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  • June 22, 2015
  • 05:09 PM
  • 110 views

Researchers find mechanisms that initiate labor

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified two proteins in a fetus’ lungs responsible for initiating the labor process, providing potential new targets for preventing preterm birth. Previous studies have suggested that signals from the fetus initiate the birth process, but the precise molecular mechanisms that lead to labor remained unclear.... Read more »

Gao, L., Rabbitt, E., Condon, J., Renthal, N., Johnston, J., Mitsche, M., Chambon, P., Xu, J., O’Malley, B., & Mendelson, C. (2015) Steroid receptor coactivators 1 and 2 mediate fetal-to-maternal signaling that initiates parturition. Journal of Clinical Investigation. DOI: 10.1172/JCI78544  

  • June 22, 2015
  • 04:06 PM
  • 172 views

Manning up: men may overcompensate when their masculinity is threatened

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

From the old Charles Atlas ads showing a scrawny male having sand kicked in his face to sitcom clichés of henpecked husbands, men have long faced pressure to live up to ideals of masculinity. Societal norms dictating that men should be masculine are powerful. And new research finds that men who believe they fall short of those ideals might be prompted to reassert their masculinity in small but significant ways.... Read more »

  • June 22, 2015
  • 05:56 AM
  • 156 views

Cancer Breakthrough: Device Tests New Drugs In Record Speed

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

CIVO tests cancer drugs and finds new lymphoma treatment in just two weeks.... Read more »

Klinghoffer, R., Bahrami, S., Hatton, B., Frazier, J., Moreno-Gonzalez, A., Strand, A., Kerwin, W., Casalini, J., Thirstrup, D., You, S.... (2015) A technology platform to assess multiple cancer agents simultaneously within a patient's tumor. Science Translational Medicine, 7(284), 284-284. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaa7489  

  • June 22, 2015
  • 02:54 AM
  • 170 views

Office workers of the world stand up!

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin: "for those occupations which are predominantly desk based, workers should aim to initially progress towards accumulating 2 h/day of standing and light activity (light walking) during working hours, eventually progressing to a total accumulation of 4 h/day (prorated to part-time hours)."That was the recommendation made in the consensus statement published by John Buckley and colleagues [1] aiming to: "provide guidance for employers and staff working in office environments to combat the potential ills of long periods of seated office work."Co-commissioned by Public Health England, the body charged with protecting and improving the nation's health "and to address health inequalities" in England, the statement from Buckley et al has already garnered some significant press attention (see here for example). The move comes after quite a bit of peer-reviewed evidence has suggested that frequent and prolonged sitting is perhaps not the best activity for humankind (see here) and office workers chained to their desks from 9 to 5 might actually be a risk group for various adverse health outcomes as a result of their occupational inactivity.As well as championing the health benefits of walking (which is always a good thing on this blog) the authors are also suggesting that far greater use could be made of sit-stand desks [2] and the use of "standing-based work". I might add that there are various other ways and means that office inactivity has been tackled in the peer-reviewed literature [3] and innovation leads the way as per the smart chair.Appreciating the concerns of business about a possible reduction in productivity as a result of workers taking regular exercise breaks and the musings of others, I'm personally very happy to see the document from Buckley et al. If one assumes that this guidance builds on other occupational health advice such as smoking bans in public places including the workplace and other 'elf and safety laws, one can see how healthier workers in the long-term will be more productive workers as a function of less days lost to ill-health for example. That also aspects of psychological health may benefit too from a bout or two of regular workplace activity / exercise, and one gets the feeling that this might turn out to be something rather important. Indeed, Finland has taken a lead on this...Music: REM - Stand.----------[1] Buckley JP. et al. The sedentary office: a growing case for change towards better health and productivity. Expert statement commissioned by Public Health England and the Active Working Community Interest Company. Br J Sports Med. 2015. June 1.[2] Dutta N. et al. Using sit-stand workstations to decrease sedentary time in office workers: a randomized crossover trial. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2014 Jun 25;11(7):6653-65.[3] Parry S. et al. Participatory workplace interventions can reduce sedentary time for office workers--a randomised controlled trial. PLoS One. 2013 Nov 12;8(11):e78957.----------John P Buckley, Alan Hedge, Thomas Yates, Robert J Copeland, Michael Loosemore, Mark Hamer, Gavin Bradley, & David W Dunstan (2015). The sedentary office: a growing case for change towards better health and productivity. Expert statement commissioned by Public Health England and the Active Working Community Interest Company British Journal of Sports Medicine : 10.1136/bjsports-2015-094618... Read more »

