Post List

  • November 21, 2015
  • 05:09 PM

The mysterious fungus that has major health consequences

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers at the University of Toronto examined fungi in the mucus of patients with cystic fibrosis and discovered how one particularly cunning fungal species has evolved to defend itself against neighbouring bacteria. A regular resident of our microbiome – and especially ubiquitous in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients -the Candida albicans fungus is an “opportunistic pathogen.”
... Read more »

  • November 21, 2015
  • 10:40 AM

Where Are All the Wearables We Want to Wear?

by Aurametrix team in Health Technologies

Millions of years ago our ancestors straightened up and started carrying tools around, instead of dropping them after use. And so technology became a part of daily routine.​As time passed, more useful tools were made than it was feasible to carry or wear over the shoulder. One solution to this problem was monetary exchange, the other was a better technology. Wearables promised to add more convenience than carryables and, ever since humans started to wear clothes some 170,000 years ag........ Read more »

Bouzouggar A, Barton N, Vanhaeren M, d'Errico F, Collcutt S, Higham T, Hodge E, Parfitt S, Rhodes E, Schwenninger JL.... (2007) 82,000-year-old shell beads from North Africa and implications for the origins of modern human behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(24), 9964-9. PMID: 17548808  

Sungmee Park, & Jayaraman S. (2014) A transdisciplinary approach to wearables, big data and quality of life. Conference proceedings : .. Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Annual Conference, 4155-8. PMID: 25570907  

  • November 21, 2015
  • 10:37 AM

Microbe-made musical mouthpiece malaise

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

When you play a wind-driven musical instrument, be it bagpipe, harmonica, brass, or woodwind, you're potentially doing two things: (1) creating an enjoyable sound, and (2) being exposed to microbes present inside the instrument or its mouthpiece.The latter, which occurs as you breathe in with the mouthpiece close to your mouth, can occasionally result in health problems. These include mouth and throat infections (e.g. cold sores and strep throat), which tend to occur at schools where inadequatel........ Read more »

Cormier Y. (2010) Wind-instruments lung: A foul note. CHEST Journal, 138(3), 467. DOI: 10.1378/chest.10-0868  

  • November 21, 2015
  • 04:49 AM

Melting Scandinavian glaciers made Europe cool and dry

by TakFurTheKaffe in Tak Fur The Kaffe

Scientists have found an explanation for one of the big mysteries in climate science with the help of 12,000-year old Swedish midges... Read more »

Muschitiello, F., Pausata, F., Watson, J., Smittenberg, R., Salih, A., Brooks, S., Whitehouse, N., Karlatou-Charalampopoulou, A., & Wohlfarth, B. (2015) Fennoscandian freshwater control on Greenland hydroclimate shifts at the onset of the Younger Dryas. Nature Communications, 8939. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9939  

  • November 21, 2015
  • 03:26 AM

Subthreshold autism signs in childhood OCD

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

OCD in the title of this post, refers to obsessive compulsive disorder and the intriguing observation put forward by Arildskov and colleagues [1] suggesting that: "Pediatric OCD patients were found to exhibit elevated rates of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] symptoms compared to a norm group of school-age children."Taking advantage of data collected as part of the Nordic Long-term OCD Treatment Study and specifically where "parents of 257 children and adolescent........ Read more »

Arildskov, T., Højgaard, D., Skarphedinsson, G., Thomsen, P., Ivarsson, T., Weidle, B., Melin, K., & Hybel, K. (2015) Subclinical autism spectrum symptoms in pediatric obsessive–compulsive disorder. European Child . DOI: 10.1007/s00787-015-0782-5  

  • November 20, 2015
  • 03:45 PM

Horrible Gulls Are Eating Baby Whales Alive

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Yes, it's important not to anthropomorphize other species or impose our values on them—but sometimes animals are just horrible. For example, kelp gulls. A few decades ago the birds in one part of Argentina realized that for a tasty snack, they could tear flesh from the backs of whales when they came up for air. Eventually the whales learned to protect themselves somewhat from the gulls. But now the gulls have shifted their attention to the whales' babies, and might be killing them.

Kelp........ Read more »

  • November 20, 2015
  • 03:06 PM

Multiple Personalities, Blindness and the Brain

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A new paper reports the fascinating and perplexing case of a woman who reported that she was host to multiple personalities - some of whom were completely blind. The paper is called Sight and blindness in the same person: gating in the visual system, authored by German psychologists Hans Strasburger and Bruno Waldvogel.

The patient in this case, "B. T.", aged 33, has a diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder (DID), a condition formerly known as multiple personality disorder (MPD). B. ... Read more »

  • November 20, 2015
  • 02:43 PM

Inflammation linked to weakened reward circuits in depression

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

About one third of people with depression have high levels of inflammation markers in their blood. New research indicates that persistent inflammation affects the brain in ways that are connected with stubborn symptoms of depression, such as anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure.... Read more »

  • November 20, 2015
  • 08:37 AM

Summary of recent kidney cancer clinical trials

by Danielle Stevenson in BHD Research Blog

Kidney tumours, if detected early enough, can often be removed surgically without the need for further drug treatments. However, if the primary tumour metastasises traditional chemotherapies and radiotherapies become ineffective and patient survival is limited. In recent years there have been great advances in treatments for metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) with several targeted treatments now available. However, these targeted treatments show variable response rates and efficacy. This blo........ Read more »

Motzer RJ, Escudier B, McDermott DF, George S, Hammers HJ, Srinivas S, Tykodi SS, Sosman JA, Procopio G, Plimack ER.... (2015) Nivolumab versus Everolimus in Advanced Renal-Cell Carcinoma. The New England journal of medicine, 373(19), 1803-13. PMID: 26406148  

