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  • October 14, 2012
  • 07:00 AM

Smoking and Adolescent Brain Development

by Shefali Sabharanjak, PhD in Brain Blogger

When it comes to substance abuse like smoking or abuse of intoxicating drugs, it is very difficult to determine what a “safe” limit of exposure is.  Quite often, the initial exposure to mood altering substances like nicotine occurs during the teenage years. The period of adolescence is marked by a tendency towards risk-taking behavior which [...]... Read more »

Adriani W, Macrì S, Pacifici R, & Laviola G. (2002) Peculiar vulnerability to nicotine oral self-administration in mice during early adolescence. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 27(2), 212-24. PMID: 12093595  

Counotte DS, Goriounova NA, Moretti M, Smoluch MT, Irth H, Clementi F, Schoffelmeer AN, Mansvelder HD, Smit AB, Gotti C.... (2012) Adolescent nicotine exposure transiently increases high-affinity nicotinic receptors and modulates inhibitory synaptic transmission in rat medial prefrontal cortex. FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 26(5), 1810-20. PMID: 22308197  

Kawai HD, Kang HA, & Metherate R. (2011) Heightened nicotinic regulation of auditory cortex during adolescence. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 31(40), 14367-77. PMID: 21976522  

  • October 14, 2012
  • 05:55 AM

Citizen science and digital platforms: folding it all the way to outer space

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

ScienceRewired is a philanthropic initiative that aims to promote public engagement in science through digital and social technologies. Their mission is to aid non-technical science practitioners and the digital domain in working together, to look at science from new perspectives while helping educate and empower individuals to create significant positive change in the world. Their focus spreads across science education, science communication and citizen science initiatives – what’s not to........ Read more »

Hand Eric. (2010) Citizen science: People power. Nature, 466(7307), 687. DOI: 10.1038/466685a  

Khatib F., Cooper S., Tyka M. D., Xu K., Makedon I., Popovic Z., Baker D., & Players F. (2011) From the Cover: Algorithm discovery by protein folding game players. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(47), 18953. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1115898108  

Parsons Jeffrey, Lukyanenko Roman, & Wiersma Yolanda. (2011) Easier citizen science is better. Nature, 471(7336), 37. DOI: 10.1038/471037a  

  • October 14, 2012
  • 12:29 AM

Chronicity in Eating Disorders: How Do We Define It and What Do We Do About It?

by Tetyana in Science of Eating Disorders

It comes as no surprise that the earlier eating disordered individuals receive treatment, the higher the likelihood that they will make a full recovery. In other words, the duration of the illness is inversely proportional with the likelihood of full recovery.
The problem is that a lot of eating disorders are not caught early. That a lot of people don’t have access to the treatment they need. Insurance will not cover it, their doctors don’t think it is a problem or won’t ........ Read more »

Wonderlich S, Mitchell JE, Crosby RD, Myers TC, Kadlec K, Lahaise K, Swan-Kremeier L, Dokken J, Lange M, Dinkel J.... (2012) Minimizing and treating chronicity in the eating disorders: a clinical overview. The International Journal of Eating Disorders, 45(4), 467-75. PMID: 22271525  

  • October 13, 2012
  • 05:56 AM

A New Theory of Psychosis?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

A team of British neuroscientists led by the (in)famous David Nutt says that magic mushrooms offer a new theory of psychosis: Functional Connectivity Measures After Psilocybin Inform a Novel Hypothesis of Early PsychosisIt's a reanalysis of a study from earlier this year, which got quite a lot of attention, in which 15 volunteers were injected with psilocybin - the major active hallucinogenic ingredient in 'magic mushrooms' - during an fMRI scan.In a nutshell, the rather interesting proposal in ........ Read more »

Carhart-Harris RL, Leech R, Erritzoe D, Williams TM, Stone JM, Evans J, Sharp DJ, Feilding A, Wise RG, & Nutt DJ. (2012) Functional Connectivity Measures After Psilocybin Inform a Novel Hypothesis of Early Psychosis. Schizophrenia bulletin. PMID: 23044373  

  • October 12, 2012
  • 12:04 AM

Playing Surfaces May Influence the Risk of Football Injuries

by Nicole Cattano in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

Artificial playing surfaces are frequently used in athletics due to their cost-effectiveness and all-weather benefits. However, the question remains whether or not these surfaces affect injury rates. Several studies have demonstrated an increased rate of injury on artificial turf, where others have shown that there is no difference. These two papers by Dragoo and Hershman investigate this concept, and pay particular attention to “third generation” or infill artificial surfaces whi........ Read more »

