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  • September 10, 2014
  • 09:40 AM
  • 132 views

Midi-chlorians gave Jedi knights their power. Is there something like this on Earth?

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

A strange and provocative paper by Alexander Panchin and colleagues proposes an unorthodox new idea called the “biomeme hypothesis”, which posits that the impulse behind some religious rituals could be driven by mind-altering parasites.... Read more »

  • September 10, 2014
  • 08:00 AM
  • 91 views

Return of Results from Next-gen Sequencing

by Daniel Koboldt in Massgenomics

The rapid adoption of next-gen exome and genome sequencing for clinical use (i.e. with patient DNA) raises some difficult questions about the return of results to patients and their families. In contrast to traditional genetic testing, which usually checks for variants in specific genes, high-throughput sequencing has the potential to reveal a number of secondary […]... Read more »

  • September 10, 2014
  • 05:01 AM
  • 90 views

Donepezil and D-cycloserine rescue behaviours in VPA exposed animals

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

In a post not-so-long-ago I talked about an interesting piece of research by Ahn and colleagues [1] suggesting that a ketogenic diet might yet hold some promise to "modify complex social behaviors and mitochondrial respiration" affected in the "prenatal valproic acid (VPA) rodent model of ASD [autism spectrum disorder]". The idea being that exposure to valproic acid (valproate) during the nine months that made us might carry some heightened risk for adverse effects on offspring development (see ........ Read more »

  • September 9, 2014
  • 02:35 PM
  • 111 views

Autism and Testosterone

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

As a male we are at higher risk for heart disease, we are also at higher risk for stroke. It’s that pesky testosterone, sure it has its benefits, don’t get me wrong I think testosterone over all is great. Estrogen has it’s own downsides too, things like certain cancers for example. Well estrogen has some other benefits and as it turns out, the same sex hormone that helps protect females from stroke may also reduce their risk of autism.... Read more »

Amanda Crider,, Roshni Thakkar,, Anthony O Ahmed, & Anilkumar Pillai. (2014) Dysregulation of estrogen receptor beta (ERβ), aromatase (CYP19A1), and ER co-activators in the middle frontal gyrus of autism spectrum disorder subjects. Molecular Autism . info:/10.1186/2040-2392-5-46

  • September 9, 2014
  • 09:37 AM
  • 102 views

Elderly Seabirds Dive Just as Well as Young Ones

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

If your grandma got up from the sofa, did a couple toe-touches, and then ran a mile at her college track pace, she might be approaching the athletic skill of a thick-billed murre. These seabirds make incredibly deep, long dives to catch prey. As they age, their bodies slow and change like ours. But the […]The post Elderly Seabirds Dive Just as Well as Young Ones appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »

  • September 9, 2014
  • 04:35 AM
  • 109 views

The gondii and generalised anxiety disorder

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) has been absent from discussions on this blog for a while now. I'm going to remedy that today with this post talking about the paper from Markovitz and colleagues [1] who concluded: "T. gondii infection may play a role in the development of GAD [generalized anxiety disorder]"."You have saved our lives. We are eternally grateful"Based on participants taking part in the Detroit Neighborhood Health Study exposure to T. gondii "defined by seropositivity a........ Read more »

Markovitz A, Simanek AM, Yolken R, Galea S, Koenen KC, Chen S, & Aiello AE. (2014) Toxoplasma gondii and anxiety disorders in a community-based sample. Brain, behavior, and immunity. PMID: 25124709  

  • September 8, 2014
  • 09:05 PM
  • 126 views

The atmosphere and what we eat: significant increases in greenhouse gas emissions predicted for high-calorie diets recommended by USDA

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

New research shows that shifting to recommended, high-calorie USDA diets could increase GHG emissions due to the dairy required to make up for reduced meat/poultry calories. What we eat impacts our long-term environment!... Read more »

  • September 8, 2014
  • 06:07 PM
  • 117 views

Genes Smash! An Oxytricha trifallax story

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

In DNA mutation is often a bad thing. It’s sort of like building a car, there are far more wrong ways to one together than there are right ways. Still, mutation happens often which brings with it good (and more often bad) things. Usually mutation is spontaneous, it has no real rhyme or reason (in a broad sense) and while it brings things like cancers, it also can bring amazingly beneficial traits too.... Read more »

