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  • November 10, 2016
  • 04:09 AM
  • 445 views

Atopy increases vulnerability to affective and anxiety issues?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

In a year of impossible things...I was rather interested to read the recent paper by Renee Goodwin and colleagues [1] observing that: "Atopy appears to be associated with increased vulnerability to affective and anxiety problems, compared to youth without atopy."Atopy, referring to a predisposition to developing allergic diseases such as eczema, asthma and/or hayfever, is something on the 'up' in research terms when it comes to aspects of psychiatry and/or developmental outcomes (see here f........ Read more »

  • November 9, 2016
  • 11:20 PM
  • 318 views

Dark selection and ruxolitinib resistance in myeloid neoplasms

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

I am weathering the US election in Tampa, Florida. For this week, I am back at the Moffitt Cancer Center to participate in the 6th annual IMO Workshop. The 2016 theme is one of the biggest challenges to current cancer treatment: therapy resistance. All five teams participating this year are comfortable with the evolutionary view […]... Read more »

  • November 9, 2016
  • 05:16 AM
  • 492 views

A 'frank' presentation of autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Many individuals with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] have a distinctive behavioral presentation that is recognizable within moments, a phenomenon we call "frank" ASD." So said the paper by Ashley de Marchena & Judith Miller [1] who carried out an "empirical study of frank ASD" and by the looks of my Twitter feed when I initially posted about this study, there are quite a few varied opinions about the concept of 'frank' autism.Although 'frank autism' makes up a significant portion ........ Read more »

  • November 8, 2016
  • 07:41 AM
  • 690 views

The Brain Basis of Hating Cheese?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Do you find gruyère gross? Are you repelled by roquefort?



Neuroscientists are now investigating why this might be. A new paper claims to reveal The Neural Bases of Disgust for Cheese.

French (heh) researchers Jean-Pierre Royet and colleagues used fMRI to scan 15 people who liked cheese and 15 who "hated" it. During the scan, the participants were shown images of cheese and were exposed to cheese odors.

The six neuro-cheeses were blue cheese, cheddar, goat cheese, gruyère, parmesan, ... Read more »

Royet JP, Meunier D, Torquet N, Mouly AM, & Jiang T. (2016) The Neural Bases of Disgust for Cheese: An fMRI Study. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 511. PMID: 27799903  

  • November 8, 2016
  • 04:49 AM
  • 158 views

Reproductive strategy of Northeast Arctic cod

by sceintists from the Marine group at CEES in Marine Science blog




Spawning time and location are important factors affecting the reproductive cycle for migratory fish by potentially affecting offspring survival and growth. We examine this relationships by using a drift model for early life stages (eggs to age 1) of the Northeast Arctic cod combined with empirical estimates of spatial variation in mortality at two different life stages (Langangen
et al. 2016).

... Read more »

Davis, D. Lack. (1955) The natural regulation of animal numbers. The Quarterly Review of Biology, 30(2), 157-158. DOI: 10.1086/400774  

Bridget S. Green. (2008) Maternal Effects in Fish Populations. Advances in Marine Biology, 1-105. DOI: 10.1016/S0065-2881(08)00001-1  

Ciannelli, L., Dingsør, G., Bogstad, B., Ottersen, G., Chan, K., Gjøsæter, H., Stiansen, J., & Stenseth, N. (2007) Spatial anatomy of species survival: Effects of predation and climate -driven environmental variability. Ecology, 88(3), 635-646. DOI: 10.1890/05-2035  

  • November 8, 2016
  • 03:57 AM
  • 458 views

"A Putative Blood-Based Biomarker for Autism Spectrum Disorder-Associated Ileocolitis"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Contrary to Murphy's Law - 'never repeat a successful experiment' - replication or reproducibility is a cornerstone of good science. Today, I'm blogging about a piece of research that aimed to do just that as per the findings reported by Stephen Walker and colleagues [1] (open-access).The title of this post has been borrowed from the title of the Walker paper to illustrate how moving on from the quite widely known 'fact' that functional gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are over-represented wh........ Read more »

  • November 7, 2016
  • 03:39 PM
  • 680 views

Snakes Defend Themselves with Shape-Shifting Eyes

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Superman donned glasses to disguise himself and blend in with other people. One snake hides its identity using a similar trick: when threatened, it changes the shape of its pupils. This makes it resemble a much more dangerous animal.

