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  • December 10, 2014
  • 06:44 AM

Maternal smoking during pregnancy and offspring autism: no measurable association but...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Oh. Yes sir. How doth the little bumblebee improve each..."We found no evidence to support a measurable association between maternal prenatal smoking and ASD [autism spectrum disorder] in offspring."That was the conclusion reached in the meta-analysis published by Brittany Rosen and colleagues [1] looking at the collected peer-review literature examining any correlation between maternal tobacco smoking during pregnancy and risk of offspring receipt of a diagnosis of autism or ASD......... Read more »

Rosen BN, Lee BK, Lee NL, Yang Y, & Burstyn I. (2014) Maternal Smoking and Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Meta-analysis. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 25432101  

  • June 17, 2014
  • 05:44 AM

What factors influence the age of autism diagnosis?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Old man @ Wikipedia The paper by Ram Mishaal and colleagues [1] examining some of the multitude of variables which might influence how early or late a child receives a diagnosis of autism provides the starting point for today's post. Based on the analysis of over 500 children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the authors found that: "the severity of the social interaction impairment reported by the parents and having a history of developmental regression was associated ........ Read more »

  • December 8, 2013
  • 08:54 AM

Cancer Research Suggestions – Part-5

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Identification of breast cancer:

“Selection of Significant Expression-Correlation Differential Motifs” (SSECDM) is a novel tool/method to select classification features and can be used to identify and treat patients with cancer. This method detects cancer patients based on human signaling network motifs (Lina Chen et al., 2013).

[sociallocker]“SSECDM method could potentially be applied to the identification of breast cancer patients using unknown samples,” Researche........ Read more »

  • September 10, 2013
  • 09:32 PM

Does North Korea publish peer-reviewed science?

by Bradley Voytek in Oscillatory Thoughts

To answer this I looked to Pubmed, which is the biomedical peer-review research search engine run by the National Library of Medicine of the US National Institutes of Health.Pubmed's search capabilities allow you to search by authors' professional or university affiliations.I limited my search query to Pyongyang, North Korea, DPR Korea, and/or DPRK, which (correctly) yielded 5 published peer-reviewed research publications, none before 2006:Chae MH, Krull F, Lorenzen S, Knapp EW. Predicting prote........ Read more »

Chae MH, Krull F, Lorenzen S, & Knapp EW. (2010) Predicting protein complex geometries with a neural network. Proteins, 78(4), 1026-39. PMID: 19938153  

Rim H, Kim S, Sim B, Gang H, Kim H, Kim Y, Kim R, Yang M, & Kim S. (2008) Effect of iron fortification of nursery complementary food on iron status of infants in the DPRKorea. Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition, 17(2), 264-9. PMID: 18586646  

Kim YS, Xiao HZ, Du EQ, Cai GS, Lu SY, & Qi YP. (2007) Identification and functional analysis of LsMNPV anti-apoptosis genes. Journal of biochemistry and molecular biology, 40(4), 571-6. PMID: 17669274  

Choe CU, Flunkert V, Hövel P, Benner H, & Schöll E. (2007) Conversion of stability in systems close to a Hopf bifurcation by time-delayed coupling. Physical review. E, Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics, 75(4 Pt 2), 46206. PMID: 17500977  

  • February 22, 2013
  • 08:00 AM

February 22, 2013

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

Although my muscles fail me if I try to pick up anything that weighs more than three pounds, I’m appreciative of their health and relative youth.  With so many complicated structures required for one single muscle to function properly, it is no wonder there is a long list of myopathies, or muscular diseases, that make life difficult for countless folks.  Thankfully, many biologists are here to help us understand muscle structure and function.Muscles fibers are made of long chains of ........ Read more »

Randazzo, D., Giacomello, E., Lorenzini, S., Rossi, D., Pierantozzi, E., Blaauw, B., Reggiani, C., Lange, S., Peter, A., Chen, J.... (2013) Obscurin is required for ankyrinB-dependent dystrophin localization and sarcolemma integrity. originally published in the Journal of Cell Biology, 200(4), 523-536. DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201205118  

  • February 9, 2013
  • 08:13 AM

Women and Men Organize Social Networks Differently

by Lizabeth Dijkstra in United Academics

In social networks, women show a preference for stability while men are more competitive.... Read more »

  • October 24, 2011
  • 09:48 AM

The missing heritability

by EE Giorgi in CHIMERAS

It's been dubbed the "dark matter of the genome" because… we know it's there and yet we can't find it. Ever since the completion of the Human Genome Project, the hunt to disease variants has taken up much, if not most, of genetic research. The idea is simple: we take a sample of healthy people (the controls), a matched sample of diseased people (the cases), we type their DNA, stratify by other possible factors (this one depends on the study, but think of things like smoking, age, family histor........ Read more »

  • September 23, 2011
  • 11:54 AM

Embodied solutions to neural delays: Information and Network Motifs

by Andrew Wilson in Notes from Two Scientific Psychologists

One of the bugbears of direct perception is the fact of neural delays. The transmission of signals through the nervous system takes time, and this means that there is a lag between something happening (at, say, the retina) and that event having consequences in cortex, let alone behaviour. In control theory terms, delays in a system can lead to instability in that system's behaviour as you are forced to make corrections that are then incorrect and must themselves be corrected. It's typically sugg........ Read more »

