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  • August 1, 2015
  • 01:58 PM
  • 12 views

Childhood cancer cells drain immune system’s batteries

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Cancer cells in neuroblastoma contain a molecule that breaks down a key energy source for the body’s immune cells, leaving them too physically drained to fight the disease, according to new research. Cancer Research UK-funded scientists have discovered that the cells in neuroblastoma – a rare type of childhood cancer that affects nerve cells – produce a molecule that breaks down arginine, one of the building blocks of proteins and an essential energy source for immune cells.... Read more »

  • August 1, 2015
  • 03:16 AM
  • 29 views

Methylphenidate: a repairer of the 'oxidative balance' in ADHD?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A fairly quick post for you today based on the findings reported by Esra Guney and colleagues [1] who examined whether markers of oxidative stress - an imbalance "between the systemic manifestation of reactive oxygen species and a biological system's ability to readily detoxify the reactive intermediates or to repair the resulting damage" - might be something to look at when it comes to cases of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).They concluded that, based on a small-ish sample........ Read more »

Guney, E., Cetin, F., Alisik, M., Tunca, H., Tas Torun, Y., Iseri, E., Isik Taner, Y., Cayci, B., & Erel, O. (2015) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and oxidative stress: A short term follow up study. Psychiatry Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2015.07.003  

  • July 31, 2015
  • 02:33 PM
  • 49 views

Crystal clear images uncover secrets of hormone receptors

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Many hormones and neurotransmitters work by binding to receptors on a cell’s exterior surface. This activates receptors causing them to twist, turn and spark chemical reactions inside cells. NIH scientists used atomic level images to show how the neuropeptide hormone neurotensin might activate its receptors. Their description is the first of its kind for a neuropeptide-binding G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), a class of receptors involved in a wide range of disorders and the target of many d........ Read more »

  • July 31, 2015
  • 10:40 AM
  • 44 views

What Happens When People Text on an Obstacle Course

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Exercise scientist Conrad Earnest was dodging some oblivious pedestrians in England when inspiration struck. He was trying to walk down the sidewalk, but all around him people were weaving back and forth as they focused on their smartphone screens. Earnest suggested to two of his students that they study the dangers of texting while walking. Specifically, they could ask whether texters are more likely to trip and fall—perhaps wishful thinking on Earnest's part as he walked among them.

The... Read more »

  • July 31, 2015
  • 10:00 AM
  • 41 views

How to make rice healthier for you and the environment

by Betty Zou in Eat, Read, Science

An innovative way of cooking rice that removes more arsenic than the conventional method and a new strain of high-starch, low-methane rice are discussed.... Read more »

  • July 31, 2015
  • 04:13 AM
  • 33 views

Everolimus: a new treatment for BHD renal cancer?

by Danielle Stevenson in BHD Research Blog

Last week the US National Cancer Institute announced a phase II clinical trial to test everolimus, a derivative of rapamycin, in BHD patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The trial is also open to sporadic chromophobe RCC (chRCC) patients. Approximately 85% of BHD-RCC is either chRCC or a chromophobe-oncocytoma hybrid (Pavlovich et al., 2002), but there are no effective treatments available for this RCC subtype. Instead BHD patients undergo partial nephrectomies to excise tumours – whi........ Read more »

  • July 31, 2015
  • 03:34 AM
  • 42 views

Careful now: oral colostrum MAF and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I should perhaps begin this slightly longer than usual post by reiterating my well-trodden caveat on this blog about not giving anything that looks, sounds or smells like medical or clinical advice during my musings. This is a blog [mainly] about peer-reviewed science, nothing more. Added to that, I'm not your Dr Ross and you are not my patient.So... I've been seeing quite a bit about Gc-MAF (Gc Macrophage Activating Factor) in the news recently. The various headlines about autism and Gc-MAF (se........ Read more »

  • July 30, 2015
  • 01:55 PM
  • 42 views

Paralyzed men move legs with new non-invasive spinal cord stimulation

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Five men with complete motor paralysis were able to voluntarily generate step-like movements thanks to a new strategy that non-invasively delivers electrical stimulation to their spinal cords. The strategy, called transcutaneous stimulation, delivers electrical current to the spinal cord by way of electrodes strategically placed on the skin of the lower back.... Read more »

Gerasimenko, Y., Lu, D., Modaber, M., Zdunowski, S., Gad, P., Sayenko, D., Morikawa, E., Haakana, P., Ferguson, A., Roy, R.... (2015) Noninvasive Reactivation of Motor Descending Control after Paralysis. Journal of Neurotrauma, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1089/neu.2015.4008  

  • July 30, 2015
  • 01:10 PM
  • 46 views

A tough bacterium that lives in poisoned soils and pulls gold out of water

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

Cupriavidus metallidurans (roughly translated: lover of copper, enduring metal) is a bacterium of the class Betaproteobacteria known for its ability to withstand high concentrations of numerous metals that would be toxic to most other living things. These metals, which include Ag, Au, Bi, Cd, Co, Cr, Cs, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb, Sr, Tl, U, and Zn, tend to cause problems for bacterial cells by binding to DNA or proteins, which can disrupt important stuff like obtaining energy or reproducing.The bacterium ........ Read more »

  • July 30, 2015
  • 11:08 AM
  • 34 views

What is going on with invasive knapweed? OR How I spent my PhD

by Kathryn Turner in Alien Plantation

Over the course of my PhD work (published here, and most recently here), I have found evidence for evolved differences in phenotype (in other words, in their morphology, development, phenology, stress responses) between native and invasive populations of diffuse knapweed. … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • July 30, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 53 views

