Early treatment of HIV-infected newborns may clear infection, animal study finds | Study: Mice with early Alzheimer's recover lost memories | Animal studies yield additional Alzheimer's insights
 
March 23, 2016
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Early treatment of HIV-infected newborns may clear infection, animal study finds
HIV-positive child.
(Natalie Behring/Getty Images)
Researchers cleared HIV-like infection in newborn rhesus macaques that contracted the illness from their mothers during delivery by treating the infants with engineered antibodies to the virus within 24 hours of birth. The findings, published in the journal Nature Medicine, could point toward a way of protecting the over 200,000 human children who contract HIV each year. U.S. News & World Report/HealthDay News (3/22), KGW-TV (Portland, Ore.) (3/21)
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Research Breakthroughs
Study: Mice with early Alzheimer's recover lost memories
Researchers have restored lost memories in mice that have early signs of Alzheimer's disease by using blue light flashes, according to a study published in Nature. Scientists hope to learn how Alzheimer's causes memories to be lost through these memory manipulations. Researchers tagged nerve cells related to stored memories and added a gene that caused the cells to respond to flashes of blue light. Ars Technica (3/20), CBS News (3/18), Science News (3/16)
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Animal studies yield additional Alzheimer's insights
A nurse and a patient with Alzheimer's hold hands.
(Sebastien Bozon/AFP/Getty Images)
Engineered implants that slowly release antibodies and induce an immune response to beta-amyloid protein showed promise for Alzheimer's disease treatment, researchers reported in the journal Brain. Mouse models of Alzheimer's with the implants showed reduction in beta-amyloid buildup and less tau phosphorylation. In another study presented at the American Chemical Society meeting, researchers reported that maple syrup extract prevented misfolding and aggregation of toxic proteins in vitro and in animal models, and treatment boosted microglia activity in the brains of rodents. Medical News Today (3/18), CTV.ca (Canada) (3/19)
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Researchers find clue to inherited blindness in dogs, humans
University of Pennsylvania researchers have found that retinal cells undergo a period of proliferation in puppies with two types of inherited blindness, adding more evidence to contradict the commonly held belief that neurons don't regenerate. Their results, published in BMC Genomics, build on earlier research that focused on another type of blindness and could help people with similar disorders. PhillyVoice (Philadelphia) (3/20)
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Lab takes multifaceted approach to fighting Zika virus
Aedes aegypti.
Aedes aegypti. (Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images)
The CDC transformed a dengue research lab in Puerto Rico into command central for studying Zika virus. Transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, Zika may cause serious birth defects, and dozens of scientists at the facility are raising mosquitoes, working with animal tissues and testing new agents in an effort to understand how, why and what might stop the virus' spread. Goals include developing rapid tests, finding new pesticides A. aegypti mosquito is susceptible to and conducting outreach to help the local community better understand and mitigate risks. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (3/20)
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Stem cell treatment repairs bone damage from osteoporosis in mice
A single mesenchymal stem cell injection restored healthy bone structure in mouse models of age-related osteoporosis, according to study published in Stem Cells Translational Medicine. More than 200 million people in the world suffer bone deterioration as a result of age-related osteoporosis, which can be managed but not cured. Researchers hope the stem cell approach they tested can be adapted for use in humans. Gizmag (3/18), Medical News Today (3/18)
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Study uncovers clues to origins of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
A mutation in the gene C9orf72 has been linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and new research shows how the mutation may contribute to the debilitating, deadly disease in some patients. Mice bred to lack the gene didn't develop Lou Gehrig's disease, but they did exhibit immune system deficiency -- specifically, lysosome function was damaged, likely affecting the brain's ability to clear debris. Other ALS-linked genes also may play a role in immune function, and continuing the line of research could lead to a better understanding of the disease and possibly new treatment approaches. Medical News Today (3/18), ConsumerAffairs.com (3/18)
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Animal Health
Tiny camera takes scientists through the equine GI tract
University of Saskatchewan researchers captured images from inside a live horse's intestines for the first time. They used an endoscope tube placed through the horse's nose to flush a tiny camera pill into the intestinal tract. The camera began transmitting images immediately, allowing the team to piece together a map of the GI tract, and they plan some modifications to improve use of the technology in horses. CBC.ca (Canada) (3/16)
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