We have differentiated between chromosomal versus hormonal influences on normal sleep and sleep rebounds in hermaphroditic mice. The neural mechanisms are TBD, however. ... Read more »
Ehlen, J., Hesse, S., Pinckney, L., & Paul, K. (2013) Sex Chromosomes Regulate Nighttime Sleep Propensity during Recovery from Sleep Loss in Mice. PLoS ONE, 8(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062205
Researchers reported, last year, that the topical use of calcipotriol, a synthetic derivative of vitamin D, could help in significant recovery from a condition of inflammatory hair loss known as Alopecia areata.
Annals of Dermatology
Vitamin D is important in immune modulation in the skin while working on calcium regulation and bone metabolism. Alopecia areata has commonly been reported in the patients of vitamin D deficiency, vitamin D-resistant rickets, or vitamin D receptor (VDR) mutation.
“AA (alopecia areata) is difficult to treat. According to the guidelines of the British Association of Dermatologists, contact immunotherapy and corticosteroids are the most effective and best documented, but even these treatments often fail to induce hair growth6. Therefore, the need exists for more efficient treatments,” Researchers wrote.
In the study, researchers reported that a 7-year old boy showed significant recovery from alopecia areata having reduced VDR expression after topical use of calcipotriol. It was the first time that vitamin D was found to be significant treatment strategy for alopecia areata, according to researchers.
I think that the same chemical can be used for the patients of cancer, who are continuously using chemotherapeutic drugs and their immunity is in disturbed state resulting in alopecia areata.
Kim, D., Lee, J., Kim, I., Choi, S., Lim, Y., Kim, H., Kim, B., & Kim, M. (2012). Successful Treatment of Alopecia Areata with Topical Calcipotriol Annals of Dermatology, 24 (3) DOI: 10.5021/ad.2012.24.3.341... Read more »
Kim, D., Lee, J., Kim, I., Choi, S., Lim, Y., Kim, H., Kim, B., & Kim, M. (2012) Successful Treatment of Alopecia Areata with Topical Calcipotriol. Annals of Dermatology, 24(3), 341. DOI: 10.5021/ad.2012.24.3.341
Nobel laureates rarely publish articles in journals within the supply chain arena. Vernon L. Smith was awarded the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences “for having established laboratory experiments as a tool in empirical economic analysis, especially in the study of alternative market mechanisms”. In its recent issue, the Journal of Business Logistics had [...]... Read more »
Deck, C., & Smith, V. (2013) Using Laboratory Experiments in Logistics and Supply Chain Research. Journal of Business Logistics, 34(1), 6-14. DOI: 10.1111/jbl.12006
I was recently addressing some common folk linguistic myths about English, especially the English used as a lingua franca (ELF) between its non-native speakers. One of these myths concerns “color”, or more often than not, “colour”, since it seems the British “owners” of English are the ones most preoccupied with this trait. More specifically, you [...]... Read more »
Franceschi, V. (2013) Figurative language and ELF: idiomaticity in cross-cultural interaction in university settings. Journal of English as a Lingua Franca, 2(1). DOI: 10.1515/jelf-2013-0004
A follow-up on Carl Zimmer's post in "Phenomena" (National Geographic) on 'Bugs as Drugs'.... Read more »
Hyman P, Atterbury R, & Barrow P. (2013) Fleas and smaller fleas: virotherapy for parasite infections. Trends in microbiology. PMID: 23540830
van Nood E, Vrieze A, Nieuwdorp M, Fuentes S, Zoetendal EG, de Vos WM, Visser CE, Kuijper EJ, Bartelsman JF, Tijssen JG.... (2013) Duodenal infusion of donor feces for recurrent Clostridium difficile. The New England journal of medicine, 368(5), 407-15. PMID: 23323867
Ecology is a rapidly changing, dynamic field of research. In recent decades, there’s been a major shift from considering ecosystems as stable and poised to seeing them as systems that are in constant flux. At least, that’s what ecologists want (us) to believe. But how much of this claimed change has been able to seep [...]... Read more »
Carmel, Y., Kent, R., Bar-Massada, A., Blank, L., Liberzon, J., Nezer, O., Sapir, G., & Federman, R. (2013) Trends in Ecological Research during the Last Three Decades – A Systematic Review. PLoS ONE, 8(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059813
