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  • January 21, 2015
  • 07:24 AM
  • 1,060 views

Space Exploration 2.0

by Viputheshwar Sitaraman in Draw Science

Redefining space exploration: SpaceX's crazy week in the private space race. [Infographic]... Read more »

  • January 21, 2015
  • 05:34 AM
  • 507 views

Features of autism in childhood epilepsy

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"In conclusion, features of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] were common in children with epilepsy regardless of cognitive ability."Whoa, whoa, whoa! Sorry, Blondie. I don't do backstorySo said Colin Reily and colleagues [1] in their paper examining facets of autism in cases of childhood epilepsy. Suggesting also that the Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ) might be "a useful screening instrument in this population, and combining parent and teacher forms was opt........ Read more »

Reilly C, Atkinson P, Das KB, Chin RF, Aylett SE, Burch V, Gillberg C, Scott RC, & Neville BG. (2014) Features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in childhood epilepsy: A population-based study. Epilepsy , 86-92. PMID: 25529303  

  • January 20, 2015
  • 03:01 PM
  • 502 views

You can live longer, but not healthier

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

We all want to live longer and thanks to medical technologies our life expectancies have dramatically increased. Which would be handy if we could actually enjoy the extra years. Unfortunately a study of long-lived mutant C. elegans by scientists shows that the genetically altered worms spend a greater portion of their life in a frail state and exhibit less activity as they age than typical nematodes. These findings suggest that genes that increase longevity may not significantly increase healthy........ Read more »

Bansal A, Zhu LJ, Yen K, & Tissenbaum HA. (2015) Uncoupling lifespan and healthspan in Caenorhabditis elegans longevity mutants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 25561524  

  • January 19, 2015
  • 07:33 PM
  • 1,060 views

Menage-a-trois no more: new design removes need for conductive additives and polymers in battery electrodes

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

An ingenious new battery design removes the need for conductive additives and polymers required in conventional designs. This reduces material use, increasing energy density and has the potential to decreases costs!... Read more »

Kirshenbaum, K., Bock, D., Lee, C., Zhong, Z., Takeuchi, K., Marschilok, A., & Takeuchi, E. (2015) In situ visualization of Li/Ag2VP2O8 batteries revealing rate-dependent discharge mechanism. Science, 347(6218), 149-154. DOI: 10.1126/science.1257289  

Dudney, N., & Li, J. (2015) Using all energy in a battery. Science, 347(6218), 131-132. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa2870  

  • January 19, 2015
  • 03:05 PM
  • 545 views

Fear, PTSD, and newly found neural circuits in the brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

People with anxiety disorders, such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), often experience prolonged and exaggerated fearfulness. Now, an animal study suggests that this might involve disruption of a gradual shifting of brain circuitry for retrieving fear memories. Researchers have discovered in rats that an old fear memory is recalled by a separate brain pathway from the one originally used to recall it when it was fresh.... Read more »

Penzo MA, Robert V, Tucciarone J, De Bundel D, Wang M, Van Aeist L, Varvas M, Parada LF, Palmiter R, He M, Huang ZJ, Li B. . (2015) The paraventricular thalamus controls a central amygdala fear circuit. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature13978  

  • January 18, 2015
  • 03:06 PM
  • 450 views

Stem cells derived from amniotic tissues have immunosuppressive properties

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Stem cells derived from human amnion have for some time been considered promising for cell therapies because of their ease of access, ability to differentiate, and absence of ethical issues. Now, a research team has found that stem cells derived from human female amnion also have immunosuppressive activity and that the addition of antibodies to specific factors can enhance their immunosuppressive potential.... Read more »

  • January 18, 2015
  • 08:29 AM
  • 950 views

Machine Learning: Exceeding Chance Level By Chance

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A simple statistical misunderstanding is leading many neuroscientists astray in their use of machine learning tools, according to a new paper in the Journal of Neuroscience Methods: Exceeding chance level by chance.



