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  • March 3, 2015
  • 02:41 PM
  • 2 views

Early life stress may result in a serotonin deficit later

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

If you have experienced — or are experiencing — mood disorders like anxiety or depression, you know about SSRI’s and chances are they didn’t do much for you. In fact studies indicate that the majority of people with mood and anxiety disorders who receive Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s) are not helped by these medications. Sadly, they are the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressant medications, this is because SSRIs are designed to increase serotonin levels, a ........ Read more »

  • March 3, 2015
  • 10:45 AM
  • 2 views

Shy Crabs Make the Most Sperm

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



A fellow who hides in his shell until danger has passed may not seem like the epitome of manliness. Yet among hermit crabs, the shyest males have the most to offer the ladies. It's all part of their evolutionary strategy. Crabs that are long on bravery, meanwhile, are short on sperm.

Mark Briffa, an animal behavior professor at Plymouth University in the United Kingdom, and his colleagues found the surprising connection between sperm and shyness while studying "life history" in crabs. To........ Read more »

  • March 3, 2015
  • 07:00 AM
  • 11 views

Protecting crops by blocking insect genes: the case for RNA interference

by Betty Zou in Eat, Read, Science

A promising area of transgenic plant research is focused on the use of RNA interference, or RNAi, to control insect pests. For any gene to be expressed, the DNA must first be read and converted into RNA. The RNA message is then decoded to produce a protein. Think of your cell as a house and the DNA as the master building plan for that house. Every time you need to make a repair, the general contractor consults the building plan and sends a message to the tradesperson to make the component that i........ Read more »

  • March 3, 2015
  • 05:57 AM
  • 12 views

What gives wine its taste? (We heard it’s on the grapevine…)

by socgenmicro in Microbe Post

Wine connoisseurs, or oenophiles, possess a seemingly endless vocabulary for describing their tipples of choice. To the uninitiated, it may sound like they are describing an entire gourmet meal, or even a good friend, but this is not just make-believe: … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • March 3, 2015
  • 05:19 AM
  • 14 views

Schizophrenia and the risk of fractures

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The systematic review and meta-analysis published by Brendon Stubbs and colleagues [1] provides some food for thought for healthcare providers and others looking at the wider implications following a diagnosis of schizophrenia. "People with schizophrenia are at significantly increased risk of fractures" was the conclusion reached based on the collected analysis of tens of thousands of people diagnosed with schizophrenia compared with nearly 4 million controls.My immediate thought (and tweet) whe........ Read more »

Stubbs B, Gaughran F, Mitchell AJ, De Hert M, Farmer R, Soundy A, Rosenbaum S, & Vancampfort D. (2015) Schizophrenia and the risk of fractures: a systematic review and comparative meta-analysis. General hospital psychiatry. PMID: 25666994  

  • March 3, 2015
  • 03:58 AM
  • 17 views

Genetically-modified mice resistant to frostbite

by This Science is Crazy in This Science Is Crazy!

Genetically-modified mice resistant to frostbite - How a glycoprotein could improve organ transplant success (and ice-cream).... Read more »

Heisig, M., Mattessich, S., Rembisz, A., Acar, A., Shapiro, M., Booth, C., Neelakanta, G., & Fikrig, E. (2015) Frostbite Protection in Mice Expressing an Antifreeze Glycoprotein. PLOS ONE, 10(2). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0116562  

  • March 2, 2015
  • 11:55 PM
  • 21 views

Short history of iterated prisoner’s dilemma tournaments

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

Nineteen Eighty — if I had to pick the year that computational modeling invaded evolutionary game theory then that would be it. In March, 1980 — exactly thirty-five years ago — was when Robert Axelrod, a professor of political science at University of Michigan, published the results of his first tournament for iterated prisoner’s dilemma […]... Read more »

  • March 2, 2015
  • 04:43 PM
  • 36 views

Drug already on the market could help treat MS and other neurological diseases

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Multiple sclerosis, unless you suffer from nerve damage it is a pain you (thankfully) will never have to feel. In most cases, treating the brutal pain caused by this (and other neurological diseases) is the only help that can be offered to people. The pain is caused by damage to myelin, the fatty insulator that enables communication between nerve cells, which characterizes multiple sclerosis (MS) and other devastating neurological diseases.... Read more »