IntroductionThe European Space Agency’s Venus Express (VEX) is the only active spacecraft mission at the planet Venus. It carries a number of instruments: A magnetometer, a wide-angle CCD camera, a space plasma detector, a Fourier spectrometer, a thermal spectrometer, a radio science package, and a cluster of spectrometers specifically designed to study the Venusian atmosphere: SPICAV (Spectroscopy for Investigation of Characteristics of the Atmosphere of Venus). This package contains three spectrometers, one of which operates in the ultraviolet and is the subject of this article.The InstrumentThe UV instrument in SPICAV (described in great detail in Bertaux et al. 2007) is a refurbished flight spare from the Mars Express spacecraft. Sensitive to wavelengths from 118 to 320 nm, it was designed to measure different aspects of the atmosphere in different modes. In nadir orientation, SPICAV-UV measures SO2 and the distribution of the mysterious UV absorber in the clouds. On the night side, it observes the γ and δ bands of NO, and it can measure vertical profiles of CO2, SO2, clouds, and aerosols in stellar occultation mode.The UV spectrometer collects light with a 40 mm off-axis parabolic mirror that reflects light toward the spectrometer entrance. There is a configurable slit mechanism in the focal plane that, when left in place, is used for extended source viewing. The slit can be removed from the focal plane entirely for stellar occultation observations. A concave UV grating causes the spectrum to fall onto an image intensifier that is blind to wavelengths greater than 320 nm. The image created on the phosphor output screen of the intensifier is transferred to a 288x384 pixel CCD which can optionally be cooled to 270K using a Peltier cooling unit to reduce dark current. The focal length of the telescope (120mm) results in each CCD pixel having a FOV of 0.01 x 0.01°.The slit of the spectrometer is divided into two parts with different widths to allow differing spectral resolutions during observing of an extended source. The narrow part of the slit is 50 μm wide, giving resolving power between 120 and 300 with lower flux, while the wider part (500 μm) provides more sensitivity at the expense of a lower resolving power of ≈20.Public DatasetsSPICAV-UV data (in fact, all ESA data more than six months old) are available to the public as part of the ESA Planetary Science Archive (PSA), and are found at http://www.rssd.esa.int/index.php?project=PSA&page=vex. NASA’s Planetary Data System (PDS) standard was adopted by the PSA as a baseline for defining the structure and format of datasets. The PSA allows members of the public to browse the entire available archive via an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) interface, and also provides a Java-based Advanced Search Interface tool that lets a user specify dozens of search parameters, select datasets from search results, and it then “delivers” the requested datasets to a special folder on their server and sends the user an email containing a hypertext link to the data.Figure 1: Quick look analysis of SPICAV-UV data from VEX orbit 520.Datasets for the SPICAV instrument cluster are stored by spacecraft orbit number. Each individual dataset comes with human-readable descriptor files that define the format, encoding, and semantic meaning of all data provided. In addition to the spectral data themselves, the dataset also include all of the contextual data about the conditions under which the observations were made, such as spacecraft altitude and orientation, instrument temperature, the time and date, exposure times, instrument configuration settings, and many more.A SPICAV-UV dataset file includes one or more Collection objects, each containing a header descriptor and data table. A data table consists of five rows of 408 columns, which represents five rows of the CCD with each row containing 408 pixels. Each 16-bit pixel value is a digital representation of the charge collected by that pixel during integration.The PSA also provides a data browsing area on the FTP server where summary images of each dataset are available for a “quick look” at the