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  • January 3, 2017
  • 06:28 AM
  • 342 views

Suicidality in children and young adults with 'high-functioning' autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Consistent with the previous findings, [the] rate of suicidality is higher in individuals with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."That was one of the conclusions reported in the paper by Sevcan Karakoç Demirkaya and colleagues [1] (open-access) yet again touching on a most important topic when it comes to autism, particularly the part of the autism spectrum labelled as 'high-functioning'. Personally, I'm not a great fan of the 'functioning' description typically added to autism to ........ Read more »

  • January 2, 2017
  • 04:06 AM
  • 329 views

This Month in Blastocystis Research (DEC 2016)

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

2016 is coming to an end, and in the last post of the year, I highlight three of the most important articles on Blastocystis published in 2016.... Read more »

Scanlan PD, Knight R, Song SJ, Ackermann G, & Cotter PD. (2016) Prevalence and genetic diversity of Blastocystis in family units living in the United States. Infection, genetics and evolution : journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases, 95-97. PMID: 27545648  

Kurt Ö, Doğruman Al F, & Tanyüksel M. (2016) Eradication of Blastocystis in humans: Really necessary for all?. Parasitology international, 65(6 Pt B), 797-801. PMID: 26780545  

  • January 1, 2017
  • 01:20 AM
  • 273 views

Antibiotic cream is NOT 100% effective in preventing Lyme disease

by Microbe Fan in Spirochetes Unwound

A topical antibiotic cream applied to tick bites did not perform any better than placebo in preventing Lyme disease, according to results of a randomized clinical trial conducted in Europe.  The study was published in Lancet Infectious Diseases.I wasn't planning to blog about the study, but I changed my mind after a reader emailed me a link to a news article reporting that the antibiotic cream was 100% effective.  The lead investigator even claimed, "None of the test subjects went on t........ Read more »

Schwameis M, Kündig T, Huber G, von Bidder L, Meinel L, Weisser R, Aberer E, Härter G, Weinke T, Jelinek T.... (2016) Topical azithromycin for the prevention of Lyme borreliosis: a randomised, placebo-controlled, phase 3 efficacy trial. The Lancet. Infectious Diseases. PMID: 28007428  

  • December 31, 2016
  • 10:52 AM
  • 561 views

No Need To Worry About False Positives in fMRI?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Earlier this year, neuroscience was shaken by the publication in PNAS of Cluster failure: Why fMRI inferences for spatial extent have inflated false-positive rates. In this paper, Anders Eklund, Thomas E. Nichols and Hans Knutsson reported that commonly used software for analysing fMRI data produces many false-positives.



But now, Boston College neuroscientist Scott D. Slotnick has criticized Eklund et al.'s alarming conclusions in a new piece in Cognitive Neuroscience.



In my view, ... Read more »

  • December 30, 2016
  • 06:30 PM
  • 295 views

This Month in Blastocystis Research (DEC 2016)

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

2016 is coming to an end, and in the last post of the year, I highlight three of the most important articles on Blastocystis published in 2016.... Read more »

Scanlan PD, Knight R, Song SJ, Ackermann G, & Cotter PD. (2016) Prevalence and genetic diversity of Blastocystis in family units living in the United States. Infection, genetics and evolution : journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases, 95-97. PMID: 27545648  

Kurt Ö, Doğruman Al F, & Tanyüksel M. (2016) Eradication of Blastocystis in humans: Really necessary for all?. Parasitology international, 65(6 Pt B), 797-801. PMID: 26780545  

  • December 30, 2016
  • 07:05 AM
  • 303 views

Annual review 2016

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

2016 has been a busy year for BHD research. With the new year approaching, this week’s blog will review the studies we’ve particularly enjoyed writing about and revisit the year’s highlights.... Read more »

Gupta, N., Sunwoo, B., & Kotloff, R. (2016) Birt-Hogg-Dubé Syndrome. Clinics in Chest Medicine, 37(3), 475-486. DOI: 10.1016/j.ccm.2016.04.010  

  • December 30, 2016
  • 05:00 AM
  • 300 views

Friday Fellow: Peacock Spikemoss

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll This is the last Friday Fellow of the year and I decided to choose a beautiful and little known plant, the peacock spikemoss, more commonly known as Willdenow’s spikemoss or peacock fern, and scientifically known as Selaginella … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • December 29, 2016
  • 05:57 AM
  • 406 views

The Myth of "Darwin's Body-Snatchers"

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Did Charles Darwin's thirst for skulls contribute to the near-extinction of the Aboriginal Tasmanian people?





