The Mary Sue


Even Wild Mice Really Dig Running Around in Wheels

Treadmills: not just for the chronically lazy anymore!

When you buy a rodent or small creature as a pet, you're usually encouraged to buy that pet a little wheel—the logic being that they won't get to run around as much inside that tiny cage and will need something to burn off all their extra neurotic rodent energy. But apparently, it's not just captivity-bred animals who find wheels fun.

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National Institute of Health Tells Labs to Stop Ignoring Females in Lab Experiments

What would Mrs. Frisby have to say about this?

Science arguably has a problem with gender equality in humans, but it definitely has one in rodents. For decades, researchers have used male mice and rats in laboratory tests instead of females because of concerns their hormones and reproductive cycles would skew results. Well, the National Institutes of Health says knock it off, jerks.

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Lifespan of Mice Increased With Experimental Drug, Prepare for Your Immortal Rodent Overlords

Nicodemus would be pleased.

A new experimental drug has shown to increase the lifespan of mice. The drug could have positive implications for humans as well, but let's focus on the real goal here: mice immortality.

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Study Shows Lab Rodents Lose Their Shit Around Men

At least this is good news for female scientists? Maybe?

A study published today in Nature is casting doubt on the results of countless pre-clinical trials performed using lab rodents. Researchers through the University of McGill have discovered that mice and rats freak the fuck out in the presence of men—so by the transitive property, I guess I am also a rodent?

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We May Have Found A Way to Turn Off Hunger, And It Involves Lasers

It's cool, I didn't really want that second burger anyways, you guys.

If you're interested in losing weight, and aren't afraid of having your brain controlled by a laser beam through your eyeballs, then science has the perfect solution for you! In a recent study (using mice only, at this point), scientists think they've discovered the part of the brain that allows for overeating - and how to turn it off.

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Urine Stem Cells Used to Grow Human Teeth Inside of Mouse Kidneys

Because sometimes, science is basically a Mad Lib.

Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences are reporting that using a mix of stem cells and mouse connective tissue, they have successfully grown human teeth inside the kidney of a mouse. If it pans out, the research could have huge implications for dental and implantation technology. If not, it's just another weird thing we can do to mice.

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First Successful Interspecies Cell Transplants Could Pave the Way for Future Pig-to-Human Transplants

Transplanting insulin producing cells from rats to mice isn't human medicine yet, but it's a hell of a first step.

Researchers at Northwestern Medicine have successfully transplanted insulin-producing cells across species lines -- removing cells from rats and implanting them in mice -- without using drugs to prevent rejection of the foreign cells. While the transplant may seem like a small victory -- mice and rats are pretty similar, after all -- it marks a significant step forward in interspecies transplants that could one day save human lives by allowing the implantation of insulin-producing "islet" cells without necessitating the use of immunosuppressive drugs that can have dire side effects. 

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Human Liver Buds Successfully Grown From Stem Cells

The liver buds continue to grow in mouse transplant subjects, suggesting they could one day help to save human lives.

Researchers at Japan's Yokohama City University have reported in Nature this week that they have used stem cells to create human liver buds that continue to grow and perform the organ's normal functions when transplanted into mice. In experiments, the lab-grown liver-ettes even helped to stave off death in mice suffering from liver failure. Though a preliminary step that may not see practical application for years, this represents a major discovery that shows promise for growing human organs from scratch for use in organ transplants.

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Science Develops Saddest, Weirdest Mouse With Muscles That Light Up as They Break Down

Today brings us a reminder that genetic engineering can do very strange, very specific things. Researchers studying muscular dystrophy have engineered a mouse model of the disease, but needed a better way to track its progress as the disease ravages their tiny mouse muscles. The solution? Engineer the already muscular dystrophy-prone mice with a gene from fireflies that causes their muscles to glow in relation to how much damage has been done to them by the disease. So those exist now.

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Few Too Many Pounds? Trim Down With Bacteria From Your Buddy’s Gut

There's always some new "breakthrough" in weight loss, touted by celebrities or TV personalities with pills, programs, or delicious new shakes. But you know what they're not touting, but actually could work? Ingesting the gut bacteria of someone slimmer than you. That's right. A new study finds that if you had the right bacteria transplant, losing weight might not be as much of a problem.

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Ambitious Kitten Swallows Mouse Whole, Nearly Chokes to Death on Tail

Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew, and other times we don't bite at all and just try to swallow an entire mouse. Everyone's tried to swallow a whole mouse before, right? No? Well, Socks sure has. He's an 8-week-old kitten who is adorable because he is a kitten, but he is also a remorseless killing machine. Socks, despite the fact that his teeny tiny wittle kitten mouth wasn't yet big enough, swallowed an entire mouse, but the tail became lodged in his throat. I can has Heimlich?

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Can You Feel It? Neuroscientists Turn Off Ability to Feel Cold in Lab Mice

For many of us, Valentine's Day is a wonderful time to celebrate the one we love. For others among us... well, we mostly just try not to hate all you cute couples too much and get through the day without feeling too many feelings.  For those of us who would rather shut down our perceptions today, there's a far-off glimmer of hope -- researchers at the University of Southern California have succeeded in turning off the ability of mice to feel. Well, to feel the sensation of cold, anyway, though we're hopeful that turning off the ability to feel the bitter sting of disappointment or the dull, lasting ache of loneliness is just down the road.

