Canine studies might lead to better Alzheimer's disease therapies | Blood substitutes show promise in animal tests | Zika virus persists in testes, damages tissue, study says
March 1, 2017
FBR Smartbrief
Top Story
Canine studies might lead to better Alzheimer's disease therapies
Scenes Of Outback Queensland, Australia
(Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Mice are good models for some medical research, but they may not be appropriately representative for Alzheimer's and other complex neurocognitive diseases, writes Edward G. Barrett, who studies neurocognitive disorders. Unlike mice, dogs naturally develop beta-amyloid plaques and age-related cognitive decline, and more canine studies could improve scientists' understanding of how drug and lifestyle interventions affect Alzheimer's disease, Barrett writes.
The Scientist online (3/1) 
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Research Breakthroughs
Blood substitutes show promise in animal tests
Researchers at Ohio State University are developing a blood substitute from hemoglobin that they say can be kept at room temperature for years and can be given to anybody. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis are also conducting animal tests of hemoglobin encased in a synthetic polymer.
WOSU-FM (Columbus, Ohio) (2/28),  STAT (tiered subscription model) (2/27) 
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Zika virus persists in testes, damages tissue, study says
Zika virus remained in mouse testes after the infection had cleared from the blood, causing testicular tissue to atrophy and potentially affecting fertility, according to a study in mice published in Science Advances. The finding may explain why Zika virus appears to be sexually transmissible.
The Scientist online (2/23) 
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Targeting PAK1 protein in pancreatic cancer cells might improve outcomes
Targeting a protein called p21-activated kinase 1 in stellate cells reduced scar tissue formation and tumor growth and increased sensitivity to chemotherapy in mouse models of pancreatic cancer. The study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, is an important step toward understanding pancreatic cancer, study author Mehrdad Nikfarjam said.
United Press International (2/23) 
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Bees surprise scientists with golf-like game
Scientists have discovered that individual bees are capable of learning how to move a small ball into a target area for a reward. Every bee tested that first saw another bee complete the task was able to replicate it, while 80% of bees who saw human researchers demonstrate the task successfully completed it, too.
The Christian Science Monitor (2/26),  National Public Radio (2/24) 
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Bone-regenerating scaffold might improve ACL repair
An experimental 3D-printed scaffold for anterior cruciate ligament repair gradually delivers morphogenetic protein 2, which promoted bone regeneration. The scaffold was found to be effective in rabbit studies.
United Press International/Tissue Engineering (2/27) 
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Animal Health
Canine study uncovers mutation linked to epilepsy
Veterinarian Fiona James and colleagues found a genetic mutation in Rhodesian ridgebacks that's associated with epileptic seizures, and the team thinks the findings could help scientists understand a similar condition in humans. Dr. James developed backpacks with electrodes to capture brain-wave activity, and the team found a link between defects in the DIRAS1 gene and canine myoclonic epilepsy, which is similar to human juvenile myoclonic syndrome. (Canada) (3/1) 
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Other News
Policy News
WHO releases list of worrisome drug-resistant bacteria
Drug resistance among bacteria is approaching "alarming proportions," says Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny of the World Health Organization, which released a list of the most worrisome pathogens based on existing levels of drug resistance, global mortality, prevalence and the challenges they pose to the health system. The most problematic bacteria are carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa and various Enterobacteriaceae.
BBC (2/27) 
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Animal Rights Activity
Animal rights activist on '92 firebombing: "We wanted them to live in fear"
(Jens Schlueter/AFP/Getty Images)
Animal Liberation Front spokesman Rodney Coronado has finally admitted, after years of denial, that he was behind a 1992 firebombing at the office of Michigan State University researcher Richard Aulerich. "We wanted researchers like Aulerich never to know when they came to work and opened their office door whether there had been an attack," Coronado said. "We wanted them to live in fear."
The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (2/27),  The Lansing State Journal (Mich.) (tiered subscription model) (2/23) 
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