Naked Mole Rats May Hold Clues to Surviving Stroke

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Naked mole rats.

Blind, nearly hairless, and looking something like toothy, plump, pink fingers, naked mole rats may rank among nature’s most maligned creatures, but their unusual physiology endears them to scientists.

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New Brain Connections Form Rapidly During Motor Learning

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New connections begin to form between brain cells almost immediately as animals learn a new task, according to a new study.

New connections begin to form between brain cells almost immediately as animals learn a new task, according to a study published recently in Nature. Led by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, the study involved detailed observations of the rewiring processes that take place in the brain during motor learning.

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‘Missing Link’ In Immune Response To Disease: Sheer Mechanical Force

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A highly focused laser beam (at right) is used to apply mechanical force (shown as a double headed arrow) to a microsphere (white) coated with histocompatibility protein.

The immune system’s T cells have the unique responsibilities of being both jury and executioner. They examine other cells for signs of disease, including cancers or infections, and, if such evidence is found, rid them from the body. Precisely how T cells shift so swiftly from one role to another, however, has been a mystery.

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Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy Restores Walking Ability In Rats With Neck Injuries

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Illustration of rat with spinal injury. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of California

The first human embryonic stem cell treatment approved by the FDA for human testing has been shown to restore limb function in rats with neck spinal cord injuries — a finding that could expand the clinical trial to include people with cervical damage.

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Nanomedicine Promising For Treating Spinal Cord Injuries, Findings Show

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This image represents “copolymer micelles,” tiny drug-delivery spheres that could be used in a new approach for repairing damaged nerve fibers in spinal cord injuries. The bottom graphs show data indicating damaged spinal cord tissue recovered its “action potential,” or ability to transmit signals, after treatment with the micelles.

Researchers at Purdue University have discovered a new approach for repairing damaged nerve fibers in spinal cord injuries using nano-spheres that could be injected into the blood shortly after an accident.

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Tiny Laser-scanning Microscope Images Brain Cells In Freely Moving Animals

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New data from rats with head-mounted microscopes shed light on how we put the world together seamlessly while we move around.

By building a tiny microscope small enough to be carried around on a rats` head, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany, have found a way to study the complex activity of many brain cells simultaneously while animals are free to move around. With this new technology scientists can actually see how the brain cells operate while the animal is behaving naturally, giving rise to immense new insights into the understanding of perception and attention.

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Scientists Discover Gene That ‘Cancer-proofs’ Naked Mole Rat’s Cells

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Naked mole rats.

Despite a 30-year lifespan that gives ample time for cells to grow cancerous, a small rodent species called a naked mole rat has never been found with tumors of any kind — and now biologists at the University of Rochester think they know why.

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Link Between Alcohol And Cancer Explained: Alcohol Activates Cellular Changes That Make Tumor Cells Spread

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Researchers have identified a cellular pathway that may explain the link between alcohol consumption and cancer.

Alcohol consumption has long been linked to cancer and its spread, but the underlying mechanism has never been clear. Now, researchers at Rush University Medical Center have identified a cellular pathway that may explain the link.

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Major Step In Making Better Stem Cells From Adult Tissue

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Scientists have developed new technique that is 200 times more efficient and twice as fast as conventional methods for transforming adult human cells into induced pluripotent stem cells.

A team led by scientists from The Scripps Research Institute has developed a method that dramatically improves the efficiency of creating stem cells from human adult tissue, without the use of embryonic cells. The research makes great strides in addressing a major practical challenge in the development of stem-cell-based medicine.

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New Strategy For Mending Broken Hearts?

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This immunofluorescence staining image shows the cardiomyocytes in green and the fibroblasts interspersed around them in red. The cells are aligned around the central pore.

By mimicking the way embryonic stem cells develop into heart muscle in a lab, Duke University bioengineers believe they have taken an important first step toward growing a living “heart patch” to repair heart tissue damaged by disease.

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Fish-Killing Toxin Could Kill Cancer Cells

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A powerful fish-killing toxin that has caused major losses in commercial ponds of catfish, striped bass and tilapia may also have cancer-killing properties.

A powerful fish-killing toxin could have cancer-killing properties as well, according to collaborative research led by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) microbiologist Paul V. Zimba and chemist Peter Moeller of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The toxin, called euglenophycin, has a molecular structure similar to that of solenopsin, an alkaloid from fire ant venom known to inhibit tumor development.

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Blood-brain Barrier As Therapy Delivery System: Enzyme Delivered Through Bloodstream Corrects Deficiencies In Brain

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A model of the human brain.

The blood brain barrier is generally considered an obstacle to delivering therapies from the bloodstream to the brain. However, University of Iowa researchers have discovered a way to turn the blood vessels surrounding brain cells into a production and delivery system for getting therapeutic molecules directly into brain cells. Continue reading… “Blood-brain Barrier As Therapy Delivery System: Enzyme Delivered Through Bloodstream Corrects Deficiencies In Brain”

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