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Nerves & Muscle Roundup

January 14, 2011

“Marathon” mice could lead to new therapies for muscle disorders.


Giving muscles more nerve. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The main symptom of myasthenia gravis is muscle weakness, but the problem isn’t the muscles—it’s the nerves that trigger them. They lack a neurochemical called acetylcholine, and without it, they can’t do their job. Researchers at Vanderbilt University have created genetically engineered mice that produce extra acetycholine. The mice can run on treadmills twice as long as regular mice can. The scientists say the super mice will help them develop drugs for myasthenia gravis and a variety of other disorders.

Future dads who eat a balanced diet may actually be helping their not-yet-conceived children. Researchers gave male rats either a balanced diet or one low in protein. The low protein dads went on to conceive baby rats with genes that produce more fat, suggesting that eating a healthy diet is important for dads as well as moms. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.