A new discovery shows that opioids used to treat pain, such as morphine and oxycodone, produce their effects by binding to receptors inside neurons, contrary to conventional wisdom that they acted only on the same surface receptors as endogenous opioids, which are produced naturally in the brain. However, when researchers funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) used a novel molecular probe to test that common assumption, they discovered that medically used opioids also bind to receptors that are not a target for the naturally occurring opioids. NIDA is part of the National Institutes of Health.

A new procedural skills lab in the Mayo Clinic J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Simulation Center at Mayo Clinic in Florida will help staff learn and perfect various clinical procedures, including joint arthroscopy, spinal taps and kidney removal. In addition, participants in the lab will experiment, learn and refine new procedures on tissue from cadavers.

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) did not cross the species barrier to infect cynomolgus macaque monkeys during a lengthy investigation by National Institutes of Health scientists exploring risks to humans.

Using 3-D-printed models to prepare and plan for surgery is becoming more common. These life-size, patient-specific models can be valuable tools for surgeons as they decide what approach and techniques will be best for a specific surgery. The models are particularly helpful for procedures that may be new, uncommon or complex. These 3-D models also play an important role in education.

The American Diabetes Association’s (ADA’s) Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes (Standards of Care) provide the latest in comprehensive, evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of children and adults with type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes; strategies to improve the prevention or delay of type 2 diabetes; and therapeutic approaches that reduce complications and positively affect health outcomes. New this year, the ADA is updating and revising the online version of the Standards of Care throughout the year with annotations for new evidence or regulatory changes that merit immediate incorporation.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health worked with 15 patients from around the world to uncover a genetic basis of “dripping candle wax” bone disease. The rare disorder, known as melorheostosis, causes excess bone formation that resembles dripping candle wax on x-rays. The results, appearing in Nature Communications, offer potential treatment targets for this rare disease, provide important clues about bone development, and may lead to insights about fracture healing and osteoporosis.