A quote to begin: "findings suggest that T gondii [Toxoplasma gondii] infection causes substantial and widespread immune activation indicative of neural damage and reactive tissue repair in the animal model that partly overlaps with changes observed in the brains of schizophrenia patients."So said the very interesting paper by Jakub Tomasik and colleagues  who set about comparing results from a mouse model of "chronic T gondii infection" looking for serum and brain signatures with those in postmortem "brain samples from 35 schizophrenia patients and 33 healthy controls." Researchers found that mice infected with T. gondii were pretty 'immune-stimulated' as a result; also manifesting with "neural damage and reactive tissue repair". Some of these immune consequences also seemingly 'overlapped' with what was observed in the very precious brain samples from those previously diagnosed with schizophrenia, particularly when it came to "C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), interferon gamma (IFNγ), plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1), tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases 1 (TIMP-1), and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1)." The authors conclude that any shared pathophysiology might be "a key step towards understanding their specific contributions to pathogenesis."I'd like to think that the Tomasik paper is an important next step in the whole idea that T. gondii infection might show some important links with at least some schizophrenia (see here). Still a point of discussion in some quarters  insofar as the hows and whys of any association (see here), there is nevertheless, some quite reliable research appearing in the peer-reviewed domain to suggest that there may a link, correlation if you will, between this parasitic protozoan and the appearance of some schizophrenia or schizophrenia-linked symptoms. Putting some scientific flesh on the bones of 'mechanisms' through which infection might link to schizophrenia is important.That being said, I do think we have to be slightly cautious when it comes to changes in immune function in relation to schizophrenia being solely pinned down to T. gondii infection. Given for example, the growing significance of something like CRP to schizophrenia in general (see here), I think you would be hard-pressed to say this is all down to T. gondii infection. Indeed, the maternal immune activation hypothesis may well play a role here (see here) as might the wider implications of something like inflammation when it comes to the wider arena of psychiatry (see here).---------- Tomasik J. et al. Shared Immune and Repair Markers During Experimental Toxoplasma Chronic Brain Infection and Schizophrenia. Schizophr Bull. 2015 Sep 20. pii: sbv134. Wolf PJ. & Hamilton FE. Flawed analyses undermine proposed relationship between childhood cat ownership and schizophrenia. Schizophr Res. 2015 Aug 14. pii: S0920-9964(15)00427-2.----------Tomasik J, Schultz TL, Kluge W, Yolken RH, Bahn S, & Carruthers VB (2015). Shared Immune and Repair Markers During Experimental Toxoplasma Chronic Brain Infection and Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia bulletin PMID: 26392628... Read more »
Tomasik J, Schultz TL, Kluge W, Yolken RH, Bahn S, & Carruthers VB. (2015) Shared Immune and Repair Markers During Experimental Toxoplasma Chronic Brain Infection and Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia bulletin. PMID: 26392628
The ancient Greek philosopher Xenophanes once scathingly pointed out that people imagine god to be pretty much like themselves: But mortals suppose that gods are born, wear their own clothes and have a voice and body. Ethiopians say that their gods are snub-nosed and black; Thracians that theirs are are blue-eyed and red-haired. Christian tend [Read More...]... Read more »
Shtulman, A., & Lindeman, M. (2015) Attributes of God: Conceptual Foundations of a Foundational Belief. Cognitive Science. DOI: 10.1111/cogs.12253
Researchers have imaged in unprecedented detail the three-dimensional structure of supercoiled DNA, revealing that its shape is much more dynamic than the well-known double helix.
Various DNA shapes, including figure-8s, were imaged using a powerful microscopy technique by researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine in the US, and then examined using supercomputer simulations run at the University of Leeds.... Read more »
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Martin O. Bergo Sahlgrenska Cancer Center Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine Institute of Medicine University of Gothenburg Gothenburg, Sweden Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Bergo: … Continue reading →
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Prof. Martin O. Bergo. (2015) Antioxidants May Encourage Lung Cancer and Melanoma to Spread. MedicalResearch.com. info:/
