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  • March 29, 2016
  • 02:54 AM
  • 162 views

On the use of risperidone and young children with autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Without trying to scaremonger, it is already well known that certain anti-psychotics potentially indicated for some of the more 'challenging behaviours' associated with conditions like autism for example, carry their own important side-effects. Risperidone, one of the more commonly used medicines, has quite an extensive list of possible side-effects, some of which have been previously mentioned on this blog (see here). Increased appetite and weight gain are some of the more commonly observed sid........ Read more »

Scahill, L., Jeon, S., Boorin, S., McDougle, C., Aman, M., Dziura, J., McCracken, J., Caprio, S., Arnold, L., Nicol, G.... (2016) Weight Gain and Metabolic Consequences of Risperidone in Young Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child . DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2016.02.016  

  • March 28, 2016
  • 04:31 AM
  • 187 views

The genetics of self-injurious behaviour accompanying autism? Not quite...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'd like to start by making one thing abundantly clear about today's post: I am not insinuating that self-injurious behaviour (SIB) accompanying autism is solely under genetic (or epigenetic) control.As I've discussed before on this blog, there are potentially many, many reasons why SIB under the umbrella of the so-called 'challenging behaviours' occurs (see here). As and when it does happen, the onus is on those significant others to turn detective before anyone immediately reaches for somethin........ Read more »

Shirley, M., Frelin, L., López, J., Jedlicka, A., Dziedzic, A., Frank-Crawford, M., Silverman, W., Hagopian, L., & Pevsner, J. (2016) Copy Number Variants Associated with 14 Cases of Self-Injurious Behavior. PLOS ONE, 11(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149646  

  • March 27, 2016
  • 03:33 PM
  • 204 views

Modified maggots could help human wound healing

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

When most of us think maggots, we probably don’t think anything good, but maybe we should start. In a proof-of-concept study, researchers have shown that genetically engineered green bottle fly (Lucilia sericata) larvae can produce and secrete a human growth factor – a molecule that helps promote cell growth and wound healing.

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  • March 26, 2016
  • 04:40 PM
  • 213 views

Organic nanowires destroy the competition

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Last month, we spoke of our vision of the future of humanity here at the lab. It makes sense that humanity would one-day step away from the static, non-living computer constructs we have designed. Moving us instead towards an organic alternative, one that can be readily repaired, replaced, or changed. While we cannot pretend to know what the future may hold, a new discovery helps bolster the stance we presented.

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Lampa-Pastirk, S., Veazey, J., Walsh, K., Feliciano, G., Steidl, R., Tessmer, S., & Reguera, G. (2016) Thermally activated charge transport in microbial protein nanowires. Scientific Reports, 23517. DOI: 10.1038/srep23517  

  • March 26, 2016
  • 04:58 AM
  • 209 views

The 'disrupted connectivity hypothesis of autism': where next?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

'The disrupted connectivity hypothesis of autism spectrum disorders: Time for the next phase in research' went the title of the paper by Roma Vasa and colleagues [1].Disrupted connectivity by the way, refers to the idea that "deficiencies in the way the brain coordinates and synchronizes activity amongst different regions may account for the clinical symptoms of ASD [autism spectrum disorders]." Picture if you will, the brain as a serious of telephone wires all connecting different parts of........ Read more »

  • March 25, 2016
  • 06:51 PM
  • 285 views

Mental illness, that’s a funny term isn’t it?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In today’s lexicon, the term mental illness is used pretty widely. It can be used to describe someone suffering from depression, to PTSD, to even someone suicidal. In fact, today it is sort of a catch all term for anyone who is involved in a mass shooting here in the US. We are getting off […]... Read more »

Elkington, K., Teplin, L., Abram, K., Jakubowski, J., Dulcan, M., & Welty, L. (2015) Psychiatric Disorders and Violence: A Study of Delinquent Youth After Detention. Journal of the American Academy of Child , 54(4), 302-31200000. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2015.01.002  

Su, J., Chen, J., Lippold, K., Monavarfeshani, A., Carrillo, G., Jenkins, R., & Fox, M. (2016) Collagen-derived matricryptins promote inhibitory nerve terminal formation in the developing neocortex. The Journal of Cell Biology, 212(6), 721-736. DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201509085  

Jacobs, R., Barba, A., Gowins, J., Klumpp, H., Jenkins, L., Mickey, B., Ajilore, O., Peciña, M., Sikora, M., Ryan, K.... (2016) Decoupling of the amygdala to other salience network regions in adolescent-onset recurrent major depressive disorder. Psychological Medicine, 1-13. DOI: 10.1017/S0033291715002615  

  • March 25, 2016
  • 05:13 AM
  • 229 views

Multiple 'depressions' and multiple trajectories? Sounds very familiar.

