Post List

  • March 1, 2015
  • 03:20 PM
  • 6 views

Science shows intermittent fasting diet could extend life

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Think of it as interval training for the dinner table. Proponents of fasting style diets will be first to tell you there are health benefits, heck we've even covered some of the science here at the labs. Well new research shows that putting people on a intermittent fasting (or IF) diet may mimic some of the benefits of actual fasting, and that (ironically enough given their popularity) adding antioxidant supplements counteracts those benefits.... Read more »

  • March 1, 2015
  • 09:49 AM
  • 49 views

Link between image and sound

by Janet Kwasniak in Neuro-patch

Babies link the sound of a word with the image of an object in their early learning of language and this is an important ability. How do they come to have this mechanism? Are there predispositions to making links between sounds and images? Research by Asano and others (citation below) shows one type of link. […]... Read more »

  • March 1, 2015
  • 03:52 AM
  • 25 views

Vitamin D status affecting autoimmune disease risk?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I want to bring the paper from Tea Skaaby and colleagues [1] to your attention for today's brief blog post and their observation that there may be: "a possible protective role of a higher vitamin D status on autoimmune disease". Autoimmune disease by the way, reflects a breakdown in communication and tolerance of 'self' whereby the body attacks healthy tissue.Their findings, based on an analysis of "a total of 12,555 individuals from three population-based studies with measurements of vitamin D status (25-hydroxy vitamin D)" hinted that "for a 10 nmol/l higher vitamin D" the hazard ratios for quite a few autoimmune conditions seemed to be reduced albeit with some quite wide confidence intervals (CIs). Overall however, the authors found a reduced HR "for any autoimmune disease (HR = 0.94 % CI 0.90, 0.98)" with that increasing levels of vitamin D.It's not necessarily new news that vitamin D seems to have some important biological effects when it comes to immune function [2] outside of the more classical physiological connections made to the stuff. Indeed, the paper by Tamblyn and colleagues [3] talking about an immunological role for vitamin D at the 'maternal-fetal interface' (where immune tolerance is required to "prevent fetal rejection") represents an area requiring far greater inspection particularly in light of guidance recommending vitamin D supplementation to pregnant women among other groups (see here).Without hopefully cherry-picking from the growing research literature looking at vitamin D and autoimmunity, I would also like to bring in the paper by Dong Yeob Shin and colleagues [4] (open-access) and the suggestion that low vitamin D status might be "associated with anti-thyroid peroxidase antibody in autoimmune thyroiditis." Anti-thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb) and autoimmune thyroiditis have been of particular interest to this blog in light of some initial data suggesting a connection with certain cases of depression (see here). That also depression has been looked at through the vitamin D lens specifically from the deficiency point of view is an interesting correlation (see here) perhaps connecting psychiatry, autoimmunity and vitamin D. I say all this acknowledging that correlation is not the same as causation and that not everyone with depression will present with autoimmune thyroiditis or other autoimmune conditions.Certainly however, I'd wager that there is perhaps more to see when it comes to how the sunshine vitamin/hormone might link up with immune function (and dysfunction) and perhaps beyond taking into account some interesting work with autism in mind too. I'd be minded to also bring in the idea that permeability of a particular membrane might also be a spot requiring a little more study in light of other research suggestions [5] and some preliminary tie up with vitamin D (see here) combined with more recent data [6]. Just sayin'.Bloodbuzz Ohio by The National to close, and what a baritone...----------[1] Skaaby T. et al. Prospective population-based study of the association between vitamin D status and incidence of autoimmune disease. Endocrine. 2015 Feb 11.[2] Antico A. et al. Can supplementation with vitamin D reduce the risk or modify the course of autoimmune diseases? A systematic review of the literature. Autoimmun Rev. 2012 Dec;12(2):127-36.[3] Tamblyn JA. et al. Immunological role of vitamin D at the maternal-fetal interface. J Endocrinol. 2015 Mar;224(3):R107-R121.[4] Shin DY. et al. Low serum vitamin D is associated with anti-thyroid peroxidase antibody in autoimmune thyroiditis. Yonsei Med J. 2014 Mar;55(2):476-81.[5] Fasano A. et al. Intestinal permeability and its regulation by zonulin: diagnostic and therapeutic implications. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Oct;10(10):1096-100.[6] Assa A. et al. Vitamin D deficiency promotes epithelial barrier dysfunction and intestinal inflammation. J Infect Dis. 2014 Oct 15;210(8):1296-305.----------Skaaby T, Husemoen LL, Thuesen BH, & Linneberg A (2015). Prospective population-based study of the association between vitamin D status and incidence of autoimmune disease. Endocrine PMID: 25666936... Read more »

