Post List

  • April 4, 2016
  • 02:41 PM
  • 152 views

Imaging with CRISPR/Cas9

by Gal Haimovich in Green Fluorescent Blog

The hottest buzz-word in biology today is CRISPR: an adaptive immune system in bacteria and archea. At its basis is a nuclease, named Cas9, which is targeted to DNA by a short single-guide RNA (sgRNA). This turned out to be … Continue reading →... Read more »

Deng W, Shi X, Tjian R, Lionnet T, & Singer RH. (2015) CASFISH: CRISPR/Cas9-mediated in situ labeling of genomic loci in fixed cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(38), 11870-5. PMID: 26324940  

Nelles DA, Fang MY, O'Connell MR, Xu JL, Markmiller SJ, Doudna JA, & Yeo GW. (2016) Programmable RNA Tracking in Live Cells with CRISPR/Cas9. Cell, 1-9. PMID: 26997482  

  • April 4, 2016
  • 04:53 AM
  • 132 views

Fantasy-based pretend play is beneficial to children's mental abilities

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

To prepare our children to meet the goals of a complex world, we should pull them out of their managed world and plop them in the mermaid’s court. That’s the verdict of a randomised control trial published recently in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology that found American pre-schoolers who engaged in fantastical pretend play showed improvements to their executive function – the suite of cognitive abilities that organises thought and actions to achieve goals.The study involved dai........ Read more »

  • April 4, 2016
  • 02:37 AM
  • 163 views

Relative age and ADHD

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"ADHD children may just be immature, research suggests".So went the recent BBC headline with reference to the findings reported by Mu-Hong Chen and colleagues [1] (open-access) and the idea that: "Relative age, as an indicator of neurocognitive maturity, is crucial in the risk of being diagnosed with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] and receiving ADHD medication among children and adolescents."Chen et al are not unfamiliar names discussed on this blog (see here........ Read more »

  • April 3, 2016
  • 09:20 PM
  • 116 views

The Illumina Error Profile for Metagenomic Sequencing

by Geoffrey Hannigan in Prophage

Microbiology, and especially microbial ecology, has become increasingly dependent on advanced DNA and RNA sequencing technologies. This is most evident with the increasing popularity of the human microbiome and its various impacts on human health...... Read more »

  • April 3, 2016
  • 03:25 PM
  • 160 views

Debunking the Myth of the Sole Genious

by Paco Jariego in Mind the Post

Innovations don’t require heroic geniuses any more than your thoughts hinge on a particular neuron.... Read more »

Muthukrishna, M., & Henrich, J. (2016) Innovation in the collective brain. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 371(1690), 20150192. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2015.0192  

  • April 3, 2016
  • 03:17 PM
  • 174 views

Early detection of dementia in Parkinson’s disease might be key to treatment

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

If Parkinson’s disease wasn’t bad enough for families to have to learn to deal with, about 80% of patients also develop dementia. That’s the problem with the brain; while it has the amazing ability to adapt to just about anything, it can’t fix everything. There are no particularly good solutions to Parkinson’s or dementia, however, early detection of dementia is key to keeping it at bay and a new study may have a way to do just that.

... Read more »

Bertrand, J., McIntosh, A., Postuma, R., Kovacevic, N., Latreille, V., Panisset, M., Chouinard, S., & Gagnon, J. (2016) Brain Connectivity Alterations Are Associated with the Development of Dementia in Parkinson's Disease. Brain Connectivity, 6(3), 216-224. DOI: 10.1089/brain.2015.0390  

  • April 2, 2016
  • 04:43 PM
  • 187 views

Born to run? Love of exercise may start in the womb

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

If you see me on the street and I am running, there is a good chance you should be running as well, because something dangerous is coming. I don’t run, I hate to run, I loathe running, did I mention I don’t like to run? Maybe it’s all the running I did in the military, or if a new study is correct, it may have to do with my mother. Which is good, because now I can blame someone else for my hatred of running.

... Read more »

Eclarinal, J., Zhu, S., Baker, M., Piyarathna, D., Coarfa, C., Fiorotto, M., & Waterland, R. (2016) Maternal exercise during pregnancy promotes physical activity in adult offspring. The FASEB Journal. DOI: 10.1096/fj.201500018R  

  • April 2, 2016
  • 11:38 AM
  • 203 views

Statistics: When Confounding Variables Are Out of Control

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Does ice cream cause drownings? Let's think about this statistically. Consider that, in any given city, daily sales of ice cream are, most likely, positively correlated with daily rates of drownings.



