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  • August 11, 2015
  • 05:27 PM
  • 125 views

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

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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

  • August 11, 2015
  • 02:23 PM
  • 101 views

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

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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

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

  • August 11, 2015
  • 03:44 AM
  • 167 views

Schizophrenia and CRP meta-analysed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"CRP [C-reactive protein] levels were moderately increased in persons with SZ [schizophrenia] regardless of the use of antipsychotics and did not change between the first episode of psychosis and with progression of SZ."That was the conclusion reached by Fernandes and colleagues [1] as part of their meta-analysis "of all cross-sectional studies of serum and plasma CRP levels in SZ compared to healthy subjects."CRP, just in case you didn't know, is one of the molecules of........ Read more »

  • August 10, 2015
  • 01:22 PM
  • 132 views

Researchers resurrect ancient viruses in hopes of improving gene therapy

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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

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

  • August 10, 2015
  • 01:02 PM
  • 149 views

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

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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

  • August 10, 2015
  • 02:27 AM
  • 142 views

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome following atopy?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Regular readers might already know that I'm a bit of a fan of the various data coming out of Taiwan based on interrogation of the National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD). If it's not the possibility of a connection between asthma and various behavioural outcomes (see here) confirmed by other independent research (see here), it's the idea that something like enterovirus encephalitis in its most severe form might link into something like attention-deficit hyperactivity disord........ Read more »

  • August 9, 2015
  • 03:03 PM
  • 160 views

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

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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

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

  • August 8, 2015
  • 04:37 PM
  • 156 views

Good for the relationship: A reframing of sexting

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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

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

  • August 8, 2015
  • 02:20 AM
  • 151 views

Optimal outcome and the autism spectrum: implications for the risk of psychiatric comorbidity?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The minority of the AS [Asperger syndrome] group who no longer met criteria for a full diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder were usually free of current psychiatric comorbidity."That was one of the details reported by I. Carina Gillberg and colleagues [1] continuing their longitudinal look at a group of males diagnosed with Asperger syndrome and participants' experiences as a function of their presented symptoms and risk of other comorbidity.Titled 'Boys with Asperger Sy........ Read more »

  • August 7, 2015
  • 02:27 PM
  • 155 views

Switching mouse neural stem cells to a primate-like behavior

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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

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

  • August 7, 2015
  • 01:00 PM
  • 140 views

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

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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

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

  • August 7, 2015
  • 02:32 AM
  • 107 views

Immune related genes and pathways feature in 22q11DS-ASD

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quick post for your consumption today based on the findings reported by Maria Jalbrzikowski and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) who undertook "genomic analyses of 22q11DS to identify genes and pathways related to specific phenotypes." 22q11DS - 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome - is a genetic condition characterised by a deletion of a small piece of genetic material of chromosome 22. Autism is among several presentations that can co-occur in cases of 22q11DS (sometimes called Del........ Read more »

  • August 6, 2015
  • 04:54 PM
  • 92 views

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

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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

  • August 6, 2015
  • 03:16 AM
  • 123 views

More medical illness associated with bipolar disorder

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

In a previous post on this blog I covered the idea that a diagnosis of bipolar disorder (previously called manic depression) might 'set someone up' for an elevated risk of various other medical illnesses when compared with data from asymptomatic controls (see here).Today I'm continuing that theme based on the findings reported by Hsu and colleagues [1] and the suggestion that: "BDs [bipolar disorders] were an independent risk factor for PUDs [peptic ulcer diseases]." With a starting po........ Read more »

  • August 5, 2015
  • 03:14 PM
  • 167 views

How to tell the difference between bipolar disorder and depression

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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

  • August 5, 2015
  • 02:44 PM
  • 126 views

Mans best friend: Dogs process faces in specialized brain area

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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

  • August 5, 2015
  • 03:29 AM
  • 121 views

Gender differences in chronic fatigue syndrome

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The title of this post matches the title of the paper published by Monica Faro and colleagues [1] (open-access here) and some potentially important data on "whether there are gender-related differences in CFS [Chronic Fatigue Syndrome], and to define a clinical phenotype in men."Starting with the idea that the prevalence of CFS - a generic term covering a spectrum of conditions characterised by severe and debilitating fatigue among several other things - may have a gender skew towards femal........ Read more »

Faro M, Sàez-Francás N, Castro-Marrero J, Aliste L, Fernández de Sevilla T, & Alegre J. (2015) Gender differences in chronic fatigue syndrome. Reumatologia clinica. PMID: 26190206  

  • August 4, 2015
  • 04:34 PM
  • 239 views

Preventing addiction relapse by erasing drug-associated memories

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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

  • August 4, 2015
  • 12:40 PM
  • 127 views

Stem cells: From pluripotency to totipotency

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

While it is already possible to obtain in vitro pluripotent cells (ie, cells capable of generating all tissues of an embryo) from any cell type, researchers from Maria-Elena Torres-Padilla’s team have pushed the limits of science even further. They managed to obtain totipotent cells with the same characteristics as those of the earliest embryonic stages and with even more interesting properties.... Read more »

Ishiuchi, T., Enriquez-Gasca, R., Mizutani, E., Bošković, A., Ziegler-Birling, C., Rodriguez-Terrones, D., Wakayama, T., Vaquerizas, J., & Torres-Padilla, M. (2015) Early embryonic-like cells are induced by downregulating replication-dependent chromatin assembly. Nature Structural . DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.3066  

  • August 4, 2015
  • 02:53 AM
  • 143 views

Anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis and autism: research ascendancy

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Reza Kiani and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) detailing the presence of anti-N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor encephalitis in two people "with autism and intellectual disability presenting with neuropsychiatric symptoms of catatonia and neuroleptic malignant syndrome" caught my eye recently.Having previously talked about anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis and autism in a previous blog post (see here) back in 2013 with the emphasis on a possible link to 'autis........ Read more »

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