  • February 28, 2015
  • 04:42 PM
  • 55 views

Coding Responsibly Part II: Keeping a Notebook

by Geoffrey Hannigan in Prophage

In my last post I started writing about the next step a coding student can take after learning the basics. This next step is of course learning not just to code, but to code responsibly. Last time I talked about using version control to keep track of code changes as you work through a project. For this next post, I want to take the conversation further by discussing...... Read more »

Perkel, J. (2011) Coding your way out of a problem. Nature Methods, 8(7), 541-543. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.1631  

  • February 28, 2015
  • 02:46 PM
  • 48 views

Life, NOT as we know it

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Life as we know it, when we peer deep into the vastness of space we look for someone — or something — that resembles ourselves. Carbon based, needs water lifeforms, but what if we’re being narrow-minded? A new type of methane-based, oxygen-free life form that can metabolize and reproduce similar to life on Earth has been modeled by a team of researchers suggests we are being too closed minded about life.... Read more »

James Stevenson,, Jonathan Lunine,, & Paulette Clancy. (2015) Membrane alternatives in worlds without oxygen: Creation of an azotosome. Science Advances. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1400067

  • February 28, 2015
  • 10:04 AM
  • 62 views

Meditating For Alice In Wonderland Syndrome

by Chiara Civardi in United Academics

Dear Alice’s fan, this poem by Shel Silverstein is titled ‘Alice’ and now it’s your turn: are you ready to go down the rabbit hole again and be guided in our mind’s wonderland? So, let’s see what the blow up-potion and the shrinking-cake are made of.... Read more »

  • February 28, 2015
  • 09:50 AM
  • 36 views

Study Weighs Risks/Benefits of Oral Anticoagulation for Atrial Fibrillation in Hemodialysis Patients

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Simonetta Genovesi MD Department of Health Science University of Milano-Bicocca, Monza Italy Nephrology Unit San Gerardo Hospital, Monza, Italy MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study?   Dr. Genovesi: The prevalence of atrial fibrillation (AF) in … Continue reading →... Read more »

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:, & Dr. Simonetta Genovesi MD. (2015) Study Weighs Risks/Benefits of Oral Anticoagulation for Atrial Fibrillation in Hemodialysis Patients. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • February 28, 2015
  • 09:16 AM
  • 36 views

Cellular Energy Sensor Links Calorie Restriction With Healthy Aging

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: William Mair, Ph.D Assistant Professor Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases Harvard T. H Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA 02115 MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mair: Dietary … Continue reading →... Read more »

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:, & William Mair, Ph.D. (2015) Cellular Energy Sensor Links Calorie Restriction With Healthy Aging. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • February 28, 2015
  • 09:15 AM
  • 44 views

Five motivations for theoretical computer science

by Abel Molina in Evolutionary Games Group

There are some situations, perhaps lucky ones, where it is felt that an activity needs no external motivation or justification.  For the rest, it can be helpful to think of what the task at hand can be useful for. This of course doesn’t answer the larger question of what is worth doing, since it just distributes […]... Read more »

Barton, N.H., Novak, S., & Paixão, T. (2014) Diverse forms of selection in evolution and computer science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(29), 10398-9. PMID: 25009183  

  • February 28, 2015
  • 09:01 AM
  • 34 views

HPV-16/18 Vaccine Provides Some Cross Protection To Other Cancer-Causing Subtypes

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview Invitation Frank Struyf MD PhD Director, Lead Clinical Development HPV vaccines at GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines, Rixensart, Belgium MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Struyf: Cervical cancer is the fourth … Continue reading →... Read more »

MedicalResearch.com Interview Invitation, & Frank Struyf MD PhD. (2015) HPV-16/18 Vaccine Provides Some Cross Protection To Other Cancer-Causing Subtypes. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • February 28, 2015
  • 08:34 AM
  • 35 views

Oral Medication For Hepatitis C- HIV Combined Infection

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Shyamasundaran Kottilil MBBS, PhD Division of Infectious Diseases, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland, Baltimore Laboratory of Immunoregulation, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland Medical Research: What is the … Continue reading →... Read more »

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:, & Shyamasundaran Kottilil MBBS, PhD. (2015) Oral Medication For Hepatitis C- HIV Combined Infection. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • February 28, 2015
  • 08:19 AM
  • 37 views

Equation Helps Predict Mortality In Elderly Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nisha Bansal MD MAS Assistant Professor Associate Program Director for Research Kidney Research Institute Division of Nephrology University of Washington Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Bansal: We … Continue reading →... Read more »