John P Buckley, Alan Hedge, Thomas Yates, Robert J Copeland, Michael Loosemore, Mark Hamer, Gavin Bradley, & David W Dunstan. (2015) The sedentary office: a growing case for change towards better health and productivity. Expert statement commissioned by Public Health England and the Active Working Community Interest Company. British Journal of Sports Medicine. info:/10.1136/bjsports-2015-094618

  • June 21, 2015
  • 03:31 PM
  • 116 views

Autism: The value of an integrated approach to diagnosis

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers at Inserm (Inserm Unit 930 “Imaging and Brain”) attached to François-Rabelais University and Tours Regional University Hospital have combined three clinical, neurophysiological and genetic approaches in order to better understand the brain mechanisms that cause autism. When tested on two families, this strategy enabled the researchers to identify specific gene combinations in autistic patients that distinguished them from patients with intellectual disabilities.... Read more »

  • June 20, 2015
  • 02:47 PM
  • 154 views

Liar, Liar: Children with good memories are better liars

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Children who benefit from a good memory are much better at covering up lies, researchers from the University of Sheffield have discovered. Experts found a link between verbal memory and covering up lies following a study which investigated the role of working memory in verbal deception amongst children.... Read more »

  • June 19, 2015
  • 04:00 PM
  • 164 views

Study links heartbeat to female libido

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Sexual dysfunction in women can be linked to low resting heart rate variability, a finding that could help clinicians treat the condition, according to a study by psychologists from The University of Texas at Austin.... Read more »

Stanton, A., Lorenz, T., Pulverman, C., & Meston, C. (2015) Heart Rate Variability: A Risk Factor for Female Sexual Dysfunction. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. DOI: 10.1007/s10484-015-9286-9  

  • June 19, 2015
  • 12:23 PM
  • 44 views

6 Realities of Genomic Research

by Daniel Koboldt in Massgenomics

The rise of next-generation sequencing has worked wonders for the field of genetics and genomics. It’s also generated a considerable amount of hype about the power of genome sequencing, particularly the possibility of individualized medicine based on genetic information. The rapid advances in technology — most recently, the Illumina X Ten system — have made […]... Read more »

Rehm HL, Berg JS, Brooks LD, Bustamante CD, Evans JP, Landrum MJ, Ledbetter DH, Maglott DR, Martin CL, Nussbaum RL.... (2015) ClinGen--the Clinical Genome Resource. The New England journal of medicine, 372(23), 2235-42. PMID: 26014595  

  • June 19, 2015
  • 06:47 AM
  • 149 views

More Bad News For Iranian Kidney Donors – er – Sellers

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

From Transplant Proceedings:   With assistance of the Iranian Kidney Foundation, we accessed the contact information of living donors through the years 2001–2012. We tried to contact donors who have donated at least 2 years before the survey. We interviewed these donors according to a questionnaire that was approved by the ethics committee of the …
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The post More Bad News For Iranian Kidney Donors – er – Sellers appeared first on Living Donors Are People Too.
... Read more »

