Sunday Science: Medical marvels and honeybee populations - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Sunday Science: Medical marvels and honeybee populations

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Topping this week's science headlines, a medical marvel that could be a cancer treatment breakthrough, plus new numbers about declining honeybee populations.

Mayo Clinic researchers say they wiped out a woman's incurable blood cancer with a massive dose of the measles. Stacy Erholtz has battled the cancer for years, but last summer, the clinic chose her for an experimental procedure where they injected her with a large amount of the measles virus, enough to inoculate ten million people. She says she only had a painful headache and a fever, both of which went away quickly -- along with her cancer.

"I had a plasmacytoma right here on my forehead the size of a golf ball and within 36 hours it was gone," she says.

The clinic is now moving forward toward another clinical trial with more patients, and they hope to get FDA approval within four years.

Have you ever woken up from a deep sleep and wondered if that dream you just had was real? That could be a thing of the past if researchers have their way. In a new study, an electrical current sent to a person's brain produced a lucid dreaming experience -- where the sleeping person KNEW they were in a dream and could control what happened. They're hoping this research can help treat recurring nightmares in people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

And some good news for beekeepers: Fewer honey bee colonies were lost last winter than in past years. The survey still found that 23 percent of managed bee colonies in the country died last winter. It sounds like a lot, but it's actually eight percentage points lower than the previous year. Beekeepers consider a loss of about 19 percent a manageable winter. For years scientists have been trying to figure out why the honey bees have been dying off, but no one has found a conclusive reason yet.

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