As the authors, French neuroscientists Etienne Combrisson and Karim Jerbi, describe the issue:
Machine learning techniques are increasingly used in neuroscience to classify brain signals. Decoding performance is reflected by how much the classification results depart from the... Read more »

  • January 17, 2015
  • 04:00 PM
  • 606 views

On the Seven Sins of Memory with Daniel Schacter

by Waseem Akhtar in Bridging the Gaps,

What exactly is a memory? How much do we know about the processes that a human brain executes to store and retrieve a memory? An individual memory may contain different elements such as explicit information, one or many contexts, relevant emotions; does the brain pre-process all individual elements of a memory and then stores this processed memory as one single entity? Or, are different elements of an individual memory stored at different locations in the form of a connected structure or network........ Read more »

  • January 17, 2015
  • 02:18 PM
  • 660 views

Pythagoras theorem could improve patient care

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Triangles, few of us have ever thought of a relationship between health care and triangles. Most of us will remember Pythagoras theorem from our school days, but rarely have a reason to use it in day-to-day life. Well for Doctors that might change, a team of medical researchers has found the 2,500-year-old Pythagoras theorem could be the most effective way to identify the point at which a patient’s health begins to improve.... Read more »

  • January 16, 2015
  • 03:41 PM
  • 523 views

New genetic clues in fragile x syndrome

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Scientists have gained new insight into fragile X syndrome — the most common cause of inherited intellectual disability — by studying the case of a person without the disorder, but with two of its classic symptoms.... Read more »

Myrick LK, Deng PY, Hashimoto H, Oh YM, Cho Y, Poidevin MJ, Suhl JA, Visootsak J, Cavalli V, Jin P.... (2015) Independent role for presynaptic FMRP revealed by an FMR1 missense mutation associated with intellectual disability and seizures. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 25561520  

  • January 16, 2015
  • 12:12 AM
  • 581 views

2015: Puppy New Year! Get some science into your dog

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

2015 is a bright and shiny new year for canine science! But first, this face:After being a dog-less household for eight months (you might remember we sadly farewelled Elke in 2013 and gut-wrenchingly, also old man Caleb, in the first half of 2014) we welcomed a new member to the family at the end of 2014. Those paws. Not photoshopped.If I'm honest with you, I'd been stalking PetRescue quietly for a month or so, not really sure if the time was right, but also open to being inspired to m........ Read more »

Hiby E.F., Rooney N.J., & Bradshaw J.W.S. (2004) Dog training methods: their use, effectiveness and interaction with behaviour and welfare. . Animal Welfare, 13(1), 63-70. info:other/http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ufaw/aw/2004/00000013/00000001/art00010

  • January 15, 2015
  • 02:25 PM
  • 519 views

Scientists use the brain to direct fat burning

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Does it seem like no matter what you do, you still can’t shed the pounds? You know what to eat, how to eat and workout regularly, but the weight just won’t go away, well you may not be alone. There are many different medical conditions that limit your ability to lose weight, but thankfully science has now found how to use your brain to shed the weight.... Read more »

Dodd, G., Decherf, S., Loh, K., Simonds, S., Wiede, F., Balland, E., Merry, T., Münzberg, H., Zhang, Z., Kahn, B.... (2015) Leptin and Insulin Act on POMC Neurons to Promote the Browning of White Fat. Cell, 160(1-2), 88-104. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.12.022  

  • January 15, 2015
  • 05:10 AM
  • 550 views

Maternal thyroid autoantibody and offspring autism risk

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I have, on this blog, previously mentioned the paper by Alan Brown and colleagues [1] suggesting that: "The prevalence of maternal TPO-Ab+ [thyroid peroxidase antibody] was significantly increased in pregnancies giving rise to autism cases (6.15%) compared to controls (3.54%)." It was during some discussion on the suggested diagnosis of Down syndrome disintegrative disorder (see here) and the idea that some signs and symptoms of regressive autism (?) might overlap with TPO antibodies i........ Read more »

Brown, A., Surcel, H., Hinkka-Yli-Salomäki, S., Cheslack-Postava, K., Bao, Y., & Sourander, A. (2015) Maternal thyroid autoantibody and elevated risk of autism in a national birth cohort. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 86-92. DOI: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2014.10.010  

  • January 14, 2015
  • 03:54 PM
  • 518 views

The hidden neurological impact of explosions on military members

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

More bad news for war Veterans, the brains of some Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans who survived blasts from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and died later of other causes show a distinctive honeycomb pattern of broken and swollen nerve fibers throughout critical brain regions, including those that control executive function. The pattern is different from brain damage caused by car crashes, drug overdoses or collision sports, and may be the never-before-reported signature of blast injuri........ Read more »

