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  • January 17, 2017
  • 04:28 AM
  • 302 views

Vitamin D supplementation and self-perceived fatigue

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Vitamin D treatment significantly improved fatigue in otherwise healthy persons with vitamin D deficiency."Supplementation details, described in the paper by Albina Nowak and colleagues [1] (open-access available here), were a single dose of 100,000 IU [international units] of vitamin D or a placebo (mannitol) administered to 120 adult participants who presented with "fatigue and vitamin D deficiency (serum 25(OH)D < 20 μg/L)." This was a double-blind trial and self-perceived fatigue ........ Read more »

Nowak A, Boesch L, Andres E, Battegay E, Hornemann T, Schmid C, Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Suter PM, & Krayenbuehl PA. (2016) Effect of vitamin D3 on self-perceived fatigue: A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial. Medicine, 95(52). PMID: 28033244  

  • January 16, 2017
  • 03:11 AM
  • 330 views

Autism-like traits and/or autism elevated in psychosis

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Rates of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and ASD traits are elevated in a psychosis population."The paper by Debbie Kincaid and colleagues [1] provides yet more [short] blogging material pertinent to the increasing interest in how psychosis may be yet another comorbidity over-represented when it comes to autism (see here) and vice-versa. I know this is another topic that has to be treated with some caution in terms of concepts like stigma but more discussions - science discussions........ Read more »

  • January 15, 2017
  • 05:45 AM
  • 298 views

“World’s toughest bacterium” - Deinococcus radiodurans

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

The bacterium, Deinococcus radiodurans, is thought to be discovered as a contaminant in radiation-sterilized cans in 1960s. The name of the bacterium comes from the Ancient Greek, i.e. deinos and kokkos meaning “terrible grain/berry”, and the Latin language, i.e. radius and durare, meaning “radiation surviving”. The bacterium is also known as Conan the Bacterium.

Deinococcus radiodurans is a comparatively larger bacterium having spherical shape. It is a red-pigmented b........ Read more »

  • January 14, 2017
  • 11:53 AM
  • 450 views

What Can fMRI Tell Us About Mental Illness?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A remarkable and troubling new paper: Addressing reverse inference in psychiatric neuroimaging: Meta-analyses of task-related brain activation in common mental disorders



Icahn School of Medicine researchers Emma Sprooten and colleagues carried out an ambitious task: to pull together the results of every fMRI study which has compared task-related brain activation in people with a mental illness and healthy controls.

Sprooten et al.'s analysis included 537 studies with a total of 21,427 ... Read more »

  • January 14, 2017
  • 04:35 AM
  • 377 views

No significant difference in circulating cytokines in autism vs controls?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"As compared with 54 typically developing controls, we found no evidence of differences in the blood profile of immune mediators supportive of active systemic inflammation mechanisms in participants with autism."That was the unexpected research bottom-line published by Carlos Pardo and colleagues [1] (open-access) examining whether various immune-related chemicals - "cytokines, chemokines, or growth factors in serum and cerebrospinal fluid" - might be linked to autism following longitudinal........ Read more »

  • January 13, 2017
  • 05:11 AM
  • 269 views

Nutrient-dependent FNIP degradation regulates FLCN localization and promotes renal cancer progression

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

Birt-Hogg-Dubé (BHD) syndrome is a rare disorder caused by mutations in FLCN and associated with increased risk of kidney cancer. It has been shown that FLCN-interacting protein 1 and 2 (FNIP1 and FNIP2) double knockout mice, like the FLCN knockout mice, develop renal carcinoma (Hasumi et al., 2015). However, the molecular mechanisms linking FNIP and FLCN remain unknown. In their new study, Nagashima et al. (2016) show that FNIP2 undergoes proteasome-dependent degradation via β-TRCP ........ Read more »

  • January 13, 2017
  • 05:00 AM
  • 253 views

Friday Fellow: Branching Vase Sponge

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll A fascinating group of animals that has not yet joined the Friday Fellows are the sponges. Different from all other animals, sponges have a unique body structure that behaves more like a plant or fungus. They … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 13, 2017
  • 03:13 AM
  • 308 views

Exercise as an intervention for anxiety?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Our data suggest that exercise is more effective than control at reducing anxiety symptoms."So said the meta-analysis published by Brendan Stubbs and colleagues [1] who surveyed the peer-reviewed literature "investigating the benefits of exercise compared to usual treatment or control conditions in people with an anxiety and/or stress-related disorders." From the 6 randomised, controlled trials found "from inception until December 2015" exercise (various types of exercise regime) did seem to ha........ Read more »

