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  • March 25, 2014
  • 02:31 PM


by Amy Swanston in Antisense Science

With the Council for Science and Technology advising that we need to rethink our stance on GM food, we decided to look into some of the science behind genetic engineering to see what all the fuss is about.

Every year the world population increases, as does our need to find new sources of food. Globally malnutrition affects 34 million children across the world- but could GM crops be the cure? A huge proportion of land is simply not good enough to grow food or has problems with pests, but if we........ Read more »

Eamens A, Wang MB, Smith NA, & Waterhouse PM. (2008) RNA silencing in plants: yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Plant physiology, 147(2), 456-68. PMID: 18524877  

Funke T, Han H, Healy-Fried ML, Fischer M, & Schönbrunn E. (2006) Molecular basis for the herbicide resistance of Roundup Ready crops. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103(35), 13010-5. PMID: 16916934  

Paine JA, Shipton CA, Chaggar S, Howells RM, Kennedy MJ, Vernon G, Wright SY, Hinchliffe E, Adams JL, Silverstone AL.... (2005) Improving the nutritional value of Golden Rice through increased pro-vitamin A content. Nature biotechnology, 23(4), 482-7. PMID: 15793573  

  • March 25, 2014
  • 11:08 AM

When Sleeping Pills Don't Work

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Hypnotics or sleeping pills typically are effective and indicated as an option for the short-term relief of transient insomnia.However, a minority of individuals report persistent insomnia and lack of sleep despite use of a hypnotic.When drugs that typically treat a disorder fail to work, it is important to reconsider the accuracy of the diagnosis.Yun Li and colleagues from China recently published a case report illustrating this issue in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.They reported on a........ Read more »

Li Y, Li Z, Lei F, Du L, & Tang X. (2013) Persistent insomnia despite long-term nightly use of sleeping pills. Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 9(8), 834-6. PMID: 23946716  

  • March 24, 2014
  • 05:30 AM

A specific female ASD phenotype is emerging...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The title of this brief post is a quote taken from the abstract of the paper by Frazier and colleagues [1] who, following an analysis of participants included in the Simons Simplex Collection, concluded that autism research and practice might well consider looking at differences in the presentation of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) between the sexes.The Lady of Shalott @ Wikipedia Including nearly 2500 people with autism including over 2100 males and 304 females, examining ........ Read more »

Frazier TW, Georgiades S, Bishop SL, & Hardan AY. (2014) Behavioral and cognitive characteristics of females and males with autism in the simons simplex collection. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 53(3), 329-340000. PMID: 24565360  

  • March 24, 2014
  • 04:00 AM

Earliest Evidence of Gigantism-Like Disease Found in 3,800-Year-Old California Skeleton

by Blake de Pastino in Western Digs

The remains of a man buried 3,800 years ago in a richly decorated California grave bear some unusual but unmistakable features — signs of acromegaly, a rare disorder of the endocrine system that’s similar to gigantism.... Read more »

  • March 23, 2014
  • 11:58 PM

Non-drug approaches for people with fibromyalgia

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

No-one wants to be told their pain is “in your head”. But given our increasingly sophisticated understanding of pain neurobiology, there’s plenty of reason to agree that thinking, feeling and doing things differently makes life far more rewarding and rich than feeling helpless, fatigued and sore. Some proponents of purely biomedical interventions, notably musculoskeletal physicians, argue that if only the “source of the nociception” was found, the nerve “zappe........ Read more »

  • March 21, 2014
  • 09:46 AM

I carry my son's DNA: a look at microchimerism and its effects

by EE Giorgi in CHIMERAS

To celebrate the upcoming release of my detective thriller CHIMERAS, the next few Research Blogging posts will be dedicated to the different forms of chimerism. I'm sure you are all familiar with dispermic chimeras, which occur when two fertilized eggs fuse together shortly after conception. The result is one individual with two sets of genetically distinct cells. Have you ever heard of microchimerism, though?"Microchimerism refers to a small number of cells (or DNA) harbored by one individual t........ Read more »

Gammill HS, & Nelson JL. (2010) Naturally acquired microchimerism. The International journal of developmental biology, 54(2-3), 531-43. PMID: 19924635  

  • March 21, 2014
  • 06:29 AM

Dioxin exposure and autistic traits?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

As promised in a previous post, today I'm turning my attention to the paper by Muneko Nishijo and colleagues [1] and their conclusion of "a specific impact of perinatal TCDD [2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin] on autistic traits in childhood, which is different from the neurotoxicity of total dioxins (PCDDs/Fs) [polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins/furans]".TCDD @ Wikipedia With all the recent chatter about [surrogate] environmental markers and the numbers ........ Read more »

