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  • March 16, 2015
  • 08:46 AM

Mild Kidney Disease Tied to Pregnancy Risk

by Cristy at Living Donor 101 in Living Donors Are People Too

A comparison of 504 women with various stages of chronic kidney disease with 836 of a well-matched cohort revealed: in women with stage 1 CKD, the rate of caesarean section was 8.4% vs 70.1% for stage 2, 78.4% for stage 3, and 70.0% for stages 4 to 5 (P < .001). Preterm delivery rate was 23.5% for …
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The post Mild Kidney Disease Tied to Pregnancy Risk appeared first on Living Donors Are People Too.
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Piccoli GB, Cabiddu G, Attini R, Vigotti FN, Maxia S, Lepori N, Tuveri M, Massidda M, Marchi C, Mura S.... (2015) Risk of Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes in Women with CKD. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology : JASN. PMID: 25766536  

  • March 16, 2015
  • 08:05 AM

ACA: Small Drop In Emergency Room Visits by Young Adults

by Marie Benz in Medical Research Interviews and News Interview with: Asako Moriya Ph.D School of Public and Environmental Affairs Indiana University, Bloomington, IN Center for Financing, Access and Cost Trends Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Rockville, MD MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What … Continue reading →
The post ACA: Small Drop In Emergency Room Visits by Young Adults appeared first on Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more » Interview with:, & Asako Moriya Ph.D. (2015) ACA: Small Drop In Emergency Room Visits by Young Adults. info:/

  • March 16, 2015
  • 05:37 AM

Decreased plasma levels of lipoxin A4 in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Chun-Lin Yan and colleagues [1] talking about significantly lower plasma levels of lipoxin A4 (LXA4) "a mediator involved in the resolution of inflammation" in cases of childhood autism is the point of discussions today.Continuing an important theme of immune system involvement in at least some cases of autism, Yan et al focused on a less well-trodden path looking at lipoxins that seem to be involved in something of a yin and yang relationship with another set of eicosanoids (signalling molecules formed through oxidation of certain fatty acids), the leukotrienes. If leukotrienes are thought of as the promoters of inflammation, the lipoxins might be seen as promoting the resolution of inflammation. That all being said, don't be fooled in to thinking that their relationship is anything but complex.So:Seventy-five children - "confirmed ASD [autism spectrum disorder] cases" - were included for study alongside 75 age- and sex-matched asymptomatic controls. Plasma levels of LXA4 were analysed alongside the severity of autism via the use of the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS).Results: mean levels of LXA4 were significantly lower in the group with autism compared to controls. Further, something of a relationship was found between CARS scores and plasma levels of LXA4.As per other autism researchers (see here), ROC analysis was also undertaken in an attempt to see if LXA4 *might* be "an indicator for an auxiliary diagnosis of ASD". A specific cut-off point for LXA4 levels of 81.5 pg/ml was thought to be potentially predictive (albeit with specificity stats which aren't great, 76%). The authors conclude that with more to do: "autistic children had lower plasma LXA4 levels, suggesting an increased susceptibility to recurring inflammation in these samples."Before heading a little further into these findings, I note that China is starting to come around to autism research in quite a big way in recent years. My recent coverage of the paper by Zhang and colleagues [2] talking about thioredoxin levels in children with autism (see here) is testament to that, including utilising the formula of potential biomarker analysis + CARS + ROC analysis. I'm assuming that Yan et al had either read the Zhang paper or had contact with the authors given that some of their terminology is pretty similar (such as the term 'auxiliary diagnosis' which I'm yet to understand thoroughly). Similar terminology was also used in other papers too [3] (see here).The lower mean levels of LXA4 reported by authors, potentially describing a reduction in the ability to put out the 'inflammatory fire', are interesting. I've talked a few times on the blog on how looking at inflammation and autism is all-well-and-good, but quite a bit more focus is needed on the counter-balance processes in place which keep inflammation in check (see here). It seem that the Yan paper fits this bill. Insofar as other work on LXA4 with autism in mind, well, a quick PubMed search only reveals one other paper by Das [4] which seems to be more of a review/opinion paper over the currency of hard data.This is an interesting area of autism research that really needs quite a bit more investigation; not least replicating the Yan findings in other geographical populations. I hold back from saying anything further about the specificity of these findings to just autism given that other work looking at severe asthma, for example, has reported reduced levels of LXA4 too [5]. This is perhaps all the more interesting in light of some researchers making potential connections between autism and asthma (see here) which might also need to be included in any future schedules of work.Music. Waiting Room by Fugazi.----------[1] Yan CL. et al. Decreased plasma levels of lipoxin A4 in children with autism spectrum disorders. Neuroreport. 2015 Feb 24.[2] Zhang QB. et al. Thioredoxin: a novel, independent diagnosis marker in children with autism. Int J Dev Neurosci. 2015 Feb;40:92-6.[3] Gong ZL. et al. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in Chinese children with autism spectrum disorders. Neuroreport. 2014 Jan 8;25(1):23-7.[4] Das UN. Autism as a disorder of deficiency of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and altered metabolism of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Nutrition. 2013 Oct;29(10):1175-85.[5] Celik GE. et al. Lipoxin A4 levels in asthma: relation with disease severity and aspirin sensitivity. Clin Exp Allergy. 2007 Oct;37(10):1494-501.----------Yan CL, Zhang J, & Hou Y (2015). Decreased plasma levels of lipoxin A4 in children with autism spectrum disorders. Neuroreport PMID: 25714424... Read more »

