It is better to travel well, than to arrive. This quote that arguably comes from Buddha partly explains why we focus on cell migration in Multiple Sclerosis (MS). MS is an incurable disease that affects 2,5 million people worldwide (As reviewed by Ransohoff, 2012). The onset usually presents in young adulthood and it is mostly diagnosed in women. What causes this devastating disease?... Read more »
Odoardi F., Sie C., Streyl K., Ulaganathan V.K., Schlaeger C., Lodygin D., Heckelsmiller K., Nietfeld W., Ellwart J., Klinkert W.E.F., Lottaz C., Nosov M., Brinkmann V., Spang R. Lehrach H. Vingron M., Wekerle H. Fluegel-Koch C. . (2012) T cells become licenced in the lung to enter the central nervous system. . Nature, 675-682. info:/
Wingerchuk, D. (2011) Smoking: effects on multiple sclerosis susceptibility and disease progression. Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders, 5(1), 13-22. DOI: 10.1177/1756285611425694
Iglesias, A., Bauer, J., Litzenburger, T., Schubart, A., & Linington, C. (2001) T- and B-cell responses to myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and multiple sclerosis. Glia, 36(2), 220-234. DOI: 10.1002/glia.1111
Jenh, C., Cox, M., Cui, L., Reich, E., Sullivan, L., Chen, S., Kinsley, D., Qian, S., Kim, S., Rosenblum, S.... (2012) A selective and potent CXCR3 antagonist SCH 546738 attenuates the development of autoimmune diseases and delays graft rejection. BMC Immunology, 13(1), 2. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2172-13-2
Wolf, C., Sidhu, J., Otoul, C., Morris, D., Cnops, J., Taubel, J., & Bennett, B. (2013) Pharmacodynamic Consequences of Administration of VLA-4 Antagonist CDP323 to Multiple Sclerosis Subjects: A Randomized, Double-Blind Phase 1/2 Study. PLoS ONE, 8(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0058438
So far we have always thought that evolution proceeds by addition, but nobody has ever proven that, at least in some cases, it may evolve by subtraction. In nature, in determinate phases of evolution, complicated organs may be formed, due to certain genetic assets. Sometimes the complexity of the formed tissue can be so high that prevents it from working in an optimal way. Evolution then would do its course by eliminating what is superfluous.
This is the content of the research conducted by the scientists D. McShea and W. Hordijk, recently published on Evolutionary Biology. The authors have proposed a model of evolution called “evolution by subtraction”: some species adapt themselves to the environment evolving form being roughly complex to becoming efficiently simple.... Read more »
The Hula painted frog was the first amphibian to be declared officially extinct in 1996. In 2011, however, the frog reappeared in Israel. Now it turns out the species is actually an unique “living fossil,” without close relatives among other living frogs.
A recent study published in Nature Communications offers an in-depth genetic analysis of the amphibian. The results show that the Hula painted frog is not related to any living frog species, yet the sole representative of an prehistoric clade of frogs (a group with a single common ancestor) that has been considered extinct for a million years, named Latonia.... Read more »
Biton, R., Geffen, E., Vences, M., Cohen, O., Bailon, S., Rabinovich, R., Malka, Y., Oron, T., Boistel, R., Brumfeld, V.... (2013) The rediscovered Hula painted frog is a living fossil. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2959
Researchers led by Roi Cohen Kadosh at the University of Oxford trained people on two kinds of maths skills, rote learning simple arithmetic problems and practicing more varied calculations.
During this learning process they applied small and continually varying electrical currents to the scalp, above the temples. A control group wore the electrodes but didn’t receive any current. Compared to the controls, the people who practiced with the current turned on performed faster on the maths problems.