  • March 20, 2014
  • 05:00 PM

My thoughts on the dyslexia debate

by Dorothy Bishop in bishopblog

Elliott and Grigorenko have argued that dyslexia is not a meaningful category, and that the label should be abandoned because it just leads to unfairness and woolly thinking. I put this debate into the wider context of psychiatric diagnosis and argue we need to consider not just scientific evidence, but also how labels affect our judgements of who is deserving of help, and who is responsible for giving it.... Read more »

  • March 20, 2014
  • 12:19 PM

Low Vitamin D, Atherosclerosis and CardioVascular Disease

by AB Kirk in Stiff Competition

Vitamin D has received tremendous interest over the last ten years.  One of the many things to come out about Vitamin D is that is that it protects against vascular calcification.  Vascular calcification causes or contributes to: Stiff arteries Poor elasticity Increased blood pressure Kidney damage Increased risk of heart attack and stroke Congestive heart […]
The post Low Vitamin D, Atherosclerosis and CardioVascular Disease appeared first on WODMasters.
... Read more »

Nadine Schmidt, Corinna Brandsch, Alexandra Schutkowski, Frank Hirche, & Gabriele I. Stangl. (2014) Dietary Vitamin D Inadequacy Accelerates Calcification and Osteoblast-Like Cell Formation in the Vascular System of LDL Receptor Knockout and Wild-Type Mice. Journal of Nutrition. info:/

  • March 20, 2014
  • 03:39 AM

Environmental exposure and autism continued

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

In a post not-so-long-ago I talked about the paper by Andrey Rzhetsky and colleagues [1] and their assertion that environment (various facets of environment) might correlate with the increasing numbers of cases of autism being diagnosed. As per what was said on that post, there were lots of media headlines generated about the findings; some balanced and some a little sensational.Luc Viatour / @ Wikipedia One of the main caveats I had with the Rzhetsky study was the relian........ Read more »

  • March 19, 2014
  • 12:01 PM

Naptime Stories Boost Word Learning in Children

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Sleep is known to have a beneficial effect on the consolidation of memory.There have been few studies to demonstrate how this effect my be utilized.Williams and Horst recently tested the effect of storybook reading, sleep and word learning in group of 3 year old children.Their study recently published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology randomized 48 three year old children into four groups:Group one: children were read the same story before a napsGroup two: children were read different stori........ Read more »

  • March 19, 2014
  • 11:50 AM

Oral hygiene, orthodontics and knee surgery: two unrelated papers.

by Kevin OBrien in Kevin OBrien's Orthodontic Blog

Oral Hygiene, orthodontics and knee surgery: Two unrelated but interesting papers. This blog is based around  two papers that I have recently read and enjoyed. The first is on the effect of visual aids on oral hygiene in orthodontic patients and the second is a trial of knee surgery compared to a sham operation. I […]The post Oral hygiene, orthodontics and knee surgery: two unrelated papers. appeared first on Kevin O'Brien's Orthodontic Blog.... Read more »

Sihvonen, R., Paavola, M., Malmivaara, A., Itälä, A., Joukainen, A., Nurmi, H., Kalske, J., & Järvinen, T. (2013) Arthroscopic Partial Meniscectomy versus Sham Surgery for a Degenerative Meniscal Tear. New England Journal of Medicine, 369(26), 2515-2524. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1305189  

  • March 19, 2014
  • 09:38 AM

Video Tip of the Week: ICGC portal for cancer genomics

by Mary in OpenHelix

A question at Biostar about cancer “gene sets” recently got me looking at one of my favorite data sources again–the ICGC, International Cancer Genome Consortium, and their data portal. Previous posts we’ve done were based on their legacy portal (which is still available on their site). They changed things up a bit with a release […]... Read more »

Hudson (Chairperson) Thomas J., Anderson Warwick, Aretz Axel, Barker Anna D., Bell Cindy, Bernabé Rosa R., Bhan M. K., Calvo Fabien, Eerola Iiro, & Gerhard Daniela S. (2010) International network of cancer genome projects. Nature, 464(7291), 993-998. DOI: 10.1038/nature08987  

Alexandrov Ludmil B., Nik-Zainal Serena, Wedge David C., Aparicio Samuel A. J. R., Behjati Sam, Biankin Andrew V., Bignell Graham R., Bolli Niccolò, Borg Ake, & Børresen-Dale Anne-Lise. (2013) Signatures of mutational processes in human cancer. Nature, 500(7463), 415-421. DOI: 10.1038/nature12477  

Gonzalez-Perez Abel, Mustonen Ville, Reva Boris, Ritchie Graham R S, Creixell Pau, Karchin Rachel, Vazquez Miguel, Fink J Lynn, Kassahn Karin S, & Pearson John V. (2013) Computational approaches to identify functional genetic variants in cancer genomes. Nature Methods, 10(8), 723-729. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.2562  

