I start this post with a few important observations. Please feel free to disagree with me (as long as you can provide peer-reviewed evidence for your alternate viewpoint).Bunting @ Wikipedia (1) Comorbidity can, and quite frequently does, surround a diagnosis of autism.(2) Gastrointestinal (GI) issues form an important part of that comorbidity spectrum.(3) The relationship between autism and comorbidity is, at present, poorly understood insofar as which influences the appearance of which and how the two are related.So, with those statements in mind, I offer some discussion today on two potentially very important papers which variably reference the above points.The first paper is from Brittany Peters and colleagues* (with many, many thanks to Natasa for the paper) which suggests that there indeed may be an important relationship between GI issues and rigid-compulsive behaviours noted in cases of autism. The second paper is from Finale Doshi-Velez and colleagues** (again, with thanks to Natasa) who looked at 'comorbidity clusters' when it comes to the autism spectrum.Both these papers come from groups who have some 'research form' in their respective areas. For the Peters paper it comes in the guise of the valuable research contribution from Gorrindo and colleagues*** which basically said that yes, parents might know when their children with autism present with bowel issues: "parents were sensitive to the existence, although not necessarily the nature, of GID [gastrointestinal dysfunction]". For the Doshi-Velez paper I'll link back to the paper by Kohane and colleagues**** (covered in this post) and their notion of 'significantly over-represented' when it comes to the comorbidity burden with autism in mind.The more recent papers make for interesting reading. Starting with the Peters paper:The authors start with a hypothesis: "a possible association between rigid-compulsive behaviors and GI symptoms" based on their clinical experience of the autism spectrum conditions.They tested their hypothesis on data from participants (N=5076) in the Autism Treatment Network (ATN) and various measures collected from the ATN database. Alongside including diagnostic data, the database also contains data from a GI symptom questionnaire; both of which were used to collect information for their study analysis.Results: Nearly half of the total cohort (43.5%) "had at least one GI symptom". In light of other quite recent reports (see here and here) this finding is not totally unexpected.Based on data from children (aged 2-17 years) - nearly 3000 of which were in the 'no GI symptoms' group (n=2957) and 806 in the 'constipation plus diarrhea or underwear staining' - several other details emerged from the data. The latter GI symptoms group were "more likely to have a parental report of repetitive behavior.... or compulsive behavior... and OCD [obsessive compulsive disorder] diagnosis". Ritualistic behaviours were also picked up more frequently in the GI group by clinician report (ADOS) over the no GI symptoms group.A few other research nuggets: children in GI symptoms group were "more likely to have a family history of anxiety or OCD" and also more likely to have received "treatment with an atypical antipsychotic".The authors conclude that, allowing for potential issues with the use of the ATN database and missing values, "all five primary measures of rigid-compulsive behavior were significantly associated with constipation and diarrhea or underwear staining". And then we have the Doshi-Velez paper:This was a study looking at "patterns of co-occurence of medical comorbidities in ASDs".Electronic medical records or rather electronic health records (EHR) were the source material for the paper and in particular, the ICD-9 codes relevant to particular conditions derived from the i2b2 National Center for Biomedical Computing (N=13,740). This sounds to me like a similar job to that of SHRINE (used in the previous Kohane paper)."Key patterns" identified from this rather large participant group were then tested on a smaller, independent cohort comprising 496 participants from Wake Forest University Health Sciences.With the application of some technical and statistical wizardry, various subgroups were identified within the cases examined based on the clustering of comorbidity alongside the diagnosis of autism.Results: "Four subgroups were identified" based on medical comorbidity and the paper offers quite a bit of detail about the hows and whens certain comorbidity tend to present.Group 1. That old comorbidity nemesis seizures (I assume to indicate some kind of epilepsy) was the focus for the first group with a prevalence of 77% within this group. Group 2. Then came in "multisystem disorders" to form group 2 which included GI disorders (distinct from just functional GI issues). That being said "early ear infections" seemed to stand head and shoulders above other comorbidities for this group particularly with preschool presentation. Group 3. Next for comorbidity was group 3 "characterised by psychiatric disorders" (33%). This group "had the highest rate of individuals with Asperger syndrome and the lowest rate of intellectual disability" and included