  • March 15, 2015
  • 02:52 PM

Folic acid supplementation cuts stroke risk in adults with high blood pressure

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

When we think hypertension (high blood pressure) you might not think stroke risk. However, high blood pressure can damage arteries, which often leads to an increased risk for a stroke. But if you suffer from hypertension, you might not need an expensive drug to lower your risk. A new study that included more than 20,000 adults in China with high blood pressure but without a history of stroke or heart attack, the combined use of the hypertension medication enalapril and folic acid, compared with enalapril alone, significantly reduced the risk of first stroke.... Read more »

Yong Huo, MD, Jianping Li, MD, PhD, Xianhui Qin, PhD, Yining Huang, MD, Xiaobin Wang, MD, ScD, Rebecca F. Gottesman, MD, PhD, Genfu Tang, MD, Binyan Wang, MD, PhD, Dafang Chen, PhD, Mingli He, MD.... (2015) Efficacy of Folic Acid Therapy in Primary Prevention of Stroke Among Adults With Hypertension in China. Journal of the American Medical Association . info:/10.1001/jama.2015.2274

  • March 14, 2015
  • 02:27 PM

Antibody therapy offers possible cure for psoriasis

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Sure it’s not sexy, you probably won’t be asked for donations towards a cure, or to run/walk/dive for awareness, and it probably won’t kill you. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, but chances are you are not familiar with it. It causes red, scale-like patches, sometimes covering a majority of the body. It’s itchy, painful, and embarrassing (to put it nicely). I know first hand as I suffer from it albeit mildly. I say mildly since I am lucky the patches are fairly small, but not so lucky for me they pop up on my face, often. However, new research is offering hope for anyone suffering from psoriasis and possibly a cure.... Read more »

  • March 14, 2015
  • 08:18 AM

Hispanic and Uninsured Adults May Experience Barriers To Blood Pressure Control

by Marie Benz in Medical Research Interviews and News Interview with: Stella Yi, Ph.D., MPH, Assistant Professor Department of Population Health New York University School of Medicine MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Yi: Self-blood pressure monitoring has been shown … Continue reading →
The post Hispanic and Uninsured Adults May Experience Barriers To Blood Pressure Control appeared first on Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more » Interview with:, & Stella Yi, Ph.D., MPH. (2015) Hispanic and Uninsured Adults May Experience Barriers To Blood Pressure Control. info:/

