The US toll taken by Alzheimer’s disease more than doubled between 2000 and 2015, and dementia is expected to cost the nation $277 billion this year alone. Fortunately, research in monkeys, mice and other animals is advancing efforts to develop treatments for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, and the results could transform life for millions of families, writes FBR President Matthew R. Bailey.
This year’s canine influenza outbreak triggered widespread vaccination, and incidence has stabilized, writes veterinarian Gary Thompson. Dietary research showed that trendy, boutique diets are not necessarily healthier than established formulas, and raw diets can cause serious infections; a new veterinary pain drug causes fewer side effects than some older options; and a local anesthetic that has been available for people since 2014 was approved this year for veterinary use.
Human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived GABAergic progenitor cells implanted into the hippocampus of a mouse model with a form of epilepsy significantly reduced the frequency of seizures, researchers reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research “is a major step forward in treating otherwise incurable diseases of the brain” and may prove to be effective in epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, said Darwin Prockop, a professor at the Texas A&M College of Medicine.
Light-sensing cells in the retina might send signals to the brain that contribute to sadness or depression in winter when days are shortest, according to a study presented at a Society for Neuroscience meeting and another study published in Cell. Researchers found a pathway in mice from photoreceptors that contain melanopsin, which responds to light, and brain areas that affect mood, and when the cells were genetically edited out, the mice did not become depressed in response to shortened cycles of light and dark.
Activating ERBB2 receptors in the cells of the inner ear led to the production of cochlear support cells and sensory hair cells in mice, and the research could lead to treatments for hearing loss, researchers reported in the European Journal of Neuroscience.
Parasites, poor nutrition, pathogens and pesticides threaten the world’s bee populations, and researchers have found that vaccinating the queen bee may protect the entire hive, as the egg-yolk protein vitellogenin carries immunity elicitors to offspring. The study, published in PLOS Pathogens, could lead to edible vaccines for devastating diseases such as American foulbrood and viruses associated with mites.
Marburg virus was found for the first time in Egyptian rousette fruit bats in three different areas of Sierra Leone, and the knowledge will enable officials to develop an outbreak response plan. “This discovery is an excellent example of how our work can identify a threat and help us warn people of the risk before they get sick,” said CDC ecologist Jonathan Towner.
An administrative court in Tubingen, Germany, dismissed animal cruelty charges against scientists at Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics after reviewing new information in an expert report. Animal rights activists had claimed that sick monkeys — two of which recovered after treatment and one of which was humanely euthanized — were poorly handled, but the evidence review led to the dismissal of all three associated cases.
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Even the wolf has its moments of weakness, in which it sides with the lamb and thinks: I hope it runs away.
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.