Montagne, G., Durey, A., Bootsma, R., & Laurent, M. (1999) Movement reversals in ball catching. Experimental Brain Research, 129(1), 87-92. DOI: 10.1007/s002210050939  

Vicente, R., Gollo, L., Mirasso, C., Fischer, I., & Pipa, G. (2008) Dynamical relaying can yield zero time lag neuronal synchrony despite long conduction delays. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(44), 17157-17162. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0809353105  

  • August 23, 2011
  • 06:54 AM

There's More Than One Way to Rhythmically Move a Lobster

by Andrew Wilson in Notes from Two Scientific Psychologists

I'm slowly working my way through Olaf Sporn's excellent book, Networks of the Mind. The purpose of this book is to introduce neuroscientists to network theory, and vice versa; I'm eavesdropping and tooling up on both. It's slow going only because it's pretty much all new territory to me, but I'm seeing a lot of potential in the overall approach to the brain, and this just confirms for me that Sporns understands what he does pretty deeply. 

Anyway, a while back, Bruce Hood tweeted the........ Read more »

Gonzalez Castro LN, Monsen CB, & Smith MA. (2011) The binding of learning to action in motor adaptation. PLoS computational biology, 7(6). PMID: 21731476  

Prinz, A., Bucher, D., & Marder, E. (2004) Similar network activity from disparate circuit parameters. Nature Neuroscience, 7(12), 1345-1352. DOI: 10.1038/nn1352  

Wolpert, D., Miall, R., & Kawato, M. (1998) Internal models in the cerebellum. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 2(9), 338-347. DOI: 10.1016/S1364-6613(98)01221-2  

  • May 27, 2011
  • 07:42 AM

Systems biology approach to stringent response

by Vasili Hauryliuk in stringent response

Bacterial cells constantly need to monitor their environment and act accordingly.The trouble is, bacteria are very small and when you are so very small, all the effects of being quantized in terms of molecule numbers are becoming very strong: number of mRNA molecules for a certain gene is an integer value, and not a very high at that, events of receptor getting activated or RNA polymerase binding to the promoter are stochastic in nature, and since not too many of the individu........ Read more »

Potrykus K, & Cashel M. (2008) (p)ppGpp: still magical?. Annual review of microbiology, 35-51. PMID: 18454629  

Dahl JL, Kraus CN, Boshoff HI, Doan B, Foley K, Avarbock D, Kaplan G, Mizrahi V, Rubin H, & Barry CE 3rd. (2003) The role of RelMtb-mediated adaptation to stationary phase in long-term persistence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 100(17), 10026-31. PMID: 12897239  

Ghosh S, Sureka K, Ghosh B, Bose I, Basu J, & Kundu M. (2011) Phenotypic heterogeneity in mycobacterial stringent response. BMC systems biology, 18. PMID: 21272295  

Elowitz MB, Levine AJ, Siggia ED, & Swain PS. (2002) Stochastic gene expression in a single cell. Science (New York, N.Y.), 297(5584), 1183-6. PMID: 12183631  

Larson DR, Singer RH, & Zenklusen D. (2009) A single molecule view of gene expression. Trends in cell biology, 19(11), 630-7. PMID: 19819144  

Ingolia NT, & Murray AW. (2007) Positive-feedback loops as a flexible biological module. Current biology : CB, 17(8), 668-77. PMID: 17398098  

Taniguchi Y, Choi PJ, Li GW, Chen H, Babu M, Hearn J, Emili A, & Xie XS. (2010) Quantifying E. coli proteome and transcriptome with single-molecule sensitivity in single cells. Science (New York, N.Y.), 329(5991), 533-8. PMID: 20671182  

Balaban NQ, Merrin J, Chait R, Kowalik L, & Leibler S. (2004) Bacterial persistence as a phenotypic switch. Science (New York, N.Y.), 305(5690), 1622-5. PMID: 15308767  

  • May 21, 2011
  • 12:47 PM

Sticky proteins, complexity drama and selection's blind eye

by Psi Wavefunction in Skeptic Wonder

*For your entertainment, rejected titles:[Sticky proteins and complex relationships][(protein) Relationship drama: promiscuous proteins in small populations][Not all is good that sticks: non-adaptive complexity gain through compensatory protein adhesion][Man, I suck at titles]NB: This post can be considered as part 2.5 of my In defense of constructive neutral evolution series; also recommended for some background are part 1, discussing selection, drift and Neutral Theory, and part 2, discussing........ Read more »

  • March 28, 2011
  • 01:39 PM

Does Cooperation Really Make It Happen?

