Most children will experience at least one episode of otitis media, or a middle ear infection, by the time they reach age three, making it one of the most common pediatric infections in the world. For years, rats, mice, and even monkeys gave researchers some insight into how this infection behaved within animal models; however, chinchillas stand out today as the only lab animals with similar enough ear structure to humans and in which otitis media can be easily produced by squirting very small amount of bacteria into the nose.
Many elderly people suffer from osteoporosis, the significant bone loss that can increase the risk of fracture. This disease affects more than 10 million Americans and is the underlying cause behind 1.5 million fractures every year. Rather than develop osteoporosis, black bears’ bodies have made evolutionary adjustments to prevent bone loss during disuse and a team of research scientists have been investigating the secret behind the integrity of bears’ bones.