Post List

  • July 12, 2016
  • 03:31 PM
  • 205 views

Stem cells feel the force

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

All cells share the same genetic code, no matter if they are skin or brain cells. However, these cells are exposed to very different types of mechanical environments and mechanical stresses. For example, brain tissue is very soft, whereas bone is hard. Researchers know that cells respond to extrinsic forces by changing their structure and their gene expression to be better suited for their particular environments and to be able to execute their specific functions.... Read more »

Le, H., Ghatak, S., Yeung, C., Tellkamp, F., Günschmann, C., Dieterich, C., Yeroslaviz, A., Habermann, B., Pombo, A., Niessen, C.... (2016) Mechanical regulation of transcription controls Polycomb-mediated gene silencing during lineage commitment. Nature Cell Biology. DOI: 10.1038/ncb3387  

  • July 12, 2016
  • 11:36 AM
  • 138 views

Dextromethorphan for Alzheimer's Disease Agitation

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

In my last post I summarized a review of the pharmacology of the drug dextromethorphan.This drug is receiving significant attention for disorders in neuroscience medicine. A phase 2 clinical trial of dextromethorphan-quinidine (DM-Q) was published last fall in JAMA.Here are the key design and results from this study:Subjects: 220 subjects with a diagnosis of probable Alzheimer's disease with clinically significant agitation.Randomization Design: This was a five week trial of 3:4 random........ Read more »

Cummings JL, Lyketsos CG, Peskind ER, Porsteinsson AP, Mintzer JE, Scharre DW, De La Gandara JE, Agronin M, Davis CS, Nguyen U.... (2015) Effect of Dextromethorphan-Quinidine on Agitation in Patients With Alzheimer Disease Dementia: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA, 314(12), 1242-54. PMID: 26393847  

  • July 12, 2016
  • 03:31 AM
  • 171 views

Regulating trophy hunting: antlers or reproduction?

by sschindler in sschindlerblog

Guest blog from Rocío Pozo: Imagine you are a trophy hunter. The red deer hunting season has just opened and you are ready to go out and get those trophies you have been waiting for. What would be the first question you would ask to yourself? Exactly! What is the hunting quota? more Pozo, R., […]... Read more »

Pozo, R., Schindler, S., Cubaynes, S., Cusack, J., Coulson, T., & Malo, A. (2016) Modeling the impact of selective harvesting on red deer antlers. The Journal of Wildlife Management. DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.21089  

  • July 12, 2016
  • 02:53 AM
  • 252 views

Bowel issues in autism may cluster with other symptoms

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Clinicians should be aware that gastrointestinal problems, anxiety, and autonomic dysfunction may cluster in children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and should be addressed in a multidisciplinary treatment plan."So said the findings by Bradley Ferguson and colleagues [1] who, continuing an autism research theme (see here), "examined the relationship between gastrointestinal symptomatology, examining upper and lower gastrointestinal tract symptomatology separately, and autonomic n........ Read more »

Ferguson BJ, Marler S, Altstein LL, Lee EB, Akers J, Sohl K, McLaughlin A, Hartnett K, Kille B, Mazurek M.... (2016) Psychophysiological Associations with Gastrointestinal Symptomatology in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. PMID: 27321113  

  • July 11, 2016
  • 04:42 PM
  • 267 views

It's in the eyes: Alzheimer's detected before symptoms

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Scientists may have overcome a major roadblock in the development of Alzheimer's therapies by creating a new technology to observe -- in the back of the eye -- progression of the disease before the onset of symptoms. Clinical trials are to start in July to test the technology in humans.

... Read more »

  • July 11, 2016
  • 12:48 PM
  • 258 views

Size matters (for both sexes of seahorses)

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

This week's article is about research on whether male seahorses contribute to the size of their offspring. Seahorses are unique in that the young develops in the male's specialized pouch.... Read more »

Faleiro F, Almeida AJ, Ré P, & Narciso L. (2016) Size does matter: An assessment of reproductive potential in seahorses. Animal Reproduction Science, 61-7. PMID: 27062576  

  • July 11, 2016
  • 11:41 AM
  • 268 views

When Laughing Isn't Funny

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Inappropriate uncontrollable laughing or crying is common in many neuroscience medicine disorders including after traumatic brain injury or stroke. It can be socially embarrassing and restrict opportunities for social interaction.This loss of control over emotional responses is known by the term pseudobulbar affect or PBA. Until recently, few therapeutic options were available to treat this condition. Now a relatively new drug Nuedexta uses a combination of dextromethorphan and quinide to treat ........ Read more »

