Can you believe that having one disease will protect against another? Yes? Well, OK, but did you know that sometimes doctor’s give you one disease to help cure you of something worse? Like how people have been given malaria to kill off syphilis, or how the guy who invented the Heimlich maneuver wants to give people malaria to get rid of HIV. Weird.... Read more »
A very quick post today to direct you to the paper by Amy Hewitt and colleagues  who seem to have finally published their findings on autism prevalence in the Somali population in Minneapolis in the peer-reviewed domain. I had previously covered their report on this blog (see here) and the suggestion that: "Somali (1 in 32) and White (1 in 36) children were about equally likely to be identified with ASD [autism spectrum disorder], but more likely to be identified with ASD than Black and ........ Read more »
Hewitt, A., Hall-Lande, J., Hamre, K., Esler, A., Punyko, J., Reichle, J., & Gulaid, A. (2016) Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Prevalence in Somali and Non-Somali Children. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-016-2793-6
"The results of this trial indicate that NAC [N-acetylcysteine] treatment was well tolerated, had the expected effect of boosting GSH [glutathione] production, but had no significant impact on social impairment in youth with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."So said the results reported by Logan Wink and colleagues  (open-access) who, continuing an autism research theme, looked at whether this important L-cysteine prodrug might have more to give when it comes to a........ Read more »
Wink, L., Adams, R., Wang, Z., Klaunig, J., Plawecki, M., Posey, D., McDougle, C., & Erickson, C. (2016) A randomized placebo-controlled pilot study of N-acetylcysteine in youth with autism spectrum disorder. Molecular Autism, 7(1). DOI: 10.1186/s13229-016-0088-6
Until recently, clinical manifestations of ZIKV infection ranged from asymptomatic infections to mild dengue-like symptoms characterised by mild fever, rash, muscle/joint pain and headache. Following the 2007 epidemic however neurological complications following ZIKV infection including Guillan-Barre Syndrome (GBS) have been reported and during the current outbreak, ZIKV has been implicating to cause microcephaly and ocular malformations in foetuses born to ZIKV positive mothers. In the absence ........ Read more »
Ioos, S., Mallet, H., Leparc Goffart, I., Gauthier, V., Cardoso, T., & Herida, M. (2014) Current Zika virus epidemiology and recent epidemics. Médecine et Maladies Infectieuses, 44(7), 302-307. DOI: 10.1016/j.medmal.2014.04.008
Sarno M, Sacramento GA, Khouri R, do Rosário MS, Costa F, Archanjo G, Santos LA, Nery N Jr, Vasilakis N, Ko AI.... (2016) Zika Virus Infection and Stillbirths: A Case of Hydrops Fetalis, Hydranencephaly and Fetal Demise. PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 10(2). PMID: 26914330
Chan JF, Choi GK, Yip CC, Cheng VC, & Yuen KY. (2016) Zika fever and congenital Zika syndrome: An unexpected emerging arboviral disease. The Journal of infection, 72(5), 507-24. PMID: 26940504
Hamel R, Liégeois F, Wichit S, Pompon J, Diop F, Talignani L, Thomas F, Desprès P, Yssel H, & Missé D. (2016) Zika virus: epidemiology, clinical features and host-virus interactions. Microbes and infection / Institut Pasteur. PMID: 27012221
Lazear HM, & Diamond MS. (2016) Zika Virus: New Clinical Syndromes and Its Emergence in the Western Hemisphere. Journal of virology, 90(10), 4864-75. PMID: 26962217
