Dogs fascinate researchers worldwide | 3D-bioprinted ovary offers hope to infertile women | Researchers map canine Lyme disease rates to predict human infection rates
May 17, 2017
FBR Smartbrief
Top Story
Dogs fascinate researchers worldwide
Dogs fascinate researchers worldwide.
(Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Scientists at canine research facilities in the US, Europe, Australia and elsewhere are learning more about dogs' ability to count, read human emotions, discern good instructions from bad and understand the laws of physics. Dog and human brains share structural similarities, and researchers have shown that dogs' self-control breaks down in the same way as in humans.
TIME magazine (5/11) 
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Research Breakthroughs
3D-bioprinted ovary offers hope to infertile women
Scientists at Northwestern University used 3D printing to create a hydrogel scaffold in which they embedded ovarian follicles and implanted the structure into mice whose ovaries had been removed. Once implanted, the follicles grew, the mice ovulated, the eggs were fertilized and each mouse gave birth to at least two pups.
CNN (5/16),  Science online (5/16),  HealthDay News (5/16) 
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Researchers map canine Lyme disease rates to predict human infection rates
Researchers map canine Lyme disease rates to predict human infection rates.
Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose in people and may be underreported, leaving researchers to guess at the rate of infection, but a study assessing the incidence in dogs might help. The nonprofit Companion Animal Parasite Council coordinated the study, published in PLOS ONE, which showed that Lyme disease infection rates in people track closely to the rate in dogs.
Philadelphia Daily News (5/16) 
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Assay detects radiation exposure in nonhuman primates
Researchers reported in Science Translational Medicine that an assay tested in nonhuman primates detects microRNAs in blood and other bodily fluids that rise or fall in response to radiation exposure. The polymerase chain reaction test is comparatively inexpensive and could be used to triage victims of a nuclear disaster.
Scientific American magazine (6/2017) 
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Study finds link between microbiome, brain defect
Hereditary cerebral cavernous malformations are blood-filled bubbles that protrude from veins in the brain, and a study published in Nature suggests that antibiotics and fecal transplants might treat the condition. Researchers found that a genetic defect allows lipopolysaccharides carried in Gram-negative bacteria in the gut to cause veins in the brain to form blood bubbles, and antibiotics and microbiome replacement prevented or halted disease progression in lab mice.
The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (5/10) 
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Other News
Animal Health
Feline genetic mapping could yield new treatment insights
Feline genetic mapping could yield new treatment insights
(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine researchers mapped the genomes of 50 cats, and they plan to continue until they've reached 99 felines, all in an effort to identify and prevent genetic diseases such as progressive retinal atrophy and Niemann-Pick disorder. "Continued collaboration with geneticists and veterinarians could lead to the rapid discovery of undiagnosed genetic conditions in cats," said study lead Leslie Lyons, noting that testing can uncover conditions early, when they may be more readily treated.
The Kansas City Star (Mo.) (5/10) 
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Everyone yawns, but no one knows for sure why
Scientists still do not know exactly why people and animals yawn, but the fact that yawning is highly contagious hints at a social or communicative function, researchers say. Recent studies of chimpanzees and dogs back up the hypothesis.
National Public Radio (5/15) 
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Policy News
Environmental advocates push back when animal rights activists decry EPA policy
Proposed Environmental Protection Agency rules on how to prioritize testing of potentially toxic substances have sparked opposition from animal rights activists who warn implementation will mean more animal testing, a view that positions them in opposition to a group of consumer environmental health advocates. Andy Igrejas, director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, says animal testing is critical to keeping people safe, and EPA scientific advisory board member Holly Davies says any animal testing involved with classifying agents will be valuable.
FiveThirtyEight (5/16) 
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