  • July 11, 2016
  • 05:14 AM
  • 183 views

Huh? Study finds taboo billboards improve driving performance

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

By guest blogger Richard StephensThe 1994 Wonderbra© billboard campaign with its distinctive “Hello Boys!” catchphrase regularly gets a mention as one of most iconic advert series of all time. Its portrayal of super model Eva Herzigova clad only in black lacey pants and gravity-defying bra is said to have sent drivers veering off the roads. However a new study published in the esteemed journal Acta Psycologica suggests that attention grabbing billboard ads may actually have the opposite eff........ Read more »

  • July 11, 2016
  • 02:53 AM
  • 242 views

Expanding MAR autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

MAR autism - maternal autoantibody-related autism - is a term that has graced this blog before (see here). Describing a state where autoantibodies directed against foetal brain proteins have been detected in some mothers who have children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the suggestion is that such evidence further substantiates a role for various maternal immune functions and processes when it comes to offspring risk of at least some types of autism.Although interesting, t........ Read more »

Krakowiak P, Walker CK, Tancredi D, Hertz-Picciotto I, & Van de Water J. (2016) Autism-specific maternal anti-fetal brain autoantibodies are associated with metabolic conditions. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. PMID: 27312731  

  • July 10, 2016
  • 09:25 AM
  • 158 views

Can Psychologists Learn More by Studying Fewer People?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

In a brief new Frontiers in Psychology paper, Matthew P. Normand argues that Less Is More: Psychologists Can Learn More by Studying Fewer People.





Normand writes that the conventional wisdom - that a bigger sample size is better - is wrong. Repeated measurements of a few subjects, or even just one individual, can be more informative than casting the net widely, he says
Psychologists tend to view the population of interest to be people, with the number of individuals studied taking pre... Read more »

  • July 10, 2016
  • 04:53 AM
  • 277 views

Project TENDR and chemical exposures

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Yes, I know I'm writing on a Sunday again, but it will be a short-ish post I promise you. The reason for the entry is this brief communication [1] reporting: "The TENDR [Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks] authors agree that widespread exposures to toxic chemicals in our air, water, food, soil, and consumer products can increase the risks for cognitive, behavioral, or social impairment, as well as specific neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and attention deficit........ Read more »

Bennett, D., Bellinger, D., Birnbaum, L., Bradman, A., Chen, A., Cory-Slechta, D., Engel, S., Fallin, M., Halladay, A., Hauser, R.... (2016) Project TENDR: Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks The TENDR Consensus Statement. Environmental Health Perspectives, 124(7). DOI: 10.1289/EHP358  

  • July 9, 2016
  • 04:11 AM
  • 276 views

Pregnancy paracetamol use and "autism spectrum symptoms" (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Continuing something of a research theme whereby pregnancy paracetamol (acetaminophen) use has been *correlated* with a few offspring developmental outcomes (see here and see here), the paper by Claudia Avella-Garcia and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) makes for some blogging fodder today.Including data from some 2,600 mother-child pairs living in Spain, researchers prospectively gathered data on maternal paracetamol use ("never, sporadic, persistent") during pregnancy alongside deve........ Read more »

Avella-Garcia CB, Julvez J, Fortuny J, Rebordosa C, García-Esteban R, Galán IR, Tardón A, Rodríguez-Bernal CL, Iñiguez C, Andiarena A.... (2016) Acetaminophen use in pregnancy and neurodevelopment: attention function and autism spectrum symptoms. International journal of epidemiology. PMID: 27353198  

  • July 8, 2016
  • 12:38 PM
  • 293 views

FNIP1 and FNIP2 inhibit Hsp90 chaperone cycle and enhance drug binding

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

Heat shock protein-90 (Hsp90) is a molecular chaperone required for folding, stability and activity of many proteins, known as clients, including drivers of tumour initiation, progression and metastasis (Rohl et al. 2013). ATPase binding and hydrolysis is essential for the chaperone function of Hsp90. ATPase function is regulated by other proteins known as co-chaperones. In an interesting new study, Woodford et al. (2016) show that the stability of the tumour suppressor folliculin (FLCN), whose ........ Read more »

Woodford MR, Dunn DM, Blanden AR, Capriotti D, Loiselle D, Prodromou C, Panaretou B, Hughes PF, Smith A, Ackerman W.... (2016) The FNIP co-chaperones decelerate the Hsp90 chaperone cycle and enhance drug binding. Nature communications, 12037. PMID: 27353360  

