Time flies! Once again, I'm posting my annual 'state of the science' autism research review, this time covering the particularly unusual year of 2016.With around 300 blog entries to choose from, I'm changing the format this year to list a 'top 5' of areas where I think some scientific progress has been made. The caveat as ever being that there are still mountains to climb in terms of delineating aetiology, nature and importantly, how one can actually improve quality of life for those on the........ Read more »
Nevill, R., Lecavalier, L., & Stratis, E. (2016) Meta-analysis of parent-mediated interventions for young children with autism spectrum disorder. Autism. DOI: 10.1177/1362361316677838
Thiamine, or vitamin B1, is vital for the survival of all living things. One of the biologically functional forms of thiamine, thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP), is essential for the catalytic activity of several critical metabolic enzymes. For this reason, we must get thiamine from the food that we eat (or the vitamin pills that we swallow). Microbes obtain the vitamin from their surroundings, but they can also make their own thiamine if it's not available.It turns out that the Lym........ Read more »
Zhang K, Bian J, Deng Y, Smith A, Nunez RE, Li MB, Pal U, Yu AM, Qiu W, Ealick SE.... (2016) Lyme disease spirochaete Borrelia burgdorferi does not require thiamin. Nature Microbiology, 16213. PMID: 27869793
Xu H, Caimano MJ, Lin T, He M, Radolf JD, Norris SJ, Gherardini F, Wolfe AJ, & Yang XF. (2010) Role of acetyl-phosphate in activation of the Rrp2-RpoN-RpoS pathway in Borrelia burgdorferi. PLoS pathogens, 6(9). PMID: 20862323
Subba Raju BV, Esteve-Gassent MD, Karna SL, Miller CL, Van Laar TA, & Seshu J. (2011) Oligopeptide permease A5 modulates vertebrate host-specific adaptation of Borrelia burgdorferi. Infection and immunity, 79(8), 3407-20. PMID: 21628523
Most people believe that scientists have high levels of objectivity and integrity - and scientists themselves share these positive views of their own profession. But according to scientists, not all researchers are equally upstanding, with male and early-career scientists being seen as somewhat less trustworthy than others.
That's according to a new paper from Dutch researchers Coosje Veldkamp et al.: Who Believes in the Storybook Image of the Scientist?
Based on a series of studies in... Read more »
Veldkamp CL, Hartgerink CH, van Assen MA, & Wicherts JM. (2016) Who Believes in the Storybook Image of the Scientist?. Accountability in research. PMID: 28001440
Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome is caused by mutations in the FLCN gene. The FLCN protein acts as a tumour suppressor and BHD patients have a high risk of developing renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The mechanisms of tumour formation in BHD have been investigated using mouse models and human RCC tissues. However, in vitro signalling studies of human renal cells with mutant FLCN are still scarce. In a recent study, Furuya et al. (2016) established a new cell line from a BHD patient’s chromophobe ........ Read more »
Furuya, M., Hasumi, H., Baba, M., Tanaka, R., Iribe, Y., Onishi, T., Nagashima, Y., Nakatani, Y., Isono, Y., & Yao, M. (2016) Establishment and characterization of BHD-F59RSVT, an immortalized cell line derived from a renal cell carcinoma in a patient with Birt–Hogg–Dubé syndrome. Laboratory Investigation. DOI: 10.1038/labinvest.2016.137
The neural machinery that forms new memories is fragile and vulnerable to insults arising from brain injuries, cerebral anoxia, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. Unlike language, which shows a great deal of plasticity after strokes and other injuries, episodic memory – memory for autobiographical events and contextual details of past experiences – doesn't recover after
... Read more »
Jacobs, J., Miller, J., Lee, S., Coffey, T., Watrous, A., Sperling, M., Sharan, A., Worrell, G., Berry, B., Lega, B.... (2016) Direct Electrical Stimulation of the Human Entorhinal Region and Hippocampus Impairs Memory. Neuron, 92(5), 983-990. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.10.062
Kim, K., Ekstrom, A., & Tandon, N. (2016) A network approach for modulating memory processes via direct and indirect brain stimulation: Toward a causal approach for the neural basis of memory. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 162-177. DOI: 10.1016/j.nlm.2016.04.001
Suthana, N., Haneef, Z., Stern, J., Mukamel, R., Behnke, E., Knowlton, B., & Fried, I. (2012) Memory Enhancement and Deep-Brain Stimulation of the Entorhinal Area. New England Journal of Medicine, 366(6), 502-510. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1107212
