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  • July 29, 2015
  • 03:42 AM
  • 7 views

Gluten psychosis

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The present case-report confirms that psychosis may be a manifestation of NCGS [non-coeliac gluten sensitivity], and may also involve children; the diagnosis is difficult with many cases remaining undiagnosed."Elena Lionetti and colleagues [1] (open-access) provide an interesting read in today's post on how diet and psychiatry might once again be linked. Presenting a case report of a 14-year old girl coming to the attention of clinical services "for psychotic symptoms that were apparently ........ Read more »

Lionetti, E., Leonardi, S., Franzonello, C., Mancardi, M., Ruggieri, M., & Catassi, C. (2015) Gluten Psychosis: Confirmation of a New Clinical Entity. Nutrients, 7(7), 5532-5539. DOI: 10.3390/nu7075235  

  • July 28, 2015
  • 01:35 PM
  • 23 views

Where memory is encoded and retrieved

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Are the same regions and even the same cells of the brain area called hippocampus involved in encoding and retrieving memories or are different areas of this structure engaged? This question has kept neuroscientists busy for a long time. Researchers at the Mercator Research Group “Structure of Memory” at RUB have now found out that the same brain cells exhibit activity in both processes.... Read more »

  • July 28, 2015
  • 12:05 PM
  • 16 views

Sports Stadiums Make Bats into Winners and Losers

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Bats are indifferent to whether we're playing soccer, baseball, or beach volleyball under our stadium lights. They only care about the game of catch they're playing with all the bugs attracted to the glow. As bats stuff themselves on swarms of sports-adjacent insects, though, our stadiums may be aiding certain bat species and wiping others out.

Any bat that's willing to visit a lit-up sports stadium will find a bug bonanza there, says Corrie Schoeman, an ecologist at the University of........ Read more »

  • July 28, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 31 views

FDA officially refers consumers to Wikipedia for information on food pathogens

by Austin Bouck in Animal Science Review

I was perusing the Bad Bug Book while doing some research on the recent Blue Bell outbreak and came across a hyperlink. After hearing “do you want to know more?” in my head I clicked through on some non-L. mono species of Listeria and was…confused. I quickly doubled back, thinking that maybe I had been redirected, but there it was.... Read more »

Food and Drug Administration. (2012) Listeria Monocytogenes. Bad Bug Book, Foodborne pathogenic microorganisms and natural toxins. Second Edition, 99-100. info:/

  • July 28, 2015
  • 03:35 AM
  • 45 views

Adult outcomes following childhood psychiatric problems

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A long quote to begin:"If the goal of public health efforts is to increase opportunity and optimal outcomes, and to reduce distress, then there may be no better target than the reduction of childhood psychiatric distress—at the clinical and subthreshold levels."That was the bottom line reported by William Copeland and colleagues [1] (open-access) who set out to test whether psychiatric problems presenting in childhood can "adversely affect adult functioning even if the problems themselves do n........ Read more »

  • July 27, 2015
  • 02:49 PM
  • 51 views

Some vaccines support evolution of more-virulent viruses

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Scientific experiments with the herpes virus such as the one that causes Marek’s disease in poultry have confirmed, for the first time, the highly controversial theory that some vaccines could allow more-virulent versions of a virus to survive, putting unvaccinated individuals at greater risk of severe illness. The research has important implications for food-chain security and food-chain economics, as well as for other diseases that affect humans and agricultural animals.... Read more »

Andrew F. Read, Susan J. Baigent, Claire Powers, Lydia B. Kgosana, Luke Blackwell, Lorraine P. Smith, David A. Kennedy, Stephen W. Walkden-Brown, & Venugopal K. Nair. (2015) Imperfect Vaccination Can Enhance the Transmission of Highly Virulent Pathogens. PLOS Biology. info:/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002198

  • July 27, 2015
  • 03:08 AM
  • 56 views

Incontinence and paediatric autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Urinary incontinence - "the unintentional passing of urine" - is a fairly common issue affecting millions of people of all ages worldwide. Achieving full bladder and bowel control is seen as a typical part of growing up but for some children, particularly those diagnosed with a behavioural or developmental condition, issues with incontinence can persist much later into life [1].The findings reported by Alexander von Gontard and colleagues [2] bring the issue of incontinence into the autism resea........ Read more »

von Gontard A, Pirrung M, Niemczyk J, & Equit M. (2015) Incontinence in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of pediatric urology. PMID: 26052001  