  • July 8, 2016
  • 05:53 AM
  • 162 views

The "imagined contact" intervention for reducing prejudice can backfire

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

If insights from psychology can reduce conflict between groups, it feels like we need that help now more than ever. A new study in the Journal of Applied Psychology finds that a simple anti-prejudice intervention, grounded in research and advocated by many social psychologists, can backfire for some people. This sounds like a bad news story, but it isn't. The result adds to our understanding of when the intervention is likely to help and when to take extra care.The background to t........ Read more »

  • July 8, 2016
  • 03:00 AM
  • 284 views

Cow's milk allergy and risk of psychiatric disorder

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Psychiatric disorders are frequent and severe in pre-school children with cow's milk allergy."That research 'bottom line' reported by Topal and colleagues [1] looking at the possibility of behavioural correlations accompanying an immune response to milk caught my eye recently. Building on the idea that atopic or allergic disease might elevate the risk of various behavioural outcomes (see here) or vice-versa, researchers set about comparing rates of various behavioural conditions using the "Earl........ Read more »

Topal E, Catal F, Soylu N, Ozcan OO, Celiksoy MH, Babayiğit A, Erge D, Karakoç HT, & Sancak R. (2016) Psychiatric disorders and symptoms severity in pre-school children with cow's milk allergy. Allergologia et immunopathologia. PMID: 27240441  

  • July 7, 2016
  • 02:44 PM
  • 290 views

Biological fight: kites, mites, quite bright plights

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll A recently described fossil from the Silurian Herefordshire Lagerstätte in the United Kingdom has called much attention. The appearance of the creature was build by scanning the rock and creating a 3D reconstruction of the fossil. … Continue reading →... Read more »

Briggs, D., Siveter, D., Siveter, D., Sutton, M., & Legg, D. (2016) Tiny individuals attached to a new Silurian arthropod suggest a unique mode of brood care. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(16), 4410-4415. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1600489113  

Briggs, D., Siveter, D., Siveter, D., Sutton, M., & Legg, D. (2016) Reply to Piper: Aquilonifer’s kites are not mites . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(24). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1606265113  

  • July 7, 2016
  • 11:37 AM
  • 338 views

False-Positive fMRI Hits The Mainstream

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover



A new paper in PNAS has made waves. The article, called Cluster failure: Why fMRI inferences for spatial extent have inflated false-positive rates, comes from neuroscientists Swedish neuroscientists Anders Eklund, Tom Nichols, and Hans Knutsson.

According to many of the headlines that greeted "Cluster failure", the paper is a devastating bombshell that could demolish the whole field of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI):
Bug in fMRI software calls 15 years of research into ques... Read more »

Eklund A, Nichols TE, & Knutsson H. (2016) Cluster failure: Why fMRI inferences for spatial extent have inflated false-positive rates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 27357684  

  • July 7, 2016
  • 10:46 AM
  • 374 views

Psychologists have identified the length of eye contact that people find most comfortable

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

It's a dilemma extremely familiar to anyone with social anxiety – for how long to make eye contact before looking away? The fear is that if you only ever fix the other person's gaze for very brief spells then you'll look shifty. If you lock on for too long, on the other hand, then there's the risk of seeming creepy. Thankfully a team of British researchers has now conducted the most comprehensive study of what people generally regard as a comfortable length of eye contact.For the research publ........ Read more »

Binetti, N., Harrison, C., Coutrot, A., Johnston, A., & Mareschal, I. (2016) Pupil dilation as an index of preferred mutual gaze duration. Royal Society Open Science, 3(7), 160086. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160086  

  • July 7, 2016
  • 09:09 AM
  • 382 views

Are animals (and AI’s) people too?

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

Charles gets up and balances on his short legs. During the brief ungainly walk to the dais, he fights the urge to scratch his arms. The vest that has been tailor-made for him itches. But it will help focus the committee on his purpose, focus on him as a person. He squats on the low […]... Read more »

Perring C. (1997) Degrees of personhood. The Journal of medicine and philosophy, 22(2), 173-97. PMID: 9186928  

Windrem MS, Schanz SJ, Morrow C, Munir J, Chandler-Militello D, Wang S, & Goldman SA. (2014) A competitive advantage by neonatally engrafted human glial progenitors yields mice whose brains are chimeric for human glia. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 34(48), 16153-61. PMID: 25429155  

  • July 7, 2016
  • 05:08 AM
  • 331 views

Is OCD fuelled by a fear of the self?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Most of us have unwanted thoughts and images that pop into our heads and it's not a big deal. But for people with a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) these mental intrusions are frequently distressing and difficult to ignore. A new article in Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy explores the possibility that the reason these thoughts become so troubling to some people is that they play on their fears about the kind of person they might be. The reasoning goes something like this: ........ Read more »

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