Neurosciency Friday: Stem cells, brain surgery, cats, miniature organs, and more

It’s time for this week’s installment of Neurosciency Friday (inspired by NPR Science Friday!), in which I bring you science news and tidbits from around the web!

Spanish researchers have developed a way to grow stem cells inside living mice (as opposed to growing them in one of those cool looking glass things in vitro)!  If this technique can be adapted to use in humans, it may be possible to regenerate new cells to treat diseases such as diabetes.

The Business Insider details the case of a woman who has too much empathy following brain surgery to treat her epilepsy.

An investigation of cat genomes found that tigers are genetically 95% housecat. Speaking of cats, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley recently reported that after being injected with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, mice stop being afraid of cats.  Cats can be a carrier of the parasite, so I guess for them, there is such a thing as a free lunch, after all!

Forbes reports that researchers may be able to identify markers of Alzheimers using a type of brain imaging that detects the protein tau, a main component of brain “gunk” which are characteristic of neurodegereration in diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Forbes also reports that a glass of red wine a day could reduce depression risk.  If that’s not a good reason to partake in my beloved sangria, I don’t know what is.

Finally, if you’ve ever wanted to wear your heart on your sleeve, that technology may soon be possible.  LiveScience writes that the Department of Defense has invested over $24 million in a new project to create mini-organs using 3D printing.  The technology will be used to create a “body on a chip” to enhance current drug testing.

That … looks like jello to me.

What are your weekend plans? (Science-related … or not!)

Have a great one!


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