Independent, diverse oversight body can ensure ethical animal research | Common immune response to Ebola virus seen in monkeys, human cells | Brain activity syncs as one monkey watches another's actions
The NIH should heed the advice of experts, including the National Association for Biomedical Research, as the agency revises standards and policies for laboratory animal research, writes Elisa Hurley, executive director of Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research. The NIH should establish a single, multi-stakeholder oversight body that includes diverse perspectives and has the authority to ensure ethical conduct, and support policies recommended by institutional review committees and veterinarians, Hurley writes.
Researchers found an immune-system response pattern that could indicate the presence of the Ebola virus four days prior to the presence of fever, the first symptom of infection, according to a study in the journal Science Translational Medicine. The pattern was observed tests with monkeys and human cells.
A study published in Scientific Reports found that neuronal activity in monkeys' brains began to synchronize when one watched another receive a reward, and the degree of synchronization depended on the monkeys' social status. Mimicking brain activity might help monkeys learn by observation, and human brains may function similarly, the researchers said.
Researchers at the University of Calgary's Cumming School of Medicine are using a small MRI device and a blood gas analyzer to test the effects of treatments for cancer, multiple sclerosis and stroke on rodents. The devices have allowed researchers to use fewer rodents and have enabled longer-term studies, says Jeff Dunn, director of the school's Experimental Imaging Center.
Sand flies pick up leishmania parasites from infected dogs and transmit them to humans, thousands of whom die every year from leishmaniasis, and a canine leishmaniasis vaccine would prevent human as well as dog deaths, researchers say. An experimental vaccine not only protected dogs against leishmaniasis in a clinical study, but it also reduced the severity of the disease in infected dogs and allowed their immune systems to clear the parasites, researchers reported in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene.
The New Mexico Department of Health is checking the home of a dog diagnosed with plague and informing neighbors of the risk. There were four human plague cases and 28 animal infections last year in New Mexico, and veterinarian Consuela Conley says any pet showing signs of illness should be seen by a veterinarian.
Scientists are working with zoos, universities and governments to identify the cause of a skin disease that could threaten the survival of giraffes in sub-Saharan Africa, where the animal is already threatened by habitat loss and poaching. Researchers do not know how the disease affects giraffe reproduction or mortality, but the research might lead to new insights that inform conservation efforts, says Fred Bercovitch, director of the nonprofit Save the Giraffes.
The Maryland General Assembly is considering a bill approved by the state Senate and supported by Johns Hopkins Medicine that would require research institutions to put up for adoption dogs and cats used in research once studies end. However, Hopkins already has a successful rehoming program in collaboration with faculty, staff and reputable rescue groups, says spokeswoman Audrey Huang.
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