some familiar conditions including anxiety (see here). That being said (again!), "Hyperkinetic syndrome of childhood" also prominently featured in the group 3 comorbidity profile. Group 4. Finally, there was a 'not' resolved group. Not much more to say there really.Buried in the text is the quite alarming suggestion that: "All of these subgroups had higher levels of cardiac disorders" which, similar to the example of schizophrenia (see here), implies that health screening should be high on any physician's list when someone presents with autism save any charges of health inequality being levelled.The authors conclude that the identification of these comorbidity subgroups centred on the autism spectrum may very well indicate "distinct etiologies with different genetic and environmental contributions". I'm minded to say that we have another possible piece of evidence pertinent to the plural concept of 'the autisms'.Combined, both these papers offer some really quite important information about the autisms and their very complicated presentation including comorbidity. I would hasten to point out that there is still quite a bit of 'fuzziness' about these results as for example, seen in a quote from the Doshi-Velelz paper: "The 3 subgroups from our original clustering analysis consisted of <10% [less than 10%] of the overall sample". In short, it's complicated. But don't let that take anything away from these results...Oh and since we're on the topic of 'the autisms'... Read more »
Peters B, Williams KC, Gorrindo P, Rosenberg D, Lee EB, Levitt P, & Veenstra-Vanderweele J. (2013) Rigid-Compulsive Behaviors are Associated with Mixed Bowel Symptoms in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 24293040
Finale Doshi-Velez, Yaorong Ge, & Isaac Kohane. (2013) Comorbidity Clusters in Autism Spectrum Disorders: An Electronic Health Record Time-Series Analysis. Pediatrics. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2013-0819d
Researchers from North Carolina State University and Johns Hopkins University have devised a technique to coordinate wind power generation and energy storage in order to minimize the potential for power disruptions.... Read more »
Chandra S., Gayme D.F., Chakrabortty, A. (2013) Coordinating Wind Farms and Battery Management Systems for Inter-Area Oscillation Damping: A Frequency-Domain Approach. IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, PP(99), 1-9. DOI: 10.1109/TPWRS.2013.2282367
Humans have multiple copies of a gene known as SRGAP2, which is thought to be involved in brain development. Chimps and orangutans have only one copy.
By: Emily Singer
Further reading... Read more »
Charrier C, Joshi K, Coutinho-Budd J, Kim JE, Lambert N, de Marchena J, Jin WL, Vanderhaeghen P, Ghosh A, Sassa T.... (2012) Inhibition of SRGAP2 function by its human-specific paralogs induces neoteny during spine maturation. Cell, 149(4), 923-35. PMID: 22559944
Jiang Z, Tang H, Ventura M, Cardone MF, Marques-Bonet T, She X, Pevzner PA, & Eichler EE. (2007) Ancestral reconstruction of segmental duplications reveals punctuated cores of human genome evolution. Nature genetics, 39(11), 1361-8. PMID: 17922013
Marques-Bonet T, & Eichler EE. (2009) The evolution of human segmental duplications and the core duplicon hypothesis. Cold Spring Harbor symposia on quantitative biology, 355-62. PMID: 19717539
Two scientific papers that were published in the journal Nature in the year 2000 marked the beginning of engineering biological circuits in cells. The paper "Construction of a genetic toggle switch in Escherichia coli" by Timothy Gardner, Charles Cantor and James Collins created a genetic toggle switch by simultaneously introducing an artificial DNA plasmid into a bacterial cell. This DNA plasmid contained two promoters (DNA sequences which regulate the expression of genes) and two repressors (genes that encode for proteins which suppress the expression of genes) as well as a gene encoding for green fluorescent protein that served as a read-out for the system. ... Read more »
You don’t need new data to produce new science. A re-analysis or re-interpretation can be just as important and original as a new set of results. I say this because there’s an interesting discussion going on over at PubPeer. In brief, British physicists Julian Stirling and colleagues have released a draft paper using reanalysis to […]The post Science Is Interpretation appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Julian Stirling, Ioannis Lekkas, Adam Sweetman, Predrag Djuranovic, Quanmin Guo, Josef Granwehr, Raphaël Lévy, & Philip Moriarty. (2013) Critical assessment of the evidence for striped nanoparticles. arXiv. arXiv: 1312.6812v1
A team of scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin for Materials and Energy have developed a way to produce chalcopyrite solar cells without cadmium-based buffer layer. A single layer takes on the job of what used to be two layers, doing away with the wet chemical process. Despite a much simplified production method, efficiencies of greater than 18 percent are well within reach.... Read more »
