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Pain may come in his and hers

pain in the neck

Different kinds of cells may carry pain signals in males and females, a mouse study suggests.  

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Male and female mice use different kinds of cells to respond to pain, a new study shows. The results suggest that if a similar thing happens in people, pain treatments ought to be tailored to men or women.

Scientists knew that after an injury, cells called microglia in the spinal cord spring into action, a process that’s been linked with persistent pain. When scientists shut down microglia in male mice, the animals became less sensitive to a pointy poke. Yet shutting down the cells had no effect on females, Jeffrey Mogil of McGill University in Montreal and colleagues report June 29 in Nature Neuroscience. In females, immune cells called T lymphocytes may carry pain signals, the scientists suggest.

The results may provide an explanation for some of the differences between males’ and females’ responses to pain and also offer a cautionary note for scientists: Experiments on pain should include both sexes, the authors write. 

Astronomy

Advice to a baby planet: Avoid black holes

By Christopher Crockett 11:00am, June 26, 2015
A dust cloud looping around the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole might have once been an infant planet.
Plants,, Health

Poppy yields the final secret to making morphine

By Bethany Brookshire 4:08pm, June 25, 2015
Scientists have successfully transplanted most of the morphine synthesis pathway from poppies to yeast. Now the final step is ready to be put in place.

Tiny tweaks helped flu strains thwart 2014-2015 vaccine

By Meghan Rosen 12:01pm, June 25, 2015
Changes to the flu strains circulating around the Northern Hemisphere explain why last year’s flu vaccine didn’t work so well.
Planetary Science

Rosetta mission extended until September 2016

By Christopher Crockett 4:25pm, June 23, 2015
The Rosetta spacecraft will explore comet 67P through September 2016 and then may go to sleep on the comet’s surface.
Planetary Science

Pluto and Charon’s orbital dance captured in color

By Christopher Crockett 3:00pm, June 22, 2015
New Horizons has captured the first true-color movie of Pluto and Charon orbiting one another.
Planetary Science

Evidence mounts for active volcanoes on Venus

By Christopher Crockett 7:00am, June 19, 2015
The Venus Express orbiter detected possible signs of active volcanism on the planet next door.
Planetary Science

NASA moves ahead with a mission to Europa

By Christopher Crockett 2:37pm, June 18, 2015
A NASA mission slated for the 2020s to Jupiter’s icy moon will try to figure out if the ocean there is habitable.
Earth

Dinosaurs may not have seen the Grand Canyon after all

By Thomas Sumner 6:00am, June 18, 2015
New geologic comparisons peg the Grand Canyon’s inception well after dinosaurs went extinct.
Animals,, Evolution

Unpredictable egg scramble throws off parasitic parents

By Ashley Yeager 7:35pm, June 17, 2015
Eggs of some species of warbler and weaver birds appear to have individual signatures, which can help distinguish them from the eggs of parasitic cuckoos.
Astronomy

Mars-sized exoplanet is smallest to have its mass measured

By Christopher Crockett 1:00pm, June 17, 2015
The smallest exoplanet to be weighed is a hot, rocky cousin of the Red Planet.
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