While You Were at the Bench: Week 45

After studying a cohort of 18-26-year-olds with autosomal dominant mutations in presenilin 1 that predispose them to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, researchers have determined structural changes to several brain regions as well as CSF proteins indicative of increased amyloid beta.  This study has shown the earliest known biomarkers for AD, which could improve screening methods, diagnosis and treatment.

Using MRI, neuroscientists have determined that recent military veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, PTSD, have decreased amygdala volume (the brain region associated with regulating fear).  The next step is determining if a smaller amygdala predisposes people to PTSD or is a result of experiencing traumatic events.

Researchers have discovered a second species of blind mole rat, Spalax (BMR), that has innate cancer resistance mediated through the release of interferon-beta.  This discover could lead to new therapies for treating carcinoma in humans.

Astronomers have discovered three planets 42 light years away from Earth that orbit their sun at a distance suitable for sustaining climate, liquid water, and possibly life.  Their discovery will spark additional observation from both land and spaced based telescopes.

A Goffin’s cockatoo named Figaro has been observed repeatedly shaping sticks to reach food placed outside of his habitat in Vienna, Austria.   Add this species to a quickly increasing list of animals observed using tools and demonstrating “higher intelligence.”

For the first time, scientists have demonstrated that an electronic device implanted into the inner ear of guinnea pigs can be powered by endocochlear potential without loss in hearing.  This study sets the foundation for creating a biological battery that can power biosensors or drug delivery systems for treating hearing loss.

Researchers at Harvard have successfully recapitulated pulmonary edema using human lung cells grown onto a polymer (organ-on-a-chip) that allows them to quickly screen potential drugs for toxicity and therapeutic efficacy.  I wonder if PETA is excited or angry that they’ll have nothing to complain about in the future?

Have a great weekend!

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About Kevin Hascup

Kevin obtained his B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Delaware in 2001.  He worked in Research & Development for Dade Behring, a clinical diagnostics company located in Newark, Delaware.  It was here that he acquired an interest in neurobiology and in the summer of 2003 he began the PhD program at the University of Kentucky.  In 2007, Kevin obtained his PhD in Anatomy and Neurobiology and continued his thesis research  with two  separate postdoctoral research positions at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden and McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.  Kevin is currently Director of Product Development for an up-and-coming biotechnology located in Springfield, Illinois and is co-founder of RateMyPI.com. 
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