  • June 19, 2015
  • 04:27 AM
  • 234 views

Autoimmune disease or anti-nuclear antibodies and non-coeliac wheat sensitivity

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Higher proportions of patients with NCWS [wheat sensitivity among people without celiac disease] or celiac disease develop autoimmune disorders, are ANA [anti-nuclear antibodies] positive, and showed DQ2/DQ8 haplotypes compared to patients with IBS [irritable bowel syndrome]."Those were the conclusions reached in the paper by Antonio Carroccio and colleagues [1] who sought to evaluate: "the prevalence of autoimmune diseases among patients with NCWS, and investigated whether they carry anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA)." Continuing a theme that the classic autoimmune condition known as coeliac (celiac) disease (CD) may be only one part of a 'issues with gluten' spectrum, researchers reviewed the files of over 100 participants diagnosed with NCWS (or even NCGS) "to identify those with autoimmune diseases" and compare rates with those diagnosed with CD and/or IBS. Further, serum samples were analysed prospectively for 42 participants diagnosed with NCWS and "ANA levels were measured by immunofluorescence analysis" again, compared with CD / IBS control data. ANA by the way, are antibodies against 'self' tissue and in particular, antibodies against the contents of the cell nucleus.Results. The rates of autoimmune disease in cases of NCWS were comparable with those reported in CD, hovering around the 20-30% frequency mark in each case. The frequency rates for autoimmune disease in the IBS group were quite a bit lower; between 2-4%.Testing positive for ANA was however a slightly different ballgame as per the findings that those with NCWS were quite a bit more likely to show ANA than either CD or IBS participants. Depending on which arm of the study was used (retrospective vs. prospective) researchers reported that: "serum samples tested positive for ANA in 46% of subjects with NCWS..., 24% of subjects with celiac disease..., and 2% of subjects IBS... ; in the prospective study, serum samples were positive for ANA in 28% of subjects with NCWS, 7.5% of subjects with celiac disease..., and 6% of subjects with IBS." They also noted a relationship between ANA positivity and the presence of DQ2/DQ8 haplotypes (part of the so-called genetics of CD).These are interesting results. Not only because of the overlap between autoimmune diseases and CD and NCWS (birds of an autoimmune feather flocking together and all that) but also that a higher burden of anti-nuclear antibody positivity might accompany NCWS in even greater frequency than CD. That Hashimoto's thyroiditis was the most common autoimmune condition identified is also an interesting prospect and ripe for further study in light of some research history in this area [2].Wearing my autism research hat, I might also forward the idea that the Carroccio data intersects with quite a few potentially important papers published with [some] autism in mind. So, NCGS as a feature of some autism... well, there have been some hints of this in the peer-reviewed research literature as per the 'not quite coeliac disease' paper (see here) and other commentaries (see here). What I will also say is that although there are some gaps in the research in this area including how one clinically defines NCGS, we can perhaps assume that autism is not protective against developing something like NCGS. ANA and autism... I can direct you to the paper by Mostafa and colleagues [3] covered in a previous post (see here) and how: "anti-ds-DNA antibodies and ANA were found in the sera of a subgroup of autistic children." It strikes me that further study of NCGS, autoimmune comorbidty and anti-nuclear antibodies in cases of autism is a way to resolve any correlation or not.Music: Oasis - Champagne Supernova.----------[1] Carroccio A. et al. High Proportions of People with Non-Celiac Wheat Sensitivity Have Autoimmune Disease or Anti-nuclear Antibodies. Gastroenterology. 2015 May 27. pii: S0016-5085(15)00767-2.[2] Hakanen M. et al. Clinical and subclinical autoimmune thyroid disease in adult celiac disease. Dig Dis Sci. 2001 Dec;46(12):2631-5.[3] Mostafa GA. et al. Systemic auto-antibodies in children with autism. J Neuroimmunology. 2014; 272: 94-98.----------Carroccio A, D'Alcamo A, Cavataio F, Soresi M, Seidita A, Sciumè C, Geraci G, Iacono G, & Mansueto P (2015). High Proportions of People with Non-Celiac Wheat Sensitivity Have Autoimmune Disease or Anti-nuclear Antibodies. Gastroenterology PMID: 26026392... Read more »

  • June 18, 2015
  • 01:22 PM
  • 181 views

Musicians don’t just hear in tune, they also see in tune

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Musicians don’t just hear in tune, they also see in tune. That is the conclusion of the latest scientific experiment designed to puzzle out how the brain creates an apparently seamless view of the external world based on the information it receives from the eyes.... Read more »

  • June 18, 2015
  • 12:59 PM
  • 194 views

Not-so-guilty pleasure: Viewing cat videos boosts energy and positive emotions

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

If you get a warm, fuzzy feeling after watching cute cat videos online, the effect may be more profound than you think. The Internet phenomenon of watching cat videos, from Lil Bub to Grumpy Cat, does more than simply entertain; it boosts viewers’ energy and positive emotions and decreases negative feelings, according to a new study by an Indiana University Media School researcher.... Read more »

