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  • December 28, 2014
  • 02:12 PM
  • 27 views

Insights into the scientific gatekeepers: A fight for the status quo?

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

A new study has found that well respected peer reviewed journals have rejected manuscripts that could discuss outstanding or breakthrough work. The researchers found that some manuscripts rejected by three leading medical journals went on to receive a large number of citations after publication in other journals. The study, which if course was peer reviewed itself, offered insight into the process that the typical researcher might not see.... Read more »

Siler K, Lee K, & Bero L. (2014) Measuring the effectiveness of scientific gatekeeping. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 25535380  

  • December 27, 2014
  • 01:50 PM
  • 46 views

Evolution of whooping cough and the anti-vaccination movement

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

When I was your age, whooping cough wasn’t what it is today. I’m sure we all know the stereotypical grandfather telling stories like that, but — at least in this case — if he started his story off like that then he is actually right. Over the last few years, this once-common childhood illness, has evolved in response to its own vaccine, in other words this isn’t your parents’ pertussis.... Read more »

Pawloski, L., Queenan, A., Cassiday, P., Lynch, A., Harrison, M., Shang, W., Williams, M., Bowden, K., Burgos-Rivera, B., Qin, X.... (2013) Prevalence and Molecular Characterization of Pertactin-Deficient Bordetella pertussis in the United States. Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, 21(2), 119-125. DOI: 10.1128/CVI.00717-13  

  • December 26, 2014
  • 01:47 PM
  • 58 views

Nanoparticles could deliver drugs to the brain

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Science has already shown that when it comes to strokes, the sooner you treat it the better your outcome. Well now, stroke victims could have more time to seek treatment that could reduce harmful effects on the brain, thanks to tiny blobs of gelatin that could deliver the medication to the brain. The best part, this would be done noninvasively.... Read more »

  • December 25, 2014
  • 01:09 PM
  • 76 views

mTOR and the fountain of youth

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

The fountain of youth might be just right around the corner, I know here at the labs we’ve reported several different ways to get to that fabled place, but now we have one more. New research shows that seniors received a significant boost to their immune systems when given a drug that targets a genetic signaling pathway linked to aging and immune function.... Read more »

Mannick, J., Del Giudice, G., Lattanzi, M., Valiante, N., Praestgaard, J., Huang, B., Lonetto, M., Maecker, H., Kovarik, J., Carson, S.... (2014) mTOR inhibition improves immune function in the elderly. Science Translational Medicine, 6(268), 268-268. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3009892  

  • December 24, 2014
  • 01:07 PM
  • 79 views

Obesity and a high-fat diet might be hurting your baby

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

We’ve seen it on the news, we’ve probably even read some articles about it, the “western” diet is awful. Yet, despite the warnings, Americans as a whole still eat awfully. Unfortunately, the health effects are very real and a new study shows that it may not just be effecting an expected mothers health, it may be harming the unborn child as well.... Read more »

Kamimae-Lanning, A., Krasnow, S., Goloviznina, N., Zhu, X., Roth-Carter, Q., Levasseur, P., Jeng, S., McWeeney, S., Kurre, P., & Marks, D. (2014) Maternal high-fat diet and obesity compromise fetal hematopoiesis. Molecular Metabolism. DOI: 10.1016/j.molmet.2014.11.001  

  • December 23, 2014
  • 02:15 PM
  • 109 views

The science of dietary restriction and it’s benefits (or what to do after the holidays)

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

In a new study, researchers have identified a key molecular mechanism behind the health benefits of dietary restriction — or reduced food intake without malnutrition. Also known as calorie restriction or simply a diet, dietary restriction is best known for its ability to slow aging in laboratory animals. The findings here show that restricting two amino acids, methionine and cysteine, results in increased hydrogen sulfide (H2S) production and protection against ischemia reperfusion injury, or ........ Read more »

Hine, C., Harputlugil, E., Zhang, Y., Ruckenstuhl, C., Lee, B., Brace, L., Longchamp, A., Treviño-Villarreal, J., Mejia, P., Ozaki, C.... (2014) Endogenous Hydrogen Sulfide Production Is Essential for Dietary Restriction Benefits. Cell. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.11.048  

  • December 22, 2014
  • 12:38 PM
  • 89 views

Autism presentation and genetic variance

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

People with autism have a wide range of symptoms, with no two people sharing the exact type and severity of behaviors. This has made finding a cause (or causes) difficult, leaving pseudoscientists to claim vaccines are the cause as if it were that simple (hint: vaccines do not cause autism). Now a large-scale analysis of hundreds of patients and nearly 1000 genes has started to uncover how diversity among traits can be traced to differences in patients’ genetic mutations.... Read more »