data (see Figure 1).Science with SPICAVOne example of an investigation which used data from SPICAV-UV is a recent study hoping to find evidence of extant volcanic activity. Six years of ultraviolet spectrometer data were used to examine the density of sulphur dioxide above the clouds of Venus (Marcq et al. 2012). They found that SO2 column densities increased prior to 2007, and then decreased by a factor of 5 over the next five years. Read the rest of my summary of this research here.Another study a year earlier (Montmessin, et al. 2011) used SPICAV-UV data to identify, for the first time, a layer of ozone in the upper atmosphere of Venus (previously, ozone had only been identified in the atmospheres of Mars and Earth). Read more details here.ReferencesBertaux, J., Nevejans, D., Korablev, O., Villard, E., Quémerais, E., Neefs, E., Montmessin, F., Leblanc, F., Dubois, J., Dimarellis, E., Hauchecorne, A., Lefèvre, F., Rannou, P., Chaufray, J., Cabane, M., Cernogora, G., Souchon, G., Semelin, F., Reberac, A., Van Ransbeek, E., Berkenbosch, S., Clairquin, R., Muller, C., Forget, F., Hourdin, F., Talagrand, O., Rodin, A., Fedorova, A., Stepanov, A., Vinogradov, I., Kiselev, A., Kalinnikov, Y., Durry, G., Sandel, B., Stern, A., & Gérard, J. (2007). SPICAV on Venus Express: Three spectrometers to study the global structure and composition of the Venus atmosphere Planetary and Space Science, 55 (12), 1673-1700 DOI: 10.1016/j.pss.2007.01.016Esposito, L. W. (1984). Sulfur dioxide: Episodic injection shows evidence for active venus volcanism. Science (New York, N.Y.), 223(4640), 1072-1074.Marcq, E., Bertaux, J. L., Montmessin, F., & Belyaev, D. (2012). Variations of sulphur dioxide at the cloud top of Venus's dynamic atmosphere. Nature geoscience, 6(1), 25-28.Montmessin, F., Bertaux, J. L., Lefèvre, F., Marcq, E., Belyaev, D., Gérard, J. C., ... & Vandaele, A. C. (2011). A layer of ozone detected in the nightside upper atmosphere of Venus. Icarus, 216(1), 82-85.... Read more »
Bertaux, J., Nevejans, D., Korablev, O., Villard, E., Quémerais, E., Neefs, E., Montmessin, F., Leblanc, F., Dubois, J., Dimarellis, E.... (2007) SPICAV on Venus Express: Three spectrometers to study the global structure and composition of the Venus atmosphere. Planetary and Space Science, 55(12), 1673-1700. DOI: 10.1016/j.pss.2007.01.016
An atmospheric study using the SPICAV-UV instrument recently came to my attention where researchers (Montmessin, et al. 2011) used the data archive to identify (for the first time) a layer of ozone in the upper atmosphere of Venus (previously, ozone had only been identified in the atmospheres of Mars and Earth).The team analyzed the complete SPICAV dataset, and determined that UV absorption by O3 was observed during a stellar occultation run on the night side of Venus during orbit #348. They confirmed ozone detection in 28 additional orbits, and isolated the ozone to a discrete layer no more than 10 km thick near a mean altitude of 100km.The observed concentrations of 107 – 108 molecules per cubic centimeter are consistent with expected values if the upper atmosphere were dominated by the same chlorine-catalyzed destruction cycles present in Earth’s stratosphere.Even if the same mechanisms are at work in he Venusian atmosphere, the authors state that the observed ozone layer seems too tenuous to filter out UV radiation and provide protection to organisms that could have existed on Venus.Referenced:Montmessin, F., Bertaux, J., Lefèvre, F., Marcq, E., Belyaev, D., Gérard, J., Korablev, O., Fedorova, A., Sarago, V., & Vandaele, A. (2011). A layer of ozone detected in the nightside upper atmosphere of Venus Icarus, 216 (1), 82-85 DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2011.08.010... Read more »
Montmessin, F., Bertaux, J., Lefèvre, F., Marcq, E., Belyaev, D., Gérard, J., Korablev, O., Fedorova, A., Sarago, V., & Vandaele, A. (2011) A layer of ozone detected in the nightside upper atmosphere of Venus. Icarus, 216(1), 82-85. DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2011.08.010
Gray hair comes as a result of hydrogen peroxide accumulation in the hair follicles and the newly reported topical UVB-activated, pseudocatalase (PC-KUS) can help against the accumulation of hydrogen peroxide at the root level.
