Two receptors in the spinal cord and the right experimental drug: Researchers at the University of Zurich have discovered a new approach that suppresses itch. In a series of experiments in mice and dogs they successfully alleviated different forms of acute as well as chronic itch. For the latter, current treatment options are very limited.
Veterinarians in Colorado are concerned that some of their clients may have intentionally hurt their pets in the hopes of receiving prescription painkillers, according to a recent survey conducted by the Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health and a local veterinary association.
Humans have been capturing wild Asian elephants for more than 3,000 years, and this still continues today despite the fact that the populations are declining. An international team of researchers has now analysed records of timber elephants in Myanmar to understand the effects of capture. The study shows that even years after their capture, wild-caught elephants' mortality rate remains increased, and their average life expectancy is several years shorter compared to captive-born animals.
The anemonefish is more familiarly known as the clownfish, as its bright coloration reminds of the face painting of a clown. The striking and unique coloration consists of white stripes on an orange background, but its biological function has remained a mystery thus far. Now, a study by the researchers of the University of Turku and the University of Western Australia has revealed new information on the coloration of the fish.
Individuality exists in all animals, and a number of factors shape it over time. For mice, one of those factors is the social environment, as researchers at CNRS, INSERM and Sorbonne Université have just shown. In this species, some stable character traits may even be inscribed in an individual's neuron activity and change when the group's composition changes. These results are published on Aug. 6, 2018, in Nature Communications.
For a reddish-beaked bird called the zebra finch, sexiness is color-coded. Males have beaks that range from light orange to dark red. But to females, a male's colored bill may simply be hot, or not, findings suggest. Due to a phenomenon called categorical perception, zebra finches partition the range of hues from red to orange into two discrete categories, much like humans do, researchers report in the journal Nature.
Research from the University of Arizona shows the calming benefits of lavender aromatherapy for horses.
Homing pigeons use familiar smells to navigate their way across hundreds of kilometers of unfamiliar territory. Researchers have now confirmed that artificial odors cannot be used to stimulate or trigger a pigeon's navigation system. This means that the so-called olfactory activation hypothesis -- which has been proposed by some researchers -- should be disregarded, argues Anna Gagliardo of the University of Pisa in Italy. Gagliardo and her colleagues have published their research in Springer's Journal of Comparative Physiology A.
The diamond dove may preferentially select large, stiff materials for takeoff and landing sites, according to a study published on July 25 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE. The unexpected findings, reported by Kristen Crandell of the University of Montana and colleagues, suggest that the diamond dove does not adjust its takeoff or landing behavior depending on the flexibility of the perch.
Many dogs show empathy if their owner is in distress and will also try to help rescue them. This is according to Emily M. Sanford, formerly of Macalester College and now at Johns Hopkins University in the US. She is the lead author of a study in Springer's journal Learning & Behavior that tested whether there is truth in the notion that dogs have a prosocial and empathetic nature.