The plaques and tangles associated with Alzheimer's disease in humans have been seen in the brains of older chimpanzees for the first time, though scientists aren't sure if they cause dementia in the apes. "If we can identify those differences between the human and chimp brain, then we might be able to pinpoint what is mediating the degeneration," said Mary Ann Raghanti, a co-author of the study published in Neurobiology of Aging.
Results of a study in non-human primates, published in Nature Communications, suggest that Zika virus is not transmitted through casual contact with saliva, such as by kissing or sharing eating utensils. "If passing the virus by casual contact were easy, I think we would see a lot more of what we would call secondary transmission in a place like the United States," said lead researcher Tom Friedrich, from the University of Wisconsin's School of Veterinary Medicine.
An infusion of stem cells into the hypothalamus of middle-aged mice was associated with lower levels of memory loss and greater longevity, while mice in which hypothalamic stem cells were depleted had poor memories, muscle endurance and ability to learn, and they died sooner. Moreover, as reported in Nature, injections of exosomes taken from fluid around hypothalamic stem cells was also associated with longer lives and better memory retention among mice, suggesting that stem cells release signals that play a regulatory role in aging.
Findings from a study published in Animal Cognition suggest that rats have metacognitive abilities, or an awareness of what they do not know. If further studies confirm the findings, it may mean that rats are good models for studies of Alzheimer's disease.
A flexible adhesive that sticks to wet surfaces could eventually be used instead of stitches to close internal and external wounds, scientists reported in Science. The adhesive, inspired by slug slime, could also slowly release drugs and adhered strongly to skin, cartilage and arteries, as well as to livers and hearts, in animal studies.
Injecting mice with islet amyloid polypeptide proteins, which accumulate in the pancreas of people with type 2 diabetes, caused the mice to develop high blood glucose levels and caused beta cells in their pancreas to die. The findings, published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine, suggest that T2D may develop in a manner similar to prion diseases, and researcher Claudio Soto says it raises questions about whether the condition could be transmissible via organ transplants or blood transfusion.
Honeybees are social insects, but some display antisocial behavior, and scientists report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that corresponding genes are active in antisocial bees and people with autism. Honeybees are not people, but "if you want to understand how these genes interact, the honeybee might be a useful model," says Alan Packer, a geneticist with the Simons Foundation, which funded the research.
Colorado State University immunologist Mark Zabel has been studying chronic wasting disease, which is decimating wild elk, deer and moose populations in the US and Canada. He's pursuing a hypothesis that the prion, or pathologic protein, thought to cause CWD persists in soil or on plants, and controlled burns might limit the spread of the disease, as might restoring populations of wild horses, which are naturally resistant to prion diseases.
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