  • July 26, 2015
  • 07:39 PM
  • 79 views

Sleep not just protects memories against forgetting, it also makes them more accessible

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Sleeping not only protects memories from being forgotten, it also makes them easier to access, according to new research from the University of Exeter and the Basque Centre for Cognition, Brain and Language. The findings suggest that after sleep we are more likely to recall facts which we could not remember while still awake.... Read more »

Dumay, N. (2015) Sleep not just protects memories against forgetting, it also makes them more accessible. Cortex. info:/http://hdl.handle.net/10871/17864

  • July 26, 2015
  • 03:12 PM
  • 55 views

Cell phone notifications may be driving you to distraction

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Whether you are alerted to an incoming phone call or text by a trendy ringtone, an alarm bell or a quiet vibration, just receiving a notification on your cell phone can cause enough of a distraction to impair your ability to focus on a given task. In fact, the distraction caused by a simple notification — whether it is a sound or a vibration — is comparable to the effects seen when users actively use their cell phones to make calls or send text messages, the researchers found.... Read more »

Stothart, C., Mitchum, A., & Yehnert, C. (2015) The Attentional Cost of Receiving a Cell Phone Notification. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. DOI: 10.1037/xhp0000100  

  • July 25, 2015
  • 01:17 PM
  • 81 views

Spines of boys and girls differ at birth

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Looking at measurements of the vertebrae – the series of small bones that make up the spinal column – in newborn children, investigators at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles found that differences between the sexes are present at birth. Results of the study suggest that this difference is evolutionary, allowing the female spine to adapt to the fetal load during pregnancy.... Read more »

Ponrartana, S., Aggabao, P., Dharmavaram, N., Fisher, C., Friedlich, P., Devaskar, S., & Gilsanz, V. (2015) Sexual Dimorphism in Newborn Vertebrae and Its Potential Implications. The Journal of Pediatrics, 167(2), 416-421. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2015.04.078  

  • July 25, 2015
  • 03:51 AM
  • 72 views

Medical comorbidity and adult autism (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Regular readers are probably tired of reading blog titles like the one for today on this site. It's not as if the idea that a diagnosis of autism might predispose someone to quite a few more comorbid conditions (see here and see here) hasn't been discussed on quite a few occasions.But just in case the message hasn't got through, I draw your attention to the paper by Kyle Jones and colleagues [1] concluding that: "Adults in this cohort of autism spectrum disorder first ascertained in the 198........ Read more »

  • July 24, 2015
  • 02:21 PM
  • 103 views

Brain structure reveals ability to regulate emotions

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

We all vary in how often we become happy, sad or angry, and also in how strongly these emotions are expressed. This variability is a part of our personality and can be seen as a positive aspect that increases diversity in society. However, there are people that find it so difficult to regulate their emotions that it has a serious impact on their work, family and social life. These individuals may be given an emotional instability diagnosis such as borderline personality disorder or antisocial pe........ Read more »

Petrovic, P., Ekman, C., Klahr, J., Tigerstrom, L., Ryden, G., Johansson, A., Sellgren, C., Golkar, A., Olsson, A., Ohman, A.... (2015) Significant gray matter changes in a region of the orbitofrontal cortex in healthy participants predicts emotional dysregulation. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsv072  

  • July 24, 2015
  • 12:26 PM
  • 97 views

An Anxious Moment Makes People Clean Obsessively

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Whether you're a person biting her nails during a phone interview or a polar bear pacing its cage, anxious animals often do the same thing over and over. Extreme cases of repetitive behavior show up in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder or autism. Now researchers have shown that even a simple, anxiety-inducing experiment can make an average person act in a repetitive and ritualized way.

"A lot of social theorists have talked about the link between anxiety and ritualization," says M........ Read more »

Lang M, Krátký J, Shaver JH, Jerotijević D, & Xygalatas D. (2015) Effects of Anxiety on Spontaneous Ritualized Behavior. Current biology : CB, 25(14), 1892-7. PMID: 26096971  

  • July 24, 2015
  • 05:07 AM
  • 104 views

Analysing mutational heterogeneity to identify true cancer-associated genes

by Danielle Stevenson in BHD Research Blog

A recent blog post discussed the need to assess the pathogenicity of genetic variants to determine which mutations are truly causative and which are only background. This is highly important in the search for new cancer drugs as rapidly dividing tissues are more prone to accruing mutations. Large cancer genomic studies are identifying increasing numbers of apparently “significantly-mutated genes” across all major cancer types. However, these genes often include highly unlikely candid........ Read more »

