"Given the modest magnitude of these findings in contrast to the clear public health benefits of the timely administration of vaccines in preventing mortality and morbidity in childhood infectious diseases, we encourage families to maintain vaccination schedules according to CDC guidelines."The quote opening this post comes from the paper published by Douglas Leslie and colleagues  (open-access) and offers not a conclusion from their study looking at the possibility that "the onset of some ne........ Read more »
Leslie DL, Kobre RA, Richmand BJ, Aktan Guloksuz S, & Leckman JF. (2017) Temporal Association of Certain Neuropsychiatric Disorders Following Vaccination of Children and Adolescents: A Pilot Case-Control Study. Frontiers in psychiatry, 3. PMID: 28154539
"Catatonic symptoms are more prevalent in young people with autism than previously thought" said the article recently published by Breen and Hare . Continuing a research theme of at least one of the authors , the idea that catatonic symptoms - primarily manifesting as stupor, unresponsiveness to light, noise or touch, mutism, etc - might be over-represented when it comes to autism is not a new one by any means.Breen & Hare set about looking for "the presence and nature of such att........ Read more »
Breen J, & Hare DJ. (2017) The nature and prevalence of catatonic symptoms in young people with autism. Journal of intellectual disability research : JIDR. PMID: 28150394
Deep sea creatures come with all kinds of strange features that help them to survive their cold, dark habitat.. Some have eyes the size of a basketball, others come with appendages that blink and glow, deep-sea dwellers have developed some strange features and the "cockeyed" squid Histioteuthis heteropsis has one normal eye and one giant, bulging, yellow eye.
One ... Read more »
Thomas KN, Robison BH, & Johnsen S. (2017) Two eyes for two purposes: in situ evidence for asymmetric vision in the cockeyed squids Histioteuthis heteropsis and Stigmatoteuthis dofleini. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 372(1717). PMID: 28193814
Psychology experiments are not generally fodder for this blog when it comes to autism. The main reason being that quite a few appearing in the peer-reviewed literature tend to look at quite abstract features perhaps somewhat removed from the daily lives of autistic people and their significant others. A few also seem to struggle with the idea that grand over-arching psychological theories (that seem to inevitably follow psychological findings in particular) are not required when it comes to auti........ Read more »
Sasson NJ, Faso DJ, Nugent J, Lovell S, Kennedy DP, & Grossman RB. (2017) Neurotypical Peers are Less Willing to Interact with Those with Autism based on Thin Slice Judgments. Scientific reports, 40700. PMID: 28145411
A peculiar new paper proposes the idea of "connecting two spinal cords as a way of sharing information between two brains". The author is Portuguese psychiatrist Amílcar Silva-dos-Santos and the paper appears in Frontiers in Psychology.
Frontiers are a publisher with a troubled history of publishing dubious science. But this paper is unusual, even by Frontiers' standards, because it contains virtually no science at all.
In a nutshell, Silva-Dos-Santos suggests that it would be interest... Read more »
Silva-Dos-Santos A. (2017) The Hypothesis of Connecting Two Spinal Cords as a Way of Sharing Information between Two Brains and Nervous Systems. Frontiers in psychology, 105. PMID: 28197119
by Piter Kehoma Boll If you have your face buried in the mud at the bottom of a European lake, you may end up finding some of those tiny little roundworms known as Monhystera stagnalis. As usual, there is no common … Continue reading →... Read more »
Pehofer, H. (1989) Spatial Distribution of the Nematode Fauna and Production of Three Nematodes (Tobrilus gracilis, Monhystera stagnalis, Ethmolaimus pratensis) in the Profundal of Piburger See (Austria, 913 m a.s.l). Internationale Revue der gesamten Hydrobiologie und Hydrographie, 74(2), 135-168. DOI: 10.1002/iroh.19890740203
Traunspurger, W. (1996) Autecology of Monhystera paludicola De Man, 1880 – Seasonal, Bathymetric and Vertical Distribution of a Free-living Nematode in an Oligotrophic Lake. Internationale Revue der gesamten Hydrobiologie und Hydrographie, 81(2), 199-211. DOI: 10.1002/iroh.19960810205
"Overall, the study said one person would be spared infection for every 33 taking vitamin D supplements. That is more effective than flu vaccination, which needs to treat 40 to prevent one case, although flu is far more serious than the common cold."That was some of the media interpretation of the paper - "systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data" - published by Adrian Martineau and colleagues  looking at the collected data on vitamin D supplementation "on risk ........ Read more »
Adrian R Martineau, David A Jolliffe, Richard L Hooper, Lauren Greenberg, John F Aloia, Peter Bergman, Gal Dubnov-Raz, Susanna Esposito, & et al. (2017) Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. BMJ. info:/10.1136/bmj.i6583
The paper by Charlotte Willfors and colleagues  (open-access) provides some food for thought today and the observation that various individual and cumulative medical events - "early medical events likely to be caused by environmental factors" - may be important to at least some autism.Researchers "scrutinized the early medical histories of a rare and informative sample of 13 MZ [monozygotic] twin pairs discordant for clinical ASD [autism spectrum disorder]" also including "13 M........ Read more »
Willfors C, Carlsson T, Anderlid BM, Nordgren A, Kostrzewa E, Berggren S, Ronald A, Kuja-Halkola R, Tammimies K, & Bölte S. (2017) Medical history of discordant twins and environmental etiologies of autism. Translational psychiatry, 7(1). PMID: 28140403
Flabegraviera fujiae (left), the new species described in the
in the new study, and Flabegraviera mundata (right).
