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  • December 18, 2014
  • 02:35 PM
  • 8 views

Gene fragments linked to brain development and autism

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

While the anti-vaccine movement enjoys the simple (and very wrong) answer to the cause of autism, there are people who want the actual truth. This drive had lead to a slew of causes (and risk factors) for autism in recent times. Now scientists have found that very small segments of genes called “microexons” influence how proteins interact with each other in the nervous system. In turn, this opens up a new line of research into the cause of autism.... Read more »

Irimia, M., Weatheritt, R., Ellis, J., Parikshak, N., Gonatopoulos-Pournatzis, T., Babor, M., Quesnel-Vallières, M., Tapial, J., Raj, B., O’Hanlon, D.... (2014) A Highly Conserved Program of Neuronal Microexons Is Misregulated in Autistic Brains. Cell, 159(7), 1511-1523. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.11.035  

  • December 18, 2014
  • 05:08 AM
  • 18 views

Autistic traits in adults with epilepsy

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Increased autistic characteristics found in adults with epilepsy without an ASD [autism spectrum disorder] diagnosis suggest that epilepsy syndromes may incorporate behavioral aspects of autism in the absence of some of its core cognitive features."Contrariwise, if you think we're alive you ought to speak to us.That was the intriguing finding reported by Sally Ann Wakeford and colleagues [1] who examined test performance on the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) and "systemizing ........ Read more »

Wakeford S, Hinvest N, Ring H, & Brosnan M. (2014) Autistic characteristics in adults with epilepsy. Epilepsy , 203-207. PMID: 25461216  

  • December 18, 2014
  • 02:44 AM
  • 17 views

Correcting Metabolic Abnormalities May Help Lessen Urinary Problems

by Wiley Asia Blog in Wiley Asia Blog - Health Sciences

Metabolic syndrome is linked with an increased frequency and severity of lower urinary tract symptoms, but weight loss surgery may lessen these symptoms. The findings, which come from two studies published in BJU International, indicate that urinary problems may be added to the list of issues that can improve with efforts that address altered metabolism.

Lower urinary tract symptoms related to urinary frequency and urgency, bladder leakage, the need to urinate at night, and incomplete bladder........ Read more »

  • December 17, 2014
  • 02:54 PM
  • 28 views

Epigenetic changes and autism

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Despite what you may think, the supposed “explosion” of children diagnosed with autism can directly attributed to better diagnosing techniques and — more importantly — the change of definition to make Autism spectrum disorders more broad. Thankfully more causes of autism have been found, none of them remotely related to vaccines and now scientists have found that chemical modifications to DNA’s packaging—known as epigenetic changes—can activate or repress genes involved in autism s........ Read more »

Gao, Z., Lee, P., Stafford, J., von Schimmelmann, M., Schaefer, A., & Reinberg, D. (2014) An AUTS2–Polycomb complex activates gene expression in the CNS. Nature, 516(7531), 349-354. DOI: 10.1038/nature13921  

Ntziachristos, P., Tsirigos, A., Welstead, G., Trimarchi, T., Bakogianni, S., Xu, L., Loizou, E., Holmfeldt, L., Strikoudis, A., King, B.... (2014) Contrasting roles of histone 3 lysine 27 demethylases in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Nature, 514(7523), 513-517. DOI: 10.1038/nature13605  

  • December 17, 2014
  • 02:04 PM
  • 23 views

Google Translate not yet ready for medical communications

by Shelly Fan in Neurorexia

Image credits: frauczepluch.blogspot.com Communications is key in any relationship, particularly that between patients and doctors.  So what happens when the two parties don’t speak the same...... Read more »

  • December 17, 2014
  • 08:00 AM
  • 41 views

Christmas Greenery - Friend Or Foe?

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Your Christmas tree can kill you, but it can also save your life. The same holds true for mistletoe, ivy, and holly. Each is toxic, but each has uses in medicine. The least toxic Christmas plant is the most often thought of as poisonous – poinsettias really aren’t that bad, kids would have to eat 500 leaves to bring on the nastiest effects.... Read more »

  • December 17, 2014
  • 04:29 AM
  • 26 views

Folate receptor autoantibodies and (some) schizophrenia

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I am the league's director, Silas Ramsbottom.Upon reading the paper published by Ramaekers and colleagues [1] talking about the use of folinic acid in cases of schizophrenia as a function of the presence of "Auto-antibodies against folate receptor alpha (FRα)", I raised a little smile. Not only because the authors suggested that there may be quite a lot more to see in this area on top of some already interesting discussions about the folate cycle and schizophrenia, but also because of the ........ Read more »

