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  • August 26, 2016
  • 06:49 AM
  • 11 views

From :-D to =8-0 - Effects of Emoticons on the Brain

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

An unusual study reports the effects of emoticons on human brain activity: Neural correlates of text-based emoticons



South Korean neuroscientists Ko Woon Kim et al. used fMRI to record brain activation in 18 volunteers who were shown various expressive text symbols, in both the Asian 'vertical' and Western 'horizontal' styles:

However, it turned out that the brain doesn't really respond to emoticons at all: there was no significant difference in the brain response to the real emoticons... Read more »

  • August 26, 2016
  • 05:03 AM
  • 16 views

A new Birt-Hogg-Dubé Syndrome review

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

Gupta et al. (2016b) recently published a review about Birt-Hogg-Dubé Syndrome (BHD) exploring the key points and research advances in genetics and pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, diagnosis and disease management.... Read more »

Gupta N, Sunwoo BY, & Kotloff RM. (2016) Birt-Hogg-Dubé Syndrome. Clinics in chest medicine, 37(3), 475-86. PMID: 27514594  

  • August 26, 2016
  • 05:00 AM
  • 11 views

Friday Fellow: Six-Spot Burnet

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Found in Europe, today’s Friday Fellow is a nice day-flying moth with beautiful colors and toxic compounds. Scientifically known as Zygaena filipendulae, its common name is six-spot burnet, burnet being the common name of moths in the … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • August 26, 2016
  • 03:38 AM
  • 19 views

What does the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) actually measure?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Higher AQ [Autism Spectrum Quotient] scores were associated with higher scores of loneliness, social anxiety, depression, and anxiety, as well as with lower scores of quality of life (QoL)."Those were some of the key findings reported by Phil Reed and colleagues [1] who used the very popular 'are you autistic?' AQ screening tool to look at the presence of autistic traits "along with depression, anxiety, loneliness, quality of life, and social anxiety" in a University student cohort (N........ Read more »

  • August 25, 2016
  • 03:48 PM
  • 38 views

Polar Bears Stubbornly Stick to Habitats, Even as Ice Melts

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



"I don't know what you're talking about," said the polar bear. "Everything seems normal to me! Watch out for that puddle."

Up in the Arctic, things are getting slushy. But some polar bears are refusing to change their ways. Instead of compromising on where they spend their time, they're clinging to the icy habitats they've always loved. As those habitats keep shrinking, though, the bears will eventually find things too crowded and uncomfortable to ignore. 

Researchers divide polar bear... Read more »

Wilson RR, Regehr EV, Rode KD, & St Martin M. (2016) Invariant polar bear habitat selection during a period of sea ice loss. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 283(1836). PMID: 27534959  

  • August 25, 2016
  • 02:50 PM
  • 37 views

The relationship between low physical activity and psychotic symptoms

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Physical activity can help reduce cardiovascular disease and premature mortality in people with psychological problems. However, there is limited data on exercise in people with serious mental disorders, especially from low- and middle-income countries. This study explored whether complying with the World Health Organization recommendations of 150 minutes of moderate-vigorous exercise per week is related to psychotic symptoms or the diagnosis of a psychosis.

... Read more »

Brendon Stubbs, Ai Koyanagi, Felipe Schuch, Joseph Firth, Simon Rosenbaum, Fiona Gaughran, James Mugisha, & Davy Vancampfort. (2016) Physical Activity Levels and Psychosis: A Mediation Analysis of Factors Influencing Physical Activity Target Achievement Among 204 186 People Across 46 Low- and Middle-Income Countries. Schizophrenia bulletin . info:/10.1093/schbul/sbw111

  • August 25, 2016
  • 09:40 AM
  • 53 views

How to rebuild a brain

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

After the stroke The human brain is complicated. Very complicated. And like any piece of complex machinery that relies on the smooth functioning of many components, it’s not immune to malfunction. When a part of the brain doesn’t get proper nutrition through a nice and smooth blood flow, things go awry and a stroke occurs. […]... Read more »