The FASEB Journal
"To date, it is beyond any doubt that the sudden loss of the inherited skin and localized hair color can affect those individuals in many fundamental ways," Karin U. Schallreuter, M.D., study author from the Institute for Pigmentary Disorders in association with E.M. Arndt University of Greifswald, Germany and the Centre for Skin Sciences, School of Life Sciences at the University of Bradford, United Kingdom, said in a statement. "The improvement of quality of life after total and even partial successful repigmentation has been documented."
Researchers have found that the accumulation of hydrogen peroxide results in the huge level of oxidation in the hair follicles resulting in the natural bleaching process of the hairs from the root level to the outer level. Researchers’ new treatment intervention i.e. topical, ultraviolet B-activated - sunlight - compound PC-KUS, a modified pseudocatalase, can help against the enormous accumulation of hydrogen peroxide.
Researchers reported that the same treatment works for the skin condition, vitiligo - a skin disorder in which smooth whitish patches appear on the skin.
"For generations, numerous remedies have been concocted to hide gray hair," Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, said in a statement, "but now, for the first time, an actual treatment that gets to the root of the problem has been developed. While this is exciting news, what's even more exciting is that this also works for vitiligo. This condition, while technically cosmetic, can have serious socio-emotional effects of people. Developing an effective treatment for this condition has the potential to radically improve many people's lives."
Schallreuter, K., Salem, M., Holtz, S., & Panske, A. (2013). Basic evidence for epidermal H2O2/ONOO--mediated oxidation/nitration in segmental vitiligo is supported by repigmentation of skin and eyelashes after reduction of epidermal H2O2 with topical NB-UVB-activated pseudocatalase PC-KUS The FASEB Journal DOI: 10.1096/fj.12-226779... Read more »
Schallreuter, K., Salem, M., Holtz, S., & Panske, A. (2013) Basic evidence for epidermal H2O2/ONOO--mediated oxidation/nitration in segmental vitiligo is supported by repigmentation of skin and eyelashes after reduction of epidermal H2O2 with topical NB-UVB-activated pseudocatalase PC-KUS. The FASEB Journal. DOI: 10.1096/fj.12-226779
A new study by McDevitt et al. 2013 examines the genetic origins of the illegally released wild boar in Ireland, and finds that they are mostly domestic pig and not genetically pure wild boar. ... Read more »
Frantz, A., Massei, G., & Burke, T. (2012) Genetic evidence for past hybridisation between domestic pigs and English wild boars. Conservation Genetics, 13(5), 1355-1364. DOI: 10.1007/s10592-012-0379-1
In 2010, researchers reported the finding of asymptomatic pigmented macules on the index fingers of a 16-year old boy.
The Australasian Journal of Dermatology
Macule refers to the small pigmented spot on the skin that is neither raised nor depressed.
Researchers found that the macules on the fingers of the boy showed “parallel ridge pattern of homogenous reddish-brown pigment.” Researchers wrote, “Although the parallel ridge pattern is typically the hallmark for early acral lentiginous melanoma, it may be observed in a limited number of benign entities, including subcorneal haematoma.”
They proposed that the repetitive trauma from the vibration feedback controller of Sony PlayStation 3 (Sony Corporation, Tokyo, Japan) caused the lesions i.e. physical changes in the body parts.
Researchers reported that the lesions were completely eliminated after abstinence from the game for some weeks.