  • March 18, 2014
  • 11:46 AM

Short Sleep Duration in Children with Autism

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Parents of children with autism and autism spectrum disorder commonly report sleep problems in their child.However, there have been few prospective systematic studies of sleep in this disorder.Joanna Humphreys from Canada and colleagues from England recently published an important manuscript addressing this topic.They used data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. This data set includes prospective data collected from a cohort of over 14,000 children born between April 1991 ........ Read more »

Humphreys JS, Gringras P, Blair PS, Scott N, Henderson J, Fleming PJ, & Emond AM. (2014) Sleep patterns in children with autistic spectrum disorders: a prospective cohort study. Archives of disease in childhood, 99(2), 114-8. PMID: 24061777  

  • March 18, 2014
  • 08:57 AM

Deleting The ‘I’ From CIAP

by Pieter Carrière in United Academics

Although similar symptoms are found in other polyneuropathies, CIAP is an exceptional disease, primarily because the cause is unknown. Researchers only recently found an interesting link between CIAP and other clinical conditions, which could lead to a better diagnosis.... Read more »

Notermans NC, Wokke JH, Franssen H, van der Graaf Y, Vermeulen M, van den Berg LH, Bär PR, & Jennekens FG. (1993) Chronic idiopathic polyneuropathy presenting in middle or old age: a clinical and electrophysiological study of 75 patients. Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry, 56(10), 1066-71. PMID: 7691991  

Visser, N., Vrancken, A., van der Schouw, Y., van den Berg, L., & Notermans, N. (2012) Chronic Idiopathic Axonal Polyneuropathy Is Associated With the Metabolic Syndrome. Diabetes Care, 36(4), 817-822. DOI: 10.2337/dc12-0469  

Singer MA, Vernino SA, & Wolfe GI. (2012) Idiopathic neuropathy: new paradigms, new promise. Journal of the peripheral nervous system : JPNS, 43-9. PMID: 22548623  

  • March 17, 2014
  • 11:33 PM

Soy infant formula and seizures in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Spring @ Wikipedia 'Association' is a word I'm sure many people with a connection to autism will have heard a lot about. Y'know gene X or compound Y is the plat du jour when it comes to autism aetiology; more often than not carrying the caveat 'requires further investigation'. As to whether such investigations are ever truly carried out would perhaps be an interesting piece of research on autism research.Today I'm talking about another association, another variable to throw into the st........ Read more »

  • March 17, 2014
  • 11:10 AM

Brain Gray Matter Volumes in Primary Insomnia

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Chronic primary insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by delayed sleep onset, reduced total sleep duration and fatigue on morning awakening.In addition, by definition chronic primary insomnia cannot be due to a primary medical or psychiatric disorder. Some patients with chronic primary insomnia also demonstrate subjective and objective impairment in concentration and memory.Eun Yeon Joo and colleagues from South Korea recently published an analysis of brain structural features in 27 su........ Read more »

Joo EY, Noh HJ, Kim JS, Koo DL, Kim D, Hwang KJ, Kim JY, Kim ST, Kim MR, & Hong SB. (2013) Brain Gray Matter Deficits in Patients with Chronic Primary Insomnia. Sleep, 36(7), 999-1007. PMID: 23814336  

  • March 17, 2014
  • 09:50 AM

Obesity, Coca-Colonization And Hunger

by Eva de Lozanne in United Academics

Obesity is (no longer) a problem restrained to wealthy nations. Not a single developing nations has managed to eradicate hunger without shifting to problems of obesity. Hunger may, funny enough, even be one of the factors contributing to obesity.... Read more »

Black RE, Victora CG, Walker SP, Bhutta ZA, Christian P, de Onis M, Ezzati M, Grantham-McGregor S, Katz J, Martorell R.... (2013) Maternal and child undernutrition and overweight in low-income and middle-income countries. Lancet, 382(9890), 427-51. PMID: 23746772  

  • March 16, 2014
  • 04:42 AM

Obesity and autism (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Phillips and colleagues [1] looking at the prevalence of 'unhealthy weight' in relation to developmentally-defined conditions including autism brought me to writing this update post on the topic of obesity and autism. As you might glean from that previous sentence, obesity and over-weightness(?) has been talked about before on this blog (see here and see here for example). My recent discussion in relation to findings of elevated plasma leptin in cases of autism (see here) ........ Read more »

  • March 16, 2014
  • 03:44 AM

What's In A Name?

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

Blastocystis is a parasite. But what makes a parasite, and are all parasites 'bad'?... Read more »

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