Reliable funding for biomedical research pays off | Animal studies show link between insulin, neurodegenerative diseases | Robotic finger moves, thanks to living rat muscle tissue
June 6, 2018
FBR Smartbrief
Top Story
Reliable funding for biomedical research pays off
Congress boosted the NIH's budget for fiscal 2018 and, as discussions about the fiscal 2019 budget get underway, lawmakers should resist rescission proposals and continue prioritizing investment in science, writes Claire Pomeroy, president of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation and chairwoman of FBR's Board. Public investment in science, disease prevention and health care research has a substantial multiplier effect on the economy and job market, and steady and predictable funding for medical research is crucial, Pomeroy writes.
The Hill (5/30) 
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Research Breakthroughs
Animal studies show link between insulin, neurodegenerative diseases
Animal studies show link between insulin, neurodegenerative diseases
(Sebastien Bozon/AFP/Getty Images)
Researchers have found a link between the loss of insulin's effectiveness as a growth factor and Alzheimer's disease, and animal and human studies are underway to explore whether diabetes drugs affect the development of Alzheimer's disease. Diabetes drugs also showed promise in animal models of Parkinson's disease, and two clinical trials demonstrated that diabetes drugs slowed disease progression in Parkinson's patients.
The Conversation (UK) (6/5) 
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Robotic finger moves, thanks to living rat muscle tissue
Researchers have created a functioning robotic finger using living rat muscle tissue that contracts when stimulated with electricity. "Although this is just a preliminary result, our approach might be a great step toward the construction of a more complex biohybrid system," said Shoji Takeuchi, author of the study published in Science Robotics.
National Geographic online (5/30) 
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Research in pigs validates tech for powering, communicating with implants
A prototype device the size of a grain of rice that can power and communicate with brain implants, drug delivery devices and other implants using radio waves was developed by scientists from MIT and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. The technology, called In Vivo Networking, was tested in pigs and was found to have the ability to power a sensor implanted 3.9 inches deep in the animal's body from 3.2 feet away and sensors implanted close to the skin's surface from distances up to 125 feet. The technology could overcome challenges associated with powering implanted medical devices.
United Press International (6/4),  New Atlas (6/4) 
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Artificial nerve sparks movement in detached cockroach leg
Researchers have created an artificial nerve that responds to pressure, which may one day lead to a new class of prosthetics that better mimic biological nerve systems, according to findings published in Science. The device combines pressure sensors, ring oscillators and a transistor, and it was used to stimulate movement in a detached cockroach leg.
The Scientist online (5/31) 
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Other News
Animal Health
Dogs becoming key flu reservoir, raising concerns for human health
Dogs becoming key flu reservoir, raising concerns for human health
Pigs, bats and bovines harbor highly divergent influenza, and dogs are becoming important reservoirs as canine influenza mutates, according to a genomic sequencing study published in mBio that identified two reassortant influenza A viruses that recently jumped from swine to canines in southern China. Three other influenza genotypes developed through reassortment in canine hosts, suggesting that dogs can serve as "mixing vessels," the researchers wrote. "This is very reminiscent of what happened in swine 10 years before the H1N1 pandemic," they said.
Medical News Today (6/6),  Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (6/5) 
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Immunoglobulin test might help assess animal welfare
Animals with low levels of stress have high concentrations of immunoglobulin A, and measuring the protein in feces might be a noninvasive way to gauge animal welfare, according to a study published in Hormones and Behavior. More research is needed to establish normal immunoglobulin A levels in different species, but researchers at the Chicago Zoological Society say it could enhance best practices and animal well-being.
WTTW-TV (Chicago, Ill.) (6/5) 
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Policy News
Global health organizations to cooperate on antimicrobial resistance
Global health organizations to cooperate on antimicrobial resistance
(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Health Organization and the World Organization for Animal Health plan to cooperate on steps to address antimicrobial resistance and threats associated with the intersections among human, animal and environmental health. The organizations will work together to improve forecasting for emerging and endemic zoonotic diseases and to help governments strengthen their health systems.
Feedstuffs (Minnetonka, Minn.) (5/30) 
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FBR News
Support the National Primate Research Centers
The seven National Primate Research Centers have created a website and Twitter account to boost awareness of the importance of their work with animals to improve human and animal health and highlight their breakthrough research. Visit their website and Twitter feed today!
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Donate to FBR
For 35 years, FBR has advanced biomedical research for the sake of both human and animal health. We can't do our job without your support. Please give what you can. Together we will continue to make a difference.
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One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.
Andre Gide,
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About FBR
The Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) is the nation’s oldest and largest non-profit dedicated to improving human and animal health by promoting public understanding and support for biomedical research. Our mission is to educate people about the essential role animal research plays in the quest for medical advancements, treatments and cures for both people and animals.
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