Post List

  • April 18, 2016
  • 02:23 AM
  • 143 views

'Autism genes' are not just 'genes for autism'

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Ya Wen and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) caught my attention recently with the suggestion that: "ASD [autism spectrum disorder]-associated genes may contribute not only to core features of ASD themselves but also to vulnerability to other chronic and systemic problems potentially including cancer, metabolic conditions and heart diseases." Further: "ASDs may thus arise, or emerge, from underlying vulnerabilities related to pleiotropic genes associated wit........ Read more »

  • April 17, 2016
  • 03:00 AM
  • 166 views

Week 15 In Review: Open-Access Science | 11 to 17 April

by TakFurTheKaffe in Tak Fur The Kaffe

Swarming Red Crabs, 11,000-year-old shaman headdress, 'superfast' wing muscles, slowdown of giant airstreams, and sexually transmitted infections in Neanderthals. Here are five of the latest scientific studies published open-access this week, ... Read more »

Stadtherr, L., Coumou, D., Petoukhov, V., Petri, S., & Rahmstorf, S. (2016) Record Balkan floods of 2014 linked to planetary wave resonance. Science Advances, 2(4). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501428  

  • April 16, 2016
  • 05:20 AM
  • 179 views

Long terms effects of communication by gesture and autism: a case report

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

As per previous entries on this blog, I'm not at all adverse to the idea that case reports (the so-called N=1) can offer some important insights into a heterogeneous (dare I say 'plural') condition like autism. Today, I'm once again heading down this route as I bring to your attention the letter from Webster and colleagues [1] talking about a 40 year follow-up note "About a Boy with Autism Taught to Communicate by Gestures when Aged Six."Harking back to a paper published by some of the authors i........ Read more »

  • April 15, 2016
  • 09:12 AM
  • 41 views

Rewriting life: Adding letters to the ABC of DNA

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

(Also appeared on United Academics.) The alphabet of life The grand tale of life is long and complicated. Storylines intertwine and many subplots twist and turn unexpectedly. Amazingly, this billion-year-spanning story is written in an alphabet that contains only four letters, the alphabet of DNA. A for adenine, C for cytosine, G for guanine, and […]... Read more »

Malyshev DA, Dhami K, Lavergne T, Chen T, Dai N, Foster JM, Corrêa IR Jr, & Romesberg FE. (2014) A semi-synthetic organism with an expanded genetic alphabet. Nature, 509(7500), 385-8. PMID: 24805238  

  • April 15, 2016
  • 07:34 AM
  • 169 views

Are the police better than us at spotting thieves before they commit a crime?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Are professionals better than the rest of us at spotting wrong-doing? The historical evidence is gloomy: one study suggested job interviewers perform no better than novices at spotting cheaters. Several reviews have concluded that police officers and detectives have less than stellar abilities to catch lies in interrogations, with some research even suggesting chance levels of performance. However recent research has begun to rehabilitate expert abilities at interview lie detection. And now a st........ Read more »

  • April 15, 2016
  • 07:31 AM
  • 23 views

Size matters: age and telomeres

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




Growing evidence suggests that the telomeres’ length (a non-coding DNA sequence localized at the end of the chromosomes) is related to individual breeding performances and survival rates in several species.

... Read more »

  • April 15, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 101 views

Negotiating with a manipulative party? Try doing it in text and you  may fare better

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We’ve written a lot about those with what are called the “dark triad” of personality characteristics. Narcissists. Psychopaths. Machiavellians. These are not people we recommend doing business with—either personally or professionally. Their only interest is self-interest. So this is an interesting study as it shares a possible way to inoculate yourself against these untrustworthy folks […]

Related posts:
Negotiating salary: Ask for a precise number!
The Dirty Dozen Scale 
“I ........ Read more »

  • April 15, 2016
  • 05:01 AM
  • 186 views

The transgenerational effects of prenatal immune activation?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Ulrike Weber-Stadlbauer and colleagues [1] provides some food for thought today with the suggestion that the concept of prenatal immune activation might have consequences further than just to exposed offspring.For those not familiar with the concept of prenatal immune activation, it refers to the process(es) that occur following "exposure to infectious or inflammatory insults" during the nine months that made us. As you'll probably be aware, our nine months of watery 'captivity' is ........ Read more »

  • April 14, 2016
  • 03:45 PM
  • 188 views

#Breadgate and nutritional psychiatry

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The review paper by Paola Bressan & Peter Kramer [1] (open-access) titled: 'Bread and Other Edible Agents of Mental Disease' has been getting a few people a little hot under the collar recently. With it's own Twitter hashtag #breadgate it looks like the idea that certain foods might have something of a bearing on "human behaviour and mental health" has not been received particularly well. I might add that this not the first time that such ideas have been entertained (see here)........ Read more »

Bressan P, & Kramer P. (2016) Bread and Other Edible Agents of Mental Disease. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 130. PMID: 27065833  

