Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Mice in the news

*  Important research news from Japan:   
A trio of researchers working in Japan has found via experiments they conducted, that male virgin mice prefer to watch videos of other mice fighting with one another, than videos of mice having sex.
 *  Nature.com, which seems to run a lot of stories about the relatively recent realisation that a lot of mice based medical research has been stuffed up for decades by the researchers not housing or caring for their furry subjects in the same way, has another story about this.   (It's funny how long it can take smart people to realise they are overlooking something important.)

*   Mice seem to have an odd brain structure that "throttles" violent rage:
New evidence shows mice have a brain structure that throttles rage.
The structure is called the lateral septum. It’s physically connected to and receives electrical signals other parts of the brain that control emotions, learning, aggression, and hormone production.
Damage to the lateral septum can trigger a cascade of activity in other brain regions that produced “septal rage.” These sudden, violent acts, mostly attacks on other mice, have long been seen in rodents with a damaged lateral septum, and in some birds, researchers say.
“Our latest findings show how the lateral septum in mice plays a gatekeeping role, simultaneously ‘pushing down the brake’ and ‘lifting the foot off the accelerator’ of violent behavior,” says study senior investigator Dayu Lin, an assistant professor at New York University.
Lin emphasizes that septal rage is not known to occur in humans, but that studying male aggression in mice might help to map the circuitry involved in controlling other forms of aggression, including violent behavior in humans.
Another Japanese mice study indicating that staying hungry may help with better ageing:
Researchers in Japan have showed that stimulating secretion of the ‘hunger hormone’, ghrelin, in mice using the traditional Japanese Kampo medicine rikkunshito had beneficial effects on aging-related diseases. The article was published in Molecular Psychiatry. ...
Previous studies have shown that caloric restriction (CR)—reducing calorie intake without incurring malnutrition or a reduction in essential nutrients—slows aging and delays functional decline as well as the onset of some diseases. Ghrelin, which regulates energy metabolism, is secreted in the stomach in response to CR and fasting.

No comments: