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  • August 15, 2015
  • 01:26 PM

On Wikipedia, politically controversial science topics vulnerable to information sabotage

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Wikipedia reigns. It’s the world’s most popular online encyclopedia, the sixth most visited website in America, and a research source most U.S. students rely on. But Wikipedia entries on politically controversial scientific topics can be unreliable due to information sabotage.... Read more »

  • August 14, 2015
  • 02:05 PM

Can your brain control how it loses control?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A new study may have unlocked understanding of a mysterious part of the brain — with implications for neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s. The results open up new areas of research in the pursuit of neuroprotective therapies.... Read more »

  • August 13, 2015
  • 02:52 PM

Scientists discover what controls waking up and going to sleep

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Fifteen years ago, an odd mutant fruit fly caught the attention and curiosity of Dr. Ravi Allada, a circadian rhythms expert at Northwestern University, leading the neuroscientist to recently discover how an animal’s biological clock wakes it up in the morning and puts it to sleep at night. The clock’s mechanism, it turns out, is much like a light switch.... Read more »

Flourakis, M., Kula-Eversole, E., Hutchison, A., Han, T., Aranda, K., Moose, D., White, K., Dinner, A., Lear, B., Ren, D.... (2015) A Conserved Bicycle Model for Circadian Clock Control of Membrane Excitability. Cell, 162(4), 836-848. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.07.036  

  • August 12, 2015
  • 12:54 PM

Cognitive decision making as the collapse of a quantum superstate

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Decision making in an enormous range of tasks involves the accumulation of evidence in support of different hypotheses. One of the enduring models of evidence accumulation is the Markov random walk (MRW) theory, which assigns a probability to each hypothesis. In an MRW model of decision making, when deciding between two hypotheses, the cumulative evidence for and against each hypothesis reaches different levels at different times, moving particle-like from state to state and only occupying a sin........ Read more »

  • August 12, 2015
  • 10:35 AM

Unpublished results from clinical trials distort medical research

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective

The initiative was created with the purpose to establish a platform for recording information on clinical trials conducted by public organizations (research institutes and government agencies) and private (pharmaceutical companies). A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, however, shows a worrying scenario. Despite the requirement to register clinical trials in a publicly accessible base, a small fraction of them are published in scientific journals, c........ Read more »

Anderson, M., Chiswell, K., Peterson, E., Tasneem, A., Topping, J., & Califf, R. (2015) Compliance with Results Reporting at New England Journal of Medicine, 372(11), 1031-1039. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsa1409364  

  • August 11, 2015
  • 05:27 PM

Study details ‘rotten egg’ gas’ role in autoimmune disease

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The immune system not only responds to infections and other potentially problematic abnormalities in the body, it also contains a built-in brake in the form of regulatory T cells, or Tregs. Tregs ensure that inflammatory responses don’t get out of hand and do damage. In autoimmune diseases, sometimes these Treg cells don’t act as they should.... Read more »

  • August 11, 2015
  • 02:23 PM

Research advances potential for test and vaccine for genital and oral herpes

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Findings from a pair of new studies could speed up the development of a universally accurate diagnostic test for human herpes simplex viruses (HSV), according to researchers at Johns Hopkins and Harvard universities and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The work may also lead to the development of a vaccine that protects against the virus.... Read more »

Lamers SL, Newman RM, Laeyendecker O, Tobian AA, Colgrove RC, Ray SC, Koelle DM, Cohen J, Knipe DM, & Quinn TC. (2015) Global Diversity within and between Human Herpesvirus 1 and 2 Glycoproteins. Journal of virology, 89(16), 8206-18. PMID: 26018161  

  • August 10, 2015
  • 04:59 PM

Are There Too Many Meta-Analyses? (Updated)

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Meta-analyses are systematic syntheses of scientific evidence, most commonly randomized controlled clinical trials. A meta-analysis combines the results of multiple studies and can lead to new insights and more reliable results.

However, according to Italian surgeon Giovanni Tebala writing in Medical Hypotheses, meta-analyses are becoming too popular, and are in danger of taking over the medical literature.

Searching the PubMed database, Tebala shows that the yearly rate of publication... Read more »

  • August 10, 2015
  • 01:22 PM

Researchers resurrect ancient viruses in hopes of improving gene therapy

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

It sounds like the start of a horror movie, but Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) researchers at Massachusetts Eye and Ear (MEE) have reconstructed an ancient virus that is highly effective at delivering gene therapies to the liver, muscle, and retina. This discovery could potentially be used to design gene therapies that are not only safer and more potent than therapies currently available, but may also help a greater number of patients.... Read more »

Zinn, E., Pacouret, S., Khaychuk, V., Turunen, H., Carvalho, L., Andres-Mateos, E., Shah, S., Shelke, R., Maurer, A., Plovie, E.... (2015) In Silico Reconstruction of the Viral Evolutionary Lineage Yields a Potent Gene Therapy Vector. Cell Reports. DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.07.019  

  • August 10, 2015
  • 01:02 PM

Study of 83,000 veterans finds cardiovascular benefits to testosterone replacement

