Features

Targeting Sodium Channels for Pain Relief
Targeting Sodium Channels for Pain Relief
Catherine Offord | Jan 1, 2018
The race to develop analgesic drugs that inhibit sodium channel NaV1.7 is revealing a complex sensory role for the protein.
Glial Ties to Persistent Pain
Glial Ties to Persistent Pain
Mark R. Hutchinson | Jan 1, 2018
Immune-like cells in the central nervous system are now recognized as key participants in the creation and maintenance of persistent pain.
Animal Analgesics
Animal Analgesics
The Scientist Staff | Jan 1, 2018
A cornucopia of toxins in the animal kingdom could provide inspiration for novel painkillers, but so far, effective drugs have proven elusive.
 
Novel Analgesics at a Snail’s Pace
Novel Analgesics at a Snail’s Pace
Bob Grant | Jan 1, 2018
Studying cone snail venom has yielded novel pain pathways, but the peptides that function as toxins are difficult to translate into drugs.
Researchers Mine Centipede Toxins for Analgesics
Researchers Mine Centipede Toxins for Analgesics
Catherine Offord | Jan 1, 2018
Venomous centipedes may harbor a clue to the creation of a successful pain-killing compound for humans.
Mining Spider Toxins for Analgesic Clues
Mining Spider Toxins for Analgesic Clues
Catherine Offord | Jan 1, 2018
Arachnids harbor a plentiful array of molecules that target mammalian pain receptors.
Toxin from a Dangerous Fish Delicacy
Toxin from a Dangerous Fish Delicacy
Kerry Grens | Jan 1, 2018
In tiny doses, the pufferfish’s tetrodotoxin can be turned into a pain-relieving ion channel blocker.
Sourcing Painkillers from Scorpions’ Stings
Sourcing Painkillers from Scorpions’ Stings
Abby Olena | Jan 1, 2018
Compounds in the arachnids’ venom interact with ion channels to both cause and block pain.
Sea Anemone Toxin Could Treat Autoimmunity
Sea Anemone Toxin Could Treat Autoimmunity
Jef Akst | Jan 1, 2018
If successful, the treatments could alleviate patients’ pain by reducing inflammation.
Frog Skin Yields Potent Painkillers, but None Clinic Ready
Frog Skin Yields Potent Painkillers, but None Clinic Ready
Shawna Williams | Jan 1, 2018
Decades after their discovery by bioprospectors, amphibian-derived analgesics continue to attract scientific attention.
Snake Venoms Cause and Block Pain
Snake Venoms Cause and Block Pain
Kerry Grens | Jan 1, 2018
Painful snake bites may hold clues to developing analgesic drugs.

Reading Frames

Book Excerpt from <em>Swearing is Good for You</em>

Book Excerpt from Swearing is Good for You

Book Excerpt from Swearing is Good for You

In chapter 1, “The Bad Language Brain: Neuroscience and Swearing,” author Emma Byrne sets the scene for her book by telling the story of the hapless and potty-mouthed Phineas Gage.
Why Swearing and Pain Go Hand in Hand

Why Swearing and Pain Go Hand in Hand

Why Swearing and Pain Go Hand in Hand

Screaming obscenities when you stub your toe makes perfect biological sense.

Contributors

Contributors

Contributors

Contributors

Meet some of the people featured in the January 2018 issue of The Scientist.

Editorial

Prizes and Penalties

Prizes and Penalties

Prizes and Penalties

Life is filled with pleasure and pain. Science and society are struggling mightily with both.

Speaking of Science

Ten-Minute Sabbatical

Ten-Minute Sabbatical

Ten-Minute Sabbatical

Take a break from the bench to puzzle and peruse.

Freeze Frame

Caught on Camera

Caught on Camera

Caught on Camera

Selected Images of the Day from the-scientist.com

Notebook

What Bat Quarrels Tell Us About Vocal Learning

What Bat Quarrels Tell Us About Vocal Learning

What Bat Quarrels Tell Us About Vocal Learning

New research shows humans aren’t that different from our winged cousins.
Sex Differences in Opioid Analgesia: A Complicated Picture

Sex Differences in Opioid Analgesia: A Complicated Picture

Sex Differences in Opioid Analgesia: A Complicated Picture

Researchers are beginning to tease apart the mechanisms underlying differences in how males and females respond to powerful painkillers.
Researchers Team Up with Patients to Build a Breast Cancer Database

Researchers Team Up with Patients to Build a Breast Cancer Database

Researchers Team Up with Patients to Build a Breast Cancer Database

Combining genomic, clinical, and patient-reported data, the Metastatic Breast Cancer Project provides a unique resource for the cancer community.

Online First

Child Receives Transgenic Skin

Child Receives Transgenic Skin

Child Receives Transgenic Skin

A combination gene-and-cell therapy has given a boy with a grievous skin disease a new lease on life, and resolved a dermatology debate to boot.

Modus Operandi

The Literature

Distinct Regions Drive Responses to Anxiety, Fear

Distinct Regions Drive Responses to Anxiety, Fear

Distinct Regions Drive Responses to Anxiety, Fear

Researchers map brain activity associated with a person’s anticipation of or direct confrontation with danger.

Profile

David Julius Probes the Molecular Mechanics of Pain

David Julius Probes the Molecular Mechanics of Pain

David Julius Probes the Molecular Mechanics of Pain

For nearly 30 years, the UC San Francisco researcher has delved into unexplored corners of the nervous system.

Scientist to Watch

Annina Schmid Dissects Nerve Disorders

Annina Schmid Dissects Nerve Disorders

Annina Schmid Dissects Nerve Disorders

A background in physiotherapy helps the Oxford-based researcher mix basic science with clinical work to better understand pain stemming from nerve compression.

Lab Tools

High-Throughput Epigenetics Analyses

High-Throughput Epigenetics Analyses

High-Throughput Epigenetics Analyses

Emerging technologies help researchers draw mechanistic links between metabolism and epigenetic modification of DNA.

Bio Business

The Quest for Safer Opioid Drugs

The Quest for Safer Opioid Drugs

The Quest for Safer Opioid Drugs

From basic research in academic labs to Phase 3 clinical trials, myriad efforts are underway to divorce opioids' pain-relieving potential from their undesirable downsides.

Foundations

Fake News: Mars Edition, circa 1877

Fake News: Mars Edition, circa 1877

Fake News: Mars Edition, circa 1877

Giovanni Schiaparelli’s maps of Mars sparked the belief that intelligent life exists on the planet.