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

Above: Jim Henson's Anything Muppets sing "Street Garden Cooperation."
What didn’t Sesame Street teach us? Working together (sometimes) makes things go easier—whether you're a part of a group of Muppets who want a community garden, or perhaps hunter-gatherers managing your existence. Humans are the only species to cooperate to the degree that we do, and this cooperation may have allowed for many other derived social traits related to group living to emerge, including generosity, sharing, t........ Read more »

Hill, K., Walker, R., Bozicevic, M., Eder, J., Headland, T., Hewlett, B., Hurtado, A., Marlowe, F., Wiessner, P., & Wood, B. (2011) Co-Residence Patterns in Hunter-Gatherer Societies Show Unique Human Social Structure. Science, 331(6022), 1286-1289. DOI: 10.1126/science.1199071  

  • October 20, 2010
  • 05:15 AM

Jean Baptiste Lamarck: Founder of Lamarckian Evolution

by John Wayland in The Darwin Tribune

From the outset of this post, it must be noted by The Editor, that this blog wholly acknowledges and supports Darwin's Theory of Evolution. Furthermore, this article is not intended to question Darwin's work or theory, or the masses of fossil evidence, and DNA evidence that further supports his theory. Ergo, any comments of an aggressive or distasteful nature shall be removed, especially if contributors attempt to bring the debate of religion vs science into this domain.This article shall e........ Read more »

  • February 19, 2010
  • 05:11 AM

Noisy genes and the limits of genetic determinism

by Kevin Mitchell in Wiring the Brain

Why are genetically identical monozygotic twins not phenotypically identical?  They are obviously much more similar than people who do not share all their DNA, but even in outward physical appearance are not really identical.  And when it comes to psychological traits or psychiatric disorders, they can be quite divergent (concordance between monozygotic twins for schizophrenia for example is only around 50%).  What is the source of this phenotypic variance?  Why are the effects of a mutation........ Read more »

  • October 31, 2009
  • 01:45 PM

Gladwell states as guidlines for a better omics data management

by Abhishek Tiwari in Fisheye Perspective

Universal application of high throughput omics technologies have enabled scientists to measure tens of thousands of data points in a single experiment. As a result of this scientific world has become deluged with data. This has greater implications the way science will be done in coming years. There is a general accord that science has turned more into a data management problem. Put the technical aspect of scientific data management aside, and ask can we depict useful and practically relevant co........ Read more »

  • October 2, 2009
  • 01:00 AM

Resting-state brain networks are stable

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

The world doesn't stop when night falls. From rabbits to night-club bouncers, there's a whole cast of nocturnal characters who come out to play. It's a similar story with the brain. When we disengage from the outside world, the brain doesn't go to sleep. Rather, there's a suite of neural regions, known collectively as the "default mode network", that spring to life. Over the last decade, this recognition of the brain's intrinsic functioning has led neuroscientists to perform numerous studies in ........ Read more »

Shehzad, Z., Kelly, A., Reiss, P., Gee, D., Gotimer, K., Uddin, L., Lee, S., Margulies, D., Roy, A., Biswal, B.... (2009) The Resting Brain: Unconstrained yet Reliable. Cerebral Cortex, 19(10), 2209-2229. DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhn256  

  • September 24, 2009
  • 03:18 PM

Will complexity compromise stability of an ecological network?

by Joseph X. Zhou in Wonderland of Biophysics

Comments on a study of stability of the complex ecological web... Read more »

Gross, T., Rudolf, L., Levin, S., & Dieckmann, U. (2009) Generalized Models Reveal Stabilizing Factors in Food Webs. Science, 325(5941), 747-750. DOI: 10.1126/science.1173536  

  • July 3, 2009
  • 07:43 AM

The synapses of Theseus

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

The Greek hero Theseus had a ship that was used in an annual ceremony. As the ship aged, the plans would slowly rot and were, over the years, replaced. Eventually, after many years, every one of the planks was replaced. Is it the same ship? This philosophical problem plagued the Greeks, and highlights the tension between stability and change.This problem reappears in neurobiology in many ways. Neurons must have some stability or processing information becomes impossible. Neurons must be able to ........ Read more »

  • March 12, 2009
  • 09:30 PM

Urea binds to the peptide group

by Michael Clarkson in Conformational Flux

I've mentioned urea and guanidinium (Gdm) before on this blog, usually with reference to questions about their mechanism of action. These small molecules cause proteins to denature, or lose their higher levels of structure and become unfolded chains. The complete unfolding of a protein typically requires a fairly high concentration of denaturant, almost always more than 1M, and the explanation for this is that the denaturant molecules preferentially associate with the polypeptide chain with low ........ Read more »

  • October 22, 2008
  • 05:49 AM

Correlations between Slow Cortical Potentials and Spontaneous Fluctuations of the BOLD Signal

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

How do hemodynamic and electrophysiological1 measures of brain activity relate to each other? A cool new open access article in PNAS (He et al., 2008) reports on the similarities between spontaneous fluctuations in the BOLD (blood-oxygen-level-dependent) signal in fMRI and ultraslow brain waves recorded directly from the cortex of patients undergoing surgical monitoring for epilepsy. The figure below shows the subdural grid electrodes implanted over sensorimotor cortex in one patient (Fig. 1A), ........ Read more »

B. J. He, A. Z. Snyder, J. M. Zempel, M. D. Smyth, & M. E. Raichle. (2008) Electrophysiological correlates of the brain's intrinsic large-scale functional architecture. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0807010105  

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