Abiraman, K., Pol, S., O'Bara, M., Chen, G., Khaku, Z., Wang, J., Thorn, D., Vedia, B., Ekwegbalu, E., Li, J.... (2015) Anti-Muscarinic Adjunct Therapy Accelerates Functional Human Oligodendrocyte Repair. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(8), 3676-3688. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3510-14.2015  

  • March 2, 2015
  • 02:05 PM
  • 23 views

You are what you eat

by naturallyspeakingpodcast in Naturally Speaking Podcast

Ecologists have long tried to understand what animals get up to when they’re not being observed. GPS technologies have enabled unprecedented remote-tracking, but some behaviours – such as diet – are a little more tricky to track. In this post James Grecian (@JamesGrecian), a marine ecologist at the Institute, discusses a technique he uses to track the diet of marine seabirds across some of the world’s […]

... Read more »

  • March 2, 2015
  • 09:52 AM
  • 41 views

Extinction Edge: a new thriller on how epigenetic changes induced by viruses could kill us all

by EE Giorgi in CHIMERAS

Today my friend Nicholas Sansbury Smith releases Extinction Edge, the sequel to Extinction Horizon, a sci-fi thriller where humanity is driven to extinction by a lethal virus. I posted an interview with Nick for the release of his first book, but today I wanted to talk about the science behind his premise: can a virus induce epigenetic changes?In a way, Nick's premise is similar to the premise I used in Chimeras: a large part of our DNA is made of pseudogenes, which are ancient genes that are no........ Read more »

  • March 2, 2015
  • 04:49 AM
  • 38 views

Systemic low grade inflammation and bowel issues in autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper from Katarina Babinská and colleagues [1] (open-access here) presents an interesting, if preliminary take on two potentially important issues linked to at least some cases of autism: gastrointestinal (GI) issues and inflammation (see here and see here respectively).Detailing the examination of plasma levels of a compound called high mobility group box 1 protein (HMGB1), a protein which has the apparent ability to 'bend DNA' and has some pretty potent immune effects [2] (one paper........ Read more »

  • March 2, 2015
  • 04:06 AM
  • 37 views

Single-Unit Recordings Reveal Limitations of fMRI MVPA?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Multi-voxel pattern analysis (MVPA) is an increasingly popular approach for analyzing the results of fMRI scanning experiments that measure brain activity. MVPA searches for patterns of activation that correlate with a particular mental state. This is called 'decoding' neural activity.

Now a new paper in the Journal of Neuroscience from Caltech neuroscientists Julien Dubois et al. reports that MVPA is unable to decode certain kinds of information, even though single-unit recordings confirm th... Read more »

Dubois J, de Berker AO, & Tsao DY. (2015) Single-Unit Recordings in the Macaque Face Patch System Reveal Limitations of fMRI MVPA. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 35(6), 2791-802. PMID: 25673866  

  • March 1, 2015
  • 06:23 PM
  • 44 views

Chancelloriids Revised

by Marc in Teaching Biology

Many Cambrian fossils are simply spines and sclerites unassociated with any body. Few of the exceptionally-preserved Cambrian freaks come with spines attached, and some of the most prominent of these are the chancelloriids. Originally described as sponges by Charles Doolittle Walcott back in 1920 (Walcott, 1920), modern researchers have found that the spines are very similar to those […]
The post Chancelloriids Revised appeared first on Teaching Biology.
... Read more »

Stefan Bengtson, & Desmond Collins. (2015) Chancelloriids of the Cambrian Burgess Shale. Palaeontologia Electronica. info:other/

  • March 1, 2015
  • 03:20 PM
  • 53 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
  • 03:52 AM
  • 66 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 vitam........ Read more »

  • February 28, 2015
  • 04:42 PM
  • 97 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
  • 83 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
  • 04:34 AM
  • 16 views

What are the Unsolved Problems of Neuroscience?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

In an interesting short paper just published in Trends in Cognitive Science, Caltech neuroscientist Ralph Adolphs offers his thoughts on The Unsolved Problems of Neuroscience.





Here's Adolphs' list of the top 23 questions (including 3 "meta" issues), which, he says, was inspired by Hilbert's famous set of 23 mathematical problems:
Problems that are solved, or soon will be:
I. How do single neurons compute?
II. What is the connectome of a small nervous system, like that of Caenorhabi... Read more »

Adolphs R. (2015) The unsolved problems of neuroscience. Trends in cognitive sciences. PMID: 25703689  

  • February 27, 2015
  • 07:04 PM
  • 64 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) anyon........ 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
  • 05:23 PM
  • 60 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  

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