Post List

  • August 20, 2014
  • 12:30 PM
  • 0 views

The DNA Signature of Lupus

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

My Uncle suffered from Lupus. The disease itself should have a more sinister sounding name, given the effect it has on the body. Lupus is a form of autoimmune disease […]... Read more »

Julia I Ellyard, Rebekka Jerjen, Jaime L Martin, Adrian Lee, Matthew A Field, Simon H Jiang, Jean Cappello, Svenja K Naumann, T Daniel Andrews, Hamish S Scott.... (2014) Whole exome sequencing in early-onset cerebral SLE identifies a pathogenic variant in TREX1. Arthritis . info:/10.1002/art.38824

  • August 20, 2014
  • 11:23 AM
  • 3 views

What is Competence and Why Should I Care?

by Winston Sieck in Head Smart

If you’ve been reading about any of the new adventures in education, such as project-based learning, you’ve surely noticed the word competence sprinkled throughout. You may have thought, “Why do I keep hearing about competence? It sounds like another fad in my kid’s education. Wish they’d focus on getting test scores up.” In fact, competence […]... Read more »

McClelland, D. C. (1973) Testing for competence rather than for "intelligence.". American psychologist, 28(1), 1-14. info:/

  • August 20, 2014
  • 10:07 AM
  • 9 views

How Humans Are Helping Ravens and Hurting Hawks

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

You’ve already picked a side in the bird wars, whether or not you know it. As humans carve up formerly empty expanses of the western United States with our roads, electrical towers, and power lines, we’re inadvertently giving a boost to ravens. Meanwhile, the birds of prey that once ruled the land are being left […]The post How Humans Are Helping Ravens and Hurting Hawks appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »

  • August 20, 2014
  • 09:38 AM
  • 15 views

Video Tip of the Week: Immune Epitope DB (IEDB)

by Mary in OpenHelix

This week’s tip was inspired by the recent NHGRI workshop of the future directions for funding and resourcing of genomics-related projects. Titled “Future Opportunities for Genome Sequencing and Beyond: A Planning Workshop for the National Human Genome Research Institute” brought together a lot of influential folks on this topic, and had them noodle on the […]... Read more »

Vita R., J. A. Greenbaum, H. Emami, I. Hoof, N. Salimi, R. Damle, A. Sette, & B. Peters. (2010) The Immune Epitope Database 2.0. Nucleic Acids Research, 38(Database). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkp1004  

Kim Y., Z. Zhu, D. Tamang, P. Wang, J. Greenbaum, C. Lundegaard, A. Sette, O. Lund, P. E. Bourne, & M. Nielsen. (2012) Immune epitope database analysis resource. Nucleic Acids Research, 40(W1). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gks438  

Bhattacharya Sanchita, Linda Gomes, Patrick Dunn, Henry Schaefer, Joan Pontius, Patty Berger, Vince Desborough, Tom Smith, John Campbell, & Elizabeth Thomson. (2014) ImmPort: disseminating data to the public for the future of immunology. Immunologic Research, 58(2-3), 234-239. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12026-014-8516-1  

  • August 20, 2014
  • 09:35 AM
  • 13 views

I hate you Charley, and the horse you rode in on

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

The Charley Horse - why do we get these leg cramps and how can we prevent them? And why are they called a Charley Horse?!... Read more »

Garrison SR, Allan GM, Sekhon RK, Musini VM, & Khan KM. (2012) Magnesium for skeletal muscle cramps. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. PMID: 22972143  

El-Tawil S, Al Musa T, Valli H, Lunn MP, El-Tawil T, & Weber M. (2010) Quinine for muscle cramps. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. PMID: 21154358  

Miller KC, Mack GW, Knight KL, Hopkins JT, Draper DO, Fields PJ, & Hunter I. (2010) Three percent hypohydration does not affect threshold frequency of electrically induced cramps. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 42(11), 2056-63. PMID: 20351595  

  • August 20, 2014
  • 09:30 AM
  • 10 views

State Fairs and Stiff Beers: Why We Can't Stop Drinking

by Aarti Chawla in The 'Scope

A look into why we drink and what alcohol does to the brain.... Read more »