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A Veterans Affairs database study of more than 83,000 patients found that men whose low testosterone was restored to normal through gels, patches, or injections had a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, or death from any cause, versus similar men who were not treated. The study also found that men who were treated but did not attain normal levels did not see the same benefits as those whose levels did reach normal.... Read more »

  • August 9, 2015
  • 03:03 PM

Music and the mind: Can music help people with epilepsy?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The brains of people with epilepsy appear to react to music differently from the brains of those who do not have the disorder, a finding that could lead to new therapies to prevent seizures, according to research.... Read more »

Christine Charyton et al. (2015) Music and the Brain: Can music help people with epilepsy?. American Psychological Association. info:/Other

  • August 8, 2015
  • 04:37 PM

Good for the relationship: A reframing of sexting

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The practice of sexting may be more common than generally thought among adults. More than eight out of 10 people surveyed online admitted to sexting in the prior year, according to new research.... Read more »

Gordon-Messer, D., Bauermeister, J., Grodzinski, A., & Zimmerman, M. (2013) Sexting Among Young Adults. Journal of Adolescent Health, 52(3), 301-306. DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.05.013  

  • August 7, 2015
  • 02:27 PM

Switching mouse neural stem cells to a primate-like behavior

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

When the right gene is expressed in the right manner in the right population of stem cells, the developing mouse brain can exhibit primate-like features. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) succeeded in mimicking the sustained expression of the transcription factor Pax6 as seen in the developing human brain, in mouse cortical progenitor cells. This altered the behavior of these cells to one that is akin to that of progenitors in the developing........ Read more »

Fong Kuan Wong, Ji-Feng Fei, Felipe Mora-Bermúdez, Elena Taverna, Christiane Haffner, Jun Fu, Konstantinos Anastassiadis, A. Francis Stewart, & Wieland B. Huttner. (2015) Sustained Pax6 Expression Generates Primate-like Basal Radial Glia in Developing Mouse Neocortex. PLOS Biology. info:/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002217

  • August 7, 2015
  • 01:00 PM

Excessive workout supplement use: An emerging eating disorder in men?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In an effort to build better bodies, more men are turning not to illegal anabolic steroids, but to legal over-the-counter bodybuilding supplements to the point where it may qualify as an emerging eating disorder, according to research presented at the American Psychological Association’s annual convention.... Read more »

Richard Achiro et al. (2015) Excessive Workout Supplement Use: An Emerging Eating Disorder in Men. American Psychological Association. info:/Other

  • August 7, 2015
  • 07:38 AM

Seeing With Bionic Eyes!

by Viputheshwar Sitaraman in Draw Science

Pulse trains to percepts: the challenge of creating a perceptually intelligible world with sight recovery technologies.... Read more »

  • August 6, 2015
  • 04:54 PM

Cellular zombies: Mutant cells that can’t copy DNA keep dividing when they shouldn’t

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers at USC have developed a yeast model to study a gene mutation that disrupts the duplication of DNA, causing massive damage to a cell’s chromosomes, while somehow allowing the cell to continue dividing. The result is a mess: Zombie cells that by all rights shouldn’t be able to survive, let alone divide, with their […]... Read more »

  • August 5, 2015
  • 04:01 PM

Homeopathy – that “affordable”, “cost-saving” therapy? Not really, as the numbers say.

by Kausik Datta in In Scientio Veritas

Classical homeopathy is scientifically implausible as a therapy, because there is no substance of any medicinal value left in the functionally-infinitely diluted nostrum. Naturally, there is no hard evidence supporting the therapeutic use of homeopathy, in terms of clinical benefit to the patient. Absent such support, homeopathy-peddlers generally push affordability and low cost as homeopathy's unique selling point (USP). A large retrospective cost-analysis study, based on nearly 45000 individ........ Read more »

  • August 5, 2015
  • 03:14 PM

How to tell the difference between bipolar disorder and depression

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Many patients with bipolar disorder, a debilitating mental condition that can take a person from the sluggishness of severe depression to super-human energy levels, are often misdiagnosed as having major depressive disorder, or MDD. But now as an alternative to reliance on patient interviews, scientists are closing in on an objective test that could help clinicians distinguish between the two — and provide better treatment.... Read more »

  • August 5, 2015
  • 02:44 PM

Mans best friend: Dogs process faces in specialized brain area

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Ever feel like your pet knows what you look like? While historically animals are depicted as, well slow… new research is proving otherwise. To pet owners this might not be big news, but scientists found that dogs have a specialized region in their brains for processing faces. The research provides the first evidence for a face-selective region in the temporal cortex of dogs.... Read more »

  • August 4, 2015
  • 04:34 PM

Preventing addiction relapse by erasing drug-associated memories

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Recovering addicts often grapple with the ghosts of their addiction–memories that tempt them to relapse even after rehabilitation and months, or even years, of drug-free living. Now, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have made a discovery that brings them closer to a new therapy based on selectively erasing these dangerous and tenacious drug-associated memories.... Read more »

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