Chen X, Bracht JR, Goldman AD, Dolzhenko E, Clay DM, Swart EC, Perlman DH, Doak TG, Stuart A, Amemiya CT.... (2014) The Architecture of a Scrambled Genome Reveals Massive Levels of Genomic Rearrangement during Development. Cell, 158(5), 1187-98. PMID: 25171416  

  • September 8, 2014
  • 04:40 PM
  • 99 views

“If I do that, I’ll be in more pain and won’t sleep and …” Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia reformulated

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

The TSK has been used for many years now as a good measure of kinesiophobia. Usually scores of above 45 (from a possible 68) suggest that the person has beliefs that their pain represents ongoing damage (Somatic focus) and that they should avoid doing anything that provokes pain (Activity avoidance). High scores have been associated with a wide range of negative outcomes including pain intensity, disability, distress – and in a wide range of individuals including people with chronic low b........ Read more »

  • September 8, 2014
  • 10:41 AM
  • 124 views

Coping with Stress – Some Essential Constructs

by Vivek Misra in The UberBrain

Anxiety, insomnia, muscle tension, fatigue, high blood pressure, and anger are just some of the symptoms of stress. Stress not only affects our body, but also our behavior that can lead to social withdrawal. This presentation will explore the nature of our mind and the various factors in our lives that cause us stress. We will learn simple meditation techniques that can nourish the mind which will lead to increased focus, greater productivity, and improved relationships. ~ Pandi Gadadhara Pandi,........ Read more »

  • September 8, 2014
  • 04:22 AM
  • 110 views

Homocysteine, MTHFR and schizophrenia studied AND meta-analysed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Our study suggests that increased plasma total homocysteine levels may be associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia". Further: "The meta-analysis of the Japanese genetic association studies demonstrated a significant association between the MTHFR C677T polymorphism and schizophrenia".MTHFR (again!) @ Paul WhiteleySo said the results of the study and meta-analysis carried out by Akira Nishi and colleagues [1] (open-access) looking at the 'big H' alongside everyone's genetic Scrabbl........ Read more »

  • September 7, 2014
  • 01:46 PM
  • 106 views

A new Hope for Muscle Wasting Diseases

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Muscle wasting diseases can be difficult to watch. They are typically slow and have a very painful progression, some to the point of not even being able to breath on ones own. But new research might change all that. Scientists have developed a novel technique to promote tissue repair in damaged muscles. The technique also creates a sustainable pool of muscle stem cells needed to support multiple rounds of muscle repair.... Read more »

Vittorio Sartorelli, & Alessandra Sacco. (2014) STAT3 signaling controls satellite cell expansion and skeletal muscle repair. Nature Medicine. info:/10.1038/nm.3656

  • September 7, 2014
  • 10:03 AM
  • 111 views

Fist Bump, Don't Handshake

by Viputheshwar Sitaraman in Draw Science

Fist bumps minimize contact time and surface area, diminishing germ transfer in terms of greetings--especially compared to handshakes.... Read more »

  • September 6, 2014
  • 06:22 PM
  • 134 views

Is the Internet of Things the Real Thing?

by Aurametrix team in Health Technologies

The Internet of Things: an exciting new world with a digital nervous system or a nightmare where objects take decisions while we are unconscious?15 years ago, when the term was first coined, it was about assigning everything around us a unique identity with RFID tags, to enable all material things to talk to each other and save us time for gathering and using information. As RFID tags dropped below 1 cent cost, and sensors, modems and devices are getting smaller, smarter and cheaper, this vision........ Read more »

Ashton K. (2009) That 'Internet of Things' Thing, in the real world things matter more than ideas. RFID Journal. info:/

Schreier G. (2014) The internet of things for personalized health. Studies in health technology and informatics, 22-31. PMID: 24851958  

Perera, C., Zaslavsky, A., Christen, P., & Georgakopoulos, D. (2014) Sensing as a service model for smart cities supported by Internet of Things. Transactions on Emerging Telecommunications Technologies, 25(1), 81-93. DOI: 10.1002/ett.2704  