If you believe certain creationists, Darwin sought examples of Tasmanian skulls in order to prove that this unfortunate race was a 'missing link' between humans and apes. However, according to John van Wyhe in a new paper called Darwin's body-snatchers?, this story has zero basis in fact.
As a Darwin scholar, I thought I had heard all the myths concerning Charles Darwin but on... Read more »

van Wyhe J. (2016) Darwin's body-snatchers?. Endeavour. PMID: 28012688  

  • December 27, 2016
  • 02:04 PM
  • 515 views

Why we have not met Aliens yet?

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

A huge of number of people keeps on thinking about the existence of some other intelligent beings in the universe but still we have not met any aliens. Why?

Earth is rare

Earth is special planet

One of the reasons that we have not met aliens is that Earth is rare and there is nothing just like Earth in the universe. In this regard, Paleontologist Peter Ward and astronomer Donald Brownlee presented the Rare Earth Hypothesis about 17 years ago.

According to the Rare Earth Hypothesis, t........ Read more »

Heller, R., & Armstrong, J. (2014) Superhabitable Worlds. Astrobiology, 14(1), 50-66. DOI: 10.1089/ast.2013.1088  

  • December 27, 2016
  • 06:10 AM
  • 373 views

2016 autism research review on Questioning Answers

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Time flies! Once again, I'm posting my annual 'state of the science' autism research review, this time covering the particularly unusual year of 2016.With around 300 blog entries to choose from, I'm changing the format this year to list a 'top 5' of areas where I think some scientific progress has been made. The caveat as ever being that there are still mountains to climb in terms of delineating aetiology, nature and importantly, how one can actually improve quality of life for those on the........ Read more »

Waterhouse, L., London, E., & Gillberg, C. (2016) ASD Validity. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 3(4), 302-329. DOI: 10.1007/s40489-016-0085-x  

  • December 23, 2016
  • 11:17 PM
  • 386 views

The Lyme disease spirochete lives without thiamine

by Microbe Fan in Spirochetes Unwound

Thiamine, or vitamin B1, is vital for the survival of all living things.  One of the biologically functional forms of thiamine, thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP), is essential for the catalytic activity of several critical metabolic enzymes.  For this reason, we must get thiamine from the food that we eat (or the vitamin pills that we swallow).  Microbes obtain the vitamin from their surroundings, but they can also make their own thiamine if it's not available.It turns out that the Lym........ Read more »

Zhang K, Bian J, Deng Y, Smith A, Nunez RE, Li MB, Pal U, Yu AM, Qiu W, Ealick SE.... (2016) Lyme disease spirochaete Borrelia burgdorferi does not require thiamin. Nature Microbiology, 16213. PMID: 27869793  

Xu H, Caimano MJ, Lin T, He M, Radolf JD, Norris SJ, Gherardini F, Wolfe AJ, & Yang XF. (2010) Role of acetyl-phosphate in activation of the Rrp2-RpoN-RpoS pathway in Borrelia burgdorferi. PLoS pathogens, 6(9). PMID: 20862323  

Subba Raju BV, Esteve-Gassent MD, Karna SL, Miller CL, Van Laar TA, & Seshu J. (2011) Oligopeptide permease A5 modulates vertebrate host-specific adaptation of Borrelia burgdorferi. Infection and immunity, 79(8), 3407-20. PMID: 21628523  

  • December 23, 2016
  • 06:43 AM
  • 362 views

Establishment of a new BHD Syndrome cell line

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome is caused by mutations in the FLCN gene. The FLCN protein acts as a tumour suppressor and BHD patients have a high risk of developing renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The mechanisms of tumour formation in BHD have been investigated using mouse models and human RCC tissues. However, in vitro signalling studies of human renal cells with mutant FLCN are still scarce. In a recent study, Furuya et al. (2016) established a new cell line from a BHD patient’s chromophobe ........ Read more »

  • December 23, 2016
  • 05:03 AM
  • 403 views

ADHD symptoms and chronic fatigue syndrome?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

With the pinnacle of the season of 'jolly' almost upon us, I'd like to make some brief discussion on the findings reported by Denise Rogers and colleagues [1] and specifically the observation that: "ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] symptoms were significantly greater in the CFS [chronic fatigue syndrome] group than in HC [healthy controls]."With the aim of examining both the prevalence of fatigue in cases of ADHD and the prevalence of ADHD symptoms in adults wi........ Read more »