(Scale bar: 1cm)
A few days ago, a team of Japanese scientists from the Hokkaido University announced the discovery a new species of polychaete, a type of marine annelid worm.
The discovery took place 9-meters deep underwater near Japan's Syowa Station in Antarctica and provides... Read more »
Jimi N, Tsujimoto M, Watanabe K, Kakui K, & Kajihara H. (2017) A new species and the shallowest record of Flabegraviera Salazar-Vallejo, 2012 (Annelida: Flabelligeridae) from Antarctica. Zootaxa, 4221(4). PMID: 28187651
EARLI - the Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation study - has been mentioned on this blog before (see here) with the aim of the initiative to "examine possible environmental risk factors for autism and study whether there is any interplay between environmental factors and genetic susceptibility."In this post I'm bringing the paper by Bo Park and colleagues  (open-access) to your attention and the observation(s) that umbilical cord blood levels of testosterone and other relate........ Read more »
Park, B., Lee, B., Burstyn, I., Tabb, L., Keelan, J., Whitehouse, A., Croen, L., Fallin, M., Hertz-Picciotto, I., Montgomery, O.... (2017) Umbilical cord blood androgen levels and ASD-related phenotypes at 12 and 36 months in an enriched risk cohort study. Molecular Autism, 8(1). DOI: 10.1186/s13229-017-0118-z
New York street art. Photo inWikimedia Commons posted by Pedroalmovar.Oxytocin, commonly known as “the love hormone”, is a small chemical that is produced in the brain of mammals, but can both act as a neurotransmitter and enter the blood stream and act as a hormone. It has long been heralded for its role in both maternal and romantic love, but more recent research is showing us just how complicated the physiology of love can be.Oxytocin is released in mammalian mothers after birth. It promo........ Read more »
Zik JB, & Roberts DL. (2015) The many faces of oxytocin: implications for psychiatry. Psychiatry research, 226(1), 31-7. PMID: 25619431
Species: Amphioctopus marginatus
Conservation Status: Not yet assessed
Common Name: Coconut octopus, Veined octopus
Meet Amphioctopus marginatus a medium-sized octopus found in the tropical waters of the western Pacific Ocean The species is best known as the "coconut octopus" ... Read more »
Finn JK, Tregenza T, Norman MD. (2009) Defensive tool use in a coconut-carrying octopus. . Curr. Biol, 19(23). info:/10.1016/j.cub.2009.10.052
"Youngest children in class 'more likely to be given ADHD drugs'" went the NHS Choices headline that led me to the short report produced by Martin Whitely and colleagues  (open-access).ADHD - attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder - is something of interest to this blog; not least the idea that relative age (age relative to peers in the same school year group) might be an important variable when it comes to at least some diagnoses of the condition (see here).The Whitely paper draws on ........ Read more »
Martin Whitely, Leanne Lester, John Phillimore, & Suzanne Robinson. (2017) Influence of birth month on the probability of Western Australian children being treated for ADHD. The Medical Journal of Australia. info:/
SMILES in the title of this post refers to the SMILES trial - Supporting the Modification of lifestyle In Lowered Emotional States - and results recently published by Felice Jacka and colleagues  (open-access) pertinent to the idea that "dietary improvement" might be something to consider when a diagnosis of major depressive episode (MDE) is received.Having previously published their study protocol , researchers set about looking at whether under "single blind, randomised controlled" ........ Read more »
Jacka, F., O’Neil, A., Opie, R., Itsiopoulos, C., Cotton, S., Mohebbi, M., Castle, D., Dash, S., Mihalopoulos, C., Chatterton, M.... (2017) A randomised controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the ‘SMILES’ trial). BMC Medicine, 15(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12916-017-0791-y
"It remains unclear whether the association between first trimester SSRI [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor] exposure and child autism that was present in the case-control studies even after adjustment for MMI [maternal mental illness] is a true association or a product of residual confounding."So said the results of the systematic review and meta-analysis undertaken by Hilary Brown and colleagues  looking at a potentially important association between pregnancy use of a class ........ Read more »
Brown HK, Hussain-Shamsy N, Lunsky Y, Dennis CE, & Vigod SN. (2017) The Association Between Antenatal Exposure to Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Autism: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 78(1). PMID: 28129495