Klenk, R., Steigert, A., Rissom, T., Greiner, D., Kaufmann, C. A., Unold, T. and Lux-Steiner, M. Ch. (2013) Junction formation by Zn(O,S) sputtering yields CIGSe-based cells with efficiencies exceeding 18%. Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications. DOI: 10.1002/pip.2445
Scientists are creating a new type of computers capable of “approximate computing”—performing calculations that are good enough for certain tasks that don’t require perfect accuracy—potentially doubling efficiency and reducing energy consumption.... Read more »
Swagath Venkataramani, Vinay K. Chippa, Srimat T. Chakradhar, Kaushik Roy, & Anand Raghunatha. (2013) Quality programmable vector processors for approximate computing. Proceedings of the 46th Annual IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture, 1-12. info:/10.1145/2540708.2540710
A challenging Citizen-Science Name-That-Tune game to study what makes a melody stick in our minds...... Read more »
J.A. Burgoyne et al. (2013) Hooked: A game for discovering what makes music catchy. Proceedings ISMIR. info:/
Are some questions harder than others? Last week I quantified hardness of answering a question with a quantum computer as the quantum query complexity. I promised that this model would allow us to develop techniques for proving lower bounds. In fact, in this model there are two popular tools: the polynomial method, and the (negative) […]... Read more »
A method of assessing the stability of large-scale power grids in real time could bring the world closer to its goal of producing and utilizing a smart grid.... Read more »
Susuki Y.,, & Mezic I. (2013) Nonlinear Koopman Modes and a Precursor to Power System Swing Instabilities. IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, 3(27), 1182-1191. DOI: 10.1109/TPWRS.2012.2183625
Researchers are developing a new geothermal plant design that will lock away unwanted carbon dioxide (CO2) underground and use it as a tool to boost electric power generation by at least 10 times compared to conventional geothermal power.... Read more »
Elliot, T. R., Buscheck, T. A., Celia, M. (2013) Active CO2 reservoir management for sustainable geothermal energy extraction and reduced leakage. Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technology, 3(1), 50-65. DOI: 10.1002/ghg.1328
This probably would have best been posted a few days ago, but this week is computer science education week, or "code week" (coding just means writing computer programs). From December 9th to the 15th, over a million people all over the US are promoting computer science for students ranging from elementary school to college, as well as those of us finished with school. This is not only really cool because it is generating enthusiasm for computer science education, but it is also providing a lot of real educational resources (like online tutorials) for people of all ages to learn how to code (how cool is that?!).... Read more »
Libeskind-Hadas R, & Bush E. (2013) A first course in computing with applications to biology. Briefings in bioinformatics, 14(5), 610-7. PMID: 23449003
In a new project dubbed AGORA, researchers are working to remove the discrepancies among different computer models of galaxy formation by comparing different codes against each other.
The project AGORA is the short form for Assembling Galaxies of Resolved Anatomy. “We investigate galaxy formation with high-resolution numerical simulations and compare the results across different platforms, and with observation,” Project AGORA website noted.
Nine codes, nine galaxy formation scenarios: this is the sort of problem that AGORA is devoting itself to resolving by comparing different supercomputer simulations. (Credit: Simulations performed by Samuel Leitner (ART-II), Ji-hoon Kim (ENZO), Oliver Hahn (GADGET-2- CFS), Keita Todoroki (GADGET-3), Alexander Hobbs (GADGET-3-CFS and GADGET-3-AFS), Sijing Shen (GASOLINE), Michael Kuhlen (PKDGRAV-2), and Romain Teyssier (RAMSES))
Nine codes, nine galaxy formation scenarios: this is the sort of problem that AGORA is devoting itself to resolving by comparing different supercomputer simulations.
(Credit: Simulations performed by Samuel Leitner (ART-II), Ji-hoon Kim (ENZO), Oliver Hahn (GADGET-2- CFS), Keita Todoroki (GADGET-3), Alexander Hobbs (GADGET-3-CFS and GADGET-3-AFS), Sijing Shen (GASOLINE), Michael Kuhlen (PKDGRAV-2), and Romain Teyssier (RAMSES))
“The physics of galaxy formation is extremely complicated, and the range of lengths, masses, and timescales that need to be simulated is immense,” stated Piero Madau, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz and co-chair of the AGORA steering committee.
“You incorporate gravity, solve the equations of hydrodynamics, and include prescriptions for gas cooling, star formation, and energy injection from supernovae into the code. After months of number crunching on a powerful supercomputer, you look at the results and wonder if that is what nature is really doing or if some of the outcomes are actually artifacts of the particular numerical implementation you used.”
This project would increase our knowledge about the dark matter and its effects on universe as this object is hard to study physically at this time and such models are the best source to study them.