Ramaekers VT, Thöny B, Sequeira JM, Ansseau M, Philippe P, Boemer F, Bours V, & Quadros EV. (2014) Folinic acid treatment for schizophrenia associated with folate receptor autoantibodies. Molecular genetics and metabolism. PMID: 25456743  

  • December 17, 2014
  • 12:05 AM
  • 28 views

Some More Education on Exertional Heat Stroke Could go a Long Way

by Kyle Harris in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

While multiple certifications exist for strength and conditioning coaches, both the CSCS and SCCC do not adequately prepare coaches to recognize or prevent exertional heat stroke during high-intensity training sessions.... Read more »

  • December 16, 2014
  • 02:37 PM
  • 39 views

Methamphetamine use and the onset of parkinson’s

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

We’ve all seen the PSA’s trying to show the effects of meth use and in particular, what it does to your teeth. Typically, when it comes to drug use, people will not look at the long term side effects from their addiction instead thinking in the short term. This is unfortunate because as it turns out, methamphetamine users are three times more at risk for getting Parkinson’s disease than non-illicit drug users with even worse news for women, new research shows.... Read more »

  • December 16, 2014
  • 08:00 AM
  • 53 views

Giving, Getting, and Grey Matter

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

It’s time to search out Christmas gifts! Let brain research guide you in your giving. We now know why women are often better at picking out gifts, and we know that you expect people to like your homemade gifts more than you should. We have learned that we give gifts to make ourselves feel good, and that too many gifts can screw your kids up for life. But most importantly, it actually is the thought that counts! Merry Christmas.... Read more »

Moll, J., Krueger, F., Zahn, R., Pardini, M., de Oliveira-Souza, R., & Grafman, J. (2006) Human fronto-mesolimbic networks guide decisions about charitable donation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103(42), 15623-15628. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0604475103  

  • December 16, 2014
  • 04:41 AM
  • 59 views

Thioredoxin... a new 'diagnosis indicator' for autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

My name's Buttercup. You've met Baron von Shush."Our study demonstrated that serum TRX [thioredoxin] levels were associated with ASD [autism spectrum disorder], and elevated levels could be considered as a novel, independent diagnosis indicator of ASD." So was the conclusion reported by Qing-biao Zhang and colleagues [1] looking at serum levels of TRX in 80 children diagnosed with an ASD compared against "100 sex and age matched typically developing children".I'll freely admi........ Read more »

Zhang QB, Gao SJ, & Zhao HX. (2014) Thioredoxin: A novel, independent diagnosis marker in children with autism. International journal of developmental neuroscience : the official journal of the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience. PMID: 25433158  

  • December 15, 2014
  • 03:07 PM
  • 66 views

Finding the neurons that deal with distraction

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

What’s that over there!? The next time you are around people, count how many people are on their phone? Distractions invade every aspect of our lives. Status updates, text messages, email notifications all threaten to steal our attention away from the moment. While we fight the urge to check the phone, our brains are making constant judgment calls about where to focus attention. The brain must continually filter important information from irrelevant interference.... Read more »

Ahrens, S., Jaramillo, S., Yu, K., Ghosh, S., Hwang, G., Paik, R., Lai, C., He, M., Huang, Z., & Li, B. (2014) ErbB4 regulation of a thalamic reticular nucleus circuit for sensory selection. Nature Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1038/nn.3897  

  • December 15, 2014
  • 08:42 AM
  • 69 views

Who is Getting High in Europe (and Where)?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

My research training is in psychiatric epidemiology. Alcohol and drug dependence have been two of my topic areas of research.So I found a recent novel study of the epidemiology of illicit drug use in Europe intriguing.Typical methods of looking for the prevalence of drug use in populations are direct diagnostic interviews and studies of emergency room attendees or autopsy cases with medical complications of drug use.However, Christopher Ort from Switzerland along with a host of European col........ Read more »

Ort C, van Nuijs AL, Berset JD, Bijlsma L, Castiglioni S, Covaci A, de Voogt P, Emke E, Fatta-Kassinos D, Griffiths P.... (2014) Spatial differences and temporal changes in illicit drug use in Europe quantified by wastewater analysis. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 109(8), 1338-52. PMID: 24861844  