  • June 18, 2015
  • 04:43 AM
  • 202 views

Atypical enterovirus encephalitis and 'autism-like' (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The autism spectrum disorder or autism-like clinical symptoms are extremely rare, but they may be a clear manifestations of enterovirus encephalitis."That was the finding reported in a poster by Akcakaya and colleagues [1] submitted as part of the 11th European Paediatric Neurology Society Congress 2015. In it, they detail a case report of an adolescent young woman "who developed behavioural changes and autistic features such as impairment of communication, mutism and lack of eye contact" following "chronic, atypical enterovirus encephalitis."Providing only a few details about the young lady concerned and her clinical experiences, the authors highlight how the diagnosis for enterovirus was confirmed by PCR although not providing information on the specific serotype. The authors do report how her clinical picture "gradually improved" during her hospital stay, helped along (I assume) by administration of "IVIg [intravenous immunoglobulin] treatment of 20 mg/kg." Further: "At discharge the patient was able to speak and communicate. Six months after discharge, her clinical status was improved."Although the authors do emphasise the rarity of the enterovirus encephalitis / autism-like clinical picture, I was interested in this work because it is not the first time that it has cropped up in the peer-reviewed research arena. Indeed on a previous post (see here) covering the findings reported by Filipa Marques and colleagues [2] I talked about 'autism secondary to enterovirus encephalitis' and how a complicated relationship might exist between some of the autisms (plural) and various infective agents. This on top of other 'associations'.At the same conference as the poster from Akcakaya et al I also came across the offering from Gadian and colleagues [3] discussing some of the current literature on the use of IVIg "in paediatric neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions." They reported "growing evidence" for the usefulness of IVIg for a few neurological conditions including various types of encephalitis. That being said: "well designed, prospective, multi-centre studies with standardized outcome measures are now required to evaluate the efficacy and cost effectiveness of this expensive and resource limited therapeutic agent."Combined these posters, which I hope will eventually see the full peer-reviewed paper treatment at some point, provide further evidence for the ideas that (a) there may be many roads potentially leading to autism or autistic-like behaviours and (b) 'treatment' might be an option for specific cases based on the use of something like IVIg assuming no religious exemptions [4]. I might add that other examples of encephalitis-linked onset to autism (see here) might similarly benefit from quite a bit more investigation in this area particularly when one considers the limited study of IVIg and [some] autism [5].Music: Regina Spektor - Us.----------[1] Akcakaya H. et al. P103 – 2340: Atypical enterovirus encephalitis causing behavioral changes and autism-like clinical manifestations: Case report. European Journal of Paediatric Neurology. 2015; 19: suppl. 1: S123.[2] Marques F. et al. Autism Spectrum Disorder Secondary to Enterovirus Encephalitis. J Child Neurology. 2014; 29: 708-714.[3] Gadian J. et al. PP13.7 – 2337: Atypical enterovirus encephalitis causing behavioral changes and autism-like clinical manifestations: Case report. European Journal of Paediatric Neurology. 2015; 19: suppl. 1: S84.[4] Cleland N. et al. A 16-year-old girl with anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis and family history of psychotic disorders. Acta Neuropsychiatr. 2015 Jun 1:1-5.[5] Plioplys AV. Intravenous immunoglobulin treatment of children with autism. J Child Neurol. 1998 Feb;13(2):79-82.----------Akcakaya, H., Tekturk, P., Tur, E., Eraksoy, M., & Yapici, Z. (2015). P103 – 2340: Atypical enterovirus encephalitis causing behavioral changes and autism-like clinical manifestations: Case report European Journal of Paediatric Neurology, 19 DOI: 10.1016/S1090-3798(15)30416-5... Read more »

  • June 17, 2015
  • 01:33 PM
  • 111 views

Living Kidney Donors Experience 37 Heart Changes After Donation

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

You’ve heard me harp on this before. How a 10% reduction in kidney function significantly increases the risk of cardiovacular disease and death. How most people who are diagnosed in with early stage CKD (chronic kidney disease), GFR 60-80, will die of a cardiovascular event before progressing to kidney failure. How 26% of kidney failure …
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The post Living Kidney Donors Experience 37 Heart Changes After Donation appeared first on Living Donors Are People Too.
... Read more »

Moody, W., Ferro, C., Edwards, N., Chue, C., Lin, E., Cockwell, P., Steeds, R., Townend, J., & Taylor, R. (2015) 37 Cardiovascular Effects of Unilateral Nephrectomy in Human Kidney Donors. Heart, 101(Suppl 4). DOI: 10.1136/heartjnl-2015-308066.37  