de Paula Freitas B, de Oliveira Dias JR, Prazeres J, Sacramento GA, Ko AI, Maia M, & Belfort R Jr. (2016) Ocular Findings in Infants With Microcephaly Associated With Presumed Zika Virus Congenital Infection in Salvador, Brazil. JAMA ophthalmology. PMID: 26865554
Hazin AN, Poretti A, Cruz DD, Tenorio M, van der Linden A, Pena LJ, Brito C, Gil LH, Miranda-Filho DB, Marques ET.... (2016) Computed Tomographic Findings in Microcephaly Associated with Zika Virus. The New England journal of medicine. PMID: 27050112
Broutet N, Krauer F, Riesen M, Khalakdina A, Almiron M, Aldighieri S, Espinal M, Low N, & Dye C. (2016) Zika Virus as a Cause of Neurologic Disorders. The New England journal of medicine, 374(16), 1506-9. PMID: 26959308
Lednicky J, Beau De Rochars VM, El Badry M, Loeb J, Telisma T, Chavannes S, Anilis G, Cella E, Ciccozzi M, Rashid M.... (2016) Zika Virus Outbreak in Haiti in 2014: Molecular and Clinical Data. PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 10(4). PMID: 27111294
Faria NR, Azevedo Rdo S, Kraemer MU, Souza R, Cunha MS, Hill SC, Thézé J, Bonsall MB, Bowden TA, Rissanen I.... (2016) Zika virus in the Americas: Early epidemiological and genetic findings. Science (New York, N.Y.), 352(6283), 345-9. PMID: 27013429
Garcez PP, Loiola EC, Madeiro da Costa R, Higa LM, Trindade P, Delvecchio R, Nascimento JM, Brindeiro R, Tanuri A, & Rehen SK. (2016) Zika virus impairs growth in human neurospheres and brain organoids. Science (New York, N.Y.). PMID: 27064148
Tang H, Hammack C, Ogden SC, Wen Z, Qian X, Li Y, Yao B, Shin J, Zhang F, Lee EM.... (2016) Zika Virus Infects Human Cortical Neural Progenitors and Attenuates Their Growth. Cell stem cell. PMID: 26952870
Brown, M., McAlpine, S., Huang, Y., Haidl, I., Al-Afif, A., Marshall, J., & Anderson, R. (2012) RNA Sensors Enable Human Mast Cell Anti-Viral Chemokine Production and IFN-Mediated Protection in Response to Antibody-Enhanced Dengue Virus Infection. PLoS ONE, 7(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034055
Wahala, W., & de Silva, A. (2011) The Human Antibody Response to Dengue Virus Infection. Viruses, 3(12), 2374-2395. DOI: 10.3390/v3122374
Dejnirattisai W, Jumnainsong A, Onsirisakul N, Fitton P, Vasanawathana S, Limpitikul W, Puttikhunt C, Edwards C, Duangchinda T, Supasa S.... (2010) Cross-reacting antibodies enhance dengue virus infection in humans. Science (New York, N.Y.), 328(5979), 745-8. PMID: 20448183
Schultz KL, Vernon PS, & Griffin DE. (2015) Differentiation of neurons restricts Arbovirus replication and increases expression of the alpha isoform of IRF-7. Journal of virology, 89(1), 48-60. PMID: 25320290
Kulcsar KA, Baxter VK, Abraham R, Nelson A, & Griffin DE. (2015) Distinct Immune Responses in Resistant and Susceptible Strains of Mice during Neurovirulent Alphavirus Encephalomyelitis. Journal of virology, 89(16), 8280-91. PMID: 26041298
Atkins GJ, & Sheahan BJ. (2016) Molecular Determinants of Alphavirus Neuropathogenesis in Mice. The Journal of general virology. PMID: 27028153
Adibi JJ, Marques ET Jr, Cartus A, & Beigi RH. (2016) Teratogenic effects of the Zika virus and the role of the placenta. Lancet (London, England), 387(10027), 1587-90. PMID: 26952548
Did you know this is Hedgehog Awareness Week? The British Hedgehog Preservation Society has dedicated May 1 through 7 to the spiny garden animal. The society won't go so far as to call it Hedgehog Appreciation Week—perhaps that would be too much of an imposition?—but it does want to highlight some of the problems faced by hedgehogs. For example, weed whackers, which apparently in the U.K. are called "strimmers."