Even more amazing, when a subset of the participants were brought back six months later, those who had received the electrical treatment were still significantly faster, albeit only for the harder, more varied, calculations.... Read more »
Snowball, A., Tachtsidis, I., Popescu, T., Thompson, J., Delazer, M., Zamarian, L., Zhu, T., & Cohen Kadosh, R. (2013) Long-Term Enhancement of Brain Function and Cognition Using Cognitive Training and Brain Stimulation. Current Biology, 23(11), 987-992. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.04.045
A new study in Consciousness and Cognition demonstrates technology may be able to offer part of the solution: donning the skin of a dark-skinned avatar significantly decreased an individual’s racial biases.... Read more »
Peck, T., Seinfeld, S., Aglioti, S., & Slater, M. (2013) Putting yourself in the skin of a black avatar reduces implicit racial bias. Consciousness and Cognition, 22(3), 779-787. DOI: 10.1016/j.concog.2013.04.016
Whenever you talk about babysitting and who to hire to do such a job, you rarely hear of anyone wanting to hire a man. Statistics from some of the biggest babysitting agencies in the US indicate that around 90% of their caregivers are female. In the wake of many horrifying abuse scandals involving men in places like daycare centers, churches, and private homes, trust is lower than ever when it comes to having a man take care of your child.... Read more »
KELLI K.GARCÍA. (2012) The Gender Bind: Men as Inauthentic Caregivers. DUKE JOURNAL OF GENDER LAW . info:/
Are we attracted to people we like? Not necessarily. Good character isn’t always sexually appealing. It may even be the undesirable personality traits that make potential mates desirable, scientists say.... Read more »
Holtzman, N., & Strube, M. (2012) People With Dark Personalities Tend to Create a Physically Attractive Veneer. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4(4), 461-467. DOI: 10.1177/1948550612461284
Dufner, M., Rauthmann, J., Czarna, A., & Denissen, J. (2013) Are Narcissists Sexy? Zeroing in on the Effect of Narcissism on Short-Term Mate Appeal. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. DOI: 10.1177/0146167213483580
A 2009 study suggest that the act of kissing might be important because it helps us build up our immune system – specifically women during pregnancy benefit from this strategy. The study was published in the journal Medical Hypotheses.
Back in the 1920s, however, scientists were not aware of this – on the contrary. To avoid the spreading of unwanted germs during kising, they invented the ‘kissing screen’ – a net on a stick which can be placed between both mouths.... Read more »
Hendrie, C., & Brewer, G. (2010) Kissing as an evolutionary adaptation to protect against Human Cytomegalovirus-like teratogenesis. Medical Hypotheses, 74(2), 222-224. DOI: 10.1016/j.mehy.2009.09.033
Research suggests that sexual problems in middle-aged and older aged men may be linked to the relationship between their best friends and their partner.... Read more »
Cornwell B, & Laumann EO. (2011) Network position and sexual dysfunction: implications of partner betweenness for men. AJS; American journal of sociology, 117(1), 172-208. PMID: 22003520
catching a Tick borne virus, by drinking milk.... Read more »
Hudopisk, N., Korva, M., Janet, E., Simetinger, M., Grgič-Vitek, M., Gubenšek, J., Natek, V., Kraigher, A., Strle, F., & Avšič-Županc, T. (2013) Tick-borne Encephalitis Associated with Consumption of Raw Goat Milk, Slovenia, 2012. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 19(5). DOI: 10.3201/eid1905.121442
A research was conducted on 36 healthy women in the age group of 18 to 55 having no past gastrointestinal or psychiatric symptoms. These women were divided into the group of three: one group consumed a specific yogurt containing a mix of several probiotics which were bacteria thought to have a positive effect on the intestines, twice a day for four weeks; another group consumed a dairy product that looked and tasted like the yogurt but contained no probiotics; and a third group ate no product at all. ... Read more »
Tillisch, K., Labus, J., Kilpatrick, L., Jiang, Z., Stains, J., Ebrat, B., Guyonnet, D., Legrain-Raspaud, S., Trotin, B., Naliboff, B.... (2013) Consumption of Fermented Milk Product with Probiotic Modulates Brain Activity. Gastroenterology. DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2013.02.043