  • March 14, 2015
  • 07:32 AM

‘Exercise Pill’ Irisin Appears To Be A Myth

by Marie Benz in Medical Research Interviews and News Interview with: Harold P. Erickson Ph.D. James B. Duke Professor, Department of Cell Biology Duke Univ. Med. Center Durham, NC  27710 MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Dr. Erickson: In Jan 2012 a paper reported the discovery … Continue reading →
The post ‘Exercise Pill’ Irisin Appears To Be A Myth appeared first on Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more » Interview with:, & Harold P. Erickson Ph.D. (2015) 'Exercise Pill' Irisin Appears To Be A Myth. info:/

  • March 14, 2015
  • 06:10 AM

Boiling down ADOS for autism detection (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Today I want to direct your attention to the paper by Kosmicki and colleagues [1] (open-access) reporting that the use of "machine learning algorithms" could help "streamline ASD [autism spectrum disorder] risk detection and screening."Regular readers of this blog might have already cottoned on to the fact that any talk about applying "computational and statistical methods" to autism screening and/or diagnosis can really mean only one person and research group: Dennis Wall from Stanford University. To quote from his institutional website on this area of research, the aim is to "evaluate the degree of redundancy of the ADOS and ADIR and if so determine whether a reduced set of uncorrelated features could correctly classify individuals with the same accuracy as the gold-standard diagnostic tests." ADOS and ADI-R by the way, are some, if not the, gold-standard schedules when it comes to the assessment of autism. The idea is that boiling down these respective schedules might save both time and resources when it comes to identifying those where a diagnosis of ASD is indicated. In case you'd like some history about this line of work, look no further than here...The latest paper from the Wall group continues the research journey looking this time at modules 2 and 3 of the ADOS where previous work looked at module 1 (see here). In case you're not familiar with the concept of modules in ADOS, it's all about selecting the correct module according to verbal fluency (see here) where module 1 is for those who have very little or inconsistent phrase speech and modules 2 and 3 represent increasing phrase speech with also a little more focus on the use of age-appropriate props.The results? Based on the development of 'classifiers' for each module, several machine learning algorithms were developed and tested (see here). One of the algorithms, ADTree, is by the way, the same classifier used in the previous module 1 ADOS work [2]. But ADTree did not perform best on this occasion: "The logistic regression classifier based on analysis of archival records from ADOS module 2 consisted of nine items, 67.86% fewer than the complete ADOS module 2, and performed with 98.81% sensitivity and 89.39% specificity in independent testing." Further: "The SVM module 3 classifier based on analysis of archived ADOS module 3 records consisted of 12 items, 57.14% fewer than the complete ADOS module 3, and performed with more than 97% sensitivity and specificity in testing."The authors conclude: "These results support the notion that fewer behaviors when measured using machine learning tools can achieve high levels of accuracy in autism risk prediction."Anyone who has either professional or personal experience of undertaking an ADOS will know that this is a highly specialised assessment schedule which often requires some time to complete. It's nothing like as time-consuming as the ADI but still, significant efforts and resources are needed to carry out the assessment and do so with skill and reliability (and maintain those all-important reliability stats). Wall et al have really started to shake the establishment when it comes to ADOS (and ADI) when asking just how much of the schedule is really needed to assess for autism/ASD. This on top of their other work talking about assessment 'triage' via YouTube videos using, horror of horrors, non-clinical raters (see here). I'm not saying that these approaches are ready for clinical practice; quite a bit more replicative work is required [3] including crossing geographical boundaries. But something like the idea that "mobile health approaches that ultimately enable individuals to receive more expedient care than is possible under the current paradigms" is a tantalising prospect.So: Start by The Jam.----------[1] Kosmicki JA. et al. Searching for a minimal set of behaviors for autism detection through feature selection-based machine learning. Transl Psychiatry. 2015 Feb 24;5:e514.[2] Wall DP. et al. Use of machine learning to shorten observation-based screening and diagnosis of autism. Transl Psychiatry. 2012 Apr 10;2:e100.[3] Bone D. et al. Applying Machine Learning to Facilitate Autism Diagnostics: Pitfalls and Promises. J Autism Dev Disord. 2014 Oct 8.----------Kosmicki JA, Sochat V, Duda M, & Wall DP (2015). Searching for a minimal set of behaviors for autism detection through feature selection-based machine learning. Translational psychiatry, 5 PMID: 25710120... Read more »