  • August 25, 2016
  • 03:45 AM
  • 38 views

Hospitalisation for infection and risk of death by suicide

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"An increased risk of death by suicide was found among individuals hospitalized with infection in prospective and dose-response relationships. These findings indicate that infections may have a relevant role in the pathophysiological mechanisms of suicidal behavior."Some intriguing data has been recently reported by Helene Lund-Sørensen and colleagues [1] (open-access) examining the possibility that certain types of infection (or perhaps the biological response to infection) might inc........ Read more »

  • August 24, 2016
  • 02:51 PM
  • 60 views

How long do you want to live? Your expectations for old age matter

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Why do some people want to live a very long time, while others would prefer to die relatively young? In a latest study, a team of researchers investigated how long young and middle-aged adults in the United States say they want to live in relation to a number of personal characteristics. The results showed that more than one out of six people would prefer to die younger than age 80, before reaching average life expectancy.

... Read more »

  • August 24, 2016
  • 07:30 AM
  • 52 views

Epigenetics of Early Pregnancy Loss: Hypomethylation and Genetic Instability May Contribute to Decreased Implantation Potential of Monosomy Blastocysts

by Blair McCallie in EpiBeat

Aneuploidy is the leading cause of miscarriage, stillbirth, and congenital birth defects and occurs as a result of errors during meiotic or mitotic cell division.1 As a woman ages, the probability of an aneuploid conception significantly rises, to roughly 50% by the age of 40.2 Only a fraction of full aneuploidies, primarily trisomies, will develop past the first trimester. This is in contrast to monosomies that almost never implant or result in an ongoing pregnancy. DNA methylation is an epi........ Read more »

  • August 24, 2016
  • 04:13 AM
  • 64 views

ALSPAC says maybe to link between prenatal paracetamol exposure and childhood behavioural difficulties

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

ALSPAC - the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children - continues to give in research terms as today I approach the findings reported by Evie Stergiakouli and colleagues [1]. They observed that: "Children exposed to acetaminophen [paracetamol] prenatally are at increased risk of multiple behavioral difficulties, and the associations do not appear to be explained by unmeasured behavioral or social factors linked to acetaminophen use insofar as they are not observed........ Read more »

  • August 24, 2016
  • 03:05 AM
  • 53 views

Keeping Your “Ion” The Ball – Salts and Life

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Lost at sea is no way to go to your everlasting reward. Sit in the sunshine too long and you lose your salts and all your functions go bonkers. Drink seawater and you end up with too much sodium and potassium and go nuts. Either way your dead, and it all has to do with your body’s tipping point and the kidney’s function in maintaining an osmotic potential. What is weirder - licorice can cause just about the same problem. ... Read more »

Räikkönen, K., Seckl, J., Heinonen, K., Pyhälä, R., Feldt, K., Jones, A., Pesonen, A., Phillips, D., Lahti, J., Järvenpää, A.... (2010) Maternal prenatal licorice consumption alters hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenocortical axis function in children. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 35(10), 1587-1593. DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2010.04.010  

  • August 23, 2016
  • 02:31 PM
  • 80 views

Too much activity in certain areas of the brain is bad for memory and attention

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Neurons in the brain interact by sending each other chemical messages, so-called neurotransmitters. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the most common inhibitory neurotransmitter, which is important to restrain neural activity, preventing neurons from getting too trigger-happy and from firing too much or responding to irrelevant stimuli.

... Read more »

  • August 23, 2016
  • 11:30 AM
  • 73 views

Otulipenia – A New Inflammatory Disease

by Rita dos Santos Silva in United Academics

Researchers from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, working in collaboration with Turkish and British teams, discovered a new inflammatory disease.... Read more »

Zhou, Q., Wang, H., Schwartz, D., Stoffels, M., Park, Y., Zhang, Y., Yang, D., Demirkaya, E., Takeuchi, M., Tsai, W.... (2015) Loss-of-function mutations in TNFAIP3 leading to A20 haploinsufficiency cause an early-onset autoinflammatory disease. Nature Genetics, 48(1), 67-73. DOI: 10.1038/ng.3459  