Neuroplasticity is the brain and nervous systems ability to evolve and to repair deficits.At a basic level it represents the ability to learn and develop a structural and functional system to interact with the environment.The brain's neuroplasticity is maximized during childhood and adolescence. This adaptability wanes with age. However, some neuroplasticity ability persists in the older brain.This persistence was highlighted in a study from Hong Kong recently published in the journal Neural Plasticity.Natalie Leung and colleagues studied a group of older adults with an average age of 70 years. Two hundred nine older adults were randomized to a cognitive training protocol or a control video education intervention.The cognitive training protocol involved three one-hour training sessions for 13 weeks (39 hours total cognitive training). The training in this protocol was adapted from the Brain Fitness Program of Posit Science. Elements including tasks focusing on reaction time, visual discrimination, verbal memory, attention and working memory. All subjects completed neuropsychological assessment at baseline and at the end of the 13 week trial.The active training groups demonstrated significant improvement in a variety of cognitive domains compared to the control group including:Higher sustained attention scores on the Seashore Rhythm TestBetter performance on working memory digit span tasksBetter performance on visual spatial cognition This study did not include a brain imaging component. However, the author's note their findings suggest sensitive imaging tools might complement their results and provide better understanding of structural and functional elements of neuroplasticity in the older brain.The role of brain training in modifying the effects of aging on the brain is still in early stages of research. However, the current study supports the ability of elderly individuals to respond to cognitive training interventions.Individuals with more interest in this study can access the full free-text manuscript by clicking on the PMID link below.Screenshot of frontal lobes in brain is from the iPad Brain Tutor app.Follow the author on Twitter WRY999Leung NT, Tam HM, Chu LW, Kwok TC, Chan F, Lam LC, Woo J, & Lee TM (2015). Neural Plastic Effects of Cognitive Training on Aging Brain. Neural plasticity, 2015 PMID: 26417460... Read more »
Leung NT, Tam HM, Chu LW, Kwok TC, Chan F, Lam LC, Woo J, & Lee TM. (2015) Neural Plastic Effects of Cognitive Training on Aging Brain. Neural plasticity, 535618. PMID: 26417460
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Kavita Vyas Dharmarajan M.D., M.Sc Assistant Professor Radiation Oncology Assistant Professor Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Vyas Dharmarajan: Forty to … Continue reading →
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Dr. Kavita Vyas Dharmarajan M.D., M.Sc. (2015) Shorter Palliative Radiation Therapy May Benefit Debilitated Patients. MedicalResearch.com. info:/
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Katrine M. Owe PhD Department of Psychosomatics and Health Behaviour Norwegian Institute of Public Health Norwegian National Advisory Unit on Women’s Health Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet OSLO, Norway Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What … Continue reading →
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Katrine M. Owe PhD. (2015) Exercising Before Pregnancy Reduces Postpartum Pain. MedicalResearch.com. info:/
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nehal Mehta, M.D., M.S.C.E., F.A.H.A. Lasker Clinical Research Scholar Section of Inflammation and Cardiometabolic Diseases NIH Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mehta: Psoriasis increases cardiovascular disease (CVD), … Continue reading →
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Nehal Mehta, M.D., M.S.C.E., F.A.H.A. (2015) Psoriasis Increases Blood Vessel Inflammation and Heart Disease Risk. MedicalResearch.com. info:/
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eleni Linos, MD DrPH, MPH Assistant Professor UCSF School of Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Linos: Google offers a remarkable service for non-profit organizations-in our case … Continue reading →
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Eleni Linos, MD DrPH, MPH. (2015) Google Ads Can Target Health Care Messages. MedicalResearch.com. info:/
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Wilson Tang MD Professor of Medicine Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine Case Western Reserve University Director of the Center for Clinical Genomics Cleveland Clinic Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are … Continue reading →
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Dr. Wilson Tang MD. (2015) Biomarker Identifies Kidney Injury In Heart Failure Patients. MedicalResearch.com. info:/
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: James Baggs, PhD Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, GA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Baggs: The National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistance Bacteria calls … Continue reading →
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James Baggs, PhD. (2015) What Explains Hospital Variation In Antibiotic Usage?. MedicalResearch.com. info:/
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor P. Elizabeth Rakoczy Centre for Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences The University of Western Australia Head of Department – Molecular Ophthalmology Lions Eye Institute Australia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Prof. Rakoczy: Wet age … Continue reading →
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Professor P. Elizabeth Rakoczy. (2015) Promising Study Supports Gene Therapy For Wet Macular Degeneration. MedicalResearch.com. info:/
Apparently it’s all about motivated reasoning and uncertainty. When people hear new research findings that are unfamiliar or hear new findings that contradict what they already believe—they are likely to feel uncertain and confused. When you feel that way, it is unpleasant and you want to get back to feeling certain and clear about how […]
Have reports of the death of the civil jury trial been premature?
Is there an effective strategy that reduces a conspiracy theorist’s intense beliefs?
Everyone knows you just can’t trust an atheist!
