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  • November 30, 2015
  • 02:47 AM

Health service use, autism and preventative medicine

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Appreciating that the title of this post potentially offers the opportunity to write a long (very long) post, today I'm specifically focusing on two papers. The first by Janet Cummings and colleagues [1] discussing health service use "among youth with and without an autism spectrum disorder (ASD)" concluded that yes, young people with autism were more likely to experience health service use than not-autism control populations. Importantly however, was the suggestion that this group were "less li........ Read more »

Cummings JR, Lynch FL, Rust KC, Coleman KJ, Madden JM, Owen-Smith AA, Yau VM, Qian Y, Pearson KA, Crawford PM.... (2015) Health Services Utilization Among Children With and Without Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 26547921  

  • November 29, 2015
  • 11:45 PM

Diversity and persistence of group tags under replicator dynamics

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

Everyday I walk to the Stabile Research Building to drink espresso and sit in my cozy — although oversaturated with screens — office. Oh, and to chat about research with great people like Arturo Araujo, David Basanta, Jill Gallaher, Jacob Scott, Robert Vander Velde and other Moffitters. This walk to the office takes about 30 […]... Read more »

Jansson, F. (2015) What games support the evolution of an ingroup bias?. Journal of theoretical biology, 100-10. PMID: 25794651  

  • November 29, 2015
  • 03:06 PM

Mental health risk for new dads

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers have found anxiety around the arrival of a new baby is just as common as postnatal depression, and the risks for men are nearly as high as for women. Mental health researcher Dr Liana Leach reviewed 43 separate studies and found anxiety before and after a child arrives is just as prevalent as depression, affecting around one in ten men, around half the rate for women.... Read more »

  • November 28, 2015
  • 04:25 PM

How early life may influence the way elephants age

by Shermin de Silva in Maximus

Insights from 50 years of records on the reproduction and aging of Myanmar's timber elephants.... Read more »

Clubb, R., Rowcliffe, M., Lee, P., Mar, K., Moss, C., & Mason, G. (2008) Compromised Survivorship in Zoo Elephants. Science, 322(5908), 1649-1649. DOI: 10.1126/science.1164298  

Mumby, H., Mar, K., Thitaram, C., Courtiol, A., Towiboon, P., Min-Oo, Z., Htut-Aung, Y., Brown, J., & Lummaa, V. (2015) Stress and body condition are associated with climate and demography in Asian elephants. Conservation Physiology, 3(1). DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cov030  

de Silva, S., Webber, C., Weerathunga, U., Pushpakumara, T., Weerakoon, D., & Wittemyer, G. (2013) Demographic Variables for Wild Asian Elephants Using Longitudinal Observations. PLoS ONE, 8(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082788  

Mumby, H., Mar, K., Hayward, A., Htut, W., Htut-Aung, Y., & Lummaa, V. (2015) Elephants born in the high stress season have faster reproductive ageing. Scientific Reports, 13946. DOI: 10.1038/srep13946  

  • November 28, 2015
  • 03:20 PM

The silence of the genes, an epigenetic tale

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Research led by Dr. Keiji Tanimoto from the University of Tsukuba, Japan, has brought us closer to understanding the mechanisms underlying the phenomenon of genomic imprinting. In this intriguing event, one copy of a gene is ‘turned off’, or silenced, depending on whether it was derived from the mother or the father.... Read more »

Matsuzaki H, Okamura E, Takahashi T, Ushiki A, Nakamura T, Nakano T, Hata K, Fukamizu A, & Tanimoto K. (2015) De novo DNA methylation through the 5'-segment of the H19 ICR maintains its imprint during early embryogenesis. Development (Cambridge, England), 142(22), 3833-44. PMID: 26417043  

  • November 28, 2015
  • 02:54 AM

Acetylcysteine and autism: another case report

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I don't want to spend too long on the findings reported by Danielle Stutzman & Julie Dopheide [1] talking about how: "Treatment with acetylcysteine improved ASD [autism spectrum disorder] symptoms, including irritability and aggression, in a teenage patient" but it is a blog-worthy paper.Describing the experiences of a "7-year-old Hispanic male with ASD and intellectual disability" who was hospitalised due to some rather 'challenging behaviours', the authors noted how the addi........ Read more »

Stutzman D, & Dopheide J. (2015) Acetylcysteine for treatment of autism spectrum disorder symptoms. American journal of health-system pharmacy : AJHP : official journal of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, 72(22), 1956-9. PMID: 26541950  

  • November 27, 2015
  • 03:43 PM

How to Build an Ant Bridge: Start Small

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

You know when you're out walking with a big horde of your friends and you come to a chasm you can't step across, so a bunch of you clasp each other's limbs and make yourselves into a bridge for the rest to walk on?


