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  • February 3, 2017
  • 04:03 AM
  • 491 views

"Schizophrenia confers a high endogenous risk for diabetes"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Schizophrenia confers a high endogenous risk for diabetes, and the risk is further increased by both first-generation and second-generation antipsychotics."So concluded Anto Rajkumar and colleagues [1] who relied on participant data in the thousands derived from several of those very helpful Scandinavian population registries (this time in Denmark) to add some further science to the idea that psychiatric diagnoses like schizophrenia seem to carry an elevated risk for all-manner of somatic ........ Read more »

  • February 2, 2017
  • 04:25 AM
  • 726 views

Hyperuricemia present in both medicated and unmedicated kids with autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was intrigued to read the findings reported by Natchaya Vanwong and colleagues [1] talking about the presence of hyperuricemia - an excess of uric acid in the blood - in their cohort of children and young adults diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Intrigued not only because the authors discuss how the use of the atypical antipsychotic risperidone might *correlate* with elevations of uric acid but also how: "Hyperuricemia was present in 44.70% of risperidone-naïve patients w........ Read more »

  • February 1, 2017
  • 04:21 AM
  • 702 views

Autism and a 'clear' reduction of behavioural severity in cases diagnosed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This study provides the first clear evidence of a reduction over time in the behavioral severity of individuals diagnosed with Autistic Disorder during a period of stability in diagnostic criteria."So said the study findings reported by Andrew Whitehouse and colleagues [1] (a man not afraid to make waves when it comes to thinking about autism or about approaches to intervention) looking at "whether there were changes over time in the qualitative and quantitative phenotype of individuals wh........ Read more »

Whitehouse AJ, Cooper MN, Bebbington K, Alvares G, Lin A, Wray J, & Glasson EJ. (2017) Evidence of a reduction over time in the behavioral severity of autistic disorder diagnoses. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. PMID: 28102641  

  • January 31, 2017
  • 04:18 AM
  • 661 views

S100B protein and autism continued

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Our findings showing an increase in peripheral concentrations of S100B and TNF-α provide limited support to the hypothesis about the roles of altered immune function and S100B in autism spectrum disorder (ASD)."So said the findings reported by Selin Aktan Guloksuz and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) continuing some discussions a few years back on a possible role for S100B in relation to at least some autism (see here).S100B - S100 calcium-binding protein B - is a compound invo........ Read more »

Guloksuz SA, Abali O, Aktas Cetin E, Bilgic Gazioglu S, Deniz G, Yildirim A, Kawikova I, Guloksuz S, & Leckman JF. (2017) Elevated plasma concentrations of S100 calcium-binding protein B and tumor necrosis factor alpha in children with autism spectrum disorders. Revista brasileira de psiquiatria (Sao Paulo, Brazil : 1999). PMID: 28099628  

  • January 30, 2017
  • 04:08 AM
  • 753 views

High frequency of (self-reported) ADHD symptoms in eating disorders

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"There is a high frequency of ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] symptoms in patients with binge eating/purging eating disorders that motivates further studies."That was the conclusion reached in the study by Nils Erik Svedlund and colleagues [1] (open-access) who, among other things, set out to "explore the prevalence and types of self-reported ADHD symptoms in a large, unselected group of ED [eating disorder] patients assessed in a specialized ED clinic." ........ Read more »

  • January 28, 2017
  • 08:52 PM
  • 642 views

A Model for Phage Communication and the Implications for the Human Microbiome

by Geoffrey Hannigan in Prophage

Well we took a bit of a break these past couple of weeks, but we are back for the new year! Welcome to the Prophage blog 2017! The year has actually been off to a good start, with a lot of interesting papers being published this January. This week I want to kick things off by covering a very cool 2017 study by Erez et al that described an new and interesting mechanism by which bacteriophages communicate using...... Read more »

Erez, Z., Steinberger-Levy, I., Shamir, M., Doron, S., Stokar-Avihail, A., Peleg, Y., Melamed, S., Leavitt, A., Savidor, A., Albeck, S.... (2017) Communication between viruses guides lysis–lysogeny decisions. Nature, 541(7638), 488-493. DOI: 10.1038/nature21049  

  • January 28, 2017
  • 09:42 AM
  • 869 views

Distortions of Reality

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic





President Trump this week repeated an assertion he made shortly after his election: that millions of ballots cast illegally by undocumented immigrants cost him the popular vote. If true, this would suggest the wholesale corruption of American democracy.