  • April 14, 2016
  • 07:52 AM
  • 178 views

10 things I learned while working for the Dutch science funding council (NWO)

by Richard Kunert in Brain's Idea

  The way science is currently funded is very controversial. During the last 6 months I was on a break from my PhD and worked for the organisation funding science in the Netherlands (NWO). These are 10 insights I gained. 1) Belangenverstrengeling This is the first word I learned when arriving in The Hague. There is […]... Read more »

  • April 14, 2016
  • 07:50 AM
  • 166 views

Tales from the pharmaceutical minor leagues

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

When a drug company first gets its hands on a potential new drug, it will usually assign it a code name. Later on, as the drug works its way through trials designed to make sure it does something useful (e.g. reduce blood pressure) without causing serious harm (e.g. liver failure), it's given a catchier moniker like fluoxetine or atorvastatin. If the trials are a success, and the government is happy with how they were carried out, the drug can be brought to market. Most drugs don't make it. A go........ Read more »

  • April 14, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 182 views

Don't Lose Your Head Over tDCS

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Recent studies of transcranial electrical stimulation in human cadaver heads showed a 90% loss of current when delivered through the skin (Buzsáki, 2016 CNS meeting).Siren SongBy Margaret AtwoodThis is the one song everyone would like to learn: the songthat is irresistible:the song that forces mento leap overboard in squadronseven though they see the beached skullsthe song nobody knowsbecause anyone who has heard itis dead, and the others can't remember.Better living through electricity. The l........ Read more »

  • April 14, 2016
  • 07:00 AM
  • 300 views

Adding Letters To The ABC Of DNA

by Gunnar De Winter in United Academics

Researchers are working hard to expand the alphabet of life by adding new bases to DNA.... Read more »

Hirao I, & Kimoto M. (2012) Unnatural base pair systems toward the expansion of the genetic alphabet in the central dogma. Proceedings of the Japan Academy. Series B, Physical and biological sciences, 88(7), 345-67. PMID: 22850726  

Yang, Z., Chen, F., Alvarado, J., & Benner, S. (2011) Amplification, Mutation, and Sequencing of a Six-Letter Synthetic Genetic System. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 133(38), 15105-15112. DOI: 10.1021/ja204910n  

Malyshev, D., Dhami, K., Lavergne, T., Chen, T., Dai, N., Foster, J., Corrêa, I., & Romesberg, F. (2014) A semi-synthetic organism with an expanded genetic alphabet. Nature, 509(7500), 385-388. DOI: 10.1038/nature13314  

  • April 14, 2016
  • 02:51 AM
  • 171 views

Risk of type 2 diabetes in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Adolescents and young adults with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] were more likely to develop type 2 DM [type 2 diabetes mellitus] during the follow-up. In addition, those with ASD using atypical antipsychotics exhibited a high risk. Therefore, further research is necessary to investigate the common pathophysiology of ASD and type 2 DM."So said the findings reported by Mu-Hong Chen and colleagues [1] as, yet again, Taiwan and their very useful National Health Insurance R........ Read more »

  • April 14, 2016
  • 02:11 AM
  • 149 views

Psychologist who experiences mania without depression says "madness" can be enriching

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

A US-based clinical psychologist has published an extraordinary essay in the journal Psychosis in which he claims to have experienced 17 bouts of mania or "mood elevation" between 1997 and 2015 without any intervening instances of depression.Mania is usually experienced alongside alternating episodes of depression, in which case it is described by psychiatrists as bipolar disorder. David Ho, who has taught and practised in the USA and Hong Kong, says his experience of "unipolar mood elevation" s........ Read more »

  • April 14, 2016
  • 02:00 AM
  • 152 views

Cancer metabolism and voluntary public goods games

by Robert Vander Velde in Evolutionary Games Group

When I first came to Tampa to do my Masters[1], my focus turned to explanations of the Warburg effect — especially a recent paper by Archetti (2014) — and the acid-mediated tumor invasion hypothesis (Gatenby, 1995; Basanta et al., 2008). In the course of our discussions about Archetti (2013,2014), Artem proposed the idea of combining two […]... Read more »

Hauert, C., De Monte, S., Hofbauer, J., & Sigmund, K. (2002) Replicator dynamics for optional public good games. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 218(2), 187-194. PMID: 12381291  

  • April 13, 2016
  • 06:35 PM
  • 159 views

Zika Virus and induction of apoptosis: combination of IFN-β and downregulation of gene expression?

by thelonevirologist in Virology Tidbits

As described in a previous post, Zika virus (ZIKV) infection of primary human skin fibroblasts induces the upregulation of TLR3 mRNA as well as inducing the expression of MDA-5 and RIG-1, components of the antiviral response induced not only ZIKV but by RNA viruses in general. As a result of the activation of RIG-1 and MDA-5, the expression of both Interferon-α (IFN-α) and Interferon-β (IFN-β) is increased. In mouse models such as A129, AG129 or Ifnar1 -/- mice that are def........ Read more »

Ng CT, Sullivan BM, Teijaro JR, Lee AM, Welch M, Rice S, Sheehan KC, Schreiber RD, & Oldstone MB. (2015) Blockade of interferon Beta, but not interferon alpha, signaling controls persistent viral infection. Cell host , 17(5), 653-61. PMID: 25974304  

