Prairie voles show how sex and intimacy rewire the brain
Futurity
by Marc Airhart-Texas
2d ago
How does sex relate to lasting love? To answer that question, scientists have long studied a small Midwestern rodent called the prairie vole, one of the few mammals known to form long-term, monogamous relationships. A team of researchers including Steven Phelps of the University of Texas at Austin has created the first brain-wide map of regions that are active in prairie voles during mating and pair bonding. The researchers found that bonding voles experience a storm of brain activity distributed across 68 distinct brain regions that make up seven brainwide circuits. The brain activity correl ..read more
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Nanomaterial for retina implant could help restore sight
Futurity
by Lisa Ercolano-Johns Hopkins
2d ago
A new nanomaterial for retinal implants could someday help restore sight for millions, researchers report. Retinitis pigmentosa is a thief, gradually stealing the eyesight of an estimated two million people around the world. Currently, there are no effective treatments to stop or correct the damage caused by this inherited ailment, which kills off photoreceptor cells in the back of the eye. The groundbreaking new material could change that. When made into a retinal implant and activated by laser illumination, the biocompatible nanocomposite material shows promise in acoustically stimulating c ..read more
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100-year-old TB vaccine shrinks liver tumors in mice
Futurity
by Nadine Yehya - UC Davis
2d ago
The century-old tuberculosis vaccine extends survival of mice with hard-to-treat liver cancer, according to a new study. The researchers found that a single dose of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), the vaccine for tuberculosis (TB), reduced liver tumor burden and extended the survival of mice with liver cancer. The study in Advanced Science is the first to show the promising effects of the vaccine in treating liver cancer. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of liver cancer. It is also the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Current therapies include ..read more
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Alzheimer’s blood test could replace spinal taps and brain scans
Futurity
by Tamara Bhandari-Washington University
3d ago
A simple blood test to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease may soon replace more invasive and expensive screening methods such as spinal taps and brain scans, a new study shows. The findings show that a blood test can be as good at detecting molecular signs of Alzheimer’s disease in the brain as cerebrospinal fluid tests approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Alzheimer’s diagnosis. The blood test uses a highly sensitive technique to measure levels of Alzheimer’s proteins in the blood. The research is published in Nature Medicine. The findings demonstrate that a blood test can diagnos ..read more
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2-step method for HIV treatments could boost quality of life
Futurity
by Lisa Ercolano-Johns Hopkins
3d ago
A new way to optimize HIV treatments balances suppression of the virus with a strategy to reduce side effects. It could ultimately improve the quality of life for people undergoing treatment. To overcome quality-of-life altering side effects linked to combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) in people with HIV, the researchers used a two-step approach to personalizing optimal cART regimens to reduce the chances that patients will suffer comorbidities such as depression, chronic kidney disease, and cardiovascular issues. “Personalizing cART treatment for people with HIV has the potential to y ..read more
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Common brain tumor is genetically alike in dogs and people
Futurity
by Jennifer Gauntt - Texas A&M
3d ago
The most common type of brain tumor in humans and dogs—called meningiomas—are extremely similar genetically, a new study finds. These newly discovered similarities will allow doctors to use a classification system that identifies aggressive tumors in both humans and dogs, while also opening the door for new and exciting collaborations between human and animal medicine. Until now, the lack of reliable and viable experimental models has been a barrier to understanding the biology of and developing effective treatments for these brain tumors. “The discovery that naturally occurring canine tumors ..read more
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Why shaming countries for human rights abuses can backfire
Futurity
by U. Chicago
3d ago
On this episode of the Big Brain podcast, a scholar examines the geopolitical impacts of confronting human rights violations. How do you stop a government from continuing to commit human rights abuses? You could take them to an international court of justice, or file a complaint at the UN. But none of those bodies have any enforcement power. Short of going to war, the only option on the table in most international situations is to name and shame. But is that strategy effective? In her new book, The Geopolitics of Shaming: When Human Rights Pressure Works and When It Backfires (Princeton Unive ..read more
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Potato discovery could lead to tastier, healthier chips and fries
Futurity
by Matt Davenport-Michigan State
3d ago
Researchers have discovered a key mechanism behind the darkening and potential health concerns associated with cold-stored potatoes. The findings hold promise for the development of potato varieties that could be stored under cold temperatures and lead to healthier and tastier chips and fries. These snacks have a market worth billions of dollars in the US. In Michigan—the nation’s leading producer of potatoes for chips—the potato industry is valued at $240 million annually. But farmers can’t grow the crops year-round and snack makers need a constant supply of fresh spuds to meet their demands ..read more
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Light-powered pacemaker is thinner than a human hair
Futurity
by Louise Lerner-Chicago
3d ago
A new wireless pacemaker, powered by light and thinner than a human hair, can be implanted to regulate cardiovascular or neural activity in the body, researchers report. The featherlight membranes can be inserted with minimally invasive surgery and contain no moving parts. Millions of Americans rely on pacemakers, small devices that regulate the electrical impulses of the heart in order to keep it beating smoothly. But to reduce complications, researchers would like to make these devices even smaller and less intrusive. As reported in the journal Nature, the results could help reduce complica ..read more
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Neanderthals made tools with their own ‘glue’
Futurity
by James Devitt-NYU
3d ago
Neanderthals created stone tools held together by a surprisingly sophisticated adhesive, researchers have discovered. The findings, which are the earliest evidence of a complex adhesive in Europe, suggest these predecessors to modern humans had a higher level of cognition and cultural development than previously thought. “These astonishingly well-preserved tools showcase a technical solution broadly similar to examples of tools made by early modern humans in Africa, but the exact recipe reflects a Neanderthal ‘spin,’ which is the production of grips for handheld tools,” says Radu Iovita, an a ..read more
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