Post List

  • May 5, 2016
  • 02:11 PM
  • 0 views

fMRI and False Positives: A Basic Flaw?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Over the past few years I've covered (1,2,3) the work of Anders Eklund, a Swedish researcher who has discovered a potentially serious flaw in software commonly used to analyse fMRI data.

Eklund has shown that popular parametric statistical analysis tools for fMRI are prone to false positives - they often 'find' brain activation even where it doesn't exist. The issue affects the leading software packages such as FSL and SPM.



The main root of the problem is spatial autocorrelation - the ... Read more »

  • May 5, 2016
  • 02:53 AM
  • 27 views

NAC for 'social impairment' in youth with autism... probably not

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The results of this trial indicate that NAC [N-acetylcysteine]  treatment was well tolerated, had the expected effect of boosting GSH [glutathione] production, but had no significant impact on social impairment in youth with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."So said the results reported by Logan Wink and colleagues [1] (open-access) who, continuing an autism research theme, looked at whether this important L-cysteine prodrug might have more to give when it comes to a........ Read more »

  • May 4, 2016
  • 06:11 PM
  • 38 views

Zika Virus pathogenesis in adult mice: comparison to SINV ?

by thelonevirologist in Virology Tidbits

Until recently, clinical manifestations of ZIKV infection ranged from asymptomatic infections to mild dengue-like symptoms characterised by mild fever, rash, muscle/joint pain and headache. Following the 2007 epidemic however neurological complications following ZIKV infection including Guillan-Barre Syndrome (GBS) have been reported and during the current outbreak, ZIKV has been implicating to cause microcephaly and ocular malformations in foetuses born to ZIKV positive mothers. In the absence ........ Read more »

Ioos, S., Mallet, H., Leparc Goffart, I., Gauthier, V., Cardoso, T., & Herida, M. (2014) Current Zika virus epidemiology and recent epidemics. Médecine et Maladies Infectieuses, 44(7), 302-307. DOI: 10.1016/j.medmal.2014.04.008  

Sarno M, Sacramento GA, Khouri R, do Rosário MS, Costa F, Archanjo G, Santos LA, Nery N Jr, Vasilakis N, Ko AI.... (2016) Zika Virus Infection and Stillbirths: A Case of Hydrops Fetalis, Hydranencephaly and Fetal Demise. PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 10(2). PMID: 26914330  

Hamel R, Liégeois F, Wichit S, Pompon J, Diop F, Talignani L, Thomas F, Desprès P, Yssel H, & Missé D. (2016) Zika virus: epidemiology, clinical features and host-virus interactions. Microbes and infection / Institut Pasteur. PMID: 27012221  

Hazin AN, Poretti A, Cruz DD, Tenorio M, van der Linden A, Pena LJ, Brito C, Gil LH, Miranda-Filho DB, Marques ET.... (2016) Computed Tomographic Findings in Microcephaly Associated with Zika Virus. The New England journal of medicine. PMID: 27050112  

Broutet N, Krauer F, Riesen M, Khalakdina A, Almiron M, Aldighieri S, Espinal M, Low N, & Dye C. (2016) Zika Virus as a Cause of Neurologic Disorders. The New England journal of medicine, 374(16), 1506-9. PMID: 26959308  

Lednicky J, Beau De Rochars VM, El Badry M, Loeb J, Telisma T, Chavannes S, Anilis G, Cella E, Ciccozzi M, Rashid M.... (2016) Zika Virus Outbreak in Haiti in 2014: Molecular and Clinical Data. PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 10(4). PMID: 27111294  

Faria NR, Azevedo Rdo S, Kraemer MU, Souza R, Cunha MS, Hill SC, Thézé J, Bonsall MB, Bowden TA, Rissanen I.... (2016) Zika virus in the Americas: Early epidemiological and genetic findings. Science (New York, N.Y.), 352(6283), 345-9. PMID: 27013429  

Garcez PP, Loiola EC, Madeiro da Costa R, Higa LM, Trindade P, Delvecchio R, Nascimento JM, Brindeiro R, Tanuri A, & Rehen SK. (2016) Zika virus impairs growth in human neurospheres and brain organoids. Science (New York, N.Y.). PMID: 27064148  

Tang H, Hammack C, Ogden SC, Wen Z, Qian X, Li Y, Yao B, Shin J, Zhang F, Lee EM.... (2016) Zika Virus Infects Human Cortical Neural Progenitors and Attenuates Their Growth. Cell stem cell. PMID: 26952870  

Dejnirattisai W, Jumnainsong A, Onsirisakul N, Fitton P, Vasanawathana S, Limpitikul W, Puttikhunt C, Edwards C, Duangchinda T, Supasa S.... (2010) Cross-reacting antibodies enhance dengue virus infection in humans. Science (New York, N.Y.), 328(5979), 745-8. PMID: 20448183  

Adibi JJ, Marques ET Jr, Cartus A, & Beigi RH. (2016) Teratogenic effects of the Zika virus and the role of the placenta. Lancet (London, England), 387(10027), 1587-90. PMID: 26952548  

  • May 4, 2016
  • 03:32 PM
  • 32 views

Where to Snuggle a Hedgehoglet

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Did you know this is Hedgehog Awareness Week? The British Hedgehog Preservation Society has dedicated May 1 through 7 to the spiny garden animal. The society won't go so far as to call it Hedgehog Appreciation Week—perhaps that would be too much of an imposition?—but it does want to highlight some of the problems faced by hedgehogs. For example, weed whackers, which apparently in the U.K. are called "strimmers."

