This week in animal research 19/08/16
Implanting images in the brain of mice using beams of light
Scientists at Columbia University have used beams of light to implant an image inside the mind of a mouse. The researchers implanted light sensitive proteins via a virus, then shone a laser at the specific cluster of brain cells in order to activate them.
Research in mice suggests viruses are more dangerous when victims infected in the morning
A study using mice at the University of Cambridge suggests that viruses are more dangerous when they infect their victims in the morning. Mice were infected with either influenza or herpes virus and those infected in the morning had 10 times the viral levels of those infected in the evening. The researchers say the findings could lead to new ways of stopping pandemics.
Fish can influence which male fish will become the fathers of their children
Fish can influence which male fish will become the fathers of their children. A US study in Nature showed that the ovarian fluid released by the fish, which coats her eggs, influences which mate will successfully fertilise the eggs.
Mouse gut study may make scientific studies harder to replicate
A US study in mice involving how a drug affected bone density has inadvertently shone light into how gut bacteria may affect an experiment. Three sets of mice of the same strain from the same vendor all had different bacteria when their faecal samples were analysed. Standardised equipment and controlled procedures are expected in experiments but it can be hard to ensure that all specimens have the same internal bacteria, raising replicability questions about some experiments.
Rat study suggests Parkinson's may be detectable from an eye test
The first signs of Parkinson's may be detectable from an eye test, according to studies conducted in rats. Scientists at UCL found that there were changes in the back of the eyes of rats before any outward symptoms showed. If this research can be applied to humans it would hugely benefit the early diagnosis of tens of thousands of future Parkinson's patients
Anti-inflammatory drug successfully reveres memory loss in mice with Alzheimer’s disease
Researchers at The University of Manchester have identified an anti-inflammatory drug that has completely reversed memory loss and brain inflammation in mice. The mice were treated once they had developed memory problems by implanting a drug deliver mini-pump implanted under the skin for one month. Memory loss was completely reversed back to the levels seen in mice without the disease.