Research Roundup (Winter ’15, Week 3)

Every week our Research Editors highlight a few of the latest headlines in science news and explain why these pieces are interesting and applicable to our classes at UC San Diego. If you find an engaging science article, share it with us on our Facebook page and your highlight may just be featured!

In the Fight against Haemophilia, Dogs are a Weapon | Scientific American

Dogs are being used to study hemophilia because of the similarities to hemophilia in humans. From these studies, researchers discovered that giving healthy plasma to patients improves their condition. More recently, a synthetic factor was created that, when infused in patients, has been shown to treat the disease.

If you are interested in hemophilia, consider taking Genetics (BICD 100).

— Jasmine Chau | Sr. Research Editor

Researchers prevent type I diabetes in mouse model | Science Daily

Scientists have discovered a way to prevent type I diabetes in mice. By blocking the processes that destroy beta cells and cause insulin deficiencies, researchers hope to prevent the disease instead of merely treating its symptoms.

If you are interested in diseases, consider taking Endocrinology (BICD 150).

— Jasmine Chau | Sr. Research Editor

Scientists invent system to improve effectiveness of cancer surgery | Science Daily

Scientists have invented a new imaging system that causes tumors to “light up” when a hand-held laser is directed at them. The goal of the surgeon during cancer surgery is to remove the tumor and a sufficient amount of surrounding tissue to ensure that malignant cells are not left behind. However, it is difficult for surgeons to know for sure whether or not all potentially malignant cells have been removed. Using this new system, surgeons scan the tumor before surgery to determine its boundaries; during the surgery, the area is re-scanned to assess for any remaining malignant tissue. If malignant tissue is detected, it can be removed on the spot, and the process is repeated until no more malignant tissue is detected.

If you are interested in cancer, consider taking Biology of Cancer (BIMM 134).

— Neil Srinivas | Jr. Research Editor

Portable stimulator being tested on Parkinson’s patients | Science Daily

Researchers have demonstrated that a weak electric ‘noise’ can improve balance and motor skills in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is a slowly degenerative neurological disease that is expressed as impaired motor control, tremors, stiffness and, in later stages, problems with balance. The symptoms are caused by a lack of the signal substance dopamine and is traditionally treated with medication, but medication has not been able to significantly improve the condition of patients with Parkinson’s. Multiple experiments conducted at the Sahlgrenska Academy have shown that the active noise stimulation improved both the patients’ balance and the combined symptoms.

If your are interested in neurodegenerative diseases, consider taking Molecular Basis of Human Disease (BIMM 110).

— Neil Srinivas | Jr. Research Editor