Proposed NIH cuts would gut groundbreaking research, scientists say | Award-winning images show breadth, unique beauty of biomedical research | Search for new autism drugs may need help from rats
March 22, 2017
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Proposed NIH cuts would gut groundbreaking research, scientists say
Researchers say President Donald Trump's proposed budget, which would cut almost 20% from the NIH, would diminish biomedical research and threaten groundbreaking work in labs that run on tight margins and already struggle to find finding. Many institutions pushed back against the proposed cuts, but as Stanford University officials noted, the budgeting process is still in the early stages.
Kaiser Health News (3/17),  STAT (tiered subscription model) (3/16) 
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Research Breakthroughs
Award-winning images show breadth, unique beauty of biomedical research
This year's Wellcome Image Awards winners highlight advances in biomedical research, including efforts to understand the role of immune function in pregnancy and genetics in eye development as well as highlighting host-bacteria interactions, skin structure, vascular systems and more. Depicted species include mice, a zebrafish, an African grey parrot, a mini-pig, a cat and others.
Science News (3/22) 
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Search for new autism drugs may need help from rats
Search for new autism drugs may need help from rats
(Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images)
Autism studies in mice have yielded many groundbreaking developments, but researchers in Rodney Samaco's lab at Baylor College of Medicine are part of a growing group of scientists who are turning to rats. Rats can be more difficult and expensive to work with, but they have bigger brains than mice, and scientists say studies involving the animals may offer new insights into autism and possibly even treatments.
The Atlantic online (3/16) 
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Researchers ID possible cause of OCD
German researchers say they may have identified the cause of obsessive-compulsive disorder: the lack of a brain protein called SPRED2 that inhibits a signaling pathway that is more active when the protein is absent. Mice lacking the protein displayed behaviors associated with OCD, but administration of an inhibitor of the overactive pathway led to improvement.
United Press International (3/16) 
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Protein in spider venom may protect against stroke damage
A study involving rats showed that a protein in spider venom may protect the brain from trauma after a stroke. Australian researchers publishing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that a protein called Hi1a, taken from the venom of funnel web spiders, shut off acid-sensing ion channels in the brain in the aftermath of a stroke.
BBC (3/20) 
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Gut inflammation caused by bacteria can trigger phage transfer
A bacterial infection that causes inflammation in the gut can spur phage transfer, promoting colonization, according to a study in mice published in Science. The researchers also found that vaccinating the mice with inactivated Salmonella not only protected them but reduced the phage transfer.
The Scientist online (3/16) 
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Animal Health
Great Ape Project takes aim at heart disease
Heart tissue samples from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium's 60-year-old gorilla Colo, who died of heart disease, have been submitted to the Great Ape Heart Project, a Zoo Atlanta research group working to better understand and prevent heart disease in great apes using data from physical exams, tests and necropsies. The findings hold promise for other great apes in zoos as well as wild animals, and the project has inspired similar research in other species elephants and domestic animals.
The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) (tiered subscription model) (3/19) 
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Policy News
Regulations may complicate exploration of CRISPR's promise
Regulations may complicate exploration of CRISPR's promise.
(Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images)
CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology gives scientists new power to edit animals' DNA, helping them to live longer and avoid diseases, but it's also just the latest tool in a long history of human influence over animals and plants, mostly through low-tech means such as breeding. Gene editing adds a new level of safety and precision to these processes, but FDA restrictions may prevent some of the benefits of this technology from being realized, writes Neil Bhavsar.
Futurism (3/18) 
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