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:, & Nisha Bansal MD MAS Assistant Professor. (2015) Equation Helps Predict Mortality In Elderly Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • February 28, 2015
  • 08:04 AM
  • 35 views

Bigger Breakfast, Smaller Dinner May Improve Glycemic Control

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Daniela Jakubowicz MD Diabetes Unit. E. Wolfson Medical Center Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University and Tel Aviv Medical  Center Israel MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Professor … Continue reading →... Read more »

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:, & Professor Daniela Jakubowicz MD. (2015) Bigger Breakfast, Smaller Dinner May Improve Glycemic Control. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • February 28, 2015
  • 12:26 AM
  • 34 views

One Case Of Hepatitis C Transmitted From Shared Kidney Perfusion Machine

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gwen Borlaug, CIC, MPH Coordinator, HAI Prevention Program Wisconsin Division of Public Health Madison, WI 53702 MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Healthcare-associated transmission of blood borne pathogens such … Continue reading →... Read more »

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:, & Gwen Borlaug, CIC, MPH. (2015) One Case Of Hepatitis C Transmitted From Shared Kidney Perfusion Machine. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • February 27, 2015
  • 07:44 PM
  • 37 views

Melatonin Has Endocrine Risks For Children

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dave Kennaway, PhD Professor Lloyd Cox Senior Research Fellow, Head Circadian Physiology Laboratory School of Paediatrics and Reproductive Health Robinson Research Institute, Faculty of Health Sciences, Medical School, University of Adelaide Australia MedicalResearch: What is the background … Continue reading →... Read more »

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:, & Dave Kennaway, PhD Professor,. (2015) Melatonin Has Endocrine Risks For Children. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • February 27, 2015
  • 07:05 PM
  • 37 views

New Ninevalent HPV Vaccine Gives Greater Protection Against Cervical Cancer and Genital Warts

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elmar A. Joura, M.D Gynecologist University of Vienna MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of this study? Dr. Joura: This study demonstrates that the new ninevalent HPV vaccine induces a good immunogenicity against HPV 6/11/16/18 and gives a … Continue reading →... Read more »

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:, & Elmar A. Joura, M.D. (2015) New Ninevalent HPV Vaccine Gives Greater Protection Against Cervical Cancer and Genital Warts. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • February 27, 2015
  • 07:04 PM
  • 49 views