Elliott, P., Nielsen, S., Marco-Casanova, P., Fiil, B., Keusekotten, K., Mailand, N., Freund, S., Gyrd-Hansen, M., & Komander, D. (2014) Molecular Basis and Regulation of OTULIN-LUBAC Interaction. Molecular Cell, 54(3), 335-348. DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2014.03.018  

  • August 23, 2016
  • 11:29 AM
  • 64 views

Otulipenia – A New Inflammatory Disease

by Rita dos Santos Silva in United Academics

Researchers from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, working in collaboration with Turkish and British teams, discovered a new inflammatory disease.... Read more »

Zhou, Q., Wang, H., Schwartz, D., Stoffels, M., Park, Y., Zhang, Y., Yang, D., Demirkaya, E., Takeuchi, M., Tsai, W.... (2015) Loss-of-function mutations in TNFAIP3 leading to A20 haploinsufficiency cause an early-onset autoinflammatory disease. Nature Genetics, 48(1), 67-73. DOI: 10.1038/ng.3459  

Elliott, P., Nielsen, S., Marco-Casanova, P., Fiil, B., Keusekotten, K., Mailand, N., Freund, S., Gyrd-Hansen, M., & Komander, D. (2014) Molecular Basis and Regulation of OTULIN-LUBAC Interaction. Molecular Cell, 54(3), 335-348. DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2014.03.018  

  • August 23, 2016
  • 03:47 AM
  • 84 views

Autism and/or ADHD in Down's syndrome

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"High rates of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] were found: 17 (42%) and 14 (34%) of the 41 children met DSM criteria for ASD and ADHD respectively."That was the conclusion reached in the study by Ulrika Oxelgren and colleagues [1] looking at the "prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in a population-based group of children and adolescents with Down syndrome." The populatio........ Read more »

Oxelgren UW, Myrelid Å, Annerén G, Ekstam B, Göransson C, Holmbom A, Isaksson A, Åberg M, Gustafsson J, & Fernell E. (2016) Prevalence of autism and attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder in Down syndrome: a population-based study. Developmental medicine and child neurology. PMID: 27503703  

  • August 22, 2016
  • 03:00 PM
  • 69 views

Stroke-like brain damage is reduced in mice injected with omega-3s

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A stroke can happen at any age, and as with anything that involves the brain, a few seconds can be life altering. Usually the rule is time lost is brain lost, but there might be some good news regarding that, researchers found that omega-3 fatty acids reduced brain damage in a neonatal mouse model of stroke.

... Read more »

  • August 22, 2016
  • 05:17 AM
  • 92 views

"Theory of mind is not theory of emotion"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A rather interesting paper by Beth Oakley and colleagues [1] (open-access might be available here) appeared recently providing a "cautionary note on the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test" [2], one of the premier assessments thought to offer a performance-based measure "involving mental state attribution and complex facial emotion recognition from photographs where only the eye region of the face is available."Most people with some knowledge about autism research history will have heard about the........ Read more »

  • August 21, 2016
  • 02:53 PM
  • 103 views

In cells, some oxidants are needed

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Within our bodies, high levels of reactive forms of oxygen can damage proteins and contribute to diabetic complications and many other diseases. But some studies are showing that these reactive oxygen species (ROS) molecules sometimes can aid in maintaining health--findings now boosted by a surprising discovery by researchers.

... Read more »

Hourihan, J., Moronetti Mazzeo, L., Fernández-Cárdenas, L., & Blackwell, T. (2016) Cysteine Sulfenylation Directs IRE-1 to Activate the SKN-1/Nrf2 Antioxidant Response. Molecular Cell, 63(4), 553-566. DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2016.07.019  

  • August 21, 2016
  • 05:49 AM
  • 99 views

What To Do About Software Errors in fMRI?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Last month we learned that a problem in commonly used fMRI analysis tools was giving rise to elevated rates of false positives. Now, another issue has been discovered in an fMRI tool. The affected software is called GingerALE and the 'implementation errors' are revealed in a new paper by Simon B. Eickhoff et al., the developers of the package.





GingerALE is a meta-analysis tool, that offers the ability to combine the results of multiple fMRI studies to assess the overall level of evide... Read more »

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