  • March 13, 2015
  • 10:02 PM

Toxic levels of mercury contaminate 1 in 30 skin-lightening creams (and maybe not by accident)

by Megan Cartwright in Science-Based Writing

Toxic levels of mercury contaminate about 1 out of 30 skin-lightening creams purchased in stores and online, according to an international team of researchers who measured mercury levels in more than 500 products worldwide. If you’re like me (pasty and … Continue reading →... Read more »

Hamann Carsten R, Boonchai Waranya, Wen Liping, Sakanashi Emi Nishijima, Chu Chia-Yu, Hamann Kylin, Hamann Curtis P, Sinniah Kumar, & Hamann Dathan. (2013) Spectrometric analysis of mercury content in 549 skin-lightening products: is mercury toxicity a hidden global health hazard?. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. PMID: 24321702  

  • March 13, 2015
  • 07:56 PM

How gene expression is kept in check and the implications for cancer

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Cancers are alive in a sense, they are similar to a parasite and they fight to stay alive when we just want them gone. Cancers have access to complex ways of avoiding elimination and because we cannot easily do anything to treat it short of surgery or chemotherapy, we regularly lose to some of the more cunning types. Now researchers have learned how living beings can keep gene expression in check — this might partly explain the uncontrolled gene expression found in many forms of cancer.... Read more »

Chong Han Ng, Akhi Akhter, Nathan Yurko, Justin M. Burgener, Emanuel Rosonina, & James L. Manley. (2015) Sumoylation controls the timing of ​Tup1-mediated transcriptional deactivation. Nature Communications. info:/10.1038/ncomms7610

  • March 13, 2015
  • 05:24 PM

Medical Students Have Mixed Knowledge and Expectations of ACA

by Marie Benz in Medical Research Interviews and News Interview with: Tyler Winkelman, M.D. Internal Medicine and Pediatrics – PGY 4 University of Minnesota MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Winkelman: Future physicians will practice after key provisions of the … Continue reading →
The post Medical Students Have Mixed Knowledge and Expectations of ACA appeared first on Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more » Interview with:, & Tyler Winkelman, M.D. (2015) Medical Students Have Mixed Knowledge and Expectations of ACA . info:/

  • March 13, 2015
  • 04:05 PM

Classical Music modulates genes responsible for brain functions

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Although listening to music is common in all societies, the biological determinants of listening to music are largely unknown. According to a latest study, listening to classical music enhanced the activity of genes involved in dopamine secretion and transport, synaptic neurotransmission, learning and memory, and down-regulated the genes mediating neurodegeneration. Several of the up-regulated genes were known to be responsible for song learning and singing in songbirds, suggesting a common evolutionary background of sound perception across species.... Read more »

Kanduri, C., Raijas, P., Ahvenainen, M., Philips, A., Ukkola-Vuoti, L., Lähdesmäki, H., & Järvelä, I. (2015) The effect of listening to music on human transcriptome. PeerJ. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.830  