With the pinnacle of the season of 'jolly' almost upon us, I'd like to make some brief discussion on the findings reported by Denise Rogers and colleagues  and specifically the observation that: "ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] symptoms were significantly greater in the CFS [chronic fatigue syndrome] group than in HC [healthy controls]."With the aim of examining both the prevalence of fatigue in cases of ADHD and the prevalence of ADHD symptoms in adults wi........ Read more »
Rogers, D., Dittner, A., Rimes, K., & Chalder, T. (2016) Fatigue in an adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder population: A trans-diagnostic approach. British Journal of Clinical Psychology. DOI: 10.1111/bjc.12119
by Piter Kehoma Boll Celebrating Christmas (or whatever you call this time of the year), today’s Friday Fellow is another lichen. And the reason I chose it is because it is known as Christmas wreath lichen due to its red … Continue reading →... Read more »
[Warning: do not read this with small kids around!] Mark Newman poses some questions in theme with the seasonal festivities: what does it mean to believe in Father Christmas? Does it really differ that much from belief in the role of evidence? We at the EPPI-Centre are happy to rise to the occasion and wish all of our readers a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.
... Read more »
James, M., Pollard, A., Rees, G., & Taylor, C. (2005) Researching learning outcomes: building confidence in our conclusions. Curriculum Journal, 16(1), 109-122. DOI: 10.1080/0958517042000336863
An athlete with low baseline neurocognitive scores is likely to produce knee movement patterns that are associated to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.... Read more »
Herman, D., & Barth, J. (2016) Drop-Jump Landing Varies With Baseline Neurocognition: Implications for Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury Risk and Prevention. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 44(9), 2347-2353. DOI: 10.1177/0363546516657338
Exercise therapy and external supports reduce the chance of an ankle sprain; increasing the volume of exercise further reduces the odds.... Read more »
Doherty, C., Bleakley, C., Delahunt, E., & Holden, S. (2016) Treatment and prevention of acute and recurrent ankle sprain: an overview of systematic reviews with meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine. DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-096178
"Some psychosis cases an 'immune disorder'" went the BBC headline with reference to the paper by Belinda Lennox and colleagues  talking about the detection of antibodies against the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) in cases of first-episode psychosis (FEP).Although by no means a universal phenomenon, researchers reported that 3% of their 228 participants diagnosed with FEP who provided a blood sample showed the presence of NMDAR antibodies compared with none of the healthy controls ........ Read more »
Lennox, B., Palmer-Cooper, E., Pollak, T., Hainsworth, J., Marks, J., Jacobson, L., Lang, B., Fox, H., Ferry, B., Scoriels, L.... (2016) Prevalence and clinical characteristics of serum neuronal cell surface antibodies in first-episode psychosis: a case-control study. The Lancet Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1016/S2215-0366(16)30375-3
"New form of autism found" went one of the headlines reporting on the paper by Dora C. Tărlungeanu and colleagues  and findings that "elucidate a neurological syndrome defined by SLC7A5 mutations and support an essential role for the BCAA [branched-chain amino acids] in human brain function." This work continues a rather important research story talking about how one 'type' of autism might have some important roots in relation to the branched-chain amino acids and their m........ Read more »
Tărlungeanu, D., Deliu, E., Dotter, C., Kara, M., Janiesch, P., Scalise, M., Galluccio, M., Tesulov, M., Morelli, E., Sonmez, F.... (2016) Impaired Amino Acid Transport at the Blood Brain Barrier Is a Cause of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Cell, 167(6), 1481-2147483647. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.11.013
After exercise, cold water immersion at 15°C may offer some improvements in recovery based on performance of a jump task and possibly markers of muscle damage. A colder temperature may not be as effective as cool water, so controlling the treatment parameters based on evidence is important.... Read more »
Vieira, A., Siqueira, A., Ferreira-Junior, J., do Carmo, J., Durigan, J., Blazevich, A., & Bottaro, M. (2016) The Effect of Water Temperature during Cold-Water Immersion on Recovery from Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 37(12), 937-943. DOI: 10.1055/s-0042-111438
Want to know if someone is interested? Watch their pupils
The pupils are among those parts of body languages that are not in our conscious control. White and Maltzman (1977) found that the pupil starts dilating when a person shows interest in some other person he or she talking to.