Chang, J., Gilman, S., Chiang, A., Sanders, S., & Vitkup, D. (2014) Genotype to phenotype relationships in autism spectrum disorders. Nature Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1038/nn.3907  

  • December 22, 2014
  • 12:35 PM
  • 92 views

Mind-Controlled Prosthetics

by Viputheshwar Sitaraman in Draw Science

Researchers at JHU have demonstrated a prosthetic arm that is controlled completely by the user's thoughts.... Read more »

Collinger, J., Wodlinger, B., Downey, J., Wang, W., Tyler-Kabara, E., Weber, D., McMorland, A., Velliste, M., Boninger, M., & Schwartz, A. (2013) High-performance neuroprosthetic control by an individual with tetraplegia. The Lancet, 381(9866), 557-564. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61816-9  

  • December 21, 2014
  • 03:21 PM
  • 86 views

Vaccine against prion disease, not for humans… yet

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Prions, misfolded proteins that wreak havoc on the brain, may have finally met their match. Best known for things like mad cow disease and possibly alzheimer’s disease scientists have had no luck stopping prions, until now. Researchers say that a vaccination they have developed to fight a brain-based, wasting syndrome among deer and other animals may hold promise on two additional fronts: Protecting U.S. livestock from contracting the disease, and preventing similar brain infections in humans......... Read more »

  • December 20, 2014
  • 01:46 PM
  • 104 views

Antidepressants and the effects on your unborn child

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Think you know what causes depression? Well unfortunately scientists don’t have the exact answer, surprised? That’s not the only problem, there is an ever growing concern that we live in an over medicated society and a newly released study doesn’t paint a better picture. About 15 percent of women in the United States suffer from anxiety disorders and depression during their pregnancies, and many are prescribed antidepressants. However little is known about how early exposure to these medic........ Read more »

Altieri SC, Yang H, O'Brien HJ, Redwine HM, Senturk D, Hensler JG, & Andrews AM. (2014) Perinatal vs. Genetic Programming of Serotonin States Associated with Anxiety. Neuropsychopharmacology. PMID: 25523893  

  • December 19, 2014
  • 02:06 PM
  • 93 views

Why “fat shaming” makes the problem worse

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Thanks to the internet age we have lost touch with the fact that there is a human out there reading these words. Because of this, the golden rule –treat others the way you want to be treated — went out the window. Making fun of “fat” people now seems to be a internet hobby and that insensitivity can (and does) bleed over into “normal” non-internet life. Now a new study shows that women whose loved ones are critical of their weight tend to put on even more pounds, which is probably no........ Read more »

  • December 18, 2014
  • 11:22 PM
  • 124 views

Top 4 of 2014: Your Favourite Canine Science Posts

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

As December rolls into its second half, and the days warm up - or cool down - depending on where you are situated on the globe, we wanted to say thank you for joining us in 2014 - we are continually blown away with the popular and supportive community we have around us at Do You Believe in Dog? here on the blog, on Facebook and also on Twitter. Taking our lead from Companion Animal Psychology, we decided to jump into some statistics (because hey, we are scientists!) to see wh........ Read more »

Wong-Parodi Gabrielle, & Strauss Benjamin H. (2014) Team science for science communication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 25225381  

  • December 18, 2014
  • 02:35 PM
  • 97 views

Gene fragments linked to brain development and autism

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

While the anti-vaccine movement enjoys the simple (and very wrong) answer to the cause of autism, there are people who want the actual truth. This drive had lead to a slew of causes (and risk factors) for autism in recent times. Now scientists have found that very small segments of genes called “microexons” influence how proteins interact with each other in the nervous system. In turn, this opens up a new line of research into the cause of autism.... Read more »

Irimia, M., Weatheritt, R., Ellis, J., Parikshak, N., Gonatopoulos-Pournatzis, T., Babor, M., Quesnel-Vallières, M., Tapial, J., Raj, B., O’Hanlon, D.... (2014) A Highly Conserved Program of Neuronal Microexons Is Misregulated in Autistic Brains. Cell, 159(7), 1511-1523. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.11.035  

  • December 17, 2014
  • 02:54 PM
  • 87 views

Epigenetic changes and autism

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Despite what you may think, the supposed “explosion” of children diagnosed with autism can directly attributed to better diagnosing techniques and — more importantly — the change of definition to make Autism spectrum disorders more broad. Thankfully more causes of autism have been found, none of them remotely related to vaccines and now scientists have found that chemical modifications to DNA’s packaging—known as epigenetic changes—can activate or repress genes involved in autism s........ Read more »