  • March 13, 2015
  • 03:39 PM

Lifestyle Factors May Limit Cognitive Decline

by Marie Benz in Medical Research Interviews and News Interview with: Miia Kivipelto MD, PhD, Professor Deputy Head, Senior Geriatrician Aging Research Center and Alzheimer Disease Research Center Karolinska Institutet Clinical Trials Unit, Memory Clinic Karolinska University Hospital Stockholm, Sweden Medical Research: What is the background for this … Continue reading →
The post Lifestyle Factors May Limit Cognitive Decline appeared first on Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more » Interview with:, & Miia Kivipelto MD, PhD, Professor. (2015) Lifestyle Factors May Help Limit Cognitive Decline. info:/

  • March 13, 2015
  • 05:42 AM

Individualised medicine and autism: a brave new world

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Pharmacogenetics: "the study of inherited genetic differences in drug metabolic pathways which can affect individual responses to drugs, both in terms of therapeutic effect as well as adverse effects."Having recently watched a rather interesting documentary on the BBC titled 'Can you cure my cancer?' illustrating how the era of personalised medicine is here and now (see here) in at least one aspect of medicine, I was really quite interested in the science of how our genes might affect our response (or not) to things like medication. Pharmacogenetics is not necessarily a new concept (see here) but only in recent years with the increasingly inexpensive ways and means that the genome can be mapped, have we seen something of a translation of the idea from laboratory to bedside on a broader scale.Now it seems that autism research and practice might also be benefiting from this brave new world as per the paper from Teri Smith and colleagues [1] (open-access available here). This is a case report of an adolescent diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among other things, who presented with several genetic 'issues' that may well have impacted on the metabolism of certain types of medicines used to manage specific symptoms. The genetic issues identified included some pertinent to the workings of cytochrome p450 enzymes which may have had important effects on the metabolism of certain pharmaceutics. Interestingly too was the finding that this young man also "showed a MTHFR C/T gene variation that suggested reduced enzymatic activity associated with a reduced conversion of folic acid to methylfolate." MTHFR controlling the production of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase has something of a history with autism in mind (see here) as it might have in a few other diagnoses too (see here)."It is clear in this clinical case that certain recommendations for care could be made due topharmacogenetic findings." That was one of the concluding sentiments from the authors, alongside how said genomic testing was all done via a spit sample (so being a pretty non-invasive method of collecting DNA).I'm impressed with this paper and the precedent it may well set. As per my other musings on the use of pharmaceutics when it comes to autism (see here for example) I would firmly place myself in the 'buyer beware' category when it comes to medicating in cases of autism but do understand that there is a place for some pharmaceutics to tackle certain issues associated with autism under certain circumstances. That is, alongside good medicines management. If the science of pharmacogenetics can aid the process of medicating when it comes to the label of autism, I'm sure most people would be happy to see it as an addition particularly when talking about the more plural 'autisms'.If I had to quibble at all with the idea of pharmacogenetics it might however be to say two things:(i) the structural genome represents only one part of what we call gene function. As per the rise and rise of the science of epigenomics (see the Nature special on this), it is becoming more and more apparent that there are lots of issues potentially impacting on the how the genome 'works' not necessarily just tied down to structural mutation(s). Looking for genetic mutations is all well and good but might not necessarily give you all the data on specific gene functions. And speaking of gene expression, I'll draw your attention to the paper from Carolyn Ch'ng and colleagues [2] noting that following their meta-analysis of gene expression in cases of autism: "A subset of the highly ranked genes is suggestive of effects on mitochondrial function." Mitochondrial function and autism eh?(ii) The name Jeremy Nicholson has appeared a few times on this blog (see here for example) based on some research looking at potential biomarkers for autism [3]. Aside from such research forays, Prof. Nicholson can perhaps also be credited with "the principle of pharmacometabonomics" [4], that is that those trillions of wee beasties which inhabit our gastrointestinal (GI) tract - the gut microbiome - might also have the ability to influence our response to certain types of medicines. I've talked about this issue elsewhere (see here). That and the fact that certain GI issues might also potentially affect things like drug absorption (see here) and the recipe starts to get a little more complicated.Still, I'll keep my eye open for more on this topic, and also when some brave soul decides that genomic / epigenomic / microbiomic analysis might even help with gauging response to other interventions put forward for some on the autism spectrum...To close: The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins by the great, late Leonard Nimoy.----------[1] Smith T. et al. Pharmacogenetics Informed Decision Making in Adolescent Psychiatric Treatment: A Clinical Case Report. Int J Mol Sci. 2015 Feb 20;16(3):4416-4428.[2] Ch'ng C. et al. Meta-Analysis of Gene Expression in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism Res. 2015; Feb 26.[4] Yap IK. et al. Urinary metabolic phenotyping differentiates children with autism from their unaffected siblings and age-matched controls. J Proteome Res. 2010 Jun 4;9(6):2996-3004.[5] Clayton TA. et al. Pharmacometabonomic identification of a significant host-microbiome metabolic interaction affecting human drug metabolism. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Aug 25;106(34):14728-33.----------... Read more »