The mock viper (Psammodynastes pulverulentus) is mild-mannered, not superpowered. It's common across much of Asia, and—as you might have guessed from its name—looks a lot like a viper. Actual vipers are a widespread family of venomous snakes. Like true v........ Read more »

Silva, I., Crane, M., Artchawakom, T., Suwanwaree, P., & Strine, C. (2016) More than meets the eye: change in pupil shape by a mock viper. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 14(8), 453-454. DOI: 10.1002/fee.1420  

  • November 7, 2016
  • 02:57 PM
  • 507 views

Neuroteratogenic Viruses: ZIKV, the placenta and IUGR

by thelonevirologist in Virology Tidbits

In humans, the most common infectious neuroteratogenic agents are summarised by the mnemonic “TORCH(S)” (Toxoplasmosis, Others, Rubella, (Human) Cytomegalovirus, Herpes Simplex, Syphilis) with ZIKV either classified as “Others” or by expanding the mnemonic to TORCHSZ and indeed health authorities in affected countries regularly test cases of microcephaly suspected to be associated with neurological infections not only for ZIKV but also for the presence of TORCH(S). Microc........ Read more »

Yockey LJ, Varela L, Rakib T, Khoury-Hanold W, Fink SL, Stutz B, Szigeti-Buck K, Van den Pol A, Lindenbach BD, Horvath TL.... (2016) Vaginal Exposure to Zika Virus during Pregnancy Leads to Fetal Brain Infection. Cell, 166(5), 1247-12560000. PMID: 27565347  

El Costa H, Gouilly J, Mansuy JM, Chen Q, Levy C, Cartron G, Veas F, Al-Daccak R, Izopet J, & Jabrane-Ferrat N. (2016) ZIKA virus reveals broad tissue and cell tropism during the first trimester of pregnancy. Scientific reports, 35296. PMID: 27759009  

Quicke KM, Bowen JR, Johnson EL, McDonald CE, Ma H, O'Neal JT, Rajakumar A, Wrammert J, Rimawi BH, Pulendran B.... (2016) Zika Virus Infects Human Placental Macrophages. Cell host , 20(1), 83-90. PMID: 27247001  

Bayer A, Lennemann NJ, Ouyang Y, Bramley JC, Morosky S, Marques ET Jr, Cherry S, Sadovsky Y, & Coyne CB. (2016) Type III Interferons Produced by Human Placental Trophoblasts Confer Protection against Zika Virus Infection. Cell host , 19(5), 705-12. PMID: 27066743  

Ning F, Liu H, & Lash GE. (2016) The Role of Decidual Macrophages During Normal and Pathological Pregnancy. American journal of reproductive immunology (New York, N.Y. : 1989), 75(3), 298-309. PMID: 26750089  

Lash GE, Pitman H, Morgan HL, Innes BA, Agwu CN, & Bulmer JN. (2016) Decidual macrophages: key regulators of vascular remodeling in human pregnancy. Journal of leukocyte biology, 100(2), 315-25. PMID: 26819320  

Olagnier D, Amatore D, Castiello L, Ferrari M, Palermo E, Diamond MS, Palamara AT, & Hiscott J. (2016) Dengue Virus Immunopathogenesis: Lessons Applicable to the Emergence of Zika Virus. Journal of molecular biology, 428(17), 3429-48. PMID: 27130436  

  • November 7, 2016
  • 04:13 AM
  • 497 views

8.6% of children with autism have epilepsy?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Epilepsy was reported to co-occur in 8.6 % of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] cases."That was the headline conclusion reported by Shiny Thomas and colleagues [1] as they drew on data from "the most recent U.S. National Survey of Children's Health, 2011-2012" to add to the extensive literature looking at how common epilepsy is when it comes to autism.Including some 1600 children/young adults diagnosed with autism - equivalent to a prevalence of 1.8% of the entire 85,000-strong co........ Read more »

  • November 6, 2016
  • 10:05 PM
  • 503 views

Obama invades Europe: “Yes, we can!”

