Stem cell therapy: When will it help the heart?

Stem cell therapy: When will it help the heart?

Heart muscle is never replaced if it dies in a heart attack. Muscle cells grown from stem cells can briefly help broken hearts. Could new approaches make the healing long-term? More »

Problems of the apes

Problems of the apes

Bad feet? Aching back? Impacted wisdom teeth? Blame balky designs inherited from your relatives. How has evolution equipped — or mal-equipped — us for modern life? How do big brains support culture that supports big brains? More »

Spinal cord injury

dark grey illustration of section of spinal cord with labelled sections

A combined nerve-graft and enzyme treatment restored breathing to 9 of 11 rats. The bacterial enzyme dissolves a molecule that separates tissues and prevents growth of nerves and blood vessels. Could this lead to the treatment that finally breaks the logjam in spinal-cord repair? More »

Biology as engineer

Biology as engineer

Long ago, nature devised the hinge and ball and socket for appendages like legs and wings. The screw is the latest simple machine to be discovered in nature. Why do weevils, a type of beetle, have a screw? How does it help weevils survive their 3-D world? More »

A strike against stroke?

A strike against stroke?

Aware that a small amount of function often returns after a stroke, neurologists have helped neurons recover after an experimental stroke. Mice that got a candidate drug that blocks GABA, the major inhibitory neurotransmitter, recovered up to half of their motor control. In the future, can we treat strokes that cannot be prevented? More »

Stem cell battle resumes

Black and white image of woman in wheelchair seen from the back in a hospital hallway

A federal court has thrown the field of embryonic stem cell research into confusion. Last week, research that destroys embryos could not get federal bucks — even if those embryos were doomed or destroyed years ago. This week, it can. How is the legal yo-yo affecting researchers — and desperate patients? More »

Growing limbs, healing limbs

Closeup of front of small pink salamander, small dark eyes, tiny limbs, six pink protruding fins.
Salamanders and fish can regrow perfect limbs and fins after amputation. We can’t grow a replacement arm, but can the salamander’s natural regeneration teach about faster wound healing? The latest research on limb regeneration suggests growth factors and equipment that could be ready for the clinic in a few years. More »

Embryonic stem cells

Embryonic stem cells

Pres. Obama has removed some limits on studies of cells that can become any body cell. What was lost in eight years of limits on embryonic stem cells? What’s ahead? More »

Life during the “other” Big Bang!

Did the arrival of 4,000,000,000,000,000,000 tons of space junk start the formation of organic molecules roughly 4 billion years ago? “Could be,” says a new study from Japan… More »

Electric eye learns from animal eye!

Lenses cannot project a perfect image on the flat back of a camera, so images are distorted at the edges. A revolutionary camera solves this problem by curving the light detector. More »

Overcoming paralysis

Overcoming paralysis

Brain electrodes allow monkeys to move robot arm and feed themselves. Experiment proves it’s possible to bypass spinal cord to create simple motion. More »

Gene therapy: Success at last!

After decades of effort, gene replacement brings eyesight to the blind. How did it work? What does animal research say about gene therapy for curing cancer, reducing pain or reversing muscular dystrophy? Why has gene therapy taken so long? More »

Embryonic stem cells without the embryo!

Embryonic stem cells without the embryo!

Scientists learn to make human embryonic stem cells without using eggs, embryos, or legal hassles. Adding four genes to skin cells did the trick. More »

Dolly the clone: 10 years later

In 1997, Dolly was BIG NEWS. What did Dolly teach? Why did cloning attract so many oddballs, and what is the status of reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning? The Why Files honors Dolly with a 10-year lookback. More »