A bit of medical humor: Ask a cardiologist about the purpose of the body and s/he will tell you it’s to support the function of the heart. Ask a pulmonologist about the purpose of the body and s/he will tell it’s to support the function of the lungs. This reminds of the late Rodney King’s immortal quote, “Can we all get along?”. I mention this because it often comes down to the primary care provider, a family physician or general internist, to help a patient torn between two opposing therapeutic regimens. For instance, beta blockers are often used in those with heart disease but their antithesis, beta agonists, are used in common lung diseases. But patients often have both conditions, which then begs the question, “Which medication should I use, doc?”... Read more »
Gershon, A. (2013) Cardiovascular Safety of Inhaled Long-Acting Bronchodilators in Individuals With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary DiseaseLong-Acting Bronchodilators in COPD. JAMA Internal Medicine, 1. DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.1016
The Social Organism is a 20-page essay published by Herbert Spencer in 1860. Nowadays Spencer is mainly known for having invented the phrase "survival of the fittest" to describe Charles Darwin's process of Natural Selection, and in particular for applying this concept to social phenomena in his Principles of Sociology. For this reason Spencer is usually [...]... Read more »
Andreski, S., & Spencer, H. (1971) The Man Versus the State, with Four Essays on Politics and Society. Man, 6(2), 313. DOI: 10.2307/2798298
Researchers followed 821 men for close to 5yrs after initial measurements of hormone status and body composition via dual energy xray absorptiometry were performed. Because no change in body composition was noted over this period of time, they concluded that body composition affects hormone levels but not the other way around. In other words, they claim that the chicken laid the egg.... Read more »
Gates, M., Mekary, R., Chiu, G., Ding, E., Wittert, G., & Araujo, A. (2013) Sex Steroid Hormone Levels and Body Composition in Men. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology . DOI: 10.1210/jc.2012-2582
Meikle, A. (2010) Effects of Testosterone on Muscle Strength, Physical Function, Body Composition, and Quality of Life in Intermediate-Frail and Frail Elderly Men: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Yearbook of Endocrinology, 318-319. DOI: 10.1016/S0084-3741(10)79557-3
Thoughts of tapeworms conjure up horror stories. Visions of wriggling worms inching through intestines fill the mind.
Although this may be a disturbing reality in many tropical regions of the world, tapeworm infections are rare in temperate climes. Specifically, tapeworm diseases are prevalent in Africa, central Asia, southern South America, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, but are rare in the UK and the US. They are so uncommon that pharmacies in the UK do not stock anti-tapeworm drugs; they need to be ordered in specially on a case-by-case basis. In contrast, in some regions of Spain tapeworm infections of humans and livestock are rife, with the total loss in productively estimated to be $192 million in 2005, according to the World Health Organisation1. The same organisation highlighted tapeworm infections as two of the 17 most neglected tropical diseases.... Read more »
Zarowiecki M, & Tsai IJ et al. (2013) The genomes of four tapeworm species reveal adaptations to parasitism. Nature, 496(7443), 57-63. PMID: 23485966
One of the most important things in sustaining a good relationship, and a sexual relationship for that matter, is good communication. But what exactly is good communication when it comes to sex? How should we talk about sex to our partners?... Read more »
Hess, J., & Coffelt, T. (2012) Verbal Communication about Sex in Marriage: Patterns of Language Use and Its Connection with Relational Outcomes. Journal of Sex Research, 49(6), 603-612. DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2011.619282
