Enriching animals' environments does much more than improve their psyches -- it may fight deadly disease, according to a study published online today (July 8) in Cell.
Example of enriched environment
Image: Adam Martin
Living in larger spaces with access to more toys and companions helped shrink, or even eliminate, tumors in cancerous mice. "The findings are very interesting and also very provocative," said physiologist linkurl:John Hall;https://lawwebn.umc.edu/cgi-local/hr/intranetEmployeeAndDepartmentListing/employeeListing.pl?Id=2wdFQVetKv of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, who was not involved in the research. "[An] enriched environment can reduce tumor growth, I think that's clear." The results may have important implications for cancer research, added neuroscientist linkurl:Anthony Hannan;http://www.florey.edu.au/about/management-and-staff/scientific-staff/anthony-hannan/ of the Howard Florey Institute in Melbourne, Australia, who also did not participate in the study, in an email to The Scientist. For example, "an experimental drug might show different effects in a preclinical trial, depending on whether the animals are housed with...
CellL. Cao, et al., "Environmental and genetic activation of a brain-adipocyte BDNF/leptin axis causes cancer remission and inhibition," Cell 142: 52-64, 2010.

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