To understand how confidence in parenting may predict parenting behaviors in women who were abused as children, psychologists have found that mothers who experienced more types of maltreatment as children are more critical of their ability to parent successfully. Intervention programs for moms at-risk, therefore, should focus on bolstering mothers’ self-confidence–not just teach parenting skills, the researchers said.... Read more »
Michl, L., Handley, E., Rogosch, F., Cicchetti, D., & Toth, S. (2015) Self-Criticism as a Mechanism Linking Childhood Maltreatment and Maternal Efficacy Beliefs in Low-Income Mothers With and Without Depression. Child Maltreatment. DOI: 10.1177/1077559515602095
So: "The meta-analysis results support an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder in children of women who were obese during pregnancy. However, further study is warranted to confirm these results."That was the conclusion reached by Ya-Min Li and colleagues  looking at the collected peer-reviewed data currently available on how maternal weight might impact on offspring neurodevelopmental outcomes. Without wishing to blame or stigmatise (this is a blog based on the examination of cold,........ Read more »
Li YM, Ou JJ, Liu L, Zhang D, Zhao JP, & Tang SY. (2015) Association Between Maternal Obesity and Autism Spectrum Disorder in Offspring: A Meta-analysis. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 26254893
Included in the vast array of molecules put together by bacteria are pigments, with a blotch of colour often marking the presence of a large bacterial population in nature. In addition to green stains on damp concrete and vibrant rainbows of ooze in hot springs, pigment-making bacteria will very occasionally announce their presence by infecting us and subsequently changing the colour of our body parts and fluids. Weird eh?The king of turning people a different colour is Serratia marcescens. This........ Read more »
Kinjo T, Nabeya D, Higa F, & Fujita J. (2014) Orange sputum in a patient with Legionella pneumophila pneumonia. Internal Medicine, 53(17), 2029-2030. DOI: 10.2169/internalmedicine.53.2897
Stefater J, Borkar D, & Chodosh J. (2015) Pink hypopyon in a patient with Serratia marcescens corneal ulceration. Journal of Ophthalmic Inflammation and Infection, 5(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12348-015-0041-4
Diets rich in fish oil versus diets rich in lard produce very different bacteria in the guts of mice, reports a new study. The researchers transferred these microbes into other mice to see how they affected health. The results suggest that gut bacteria share some of the responsibility for the beneficial effects of fish oil and the harmful effects of lard.... Read more »
Caesar, R., Tremaroli, V., Kovatcheva-Datchary, P., Cani, P., & Bäckhed, F. (2015) Crosstalk between Gut Microbiota and Dietary Lipids Aggravates WAT Inflammation through TLR Signaling. Cell Metabolism. DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2015.07.026
Sneaky swarming squid sperm. Yeah, let’s talk about that. ‘Cause you hear that and you gotta know, right? But before all the sperm and the swarming is the amorous squid. Let’s start there.As you may expect, squid have both a male and a female. Male squid produce spermatophores, packets of sperm that they can transfer to the females. Female squid carry around these sperm packets until they are ready to spawn. That can be quite some time in some species. When they are ready, they will use th........ Read more »
Hirohashi, N., Alvarez, L., Shiba, K., Fujiwara, E., Iwata, Y., Mohri, T., Inaba, K., Chiba, K., Ochi, H., Supuran, C.... (2013) Sperm from Sneaker Male Squids Exhibit Chemotactic Swarming to CO2. Current Biology, 23(9), 775-781. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.03.040
Iwata, Y., Shaw, P., Fujiwara, E., Shiba, K., Kakiuchi, Y., & Hirohashi, N. (2011) Why small males have big sperm: dimorphic squid sperm linked to alternative mating behaviours. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 11(1), 236. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-11-236
To address a long-standing mystery in paleontology, scientists went to the grocery store.
Many dinosaur fossils appear in the same pose, not so much "terrible lizard" as "terrible limbo accident." Their tails are stretched out and their necks thrown back grotesquely. But it's not clear why this is. Researchers from the University of Calgary in Canada got a fresh take on the puzzle—or, at least, a recently killed and frozen take—by using dead chickens.