The society suggests posting pro-hedgehog leaflets around your neighborho........ Read more »

  • May 4, 2016
  • 10:00 AM
  • 37 views

Behaviour Problems in Puppies from Pet Stores

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Dogs originally bought from pet stores are more likely to be aggressive to their owner compared to those from responsible breeders, even after owner-related factors are taken into account.Research by Frank McMillan et al (2013) found that dogs obtained as puppies from pet stores are more likely to have a whole range of behaviour problems than those from responsible breeders, including 3x more likely to be aggressive towards their owner. Pet store puppies come from commercial breeding establishme........ Read more »

  • May 4, 2016
  • 09:38 AM
  • 41 views

Video Tip of the Week: expVIP, an Expression, Visualization, and Integration Platform

by Mary in OpenHelix

As I mentioned last week, I am watching a lot of farmers on twitter talk about this year’s North American growing season. To get a taste of that yourself, have a look at #Plant16 + wheat as a search. This is where the rubber of tractor tires and plant genomics hits the…well…rows. And just coincidentally […]... Read more »

Philippa Borrill, Ricardo Ramirez-Gonzalez, & Cristobal Uauy. (2016) expVIP: a customisable RNA-seq data analysis and visualisation platform. Plant Physiology, 2172-2186. info:/10.​1104/​pp.​15.​01667

  • May 4, 2016
  • 09:13 AM
  • 51 views

Imagine These Experiments in Aphantasia

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

When you hear the word “apple”, do you picture a Red Delicious apple or a green Granny Smith? Or neither, because you can't conjure up a visual image of an apple (or of anything else, for that matter)? Aphantasia is the inability to generate visual images, which can be a congenital condition or acquired after brain injury (Farah, 1984). The most striking aspect of this variation in mental life is that those of us with imagery assume that everyone else has it, while those without are flabberg........ Read more »

  • May 4, 2016
  • 08:18 AM
  • 39 views

Genetic research can promote peace or conflict, depending on how it's used

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

It's becoming easier than ever to research the genetic roots of different ethnic groups and these findings can be framed differently to either emphasise that groups are similar or different. For example, a BBC headline from 2000 stated "Jews and Arabs are 'genetic brothers'" while a 2013 Medical Daily headline claimed "Genes of most Ashkenazi Jews trace back to indigenous Europe, not Middle East". As political leaders have started citing this kind of evidence to promote their particular agenda, ........ Read more »

  • May 4, 2016
  • 08:17 AM
  • 39 views

Reassessing Markers of Stress in Medieval London

by Katy Meyers Emery in Bones Don't Lie

An article popped up in my news feed yesterday. The title read: “Skeletal marker of physiological stress might indicate good, rather than poor, health“. The summary of the article stated […]... Read more »

  • May 4, 2016
  • 04:30 AM
  • 46 views

Injury Before College May Increase the Risk of Surgery During College

by Kyle Harris in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

An athlete who sustained an injury requiring surgery prior to college is more likely to sustain an injury that needs surgery during their college career.... Read more »

Wang, D., Rugg, C., Mayer, E., Lai, W., Sulzicki, P., Vail, J., & Hame, S. (2016) Precollegiate Knee Surgery Predicts Subsequent Injury Requiring Surgery in NCAA Athletes. The American Journal of Sports Medicine. DOI: 10.1177/0363546516634306  

  • May 4, 2016
  • 02:34 AM
  • 49 views

The developmental correlates of asthma (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Can I just get it out of the way? May the 4th be with you.OK. The results from Mark Strom & Jonathan Silverberg [1] caught my eye recently and further evidence of a 'correlation' between asthma and developmental and/or behavioural outcomes. This time around it was "caregiver-reported speech disorders in US children" and how the appearance of asthma, hay fever and/or food allergy might show some important relationships with something like speech disorder. This follows other, similar work from........ Read more »

Strom MA, & Silverberg JI. (2016) Asthma, hay fever and food allergy are associated with caregiver-reported speech disorders in US children. Pediatric allergy and immunology : official publication of the European Society of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology. PMID: 27091599  