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm a fan of the idea that the categorical labelling system currently used in psychiatric and psychological circles probably isn't fit for purpose these days. Y'know, the idea that compartmentalising people into diagnostic boxes with an overarching title whilst useful for general identity and statistical classification, does little to inform about individual experiences or the important cross-over in presentation between and across different labels. Don't even get me started on how the use of su........ Read more »

  • March 24, 2016
  • 04:37 AM
  • 223 views

Sickness and disability benefit and mental illness in the UK

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Mental disorders have become the most common cause of receiving benefits, with the number of claimants rising by 103% from 1995 to 1.1 million in 2014. Claimants with other conditions fell by 35%."The findings reported by Sebastião Viola & Joanna Moncrieff [1] (open-access) provide stark evidence of both how prevalent mental illness is these days, and the financial implications of such illness to both the individual and more generally society.Set within the context of some pretty infl........ Read more »

  • March 23, 2016
  • 06:37 PM
  • 291 views

Road rage and toxoplasmosis: Return of the parasite

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

It was a clear case of a false alarm, toxoplasmosis, a parasite that infects mice and cats was thought to have an effect on humans. However, after a thorough review of the data it was off the hook, or so we thought. Individuals with a psychiatric disorder involving recurrent bouts of extreme, impulsive anger--road rage, for example--are more than twice as likely to have been exposed to a common parasite than healthy individuals with no psychiatric diagnosis.

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Coccaro, E., Lee, R., Groer, M., Can, A., Coussons-Read, M., & Postolache, T. (2016) Toxoplasma gondii Infection: Relationship With Aggression in Psychiatric Subjects. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 334-341. DOI: 10.4088/JCP.14m09621  

  • March 23, 2016
  • 03:45 AM
  • 219 views

Antibiotic brain? Cognitive impairment by antibiotic-induced gut dysbiosis

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The present study shows that intragastric treatment of mice with an antibiotic mix impairs novel object recognition, but not spatial memory. This behavioral change is associated with a disruption of the microbial community in the colon, distinct alterations of the colonic and circulating metabolite profile and particular changes of neurochemical brain activity."Those were the headlines attached to the paper published by Esther Fröhlich and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) who p........ Read more »

Fröhlich EE, Farzi A, Mayerhofer R, Reichmann F, Jačan A, Wagner B, Zinser E, Bordag N, Magnes C, Fröhlich E.... (2016) Cognitive Impairment by Antibiotic-Induced Gut Dysbiosis: Analysis of Gut Microbiota-Brain Communication. Brain, behavior, and immunity. PMID: 26923630  

  • March 22, 2016
  • 06:59 PM
  • 209 views

Ancient viruses lurk in our DNA

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Think your DNA is all human? Think again. And a new discovery suggests it’s even less human than scientists previously thought. Nineteen new pieces of non-human DNA — left by viruses that first infected our ancestors hundreds of thousands of years ago — have just been found, lurking between our own genes.

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Wildschutte, J., Williams, Z., Montesion, M., Subramanian, R., Kidd, J., & Coffin, J. (2016) Discovery of unfixed endogenous retrovirus insertions in diverse human populations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201602336. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1602336113  

  • March 22, 2016
  • 03:40 PM
  • 206 views

Parsley, prohibition, and machine gun oil: A sorrowful history of tricresyl phosphate poisoning

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

Some poisons are better known than others.Arsenic, for example, is famous for its participation in many a murder and suicide from the Middle Ages through to the mid-19th century (after which it became easier to detect and more difficult to acquire). Even to this day, the malicious metalloid remains in the public eye as a contaminant of groundwater in parts of South Asia and of soil in old orchards.A decidedly more obscure poison is a gooey industrial derivative of coal tar (leftovers from conver........ Read more »

  • March 22, 2016
  • 03:23 AM
  • 190 views

Can mitochondrial disease be mistaken for chronic fatigue syndrome?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Very possibly, is the answer to the question that titles this post on how the diagnostic borders between mitochondrial disease and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) might be blurred. I bring to your attention the case report published by Fernando Galán and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) as an example.Detailing the experiences of a 30-year old male who "appeared to meet the CDC-1994/Fukuda criteria for CFS [chronic fatigue syndrome]" and for whom 1 year of "cognitive behavioral th........ Read more »