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll This information was known by me and some other people for quite a while, but only recently has caught attention of the general public. Obama is the newest threat in Europe. No, I’m not talking about the … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • November 5, 2016
  • 05:20 AM
  • 512 views

Sensory subtypes and anxiety and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This is the first study to identify the existence of sensory subtypes among older children and adolescents with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and explore their association with anxiety levels."Far be it from me to question the above quote provided in the paper by Mirko Uljarević and colleagues [1] but I'm inclined to suggest that there has already been some research published on the link between sensory issues and anxiety in the context of the autism spectrum before (see here and se........ Read more »

Uljarević M, Lane A, Kelly A, & Leekam S. (2016) Sensory subtypes and anxiety in older children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research, 9(10), 1073-1078. PMID: 26765165  

  • November 4, 2016
  • 07:12 AM
  • 524 views

Two recent case reports on BHD – Epidemiologic study of patients in Asia and new FLCN mutation

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

Furuya et al. (2016) present a new study describing genetic, epidemiologic and clinicopathologic features of 312 Asian individuals with BHD manifestations based on data from 120 probands from different families (119 Japanese and 1 Taiwanese), 36 siblingss with genetic testing and 156 siblings without genetic testing.... Read more »

Furuya M, Yao M, Tanaka R, Nagashima Y, Kuroda N, Hasumi H, Baba M, Matsushima J, Nomura F, & Nakatani Y. (2016) Genetic, epidemiologic and clinicopathologic studies of Japanese Asian patients with Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome. Clinical genetics, 90(5), 403-412. PMID: 27220747  

  • November 4, 2016
  • 06:00 AM
  • 650 views

Friday Fellow: Silvergreen Moss

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Found throughout most of the world, you probably have encountered this fellow many times in your life, but did not pay any attention. After all, it is just a moss! Scientifically known as Bryum argenteum and popularly … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • November 4, 2016
  • 05:03 AM
  • 480 views

Hyperhomocysteinemia as a significant risk factor for autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The findings reported by Naushad Shaik Mohammad and colleagues [1] provide some blogging fodder today and the suggestion of a link between some of the genetics of the folate pathway and the finding of elevated levels of homocysteine with [some] autism in mind.OK, from the start, the genetics of folate metabolism mentioned in the context of autism typically means reference to the quite well replicated finding of issues with the gene methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) (see ........ Read more »

Shaik Mohammad N, Sai Shruti P, Bharathi V, Krishna Prasad C, Hussain T, Alrokayan SA, Naik U, & Radha Rama Devi A. (2016) Clinical utility of folate pathway genetic polymorphisms in the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders. Psychiatric genetics. PMID: 27755291  

  • November 3, 2016
  • 02:49 PM
  • 667 views

Does The Motor Cortex Inhibit Movement?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A new paper could prompt a rethink of a basic tenet of neuroscience. It is widely believed that the motor cortex, a region of the cerebral cortex, is responsible for producing movements, by sending instructions to other brain regions and ultimately to the spinal cord. But according to neuroscientists Christian Laut Ebbesen and colleagues, the truth may be the opposite: the motor cortex may equally well suppress movements.



Ebbesen et al. studied the vibrissa motor cortex (VMC) of the rat, ... Read more »

  • November 3, 2016
  • 05:10 AM
  • 530 views

Antibiotic brain part 3

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This study demonstrates an association between antibiotic use in the first year of life and subsequent neurocognitive outcomes in childhood."So said the findings reported by Slykerman and colleagues [1] who relied on data from the Auckland Birthweight Collaborative Study (an initiative set up to determine whether "internationally recognized risk factors for small-for-gestational-age (SGA) term babies were applicable in New Zealand") to examine the suggestion that early life antib........ Read more »

Slykerman RF, Thompson J, Waldie KE, Murphy R, Wall C, & Mitchell EA. (2016) Antibiotics in the first year of life and subsequent neurocognitive outcomes. Acta paediatrica (Oslo, Norway : 1992). PMID: 27701771  