  • June 17, 2015
  • 05:02 AM
  • 180 views

Antipsychotic drugs as epigenetic modifiers?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Blaga Rukova and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) published last year (2014) caught my eye recently and their observations of: "major differences in methylation profiles between male schizophrenia patients in complete remission before and after treatment and healthy controls" as potential evidence that: "antipsychotic drugs may play a role in epigenetic modifications."The process of methylation, as in DNA methylation where methyl groups are added to specific segments of the genome thus potentially altering the function of certain genes, as one facet of the emerging science of epigenetics, is something that interests me on this blog. Over and above the considerable 'hype' about epigenetics, there are some interesting details emerging from the various epigenetic studies of autism (see here for example) and schizophrenia (see here) that may well turn out to be important assuming appropriate independent scientific replication.Rukova et al reported results based on an analysis of "20 individual Bulgarian patients with schizophrenia (8 females and 12 males) before and after treatment" whereby whole genome methylation analysis was used to look for differentially methylated regions (DMRs) pre- and post-antipsychotic use as a function of the remission or not of symptoms and gender. The results were not altogether clear insofar as some sort of methylomic biosignature linked to treatment response but researchers did report on several genes that may merit further investigation: "several new genes could be potential targets for new drug discovery: C16orf70, CST3, DDRGK1, FA2H, FLJ30058, MFSD2B, RFX4, UBE2J1 and ZNF311.""The results from our investigation were shown statistically significant only for the male patient group in complete remission. This points out that epigenetic modification by DNA methylation is more important for male patients compared to females." This is another important detail described by Rukova bearing in mind the small participant group included for study. I'm not an expert on the role of gender/sex on response to antipsychotics but a quick look through the available research literature suggests that gender may be one of several 'non-modifiable' variables linked to therapeutic response [2] when it comes to schizophrenia. The idea that [some] males may benefit more from the epigenetic modifications potentially made by certain antipsychotics than [some] females potentially opens up a whole new world of drug discovery possibilities.It's not necessarily new news that medicines such as antipsychotics may have quite a few more pharmacological actions than those listed on the PIL. Think about the idea that certain antipsychotics may have anti-parasitic qualities [3] as one example in light of all that schizophrenia - Toxoplasma gondii research (see here). That epigenetic properties should be added to the list of potential effects from antipsychotics [4] is also not necessarily new news.What is perhaps important about the Rukova results outside of their focus on schizophrenia and antipsychotics is the way they looked at how epigenetics / methylation patterns might be implicated in schizophrenia and what it might mean for future research. If one were, for example, to apply a similar method of whole genome methylation analysis to say autism, and how said methylation patterns might change as a function of the myriad of interventions put forward for the condition, one could see how autism research might also benefit from such an approach...Music: Magnetic Fields - The Book Of Love.----------[1] Rukova B. et al. Whole genome methylation analyses of schizophrenia patients before and after treatment. Biotechnol Biotechnol Equip. 2014 May 4;28(3):518-524.[2] Carbon M. & Correll CU. Clinical predictors of therapeutic response to antipsychotics in schizophrenia. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2014 Dec;16(4):505-24.----------Rukova B, Staneva R, Hadjidekova S, Stamenov G, Milanova V, & Toncheva D (2014). Whole genome methylation analyses of schizophrenia patients before and after treatment. Biotechnology, biotechnological equipment, 28 (3), 518-524 PMID: 26019538... Read more »

Rukova B, Staneva R, Hadjidekova S, Stamenov G, Milanova V, & Toncheva D. (2014) Whole genome methylation analyses of schizophrenia patients before and after treatment. Biotechnology, biotechnological equipment, 28(3), 518-524. PMID: 26019538  