Robertson, S., Leonard, J., & Chamberlain, A. (2010). PlayStation® purpura Australasian Journal of Dermatology, 51 (3), 220-222 DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-0960.2010.00652.x... Read more »
Scientists from the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have developed a relatively cheap, long-life “flow” battery that can be used to mitigate power fluctuations from solar and wind energy plants, therefore enabling them to become major suppliers to the electrical grid.... Read more »
Yang, Y., Zheng, G., & Cui, Y. (2013) A membrane-free lithium/polysulfide semi-liquid battery for large-scale energy storage. Energy , 6(5), 1552. DOI: 10.1039/C3EE00072A
The Effect of Foot Strike Pattern on Achilles Tendon Load During Running... Read more »
Almonroeder T, Willson JD, & Kernozek TW. (2013) The Effect of Foot Strike Pattern on Achilles Tendon Load During Running. Annals of biomedical engineering. PMID: 23640524
It took them more than 10 years, but Harvard engineers and scientists developed a tiny, bee-size robot that can fly on command. ... Read more »
Ma, K., Chirarattananon, P., Fuller, S., & Wood, R. (2013) Controlled Flight of a Biologically Inspired, Insect-Scale Robot. Science, 340(6132), 603-607. DOI: 10.1126/science.1231806
A recent study linking cold winters in Europe to sunspots has updated bad science reaching back to the 19th century for the internet age, reveal Geert Jan van Oldenborgh from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute and his colleagues, helped by an unholy alliance between Roger Pielke Sr and Stefan Rahmstorf.... Read more »
Sirocko, F., Brunck, H., & Pfahl, S. (2012) Solar influence on winter severity in central Europe. Geophysical Research Letters, 39(16). DOI: 10.1029/2012GL052412
van Oldenborgh, G., de Laat, A., Luterbacher, J., Ingram, W., & Osborn, T. (2013) Claim of solar influence is on thin ice: are 11-year cycle solar minima associated with severe winters in Europe?. Environmental Research Letters, 8(2), 24014. DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024014
Discussions on self-injurious behaviour (SIB) or auto-aggression are not normally for the faint-hearted.Indeed, as I intimated on a previous post on SIB and autism, when such behaviours are witnessed in children and young adults - even older adults, one does wonder what the effects might be not only on the person themselves but also on a parent or a sibling as they watch their own flesh and blood banging their head on a wall or pulling their hair out or trying to gouge their eyes out. I can't put myself in their place without thinking of how it might affect me if it were one of my brood showing such behaviours.In this post I'm drawing your attention to a paper by Robert Sisk and colleagues* (open-access) on surgical outcomes following the repair of detached retinas in young adults with intellectual disability (ID) and SIB. Due credit should go to Harold Doherty of the Facing Autism in New Brunswick blog for bringing this paper to my attention. I'm not going to deconstruct the paper in any statistical sense because the paper speaks for itself in terms of observations and outcomes of those nine patients described. Some of the language used is also a little too technical for me.The long-and-short of it was that in a largely non-verbal subject group, where autism is mentioned as being some part of 6 cases, the outcome of surgery for detached retina is reported. I just want to clarify one thing about retinal detachment, we aren't talking eye-balls hanging out of eye-sockets or anything like that, but rather when the retina comes away from the support tissue. Nevertheless it is a medical emergency and can have profound consequences if not treated in time.There are a few points and quotes from the Sisk paper worthy of some comment.Surgery was reported to be successful in all cases but that's not to say retinal detachment (RD) did not occur more than once for a few of the participants and at least partially because SIB didn't just miraculously stop following the first episode. "RDs from self-injurious behaviors were observed during puberty, coinciding with the onset or worsening of self-injurious behaviors". Ah yes, puberty and the wonders it brings for everyone. Indeed, what puberty can mean to those with autism and/or intellectual disability for example (see here)."Self-injurious behaviors also worsened when visual performance declined and served as an indicator to family members and health care providers to investigate for RD". This is an important point about SIB. It kinda tells us that there is nearly always a reason for SIB and one shouldn't for example just assume that it's naturally part and parcel of autism or ID presentation (just like another comorbidity). It also suggests that those findings by Ikeda and colleagues on ophthalmologic disorder and autism (40%) are to be taken very, very seriously save any more health inequality appearing."The management of RD in patients with severe cognitive impairment and persistent self-injurious behaviors was challenging". Indeed in some cases things did not stop at RD in terms of both repeat episodes and the onset of other symptoms such as glaucoma as a result of the long-term use of silicone oil tamponade as part of the treatment.Reiterating my starting sentence to