The society suggests posting pro-hedgehog leaflets around your neighborho........ Read more »
Recio, M. (2016) Crowded house: nest sharing among solitary European hedgehogs in New Zealand. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 14(4), 225-226. DOI: 10.1002/fee.1269
As I mentioned last week, I am watching a lot of farmers on twitter talk about this year’s North American growing season. To get a taste of that yourself, have a look at #Plant16 + wheat as a search. This is where the rubber of tractor tires and plant genomics hits the…well…rows. And just coincidentally […]... Read more »
Philippa Borrill, Ricardo Ramirez-Gonzalez, & Cristobal Uauy. (2016) expVIP: a customisable RNA-seq data analysis and visualisation platform. Plant Physiology, 2172-2186. info:/10.1104/pp.15.01667
Can I just get it out of the way? May the 4th be with you.OK. The results from Mark Strom & Jonathan Silverberg  caught my eye recently and further evidence of a 'correlation' between asthma and developmental and/or behavioural outcomes. This time around it was "caregiver-reported speech disorders in US children" and how the appearance of asthma, hay fever and/or food allergy might show some important relationships with something like speech disorder. This follows other, similar work from........ Read more »
Strom MA, & Silverberg JI. (2016) Asthma, hay fever and food allergy are associated with caregiver-reported speech disorders in US children. Pediatric allergy and immunology : official publication of the European Society of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology. PMID: 27091599
Is anybody out there? Where are all the alien civilizations? Even if (intelligent) life is very unlikely, the sheer size and age of the universe means that even long odds might have produced space faring civilizations. Yet, so far, nada. When people are considering the (im)probability of non-human space travellers, one thing always comes up: […]... Read more »
Frank A, & Sullivan WT 3rd. (2016) A New Empirical Constraint on the Prevalence of Technological Species in the Universe. Astrobiology. PMID: 27105054
Machine learning, when machines, er.. learn, is of growing interest to the autism research field. The names Wall and Duda have filled quite a few posts on this blog (see here and see here for example) on this topic and their suggesting that applying machine learning algorithms to something like autism screening and detection could cut down on time taken and resources used.As per the publication of the paper by Daniel Bone and colleagues  it appears that others working in autism research are a........ Read more »
Bone D, Bishop S, Black MP, Goodwin MS, Lord C, & Narayanan SS. (2016) Use of machine learning to improve autism screening and diagnostic instruments: effectiveness, efficiency, and multi-instrument fusion. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines. PMID: 27090613
Vaccines don't cause autism, but because the brain is so complex, we still don't know how much of it works so figuring out the real causes (as in more than one) of autism has been slow going. Well, researchers have identified a brain receptor that appears to initiate adolescent synaptic pruning, a process believed necessary for learning, but in this case it is one that appears to go awry in both autism and schizophrenia.... Read more »
Sonia Afroz, Julie Parato, Hui Shen Sheryl, & Sue Smith. (2016) Synaptic pruning in the female hippocampus is triggered at puberty by extrasynaptic GABAA receptors on dendritic spines . eLife. info:/
Psychiatric drugs come in many kinds: there are antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-anxiety medications, and more. But what all of these categories have in common is that they're anti- something. This is how we classify these drugs - by what they treat.
Except there's a problem - very few psychiatric drugs are only used to treat one thing. Take "antipsychotics". They're used in psychosis, but they're also a key tool in the treatment of mania, a different disorder entirely. Many of these dru... Read more »
Zohar J, Stahl S, Moller HJ, Blier P, Kupfer D, Yamawaki S, Uchida H, Spedding M, Goodwin GM, & Nutt D. (2015) A review of the current nomenclature for psychotropic agents and an introduction to the Neuroscience-based Nomenclature. European neuropsychopharmacology : the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 25(12), 2318-25. PMID: 26527055
Most people who know a little bit about chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) will probably understand the potential importance of the findings reported by Leonard Jason and colleagues  (open-access available here). Suggesting that there may be "four groupings of patients" when it comes to how we "name and define the illnesses", this research group who surveyed over 500 people "in the United States, Great Britain, and Norway" report on one of the biggest challenge........ Read more »
Jason LA, McManimen S, Sunnquist M, Brown A, Furst J, Newton JL, & Strand EB. (2016) Case definitions integrating empiric and consensus perspectives. Fatigue : biomedicine, health , 4(1), 1-23. PMID: 27088059
Generally seen as antithetical to one another, evolution and religion can hardly fit in a scientific discourse simultaneously. However, in a new article, a biology researcher delves into observations on the influences a few major religions have had on evolutionists and their scientific thinking over the centuries.