  • September 6, 2014
  • 12:10 PM
  • 128 views

Women and sexual assault: Unfortunate news…

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

I was debating about this new study. On one hand it’s important to share all sorts of different findings. On the other hand, my faith in humanity was more than just a little shaken, but there is no point on sweeping it under the rug. So disturbing news for women on college campuses, a new study indicates that female college students who are victims of sexual assault are at a much higher risk of becoming victims again. Please hold your disgust till the end…... Read more »

  • September 5, 2014
  • 01:56 PM
  • 150 views

Artificial Cells: They’re alive!!

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Frankenstein’s monster was (in the story) a scientific marvel that could not be matched. Growing up with the story, the idea of creating life where there was none was a feat that I had once thought was going to always be science fiction. Maybe this is why I was so surprised when I found out that scientists, using only a few ingredients, have successfully implemented a minimalistic model of the cell that can change its shape and move on its own.... Read more »

Keber, F., Loiseau, E., Sanchez, T., DeCamp, S., Giomi, L., Bowick, M., Marchetti, M., Dogic, Z., & Bausch, A. (2014) Topology and dynamics of active nematic vesicles. Science, 345(6201), 1135-1139. DOI: 10.1126/science.1254784  

  • September 5, 2014
  • 05:04 AM
  • 128 views

Extremes of a self-limiting diet in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'll draw your attention to three papers in today's post which represent the extremes of where self-imposed dietary restrictions can potentially lead in relation to the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Issues with diet - outside of use of diet as an intervention measure - are something which have been talked about quite a bit in the autism research literature (see here)."You look like a gangster"The first paper by Baird & Ravindranath [1] describes a case report of an 11-year old with ........ Read more »

Baird JS, & Ravindranath TM. (2014) Vitamin B Deficiencies in a Critically Ill Autistic Child With a Restricted Diet. Nutrition in clinical practice : official publication of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. PMID: 25112945  

Gulko E, Collins LK, Murphy RC, Thornhill BA, & Taragin BH. (2014) MRI findings in pediatric patients with scurvy. Skeletal radiology. PMID: 25109378  

  • September 4, 2014
  • 01:34 PM
  • 131 views

Total Recall: How the Brain Processes Color and Motion

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Despite the barrage of visual information the brain receives almost constantly, it retains a remarkable ability to focus on important and relevant items. This fall, for example, NFL quarterbacks will be rewarded handsomely for how well they can focus their attention on color and motion – being able to quickly judge the jersey colors of teammates and opponents and where they’re headed is a valuable skill. How the brain accomplishes this feat, however, has been poorly understood.... Read more »

Guilhem Ibosemail, & David J. Freedman. (2014) Dynamic Integration of Task-Relevant Visual Features in Posterior Parietal Cortex. Neuron. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2014.08.020

  • September 4, 2014
  • 04:51 AM
  • 107 views

Epigenetic processes and autism: focusing on immune function?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Although the title of this post talks about the science of epigenetics in autism, I'm actually going to be talking about two papers today, one of which also covers exposure to prenatal immune activation and what effect that might have on epigenetic processes in the mouse brain. This may also be relevant to at least some autism..."Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy. And ideas are bulletproof"First off we have the paper from Nardone and colleagues [1] (open-access) which, following som........ Read more »

Nardone, S., Sharan Sams, D., Reuveni, E., Getselter, D., Oron, O., Karpuj, M., & Elliott, E. (2014) DNA methylation analysis of the autistic brain reveals multiple dysregulated biological pathways. Translational Psychiatry, 4(9). DOI: 10.1038/tp.2014.70  

  • September 3, 2014
  • 04:25 PM
  • 133 views

HIV and Dementia

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

With the introduction of combination antiretroviral therapy (or cART) during the mid-90s, the life expectancy of HIV patients has significantly improved. An unfortunate side effect of this is that long-term complications are becoming more relevant: almost every second HIV patient is affected by neurocognitive disorders, which can lead to dementia. It has not as yet been fully understood how these disorders occur, but new research is shining a light on the culprit.... Read more »

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