Snap! Ouch! That’s from my head doing a double take. All these years, I thought the calcium vs heart disease thing was a conspiracy arranged by one researcher and publication. However, 3 months ago, I stumbled upon some corroborating studies by other researchers in other journals. Even the US Preventive Services Task Force recently came out against low dose calcium (less than 1,000mg/d) in post-menopausal women because they could not find conclusive evidence of benefit in the face of a small risk of harm from kidney stone... Read more »
Bolland, M., Grey, A., Avenell, A., Gamble, G., & Reid, I. (2011) Calcium supplements with or without vitamin D and risk of cardiovascular events: reanalysis of the Women's Health Initiative limited access dataset and meta-analysis. BMJ, 342(apr19 1). DOI: 10.1136/bmj.d2040
Langsetmo, L., Berger, C., Kreiger, N., Kovacs, C., Hanley, D., Jamal, S., Whiting, S., Genest, J., Morin, S., Hodsman, A.... (2013) Calcium and Vitamin D Intake and Mortality: Results from the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study (CaMos). Journal of Clinical Endocrinology . DOI: 10.1210/jc.2013-1516
Depression or Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) has multiple genetic and environmental causes. Genetic factors are hard to find and the discovered factors usually are also associated with other mood disorders. Furthermore, twin studies reveal that genetics can predict 37% of the depressions, which is a much lower heritability than in bipolar disorder, a comparable mood disorder (reviewed in Belmaker et al., 2008). ... Read more »
Papakostas, G., Shelton, R., Kinrys, G., Henry, M., Bakow, B., Lipkin, S., Pi, B., Thurmond, L., & Bilello, J. (2011) Assessment of a multi-assay, serum-based biological diagnostic test for major depressive disorder: a Pilot and Replication Study. Molecular Psychiatry, 18(3), 332-339. DOI: 10.1038/mp.2011.166
Pariante, C., & Lightman, S. (2008) The HPA axis in major depression: classical theories and new developments. Trends in Neurosciences, 31(9), 464-468. DOI: 10.1016/j.tins.2008.06.006
Raison, C. (2012) A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Tumor Necrosis Factor Antagonist Infliximab for Treatment-Resistant DepressionThe Role of Baseline Inflammatory BiomarkersInfliximab for Treatment-Resistant Depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 1. DOI: 10.1001/2013.jamapsychiatry.4
Nibuya M, Morinobu S, & Duman RS. (1995) Regulation of BDNF and trkB mRNA in rat brain by chronic electroconvulsive seizure and antidepressant drug treatments. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 15(11), 7539-47. PMID: 7472505
In a recent research conducted by two scientists from Brock University in Canada, the authors have proposed and tested several mediation models. With such models they have proven that lower cognitive ability predicts greater prejudice, an effect mediated through the endorsement of right-wing ideologies (social conservatism, right-wing authoritarianism) and low levels of contact with out-groups.... Read more »
Hodson, G., & Busseri, M. (2012) Bright Minds and Dark Attitudes: Lower Cognitive Ability Predicts Greater Prejudice Through Right-Wing Ideology and Low Intergroup Contact. Psychological Science, 23(2), 187-195. DOI: 10.1177/0956797611421206
Last February, Dr. Sam Parnia, an intensive care physician who has been researching near-death experiences for the past 15 years, published his new book ‘Erasing death: The Science That is Rewriting the Boundaries Between Life and Death’. Following the release of that book, Dr. Parnia was interviewed on National Public Radio in the US. It wasn’t so much this interview that sparked my interest, as much as the comments that followed. “It’s hard to believe that this guy is actually a doctor based on the junk he presents here,” commenter ‘Joe MARTYN’ says. And another user, ‘Steven Kay’, adds: “Oh, please.. Not this guy again. Why not interview the last person who claims to have seen the Virgin Mary?”
To be fair, many other commenters did appreciate the interview and the work that Dr. Parnia had done. But still, the virulent dismissiveness related to this subject baffled me. Why is research on near-death experiences received with such hostility?... Read more »
van Lommel P, van Wees R, Meyers V, & Elfferich I. (2001) Near-death experience in survivors of cardiac arrest: a prospective study in the Netherlands. Lancet, 358(9298), 2039-45. PMID: 11755611
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