Ryu J, Horkayne-Szakaly I, Xu L, Pletnikova O, Leri F, Eberhart C, Troncoso JC, & Koliatsos VE. (2014) The problem of axonal injury in the brains of veterans with histories of blast exposure. Acta neuropathologica communications, 2(1), 153. PMID: 25422066  

  • January 14, 2015
  • 05:11 AM
  • 527 views

Autism research in Jamaica

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

For the past couple of years I've been tracking some rather interesting publications coming out of data from Jamaica on the topic of autism / autism spectrum disorder (ASD) specifically looking at the possible overlap between genes and various environmental factors. I thought now would be a good time to bring this collection of papers to the blogging table and summarise their findings based on the analysis of data collected from The Jamaican Autism study. The fact that their latest res........ Read more »

Rahbar MH, Samms-Vaughan M, Loveland KA, Pearson DA, Bressler J, Chen Z, Ardjomand-Hessabi M, Shakespeare-Pellington S, Grove ML, Beecher C.... (2012) Maternal and paternal age are jointly associated with childhood autism in Jamaica. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 42(9), 1928-38. PMID: 22230961  

  • January 13, 2015
  • 02:07 PM
  • 483 views

Genetic brain disorders start at the synapse

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

As we’ve seen from research featured here at the lab, there are many genetic disorders that cause intellectual disability and autism. Historically, these were viewed as untreatable. However, in recent years we have shown via animal models that it is possible to reverse the effects of these gene mutations. But the question remained whether different gene mutations disrupt common physiological processes. If this were the case, a treatment developed for one genetic cause of autism and intellectua........ Read more »

  • January 13, 2015
  • 04:58 AM
  • 475 views

Autism diagnosis as a predictor of slow colonic transit

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Slow colonic transit is all about issues with the speed of gastrointestinal (GI) motility and how as well as deriving nourishment from our food/drink, the other important task which our gut undertakes is the removal of waste, which it generally does pretty well. The paper by Zainab Ridha and colleagues [1] suggested that a diagnosis of autism might be over-represented when it came to their review of children referred for "nuclear transit studies", that is measuring bowel transit by mea........ Read more »

Ridha Z, Quinn R, & Croaker GD. (2014) Predictors of slow colonic transit in children. Pediatric surgery international. PMID: 25549892  

  • January 12, 2015
  • 08:26 PM
  • 1,283 views

Volcanic eruptions partially explain global warming hiatus

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

The well-known global warming hiatus since 2000 has been partially explained by recent data from satellite measurements showing that sulfate emissions from volcanic eruptions is reflecting incoming sunlight.... Read more »

Santer, B., Solomon, S., Bonfils, C., Zelinka, M., Painter, J., Beltran, F., Fyfe, J., Johannesson, G., Mears, C., Ridley, D.... (2014) Observed multi-variable signals of late 20th and early 21st century volcanic activity. Geophysical Research Letters. DOI: 10.1002/2014GL062366  

  • January 12, 2015
  • 05:08 PM
  • 714 views

Study shows rise in mass die-offs

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

You really don’t hear much about mass die-offs from mainstream news outlets; this might make you think they don’t happen that often. However, an analysis of 727 mass die-offs of nearly 2,500 animal species from the past 70 years has found that such events are increasing among birds, fish, and marine invertebrates. At the same time, the number of individuals killed appears to be decreasing for reptiles and amphibians, and is unchanged for mammals.... Read more »

Samuel B. Fey, Adam M. Siepielski, Sébastien Nusslé, Kristina Cervantes-Yoshida, Jason L. Hwan, Eric R. Huber, Maxfield J. Fey, Alessandro Catenazzi, & Stephanie M. Carlson. (2015) Recent shifts in the occurrence, cause, and magnitude of animal mass mortality events. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. info:/10.1073/pnas.1414894112

  • January 12, 2015
  • 10:24 AM
  • 732 views

Collective Personality and Our Environment

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

We are all familiar with the concept of the personality of an individual. We are less familiar with group- or collective personalities (although most teachers can tell you at length about the personalities of each of their classes). The concept is the same: whereas an individual personality relates to an individual’s consistent behaviors across time and contexts, a collective personality relates to a group’s consistent behaviors across time and contexts. Collective personalities can be stron........ Read more »

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