  • December 23, 2016
  • 05:00 AM
  • 269 views

Friday Fellow: Christmas Wreath Lichen

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Celebrating Christmas (or whatever you call this time of the year), today’s Friday Fellow is another lichen. And the reason I chose it is because it is known as Christmas wreath lichen due to its red … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • December 22, 2016
  • 03:31 AM
  • 398 views

Psychosis (sometimes) as an immune disorder?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Some psychosis cases an 'immune disorder'" went the BBC headline with reference to the paper by Belinda Lennox and colleagues [1] talking about the detection of antibodies against the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) in cases of first-episode psychosis (FEP).Although by no means a universal phenomenon, researchers reported that 3% of their 228 participants diagnosed with FEP who provided a blood sample showed the presence of NMDAR antibodies compared with none of the healthy controls ........ Read more »

  • December 21, 2016
  • 06:02 AM
  • 433 views

"New form of autism found"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"New form of autism found" went one of the headlines reporting on the paper by Dora C. Tărlungeanu and colleagues [1] and findings that "elucidate a neurological syndrome defined by SLC7A5 mutations and support an essential role for the BCAA [branched-chain amino acids] in human brain function." This work continues a rather important research story talking about how one 'type' of autism might have some important roots in relation to the branched-chain amino acids and their m........ Read more »

Tărlungeanu, D., Deliu, E., Dotter, C., Kara, M., Janiesch, P., Scalise, M., Galluccio, M., Tesulov, M., Morelli, E., Sonmez, F.... (2016) Impaired Amino Acid Transport at the Blood Brain Barrier Is a Cause of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Cell, 167(6), 1481-2147483647. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.11.013  

  • December 20, 2016
  • 08:19 AM
  • 378 views

Poking holes into membranes to label proteins for live imaging

by Gal Haimovich in Green Fluorescent Blog

There are two major way to label inner proteins, structures or organnelles for live cell imaging. The most common method is fusing the studied protein to a fluorescent protein. A second approach is the addition of labeling agents from outside the … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • December 20, 2016
  • 04:33 AM
  • 422 views

Generation R does gestational vitamin D levels and autistic traits

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Gestational vitamin D deficiency was associated with autism-related traits in a large population-based sample. Because gestational vitamin D deficiency is readily preventable with safe, cheap and accessible supplements, this candidate risk factor warrants closer scrutiny."So said the findings reported by Vinkhuyzen and colleagues [1] (open-access) reporting on data derived from "the Generation R Study, a population-based prospective cohort from fetal life onward, based in Rotterdam, The Netherl........ Read more »

Vinkhuyzen AA, Eyles DW, Burne TH, Blanken LM, Kruithof CJ, Verhulst F, Jaddoe VW, Tiemeier H, & McGrath JJ. (2016) Gestational vitamin D deficiency and autism-related traits: the Generation R Study. Molecular psychiatry. PMID: 27895322  

  • December 19, 2016
  • 03:19 AM
  • 418 views

Gut barrier integrity meets blood-brain barrier integrity with autism in mind

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"In the ASD [autism spectrum disorder] brain, there is an altered expression of genes associated with BBB [blood-brain barrier] integrity coupled with increased neuroinflammation and possibly impaired gut barrier integrity."Although pretty enthused to see research linking names like Anna Sapone, Tim Buie and Alessio Fasano in the recent paper published by Maria Fiorentino and colleagues [1] (open-access), I was slightly less impressed with the use of the term 'the ASD brain' ........ Read more »

Fiorentino, M., Sapone, A., Senger, S., Camhi, S., Kadzielski, S., Buie, T., Kelly, D., Cascella, N., & Fasano, A. (2016) Blood–brain barrier and intestinal epithelial barrier alterations in autism spectrum disorders. Molecular Autism, 7(1). DOI: 10.1186/s13229-016-0110-z  

  • December 18, 2016
  • 05:45 AM
  • 460 views

Fusion and sex in protocells & the start of evolution

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

In 1864, five years after reading Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, Pyotr Kropotkin — the anarchist prince of mutual aid — was leading a geographic survey expedition aboard a dog-sleigh — a distinctly Siberian variant of the HMS Beagle. In the harsh Manchurian climate, Kropotkin did not see competition ‘red in tooth and claw’, […]... Read more »

Sinai, S, Olejarz, J, Neagu, IA, & Nowak, MA. (2016) Primordial Sex Facilitates the Emergence of Evolution. arXiv. arXiv: 1612.00825v1

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