Researchers are studying zebrafish to determine which genes are involved in regeneration. If these genes can be found and expressed in humans, a damaged heart could essentially heal itself, speeding recovery from heart attacks and perhaps preventing heart failure.
Having high levels of cortisol in your blood for long periods of time can lead to chronic stress which has many negative health effects. Surprisingly, having high levels of cortisol is not always bad, especially if you are a North American red squirrel. Scientists are studying the impact of population density on survival found that pregnant red squirrels in a more crowded forest had higher cortisol levels and produced babies that grew faster.
MS researchers genetically screen zebrafish to uncover neuron receptors and have successfully found a receptor that can instruct certain cells to remake myelin. Since zebrafish are about 70% similar to humans in their protein-coding genes, scientists look for genes in the zebrafish genome that control the rebuilding of the myelin sheath and are optimistic about finding a cure to MS.
In the early 90s, an endocrinologist and research scientist named John Eng discovered a hormone in the Gila monster’s saliva similar to one in the human digestive tract that keeps blood sugar levels from spiking or dropping too low. He named the hormone exendin-4 and began exploring its tremendous potential as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. Exendin-4 is improving the lives of people with type 2 diabetes and has great potential for treating devastating neurological disorders.
The tiny fruit fly could hold the answers to many of the mysteries surrounding ALS. Scientists are currently studying genes that are believed to play a role in the disease in hopes that they can develop targeted gene therapies. One study in fruit flies revealed a method of reducing the toxicity associated with a key ALS protein, a strategy to slow the loss of neuron function.