  • October 11, 2012
  • 11:15 PM

Sugary Drinks as the Culprit in Childhood Obesity? a RCT among Primary School Children

by Laika Spoetnik in Laika's Medliblog

Childhood obesity is a growing health problem. Since 1980, the proportion of overweighted children has almost tripled in the USA: nowadays approximately 17% of children and adolescents are obese. (Source: [6])

Common sense tells me that obesity is the result of too high calory intake... Read more »

Ebbeling CB, Feldman HA, Chomitz VR, Antonelli TA, Gortmaker SL, Osganian SK, & Ludwig DS. (2012) A Randomized Trial of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Adolescent Body Weight. The New England journal of medicine. PMID: 22998339  

Qi Q, Chu AY, Kang JH, Jensen MK, Curhan GC, Pasquale LR, Ridker PM, Hunter DJ, Willett WC, Rimm EB.... (2012) Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Genetic Risk of Obesity. The New England journal of medicine. PMID: 22998338  

Caprio S. (2012) Calories from Soft Drinks - Do They Matter?. The New England journal of medicine. PMID: 22998341  

  • October 11, 2012
  • 07:15 PM

Is Epinephrine a Rat Poison AND a Human Poison?

by Rogue Medic in Rogue Medic

Dr. Minh LeCong has been a proponent of epinephrine in cardiac arrest, but he is now realizing that the evidence in favor of epinephrine is weak, old, and limited to animal studies. In humans, the evidence for epinephrine is based on an unreasonable infatuation with the temporary production of a pulse.
... Read more »

  • October 11, 2012
  • 11:02 AM

Urinating Through Your Mouth Is Great. Ask This Turtle.

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Even if you did ask the Chinese soft-shelled turtle what's so great about excreting bodily waste through one's mouth, you would probably just get gurgling in reply. The animal spends a lot of time with its face underwater. But its unusual strategy may be what allowed it to move into its favorite swamps and ponds in the first place.

Pelodiscus sinensis lives in China and other parts of Asia, as well as more remote spots, such as Hawaii, where it was introduced by turtle-soup-eating immigrants........ Read more »

  • October 11, 2012
  • 09:41 AM

Gene therapy goes... topical

by EE Giorgi in CHIMERAS

The paper I'm discussing today is so cool, I don't know how I missed it when it came out last July. As the name implies, gene therapy is a technique used to "fix" defective genes either by replacing them with fully functional ones or by silencing them with the use of antisense RNA. Defective genes either fail to produce the proteins they code for, or produce defective proteins, thus causing genetic disorders. A defective gene can be silenced (so that it will no longer produce the defective prote........ Read more »

Dan Zheng, David A. Giljohann, David L. Chen, Matthew D. Massich, Xiao-Qi Wang, Hristo Iordanov, Chad A. Mirkina, & Amy S. Paller. (2012) Topical delivery of siRNA-based spherical nucleic acid nanoparticle conjugates for gene regulation. PNAS. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1118425109  

  • October 11, 2012
  • 08:42 AM

Gut microbes control your brain (and vice versa)

by gunnardw in The Beast, the Bard and the Bot

Our guts are filled with lots and lots of microbes (aka gut microbiota or microbiome). Recently, more and more research is pointing towards these tiny inhabitants of our digestive system as a very relevant factor in various aspects of our … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • October 11, 2012
  • 08:07 AM

Mice Are Able to Learn Songs: Research

by Jaime Menchen in United Academics

It is known that mice are able to sing ultrasonic melodies, far above the hearing range of humans, but they may also be capable of adapting their voices and learning new tunes, according to new research published in PLOS ONE.... Read more »

Gustavo Arriaga, Eric P. Zhou, & Erich D. Jarvis. (2012) Of Mice, Birds, and Men: The Mouse Ultrasonic Song System Has Some Features Similar to Humans and Song-Learning Birds. PLOS ONE. info:/10.1371/journal.pone.0046610

  • October 11, 2012
  • 07:00 AM

What Make Us Moral?

by Marcia Malory, BA in Brain Blogger

In the 1962 novel A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, doctors attempt to cure a violent, murderous psychopath using psychological conditioning — forcing him to endure disturbing physical reactions while witnessing acts of violence. Today, neuroscientists are studying how we use our brains to make moral decisions, and what we can do for people who [...]... Read more »

Fumagalli M, & Priori A. (2012) Functional and clinical neuroanatomy of morality. Brain : a journal of neurology, 135(Pt 7), 2006-21. PMID: 22334584  