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Artificial Eggs and Artificial Sperm Produce Real, Adorable Baby Mice

The oft-asked question "How is babby formed?" just got a little more complicated to answer. A team of Japanese researchers have reared baby mice who are the product of joining an artificial sperm cell and an artificial egg. Both of the reproductive cells in question were made by transforming adult cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), the lab created stem cell strains that have shown both promise and peril in recent studies. Those iPSCs were then turned into sperm and egg cells, respectively, and finally turned into adorable mouse pups.

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Foot Pedal Mouse Keeps Your Hands Free For Typing

Sometimes traditional input devices just don't cut it. I've never been big on the touchpad mouse, but sometimes using a traditional mouse can be annoying when you can't spare that whole hand because you need it on the keyboard. For typing, you guys. Particularly, activities like peddling between tabs in Chrome can be obnoxious while typing. Especially if you have a dozen open. The same goes for highlighting text. It's a small annoyance to grab the mouse and then go back to the keyboard, but it's a very common one. That's where the foot pedal mouse comes in. It can solve all those problems for you, that is, if it's at all usable.

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Razer Naga Hex, a Gaming Mouse Tailor-Made for MOBAs

We here at Geekosystem are huge fans of gaming peripheral extraordinaire Razer.From their perfectly contoured mice, to neat gaming keyboard and laptops, Razer makes a PC gamer's dreams come true. One of the best gaming mice in existence, the Razer Naga, figured out how to shove 17 buttons into a mouse, yet have the thing be totally and comfortably usable. Now, Razer is expanding the Naga line, adding the Razer Naga Hex to the fold. Whereas the original Razer Naga had 12 buttons on the side and was tailor-made for MMOs, the Razer Naga Hex cuts the buttons in half and is tailor-made for MOBAs -- otherwise known as games like Defense of the Ancients, Heroes of Newerth, and League of Legends.

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Study: Stem Cells Used To Make Sperm, Then Used To Make Mouse Babies For The First Time

Adding to the ever growing list of what stem cells can do, researchers as Kyoto University in Japan have created fully functional sperm from mouse embryonic stem cells, that resulted in the birth of viable offspring. Researchers used the sperm they created to fertilize mouse eggs in the laboratory, that were then implanted as embryos into surrogate mothers. This is the first time an animal has been born from sperm that was made from stem cells. For years, scientists have been trying to make viable sperm and eggs cells from embryonic stem cells because it could be a ground breaking treatment for infertility. However, until now all attempts at making sperm from embryonic stem cells had failed to result in offspring. Since 2009, the team from Kyoto University has been working on this problem, and devised a special method for making the cells viable.

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Study: Interrupted Sleep Harms Memory Development

New research from a group at Stanford University has found that broken or interrupted sleep has a negative effect on the ability to build memories in mice. The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, shows that disrupting the sleep of mice made it harder for them to recognize and identify objects that should have been familiar to them. To study the mice, the researchers interrupted their sleep but made sure that the amount of time sleeping was no shorter than normal. Using optogenetics, a technique where certain cells are genetically engineered to be controlled by light, the researchers targeted cells in the brain. The cells on which the researchers focused plays a critical role in switching the brain between the sleep and awake states. Light pulses were sent into the brains of the mice while they slept, to disrupt their sleep but not change their total sleep time or the quality or intensity of their sleep. The researchers then tested the mice memory by putting them in front of two objects, one new and one familiar. Mice whose sleep had been disrupted did not recognize either object, while mice who had slept undisturbed focused all their attention on the new object.

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Study: Stem Cells Grow Functional Mouse Teeth

Chow down on this: scientists in Japan have used the stem cells of mice to grow replacement teeth that are fully functional when implanted into the mouse's mouth. The "bioengineered tooth unit," otherwise known as the tooth grown from the stem cells, was created by a team of researchers led by Takashi Tsuji at Tokyo University of Science. To make the teeth, the researchers removed stem cells from mouse molar teeth.The cells were put in culture in the lab to go in a specific mold that would guide the shape and size of the future tooth. When the cells had matured into complete teeth, the researchers transplanted them into the jaws of one-month-old mice. The transplanted teeth were fused with the jaw bones of the mice within an average of 40 days. At this time the researchers were also able to detect nerve fiber growth in the newly transplanted teeth.

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Mind Control Hat Uses Light to Guide Mouse Behavior

Researchers at MIT have developed a hat that can control the minds of mice by using wireless optogenetics. The hat is really two circuit boards and an antenna that is wired directly to the mouse's brain to control the animal's behavior with flashes of light. Optogenetics is an emerging scientific field where light is used to control the behavior of cells and even entire animals.

Optogenetics works by loading cells (typically, neurons) with a protein that is light sensitive. This protein acts as a gatekeeper of the cell. When the protein is exposed to the light, it opens up and allows ions to enter the neuron, causing it to fire. By introducing the protein to exact sports, scientists can turn on certain parts of the brain or even individual neurons. Having control of the brain, and particular neurons gives researchers the ability to guide behavior.

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Study: New Virotherapy Cures Prostate Cancer In Mice

Finding a cure for cancer has been the mission of millions of scientists around the world. Significant breakthroughs have been made in developing treatments for cancer, and even some preventative measures have been developed like the HPV vaccine that guards against certain strains of the humanpapillomavirus, one of the few viral causes of cancer. But despite advances in immuno and virotherapy, there remains a need for an effective, easily produced, and easy to tolerate treatment for cancer.

Researchers working in part at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN, and St. James University Hospital in Leeds, UK believe they have developed a new virotherapy with tremendous potential. Their method focuses on prostate cancer in mice, and while very successful it remains to be seen whether this therapy could be translated with the same effectiveness into humans.

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