  • January 12, 2017
  • 04:28 AM
  • 272 views

On autism risk and immigrant status

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Fifteen studies suggest a higher prevalence rate of ASDs [autism spectrum disorder] among children of immigrants in comparison to native children."Those fifteen studies formed a large part of the seventeen studies included in the review by Rafal Kawa and colleagues [1] who set out to look at the collected peer-reviewed literature on the topic of the "prevalence and risk for ASD in Europe among immigrants and ethnic minorities." Carried out as part of a European Union (EU) initiative t........ Read more »

Kawa R, Saemundsen E, Lóa Jónsdóttir S, Hellendoorn A, Lemcke S, Canal-Bedia R, García-Primo P, & Moilanen I. (2016) European studies on prevalence and risk of autism spectrum disorders according to immigrant status-a review. European journal of public health. PMID: 28013245  

  • January 11, 2017
  • 08:00 AM
  • 354 views

DNA Methylation in the Placenta: accelerated aging in pregnancy complications

by Tina Bianco-Miotto in EpiBeat

The placenta is a unique organ as it is an extra-embryonic tissue primarily regulated by the fetal genome and shared between mother and fetus. However, it is a transient organ that is only needed throughout pregnancy and gestation and then is discarded after delivery. The essential role of the placenta in pregnancy is unquestionable but, surprisingly, as highlighted by the NIH NICHD Human Placenta Project (https://www.nichd.nih.gov/research/HPP/Pages/default.aspx), it is the human organ we know ........ Read more »

Bianco-Miotto T, Mayne BT, Buckberry S, Breen J, Rodriguez Lopez CM, & Roberts CT. (2016) Recent progress towards understanding the role of DNA methylation in human placental development. Reproduction (Cambridge, England), 152(1). PMID: 27026712  

Ehrlich M, Gama-Sosa MA, Huang LH, Midgett RM, Kuo KC, McCune RA, & Gehrke C. (1982) Amount and distribution of 5-methylcytosine in human DNA from different types of tissues of cells. Nucleic acids research, 10(8), 2709-21. PMID: 7079182  

Fuke C, Shimabukuro M, Petronis A, Sugimoto J, Oda T, Miura K, Miyazaki T, Ogura C, Okazaki Y, & Jinno Y. (2004) Age related changes in 5-methylcytosine content in human peripheral leukocytes and placentas: an HPLC-based study. Annals of human genetics, 68(Pt 3), 196-204. PMID: 15180700  

Schroeder DI, Blair JD, Lott P, Yu HO, Hong D, Crary F, Ashwood P, Walker C, Korf I, Robinson WP.... (2013) The human placenta methylome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(15), 6037-42. PMID: 23530188  

Robinson WP, & Price EM. (2015) The human placental methylome. Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in medicine, 5(5). PMID: 25722473  

Marioni RE, Shah S, McRae AF, Chen BH, Colicino E, Harris SE, Gibson J, Henders AK, Redmond P, Cox SR.... (2015) DNA methylation age of blood predicts all-cause mortality in later life. Genome biology, 25. PMID: 25633388  

  • January 11, 2017
  • 03:24 AM
  • 305 views

"the patient improved significantly when a gluten-free diet was started"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The quote making up the title of this post comes from the case report described by Albino J Oliveira-Maia and colleagues [1] talking yet again about how coeliac disease - the archetypal autoimmune condition where dietary gluten is the baddie - may have effects well beyond just the physical.Describing the experiences of a woman who was admitted to a psychiatry inpatient unit on the basis of "suicidal behaviours" who also "developed an agitated catatonic state", a mix of "antidepressants, anx........ Read more »

Oliveira-Maia AJ, Andrade I, & Barahona-Corrêa JB. (2016) Case of coeliac disease presenting in the psychiatry ward. BMJ case reports. PMID: 28003229  

  • January 10, 2017
  • 09:00 AM
  • 278 views

The Rise Of Superbugs: How Bacteria Defeat Antibiotics

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

Mechanisms of antibiotic resistance... Read more »

Blair, J., Webber, M., Baylay, A., Ogbolu, D., & Piddock, L. (2014) Molecular mechanisms of antibiotic resistance. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 13(1), 42-51. DOI: 10.1038/nrmicro3380  

  • January 10, 2017
  • 01:49 AM
  • 265 views

Blocking obesity with a protein-sugar combination

by adam phillips in It Ain't Magic

Discovery of an enzyme that prevents obesity in mice through glycosylation of a protein involved fat-cell differentiation.... Read more »