  • March 12, 2015
  • 09:31 PM

Depressed parents cause anxiety and bad behavior in toddlers

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Being a new parent can be stressful, new mothers can suffer from postpartum depression and even new fathers can find the changes stressful enough to cause depression. Unfortunately– and if that wasn’t bad enough– a new study shows that a father’s depression during the first years of parenting – as well as a mother’s – can put their toddler at risk of developing troubling behaviors such as hitting, lying, anxiety and sadness during a critical time of development.... Read more »

  • March 12, 2015
  • 01:16 PM

Study shows modest reductions in ER visits from the ACA implementation

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

It’s future might still be in the air to those of us not on the supreme court, but two patient groups created by the Affordable Care Act (or ACA, also known as “Obama care”) – Medicare patients enrolled in federally designated patient-centered medical homes and people under age 26 who are allowed to remain on their parents’ health insurance – had slightly fewer emergency department visits than they had before health care reform. However, there was no change in the rate of the most expensive types of emergency visits: those that lead to hospitalization.... Read more »

  • March 12, 2015
  • 09:25 AM

The Last Man And Woman On Earth – Can Two People Repopulate The Planet?

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

In the new hit TV show, "Last Man On Earth", two survivors of a great plague are left with the task of repopulating the Earth. Can this really be done? ... Read more »