Gao, Z., Lee, P., Stafford, J., von Schimmelmann, M., Schaefer, A., & Reinberg, D. (2014) An AUTS2–Polycomb complex activates gene expression in the CNS. Nature, 516(7531), 349-354. DOI: 10.1038/nature13921  

Ntziachristos, P., Tsirigos, A., Welstead, G., Trimarchi, T., Bakogianni, S., Xu, L., Loizou, E., Holmfeldt, L., Strikoudis, A., King, B.... (2014) Contrasting roles of histone 3 lysine 27 demethylases in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Nature, 514(7523), 513-517. DOI: 10.1038/nature13605  

  • December 16, 2014
  • 02:37 PM
  • 89 views

Methamphetamine use and the onset of parkinson’s

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

We’ve all seen the PSA’s trying to show the effects of meth use and in particular, what it does to your teeth. Typically, when it comes to drug use, people will not look at the long term side effects from their addiction instead thinking in the short term. This is unfortunate because as it turns out, methamphetamine users are three times more at risk for getting Parkinson’s disease than non-illicit drug users with even worse news for women, new research shows.... Read more »

  • December 16, 2014
  • 07:14 AM
  • 105 views

The scientific community’s Galileo affair (you’re the Pope)

by Richard Kunert in Brain's Idea

Science is in crisis. Everyone in the scientific community knows about it but few want to talk about it. The crisis is one of honesty. A junior scientist (like me) asks himself a similar question to Galileo in 1633: how much honesty is desirable in science? Science Wonderland According to nearly all empirical scientific publications […]... Read more »

  • December 15, 2014
  • 03:07 PM
  • 111 views

Finding the neurons that deal with distraction

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

What’s that over there!? The next time you are around people, count how many people are on their phone? Distractions invade every aspect of our lives. Status updates, text messages, email notifications all threaten to steal our attention away from the moment. While we fight the urge to check the phone, our brains are making constant judgment calls about where to focus attention. The brain must continually filter important information from irrelevant interference.... Read more »

Ahrens, S., Jaramillo, S., Yu, K., Ghosh, S., Hwang, G., Paik, R., Lai, C., He, M., Huang, Z., & Li, B. (2014) ErbB4 regulation of a thalamic reticular nucleus circuit for sensory selection. Nature Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1038/nn.3897  

  • December 14, 2014
  • 01:28 PM
  • 113 views

Scientists find a drug (currently used) to turn white fat to brown

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

It seems like we’ve been on a weight loss campaign here at the labs, but there just has been so much new and interesting research on the subject to report on, this is no exception. Researchers have uncovered the mechanism by which white fat cells from humans (an important distinction) gets reprogrammed to become browner.... Read more »

Anne Loft, Isabel Forss, Majken Storm Siersbæk, Søren Fisker Schmidt, Ann-Sofie Bøgh Larsen, Jesper Grud Skat Madsen, Didier F. Pisani, Ronni Nielsen, Mads Malik Aagaard, Angela Mathison.... (2014) Browning of human adipocytes requires KLF11 and reprogramming of PPARγ superenhancers. Genes . info:/10.1101/gad.250829.114

  • December 14, 2014
  • 12:47 PM
  • 112 views

Sulfur hydride blows away previous critical temperature limits for conventional superconductivity

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Researchers at Max Planck have revived interest in conventional BCS superconductivity after finding a zero resistance phase of H2S at 190 K!... Read more »

A. P. Drozdov, M. I. Eremets, & I. A. Troyan. (2014) Conventional superconductivity at 190 K at high pressures. arXiv. arXiv: 1412.0460v1

  • December 14, 2014
  • 07:57 AM
  • 104 views

Increasing Rigor in Huntington’s Disease Research

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

The CHDI Foundation, a charitable organization who fund a lot of research into Huntington's disease, are interested in reforming the scientific process.


The story comes from a paper written by British neuroscientist Marcus Munafo and colleagues (the authors including CHDI staff) published in Nature Biotechnology a couple of months ago: Scientific rigor and the art of motorcycle maintenance.



Munafo et al. begin by pointing to the history of car manufacturing as an analogy for the scie... Read more »

Munafo M, Noble S, Browne WJ, Brunner D, Button K, Ferreira J, Holmans P, Langbehn D, Lewis G, Lindquist M.... (2014) Scientific rigor and the art of motorcycle maintenance. Nature Biotechnology, 32(9), 871-3. PMID: 25203032  

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