  • June 16, 2015
  • 04:46 AM
  • 185 views

Gut bacteria and toddler temperament

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The 'terrible twos'. Y'know, that special time in a child's development when the words 'mine' and 'no' are much more than a daily occurrence and visions of supermarket / restaurant meltdowns complete with scathing looks from strangers still linger in the rose-tinted memories of parenting.There's still quite a bit of debate about the hows and whys of the terrible twos but new research by Lisa Christian and colleagues [1] implicates a hitherto unappreciated system potentially at work: our gut bacteria. Examining the possibility that "the community structure of the gut microbiome" might correlate with maternal measures of offspring temperament for 77 children aged between 18-27 months of age, researchers reported preliminary results looking at bacterial diversity and bacterial composition in relation to reported child behaviour across three scales of emotional reactivity according to media reports of the study (see here)."Among both boys and girls, greater Surgency/Extraversion was associated [with] greater phylogenetic diversity." In other words, a more varied gut bacterial population seemed to correlate with scores more pertinent to an 'out-going' temperament "related with positive mood, curiosity, sociability and impulsivity." This is also the temperament style that seems to be potentially linked to later attentional issues such as ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) [2]."Additional sex-specific associations between temperament and the gut microbiome were observed." So, taking into account gender/sex and temperament, certain types of gut bacteria were more commonly observed; specifically: "In boys only, researchers reported that extroverted personality traits were associated with the abundances of microbes from the Rikenellaceae and Ruminococcaceae families and Dialister and Parabacteroides genera." The exact meaning of these findings is unknown at present.Importantly: "Some differences in dietary patterns were observed in relation to temperament, but these did not account for the observed differences in the microbiome." As anyone who has followed the recent 'Spector diet experiment' might know, there is a growing acceptance that what we eat (and drink) might have repercussions for the balance of the trillions of beasties that reside in our gut. The jury is however still out about the long-term effects of diet on the gut microbiota and indeed, what this might mean in relation to modifying risk of disease through diet affecting gut bacteria.Assuming that the Christian results hold out following independent replication and the link between behaviour and gut bacteria keeps heading the direction it's heading (see here) there are some pretty important implications from this line of scientific thought. Minus the hype, one might reasonably ask: 'Is it possible to alter temperament by altering the gut microbiome?' as a primary question. The authors make some effort to answer this in the accompanying press about their findings: "Both researchers say that parents shouldn't try to change their child's gut microbiome just yet. Scientists still don't know what a healthy combination looks like, or what might influence its development." I agree that we don't yet know what it means to have a 'surgency/extraversion gut microbiome' but we do know that supplementation with probiotics for example, can seemingly affect aspects of behaviour and thought [3] (see my take here). Again, if we assume that diet affects gut bacterial composition, one might also acknowledge that what a young child eats is already affecting their gut bacteria populations, something that might have implications for our modern eating habits and various other issues. And then there are variable such as the issue of stool consistency to potentially take into account [4]...Psychology textbooks perhaps might need rewriting in future eh?Music: Hate to Say I Told You So - The Hives.----------[1] Christian LM. et al. Gut microbiome composition is associated with temperament during early childhood. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. 2015; 45: 118-127.[2] Bussing R. et al. Child temperament, ADHD, and caregiver strain: exploring relationships in an epidemiological sample. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2003 Feb;42(2):184-92.[3] Steenbergen L. et al. A randomized controlled trial to test the effect of multispecies probiotics on cognitive reactivity to sad mood. Brain Behav Immun. 2015 Apr 7. pii: S0889-1591(15)00088-4.[4] Vandeputte D. et al. Stool consistency is strongly associated with gut microbiota richness and composition, enterotypes and bacterial growth rates. Gut. 2015 Jun 11. pii: gutjnl-2015-309618.----------Christian LM, Galley JD, Hade EM, Schoppe-Sullivan S, Kamp Dush C, & Bailey MT (2015). Gut microbiome composition is associated with temperament during early childhood. Brain, behavior, and immunity, 45, 118-27 PMID: 25449582... Read more »

Christian LM, Galley JD, Hade EM, Schoppe-Sullivan S, Kamp Dush C, & Bailey MT. (2015) Gut microbiome composition is associated with temperament during early childhood. Brain, behavior, and immunity, 118-27. PMID: 25449582  