  • October 10, 2012
  • 03:15 PM

Plenty Left to Learn from One Isolated Population

by Matt Wood in ScienceLife

The Hutterites are an isolated, religious “founder population,” similar to the Amish or Mennonites, descended from a group of about 1,200 settlers that migrated to North America from Europe in the late 19th century. They settled in South Dakota, and then spread to Montana and western Canada, forming several self-sufficient, communal agricultural colonies. Today’s Hutterites [...]... Read more »

  • October 10, 2012
  • 01:13 PM

Size matters. ‘Specially when it comes to your tail

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Hello hello Mia!I'll come back to "cute" next week, but I want to stick with the topic you brought up. As you mentioned, tail docking and ear cropping regulations differ across the globe. Both practices are common here in the States, but the American Veterinary Medical Association, “encourages the elimination of ear cropping and tail docking from breed standards.” Even so, docking and cropping are often seen as normal parts of dog pedigree and sometimes built into breed standards:AKC Boxer B........ Read more »

  • October 10, 2012
  • 11:21 AM

How Common Are Eating Disorders? Incidence, Prevalence and Mortality

by Tetyana in Science of Eating Disorders

Six month of blogging and I have yet to do a proper post on the prevalence of eating disorders. I think it is about time. I see all sorts of numbers thrown around, often depending on the purpose of the article and the author’s bias. Is it 1 in 1000, 1 in 100, 1 in 20 or maybe even 1 in 2? Who is right?
Well, it is a tricky question to answer.
The number depends on how the particular study was conducted. Here are some factors that may influence the final rates: the population being studi........ Read more »

Smink, F.R., van Hoeken, D., & Hoek, H.W. (2012) Epidemiology of eating disorders: incidence, prevalence and mortality rates. Current Psychiatry Reports, 14(4), 406-14. PMID: 22644309  

  • October 10, 2012
  • 08:00 AM

Halloween Is Just Plain Sick!

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Vampire bats have a bad reputation even though they were named for the undead human bloodsuckers, not the other way around. New evidence shows that vampire bats are helpful to humans; their saliva contains a powerful clot busting molecule that is proving to be better than tPA, and they may be helping to prevent rabies in Peruvians that are bitten. If only Count Dracula was as helpful.... Read more »

  • October 10, 2012
  • 12:04 AM

Baseline Variables and Outcomes After ACL Surgery: The Swedish National Anterior Cruciate Ligament Register

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

National registers for recording medical data are becoming increasingly prevalent. The purpose of these registers is to compile information on a large number of patients to detect flaws in surgical procedure, implants, grafts, etc. One such register is the Swedish National ACLRegister, which was begun in 2005. The Swedish National ACL Register contains information on primary reconstructions, revision ACL surgery, and knee reoperations for other reasons. Using this data, Alden and colleagues set ........ Read more »

  • October 9, 2012
  • 05:00 PM

Redefining the Gene: Transcription Landscape of Human Cells

by Daniel Koboldt in Massgenomics

Using genetic information to improve human health represents the central goal of biomedical research. Achieving it won’t be easy, but from a simplistic perspective, requires three steps. Cataloging the full extent of genetic variation in cells, tissues, and individuals. Efforts like the HapMap and 1,000 Genomes project are tackling this part, and judging by the [...]... Read more »

Djebali S, Davis CA, Merkel A, Dobin A, Lassmann T, Mortazavi A, Tanzer A, Lagarde J, Lin W, Schlesinger F.... (2012) Landscape of transcription in human cells. Nature, 489(7414), 101-8. PMID: 22955620  

  • October 9, 2012
  • 09:31 AM

Accurate reconstruction of a known HIV-1 transmission history by phylogenetic tree analysis.

by Glenn in Pirate Science

One of the earlier papers on the subject, dating from 1996. Phylogenetic analysis powerfully describes evolutionary patterns, but until this paper its accuracy had not been tested in a real-world case. Such testing is still impossible for multicellular life. Virus, however, evolve so rapidly they can be monitored in real time. The authors analyze a [...]... Read more »

Leitner T, Escanilla D, Franzén C, Uhlén M, & Albert J. (1996) Accurate reconstruction of a known HIV-1 transmission history by phylogenetic tree analysis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 93(20), 10864-9. PMID: 8855273  

  • October 8, 2012
  • 11:07 AM

Targeting Cancer With a Devilish Plant

by Matt Wood in ScienceLife

Urban legend has it that the cure for cancer is probably buried in the root of some obscure plant in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, and we just haven’t found it yet. While that’s overstating what any one medicine can do to fight what’s actually hundreds of different diseases, that doesn’t mean natural remedies [...]... Read more »

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