Project AGORA - http://goo.gl/xuYEKk
Worldwide collaboration announces project AGORA: Ambitious comparison of high-resolution computer simulations of galaxy formation and evolution - University of California (http://goo.gl/RiZLER)
Astrophysicists launch ambitious assessment of galaxy formation simulations - University of California (http://goo.gl/2yt6qB)
Ji-hoon Kim, Tom Abel, Oscar Agertz, Greg L. Bryan, Daniel Ceverino, Charlotte Christensen, Charlie Conroy, Avishai Dekel, Nickolay Y. Gnedin, Nathan J. Goldbaum, Javiera Guedes, Oliver Hahn, Alexander Hobbs, Philip F. Hopkins, Cameron B. Hummels, Francesca Iannuzzi, Dusan Keres, Anatoly Klypin, Andrey V. Kravtsov, Mark R. Krumholz, Michael Kuhlen, Samuel N. Leitner, Piero Madau, Lucio Mayer, Christopher E. Moody, Kentaro Nagamine, Michael L. Norman, Jose Oñorbe, Brian W. O'Shea, Annalisa Pillepich, Joel R. Primack, Thomas Quinn, Justin I. Read, Brant E. Robertson, Miguel Rocha, Douglas H. Rudd, Sijing Shen, Britton D. Smith, Alexander S. Szalay, Romain Teyssier, Robert Thompson, Keita Todoroki, Matthew J. Turk, James W. Wadsley, John H. Wise, Adi Zolotov, & for the AGORA Collaboration (2013). The AGORA High-Resolution Galaxy Simulations Comparison Project arXiv arXiv: 1308.2669v4... Read more »
Ji-hoon Kim, Tom Abel, Oscar Agertz, Greg L. Bryan, Daniel Ceverino, Charlotte Christensen, Charlie Conroy, Avishai Dekel, Nickolay Y. Gnedin, Nathan J. Goldbaum.... (2013) The AGORA High-Resolution Galaxy Simulations Comparison Project. arXiv. arXiv: 1308.2669v4
Tom van Hemert and Ray Hueting of the University of Twente’s MESA Institute for Nanotechnology have found a way to “plug” leakage current in transistors by “squeezing” the transistor with a piezoelectric material.... Read more »
You probably noticed a few things about TheEGG: a recent decrease in blog post frequency and an overall focus on the algorithmic lens — especially its view of biology. You might also be surprised by the lack of discussion of quantum information processing: the most successful on-going application of the algorithmic lens. I actually first […]... Read more »
According to researchers at the Pennsylvania State University, it is possible for some companies to economically convert their operations to wood power.... Read more »
Biomass boiler conversion potential in the eastern United States. (2013) Biomass boiler conversion potential in the eastern United States. Renewable Energy, 439-453. DOI: 10.1016/j.renene.2013.07.019
I am a careful reader of scientific literature and an avid searcher for already published material in peer reviewed journals. Of course, arxiv is essential to accomplish this task and to satisfy my needs for reading. In these days, I am working on Dyson-Schwinger equations. I have written on this a paper (see here) a […]... Read more »
Marc Bellon, Gustavo S. Lozano, & Fidel A. Schaposnik. (2007) Higher loop renormalization of a supersymmetric field theory. Phys.Lett.B650:293-297,2007. arXiv: hep-th/0703185v1
Marco Frasca. (2013) Numerical study of the Dyson-Schwinger equations for the Wess-Zumino model. arXiv. arXiv: 1311.7376v1
Marco Frasca. (2012) Chiral Wess-Zumino model and breaking of supersymmetry. arXiv. arXiv: 1211.1039v1
Markus Q. Huber, & Jens Braun. (2011) Algorithmic derivation of functional renormalization group equations and Dyson-Schwinger equations. Computer Physics Communications, 183(6), 1290-1320. arXiv: 1102.5307v2
Markus Q. Huber, & Mario Mitter. (2011) CrasyDSE: A framework for solving Dyson-Schwinger equations. arXiv. arXiv: 1112.5622v2
A new paper in the Journal of Neural Engineering describes Facilitation of memory encoding in primate hippocampus by a neuroprosthesis that promotes task-specific neural firing The research – from Sam Deadwyler’s team at Wake Forest University (and funded by DARPA) really is pretty amazing – if it pans out. Four Rhesus macaques were trained to […]The post Augmenting Memory With A Neuroprosthesis appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Hampson RE, Song D, Opris I, Santos LM, Shin DC, Gerhardt GA, Marmarelis VZ, Berger TW, & Deadwyler SA. (2013) Facilitation of memory encoding in primate hippocampus by a neuroprosthesis that promotes task-specific neural firing. Journal of Neural Engineering. DOI: 10.1088/1741-2560/10/6/066013
Researchers at the University of Missouri are working on a new technology to stop oil spills, using something they call a virtual wall. This technique has already allowed scientists to confine oily liquids to a certain area, aiding the study of these complex molecules.... Read more »
Almeida R., & Kwon J.W. (2013) Virtual walls based on oil-repellent surfaces for low-surface-tension liquids. Langmuir, 29(4), 994-8. PMID: 23311883
A couple of days ago, Elizabeth Grice (my research advisor) and I had a review published in this month's issue of Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine...... Read more »
Hannigan GD, Grice EA. (2013) Microbial Ecology of the Skin in the Era of Metagenomics and Molecular Microbiology. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. DOI: 10.1101/cshperspect.a015362
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