Life Lines

Archives for November, 2012

    Researchers at Amgen in British Columbia and California have developed an antibody called mimAb1 that mimics the properties of fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21). Having a role in regulating fat and glucose metabolism as well as body weight made this particular growth factor a target for the treatment of obesity and diabetes. When administered to…

Whoever thought that a brain-attacking fungus might actually be good for you? This particular type of fungus, cordyceps, is known for attacking and killing caterpillars and can be found in the mountains of Tibet. Touted as a cure for various ailments including cancer, asthma, and erectile dysfunction, it is sold in Chinese markets as the…

Jasper is just one of the injured dogs that this research team has been able to help walk following an injection of nasal cells:

This video from Scientific American explains how Thanksgiving dinner makes you feel sleepy: Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

The leading cause of morbidity in captive rhesus monkeys is a condition called idiopathic chronic diarrhea (ICD), a condition similar to the inflammatory disease ulcerative colitis in humans. Since parasitic worms have recently been used to treat inflammatory bowel diseases in humans, researchers Broadhurst et al., decided to try this therapy in infected monkeys. Young rhesus macaques were administered 1000 human…

Cloning endangered animals

I just read an article about conservationists in Brazil at the agricultural research agency (Embrapa) who are planning on cloning endangered animals using tissue samples collected from carcasses. The researchers want to clone animals that are not yet critically endangered in order to maintain them in captivity in the event that wild populations decline significantly. Emprapa is…

Could camels hold secret to survival?

Bactrian camels thrive in conditions considered harsh by many standards: very dry, cold, high elevations. Researchers now suspect their physiological adaptations of high blood sugar, high salt diets, and increased body fat may have evolved to help the animals cope with their environment. For humans, those symptoms could lead to heart disease, but for the Bactrian…

Clever cockatoo caught using tools

Check out this picture of a captive cockatoo (Cacatua goffiniana) in the Department of Cognitive Biology at the University of Vienna using a tool: Figaro (shown above) was observed by a student using a piece of bamboo to try to retrieve a dropped pebble. This was the first documented evidence of a Goffin’s cockatoo attempting…

What are animals thinking?

I know what I’m doing tonight! I just heard about a special called “What Are Animals Thinking” that will be airing tonight on NOVA ScienceNOW. To check local listings, click here. Watch What Are Animals Thinking? Preview on PBS. See more from NOVA scienceNOW.

Fish water jet

Check out this video of an archer fish (Toxotes jaculatrix) shooting down prey by creating a water jet: Here it is again in slow motion: Until now, the mechanism by which the archer fish produces such a powerful jet of water was a mystery. Contrary to prior hypotheses, the fish do not have specialized internal…