"Chickens are living dinosaurs, a........ Read more »
Russell, A., & Bentley, A. (2015) Opisthotonic head displacement in the domestic chicken and its bearing on the ‘dead bird’ posture of non-avialan dinosaurs. Journal of Zoology. DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12287
Contrary results are a common feature of the autism peer-reviewed research landscape. No sooner does one group publish the next 'big thing' when it comes to the singular term 'autism' than seemingly opposite results follow suit.So it is with the paper under discussion today by Simran Kalra and colleagues  (open-access) who concluded that: "The idea that autoantibodies represent an underlying cause or are biomarkers for autism pathophysiology is not supported by this report."Autoantibodies by ........ Read more »
Kalra, S., Burbelo, P., Bayat, A., Ching, K., Thurm, A., Iadarola, M., & Swedo, S. (2015) No evidence of antibodies against GAD65 and other specific antigens in children with autism. BBA Clinical. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbacli.2015.08.001
Researchers have revealed that HIV does not cause AIDS by the virus’s direct effect on the host’s immune cells, but rather through the cells’ lethal influence on one another. HIV can either be spread through free-floating virus that directly infect the host immune cells or an infected cell can pass the virus to an uninfected cell.... Read more »
Nicole L.K. Galloway et. al. (2015) Cell-to-Cell Transmission of HIV-1 Is Required to Trigger Pyroptotic Death of Lymphoid-Tissue-Derived CD4 T Cells. Cell Reports. DOI: http://dx.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2015.08.011
You may have heard last week that former President Jimmy Carter wants to wipe the guinea worm out. Read why and how he is achieving this goal.... Read more »
Barry M. (2007) The tail end of guinea worm - global eradication without a drug or a vaccine. The New England journal of medicine, 356(25), 2561-4. PMID: 17582064
"This is the first study to show, to the best of our knowledge, that a 12-week intervention with omega-3 PUFAs [polyunsaturated fatty acids] prevented transition to full-threshold psychotic disorder and led to sustained symptomatic and functional improvements in young people with an at-risk mental state for 7 years (median)."So said the quite remarkable findings reported by Paul Amminger and colleagues  (open-access available here) who followed up their previous research study  l........ Read more »
Amminger GP, Schäfer MR, Schlögelhofer M, Klier CM, & McGorry PD. (2015) Longer-term outcome in the prevention of psychotic disorders by the Vienna omega-3 study. Nature communications, 7934. PMID: 26263244
The recent publication of our paper “Current methods for automated filtering of multiple sequence alignments frequently worsen single-gene phylogenetic inference” in Systematic Biology is the conclusion of 5 years of work, most of which was spent in peer-review. I will write a separate post on the issue of pre- vs. post-publication in a later post; for now, I’ll summarise our main results and try to provide an intuition for them.
Does automatic alignment filtering lead to bett........ Read more »
Tan, G., Muffato, M., Ledergerber, C., Herrero, J., Goldman, N., Gil, M., & Dessimoz, C. (2015) Current Methods for Automated Filtering of Multiple Sequence Alignments Frequently Worsen Single-Gene Phylogenetic Inference. Systematic Biology, 64(5), 778-791. DOI: 10.1093/sysbio/syv033
Are there areas of the cerebral cortex purely devoted to vision? Or can the "visual" cortex, under some conditions, respond to sounds? Two papers published recently address this question.
First off, Micah Murray and colleagues of Switzerland discuss The multisensory function of primary visual cortex in humans in a review paper published in Neuropsychologia.
They criticize the conventional view that the primary visual cortex (in the occipital lobe) is little more than a reception point ... Read more »
Bedny M, Richardson H, & Saxe R. (2015) "Visual" Cortex Responds to Spoken Language in Blind Children. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 35(33), 11674-81. PMID: 26290244
Murray MM, Thelen A, Thut G, Romei V, Martuzzi R, & Matusz PJ. (2015) The multisensory function of primary visual cortex in humans. Neuropsychologia. PMID: 26275965
The splicing regulator PTBP1 undergoes is alternatively spliced in mammals to exclude a single exon. Here, researchers at the University of Toronto show for the first time how this uniquely evolved splice isoform functions to facilitate neural differentiation.... Read more »
Gueroussov S, Gonatopoulos-Pournatzis T, Irimia M, Raj B, Lin ZY, Gingras AC, & Blencowe BJ. (2015) RNA SPLICING. An alternative splicing event amplifies evolutionary differences between vertebrates. Science (New York, N.Y.), 349(6250), 868-73. PMID: 26293963
Could the sperm harpoon the egg to facilitate fertilization? That’s the intriguing possibility raised by the University of Virginia School of Medicine’s discovery that a protein within the head of the sperm forms spiky filaments, suggesting that these tiny filaments may lash together the sperm and its target.... Read more »
Zheng, H., Mandal, A., Shumilin, I., Chordia, M., Panneerdoss, S., Herr, J., & Minor, W. (2015) Sperm Lysozyme-Like Protein 1 (SLLP1), an intra-acrosomal oolemmal-binding sperm protein, reveals filamentous organization in protein crystal form. Andrology, 3(4), 756-771. DOI: 10.1111/andr.12057