  • June 16, 2015
  • 04:46 AM
  • 150 views

Gut bacteria and toddler temperament

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The 'terrible twos'. Y'know, that special time in a child's development when the words 'mine' and 'no' are much more than a daily occurrence and visions of supermarket / restaurant meltdowns complete with scathing looks from strangers still linger in the rose-tinted memories of parenting.There's still quite a bit of debate about the hows and whys of the terrible twos but new research by Lisa Christian and colleagues [1] implicates a hitherto unappreciated system potentially at work: our gut bacteria. Examining the possibility that "the community structure of the gut microbiome" might correlate with maternal measures of offspring temperament for 77 children aged between 18-27 months of age, researchers reported preliminary results looking at bacterial diversity and bacterial composition in relation to reported child behaviour across three scales of emotional reactivity according to media reports of the study (see here)."Among both boys and girls, greater Surgency/Extraversion was associated [with] greater phylogenetic diversity." In other words, a more varied gut bacterial population seemed to correlate with scores more pertinent to an 'out-going' temperament "related with positive mood, curiosity, sociability and impulsivity." This is also the temperament style that seems to be potentially linked to later attentional issues such as ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) [2]."Additional sex-specific associations between temperament and the gut microbiome were observed." So, taking into account gender/sex and temperament, certain types of gut bacteria were more commonly observed; specifically: "In boys only, researchers reported that extroverted personality traits were associated with the abundances of microbes from the Rikenellaceae and Ruminococcaceae families and Dialister and Parabacteroides genera." The exact meaning of these findings is unknown at present.Importantly: "Some differences in dietary patterns were observed in relation to temperament, but these did not account for the observed differences in the microbiome." As anyone who has followed the recent 'Spector diet experiment' might know, there is a growing acceptance that what we eat (and drink) might have repercussions for the balance of the trillions of beasties that reside in our gut. The jury is however still out about the long-term effects of diet on the gut microbiota and indeed, what this might mean in relation to modifying risk of disease through diet affecting gut bacteria.Assuming that the Christian results hold out following independent replication and the link between behaviour and gut bacteria keeps heading the direction it's heading (see here) there are some pretty important implications from this line of scientific thought. Minus the hype, one might reasonably ask: 'Is it possible to alter temperament by altering the gut microbiome?' as a primary question. The authors make some effort to answer this in the accompanying press about their findings: "Both researchers say that parents shouldn't try to change their child's gut microbiome just yet. Scientists still don't know what a healthy combination looks like, or what might influence its development." I agree that we don't yet know what it means to have a 'surgency/extraversion gut microbiome' but we do know that supplementation with probiotics for example, can seemingly affect aspects of behaviour and thought [3] (see my take here). Again, if we assume that diet affects gut bacterial composition, one might also acknowledge that what a young child eats is already affecting their gut bacteria populations, something that might have implications for our modern eating habits and various other issues. And then there are variable such as the issue of stool consistency to potentially take into account [4]...Psychology textbooks perhaps might need rewriting in future eh?Music: Hate to Say I Told You So - The Hives.----------[1] Christian LM. et al. Gut microbiome composition is associated with temperament during early childhood. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. 2015; 45: 118-127.[2] Bussing R. et al. Child temperament, ADHD, and caregiver strain: exploring relationships in an epidemiological sample. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2003 Feb;42(2):184-92.[3] Steenbergen L. et al. A randomized controlled trial to test the effect of multispecies probiotics on cognitive reactivity to sad mood. Brain Behav Immun. 2015 Apr 7. pii: S0889-1591(15)00088-4.[4] Vandeputte D. et al. Stool consistency is strongly associated with gut microbiota richness and composition, enterotypes and bacterial growth rates. Gut. 2015 Jun 11. pii: gutjnl-2015-309618.----------Christian LM, Galley JD, Hade EM, Schoppe-Sullivan S, Kamp Dush C, & Bailey MT (2015). Gut microbiome composition is associated with temperament during early childhood. Brain, behavior, and immunity, 45, 118-27 PMID: 25449582... Read more »

Christian LM, Galley JD, Hade EM, Schoppe-Sullivan S, Kamp Dush C, & Bailey MT. (2015) Gut microbiome composition is associated with temperament during early childhood. Brain, behavior, and immunity, 118-27. PMID: 25449582  

  • June 15, 2015
  • 01:13 PM
  • 147 views

Avocados may hold the answer to beating leukemia

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Rich, creamy, nutritious and now cancer fighting. New research reveals that molecules derived from avocados could be effective in treating a form of cancer. Professor Paul Spagnuolo from the University of Waterloo has discovered a lipid in avocados that combats acute myeloid leukemia (AML) by targeting the root of the disease – leukemia stem cells. Worldwide, there are few drug treatments available to patients that target leukemia stem cells.... Read more »