To date, there have been no prospective studies attempting to diagnose BHD syndrome or literature reviews on BHD in Korea. Park et al. (2017) address this in their new study that aims to detect BHD prospectively in patients undergoing chest computed tomography (CT) scans and to classify the characteristics of BHD in Korea.... Read more »
Park HJ, Park CH, Lee SE, Lee GD, Byun MK, Lee S, Lee KA, Kim TH, Kim SH, Yang SY.... (2017) Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome prospectively detected by review of chest computed tomography scans. PloS one, 12(2). PMID: 28151982
by Piter Kehoma Boll As the first conifer Friday Fellow, I decided to choose one of my beloved ones, the Paraná pine, Araucaria angustifolia, also known as Brazilian pine or candelabra tree. The Paraná pine can reach up to 50 m … Continue reading →... Read more »
SOUZA, A. (2007) Ecological interpretation of multiple population size structures in trees: The case of Araucaria angustifolia in South America. Austral Ecology, 32(5), 524-533. DOI: 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2007.01724.x
Zandavalli, R., Dillenburg, L., & de Souza, P. (2004) Growth responses of Araucaria angustifolia (Araucariaceae) to inoculation with the mycorrhizal fungus Glomus clarum. Applied Soil Ecology, 25(3), 245-255. DOI: 10.1016/j.apsoil.2003.09.009
"... the effect sizes of a few-foods diet are medium to large, justifying implementation of a diagnostic FFD [few-foods diet] in subgroups of children with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder], thus offering innovative treatment opportunities for ADHD."So said the "Systematic Review of Meta-Analyses of Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trials" published by Lidy Pelsser and colleagues  (open-access available here) looking at various dietary interventions that have ........ Read more »
Pelsser LM, Frankena K, Toorman J, & Rodrigues Pereira R. (2017) Diet and ADHD, Reviewing the Evidence: A Systematic Review of Meta-Analyses of Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trials Evaluating the Efficacy of Diet Interventions on the Behavior of Children with ADHD. PloS one, 12(1). PMID: 28121994
ME/CFS in case you don't already know refers to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and, according to the findings reported by Nadia Campagnolo and colleagues , is in need of quite a bit more scientific investigation when it comes to the application of dietary changes and nutritional supplements to potentially alter the course of the condition(s).Surveying the peer-reviewed literature "from 1994 to May 2016" the authors looked for peer-reviewed studies where "CFS/ME........ Read more »
Campagnolo N, Johnston S, Collatz A, Staines D, & Marshall-Gradisnik S. (2017) Dietary and nutrition interventions for the therapeutic treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis: a systematic review. Journal of human nutrition and dietetics : the official journal of the British Dietetic Association. PMID: 28111818
Our latest study just came out (Jeffares et al., Nature Comm 2017). In it, we carefully catalogued high-confidence structural variants among all known strains of the fission yeast population, and assessed their impact on spore viability, winemaking and other traits. This post gives a summary and the story behind the paper.
Structural variants (SVs) measure genetic variation beyond single nucleotide changes …
Next generation sequencing is enabling the study of genomic diversity on unprec........ Read more »
Jeffares, D., Jolly, C., Hoti, M., Speed, D., Shaw, L., Rallis, C., Balloux, F., Dessimoz, C., Bähler, J., & Sedlazeck, F. (2017) Transient structural variations have strong effects on quantitative traits and reproductive isolation in fission yeast. Nature Communications, 14061. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14061
Carr AM, MacNeill SA, Hayles J, & Nurse P. (1989) Molecular cloning and sequence analysis of mutant alleles of the fission yeast cdc2 protein kinase gene: implications for cdc2 protein structure and function. Molecular , 218(1), 41-9. PMID: 2674650
Jeffares, D., Rallis, C., Rieux, A., Speed, D., Převorovský, M., Mourier, T., Marsellach, F., Iqbal, Z., Lau, W., Cheng, T.... (2015) The genomic and phenotypic diversity of Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Nature Genetics, 47(3), 235-241. DOI: 10.1038/ng.3215
Benito, A., Jeffares, D., Palomero, F., Calderón, F., Bai, F., Bähler, J., & Benito, S. (2016) Selected Schizosaccharomyces pombe Strains Have Characteristics That Are Beneficial for Winemaking. PLOS ONE, 11(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0151102
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