  • May 3, 2016
  • 07:39 AM
  • 58 views

Flipping the Drake Equation for a deep time perspective on the Fermi Paradox

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

Is anybody out there? Where are all the alien civilizations? Even if (intelligent) life is very unlikely, the sheer size and age of the universe means that even long odds might have produced space faring civilizations. Yet, so far, nada. When people are considering the (im)probability of non-human space travellers, one thing always comes up: […]... Read more »

  • May 3, 2016
  • 04:28 AM
  • 43 views

A laughing crowd changes the way your brain processes insults

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

We usually think of laughter as a sound of joy and mirth, but in certain contexts, such as when it accompanies an insult, it takes on a negative meaning, signaling contempt and derision, especially in a group situation. Most of us probably know from experience that this makes insults sting more, now a study in Social Neuroscience has shown the neural correlates of this effect. Within a fraction of a second, the presence of a laughing crowd changes the way that the brain processes an insult.Marte........ Read more »

  • May 3, 2016
  • 02:58 AM
  • 75 views

Machine learning applied to autism screening going big time?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Machine learning, when machines, er.. learn, is of growing interest to the autism research field. The names Wall and Duda have filled quite a few posts on this blog (see here and see here for example) on this topic and their suggesting that applying machine learning algorithms to something like autism screening and detection could cut down on time taken and resources used.As per the publication of the paper by Daniel Bone and colleagues [1] it appears that others working in autism research are a........ Read more »

  • May 2, 2016
  • 02:45 PM
  • 98 views

Origin of synaptic pruning process linked to learning, autism and schizophrenia identified

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Vaccines don't cause autism, but because the brain is so complex, we still don't know how much of it works so figuring out the real causes (as in more than one) of autism has been slow going. Well, researchers have identified a brain receptor that appears to initiate adolescent synaptic pruning, a process believed necessary for learning, but in this case it is one that appears to go awry in both autism and schizophrenia.... Read more »

Sonia Afroz, Julie Parato, Hui Shen Sheryl, & Sue Smith. (2016) Synaptic pruning in the female hippocampus is triggered at puberty by extrasynaptic GABAA receptors on dendritic spines . eLife. info:/

  • May 2, 2016
  • 07:11 AM
  • 99 views

"Neuroscience-Based Nomenclature" for Mental Health?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Psychiatric drugs come in many kinds: there are antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-anxiety medications, and more. But what all of these categories have in common is that they're anti- something. This is how we classify these drugs - by what they treat.

Except there's a problem - very few psychiatric drugs are only used to treat one thing. Take "antipsychotics". They're used in psychosis, but they're also a key tool in the treatment of mania, a different disorder entirely. Many of these dru... Read more »

Zohar J, Stahl S, Moller HJ, Blier P, Kupfer D, Yamawaki S, Uchida H, Spedding M, Goodwin GM, & Nutt D. (2015) A review of the current nomenclature for psychotropic agents and an introduction to the Neuroscience-based Nomenclature. European neuropsychopharmacology : the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 25(12), 2318-25. PMID: 26527055  

  • May 2, 2016
  • 04:30 AM
  • 85 views

If the Helmet Don’t Fit, You May Have to Sit (Out Longer with a Concussion)

by Stephen Stache in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

An athlete with a poorly fit helmet that sustains a concussion may have an increased risk of more severe symptoms and prolonged recovery.... Read more »

  • May 2, 2016
  • 03:50 AM
  • 84 views

A statistical regression approach to estimate zooplankton mortality

by sceintists from the Marine group at CEES in Marine Science blog




It is notoriously difficult to estimate mortality rates for zooplankton populations in the open ocean. In a new paper, Kvile and colleagues demonstrate that mortality estimation can be improved using a statistical regression approach (SRA) that takes into account advection and spatiotemporal trends in recruitment. Using this method on
Calanus finmarchicus survey data from the Norwegian Sea–Barents Sea, they find indications of increased mortality for the old........ Read more »

  • May 2, 2016
  • 02:55 AM
  • 84 views

On defining chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Most people who know a little bit about chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) will probably understand the potential importance of the findings reported by Leonard Jason and colleagues [1] (open-access available here). Suggesting that there may be "four groupings of patients" when it comes to how we "name and define the illnesses", this research group who surveyed over 500 people "in the United States, Great Britain, and Norway" report on one of the biggest challenge........ Read more »

Jason LA, McManimen S, Sunnquist M, Brown A, Furst J, Newton JL, & Strand EB. (2016) Case definitions integrating empiric and consensus perspectives. Fatigue : biomedicine, health , 4(1), 1-23. PMID: 27088059  

  • May 1, 2016
  • 02:17 PM
  • 108 views

Influence of religion and predestination on evolution and scientific thinking

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Generally seen as antithetical to one another, evolution and religion can hardly fit in a scientific discourse simultaneously. However, in a new article, a biology researcher delves into observations on the influences a few major religions have had on evolutionists and their scientific thinking over the centuries.

... Read more »

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