Not to worry: As far as anyone knows, the president’s assertion is akin to saying that millions of unicorns also voted illegally.

- In a

... Read more »

Preller, K., Herdener, M., Pokorny, T., Planzer, A., Kraehenmann, R., Stämpfli, P., Liechti, M., Seifritz, E., & Vollenweider, F. (2017) The Fabric of Meaning and Subjective Effects in LSD-Induced States Depend on Serotonin 2A Receptor Activation. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.12.030  

Wacker, D., Wang, S., McCorvy, J., Betz, R., Venkatakrishnan, A., Levit, A., Lansu, K., Schools, Z., Che, T., Nichols, D.... (2017) Crystal Structure of an LSD-Bound Human Serotonin Receptor. Cell, 168(3), 377-2147483647. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.12.033  

  • January 28, 2017
  • 05:15 AM
  • 705 views

"Should gluten-free foods be available on prescription?"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Continuing the theme of blogging outside of the core material typically included on this site, I couldn't resist a mention of the 'head-to-head' debate talked about in the article by Matthew Kurien and colleagues [1] published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).As per the title of this post, the name of the game was gluten-free products being available on prescription here in Blighty, and in particular, the prescribing of gluten-free products to patients diagnosed with coeliac disease. Th........ Read more »

Kurien M, Sleet S, Sanders DS, & Cave J. (2017) Should gluten-free foods be available on prescription?. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 28073799  

  • January 28, 2017
  • 04:28 AM
  • 900 views

When You're Drowsy, Is Your Brain Partly Asleep?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

When we're feeling very tired, we sometimes remark that we're "half-asleep". But is this more than just a figure of speech? A new paper suggests that parts of our brain may actually 'fall asleep' even while we're still awake.



According to researchers Jeremy D. Slater and colleagues of the University of Texas, "local sleep" occurs throughout the human brain, with each brain region passing into and out of a sleep-like state over time. What's more, local sleep becomes more and more common in... Read more »

Slater JD, Chelaru MI, Hansen BJ, Beaman C, Kalamangalam G, Tandon N, & Dragoi V. (2017) Focal Changes to Human Electrocorticography With Drowsiness: A Novel Measure of Local Sleep. The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. PMID: 28121257  

  • January 27, 2017
  • 01:27 PM
  • 604 views

Impairment of neurogenesis in ZIKV infected neuronal cells: strain specific ? Asian/American v. African strains

by thelonevirologist in Virology Tidbits

uring the current Zika Virus (ZIKV) outbreaks in the Americas, an increased number of cognitive malformations including but not limited to microcephaly in foetuses and neonates of mothers who had been infected with ZIKV during pregnancy, lead to the conclusion that ZIKV might be neuroteratogenic, a hypothesis that has been supported by findings that various ZIKV strains –including isolates from Asia such ZIKV SZ 01, ZIKV FSS13025 and H/PF/2013 as well as isolates from the Americas such as........ Read more »

Li H, Saucedo-Cuevas L, Shresta S, & Gleeson JG. (2016) The Neurobiology of Zika Virus. Neuron, 92(5), 949-958. PMID: 27930910  

van den Pol AN, Mao G, Yang Y, Ornaghi S, & Davis JN. (2017) Zika virus targeting in the developing brain. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. PMID: 28123079  

Li H, Saucedo-Cuevas L, Regla-Nava JA, Chai G, Sheets N, Tang W, Terskikh AV, Shresta S, & Gleeson JG. (2016) Zika Virus Infects Neural Progenitors in the Adult Mouse Brain and Alters Proliferation. Cell stem cell, 19(5), 593-598. PMID: 27545505  

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, 18(5), 587-90. PMID: 26952870  

Garcez PP, Nascimento JM, de Vasconcelos JM, Madeiro da Costa R, Delvecchio R, Trindade P, Loiola EC, Higa LM, Cassoli JS, Vitória G.... (2017) Zika virus disrupts molecular fingerprinting of human neurospheres. Scientific reports, 40780. PMID: 28112162  