  • March 12, 2015
  • 05:49 AM

More evidence for non-coeliac gluten sensitivity?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"In a cross-over trial of subjects with suspected NCGS [non-coeliac gluten sensitivity], the severity of overall symptoms increased significantly during 1 week of intake of small amounts of gluten, compared with placebo."That was the conclusion reached in the study by Antonio Di Sabatino and colleagues [1] who applied the gold standard research methodology - "a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial" - to studying the effects of small amounts of gluten on those "who believe ingestion of gluten-containing food to be the cause of their intestinal and extra-intestinal symptoms" despite being free of the autoimmune condition coeliac (celiac) disease or wheat allergy. Further information about this research can be seen on the trial registration page.Various symptoms were reported to be increased following gluten ingestion (4.375 g/day gluten) over and above placebo (rice starch) including abdominal bloating/pain. Extra-intestinal symptoms - that is symptoms that are not necessarily centred on the gastrointestinal (GI) tract - also seemed to increase during the active supplementation of gluten including: "foggy mind.., depression..., and aphthous stomatitis [mouth ulcers]". Depression potentially being linked to gluten consumption is something that has appeared [in quite preliminary form] before in the peer-reviewed research literature and this blog (see here). 'Foggy mind' is not a very technical term but again has been mentioned in other research papers talking about the use of a gluten-free diet and cognitive performance in cases of coeliac disease (CD) (see here).I was rather interested in these results given that NCGS has been to topic of quite a bit of material on this blog (see here for example) and the idea of something of a spectrum of gluten-related issues being present outside of those classical examples of coeliac disease and wheat allergy (see here). In recent times, attention has shifted away from gluten (or wheat) as being the potential culprit in such cases as per the rise and rise of FODMAP sensitivity as another potential explanator based on research such as that from Jessica Biesiekierski and colleagues [2]. I've watched this area closely and often thought that there may be room for both FODMAP sensitivity and NCGS being present in different people or even the same person. It appears from the results of the controlled trial from Di Sabatino et al, this might not be too far off the mark. Other research might also agree with such sentiments [3].Then to the questions: (a) what is the potential mechanism/s of effect? and (b) are we moving closer to identifying those who might fall into that NCGS category and so benefit from a gluten-free diet or even beyond [4]? Well, unfortunately I can't definitively answer either of those questions at the moment, but can perhaps offer a few areas where further investigations might be indicated.I was privileged to review the paper by Catassi and colleagues [5] (open-access) which provides quite a nice overview of NCGS and some directions where science is heading. One of the papers cited in that overview was that from Anna Sapone and colleagues [6] and their 2012 consensus paper on "new nomenclature and classification" when it came to gluten sensitivity (see here). I'm not altogether sure how well their 'proposed algorithm' has done in clinical practice but it strikes me that it's a good start when ruling out CD and wheat allergy. I might also add that there may be quite a bit more to see when it comes to looking at serology vs. histopathology at differentiating CD from NCGS [7] as per what has been talked about with [some] autism in mind (see here) and [some] cases of schizophrenia too (see here). Transglutaminase is also something in need of a lot more study with autism in mind (see here) by the way.The other area that I think would be rather interesting to look at is gut barrier function. Again, wearing my autism research hat, I'm pretty impressed with what has been reported in the peer-reviewed literature when it comes to 'leaky gut' and some autism (see here). Although by no means a universal aspect to autism (see here) it does happen, and more generally is in the research ascendancy (see here) for quite a few reasons. Allied to the the idea that (General) zonulin might be something related (see here) I'm also wondering whether it might be a good idea to look at this parameter comparing CD, wheat allergy and NCGS? I'm not expecting too much based on the work by Hollon and colleagues [8] on intestinal permeability and gluten for example, but you never know.And then there is the review from Molina-Infante and colleagues [9] to bring to your attention...Music then. Hey Joe by Jimi et al.----------[1] Di Sabatino A. et al. Small Amounts of Gluten in Subjects with Suspected Nonceliac Gluten Sensitivity: a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Cross-Over Trial. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015 Feb 19. pii: S1542-3565(15)00153-6.[2] Biesiekierski JR. et al. No effects of gluten in patients with self-reported non-celiac gluten sensitivity after dietary reduction of fermentable, poorly absorbed, short-chain carbohydrates. Gastroenterology. 2013 Aug;145(2):320-8.e1-3.[3] Carroccio A. et al. Non-Celiac Wheat Sensitivity Diagnosed by Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Challenge: Exploring a New Clinical Entity. Am J Gastroenterol 2012; 107:1898–1906.[4] Makharia GK. Current and emerging therapy for celiac disease. Front Med (Lausanne). 2014 Mar 24;1:6.[5] Catassi C. et al. Non-Celiac Gluten sensitivity: the new frontier of gluten related disorders. Nutrients. 2013 Sep 26;5(10):3839-53.[6] Sapone A. et al. Spectrum of gluten-related disorders: consensus on new nomenclature and classification. BMC Med. 2012 Feb 7;10:13.[7] Brottveit M. et al. Mucosal Cytokine Response... Read more »

Di Sabatino A, Volta U, Salvatore C, Biancheri P, Caio G, De Giorgio R, Di Stefano M, & Corazza GR. (2015) Small Amounts of Gluten in Subjects with Suspected Nonceliac Gluten Sensitivity: a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Cross-Over Trial. Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology : the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association. PMID: 25701700  

  • March 11, 2015
  • 04:57 PM

Why do we remember bad memories easier than good ones?