  • November 20, 2015
  • 07:02 AM

Why do people prefer food in sexist packaging? 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

According to a new study in the journal Social Psychology, it’s because we are willing to pay more for less healthy food in macho packaging or healthier food in pretty feminine packaging. You may protest at being stereotyped in this way but, apparently it works (or food package designers wouldn’t do it) because it’s just […]

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News Flash: Gay people are different than straight people
Republicans prefer ‘Republican-looking’ political candidates
Men prefer boxes and........ Read more »

Zhu, L., Brescoll, V., Newman, G., & Uhlmann, E. (2015) Macho Nachos. Social Psychology, 46(4), 182-196. DOI: 10.1027/1864-9335/a000226  

  • November 20, 2015
  • 04:30 AM

Injury Rates Between Female Collegiate and High School Volleyball Differ

by Jane McDevitt in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

Differences exists between injury patterns of female collegiate and high school athletes.... Read more »

  • November 20, 2015
  • 04:14 AM

In search of the optimum level of trust between human and machine

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

A computer screen at the NASA flight control room is used to remotely pilot a Proteus aircraft during flight demonstrations of collision avoidance systems. April 3, 2003 in Mojave, California.(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)By guest blogger Craig Aaen-StockdaleWe live in a world where volatile industrial processes, military actions and our morning commute are increasingly controlled by automated systems. The arrival of the autonomous vehicle on our roads, drones in our skies an........ Read more »

Clare, A., Cummings, M., & Repenning, N. (2015) Influencing Trust for Human-Automation Collaborative Scheduling of Multiple Unmanned Vehicles. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 57(7), 1208-1218. DOI: 10.1177/0018720815587803  

  • November 20, 2015
  • 03:02 AM

Vitamin D levels and autism meta-analysed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin: "Levels of serum 25(OH) D in participants with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] were significantly lower than controls, suggesting that lower vitamin D level might be a risk factor for ASD."That was the bottom line finding reported by Tiantian Wang and colleagues [1] following their systematic review and meta-analysis of the existing peer-reviewed science literature looking at whether serum concentrations of 25-hydroxy vitamin D - the typically measured compou........ Read more »

  • November 19, 2015
  • 08:30 PM

Cytokine storms during CAR T-cell therapy for lymphoblastic leukemia

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

For most of the last 70 years or so, treating cancer meant one of three things: surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. In most cases, some combination of these remains the standard of care. But cancer research does not stand still. More recent developments have included a focus on immunotherapy: using, modifying, or augmenting the patient’s natural […]... Read more »

  • November 19, 2015
  • 07:55 PM

Yin and yang of serotonin neurons in mood regulation

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Low levels of serotonin in the brain are known to play a role in depression and anxiety, and it is customary to treat these disorders with medications that increase the amount of this neurotransmitter. However, a new study carried out by researchers suggests that this approach may be too simple. It appears that neighboring serotonin-producing brainstem regions exert different and sometimes opposing effects on behavior.... Read more »

Anne Teissier, Alexei Chemiakine, Benjamin Inbar, Susan M. Dymecki, Holly Moore, & Mark S. Ansorge. (2015) Activity of Raphe´ Serotonergic Neurons Controls Emotional Behaviors. Cell Reports. info:/

  • November 19, 2015
  • 04:48 AM

Heavy metals, heavy conflicts and autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Two papers are presented for your reading delight today, both based on the often contentious issue of heavy metals and autism.The first paper is from Farida El Baz Mohamed and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) and further substantiates the claim that for whatever reason(s) the levels of various heavy metals seem to be increased or raised in some children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The second paper by Janet Kern and colleagues [2] (open-access available here)........ Read more »

  • November 18, 2015
  • 07:37 PM

Master switch for brain development

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Scientists at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) in Mainz have unraveled a complex regulatory mechanism that explains how a single gene can drive the formation of brain cells. The research is an important step towards a better understanding of how the brain develops. It also harbors potential for regenerative medicine.... Read more »

  • November 18, 2015
  • 05:49 PM

Sticks and stones (2): How names work

by Michael Ramscar in The Importance of Being Wrong

A stranger in the village On immigrating to Sweden, migrants are given the option of exchanging their current last name for one that sounds a little more Swedish. The process is administered by the Patent- och registreringsverket – the Patent and Registration Office (PRV) – and of the many rules it enforces, an important one requires that anyone wanting to adopt a Swedish surname prove their […]... Read more »

Brown, P. F., Pietra, V. J. D., Mercer, R. L., Pietra, S. A. D., & Lai, J. C. (1992) An estimate of an upper bound for the entropy of English. Computational Linguistics, 18(1), 31-40. info:/

Shannon, C. (1948) A Mathematical Theory of Communication. Bell System Technical Journal, 27(3), 379-423. DOI: 10.1002/j.1538-7305.1948.tb01338.x  

  • November 18, 2015
  • 03:15 PM

Making climate change local: how to motivate city-wide adaptation strategies

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

More than 80% of the US population lives in cities, making their adaptation strategies one of the most important political decisions in the coming decades. Here we discuss a new study that identifies reasons why some cities have already prepared response programs while others haven't yet started.... Read more »

  • November 18, 2015
  • 01:00 PM

Predictors of Poor Outcome After Traumatic Brain Injury

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The outcome following traumatic brain injury (TBI) is often unpredictable and variable.Two individuals with similar types of TBI can have quite different outcomes ranging from total disability to functional employment.Torun Finnanger and colleagues from Norway and Australia recently reported on a study that examined a number of predictor variables on self-reported outcome following TBI.In this study, 67 adolescents and adults with moderate to severe TBI completed baseline assessments and were fo........ Read more »

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