... Read more »
Romero Jr., A. (2016) The influence of religion on science: the case of the idea of predestination in biospeleology. Research Ideas and Outcomes. DOI: 10.3897/rio.2.e9015
Insomnia, fun fact those of us who have served or are serving in the military have a much higher incidence of sleep problems. So if you are like me and have ever been prescribed something to help you sleep, you know that there are some unwanted side effects. For instance the time I lost memory of a whole day of interacting with people to the ambien I had taken the night before, not fun. Thankfully Danish researchers found that the level of salts in the brain plays a critical role in whether we a........ Read more »
Ding, F., ODonnell, J., Xu, Q., Kang, N., Goldman, N., & Nedergaard, M. (2016) Changes in the composition of brain interstitial ions control the sleep-wake cycle. Science, 352(6285), 550-555. DOI: 10.1126/science.aad4821
In a new Nature paper, Berkely neuroscientists Alexander G. Huth and colleagues present a 'semantic atlas' of the human brain. Huth et al. have mapped which brain areas respond to words, according to the semantics (meanings) of each word. It turns out that these maps are highly similar across individuals - which could have implications for 'mind reading' technology.
Huth et al. recorded brain activity with fMRI while seven volunteers listened to over two hours of audio narrative (taken fr... Read more »
Huth AG, de Heer WA, Griffiths TL, Theunissen FE, & Gallant JL. (2016) Natural speech reveals the semantic maps that tile human cerebral cortex. Nature, 532(7600), 453-8. PMID: 27121839
Whilst the package inserts of the various drugs that modern medicine has at its disposal provides important information on potential mode of action, there is a growing realisation that drugs generally have quite a few more molecular targets than are perhaps listed. Take for example the quite commonly used (in some parts of the world anyway) compound called melatonin that in some instances can provide almost miraculous relief when it comes to sleeping issues under certain circumstances. A d........ Read more »
Yuan L, Liu S, Bai X, Gao Y, Liu G, Wang X, Liu D, Li T, Hao A, & Wang Z. (2016) Oxytocin inhibits lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation in microglial cells and attenuates microglial activation in lipopolysaccharide-treated mice. Journal of neuroinflammation, 13(1), 77. PMID: 27075756
The whole of human intelligence, right at your fingertips. Sure it might not make the layman an engineer or physicist, but if we want to learn about a particular topic the internet can give us that information. But you better hold on tight before you lose it. New research finds retweeting or otherwise sharing information creates a “cognitive overload” that interferes with learning and retaining what you’ve just seen.
... Read more »
Jiang, T., Hou, Y., & Wang, Q. (2016) Does micro-blogging make us “shallow”? Sharing information online interferes with information comprehension. Computers in Human Behavior, 210-214. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2016.02.008
Treating immune disorders might have gotten easier with a new mouse model.... Read more »
Beura, L., Hamilton, S., Bi, K., Schenkel, J., Odumade, O., Casey, K., Thompson, E., Fraser, K., Rosato, P., Filali-Mouhim, A.... (2016) Normalizing the environment recapitulates adult human immune traits in laboratory mice. Nature, 532(7600), 512-516. DOI: 10.1038/nature17655
Mestas, J., & Hughes, C. (2004) Of Mice and Not Men: Differences between Mouse and Human Immunology. The Journal of Immunology, 172(5), 2731-2738. DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.172.5.2731
Signatures of Mutational Processes Extracted from the Mutational Catalogs of 21 Breast Cancer Genomes. Credit:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2012.12.008Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide, with approximately 14 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer related deaths each year (Source: WHO). A family history of cancer typically increases a person's risk of developing the disease, yet most cancer cases have no family history at all. This suggests that a combination of both ge........ Read more »
Alexandrov LB, Nik-Zainal S, Wedge DC, Aparicio SA, Behjati S, Biankin AV, Bignell GR, Bolli N, Borg A, Børresen-Dale AL.... (2013) Signatures of mutational processes in human cancer. Nature, 500(7463), 415-21. PMID: 23945592
Alexandrov LB, Nik-Zainal S, Siu HC, Leung SY, & Stratton MR. (2015) A mutational signature in gastric cancer suggests therapeutic strategies. Nature communications, 8683. PMID: 26511885
"Children with higher urinary DMP [dimethylphosphate] concentrations may have a twofold to threefold increased risk of being diagnosed with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder]."So said the results presented in the paper by Yu and colleagues  who looking at "97 doctor-diagnosed ADHD cases and 110 non-ADHD controls who were 4-15 years of age" examined urine and blood samples for various factors including "biomarkers of OP [organophosphate] pesticide exposure." Th........ Read more »
Yu CJ, Du JC, Chiou HC, Chung MY, Yang W, Chen YS, Fuh MR, Chien LC, Hwang B, & Chen ML. (2016) Increased risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder associated with exposure to organophosphate pesticide in Taiwanese children. Andrology. PMID: 27070915
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