Lawrence MS, Stojanov P, Polak P, Kryukov GV, Cibulskis K, Sivachenko A, Carter SL, Stewart C, Mermel CH, Roberts SA.... (2013) Mutational heterogeneity in cancer and the search for new cancer-associated genes. Nature, 499(7457), 214-8. PMID: 23770567  

  • July 24, 2015
  • 03:05 AM
  • 85 views

Autism, asthma and IL-17

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"IL-17 was increased in ASD [autism spectrum disorder] children with co-morbid asthma compared to controls with the same condition."That was the conclusion reached by Marjannie Eloi Akintunde and colleagues [1] including some notable names on the authorship list from the University of California, Davis. IL-17 (Interleukin 17) by the way, refers to a group of cytokines - chemical messengers of the immune system - linked to various processes centred on inflammation. Jin & Dong [........ Read more »

Akintunde, M., Rose, M., Krakowiak, P., Heuer, L., Ashwood, P., Hansen, R., Hertz-Picciotto, I., & Van de Water, J. (2015) Increased production of IL-17 in children with autism spectrum disorders and co-morbid asthma. Journal of Neuroimmunology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2015.07.003  

  • July 23, 2015
  • 02:33 PM
  • 101 views

Body fat can send signals to brain, affecting stress response

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The brain’s effect on other parts of the body has been well established. Now, a group of researchers has found that it’s a two-way street: Body fat can send a signal that affects the way the brain deals with stress and metabolism. While the exact nature of those signals remains a mystery, researchers say simply knowing such a pathway exists and learning more about it could help break a vicious cycle: Stress causes a desire to eat more, which can lead to obesity. And too much extra fat can im........ Read more »

de Kloet, A., Krause, E., Solomon, M., Flak, J., Scott, K., Kim, D., Myers, B., Ulrich-Lai, Y., Woods, S., Seeley, R.... (2015) Adipocyte glucocorticoid receptors mediate fat-to-brain signaling. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 110-119. DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.03.008  

  • July 23, 2015
  • 02:58 AM
  • 75 views

Sickle cell disease, asthma and behaviour

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Children with sickle cell disease may have increased risk for certain neurodevelopmental diagnoses based on their disease characteristics and associated comorbidities."That was the conclusion reached by Eboni Lance and colleagues [1] following their retrospective chart review including "59 children with sickle cell disease with a documented neurodevelopmental diagnosis, specifically attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD], attention issues, behavioral issues, executive dy........ Read more »

  • July 22, 2015
  • 09:36 PM
  • 75 views

Using low-dose irradiation, researchers can now edit human genes

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

For the first time, researchers have employed a gene-editing technique involving low-dose irradiation to repair patient cells. This method, developed by researchers in the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute, is 10 times more effective than techniques currently in use.... Read more »

Hatada, S., Subramanian, A., Mandefro, B., Ren, S., Kim, H., Tang, J., Funari, V., Baloh, R., Sareen, D., Arumugaswami, V.... (2015) Low-Dose Irradiation Enhances Gene Targeting in Human Pluripotent Stem Cells. Stem Cells Translational Medicine. DOI: 10.5966/sctm.2015-0050  

  • July 22, 2015
  • 12:33 PM
  • 71 views

Static synapses on a moving structure: Mind the gap!

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In biology, stability is important. From body temperature to blood pressure and sugar levels, our body ensures that these remain within reasonable limits and do not reach potentially damaging extremes. Neurons in the brain are no different and, in fact, have developed a number of ways to stabilise their electrical activity so as to avoid becoming either overexcitable, potentially leading to epilepsy, or not excitable enough, leading to non functional neurons.... Read more »

  • July 22, 2015
  • 09:36 AM
  • 45 views

Video Tip of the Week: PathWhiz for graphical appeal and computational readability

by Mary in OpenHelix

“Pathway diagrams are the road maps of biology.” This is how the folks from PathWhiz begin their recent paper. I came across it in the Nucleic Acids Research web server issue which was recently announced. The NAR database issue in January and the mid-year web server issue are perfectly timed items that I can content […]... Read more »

Pon, A., Jewison, T., Su, Y., Liang, Y., Knox, C., Maciejewski, A., Wilson, M., & Wishart, D. (2015) Pathways with PathWhiz. Nucleic Acids Research, 43(W1). DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkv399  

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