by Crystals and Catalysts in Crystals and Catalysts

How many times have you found yourself recollecting a bad memory?It doesn't even have to be a very bad memory,  it could be a sad moment, a moment which angered you or even an embarrassing moment. But it is definitely prominent in your mind.All of these things could have happened years ago and you don't want to remember them but they still come back and haunt you from time to time.But the question is why do we remember  these bad memories more than good ones? Time to think out of the box By Frits AhlefeldtBad outweighs the goodIt turns out that negative memories are more likely to be remembered over positive ones in the brain because negative events pose a chance of "danger".  This makes the body more alert to negative thoughts because they are treated as a lesson to the person to help them prevent harm. Therefore we become extremely focused on the negative thoughts and it becomes much more difficult to recall the positive thoughts/memories.Spiraling into depression Sometimes if negative thoughts occur frequently they can lead the person to significant psychological distress, causing a lot of depression and anxiety.Brain Chemistry Serotonin  is the chemical neurotransmitter that is produced by the body. Produced via a biochemical conversion process, serotonin is produced in the brain and in the gastrointestinal tract; however the serotonin that is used in the brain is produced in the brain. The neurotransmitter influences your mood and with moderate levels of serotonin one feels balanced and calm. Serotonin also plays an important role in good quality sleep and our sleep/wake cycle. Serotonin deficiency can cause depression characterizes by very distressful thoughts (including bad memories) and feelings, anguish, pessimistic thoughts and feelings, low mood, feelings of worthlessness, suicidal thoughts and insomnia. Combating the Negativity & Serotonin boosters Lifting your mood; either through psychotherapy or self-induction, could increase levels of serotonin in the brain, if this method of treatment includes the interaction between serotonin synthesis and mood is a two-way relationship.Exercise: exercise has an antidepressant effect, and some research has suggested that it can increase brain serotonin function.Diet: foods that have higher levels of tryptophan than others could be linked to improved mood and cognition, possibly due to increased serotonin levels (such as chick peas).On the other hand...Posted in the Memory journal, there is a new report showing that good memories can actually outweigh the bad. For example, you could remembering a nice holiday but disregard the plane delays that happened on your way to the destination. This phenomenon is called Fading Affect Bias (FAB). More in depth studies on the FAB effect were conducted to see what the results are like around the world. To see if it was universal, Timothy Ritchie from the University of Limerick in Ireland decided to analyse data from samples collected by academics at six universities around the world.In all, 2,400 autobiographical memories were included, from 562 individuals in 10 countries.These researchers had access to participants from many different English-speaking ethnic groups including African-Americans, Ghanaians, Germans, Native Americans and New Zealanders of both European descent and Maori/Pasifica backgrounds. The data from New Zealand and Ghana included just men and women under the age of 30 but others like the German and Irish samples included older participants. Of the unpleasant experiences nearly 60% were forgotten - but only 42% of the pleasant memories had faded.The subjects being studied, were asked to recall some random, positive memories and some negative and also trying to give details of the time, location and sensory information. Those recalling their emotional responses to memories were asked to remember them again later after various time lapses - and rate how they felt about them. This is known as the initial effect and the current effect and the difference between them was measured. Finally the ... Read more »

Ritchie TD, Batteson TJ, Bohn A, Crawford MT, Ferguson GV, Schrauf RW, Vogl RJ, & Walker WR. (2015) A pancultural perspective on the fading affect bias in autobiographical memory. Memory (Hove, England), 23(2), 278-90. PMID: 24524255  

  • March 11, 2015
  • 04:20 PM

The cerebral cortex: we can rebuild it, we have the technology

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

While the first actual bionic man (or woman) might still be a ways off, the writers of the show might be impressed at this. A international team of researchers, have just taken an important step in the area of cell therapy: repairing the cerebral cortex of the adult mouse using a graft of cortical neurons derived from embryonic stem cells.... Read more »

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