Diamond I, & Messing RO. (1994) Neurologic effects of alcoholism. The Western journal of medicine, 161(3), 279-87. PMID: 7975567  

Paul CA, Au R, Fredman L, Massaro JM, Seshadri S, Decarli C, & Wolf PA. (2008) Association of alcohol consumption with brain volume in the Framingham study. Archives of neurology, 65(10), 1363-7. PMID: 18852353  

  • August 20, 2014
  • 08:00 AM
  • 10 views

Because He Is The One

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Swatting a fly is hard. They always seem to know you’re coming, and even if you do surprise them, they often avoid your assassination attempts. New research is showing how they do it. A 2014 paper indicates that animals with faster metabolic rates actually process information and react quicker than larger animals. This, along with recent data showing how flies can jump away from a visual stimulus before taking flight and how they can coordinate a 0.03 second banking turn with incoming visual information, makes me feel less inadequate when I can’t grab them with my chopsticks.... Read more »

Muijres FT, Elzinga MJ, Melis JM, & Dickinson MH. (2014) Flies evade looming targets by executing rapid visually directed banked turns. Science (New York, N.Y.), 344(6180), 172-7. PMID: 24723606  

Jumpertz R, Hanson RL, Sievers ML, Bennett PH, Nelson RG, & Krakoff J. (2011) Higher energy expenditure in humans predicts natural mortality. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 96(6). PMID: 21450984  

  • August 20, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 1 view

Be still my heart: A short (one-item!) measure of narcissism? 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We are all about short measures of psychological constructs. You might say watching the development of various scales is a hobby here (just look at all these posts!). With rare exception, courts don’t permit lengthy questionnaires, or questions that sound like a psychological screening test. So when the Neuroskeptic blogged about a new one-item scale […]

Related posts:
The GASP scale: A new measure of guilt and shame proneness
Measuring beliefs in the paranormal: The Australian Sheep Goat Scale
I’ll show you who’s boss: The Spitefulness Scale


... Read more »

  • August 20, 2014
  • 06:18 AM
  • 14 views

Topological Insulators Could Power Memory Devices

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

A new phase of matter known as topological insulators, until recently known only for esoteric quantum-mechanical properties, might have a practical use in controlling magnetic memory and logic devices. ... Read more »

Mellnik, A., Lee, J., Richardella, A., Grab, J., Mintun, P., Fischer, M., Vaezi, A., Manchon, A., Kim, E., Samarth, N.... (2014) Spin-transfer torque generated by a topological insulator. Nature, 511(7510), 449-451. DOI: 10.1038/nature13534  

  • August 20, 2014
  • 06:06 AM
  • 14 views

How Stress Promotes Atherosclerosis

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

There is evidence that chronic stress increases the risk of atherosclerosis, but no mechanism linking the two phenomena has been demonstrated so far. Since stressful emotional states can affect the function of the immune system, Heidt and colleagues of the Massachusetts General Hospital hypothesized that stress increases the activity of inflammatory cells in the plaques facilitating their rupture, as you can read in their recently published article.... Read more »

Heidt T, Sager HB, Courties G, Dutta P, Iwamoto Y, Zaltsman A, von Zur Muhlen C, Bode C, Fricchione GL, Denninger J.... (2014) Chronic variable stress activates hematopoietic stem cells. Nature medicine, 20(7), 754-8. PMID: 24952646  