ME/CFS is real: confirmation if it is needed...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Scientists discover robust evidence that chronic fatigue syndrome is a biological illness" went the title of the press release for the study by Mady Hornig and colleagues [1] (open-access) detailing an immune 'signature' and also possible staging of the illness.I couldn't help but wince at some of the media headlines reporting on this study as 'proof' that chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) is a real illness. As I've indicated before on this blog (see here) anyone who has trawled through the collected peer-reviewed research in this area would be hard pressed to arrive at any other conclusion than that CFS/ME is very real and severely impacts on a person's quality of life. I say that accepting that the various definitions and descriptions of the conditions (note the plural) have not always been kind to CFS/ME research and to a large extent, perhaps held back science from making the breakthroughs we've potentially seen with the Hornig results. Hopefully SEID [systemic exertion intolerance disease] might help this process along a little...Back to the paper:The authorship of the latest research paper includes the great and the good of CFS/ME (and autism) research. Mady Hornig and Ian 'virus hunter' Lipkin have talked quite a bit in recent times about their research commitment to CFS/ME following the whole XMRV de-discovery issue a few years back (see here). José Montoya has similarly impressed with the idea that certain anti-virals *might* be indicated for some cases of CFS/ME (see here).Cytokines - those chemical messengers of the immune system - were the target molecules predominating in the Hornig paper taking into account "diagnosis and other clinical variables". Said immune molecules (over 50 of them) were analysed in nearly 300 participants diagnosed with CFS/ME compared against nearly 350 asymptomatic controls. Authors drew on participants derived from two large US studies of CFS/ME, and those all-important case definitions relied on meeting either or both of the "1994 CDC Fukuda criteria... and the 2003 Canadian consensus criteria for ME/CFS." Participants were also categorised according to how long they had reported experiencing symptoms.Results: "No substantive differences were found between cases and controls when short- and long-duration cases were combined and compared with healthy control subjects." You could see how that sentence could be taken by certain people/groups. But... "Analyses that considered duration of illness revealed that early ME/CFS cases had a prominent activation of both pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines as well as a dissociation of characteristic intercytokine regulatory networks." Those describing a shorter duration of illness, as a group, presented with elevated levels of several proinflammatory cytokines than controls or longer illness duration participants. As per the press release: "The association was unusually strong with a cytokine called interferon gamma that has been linked to the fatigue that follows many viral infections, including Epstein-Barr virus (the cause of infectious mononucleosis)." When they say 'unusually strong association', they talk about an odds ratio (OR) of 104.77 (95% CI, 6.975 to 1574.021; P = 0.001) (noting the very wide confidence intervals too).Various other analyses were also applied to the data. "The CART (Classification and Regression Tree) decision tree machine learning method was applied to plasma cytokine and clinical covariate data to find predictors that distinguished ME/CFS cases of short illness duration (≤3 years) from those with a long illness duration (>3 years)." In that respect, the age of participants seemed to play something of a role in the results obtained. But, the authors also acknowledge that this data was "not then validated on an independent test set."Discussions surround the possible reasons for the results obtained, particularly how symptom duration seemed to play an important role in the authors' findings. I do like the idea that "an “exhaustion” of the cytokine-producing cells" might account for why there seems to be a 'burst' of immune system involvement in the early stages of the disease followed by a kind of cytokine burn-out. "The study supports the idea that ME/CFS may reflect an infectious "hit-and-run" event" is one way of looking at it.What's more to say about this work? Well, we might be seeing 'immune markers' mentioned a little more in CFS/ME research circles in the near future on top of what has been previously reported (see here). Whether specific cytokine profiles might be considered 'diagnostic' for CFS/ME needs quite a bit more replication before anyone gets too ahead of themselves. That being said, as and when such a profile is detected, one might reasonably assume that there could be ways and means to intervene. Another quote: "There are already human monoclonal antibodies on the market that can dampen levels of a cytokine called interleukin-17A that is among those the study shows were elevated in early-stage patients." I say this without making any judgement calls nor providing anything that looks, sounds or smells like clinical/medical advice. I might also advance the idea that other factors might also link into something like IL-17A (see here).I'm also minded to say that the excitement over immune issues being associated with CFS/ME shouldn't also push other areas back into the shadows as per the very interesting findings being reported on things like mitochondrial function (see here), the gut microbiota (see here) and potential intervention options (see here) to name but a few.Still, only a few months into 2015 and CFS/ME (or SEID if you wish) is really making some research headlines...----------[1] Hornig M. et al. Distinct plasma immune signatures in ME/CFS are present early in the course of illness. Science Advances. 2015; 1: 1: e1400121.----------Mady Hornig, José G. Mo... Read more »

Mady Hornig, José G. Montoya, Nancy G. Klimas, Susan Levine, Donna Felsenstein, Lucinda Bateman, Daniel L. Peterson, C. Gunnar Gottschalk, Andrew F. Schultz, Xiaoyu Che.... (2015) Distinct plasma immune signatures in ME/CFS are present early in the course of illness. Science Advances, 1(1). info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1400121

  • February 27, 2015
  • 06:46 PM
  • 33 views

QuantiFERON-TB Gold Testing For Latent TB Eliminates False Positives From BCG Vaccination

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Masae Kawamura MD Director and TB Controller City and County of San Francisco Department of Health Principal investigator for the Regional TB Training and Medical Consultation Center MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What … Continue reading →... Read more »

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:, & Dr. Masae Kawamura MD. (2015) QuantiFERON-TB Gold Testing For Latent TB Eliminates False Positives From BCG Vaccination . MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • February 27, 2015
  • 05:23 PM
  • 44 views

New compounds protect nerves from the damage of MS

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Autoimmune diseases are tough to live with, frankly we don’t really understand the reasons they start at all, how to treat them, or even where to start in forming a cure. Well there might be some good news — as far as a treatment goes anyway — a newly characterized group of pharmacological compounds block both the inflammation and nerve cell damage seen in mouse models of multiple sclerosis.... Read more »

Haines, J., Herbin, O., de la Hera, B., Vidaurre, O., Moy, G., Sun, Q., Fung, H., Albrecht, S., Alexandropoulos, K., McCauley, D.... (2015) Nuclear export inhibitors avert progression in preclinical models of inflammatory demyelination. Nature Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1038/nn.3953  

  • February 27, 2015
  • 12:45 PM
  • 35 views

NSAIDS After Heart Attack Increase Risk of Bleeding and Further Heart Attacks

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anne-Marie Schjerning Olsen, MD, PhD Department of Cardiology Gentofte Hospital, University of Copenhagen Denmark MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Olsen: The question addressed in the study was: Do people who have had a … Continue reading →... Read more »

Anne-Marie Schjerning Olsen, MD, PhD, & Department of Cardiology. (2015) NSAIDS After Heart Attack Increase Risk of Bleeding and Further Heart Attacks. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

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