Gabriel, E., Ramani, A., Karow, U., Gottardo, M., Natarajan, K., Gooi, L., Goranci-Buzhala, G., Krut, O., Peters, F., Nikolic, M.... (2017) Recent Zika Virus Isolates Induce Premature Differentiation of Neural Progenitors in Human Brain Organoids. Cell Stem Cell. DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2016.12.005  

Gromley A, Jurczyk A, Sillibourne J, Halilovic E, Mogensen M, Groisman I, Blomberg M, & Doxsey S. (2003) A novel human protein of the maternal centriole is required for the final stages of cytokinesis and entry into S phase. The Journal of cell biology, 161(3), 535-45. PMID: 12732615  

Meitinger F, Anzola JV, Kaulich M, Richardson A, Stender JD, Benner C, Glass CK, Dowdy SF, Desai A, Shiau AK.... (2016) 53BP1 and USP28 mediate p53 activation and G1 arrest after centrosome loss or extended mitotic duration. The Journal of cell biology, 214(2), 155-66. PMID: 27432897  

Souza BS, Sampaio GL, Pereira CS, Campos GS, Sardi SI, Freitas LA, Figueira CP, Paredes BD, Nonaka CK, Azevedo CM.... (2016) Zika virus infection induces mitosis abnormalities and apoptotic cell death of human neural progenitor cells. Scientific reports, 39775. PMID: 28008958  

  • January 27, 2017
  • 06:13 AM
  • 666 views

TSC1 expression is affected by VHL alterations and HIF-1α production in clear-cell RCC

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

VHL genetic alterations do not affect the production of HIF-α in clear-cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). However, their effects on tuberous sclerosis proteins (TSC1/2) and heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) expression are currently unknown. In a recent study, Damjanovic et al. (2016) evaluated the impact of VHL genetic alterations and HIF-α production on the expression of TSC proteins and Hsp90 in 47 sporadic ccRCCs and corresponding normal tissues.... Read more »

  • January 27, 2017
  • 06:00 AM
  • 722 views

Friday Fellow: Black Bread Mold

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Today’s Friday Fellow lives in our houses and our gardens, among our food and our crops. And every time we notice it, we get upset, because it means that something we were supposed to eat is … Continue reading →... Read more »

Hernández-Lauzardo, A., Bautista-Baños, S., Velázquez-del Valle, M., Méndez-Montealvo, M., Sánchez-Rivera, M., & Bello-Pérez, L. (2008) Antifungal effects of chitosan with different molecular weights on in vitro development of Rhizopus stolonifer (Ehrenb.:Fr.) Vuill. Carbohydrate Polymers, 73(4), 541-547. DOI: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2007.12.020  

  • January 27, 2017
  • 04:07 AM
  • 434 views

Vitamin D deficiency and risk of dementia

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The results of this systematic review show that low vitamin D levels might contribute to the development of dementia."Whilst slightly off-topic when it comes to the core research material typically included on this blog, I did want to bring to your attention the systematic review and meta-analysis results published by Isolde Sommer and colleagues [1] (open-access) for your perusal. Although unable to "identify a single study investigating the association between sunlight exposure and demen........ Read more »

Sommer I, Griebler U, Kien C, Auer S, Klerings I, Hammer R, Holzer P, & Gartlehner G. (2017) Vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC geriatrics, 17(1), 16. PMID: 28086755  

  • January 26, 2017
  • 04:10 AM
  • 488 views

Andrew Whitehouse on challenging yet another autism status quo: diagnosis before intervention

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This paper provides an overview of the benefits and drawbacks of the current clinical pathway that places primacy on a diagnostic assessment for triggering the commencement of therapy. The paper then presents an alternative clinical pathway - the identification and provision of therapy to infants at risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] - and provides a critical review of current evidence supporting this model."So said the 'lecture paper' by Andrew Whitehouse [1] and, as per the titl........ Read more »

  • January 25, 2017
  • 09:10 AM
  • 431 views

A poo transplant for [some] autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I've talked about 'fecal microbial transplants' a.k.a the poo(p) transplant before on this blog (see here). That previous entry was about the more typical (and potentially life-saving) use of a poo transplant - where stool from one person is extracted, 'repackaged' and transferred to another person - albeit with caveats in terms of possible long-term side-effects. Now it appears that poo transplants are being investigated with something rather more central to the typical cont........ Read more »

  • January 25, 2017
  • 09:00 AM
  • 399 views

Asthma & Histone Acetylation: an important epigenetic mechanism in allergic diseases

by Daniel Potaczek in EpiBeat

Epigenetic regulation is thought to be one of the most important mechanisms contributing to the development and clinical course of chronic immunological diseases like allergies and asthma. DNA methylation has been extensively studied in this context, which has not been a case of histone modifications such as histone acetylation or methylation.