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  

Faria NR, Azevedo RD, 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.). PMID: 27013429  

Hamel R, Dejarnac O, Wichit S, Ekchariyawat P, Neyret A, Luplertlop N, Perera-Lecoin M, Surasombatpattana P, Talignani L, Thomas F.... (2015) Biology of Zika Virus Infection in Human Skin Cells. Journal of virology, 89(17), 8880-96. PMID: 26085147  

Lazear, H., Govero, J., Smith, A., Platt, D., Fernandez, E., Miner, J., & Diamond, M. (2016) A Mouse Model of Zika Virus Pathogenesis. Cell Host . DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2016.03.010  

Rossi SL, Tesh RB, Azar SR, Muruato AE, Hanley KA, Auguste AJ, Langsjoen RM, Paessler S, Vasilakis N, & Weaver SC. (2016) Characterization of a Novel Murine Model to Study Zika Virus. The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene. PMID: 27022155  

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  

Kumari J, Hussain M, De S, Chandra S, Modi P, Tikoo S, Singh A, Sagar C, Sepuri NB, & Sengupta S. (2016) Mitochondrial functions of RECQL4 are required for the prevention of aerobic glycolysis-dependent cell invasion. Journal of cell science, 129(7), 1312-8. PMID: 26906415  

Andersen J, VanScoy S, Cheng TF, Gomez D, & Reich NC. (2008) IRF-3-dependent and augmented target genes during viral infection. Genes and immunity, 9(2), 168-75. PMID: 18094709  

Aizawa S, Fujiwara Y, Contu VR, Hase K, Takahashi M, Kikuchi H, Kabuta C, Wada K, & Kabuta T. (2016) Lysosomal putative RNA transporter SIDT2 mediates direct uptake of RNA by lysosomes. Autophagy, 12(3), 565-78. PMID: 27046251  

Kimura T, Jain A, Choi SW, Mandell MA, Johansen T, & Deretic V. (2016) TRIM-Directed Selective Autophagy Regulates Immune Activation. Autophagy. PMID: 26983397  

Suthar, M., Aguirre, S., & Fernandez-Sesma, A. (2013) Innate Immune Sensing of Flaviviruses. PLoS Pathogens, 9(9). DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003541  

Han J, Back SH, Hur J, Lin YH, Gildersleeve R, Shan J, Yuan CL, Krokowski D, Wang S, Hatzoglou M.... (2013) ER-stress-induced transcriptional regulation increases protein synthesis leading to cell death. Nature cell biology, 15(5), 481-90. PMID: 23624402  

  • April 13, 2016
  • 11:30 AM
  • 188 views

Hunting Bats Plan Two Bugs Ahead

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



A flying insect that's suddenly swallowed by a bat probably doesn't have a lot of time to reflect on its fate. If it did, though, it might wonder how on Earth the swooping mammal managed to grab it with so little warning. The answer is that bats don't hunt just one bug at a time. While scanning the air with echoes, they manage to plan two victims ahead.

Bats aren't blind, despite what you may have read on Twitter. But bats that hunt at night rely on sound, not vision. They send out very h... Read more »

Fujioka, E., Aihara, I., Sumiya, M., Aihara, K., & Hiryu, S. (2016) Echolocating bats use future-target information for optimal foraging. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201515091. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1515091113  

  • April 13, 2016
  • 10:00 AM
  • 162 views

How to Choose the Right Puppy in Four Easy Steps

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

The vital questions to ask before you get your puppy-dog. Normal 0 false false false EN-CA X-NONE X-NONE ... Read more »

Dupont, S., Butaye, P., Claerebout, E., Theuns, S., Duchateau, L., Van de Maele, I., & Daminet, S. (2013) Enteropathogens in pups from pet shops and breeding facilities. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 54(9), 475-480. DOI: 10.1111/jsap.12119  

Morrow, M., Ottobre, J., Ottobre, A., Neville, P., St-Pierre, N., Dreschel, N., & Pate, J. (2015) Breed-dependent differences in the onset of fear-related avoidance behavior in puppies. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 10(4), 286-294. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2015.03.002  

Schumaker, B., Miller, M., Grosdidier, P., Cavender, J., Montgomery, D., Cornish, T., Farr, R., Driscoll, M., Maness, L., Gray, T.... (2012) Canine distemper outbreak in pet store puppies linked to a high-volume dog breeder. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation, 24(6), 1094-1098. DOI: 10.1177/1040638712460531  

  • April 13, 2016
  • 09:36 AM
  • 163 views

Video Tip of the Week: Branch, a web-based tool offering decision trees for data analysis

by Mary in OpenHelix

Recently I highlighted a decision tree tool for experimental design. EDA, or Experimental Design Assistant, helps you to plan your experiment, choose the approrpiate groups and numbers you’ll need. Set some variables, etc. This week’s video also offers decision trees–but these help you to evaluate the data from your studies of interest instead. Branch is a […]... Read more »

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