FROM THE HATCHERY You may never have heard of a nude mouse, but infertile women may come to love them. Canadian doctors have taken tiny bits of a young woman's frozen ovarian tissue and transplanted them to the back muscles of a fur-free, or "nude," mouse (the lab species of choice because it has no graft-rejecting immune system). The eggs were incubated under the critter's skin and eventually harvested. A tiny first step, but an important one: the technique may one day allow women with ovarian cancer, for example, to have children of their own.
PRUNING POLYPS Superaspirin to the rescue? Preliminary findings suggest that COX-2 inhibitors--the arthritis-fighting "superaspirin"--may one day help prevent colon cancer. Researchers administered high doses to patients with familial adenomatous polyposis--a devastating disease in which the colon can become so overrun with polyps that the entire organ must be removed. After six months, the number of potentially malignant polyps was reduced 25%. If COX-2 inhibitors can work in such extreme cases, researchers hope they can prevent polyps in patients with a mere predisposition to colon cancer.
EROS EQUALITY Doctors have long known that hypertension can impair sexual functioning in men. Well, it can have a dampening effect on women too. A small study shows that women with high blood pressure--even those treated with medication--have decreased vaginal lubrication and fewer orgasms than women with normal readings. What's the link? Hypertension may cause barely perceptible damage to the tiny blood vessels that feed key tissues and nerves.
SEIZE THIS! Been told you have epilepsy, but can't get the disease under control? Now a report suggests that as many as 25% of patients thought to have epilepsy are actually suffering from low blood pressure, heart-rhythm problems or panic attacks. Clues that epilepsy is not the culprit: the attacks usually come when the patient is sitting or standing, and--no surprise here--epilepsy medication doesn't help.
Sources--Good News: New England Journal of Medicine (6/29/00); European Society of Human Reproduction. Bad News: American Journal of Hypertension (6/00); Journal of the American College of Cardiology (7/1/00)