Paralyzed rats regain control of their bladder

It may surprise you to know that a life-threatening disability after complete spinal cord injury is urinary dysfunction – although numerous strategies and treatments have been tried, in the attempt of regrowing the severed axons, their success has been very limited. Now, researchers have finally come up with a solution that works, at least in rats. Paralyzed rodents can now

Faroe Islands wants to sequence its entire population’s genome

Located in the North Atlantic, right in between Greenland and Scotland, Faroe Islands is one of the smallest countries in the world. At the same time, however, it has also remained fairly isolated for many centuries, which in time has led to the formation of a distinct language and population. You can spot a native from a mile away, and

Medieval skeletons give clues to leprosy origin

Leprosy, or Hansen’s disease (HD), is a chronic infection caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis. It was quite a common disease in Europe until the 16th century. Now, researchers have extracted DNA from skeletons that were 1,000 years old, analyzing the disease genetic code and comparing it to that of new strains, which exist today. The first,

Asian tigers now at risk from virus normally affecting domestic dogs

As reported earlier on ZME, as little as three thousand tigers are currently alive today in the wild from six subspecies, or thirty times fewer than 100 years ago. Loss of habitat and poaching are the main drivers that brought these majestic cats at the brink of extinction. Now, a new threat might put tigers at an even greater risk:

Big breakthrough in Multiple Sclerosis – man-first study shows promise

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is one mean, hard, disease. It’s an autoimmune disease – your body basically fails to identify itself, and starts attacking itself, and treatment is very difficult. In MS, the immune system attacks and destroys myelin, the insulating layer that forms around nerves in the spinal cord, brain and optic nerve. When the insulation is destroyed, electrical signals

Largest supercomputer bio-simulation ever reveals key HIV protective shell structure

One big obstacle scientists face in their efforts to develop effective drugs against HIV is the virus’ capsid – an outer cell membrane-derived envelope and an inner viral protein shell that protects HIV essential proteins and genetic information. Current drugs have a hard time breaching this structure, however this might change. Using a supercomputer that crunched immense amounts of data, scientists have

Avatar therapy shows great promise in silencing voices in schizophrenics

We’ve written a great deal about schizophrenia in the past, mostly reports about new theories pertaining to the development of the disease or new types of pharmacological treatments. A great deal of interest and efforts are being invested in battling this severe psychological disorder, since it affects so many people (as many as 1 in 100) and its effects make

Mutant mosquitoes lose desire for human scent

Mosquitoes are not only extremely annoying, but they’re some of the most lethal creatures out there, with malaria infecting over 200 million people each year. But genetically modified mosquitoes that lack some of their sense of smell cannot tell humans from other animals and no longer avoid approaching people who are slathered in bug spray. This finding, published in Nature,

Researcher finds new immune system in mucus

Think about mucus – what comes to mind? It’s slimy, it’s gross, no one really likes it, right? Well, as a team from San Diego State University showed, mucus is also home to a very powerful immune system that has the possibility to change the way doctors treat a number of diseases. Bacteriophages are basically viruses that infects and replicates

Protein that can stop diabetes in its tracks identified

Scientists have successfully identified an immune protein which has the possibility to stop or even revert development of type 1 diabetes in its early stages – that is, before insulin producing cells have been destroyed. Why is this not inaccurate/sensationalistic? This is a new thing we’re going to do with most of these articles; why? Because you read or hear

Sharing bacteria with your kids using their pacifier may reduce the children’s risk of allergies, asthma and eczema

Researchers in Sweden have shown that children whose moms and dads placed their childrens pacifiers in their own mouths, thus sharing some of their own bacteria with them, had a lower risk of allergies, asthma and eczema. Arguably, the sample size of the study is too small, and more research is needed in order to confirm these original findings, but

Women may live longer than men due to stronger immune system

The life expectancy gap between men and women is a rather attested fact, and while in the past a laborious, physically tense lifestyle for men was used to serve as an explanation, in our day and age of gender equality this doesn’t quite cut it anymore. Researchers in Japan might have stumbled across a clue that explains why women life

Carnivorous plant disposes of “Junk” DNA, hinting it may not be necessary

Only 2% of the human genome is comprised of genes, while the vast majority of genetic material is known as noncoding DNA – that is to say DNA that doesn’t code proteins. A complex plant, the carnivorous bladderwort plant, known as Utricularia gibba, recently became the center of attention for evolutionary biologists after a recently published paper by an international team of researchers

New, tiny device can extract clean DNA material within minutes

The human genome has been sequenced a mere few years ago, and since then a great deal of advancements have been made in the field. This is extremely important since in the future, personalized medicine needs each individual’s genetic markup such that treatment may get the most effective punch or diseases and afflictions might be avoided altogether. The DNA sequencing

Gray hair reversal process discovered by scientists

Some of you will definitely rejoice over this news piece. Apparently, scientists in Europe have developed a treatment that has been proven to reverse the massive oxidative stress developed in hair follicles or gray hair. Moreover, the same compound has been found to be effective in battling vitiligo, a skin condition that causes de-pigmentation of sections of skin. Gray hair occurs  after a

First bio-engineered kidney works after transplant in rats

In a milestone of modern medicine, medical researchers at the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston have produced the first bioengineered kidney and then successfully transplanted it in a host rat, where it become functional. Each year millions of people die of liver related diseases, and even those who go through the living hell of climbing up the waiting

Living alone increases risk of death

We live in a society that’s increasingly isolating individuals, as age-long cultural and community habits die off. Prior to the massive urban developments that came in the XXth century, living alone was something virtually unheard of and was mostly reserved to the social pariahs, the outcasts, hermits that chose to live the solitary life. Today, in the US at least,  32.7 million

Modified cold sore virus shrinks melanoma tumors

There’s few things I can think of that sound scarier that a genetically modified version of herpes simplex virus type 1, but apparently that’s exactly what researchers used to shrink tumors of the deadly skin cancer melanoma in a clinical trial, according to Amgen, which is developing the experimental cancer treatment. The virus is actually the same virus that causes

Fossils from China may show interbreeding among early humans

According to a research published by researchers from Chinese Academy of Sciences and Washington University in St. Louis, interbreeding was pretty common with our ancestors. They based their case on an approximately 100,000-year-old skull from Xujiayao in the Nihewan Basin of northern China, which has a rare congenital disorder caused by interbreeding. Enlarged parietal foramen (EPF) or “hole in the

Great leaps forward have been made in the fight against the biggest hidden virus

A virus that most of us carry, yet which is remarkably obscure both to the immune system and the general public in terms of awareness, is responsible for a number of health hazards in the human body. In time, it tires the immune system which is forced to seek and fight it for a life time, exposing the body to