Category Archives: Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease vaccinations- but they’re not for you…

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERALyme Disease is a tick-borne illness that affects over 300,000 people in the United States alone each year. Infected blacklegged ticks can transmit the disease to humans. Lyme Disease is no joke; untreated infections can damage the heart, joints, and nervous system. And although many people think that deer are the main cause of the spread of the disease (blacklegged ticks are commonly called deer ticks), the most common carrier of Lyme Disease is the white-footed mouse.

Currently, there are no human vaccines for Lyme Disease. So researchers are trying to tackle the problem in a different way- by vaccinating mice! They developed an oral vaccine, mixed it into an oatmeal pellet, and baited plots of land with these pellets. The theory is that ticks feeding on vaccinated mice would ingest the antibodies made in the mouse’s body, thus killing any bacteria carried by the ticks, and preventing them from transmitting the disease to humans. And it works- researchers saw a 76% decrease in infected ticks on the treated plots of land.

Right now, scientists are working on USDA approval for the vaccine pellets. If approved, hopefully this will make a big difference in reducing the number of cases of Lyme Disease in humans- and as an added bonus, it won’t hurt the animals or the environment!

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25168-mouse-vaccine-could-protect-humans-from-lyme-disease.html#.UyYkBPldWSo

Are there animals in YOUR medicine cabinet?

Dog and pills.How have animals helped YOU today? If you’re not familiar with research, you might not have any idea. But did you know that most of our medical advances wouldn’t have been possible without animals? It’s amazing to learn about the ways they’ve helped us!

Antibiotic ointment, aspirin, cold medicines, penicillin, anti-depressants, blood pressure and cholesterol medications, insulin, anti-coagulants, anesthesia, HIV drugs, chemotherapy, dialysis, CT scans, MRIs, prosthetics, organ transplants, and thousands of other medications and procedures were developed and determined to be safe for your use, thanks to dedicated researchers and the animals they work with.

The list goes on. I will guarantee that every person reading this has benefited from at least some of these advances. What’s more, I’ll bet your pets have benefited as well! And that’s a wonderful thing! Think of the symptoms we can alleviate due to medications, the life-threatening emergencies that we can SURVIVE, and the illnesses that our children may never get, thanks to vaccines. Polio, measles, cervical cancer, rabies, chicken pox, whooping cough, tetanus, Hepatitis B- and that’s just the beginning of the list!

EMBRACE it. Be thankful for it. The next time you reach into your medicine cabinet, take a minute to think about the scientific advances that led to the development of the medication that’s about to help you!

http://news.discovery.com/animals/animals-in-your-medicine-cabinet-photos-140204.htm

http://fbresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/AADflyer-hires.pdf

Ticks: A real Halloween fright!

iStock_000014283149XSmallGuaranteed to give you more of a scare than ghosts and goblins this Halloween, check out the video below of a wood tick slowly imbedding its feeding apparatus into skin. It’s enough to make you seriously spooked! As someone who has suffered from Lyme disease more than once, ticks are especially scary for me.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/30/science/earth/how-does-a-tick-do-its-dirty-work-research-video-offers-a-clue.html?ref=science&_r=1&

By looking at the mechanism of attachment through an electron microscope, researchers can see how ticks use a ratchet-like system to anchor its mouth into the skin, allowing the tick to hang on and eat for days without expending any effort.

Many insect adaptations can provide inspiration for new research applications. In the meanwhile, as gruesome as it looks, it’s fascinating to be able to understand how these insects are such efficient parasites! Can you think of a relevant application for this? I’d love to hear it!

For more information on Lyme disease, its symptoms and treatments, check out this link:

http://www.aldf.com/lyme.shtml