A new excavation by the Archeological Park of Pompeii recently uncovered the remains of a man who died fleeing the cataclysmic volcanic there in 79 A.D. It is the first discovery at the Regio V site.
The upper body of the skeleton lies buried under a large stone, which crushed the man’s thorax. His skull has yet to be discovered. The park said it appears the man fled during the initial eruption, but a discovered tibia infection suggests he had difficulty escaping. Officials estimate he was older than 30.
Massimo Osanna, general director of the site, called the discovery “an exceptional find” that “contributes toward an increasingly accurate picture of the history and civilization of the age.”
The excavations within Regio V are an attempt to stabilize and protect that area. The efforts are part of the Great Pompeii Project, estimated to last two years and cost $9.9 million. —Allison Mazzarella
Holding a tick’s foot to the fire
Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently ran a series of experiments to see if clothing treated with the insecticide permethrin, an irritant to ticks, could prevent bites. Although consumers can already purchase permethrin treatments, the CDC has tested its effectiveness only on the blacklegged tick. The study, published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, tested the chemical on the lone star and dog tick.
The scientists found that ticks that came into contact with permethrin fell right off textiles oriented vertically to mimic a pant leg or shirt sleeve. “All tested tick species and life stages experienced irritation—the ‘hot-foot’ effect—after coming into contact with permethrin-treated clothing,” Lars Eisen, senior author of the study, said in a statement. The researchers also found that after five minutes of exposure to the chemical, the insects lost normal movement and the ability to bite. —J.B.
Single injection stops chemotherapy pain in mice
Every year, 1.7 million people receive a cancer diagnosis and an estimated 39 percent of cancer patients experience pain in the course of the disease and its treatment.
Now, researchers at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine have discovered that a single injection of a naturally occurring protein called AIBP can block chemotherapy pain in mice for as long as two months with no side effects.
The protein prevented and reversed inflammation and certain changes in cells that occur with pain processing. Unlike opioids that just mask and dampen symptoms, the new treatment blocks the underlying cellular mechanism that causes pain. It also avoids the pleasure feelings produced by opioids that can lead to addiction. The research appeared in the journal Cell Reports. —J.B.