  • November 2, 2016
  • 09:00 AM
  • 336 views

Estrogen, Memory, & Aging: DNA methylation of the ERα promoter contributes to transcriptional differences in age across the hippocampus

by Lara Ianov in EpiBeat

Estradiol (E2) influences a number of processes that are important for maintaining healthy brain function, including memory. The ability of E2 to protect the brain and enhance or maintain memory function depends on the interaction of E2 with different estrogen receptors.1 In particular, the expression of estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) has been linked to synaptic plasticity, inflammation, and neuroprotection.2-5 Thus, it may be important that expression of ERα in the hippocampus, a bra........ Read more »

Bean LA, Ianov L, & Foster TC. (2014) Estrogen receptors, the hippocampus, and memory. The Neuroscientist : a review journal bringing neurobiology, neurology and psychiatry, 20(5), 534-45. PMID: 24510074  

Adams MM, Fink SE, Shah RA, Janssen WG, Hayashi S, Milner TA, McEwen BS, & Morrison JH. (2002) Estrogen and aging affect the subcellular distribution of estrogen receptor-alpha in the hippocampus of female rats. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 22(9), 3608-14. PMID: 11978836  

Benedusi V, Meda C, Della Torre S, Monteleone G, Vegeto E, & Maggi A. (2012) A lack of ovarian function increases neuroinflammation in aged mice. Endocrinology, 153(6), 2777-88. PMID: 22492304  

Merchenthaler I, Dellovade TL, & Shughrue PJ. (2003) Neuroprotection by estrogen in animal models of global and focal ischemia. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 89-100. PMID: 14993043  

Zhang QG, Raz L, Wang R, Han D, De Sevilla L, Yang F, Vadlamudi RK, & Brann DW. (2009) Estrogen attenuates ischemic oxidative damage via an estrogen receptor alpha-mediated inhibition of NADPH oxidase activation. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 29(44), 13823-36. PMID: 19889994  

Bean LA, Kumar A, Rani A, Guidi M, Rosario AM, Cruz PE, Golde TE, & Foster TC. (2015) Re-Opening the Critical Window for Estrogen Therapy. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 35(49), 16077-93. PMID: 26658861  

Han X, Aenlle KK, Bean LA, Rani A, Semple-Rowland SL, Kumar A, & Foster TC. (2013) Role of estrogen receptor α and β in preserving hippocampal function during aging. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 33(6), 2671-83. PMID: 23392694  

  • November 2, 2016
  • 04:55 AM
  • 548 views

ADHD (symptoms) and pain

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

If a primary goal of medicine is to relieve pain and suffering then the paper by Andrew Stickley and colleagues [1] might provide an important insight into how medicine might be missing some important groups when it comes to the experience of pain "assessed by the degree to which it interfered with work activity in the previous month."Drawing on data from the English 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (APMS) (a resource that has cropped up on this blog before), auth........ Read more »

Stickley A, Koyanagi A, Takahashi H, & Kamio Y. (2016) ADHD symptoms and pain among adults in England. Psychiatry research, 326-331. PMID: 27750114  

  • November 1, 2016
  • 12:00 PM
  • 412 views

Giant pumpkins and other massive fruits

by Alice Breda in la-Plumeria

In the form of a creepy Jack-o’-lantern frightening kids who seek for treats, or of a creamy soup in a cold fall night, pumpkins are the most distinctive fruits we find on the market stands in this season. But this fruit, in its larger variants, is also at the center of a special type of competition that takes place every year. A group of fierce farmers equipped with large scales and the heaviest products of their fields meet up to determine who among them was able to grow the largest pump........ Read more »

  • November 1, 2016
  • 05:09 AM
  • 528 views

On the "increasing evidence for an association between vitamin D insufficiency and depression"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The quote titling this brief post - "increasing evidence for an association between vitamin D insufficiency and depression" - comes from the review by Parker and colleagues [1] who seem to be no strangers to reviewing evidence on a possible link between the sunshine vitamin/hormone and depression [2].Affiliated to the Black Dog Institute in Oz ('black dog' being used as a metaphor for depression for quite a few years), the authors surveyed the quite voluminous peer-reviewed research literat........ Read more »

Parker GB, Brotchie H, & Graham RK. (2016) Vitamin D and depression. Journal of affective disorders, 56-61. PMID: 27750060  

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