Now, no matter how strong this correlation is, it doesn't really mean that ice cream is dangerous. Rather, the association exists because of a 'confound' variable. In this case it's temperature: on sunny days, people tend to eat more ice cream and they also tend to go swimming more often, thu... Read more »

  • April 2, 2016
  • 04:05 AM
  • 179 views

Joint attention interventions for children with autism (mostly) work

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Today (April 2nd) is World Autism Awareness Day. The theme this year is on inclusion and as the United Nations note: "Mainstreaming disability" insofar as recognising that: "Autism and other forms of disability are part of the human experience that contributes to human diversity." A noble cause indeed; not forgetting that for many on the autism spectrum, long-term outcome remains poor (see here) and awareness about human diversity really needs to go hand-in-hand with real action to change prospe........ Read more »

  • April 1, 2016
  • 11:12 PM
  • 161 views

Technology, Dreams and April Fool's Jokes

by Aurametrix team in Health Technologies

At least once per year, and more is likely better, laughter is the best medicine. On April Fool's Day, everybody from school-age kids to technology companies tries to trick people into believing into jokes. Yet, as Sigmund Freud suggested, jokes often expose unconscious desires. Perhaps the technologies listed below, too,  have a grain of our desires wrapped in a smile?

Here are a few announcements made on April 1 2016.... Read more »

[No authors listed]. (2000) April Fool's Day and the Medicinal Value of Humor. The virtual mentor : VM, 2(4). PMID: 23270623  

  • April 1, 2016
  • 03:32 PM
  • 151 views

Stopping organ rejection: An end to the medication

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

If you’re a transplant recipient you know that transplant organs are a veritable ticking time bomb waiting to be rejected by your well-meaning (but stupid) body. Not only can you do everything right and still have the organs rejected, you have to take a steady stream of expensive pills to inhibit the immune system and stop the body from launching its attack. Don’t throw your pill organizers away just yet, but soon.

... Read more »

MacDonald, K., Hoeppli, R., Huang, Q., Gillies, J., Luciani, D., Orban, P., Broady, R., & Levings, M. (2016) Alloantigen-specific regulatory T cells generated with a chimeric antigen receptor. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 126(4), 1413-1424. DOI: 10.1172/JCI82771  

  • April 1, 2016
  • 11:26 AM
  • 168 views

What's In a Snout?

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



It may sound superficial, but you can judge a lot about an animal from its schnoz. Plant-eaters have evolved the perfect snout shapes to nibble, chomp, or tear up the foods they love. And by decoding those shapes, scientists hope they can learn more about plant-eaters that are more mysterious—namely, dinosaurs.

"When you see cows in a field, their faces almost look like they're glued to the ground as they nibble away," says Jon Tennant, a PhD student at Imperial College London. Cows are ........ Read more »

Tennant, J., & MacLeod, N. (2014) Snout Shape in Extant Ruminants. PLoS ONE, 9(11). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112035  

  • April 1, 2016
  • 10:12 AM
  • 177 views

Allergies: Can Too Much Hygiene Actually Harm Us?

by EE Giorgi in CHIMERAS

It's that time of the year again. You step out of the house and your eyes itch, your nose starts running and your head feels like an empty balloon. Yes, it's allergy season again. Even the resilient ones, give them enough time and eventually they will develop some form of allergic reaction. But what are allergies and why do so many people suffer from them?Allergies are a glitch in our immune system. The immune system is built to recognize and destroy pathogens -- potential threats like viruses........ Read more »

Ziska, L., Knowlton, K., Rogers, C., Dalan, D., Tierney, N., Elder, M., Filley, W., Shropshire, J., Ford, L., Hedberg, C.... (2011) Recent warming by latitude associated with increased length of ragweed pollen season in central North America. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(10), 4248-4251. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1014107108  

Platts-Mills, T. (2015) The allergy epidemics: 1870-2010. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 136(1), 3-13. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2015.03.048  

Strachan DP. (1989) Hay fever, hygiene, and household size. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 299(6710), 1259-60. PMID: 2513902  

Molloy, J., Allen, K., Collier, F., Tang, M., Ward, A., & Vuillermin, P. (2013) The Potential Link between Gut Microbiota and IgE-Mediated Food Allergy in Early Life. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 10(12), 7235-7256. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph10127235  