  • August 20, 2014
  • 04:35 AM
  • 19 views

ADHD in DSM-5: what did you think would happen?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Our results, combined with previous findings, suggest a 27% increase in the expected prevalence of ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] among young adults, comparing DSM-IV to DSM-5 criteria". So said the paper by Matte and colleagues [1] who as part of their study looked at "the prevalence of ADHD according to DSM-5 criteria".Europa @ Wikipedia The changes to the diagnosis of ADHD in DSM-5 can be seen here. The main difference between DSM-IV and DSM-5 diagnosis seems to be a change in the maximum age of symptom onset; previously set at 7 years in DSM-IV, now 12 years in DSM-5. This change has been the topic of quite a bit of discussion [2].I'm going no further in this discussion aside from bringing to your attention an article by Dr Allen Frances who has been more than a little critical of the changes made to DSM in this latest version. To quote: "DSM 5 will likely trigger a fad of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder leading to widespread misuse of stimulant drugs for performance enhancement and recreation and contributing to the already large illegal secondary market in diverted prescription drugs". Accepting that any rise in the use of nootropics is beyond the scope of this post, the increase in expected prevalence reported by Matte and colleagues is not a million miles away from Dr Frances' 2012 prediction...Music then. Perfect Day by Lou Reed (the BBC version).----------[1] Matte B. et al. ADHD in DSM-5: a field trial in a large, representative sample of 18- to 19-year-old adults. Psychol Med. 2014 Jun 23:1-13.[2] Cortese S. Are concerns about DSM-5 ADHD criteria supported by empirical evidence? BMJ. 2013 Nov 27;347:f7072.----------Matte, B., Anselmi, L., Salum, G., Kieling, C., Gonçalves, H., Menezes, A., Grevet, E., & Rohde, L. (2014). ADHD in DSM-5: a field trial in a large, representative sample of 18- to 19-year-old adults Psychological Medicine, 1-13 DOI: 10.1017/S0033291714001470... Read more »

Matte, B., Anselmi, L., Salum, G., Kieling, C., Gonçalves, H., Menezes, A., Grevet, E., & Rohde, L. (2014) ADHD in DSM-5: a field trial in a large, representative sample of 18- to 19-year-old adults. Psychological Medicine, 1-13. DOI: 10.1017/S0033291714001470  

  • August 19, 2014
  • 10:15 PM
  • 22 views

Dextrose 10% in the Treatment of Out-of-Hospital Hypoglycemia

by Rogue Medic in Rogue Medic

Is 50% dextrose as good as 10% dextrose for treating symptomatic hypoglycemia?

If the patient is disoriented, but becomes oriented before the full dose of dextrose is given, is it appropriate to continue to treat the patient as if the patient were still disoriented? If your protocols require you to keep giving dextrose, do the same protocols require you to keep giving opioids after the pain is relieved? Is there really any difference?

50% dextrose has problems.... Read more »

Kiefer MV, Gene Hern H, Alter HJ, & Barger JB. (2014) Dextrose 10% in the treatment of out-of-hospital hypoglycemia. Prehospital and disaster medicine, 29(2), 190-4. PMID: 24735872  

  • August 19, 2014
  • 02:17 PM
  • 37 views

Hobby Lobby and the War on Race and Women

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

There is a war going on and it's not on foreign soil. This war is the fight for the status quo, a war where you are only worth your skin color, a war where you are only worth as much as your gender. This war is all around us, we see it everyday, yet we let it quietly pass us by. We do this because, in all actuality, we are losing this war. I don't blame you if you don't believe me, you shouldn't.[…]... Read more »

  • August 19, 2014
  • 12:18 PM
  • 26 views

August 19, 2014

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

Think of life without tubes for a moment. Not only would our huge bodies cease to exist, but our homes’ plumbing would be a mess and my 5-year old’s marble run would be pretty boring. The formation of tubes during development is a fascinating topic. Today’s image is from a paper describing the role of endocytosis in seamless tube formation. The trachea of the fruit fly is a simple tubular system that functions as the respiratory system of the fly. The star-shaped tracheal terminal cells form seamless tubes that extend the length of long cellular extensions. Schottenfeld-Roames and colleagues recently published a study investigating the mutations in the braided gene. Tracheal terminal cells in braided mutants have tubular cysts and fewer branches, as seen in the images above (top is wild-type; bottom is mutant). braided encodes Syntaxin7, a endocytosis protein that promotes fusion of vesicles to early endosomes. Schottenfeld-Roames and colleagues found that mutations in other early endosome proteins cause similar terminal cell tube defects. Additional data showing increased levels of the apical protein Crumbs in braided terminal cells suggests that early endocytosis regulates levels of Crumbs, which in turn affects tube formation through actin cytoskeleton modulation. The images above show the luminal membrane (green) and an apical protein (magenta) in tracheal tubes. The tubes in braided mutants are cystic and abnormal, and the tube tips are disorganized (higher magnified views of the boxed regions are on the left).Schottenfeld-Roames, J., Rosa, J., & Ghabrial, A. (2014). Seamless Tube Shape Is Constrained by Endocytosis-Dependent Regulation of Active Moesin Current Biology, 24 (15), 1756-1764 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.06.029Copyright ©2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.All the images were acquired by Dr. Jodi Schottenfeld-Roames. ... Read more »