Want to know the person is into you? Watch the feet
Most people know how to keep a check on their expressions, but they are unaware about their feet. So, if a person is interested in........ Read more »
Dodd, M., Hibbing, J., & Smith, K. (2010) The politics of attention: gaze-cuing effects are moderated by political temperament. Attention, Perception, , 73(1), 24-29. DOI: 10.3758/s13414-010-0001-x
There are two major way to label inner proteins, structures or organnelles for live cell imaging. The most common method is fusing the studied protein to a fluorescent protein. A second approach is the addition of labeling agents from outside the … Continue reading →... Read more »
Teng KW, Ishitsuka Y, Ren P, Youn Y, Deng X, Ge P, Belmont AS, & Selvin PR. (2016) Labeling proteins inside living cells using external fluorophores for microscopy. eLife. PMID: 27935478
Accelerated electron beams are believed to be responsible for both hard X-ray (HXR) and strong coherent radio emission during solar flares. However, so far the location of the electron acceleration and its physical parameters are poorly known. The solar microwave Type-III pair burst is possibly the most sensitive signature of [...]... Read more »
Tan, B. et al. (2016) Diagnosing the Source Region of a Solar Burst on 26 September 2011 by Using Microwave Type-III Pairs. Solar Physics, 291(8), 2407-2418. DOI: 10.1007/s11207-016-0986-y
"Gestational vitamin D deficiency was associated with autism-related traits in a large population-based sample. Because gestational vitamin D deficiency is readily preventable with safe, cheap and accessible supplements, this candidate risk factor warrants closer scrutiny."So said the findings reported by Vinkhuyzen and colleagues  (open-access) reporting on data derived from "the Generation R Study, a population-based prospective cohort from fetal life onward, based in Rotterdam, The Netherl........ Read more »
Vinkhuyzen AA, Eyles DW, Burne TH, Blanken LM, Kruithof CJ, Verhulst F, Jaddoe VW, Tiemeier H, & McGrath JJ. (2016) Gestational vitamin D deficiency and autism-related traits: the Generation R Study. Molecular psychiatry. PMID: 27895322
The majority of athletes participating in NCAA Division I sports reported that they were not highly specialized in that sport during high school.... Read more »
Post, E., Thein-Nissenbaum, J., Stiffler, M., Brooks, M., Bell, D., Sanfilippo, J., Trigsted, S., Heiderscheit, B., & McGuine, T. (2016) High School Sport Specialization Patterns of Current Division I Athletes. Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach. DOI: 10.1177/1941738116675455
While you may think you have heard this line recently, this is really (based on new research) what most of us think about ourselves. It is called the “better than average effect” and it is very persistent. We might smirk at politicians who actually say things like this aloud, but that’s only because we tend […]... Read more »
Howell JL, & Ratliff KA. (2016) Not your average bigot: The better-than-average effect and defensive responding to Implicit Association Test feedback. The British Journal of Social Psychology. PMID: 27709628
A new post at Quartz discusses
The disturbingly accurate brain science that identifies potential criminals while they’re still toddlers... scientists are able to use brain tests on three-year-olds to determine which children are more likely to grow up to become criminals.
Hmmm. Not really.
The research in question is from from North Carolina researchers Avshalom Caspi et al.: Childhood forecasting of a small segment of the population with large economic burden. It's based on a long-term... Read more »
Caspi, A., Houts, R., Belsky, D., Harrington, H., Hogan, S., Ramrakha, S., Poulton, R., & Moffitt, T. (2016) Childhood forecasting of a small segment of the population with large economic burden. Nature Human Behaviour, 5. DOI: 10.1038/s41562-016-0005
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