  • April 1, 2016
  • 04:22 AM
  • 172 views

Meta-meta-analysing MTHFR and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"In conclusion, [the] present meta-analysis strongly suggested a significant association of the MTHFR C677T polymorphism with autism."So said the findings reported by Vandana Rai [1] as yet more discussion emerges on the possible role of issues with the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene in relation to at least some autism. The reason I've titled this post as a 'meta-meta-analysis' is because we've previously seen meta-analysis done on this polymorphism (SNP) in rela........ Read more »

  • March 31, 2016
  • 05:14 PM
  • 229 views

Limitless: How long-term memories are erased and how to stop it

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Currently, neuroscientists think our brain has about enough storage space to hold the entire internet. That’s a lot of space, about a petabyte in fact — if we are to believe this estimate. So, what did you read in the news this day 5 years ago? Don’t worry, I don’t even remember what I had for breakfast this morning and my long-term memory doesn’t fair much better. However, vital information about how the brain erases long-term memories has been uncovered by researchers.

... Read more »

  • March 31, 2016
  • 04:20 PM
  • 198 views

The even newer CDC autism prevalence rate

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"For 2012, the combined estimated prevalence of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] among the 11 ADDM [Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring] Network sites was 14.6 per 1,000 (one in 68) children aged 8 years."So said the report by Deborah Christensen and colleagues [1] continuing a research theme as the CDC map the estimated prevalence of autism in the United States over the years (see here and see here). This time around, as last time covering 2010, the figure se........ Read more »

  • March 31, 2016
  • 11:28 AM
  • 202 views

Reproducibility in research results: the challenges of attributing reliability

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective

Recently projects have been developed with the aim to reproduce published research results in psychology, biology and economics to verify their reliability. The results indicate different degrees of reproducibility in each area, however, they served to alert the scientific community about how fragile results considered irrefutable can be and reflect on the role of science in self-correcting. … Read More →... Read more »

Anderson, C., Bahnik, �., Barnett-Cowan, M., Bosco, F., Chandler, J., Chartier, C., Cheung, F., Christopherson, C., Cordes, A., Cremata, E.... (2016) Response to Comment on "Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science". Science, 351(6277), 1037-1037. DOI: 10.1126/science.aad9163  

Allison, D., Brown, A., George, B., & Kaiser, K. (2016) Reproducibility: A tragedy of errors. Nature, 530(7588), 27-29. DOI: 10.1038/530027a  

Camerer, C., Dreber, A., Forsell, E., Ho, T., Huber, J., Johannesson, M., Kirchler, M., Almenberg, J., Altmejd, A., Chan, T.... (2016) Evaluating replicability of laboratory experiments in economics. Science, 351(6280), 1433-1436. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf0918  

  • March 31, 2016
  • 11:08 AM
  • 167 views

The p-value Debate Has Reached SCM Research

by Andreas Wieland in Supply Chain Management Research

We should not ignore that researchers – in general but also in supply chain management – are not always as properly trained to perform data analysis as they should be. A highly visible discussion is currently going on regarding the prevalent misuses of p-values. For example, too often research has been considered as “good” research, […]... Read more »

  • March 31, 2016
  • 10:40 AM
  • 194 views

Extracting goo from corpses to better understand them

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

It's goo week here at Rosin Cerate. So far we've looked at forms of natural springtime goo. For today's post, it's on to a much darker and less life-affirming goo. We're going to take a peek at the viscous fluids you can extract from a corpse to determine where/when/how it became a corpse and other useful forensic information.... Read more »

Deking J, Hargrove VM, & Molina DK. (2014) Synovial fluid: An alternative toxicologic specimen?. The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, 35(2), 154-6. PMID: 24781403  

  • March 31, 2016
  • 05:36 AM
  • 210 views

Thoughts on pre- vs. post-publication peer-review

by Christophe Dessimoz in Open Reading Frame

A few months ago, we published a paper that spent four years in peer-review (story behind the paper). Because of this, I feel entitled to an opinion on the pre- vs post-publication review debate.

Background on preprints and their effect on peer-review

If you have been living under a rock, or if you are not on Twitter, you may not have noticed that preprints are becoming more widely accepted in biology—supported by initiatives such as Haldane’s Sieve and bioRxiv. This is particularly tr........ Read more »

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