this post on SIB not being great dinner party conversation, I'd like to think there are some lessons that could be learned from papers like the one from Sisk. That for example, autism is a very, very heterogeneous spectrum with lots of shades of presentation is an important point that should not be forgotten. That those on the more 'severe' end of the spectrum might be at greater risk of comorbidity as a result of things like SIB - and importantly not always able to communicate the reasons why - should automatically mean a greater focus on health screening and the potential outcomes from things like SIB (not just the eyes and vision). It's not that we might not have clues as to at least some of the circumstances around SIB**.Presenting SIB as potentially occurring in cases of autism*** should perhaps also be an important part of the autism awareness message. Alongside other physical comorbidity which might also reflect on behaviour (see here and here), and where it can lead (see here), adding SIB to the long list of potential correlates to autism can only serve to heighten awareness of the importance of these factors and how we might go about dealing with them to improve quality of life. I'll being continuing this chatter about the 'ESSENCE' of comorbidity in a post next week...To finish and without making light of the topic matter covered today, I believe it is customary to celebrate Star Wars day (May 4th) in a particular way... and we have the late Margaret Thatcher to thank for this???-----------* Sisk RA. et al. Surgical Outcomes Following Repair of Traumatic Retinal Detachments in Cognitively Impaired Adolescents With Self-Injurious Behavior. Journal of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. 2013; 50: 20-26.** Duerden EG. et al. Risk factors associated with self-injurious behaviors in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. J Autism Dev Disord. 2012; 42: 2460-2470*** Richards C. et al. Self-injurious behaviour in individuals with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability. J Intellect Disabil Res. 2012; 56: 476-89.----------Sisk RA, Motley WW 3rd, Yang MB, & West CE (2013). Surgical outcomes following repair of traumatic retinal detachments in cognitively impaired adolescents with self-injurious behavior. Journal of pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus, 50 (1), 20-6 PMID: 23061560... Read more »
Sisk RA, Motley WW 3rd, Yang MB, & West CE. (2013) Surgical outcomes following repair of traumatic retinal detachments in cognitively impaired adolescents with self-injurious behavior. Journal of pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus, 50(1), 20-6. PMID: 23061560
A biochemist about to attempt membrane protein purification knows that she is in the beginning of a difficult time in her career. However, there is another wide class of proteins, which are also difficult to purify, because they readily form protein aggregates or are plain insoluble. These are so called intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs); but just a disordered domain within an otherwise nicely folded globular protein can be enough for the overexpressed protein to aggregate.... Read more »
Dunker, A., Silman, I., Uversky, V., & Sussman, J. (2008) Function and structure of inherently disordered proteins. Current Opinion in Structural Biology, 18(6), 756-764. DOI: 10.1016/j.sbi.2008.10.002
Uversky, V. (2013) Unusual biophysics of intrinsically disordered proteins. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Proteins and Proteomics, 1834(5), 932-951. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbapap.2012.12.008
Like the agents they study, evolutionary economics is highly heterogeneous. Models are ad-hoc and serve as heuristic guides to specific problems. This is similar to theoretical biology, where evolutionary models are independent of each other. Even the general theory of inclusive fitness does not provide a non-controversial unifying framework. Although there is no single framework, evolutionary economists are united by four main assumptions about the world:... Read more »
Hodgson, G., & Huang, K. (2010) Evolutionary game theory and evolutionary economics: are they different species?. Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 22(2), 345-366. DOI: 10.1007/s00191-010-0203-3
Ever since tamarins were first captured from the wild to serve as research models in laboratories, we have been curious about their use of odour for communication. These miniature monkeys … Continue reading →... Read more »
Threlfall C., Law B., & Banks P. B. (2013) Odour cues influence predation risk at artificial bat roosts in urban bushland. Biology Letters, 9(3), 20121144-20121144. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2012.1144
Four years ago, neuroscientists became aware of an ominous-sounding manuscript entitled “Voodoo Correlations In Social Neuroscience”. This piece was eventually published under a more prosaic name but it still hit home, with nearly 500 citations so far. To me, this paper marked the start of a new era of ‘critical’ (in the proper sense of [...]... Read more »
Kilner, J. (2013) Bias in a common EEG and MEG statistical analysis and how to avoid it. Clinical Neurophysiology. DOI: 10.1016/j.clinph.2013.03.024
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