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Zoobiquity

October 29, 2013

The Zoobiquity project teams up physicians with veterinarians to study diseases that affect humans and other animals.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Cross-species medical research. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Like humans, yellow-bellied marmot populations have gotten fatter in recent years. (Inklein/Wikipedia)

Tiger cancer, whale eating disorders, and a canine version of Alzheimer’s: they’re just a few topics from this year’s Zoobiquity conference in New York.  Cardiologist Barbara Natterson-Horowitz of UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine leads the Zoobiquity project, which encourages physicians and veterinarians to collaborate.

BARBARA NATTERSON-HOROWITZ (UCLA Geffen School of Medicine):

These kinds of conversations lead to novel hypotheses. And that’s what we’re hoping to gain through building these bridges.

HIRSHON:
For example, some wild animals, like Colorado marmots, are getting fatter, even without TV and junk food. Finding out why could reveal environmental factors that promote human obesity. Likewise, it’s suspected that breastfeeding protects against breast cancer in humans. So Natterson-Horowitz suggests learning from the mammals least susceptible to breast cancer: dairy cows, goats, and sheep, which produce milk most of their lives. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.