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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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.