Eciton army ants do this. And they're not the only ants that build incredible structures out of their strong, near-weightless bodies. Weaver ants make chains between leaves by holding onto each other's waists. Fire ants cling together to form rafts and survive floodin........ Read more »

Reid CR, Lutz MJ, Powell S, Kao AB, Couzin ID, & Garnier S. (2015) Army ants dynamically adjust living bridges in response to a cost-benefit trade-off. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 26598673  

  • November 27, 2015
  • 03:05 PM

Synapse discovery could lead to new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A team of researchers led by UNSW Australia scientists has discovered how connections between brain cells are destroyed in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease – work that opens up a new avenue for research on possible treatments for the degenerative brain condition.... Read more »

  • November 27, 2015
  • 09:28 AM

Designer proteins helping biomedicine

by ragothamanyennamalli in Getting to know Structural Bioinformatics

Professor Meiering and her colleagues were able to incorporate both structure and function into the design process by using bioinformatics to leverage information from nature. They then analyzed what they made and measured how long it took for the folded, functional protein to unfold and breakdown... Read more »

Broom A, Ma SM, Xia K, Rafalia H, Trainor K, Colón W, Gosavi S, & Meiering EM. (2015) Designed protein reveals structural determinants of extreme kinetic stability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(47), 14605-10. PMID: 26554002  

  • November 27, 2015
  • 05:52 AM

Biomarkers in diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of RCC

by Danielle Stevenson in BHD Research Blog

Tumour biomarkers are measurable changes in cancer cells that could be used to improve available therapies. The identification of early biomarkers could increase early diagnosis rates and provide insight into tumour biology including aggressiveness. In addition tumour subtype-specific biomarkers could help identify the treatments most likely to be effective and also be used to measure response. The search for biomarkers in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is an active field, with various types of pote........ Read more »

  • November 27, 2015
  • 03:06 AM

Premature mortality and autism continued

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Premature mortality was markedly increased in ASD [autism spectrum disorder] owing to a multitude of medical conditions."So said the study by Tatja Hirvikoski and colleagues [1] and findings that although making uncomfortable reading, highlight how we have some way to go when it comes to addressing important health inequalities as and when a label of autism or ASD is given.Drawing on Swedish data including over 27,000 people diagnosed with an ASD between 1987 and 2009 compared against........ Read more »

Hirvikoski T, Mittendorfer-Rutz E, Boman M, Larsson H, Lichtenstein P, & Bölte S. (2015) Premature mortality in autism spectrum disorder. The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science. PMID: 26541693  

  • November 26, 2015
  • 04:37 PM

Stem cell study paves the way for patient therapies

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Stem cells that have been specifically developed for use as clinical therapies are fit for use in patients, an independent study of their genetic make-up suggests. The research – which focused on human embryonic stem cells – paves the way for clinical trials of cell therapies to treat conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, age-related degeneration of the eyes and spinal cord injury.... Read more »

Canham, M., Van Deusen, A., Brison, D., De Sousa, P., Downie, J., Devito, L., Hewitt, Z., Ilic, D., Kimber, S., Moore, H.... (2015) The Molecular Karyotype of 25 Clinical-Grade Human Embryonic Stem Cell Lines. Scientific Reports, 17258. DOI: 10.1038/srep17258  

  • November 26, 2015
  • 01:25 PM

Gobble Up Some Facts About Turkeys

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

Be the highlight of Thanksgiving dinner conversation after you learn these fascinating facts about turkeys!... Read more »

  • November 26, 2015
  • 08:16 AM

Chocolate agar: Enjoyed by people and meningitis-causing bacteria alike

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

Chocolate agar refers to two very different foods, only one of which actually contains chocolate. Both are prepared using agar, a mixture obtained by boiling certain types of algae to release a sugar called agarose that forms a gel when it cools. Thus agar (also called agar agar) can be used to make jelly desserts, flavours of which include coffee-coconut and, you guessed it, chocolate. It's basically a vegan form of Jell-O (which contains gelatin derived from animal bits).The second type of cho........ Read more »