  • August 19, 2014
  • 07:14 AM
  • 43 views

Cats Won’t Answer Your Call Or Ring You Back

by Chiara Civardi in United Academics

In a recent article, scientists proof that cats do not evidently set aside special attentions to their owners when called, even though they were able to recognize a familiar voice. Twenty domestic cats simply moved their head or their ears when called by whomever, owners or strangers, but almost no cat replied, “saying something”. They tried with everything: official names, nicknames, etc. but cats never said a word. In addition, hearing the owners’ voice did not result in a marked behavior: the cat response was equal.... Read more »

  • August 19, 2014
  • 04:58 AM
  • 43 views

How to help an anxious interviewee - be mean to them

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

They've barely taken their seat, but it's obvious that your interviewee is nervous. You give her a reassuring smile and nod affirmatively at each of her answers, hoping to put her at ease. Unfortunately, it turns out that positive feedback does a socially anxious interviewee no favours. In fact, it would be better to turn that smile upside-down.We know this from a new study from North Illinois University where a "careers counsellor" (actually a research assistant) conducted practice interviews while moderating his or her tone of voice, posture and facial expression to provide either positive, negative, or no feedback to the interviewee. The sessions were recorded to allow later evaluation of interview performance and behaviours, and each of the 85 student participants initially completed a questionnaire to rate their social anxiety.Under positive and neutral feedback, the more relaxed participants gave better interviews than their anxious counterparts, making more impact and looking more hireable. But under negative feedback this pattern reversed, and the anxious were the stronger performers. This wasn't simply due to the relaxed participants collapsing under the baleful eye of the negative interviewer; the socially anxious actually benefited from the negative feedback, giving better interviews under that condition than any other.Drilling into the specific behaviours shown by the socially anxious participants, Christopher Budnick's team observed that positive and neutral feedback was associated with an upswing in anxiety displays - fidgeting, low eye-contact, sparse responses - and fewer assertive tactics such as positioning themselves as being like the interviewer. The anxious individuals actually made a better impression when facing off against an interviewer who seemed to have a low opinion of them.This paradoxical effect can be explained by our need to have a consistent self-image. Consider a relaxed person given reassuring cues: their self-image is unchallenged, so they can place their attention on external concerns, including making a good impression. By contrast, a socially anxious person typically has a negative self-image, meaning positive feedback is jarring and invites self-consciousness, distracting them from effective interpersonal engagement and social behaviours.Budnick's team tested this explanation by presenting participants with open-ended questions and counting their use of first-person pronouns (I, me, my, myself, and mine) in response, which was taken as a sign of increased self-focus. The anxious interviewees relied on more of these under positive (vs. negative) feedback, with a reversed pattern in relaxed participants. A subsequent analysis confirmed that this higher self-focus was part of the route by which incongruent feedback led to worse performance.The researchers conclude with a recommendation: "high anxiety interviewees might not benefit fully from traditional interview training"; instead they could try learning techniques that "reduce the perceived disconnect between positive feedback and self-views." If you have a tendency to be anxious, you could prepare by thinking through all the reasons why someone might express an emotion without it necessarily being about you, and even put this into practice by asking a cheery friend to put you through a mock interview._________________________________  Budnick CJ, Kowal M, & Santuzzi AM (2014). Social anxiety and the ironic effects of positive interviewer feedback. Anxiety, stress, and coping, 1-17 PMID: 24773204 Post written by Alex Fradera (@alexfradera) for the BPS Research Digest.

