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Fruit Flies

Fruit Flies and Epilepsy

Epileptic seizures occur when the normal pattern of neurological activity is disturbed, causing convulsions, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness. Fruit flies are viable for research in human diseases, as they share 75% of the genes that cause diseases in humans and hope to find the genetic cause of febrile seizures, which are brought on by high fever.

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“Flying” Toward A Cure For Fragile X Syndrome

Fragile X Syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by a mutation on the X-chromosome that is the most common inherited form of intellectual disability. Clues to this syndrome, which manifests in a wide spectrum of behavioral and learning problems, may be buzzing overhead. The common fruit fly has genes similar to those responsible for causing FXS in humans, making this household pest the perfect partner for scientists searching for a cure for a disease that is also linked to autism.

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Studying Fruit Flies to Understand ALS

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.

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Listen up! Fruit Flies Key to Hearing Loss Research

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is largely responsible for irreversible hearing damage. NIHL can be caused by a one-time exposure to a loud sound or continued exposure to high-decibel noises. Researchers at the University of Iowa are now turning to the common fruit fly to study and combat NIHL in humans. The fruit fly is the ideal animal model because the molecular structure of its ear is more similar to humans than that of rats or guinea pigs, meaning tests on fruit flies yield more accurate results.

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