Empathy and Altruism in Rats?

A recent paper in Science discussed behavioral data in rats suggestive of empathically motivated behavior. This is a potentially very important report for two major reasons. First, a deep understanding of the mental and psychological abilities of rats, and other species, is a crucial goal for comparative psychologists, evolutionary biologists and other basic scientists. Second, … Continue reading Empathy and Altruism in Rats?

Symposium Explores Animal Rights Tactics, Responses

On Saturday April 24, 2010, the American Physiological Society sponsored a symposium on Trends in Animal Rights Activism and Extremism. This event, attended by about 100 people,¬† was part of the Experimental Biology 2010 meeting, which was recently held in Anaheim, California. In introducing the symposium, session chair Bill Yates noted the importance of animal … Continue reading Symposium Explores Animal Rights Tactics, Responses

Addiction Research as an Example of Translational Biomedical Research

In science, "translation" embodies the concept that data gathered in one situation is meaningful for data gathered in another. Applied biomedical research seeks to translate laboratory research into effective treatments or cures. It spans many levels of study. In oncology (the field of cancer biology), some individuals study how cancerous cells grown in a dish … Continue reading Addiction Research as an Example of Translational Biomedical Research

Understanding migraines: The blind leading the…err…rats

Chances are that you have either suffered from migraine yourself or have a family member or close friend who have, after all about 1 in 8 of us will suffer from migraine at some stage in our lifetime, and some sufferers experience repeated debilitating episodes over many years . While headache on one side of … Continue reading Understanding migraines: The blind leading the…err…rats

Working toward a cure for paralysis

We have been pleasantly surprised by the magnitude of the positive responses received from our recent publication in Nature Neuroscience regarding the demonstration of several interventions which resulted in the recovery of well controlled locomotion after a complete spinal cord injury. It has been characterized as a major breakthrough in facilitating the level of recovery … Continue reading Working toward a cure for paralysis

Mending a Broken Heart

An¬†interesting item in the news today about research on repairing the damage to the heart caused by a heart attack. The report in PNAS can be read by those with a subscription at: While there have been several attempts to bioengineer cardiac tissue for transplant¬† in vitro using starting from cells seeded onto a scaffold, … Continue reading Mending a Broken Heart

A new era for embryonic stem cells

As the new president takes office and the scientific community eagerly awaits the announcement of the reversal of the ban on federal funding of most research involving human embryonic stem cells (hESC's), there's news that the FDA has approved the first ever trial of a treatment based on hESC's for severe spinal cord injury. This … Continue reading A new era for embryonic stem cells