... Read more »

  • August 19, 2014
  • 04:23 AM
  • 30 views

Family processes and trajectory in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Woodman and colleagues [1] looking at trajectory and autism in adolescents and adults is the source material for today's post (another micropost). Concluding that: "Overall, autism symptoms and maladaptive behaviors were observed to improve over the study period" of about 8 years, the authors also reported that "greater improvements were associated with higher levels of maternal praise (based on maternal speech samples) and higher quality mother-child relationships". If I remember correctly, that last sentence on maternal praise being linked to outcome was the topic of some discussion at IMFAR (2014) this year (see here). That alongside some concerns about healthcare provision for adults with autism (see here) which ties in well with the recent revision to the Treating Autism document on health comorbidity in autism (see here).A word of warning from Alnwick CastleWhilst treading a little bit carefully in this area, I find the Woodman paper to be intriguing. Not only because their findings provide further support for the fluidity of presentation in autism tied into the concept of stability (see here), but also because of that association between presentation and environment [2].A quick trawl through the peer-reviewed literature on this topic reveals that family context is something previously covered by this authorship group as per other papers [3]. Some of their other discussions [4] looking at the role of families on autism carry some pearls of wisdom, as for example: "It is important to note that within any family system, transactions among family members are bidirectional. As such, in addition to risks for parental health due to stressful caregiving, high levels of family distress also can create difficulties for the individual with autism". That last paper also talked about the use of a "multi-family group psychoeducation" intervention model (see here) as a means to improve the family dynamic which is something I'd like to see quite a bit more research into.Music to close, and what else but Praise You by Fatboy Slim...----------[1] Woodman AC. et al. Change in Autism Symptoms and Maladaptive Behaviors in Adolescence and Adulthood: The Role of Positive Family Processes. J Autism Dev Disord. 2014 Jul 29.[2] Smith LE. et al. Symptoms and behavior problems of adolescents and adults with autism: effects of mother-child relationship quality, warmth, and praise. Am J Ment Retard. 2008 Sep;113(5):387-402.[3] Smith LE. et al. The family context of autism spectrum disorders: influence on the behavioral phenotype and quality of life. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 2014 Jan;23(1):143-55.[4] Smith LE. et al. Adults with autism: outcomes, family effects, and the multi-family group psychoeducation model. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2012 Dec;14(6):732-8.----------Woodman AC, Smith LE, Greenberg JS, & Mailick MR (2014). Change in Autism Symptoms and Maladaptive Behaviors in Adolescence and Adulthood: The Role of Positive Family Processes. Journal of autism and developmental disorders PMID: 25070471... Read more »

  • August 18, 2014
  • 05:14 PM
  • 73 views

The 10,000-Hour rule is nonsense

by Richard Kunert in Brain's Idea

Have you heard of Malcom Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule? The key to success in any field is practice, and not just a little. A new publication in the journal Psychological Science had a good look at all the evidence and concludes that this rule is nonsense. No Einstein in you, I am afraid. The authors of […]... Read more »

  • August 18, 2014
  • 02:55 PM
  • 34 views

Researchers Efficiently Convert Ethane to Ethanol

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

A new material, designed and patented by researchers at Berkeley Lab, converts ethane to ethanol with an efficiency that could cut natural-gas refining costs.... Read more »

Xiao, D., Bloch, E., Mason, J., Queen, W., Hudson, M., Planas, N., Borycz, J., Dzubak, A., Verma, P., Lee, K.... (2014) Oxidation of ethane to ethanol by N2O in a metal–organic framework with coordinatively unsaturated iron(II) sites. Nature Chemistry, 6(7), 590-595. DOI: 10.1038/nchem.1956  

  • August 18, 2014
  • 01:21 PM
  • 41 views

We can Build it Better: The First Artificial Cell Network

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

How does the old saying go? Imitation, is the sincerest form of flattery? Well that is what we’ve been trying to do for a very long time, but mimicking the intricate networks and dynamic interactions that are inherent to living cells is difficult to achieve outside the cell. Unfortunately despite all our intelligence nature has had the upper hand on us for a long time. That has not changed… until now that is.[…]... Read more »

Karzbrun E, Tayar AM, Noireaux V, & Bar-Ziv RH. (2014) Programmable on-chip DNA compartments as artificial cells. Science (New York, N.Y.), 345(6198), 829-32. PMID: 25124443  

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