Kaburagi T, Kizuka Y, Kitazume S, & Taniguchi N. (2016) Inhibitory role of α2,6-sialylation in adipogenesis. The Journal of biological chemistry. PMID: 28031460  

  • January 9, 2017
  • 04:48 AM
  • 253 views

H255Y and K508R missense mutations in FLCN promote kidney neoplasia

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

The germline FLCN missense mutations H255Y (Hasumi et al., 2009) and K508R (Toro et al., 2008) have been identified in patients with bilateral multifocal (BMF) kidney tumours and other clinical symptoms of Birt-Hogg-Dube (BHD) syndrome, or with BMF kidney tumours as the only manifestation. Building on their previous work identifying the H255Y mutation in human BHD kidney tumour, Hasumi et al. (2016) investigated whether these mutations have an impact on FLCN function. The authors evaluated the F........ Read more »

  • January 9, 2017
  • 04:26 AM
  • 335 views

T. gondii and OCD?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

It's been a while since I've talked about Toxoplasma gondii on this blog; the parasite that more than most, has been linked with all-manner of different psychiatric labels (see here for example). Although still the topic of some discussion, I'm swayed towards the possibility that there may be some important *associations* to be seen when it comes to this survivor and human behaviour(s) outside of just making rats attracted to cat urine (see here) to improve reproduction chances.Indeed, in t........ Read more »

  • January 7, 2017
  • 04:15 AM
  • 314 views

ADHD and vitamin levels

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] patients were overrepresented in the group with low levels of some vitamins, possibly indicative of inadequate dietary intake of these micronutrients in a subgroup of patients. It is important to identify these patients in dietary intervention trials of ADHD."So said the study findings reported by Elisabeth Toverud Landaas and colleagues [1] (open-access) providing some potentially important data on how nutritional factors might int........ Read more »

Landaas ET, Aarsland TI, Ulvik A, Halmøy A, Ueland PM, & Haavik J. (2016) Vitamin levels in adults with ADHD. BJPsych open, 2(6), 377-384. PMID: 27990293  

  • January 6, 2017
  • 06:09 AM
  • 353 views

Particulate matter exposure and autism risk systematically reviewed?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"To conclude, the evidence from the studies allows us to conclude that there is an association between PM [particulate matter] exposure and ASD [autism spectrum disorder] whose strength varies according to the particle size studied with the association with PM2.5 and diesel PM being stronger."Although probably not great sentence structure to begin a post with a conclusion, the 'bottom line' reported by María Morales-Suárez-Varela and colleagues [1] summarises the curre........ Read more »

  • January 6, 2017
  • 05:00 AM
  • 301 views

Friday Fellow: Conan the Bacterium

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Most people would agree that 2016 was a hard year. So let’s try to make 2017 better by starting this year with a tough Friday Fellow, actually the toughest of them all: Conan the bacterium, or Deinococcus … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 5, 2017
  • 06:07 AM
  • 385 views

A subtype of autism linked to psychosis?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Our data show there may be a specific subtype of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] linked to comorbid psychosis. The results support findings that psychosis in people with ASD is often atypical, particularly regarding affective disturbance."So said the findings reported by Felicity Larson and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) who bring an important topic into view that has recently been raised in the media too (see here). I appreciate that to talk about yet more comorbidity pot........ Read more »

Larson, F., Wagner, A., Jones, P., Tantam, D., Lai, M., Baron-Cohen, S., & Holland, A. (2016) Psychosis in autism: comparison of the features of both conditions in a dually affected cohort. The British Journal of Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.116.187682  

  • January 4, 2017
  • 05:43 AM
  • 358 views

A distinctive microbial signature in kids with autism and GI issues?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Our findings identify distinctive mucosal microbial signatures in ASD [autism spectrum disorder] children with FGID [functional gastrointestinal disorders] that correlate with cytokine and tryptophan homeostasis."So said the study results published by Ruth Ann Luna and colleagues [1] who "compared mucosa-associated microbial communities in children with ASD to previous reports characterizing stool in this population" among other things. If you are eating breakfast/lunch/dinner at........ Read more »

Luna, R., Oezguen, N., Balderas, M., Venkatachalam, A., Runge, J., Versalovic, J., Veenstra-VanderWeele, J., Anderson, G., Savidge, T., & Williams, K. (2016) Distinct microbiome-neuroimmune signatures correlate with functional abdominal pain in children with autism spectrum disorder. CMGH Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcmgh.2016.11.008  

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