Bacteria and fungi are basically everywhere, so it's not much of a surprise to find them in food. Heck, unless they're Salmonella or have managed to multiply to the point of being visible or stinking things up, we usually don't care. Moving up a bit on the size scale, there are a couple of tiny animals inhabiting foods we eat. These include itty bitty worms living in artisanal vinegars and mites residing upon classy European cheeses.The vinegar eelworm (Turbatrix aceti) is a resilient microbe-ea........ Read more »
Melnyk J, Smith A, Scott-Dupree C, Marcone M, & Hill A. (2010) Identification of cheese mite species inoculated on Mimolette and Milbenkase cheese through cryogenic scanning electron microscopy. Journal of Dairy Science, 93(8), 3461-3468. DOI: 10.3168/jds.2009-2937
The HMDB, or Human Metabolome DataBase, is another nice data collection and tools from the Wishart lab. Although we have mentioned it in the past, because of it’s emphasis more on small molecules it isn’t something we covered in detail. But with this new video that’s available, I thought it was a good time to […]... Read more »
Wishart, D., Jewison, T., Guo, A., Wilson, M., Knox, C., Liu, Y., Djoumbou, Y., Mandal, R., Aziat, F., Dong, E.... (2012) HMDB 3.0--The Human Metabolome Database in 2013. Nucleic Acids Research, 41(D1). DOI: 10.1093/nar/gks1065
Xia, J., Broadhurst, D., Wilson, M., & Wishart, D. (2012) Translational biomarker discovery in clinical metabolomics: an introductory tutorial. Metabolomics, 9(2), 280-299. DOI: 10.1007/s11306-012-0482-9
Not every pair of monozygotic twins have the same chromosomes. Mosaic twins can be boy and girl, yet both babies come from a single zygote. The strange part is that the tests we run to prevent IVF problems may actually contribute to mosaic twinning. And have you heard of polar body twins? They’re ½ identical twins!... Read more »
Wei, Y., Zhang, T., Wang, Y., Schatten, H., & Sun, Q. (2014) Polar Bodies in Assisted Reproductive Technology: Current Progress and Future Perspectives. Biology of Reproduction, 92(1), 19-19. DOI: 10.1095/biolreprod.114.125575
Gardner AJ, & Evans JP. (2006) Mammalian membrane block to polyspermy: new insights into how mammalian eggs prevent fertilisation by multiple sperm. Reproduction, fertility, and development, 18(1-2), 53-61. PMID: 16478602
Souter, V., Parisi, M., Nyholt, D., Kapur, R., Henders, A., Opheim, K., Gunther, D., Mitchell, M., Glass, I., & Montgomery, G. (2006) A case of true hermaphroditism reveals an unusual mechanism of twinning. Human Genetics, 121(2), 179-185. DOI: 10.1007/s00439-006-0279-x
Taylor, D., Thum, M., & Abdalla, H. (2008) Dichorionic triamniotic triplet pregnancy with monozygotic twins discordant for trisomy 13 after preimplantation genetic screening: case report. Fertility and Sterility, 90(5), 201700000-2147483647. DOI: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2008.01.095
Rosenbusch B, & Hancke K. (2012) Conjoined human oocytes observed during assisted reproduction: description of three cases and review of the literature. Romanian journal of morphology and embryology , 53(1), 189-92. PMID: 22395521
Tachon, G., Lefort, G., Puechberty, J., Schneider, A., Jeandel, C., Boulot, P., Prodhomme, O., Meyer, P., Taviaux, S., Touitou, I.... (2014) Discordant sex in monozygotic XXY/XX twins: a case report. Human Reproduction, 29(12), 2814-2820. DOI: 10.1093/humrep/deu275
In cancer genomics, we typically identify somatic alterations by sequencing DNA from both a tumor and a matched normal “control” sample from the same patient. The Cancer Genome Atlas and other large-scale efforts to characterize tumor genomes have typically used this approach, because it allows mutation callers (like VarScan 2) to distinguish between inherited variation and acquired (somatic) […]... Read more »
Hiltemann S, Jenster G, Trapman J, van der Spek P, & Stubbs A. (2015) Discriminating somatic and germline mutations in tumor DNA samples without matching normals. Genome research. PMID: 26209359
I briefly want to bring the paper from Lucia Billeci and colleagues  to your attention today and the suggestion that following their systematic review of the current peer-reviewed literature, there seemed to be something of "an association between ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and AD [atopic dermatitis]."Atopic, by the way, refers to sensitivity to allergens, and in the case of AD, how such sensitivity manifests on the skin causing itchiness, redness and the skin to ........ Read more »
Billeci L, Tonacci A, Tartarisco G, Ruta L, Pioggia G, & Gangemi S. (2015) Association Between Atopic Dermatitis and Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Systematic Review. American journal of clinical dermatology. PMID: 26254000
There are many examples throughout nature of microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and parasites influencing the neurobiology and behavior of their hosts. For example, the rabies virus enters the nervous system almost immediately after a bite or scratch and travels to the brain, where it influences neural activity to make aggressive behavior more likely. This, of course, is beneficial for the virus as it increases the probability its infected host will make contact with another susceptible host........ Read more »
Cryan, J., & Dinan, T. (2012) Mind-altering microorganisms: the impact of the gut microbiota on brain and behaviour. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 13(10), 701-712. DOI: 10.1038/nrn3346
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