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Snakes on a Petri Dish

Scott LaFee on

Organoids are all the rage in biological science these days. They are essentially mini versions of targeted organs, such as the brain, liver and intestinal tract. They aren't exactly the same thing, of course, but at the cellular level, they perform organ functions that allow scientists to study them without the confusing bother of the rest of the human body.

Dutch researchers have produced the first organoids of snake venom glands. Rather than actually having to work with venomous snakes, scientists hope to use these miniature glands to create lab-made toxins that can be a source for new drugs, and as an alternative to finding antivenoms to prevent nearly 140,000 snakebites worldwide each year.

A few of these bites, no doubt, happen to lab workers handling dangerous snakes.

Get Me That, Stat!

A report from the University of California, Los Angeles, suggests the United States is falling behind many other high-income countries in ensuring health and disability rights for citizens. One hundred and forty-two countries provide some sort of constitutional right to health, and more than 40% specify a right to medical care or services. The U.S. does neither.

Doc Talk

 

Rhinorrhoea: a runny nose. If it's a nosebleed, it's called epistaxis.

Phobia of the Week

Papyrophobia: fear of paper (If you're reading this in print, good for you.)

Food for Thought

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