will reside in any one particular person. This week, an interesting article published in the journal Cell points to just how crucial the correct bacteria may be for developing a robust immune system. Scientists know that mice reared in a germ-free environment don't develop normally.
June 20, 2012 |
Score one for man's best friend. For folks who start to sneeze and wheeze as soon as they enter a dog owner's home, new research may come as a surprise: Dust from households with dogs may help protect against an asthma-related respiratory infection, according to results presented Tuesday at this year's General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. Previous research has pointed to the idea that sharing space with cats and dogs could actually be beneficial to the immune system.
May 18, 2012 |
In an age of long commutes, late sports practices, endless workdays and 24/7 television programming, the image of Mom hanging up her dish towel at 7 p.m. and declaring "the kitchen is closed" seems a quaint relic of an earlier era. It also harks back to a thinner America. And that may be no coincidence. A new study, conducted on mice, hints at an unexpected contributor to the nation's epidemic of obesity - and, if later human studies bear it out, a possible way to have our cake and eat it too, with less risk of weight gain and the diseases that come with it. Just eat your cake - or better yet, an apple - earlier.
April 24, 2012 |
Scientists have developed a “proof of concept” drug for stroke patients that helped afflicted mice recover the ability to walk normally. In laboratory experiments, the researchers also found biological evidence that the drug helped grow new neurons in the brain, according to a study published online Tuesday by the journal Stroke. An estimated 795,000 Americans have a stroke each year, according to the National Stroke Assn. in Centennial, Colo. They occur when the brain is suddenly deprived of oxygen and nutrients, either by a blockage in a vessel (which causes an ischemic stroke)
April 18, 2012 |
Scientists have all kinds of stem cell cures in mind: replacing dopamine-producing nerves in the brains of Parkinson's patients, fixing damaged spinal cords, curing Type 1 diabetes, etc. The therapies are slow-coming, though researchers are learning lots about how cells and body parts form. Here's a study just published in the journal Nature that shows injecting rod precursor cells (cells destined to become rod photoreceptors) into the eye gives mice born without rods the ability to detect dim light.
March 27, 2012 |
Blocking "don't destroy me" signals that normally sit on the surface of tumor cells and render them resistant to immune-cell attack slows the growth of a broad range of human cancers when they're implanted in mice, researchers have found. The approach, reported by immunologists at the Stanford University School of Medicine, was effective against ovarian, breast, colon, bladder, liver, prostate and brain cancer cells. If the work can be repeated in people, the approach may someday help doctors marshal defender cells in patients' own bodies to fight cancers, the researchers said.
February 20, 2012 |
Now that we're deep into the cold and flu season, it's safe to assume that germs are hiding pretty much everywhere - the keypad at the grocery store checkout, the handrail on the bus, the air around that miserable-looking co-worker. Avoiding germs entirely would require something like solitary confinement or a head-to-toe application of Purell. As an alternative, many people try to do what they can to strengthen their immune systems. Vitamin C is old news, and echinacea and other herbs haven't really panned out. But there's a livelier option: probiotic supplements that supposedly fortify the immune system.
February 19, 2012 |
Mousemorency Mouse stood in a velvet hat left by a member of a performance and spoke to a mouseling audience in the Opera House where they lived. "Today I will speak of another illustrious member in your heritage. Rosamunda Mouseworthy came from a renowned family of singing mice. Mice came from as far as the attic to attend their concerts. Rosamunda was their brightest star. By a month old she had mastered the mousic repertoire, including Mousart's classics. She was slender and attractive with a glistening white coat like a domestic mouse.
February 9, 2012 |
A drug that has been approved for the treatment of a type of skin cancer since 1999 appears to reverse Alzheimer's symptoms -- in mice. Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine neuroscientist Gary Landreth and colleagues reported Thursday that bexarotene quickly cleared away beta-amyloid plaque, believed to cause the cognitive deficits of Alzheimer's disease, from the brains of genetically engineered mice. Mice who received bexarotene...
February 9, 2012 |
A compound that looked to be a possible wonder drug for obesity and metabolic disease, such as diabetes, may not make it to store shelves. Research published this week shows the hormone, called fibroblast growth factor 21, causes bone loss while it burns fat. The finding is yet another setback in the difficult field of drug development aimed at the country's obesity epidemic. Two studies, one published last week in the journal Cell, and another published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, used mice to examine the effects of FGF21.