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Chang, C. (2015) Motivated Processing: How People Perceive News Covering Novel or Contradictory Health Research Findings. Science Communication, 37(5), 602-634. DOI: 10.1177/1075547015597914
I'm always amazed that despite our many advances in science and medicine, new diagnoses and clinical entities still manage to pop up from time to time. Today I'm introducing one such occasion as detailed in the paper by Veronica Bonciolini and colleagues  (open-access available here) and the idea that 'cutaneous gluten sensitivity' (CGS) might be part and parcel of at least some presentation of non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS).For those who might not know, NCGS describes part of a proposed spectrum of gluten-related conditions that lies outside of the classical 'gluten can affect health' autoimmune condition that is coeliac disease (CD). There is still some debate about the boundaries of NCGS and the precise diagnostic criteria (see here) but I'm of the opinion that there is something to see in this area and that, on occasion, there also may be psychological/behavioural issues associated with the label (see here) albeit with more research required.Insofar as the relationship between cutaneous (skin) issues potentially associated with NCGS, well we have a precedent here with the link between dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) and CD, a skin condition manifesting as red raised patches of blisters often accompanied by severe itching. Treatment of DH normally involves a gluten-free diet (GFD) similar to the management of CD, although other preparations can also help soothe the itching and blistering.The Bonciolini paper details the authors' efforts to document various cutaneous manifestations seemingly linked to NCGS and "to characterize the new pathologic entities known as CGS." To do this: "17 consecutive patients affected by NCGS after having considered gastroenterology and allergy in order to exclude other forms of gluten sensitivity such as CD and WA [wheat allergy]" were examined. The authors did a pretty good job of excluding conditions such as CD in their participant group as per their use of "serological assay with specific antibodies (anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTG) IgA and IgG, anti-endomysial antibodies (EMA), anti-gliadin antibodies (AGA), deamidated gliadin peptide (DGP) and total IgA) and esophagogastroduodenoscopy with multiple biopsies." Further researchers: "enrolled NCGS patients only after dietary elimination of gluten followed by DBPC [double-blind, placebo-controlled]" challenge. Skin samples were taken and various inspections of skin lesions carried out.Results: "The common clinical feature of all the patients involved in this study, as well as the one detached from our clinical experience, was the severe itching." Researchers reported that the itching was difficult to treat with standard medications but "it showed prompt resolution when GFD was introduced" and "the reaction was faster than in DH patients." In terms of the skin lesions themselves, the authors describe them as "polymorphic" (I assume meaning that they took on various different shapes and sizes) and perhaps due to some pretty continual itching also took on a "psoriatic-like" appearance (as in similar to the plaques seen in psoriasis)."The histological and immunopathological assays performed on skin samples exclude specific skin diseases of CD and the allergy skin tests exclude sensitization to gluten. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that there may also appear skin manifestations among the extraintestinal manifestations of NCGS or that “cutaneous gluten sensitivity” (CGS) exists and needs to be characterized."We await further investigations...---------- Bonciolini V. et al. Cutaneous Manifestations of Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity: Clinical Histological and Immunopathological Features. Nutrients. 2015 Sep 15;7(9):7798-7805.----------Bonciolini V, Bianchi B, Del Bianco E, Verdelli A, & Caproni M (2015). Cutaneous Manifestations of Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity: Clinical Histological and Immunopathological Features. Nutrients, 7 (9), 7798-7805 PMID: 26389946... Read more »
Bonciolini V, Bianchi B, Del Bianco E, Verdelli A, & Caproni M. (2015) Cutaneous Manifestations of Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity: Clinical Histological and Immunopathological Features. Nutrients, 7(9), 7798-7805. PMID: 26389946
Take Home Message: Single-leg and tandem stances on a foam surface may be a quick and inexpensive screening tool for athletes who need a preventative ankle rehabilitation program.... Read more »
Dobo, B., White, A., & Linens, S. (2015) Balance Error Scoring System Stances That Identify Division I Athletes With Chronic Ankle Instability Most in Need of Rehabilitation. Athletic Training , 7(5), 190-196. DOI: 10.3928/19425864-20150831-04
In the third in the series covering the historical texts suggested in the reading list for INSTG004 Cataloguing, this post discusses the continuing influence of Charles Ammi Cutters' ideas, as expressed in his Rules for a Printed Dictionary Catalogue (1876).... Read more »
Charles Ammi Cutter. (1876) Rules for a Printed Dictionary Catalogue. Internet Archive. info:/
An estimated seven to ten million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease (PD), which is an incurable and progressive disease of the nervous system affecting movement and cognitive function. More than half of PD patients develop progressive disease showing signs of dementia similar to Alzheimer’s disease.... Read more »
Ejlerskov, P., Hultberg, J., Wang, J., Carlsson, R., Ambjørn, M., Kuss, M., Liu, Y., Porcu, G., Kolkova, K., Friis Rundsten, C.... (2015) Lack of Neuronal IFN-β-IFNAR Causes Lewy Body- and Parkinson’s Disease-like Dementia. Cell, 163(2), 324-339. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.08.069
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Annabelle de St. Maurice MD, MPH Pediatric Infectious Disease Fellow Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. de St. Maurice: Susceptibility to certain infectious diseases appears … Continue reading →
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Annabelle de St. Maurice MD, MPH. (2015) Men At Higher Risk of Severe Pneumonia. MedicalResearch.com. info:/
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David E. Gerber, MD Associate Professor Division of Hematology-Oncology Associate Director for Clinical Research Co-Leader, Experimental Therapeutics Program Co-Director, Lung Disease Oriented Team Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, TX Medical … Continue reading →
The post PD-1 Blocker Extends Lives in Lung Cancer Patients appeared first on MedicalResearch.com.
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David E. Gerber, MD. (2015) PD-1 Blocker Extends Lives in Lung Cancer Patients. MedicalResearch.com. info:/
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joan A. Casey, PhD, MA Health and Society Scholar Robert Wood Johnson Foundation UC San Francisco/UC Berkeley Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Casey: Eighteen percent of global … Continue reading →
The post What Are Pregnancy Risks Of Living Near Fracking Wells? appeared first on MedicalResearch.com.
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Joan A. Casey, PhD, MA. (2015) What Are Pregnancy Risks Of Living Near Fracking Wells?. MedicalResearch.com. info:/
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