New Insights into Human De Novo Mutations

by Daniel Koboldt in Massgenomics

De novo mutations — sequence variants that are present in a child but absent from both parents — are an important source of human genetic variation. I think it’s reasonable to say that most of the 3-4 million variants in any individual’s genome arose, once upon a time, as de novo mutations in his or her ancestors. […]... Read more »

Francioli LC, Polak PP, Koren A, Menelaou A, Chun S, Renkens I, Genome of the Netherlands Consortium, van Duijn CM, Swertz M, Wijmenga C.... (2015) Genome-wide patterns and properties of de novo mutations in humans. Nature genetics, 47(7), 822-6. PMID: 25985141  

  • July 30, 2015
  • 04:06 AM
  • 53 views

Inflammatory bowel disease and autism: increased prevalence

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin today's post:"Across each population with different kinds of ascertainment, there was a consistent and statistically significant increased prevalence of IBD [inflammatory bowel disease] in patients with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] than their respective controls and nationally reported rates for pediatric IBD."That was the conclusion reached in the paper published by Finale Doshi-Velez and colleagues [1] including one very notable name on the authorship list, Is........ Read more »

Doshi-Velez F, Avillach P, Palmer N, Bousvaros A, Ge Y, Fox K, Steinberg G, Spettell C, Juster I, & Kohane I. (2015) Prevalence of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Among Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Inflammatory bowel diseases. PMID: 26218138  

  • July 29, 2015
  • 08:08 PM
  • 71 views

We can build it better: The first artificial ribosome

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University have engineered a tethered ribosome that works nearly as well as the authentic cellular component, or organelle, that produces all the proteins and enzymes within the cell. The engineered ribosome may enable the production of new drugs and next-generation biomaterials and lead to a better understanding of how ribosomes function.... Read more »

Orelle, C., Carlson, E., Szal, T., Florin, T., Jewett, M., & Mankin, A. (2015) Protein synthesis by ribosomes with tethered subunits. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature14862  

  • July 29, 2015
  • 07:48 PM
  • 62 views

Prostate cancer is 5 different diseases

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Cancer Research UK scientists have for the first time identified that there are five distinct types of prostate cancer and found a way to distinguish between them, according to a landmark study. The findings could have important implications for how doctors treat prostate cancer in the future, by identifying tumours that are more likely to grow and spread aggressively through the body.... Read more »

  • July 29, 2015
  • 10:30 AM
  • 65 views

It’s 11 PM, Do You Know Where Your Organs Are?

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

It’s a miracle that a human body ever works like it’s supposed to. So many things can go wrong and there’s so few ways for things to be right. Ever hear of a defect called situs ambiguus? It’s a big problem. And what’s more, when something like transposition of the great arteries occurs, it’s only a second defect that keeps the patients alive.... Read more »

  • July 29, 2015
  • 09:39 AM
  • 59 views

Video Tip of the Week: PathWhiz for Pathways, Part II

by Mary in OpenHelix

This week’s tip is a follow-up to the PathWhiz one featured last week. After I had finished writing that one, the second video in the series became available. It has a lot more detail on how to work with the tool. I’m not going to go into the introduction here again, you can flip back […]... Read more »

Pon, A., Jewison, T., Su, Y., Liang, Y., Knox, C., Maciejewski, A., Wilson, M., & Wishart, D. (2015) Pathways with PathWhiz. Nucleic Acids Research, 43(W1). DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkv399  

  • July 29, 2015
  • 03:42 AM
  • 65 views

Gluten psychosis

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The present case-report confirms that psychosis may be a manifestation of NCGS [non-coeliac gluten sensitivity], and may also involve children; the diagnosis is difficult with many cases remaining undiagnosed."Elena Lionetti and colleagues [1] (open-access) provide an interesting read in today's post on how diet and psychiatry might once again be linked. Presenting a case report of a 14-year old girl coming to the attention of clinical services "for psychotic symptoms that were apparently ........ Read more »

Lionetti, E., Leonardi, S., Franzonello, C., Mancardi, M., Ruggieri, M., & Catassi, C. (2015) Gluten Psychosis: Confirmation of a New Clinical Entity. Nutrients, 7(7), 5532-5539. DOI: 10.3390/nu7075235  

  • July 28, 2015
  • 01:35 PM
  • 71 views

Where memory is encoded and retrieved

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Are the same regions and even the same cells of the brain area called hippocampus involved in encoding and retrieving memories or are different areas of this structure engaged? This question has kept neuroscientists busy for a long time. Researchers at the Mercator Research Group “Structure of Memory” at RUB have now found out that the same brain cells exhibit activity in both processes.... Read more »

  • July 28, 2015
  • 12:05 PM
  • 59 views

Sports Stadiums Make Bats into Winners and Losers

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Bats are indifferent to whether we're playing soccer, baseball, or beach volleyball under our stadium lights. They only care about the game of catch they're playing with all the bugs attracted to the glow. As bats stuff themselves on swarms of sports-adjacent insects, though, our stadiums may be aiding certain bat species and wiping others out.

Any bat that's willing to visit a lit-up sports stadium will find a bug bonanza there, says Corrie Schoeman, an ecologist at the University of........ Read more »

  • July 28, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 65 views

FDA officially refers consumers to Wikipedia for information on food pathogens

by Austin Bouck in Animal Science Review

I was perusing the Bad Bug Book while doing some research on the recent Blue Bell outbreak and came across a hyperlink. After hearing “do you want to know more?” in my head I clicked through on some non-L. mono species of Listeria and was…confused. I quickly doubled back, thinking that maybe I had been redirected, but there it was.... Read more »

Food and Drug Administration. (2012) Listeria Monocytogenes. Bad Bug Book, Foodborne pathogenic microorganisms and natural toxins. Second Edition, 99-100. info:/

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