World’s first clinical trial to treat Parkinson’s disease with stem cells

Researchers from Kyoto University in Japan started a clinical trial this month to treat Parkinson’s disease with reprogrammed stem cells. This follows the successful restoration of brain cell function in monkeys using these stem cells reported last year. Parkinson’s disease is characterized by the loss of a specific type of neuron in the brain, called dopaminergic neurons, which make the essential neurotransmitter dopamine. The reduced … Continue reading World’s first clinical trial to treat Parkinson’s disease with stem cells

Heat waves hurt your brain: the argument for window AC units

As our planet warms, the effects of heat on the human body will become important information. The human body is capable of dealing with heat, but reprieves are needed to allow our systems to rest, else our bodies become over-stressed. This reprieve often comes in the form of night, when temperatures typically  cool. During heat waves, nights remain toasty, and reprieves only exist for those … Continue reading Heat waves hurt your brain: the argument for window AC units

The FDA Approves the First Non-Opioid Drug to Ease Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

It is 2018, and we are well on our way towards curing cancer. Yet, as we look around, we find another nightmare haunting our society that is as formidable, if not more so, as it has been for centuries. That nightmare is opioid addiction.  Overcoming opioid addiction is notoriously difficult, because of the excruciating symptoms associated with the withdrawal process, during which the only aid … Continue reading The FDA Approves the First Non-Opioid Drug to Ease Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

What does your grip strength say about your mental health?

“A healthy mind in a health body.” It’s a saying that is often tossed around when discussing the link between exercise and brain health. Many studies have shown that exercise can improve cognitive performance. In a new study, researchers asked if body strength could be used to predict brain health. Hand grip strength has been used in a variety of studies to assess cardiovascular health, … Continue reading What does your grip strength say about your mental health?

Who lives in the Twilight Zone under the sea?

Where scientists previously assumed a harsh transition from reef life to deep-sea life, scientists have found a ‘missing link’ in oceanic life: the rariphotic zone. Between 150m-300m below the surface, this ‘twilight zone’ in the Caribbean houses a ‘deep sea reef’, complete with 30 new invertebrate species and 71 new species of reef fish. It was previously thought that reef fish couldn’t survive this deep, and their presence is a surprise to everyone. Continue reading Who lives in the Twilight Zone under the sea?

Promising results for a treatment for blindness

Progressive blindness has been reversed in two patients with age-related macular degeneration, also known as AMD. AMD is a leading cause of blindness in people over 50. AMD damages the central portion of the retina, called the macula, which decreases vision over time, and can lead to blind spot formation. Phase 1 clinical trial results highlighting the effectiveness of a stem cell-based therapy were published … Continue reading Promising results for a treatment for blindness

Crowdsourced Data Helps Scientists Construct the World’s Largest Family Tree

We cannot predict how long we each live, but can our genes? For as long as longevity has been a desirable good, it has never been equally distributed across humanity, not even within families. The role of heritable traits in longevity is still debated. Previous genomic studies have reported a low heritability for longevity. However, inadequate sample sizes prevent these studies from examining the influence of … Continue reading Crowdsourced Data Helps Scientists Construct the World’s Largest Family Tree

Scientists have created sheep that are 0.01% human

For as long as humans have conceived of making hybrid organisms, an ethical debate has been waged over whether or not we should. The pros and cons are vast and poignant. Each new scientific advancement towards making hybrids stokes the fire of controversy. This year, researchers presented work at a conference detailing the most recent hybrid: a sheep-human chimera. To create these chimeras, scientists used … Continue reading Scientists have created sheep that are 0.01% human

Naked Mole Rats: An Exception to the Rule

Naked mole rats are a peculiar species in the animal kingdom for a number of reasons. These wrinkled rodents are immune to cancer, insensitive to pain, and capable of surviving for up to 18 minutes in zero-oxygen environments. Recently, researchers have discovered that in addition to these peculiarities, naked mole rats — unlike all other mammalian species — simply do not age. In 1825, British … Continue reading Naked Mole Rats: An Exception to the Rule

Fish skin “bandages” rapidly heal burned bears and a mountain lion

Two bears and a mountain lion suffered extreme burns to their paws during the California wildfires in December. Treating the animals with the traditional procedures was proving difficult, so vets turned to an experimental treatment: fish skin bandages. Amazingly, the bears and lion healed in a fraction of the time it would have taken otherwise and have already been released.
Continue reading Fish skin “bandages” rapidly heal burned bears and a mountain lion