Science is fun and all, but it’s widely accepted that it’s slowly marching us all to the end of civilization. Consider this one step on that march.
Researchers have grown tiny human brains inside of mice, which are known to carry disaease. That’s not us punching up some boring study, they really did it. It’s the first time that scientists have been able to grow a human brain in another species, so, congrats? The researchers, who are deluding themselves, say this is a major breakthrough in stem cell research.
What is really means is that science is that much closer to making animals as smart as us. And when that happens, we’re in for it.
Who among us hasn’t cried watching An American Tail? (It’s OK, the Internet can’t see you nodding.) Fievel Mousekewitz, a young mouse from Russia, emigrates to America to escape Cossack cats and ends up separated from his family in New York City. Of course it’s sad — because Fievel is an illegal immigrant carrying superbugs.
A study of mice throughout New York City reveals that Fievel’s great-great-great-great-great … (mouse generations are ridiculous) … great-grandchildren are carrying disease-causing bacteria, including a few antibiotic-resistant germs.
Three percent of the mice carried Salmonella bacteria, 14 percent carried disease-causing Shigella, 12 percent carried the food poisoning germ Clostridium perfringens, 4 percent carried enteropathogenic Escherichia coli and 4 percent carried Clostridium difficile, a notorious cause of often-fatal chronic diarrhea.
“Often-fatal chronic diarrhea.” Clearly, crying our lungs out at their songs wasn’t enough for these Trojan mice.
If you see signs of mice in your domicile, it is critical to take steps to either catch or kill them and clean up all possible surfaces with bleach to disinfect contagion due to urine and feces. And we have to act fast before these vermin go west.
Large amounts of alcohol are known to have an ill effect on the brain (aside from headaches), but new research suggests that lower amounts can actually improve your brain function. That’s right, booze not only makes you feel smarter, it might actually make you smarter, too.
Researchers have found that lower amounts of alcohol, we’re talking a drink or two tops, can help improve the function of the glymphatic system, which helps clear waste from the body. Mice that were given small amounts of booze showed had less inflamed glial cells in the brain than mice that weren’t given a drop. Meaning, the alcohol actually helped the mice clean their brains faster than if they’d just stayed sober.
So if your brain could use a good cleaning, maybe relax with a couple drinks and let the booze do the work.
The snake. It’s not normally an alpha predator, but in the right ecosystem, it has an untouched reign as king. The ones that have venom are even more powerful in their world, as not many creatures can readily top a poisonous animal.
While it’s better to have a Valentine than to be one of those sad sacks crying into their white wine on Single Awareness Day, that’s not to say that having one doesn’t come with its own problems. The most frustrating aspect has to be going out in February. Even in the most temperate U.S. climates, there’s a good chance you’ll have to surrender your jacket.
Fortunately, this may be the last year you’ll ever have to do that, thanks to your wing man: science!
Neuroscientists at the University of Southern California “turned off” the sensation of feeling cold in mice by isolating and cutting off the neurons that express a protein named TRPM8. The mice with TRPM8 avoided areas in the experiment area that were too hot and too cold, while the mice without TRPM8 wore shorts while waiting in line for concert tickets outside, talking about how this weather was nothing because they’re from Michigan.
Right now, the treatment is irreversible, so the next step is to develop a temporary effects pill that you can slip into her drink. And, if that fails, we can just wait until climate change takes full effect.
You know, we keep hearing about all these great things science was supposed to do for us, but it sure seems like it’s fallen short in recent years. Personal jetpacks, flying cars and exterminating everyone over 30 are all now 13 years overdue. Basically, thanks for the microwave ovens, scientists, but what have you done for us lately?
Well, science delivered, and it delivered big. Get ready for slimmer, sexier mice, because doctors at Louisiana State University have found the secret to exercise- and diet-free weight loss.
LSU researchers injected mice that they had fattened up with amlexanox, a drug normally used to treat canker sores in humans. The mice lost the weight through increased metabolism, not by moving around more or eating less. Once off the drug, the mice gained the weight back, but it was too late for their young, sexy new spouses to dump them.
The next step is to test this treatment on obese humans, who look forward to getting that wheel out of their living rooms.
The University of North Carolina School of Medicine study consisted of two groups of mice — one that had been drinking very heavily and one that silently judged the drinkers and hoped they would die in a car crash. Each were exposed to a certain sound, accompanied by electrical shocks.
After a while, the scientists backed off on the shocks, merely playing the sound that the mice had come to associate with the wrath of God or, at the very least, Emperor Palpatine. The non-drinking mice recovered quickly, no longer fearing the sound. Meanwhile, the boozing mice still feared the sound and froze every time it played.
If there’s one thing that The Guys have always advocated, it’s that drinking is good for you. And we don’t mean drinking in that eight glasses of water a day vein of thought. No, our veins are meant to be leaded, and the latest research confirms that a red wine BAC is a-OK.
Red wine contains resveratrol, a chemical that was tested on lab mice in a study just published in the May issue of Cell Metabolism. Only mice with the gene SIRT1 received benefits from resveratrol. In moderate amounts, the resveratrol targets SIRT1, and in heavier doses, will improve other areas as well, improving the health of mice with high-fat diets and increasing their life span.
Just how much resveratrol? “The amounts [of wine] we gave to our mice would be like drinking 100 glasses of red wine a day,” said Dr. David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School. [Emphasis ours.]
Well, there you go. Tap a box of your favorite vintage and get drinking to your health.
It’s no surprise that cigarettes are harder to quit than heroin. We’ve heard the stats and arguments about this before multiple times by now. But are other guilty pleasures just as addictive-like, say, chocolate?
Italian researchers set out to discover just how much compulsive behavior plays a role in eating disorders. Rossella Ventura, leader of the research team at the Santa Lucia Foundation in Rome, took two sets of mice – the experimental group was starved (which we approve) while the control was fed normally (which we don’t approve as much) – and trained them to choose between two chambers in a maze. The first chamber was empty while the second had a bit of chocolate inside. Once this conditioning was established, they added a mild electric shock to the chocolate room.
They then allowed the starved mice to eat their way back to normal weight and let both sets into the maze. The mice that had been well-fed throughout experienced the shock and quickly learned to avoid the chocolate chamber (awww). The previously starved mice, on the other hand, fought through the pain in pursuit of the chocolate (sort of yay), despite the fact that they were now being fed adequately elsewhere.
Ventura believes this willingness to ignore negative consequences in pursuit of food even when there is no great need for it demonstrates part of the behavior components that underlie eating disorders in humans and animals. Frankly, we at SG don’t care if they’ve got bulimia or boo-urnslimia. This is information that we can use in our great war against nature, and boy oh boy, is it good information. Can we suggest attempting the experiment on a larger scale, but then incorporate flamethrowers rather than just electric shocks? Oh, and just starve all the animals in this large scale experiment?