Early epigenetic studies from our lab conducted in mouse models demonstrated a role for histone acetylation in mediating bacteria-induced protection ag........ Read more »

Harb H, Alashkar Alhamwe B, Garn H, Renz H, & Potaczek DP. (2016) Recent developments in epigenetics of pediatric asthma. Current opinion in pediatrics, 28(6), 754-763. PMID: 27662207  

Harb, H., Amarasekera, M., Ashley, S., Tulic, M., Pfefferle, P., Potaczek, D., Martino, D., Kesper, D., Prescott, S., & Renz, H. (2016) Epigenetic Regulation in Early Childhood: A Miniaturized and Validated Method to Assess Histone Acetylation. International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, 168(3), 173-181. DOI: 10.1159/000442158  

Harb, H., Raedler, D., Ballenberger, N., Böck, A., Kesper, D., Renz, H., & Schaub, B. (2015) Childhood allergic asthma is associated with increased IL-13 and FOXP3 histone acetylation. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 136(1), 200-202. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2015.01.027  

Stefanowicz, D., Lee, J., Lee, K., Shaheen, F., Koo, H., Booth, S., Knight, D., & Hackett, T. (2015) Elevated H3K18 acetylation in airway epithelial cells of asthmatic subjects. Respiratory Research, 16(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12931-015-0254-y  

Harb, H., & Renz, H. (2015) Update on epigenetics in allergic disease. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 135(1), 15-24. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2014.11.009  

  • January 25, 2017
  • 03:56 AM
  • 446 views

Autism and visual impairment reviewed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Of the various autism science journals out there in peer-reviewed (La-La!) land, one journal in particular is really starting to grow on me: [The] Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.I like this journal because it is basically systematic review and meta-analysis heaven when it comes to the quite voluminous autism research literature and seems to publish some real gems (see here for example).Another paper from this journal caught my eye recently by Maggie Butchart and colleagues ........ Read more »

Butchart, M., Long, J., Brown, M., McMillan, A., Bain, J., & Karatzias, T. (2017) Autism and Visual Impairment: a Review of the Literature. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI: 10.1007/s40489-016-0101-1  

  • January 24, 2017
  • 12:52 PM
  • 587 views

Crowdfunding and Tribefunding in Science

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

Competition for government research grants to fund scientific research remains fierce in the United States. The budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which constitute the major source of funding for US biological and medical research, has been increased only modestly during the past decade but it is not even keeping up with inflation. This problem is compounded by the fact that more scientists are applying for grants now than one or two decades ago, forcing the NIH to enforce strict........ Read more »

Vachelard J, Gambarra-Soares T, Augustini G, Riul P, & Maracaja-Coutinho V. (2016) A Guide to Scientific Crowdfunding. PLoS Biology, 14(2). PMID: 26886064  

  • January 24, 2017
  • 11:44 AM
  • 611 views

Whip Spiders Use Their Feet to Smell Their Way Home

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



After a late dinner, a jungle-dwelling whip spider can't rely on an Uber driver to get her home. She has to find the way herself, in the pitch-black, picking her way over thick undergrowth to reach the tree she lives on. It's a trick she can even manage when plucked from her home tree and tossed into the forest at random, up to 10 meters away. Now scientists think whip spiders don't use her eyes for this homing feat—they use their feet.

Whip spiders hunt by night and hunker down at dawn ........ Read more »

  • January 24, 2017
  • 05:49 AM
  • 420 views

Fatty acids 'for autism'? Meta-analysis says probably not but...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Because of the limited number of included studies and small sample sizes, no firm conclusions can be drawn. However, the limited data currently available suggest that ω-3 FA [fatty acid] supplementation does not enhance the performance of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."Those were the conclusions reached in the systematic review and meta-analysis paper published by Andrea Horvath and colleagues [1] looking at the collected peer-reviewed literature on the topic up t........ Read more »

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