Top stories: Old drugs find new cures and the scientists suing Trump | Science

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Top stories: Old drugs find new cures and the scientists suing Trump | Science

(Left to right): Nature’s Geometry/Science Source; NASA/Kathryn Hansen/Flickr (CC BY 2.0); Bruno Boissonnet/Science Source

Gut molecule that blocks ‘hunger hormone’ may spur new treatments for diabetes, anorexia

Scientists once had high hopes that inhibiting a hormone named ghrelin would be the key to preventing obesity. Ghrelin didn’t turn out to be a weight loss panacea. But now, the discovery of the first molecule naturally made by the body that blocks ghrelin’s effects, published this week, may open up new avenues for treating other conditions, including diabetes and anorexia.

Nations agree to ban fishing in Arctic Ocean for at least 16 years

Nine nations and the European Union have reached a deal to place the central Arctic Ocean off-limits to commercial fishers for at least the next 16 years. The pact, announced on 30 November, will give scientists time to understand the region’s marine ecology—and the potential impacts of climate change—before fishing becomes widespread.

Is it time to retire cholesterol tests?

A standard cholesterol readout is the wrong test to gauge heart disease risk, cardiologists asserted last month at an American Heart Association meeting in Anaheim, California. Instead, a blood protein known as apolipoprotein B (apoB) is a truer indicator of the threat to our arteries, the doctors say. They showed patients with the highest apoB readings will suffer more heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular events in the coming years than will those with the lowest levels.

Q&A: Why fossil scientists are suing Trump over monuments downsizing

President Donald Trump earlier this week dramatically downsized two national monuments in Utah. Many conservation biologists, archaeologists, and paleontologists oppose the moves, saying they could open the way to the damage of sensitive sites. Native American tribes, environmentalists, outdoor companies, and one scientific society—the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, based in Bethesda, Maryland—are challenging the decisions in court.

An old drug for alcoholism finds new life as cancer treatment

A 1971 case report, along with numerous lab studies, have suggested that disulfiram (commercially known as Antabuse), which makes people feel sick from drinking small amounts of alcohol, might also be a cancer fighter. In a new study, a Danish-Czech-U.S. team found the cancer death rate was 34% lower for patients in a massive cancer registry who stayed on the drug compared with those who started—but stopped—taking it, the researchers reported this week in Nature.

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