  • November 26, 2015
  • 04:59 AM

The continued rise of autism research metabolomics

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

For anyone that has followed this blog down the years you'll probably have noticed that I'm quite a big fan of the inclusion of the science of metabolomics on to the autism research menu (see here for example).Looking at the myriad of chemical footprints left behind by an almost incomprehensible number of cellular processes, metabolomics offers some real promise to autism in terms of teasing apart phenotypes and as a valuable partner to other -omics sciences in ascertaining the relevance or not ........ Read more »

Dieme B, Mavel S, Blasco H, Tripi G, Bonnet-Brilhault F, Malvy J, Bocca C, Andres CR, Nadal-Desbarats L, & Emond P. (2015) Metabolomics study of urine in autism spectrum disorders using a multiplatform analytical methodology. Journal of proteome research. PMID: 26538324  

  • November 25, 2015
  • 07:40 PM

Closing the loop on an HIV escape mechanism

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Nearly 37 million people worldwide are living with HIV. When the virus destroys so many immune cells that the body can’t fight off infection, AIDS will develop. The disease took the lives of more than a million people last year.... Read more »

Lu, M., Hou, G., Zhang, H., Suiter, C., Ahn, J., Byeon, I., Perilla, J., Langmead, C., Hung, I., Gor'kov, P.... (2015) Dynamic allostery governs cyclophilin A–HIV capsid interplay. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201516920. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1516920112  

  • November 25, 2015
  • 09:50 AM

Video Tip of the Week: iDigBio for access to historical specimens and more

by Mary in OpenHelix

Usually for Thanksgiving week posting is light. In the past, we’ve all done turkey breeding and genomics, cranberry genome, and some people have included apples, potatoes, and more. But another key aspect of the holiday is to remember the past and thank those who came before. And as I was watching this video that crossed my […]... Read more »

Nelson, G., Sweeney, P., Wallace, L., Rabeler, R., Allard, D., Brown, H., Carter, J., Denslow, M., Ellwood, E., Germain-Aubrey, C.... (2015) Digitization Workflows for Flat Sheets and Packets of Plants, Algae, and Fungi. Applications in Plant Sciences, 3(9), 1500065. DOI: 10.3732/apps.1500065  

Jolley-Rogers, G., Varghese, T., Harvey, P., dos Remedios, N., & Miller, J. (2014) PhyloJIVE: Integrating biodiversity data with the Tree of Life. Bioinformatics, 30(9), 1308-1309. DOI: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btu024  

  • November 25, 2015
  • 04:41 AM

Data Diving for Genomics Treasure

by Björn Brembs in

This is a post written jointly by Nelson Lau from Brandeis and me, Björn Brembs. In contrast to Nelson’s guest post, which focused on the open data aspect of our collaboration, this one describes the science behind our paper and […] ↓ Read the rest of this entry...... Read more »

Rahman R, Chirn GW, Kanodia A, Sytnikova YA, Brembs B, Bergman CM, & Lau NC. (2015) Unique transposon landscapes are pervasive across Drosophila melanogaster genomes. Nucleic acids research. PMID: 26578579  

Chirn, G., Rahman, R., Sytnikova, Y., Matts, J., Zeng, M., Gerlach, D., Yu, M., Berger, B., Naramura, M., Kile, B.... (2015) Conserved piRNA Expression from a Distinct Set of piRNA Cluster Loci in Eutherian Mammals. PLOS Genetics, 11(11). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005652  

  • November 25, 2015
  • 04:41 AM

The Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) and the media: a few thoughts

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Are you on the autistic spectrum? Take the test" read a recent media headline.Commenting on the findings reported by Emily Ruzich and colleagues [1], the headline is followed by some pretty bizarre text about how the study "has confirmed that men are more likely to be autistic than women."I have to take some exception to this sentence, as I quote from the Ruzich findings: "In a sample of nearly half a million individuals, we found a moderate effect of sex on AQ [Autism-Spectrum Quotie........ Read more »

  • November 25, 2015
  • 03:45 AM

From linear to nonlinear payoffs in the double public goods game

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

If you recall, dear reader, around this time last year, Robert Vander Velde, David Basanta, Jacob Scott and I got excited about the Archetti (2013,2014) approach to modeling non-linear public goods in cancer. We’ve been working on this intermittently for the last year, but aim to focus now that I have settled in here at […]... Read more »

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