  • December 15, 2014
  • 04:45 AM
  • 58 views

Rates of medical illnesses in bipolar disorder

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I've mentioned a few times on this blog that a diagnosis of autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is by no means protective against any other diagnosis being received, be it based on a somatic illness or condition, or something more behaviourally defined.Reading through the paper by Liz Forty and colleagues [1] (open-access) it appears that a similar scenario might also pertain to other behaviourally-defined conditions as per the example of bipolar disorder (BD) and their conclusion: "Bi........ Read more »

Forty L, Ulanova A, Jones L, Jones I, Gordon-Smith K, Fraser C, Farmer A, McGuffin P, Lewis CM, Hosang GM.... (2014) Comorbid medical illness in bipolar disorder. The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science. PMID: 25359927  

  • December 15, 2014
  • 02:31 AM
  • 49 views

Treatment for Elderly with Breast Cancer May Not Be as Effective

by Wiley Asia Blog in Wiley Asia Blog - Health Sciences

A new analysis has found that while clinical trial data support omitting radiation treatments in elderly women with early stage breast cancer, nearly two-thirds of these women continue to receive it. The findings are published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

Results published in 2004 from a large, randomized clinical trial showed that adding radiation therapy to surgery plus tamoxifen does not reduce 5-year recurrence rates or prolong survival i........ Read more »

  • December 15, 2014
  • 12:05 AM
  • 40 views

Returning to play in the same season following a traumatic shoulder dislocation or subluxation. Is it worth the risk?

by Catherine E. Lewis and Adam B. Rosen, PhD, ATC in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

Returning the same season from a traumatic anterior shoulder dislocation or subluxation likely results in additional episodes of instability even after undergoing a strengthening and stability protocol. Self-report questionnaires immediately after initial injury may be useful in determining a return to play timeline.... Read more »

Dickens, J., Owens, B., Cameron, K., Kilcoyne, K., Allred, C., Svoboda, S., Sullivan, R., Tokish, J., Peck, K., & Rue, J. (2014) Return to Play and Recurrent Instability After In-Season Anterior Shoulder Instability: A Prospective Multicenter Study. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 42(12), 2842-2850. DOI: 10.1177/0363546514553181  

  • December 14, 2014
  • 01:28 PM
  • 77 views

Scientists find a drug (currently used) to turn white fat to brown

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

It seems like we’ve been on a weight loss campaign here at the labs, but there just has been so much new and interesting research on the subject to report on, this is no exception. Researchers have uncovered the mechanism by which white fat cells from humans (an important distinction) gets reprogrammed to become browner.... Read more »

Anne Loft, Isabel Forss, Majken Storm Siersbæk, Søren Fisker Schmidt, Ann-Sofie Bøgh Larsen, Jesper Grud Skat Madsen, Didier F. Pisani, Ronni Nielsen, Mads Malik Aagaard, Angela Mathison.... (2014) Browning of human adipocytes requires KLF11 and reprogramming of PPARγ superenhancers. Genes . info:/10.1101/gad.250829.114

  • December 14, 2014
  • 07:57 AM
  • 60 views

Increasing Rigor in Huntington’s Disease Research

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

The CHDI Foundation, a charitable organization who fund a lot of research into Huntington's disease, are interested in reforming the scientific process.


The story comes from a paper written by British neuroscientist Marcus Munafo and colleagues (the authors including CHDI staff) published in Nature Biotechnology a couple of months ago: Scientific rigor and the art of motorcycle maintenance.



Munafo et al. begin by pointing to the history of car manufacturing as an analogy for the scie... Read more »

Munafo M, Noble S, Browne WJ, Brunner D, Button K, Ferreira J, Holmans P, Langbehn D, Lewis G, Lindquist M.... (2014) Scientific rigor and the art of motorcycle maintenance. Nature Biotechnology, 32(9), 871-3. PMID: 25203032  

  • December 14, 2014
  • 04:48 AM
  • 63 views

Beware the inflated science related press release!

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm not normally minded to post on a Sunday (day of rest and all that) but I did want to bring your attention to the results presented by Petroc Sumner and colleagues [1] (open-access) concluding that: "Exaggeration in news is strongly associated with exaggeration in press releases" when it comes to the media reporting of [some] health-related science news.The idea behind this particular study - which has been summarised pretty well in some of the accompanying media and in an editorial........ Read more »

  • December 13, 2014
  • 01:51 PM
  • 81 views

High fat diet leads to brain inflammation and obesity

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

The stomach strikes again, or so it seems. We’ve already covered how your stomach seemingly controls your brain and your blood-brain barrier, but now it seems that what you eat –not too indirectly related to your stomach– might make you fatter, but not in the way you might be thinking thinking. What you are eating may be causing inflammation in the brain.... Read more »

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