Science Bites: August 15th

Science Bites: August 15th

Small mammal husbandry in Ancient Mexico

Residents of the ancient Mexican city of Teotihuacan may have managed and bred rabbits and hares for food, fur and bone tools, according to new archaeological evidence. The authors say their findings could be new evidence of small mammal husbandry in pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica.

Fighting Leishmania with insecticides

Treating cattle with the insecticide fipronil may substantially reduce people’s risk of exposure to the parasitic killer Leishmania in areas where people and cattle live in close proximity. The researchers behind this new study hope it will help inform fipronil-based cattle treatment programs to combat Leishmania infection on the Indian subcontinent and beyond.

Old antibodies may help combat new flu strains

Contrary to the theory that old antibodies dominate and compromise the immune response against a new infectious strain, researchers found that exposing mice to the influenza virus did not appear to weaken their defense against a new strain. The authors propose that old antibodies could actually help protect the body during secondary encounters with some viruses.

Reporting adverse effects of new drugs

The makers of orlistat, a weight-loss drug approved in Europe in 1998 and still marketed today, may not have appropriately reported all the potential adverse effects observed in patients during clinical trial testing. A new analysis indicates that important disparities can occur in the reporting of adverse events between protocols, clinical study reports, and published papers, and can result in understatement of adverse events. The authors suggest including protocols and clinical study reports in addition to published articles during systematic review of drugs.

Image Credit: F. Botas


Tessa is the Journal Media Manager at PLOS. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with degrees in Rhetoric and Music. She can be reached by email at and on Twitter at @tessagregs.

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