Lee, E., Angka, L., Rota, S., Hanlon, T., Mitchell, A., Hurren, R., Wang, X., Gronda, M., Boyaci, E., Bojko, B.... (2015) Targeting Mitochondria with Avocatin B Induces Selective Leukemia Cell Death. Cancer Research, 75(12), 2478-2488. DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-14-2676  

  • June 15, 2015
  • 12:50 PM
  • 160 views

Loving to Death

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

The brown antechinus may look like a mouse - but that is where the similarities end. Photo by Glen Fergus at Wikimedia.Although most animal species breed multiple times throughout their lives, a few oddballs put everything they've got into a single reproductive season, after which they promptly die. This is a rare strategy (for obvious reasons), especially in mammals. One Australian mammal, the brown antechinus, is just odd enough to pull it off.The brown antechinus is a small insectivorous mouse-sized critter from Australia that in fact is not a mouse at all. It is a marsupial; but unlike kangaroos and koalas, females do not carry their young in a pouch, but rather let them hang off their eight teats for four months. All males die when they are 11 months old (if not sooner) after a single 2-3 week long mating season during which they do little else than mate as often as possible. The mating season leaves all the males (whether mated or not) sterile, coursing with stress hormones, immunosuppressed, and riddled with microorganisms and parasites. Shortly thereafter all the males die, balding and bleeding messes.The reproductive strategy of putting everything you've got into a single mating season and then dying is only an advantage if you can have many offspring in that single reproductive event. Male brown antechinuses can only succeed in this suicidal mating strategy if they father many of the young of many of the females. As a result, both male and female brown antechinuses are promiscuous (mate with many individuals). Male brown antechinuses are generally bigger than females, and DNA testing has shown us that in the wild, larger males and males with bigger testes impregnate the most females. Diana Fisher and Andrew Cockburn from Australian National University tested whether larger male brown antechinuses were more likely to get the girls because females were more likely to choose them or because they were outcompeting other males. Diana and Andrew trapped brown antechinuses and brought them into the lab. In one test, they placed three males in separate nest boxes next to one another in an arena and allowed females to choose among them and mate with whichever one she chose. Surprisingly, when presented with this choice, females did not consistently choose the largest males. They didn't even check them all out - The females mated with whatever male happened to be in the first nest box she entered.When the researchers put three males into a single nest box and allowed the females to mate, she almost always immediately mated with one of the three males. The next day, the researchers put the female in a nest box with either the two losers from the day before or with two randomly chosen males she did not know. On this second day, females presented with two strangers immediately mated with one male, whereas females presented with the two losers from the day before were more likely to spend more time evading both males, but often eventually mated with one of them. On the third day, the researchers put the female in a nest box with either the loser from the previous two days or with another randomly chosen stranger. Nine out of ten females paired with a stranger mated with him on this third day, whereas only one female paired with a double-loser was willing to mate with him at all. Males that successfully mated on the first day were generally the largest of the three. Loser males that mated on the second day were generally the second-largest and unsuccessful males were generally the smallest.Interestingly, when given a choice of males one at a time, female brown antechinuses do not seem to care at all about male size. But when males are directly competing with one another, the largest male seems to get the girl. It appears that body size plays a role in the dominance interactions among the males, and that females are paying attention to how the males relate to one another. Additionally, larger males that were more successful in mating also lived longer and had fewer parasites. This could be because it is more stressful to be a loser than to be a winner. Stress increases the production of stress hormones, which in turn reduces immune function. In all of these ways, bigger males are more likely to father more young, who in turn will be more likely to grow up to be big males too... but not for long... Want to know more? Check these out:Fisher, D., & Cockburn, A. (2005). The large-male advantage in brown antechinuses: female choice, male dominance, and delayed male death Behavioral Ecology, 17 (2), 164-171 DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arj012 Doing it to death: suicidal sex in "marsupial mice" at The Conversation ... Read more »

  • June 15, 2015
  • 06:09 AM
  • 144 views

Cancer Breakthrough: New Device May Revolutionize Treatment

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

Preclinical problems are solved as CIVO simultaneously injects eight drugs.... Read more »

Klinghoffer, R., Bahrami, S., Hatton, B., Frazier, J., Moreno-Gonzalez, A., Strand, A., Kerwin, W., Casalini, J., Thirstrup, D., You, S.... (2015) A technology platform to assess multiple cancer agents simultaneously within a patient's tumor. Science Translational Medicine, 7(284), 284-284. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaa7489  

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