Galán F, de Lavera I, Cotán D, & Sánchez-Alcázar JA. (2015) Mitochondrial Myopathy in Follow-up of a Patient With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Journal of investigative medicine high impact case reports, 3(3), 2147483647. PMID: 26904705  

  • March 21, 2016
  • 04:46 PM
  • 218 views

Sleep suppresses brain rebalancing

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Why humans and other animals sleep is one of the remaining deep mysteries of physiology. One prominent theory in neuroscience is that sleep is when the brain replays memories "offline" to better encode them ("memory consolidation"). A prominent and competing theory is that sleep is important for rebalancing activity in brain networks that have been perturbed during learning while awake.

... Read more »

  • March 21, 2016
  • 03:47 AM
  • 214 views

Risk of premature death and autism: some reflections

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"People with autism 'die younger', warns charity" went the very stark BBC headline recently.Today I'd like to bring your attention to the recent report published by Autistica titled: 'Personal tragedies, public crisis' making the headlines, highlighting how people with autism face a considerably enhanced risk of early mortality compared with the general population [1] (see here for my take).Although making quite sober reading and rightly using some very emotive language, I think m........ Read more »

Hirvikoski T, Mittendorfer-Rutz E, Boman M, Larsson H, Lichtenstein P, & Bölte S. (2016) Premature mortality in autism spectrum disorder. The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science, 208(3), 232-8. PMID: 26541693  

  • March 20, 2016
  • 04:32 PM
  • 245 views

A link between nightmares and suicidal behavior

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A new study is the first to report that the relationship between nightmares and suicidal behaviors is partially mediated by a multi-step pathway via defeat, entrapment, and hopelessness. Results show that suicidal thoughts, plans or attempts were present in 62 percent of participants who experienced nightmares and only 20 percent of those without nightmares.

... Read more »

  • March 20, 2016
  • 09:39 AM
  • 218 views

Neuropsychiatric Outcomes Of Traumatic Brain Injury

by Vivek Misra in Uberbrain Research Frontier

Traumatic brain injury (TBI), also known as intracranial injury, is a substantial head injury that results in damage to the brain. This damage can cause a wide spectrum of possible health outcomes. Factors that are likely to influence neuropsychiatric outcome in TBI can be classified as pre-injury, injury and post-injury factors. Injury-related factors include a) the type of physical injury
Read More
The post Neuropsychiatric Outcomes Of Traumatic Brain Injury appeared first on UBRF: UberBrain R........ Read more »

  • March 19, 2016
  • 03:01 PM
  • 186 views

Forgetting, to learn

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

They say that once you’ve learned to ride a bicycle, you never forget how to do it. Unfortunately for students who hope this applies to studying, they might not like new research suggesting that while learning, the brain is actively trying to forget. While this may at first blush seem like a bad thing, it actually may be useful for those suffering from PTSD.

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Madroñal, N., Delgado-García, J., Fernández-Guizán, A., Chatterjee, J., Köhn, M., Mattucci, C., Jain, A., Tsetsenis, T., Illarionova, A., Grinevich, V.... (2016) Rapid erasure of hippocampal memory following inhibition of dentate gyrus granule cells. Nature Communications, 10923. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms10923  

  • March 19, 2016
  • 04:40 AM
  • 238 views

What can 'big data' tell us about suicide-related behaviours?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The findings reported by Yu-Wen Lin and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) examining the "characteristics and suicide methods of patients with suicide-related behaviors" and "influential factors for repeated suicide-related behaviors and death by suicide" might not make for 'great dinner-party conversation' but are nevertheless important.Drawing on data from one of the world's premier 'big data' research sources - the Taiwanese National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD) - ........ Read more »

  • March 18, 2016
  • 02:36 PM
  • 257 views

Using precision medicine to define the genetics of autoimmune disease

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Demonstrating the potential of precision medicine, an international study used next-generation DNA sequencing technology to identify more than 1,000 gene variants that affect susceptibility to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Precision medicine is an emerging field that aims to deliver highly personalized health care by understanding how individual differences in genetics, environment, and lifestyle impact health and disease.

... Read more »

Raj, P., Rai, E., Song, R., Khan, S., Wakeland, B., Viswanathan, K., Arana, C., Liang, C., Zhang, B., Dozmorov, I.... (2016) Regulatory polymorphisms modulate the expression of HLA class II molecules and promote autoimmunity. eLife. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.12089  

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