Memory impairment is a key symptom of Alzheimer's dementia common to patients with the condition.However, additional cognitive and behavioral symptoms vary between patients with a clinical and pathological diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.A key area of research is focused on understanding factors that contribute to symptom variability in Alzheimer's disease.A team of researchers from Singapore and Harvard Medical School recently published an important study on this topic.They analyzed structural........ Read more »
Zhang X, Mormino EC, Sun N, Sperling RA, Sabuncu MR, Yeo BT, & Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. (2016) Bayesian model reveals latent atrophy factors with dissociable cognitive trajectories in Alzheimer's disease. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 27702899
Is European neuroscience facing a jobs crisis? Writing in The Lancet Neurology, Mario Bonato and Esperanza Jubera-Garcia sound the alarm:
As young European neuroscientists, we want to bring attention to the dramatic absence of professional long-term opportunities that researchers are facing mostly, although not exclusively, in the south of Europe.
In the past few years, young scientists from several European countries have been forced to move to other countries, or to quit research a... Read more »
Bonato M, & Jubera-Garcia E. (2016) The sharp drop in the number of faculty positions is compromising the future of neuroscience. The Lancet. Neurology, 15(11), 1118-9. PMID: 27647639
Having recently mentioned the BBC headline that makes up the title of this entry in a related post (see here) I'm pleased to be finally able to bring the paper by Daniel Mackay and colleagues  (open-access) to your attention.Observing that in Scotland at least, "that season of conception is strikingly associated with the subsequent risk of special educational needs in the offspring" there are various potential implications to come from such data covering both learning (intellectual) disabilit........ Read more »
Mackay DF, Smith GC, Cooper SA, Wood R, King A, Clark DN, & Pell JP. (2016) Month of Conception and Learning Disabilities: A Record-Linkage Study of 801,592 Children. American journal of epidemiology. PMID: 27651381
Four treatment strategies for chronic symptoms after a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) improved symptoms; however, those with therapist-directed cognitive rehabilitation demonstrated superior improvements in functional cognitive scores compared with standard of care and computer-based rehabilitation.... Read more »
Cooper DB, Bowles AO, Kennedy JE, Curtiss G, French LM, Tate DF, & Vanderploeg RD. (2016) Cognitive Rehabilitation for Military Service Members With Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A Randomized Clinical Trial. The Journal of head trauma rehabilitation. PMID: 27603763
High-tech prosthetics, computers that are controlled by thought, the ability to walk or even move again, these are just a few of the promises of technology. Unfortunately, while the tech is -- mostly -- up to the challenge, getting the biology side of things to cooperate has been difficult at best, but that could change. Now, scientists have created a material that could make reading biological signals, from heartbeats to brainwaves, much more sensitive.
... Read more »
Giovannitti, A., Nielsen, C., Sbircea, D., Inal, S., Donahue, M., Niazi, M., Hanifi, D., Amassian, A., Malliaras, G., Rivnay, J.... (2016) N-type organic electrochemical transistors with stability in water. Nature Communications, 13066. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms13066
Why did NASA put jellyfish aboard the space shuttle in the 1990s? I discuss the reasoning behind this experimentand the results.... Read more »
Spangenberg, D., Jernigan, T., McCombs, R., Lowe, B., Sampson, M., & Slusser, J. (1994) Development studies of Aurelia (Jellyfish) ephyrae which developed during the SLS-1 mission. Advances in Space Research, 14(8), 239-247. DOI: 10.1016/0273-1177(94)90408-1
Using online social media does not lead to long-term problems with our ability to concentrate, according to new research. We are social animals, so it is really no surprise that billions of us now use online tools to communicate, educate and inform each other. The advent of social media and social networking has nevertheless been phenomenally rapid.
... Read more »
"Hypertension in pregnancy was associated with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] in this population even after controlling for known confounders."So said the findings reported by Eileen Curran and colleagues  who, once again (see here), relied on "data from the Millennium Cohort Study" to produce some potentially important information about how adverse pregnancy conditions may/may not impact on offspring behaviour and development.Hypertension (a.k.a high blood pressure) during pre........ Read more »
Eileen A. Curran, Ali S. Khashan, Gerard W. O’Keeffe, & Louise C. Kenny. (2016) 35 Hypertension in pregnancy and autism spectrum disorder in a British cohort. regnancy Hypertension: An International Journal of Women's Cardiovascular Health., 153. info:/
Although being first isolated in 1947 from a sentinel rhesus monkey in forests of Uganda, until 2007 Zika Virus (ZIKV) outbreaks have been sporadic, being limited to tropical regions in Africa as well as Southeast Asia and only been associated with relative mild symptoms in about 20% of infected people. Autochthonous transmission of ZIKV outside these areas was only reported in 2007 in the Federal States of Micronesia (FSM), 2013 in French Polynesia, and in 2015 in South America, spreading to th........ Read more »
Ventura CV, Maia M, Travassos SB, Martins TT, Patriota F, Nunes ME, Agra C, Torres VL, van der Linden V, Ramos RC.... (2016) Risk Factors Associated With the Ophthalmoscopic Findings Identified in Infants With Presumed Zika Virus Congenital Infection. JAMA ophthalmology, 134(8), 912-8. PMID: 27228275
Grant A, Ponia SS, Tripathi S, Balasubramaniam V, Miorin L, Sourisseau M, Schwarz MC, Sánchez-Seco MP, Evans MJ, Best SM.... (2016) Zika Virus Targets Human STAT2 to Inhibit Type I Interferon Signaling. Cell host , 19(6), 882-90. PMID: 27212660
Teitelbaum BA, Newman TL, & Tresley DJ. (2007) Occlusive retinal vasculitis in a patient with West Nile virus. Clinical , 90(6), 463-7. PMID: 17958570
Goodfellow F, Tesla B, Simchick G, Hodge T, Zhao Q, Brindley MA, & Stice SL. (2016) Zika Virus Induced Mortality and Microcephaly in Chicken Embryos. Stem cells and development. PMID: 27627457
Miner JJ, Sene A, Richner JM, Smith AM, Santeford A, Ban N, Weger-Lucarelli J, Manzella F, Rückert C, Govero J.... (2016) Zika Virus Infection in Mice Causes Panuveitis with Shedding of Virus in Tears. Cell reports, 16(12), 3208-18. PMID: 27612415
Kim K, & Shresta S. (2016) Neuroteratogenic Viruses and Lessons for Zika Virus Models. Trends in microbiology, 24(8), 622-36. PMID: 27387029
Rossi SL, Tesh RB, Azar SR, Muruato AE, Hanley KA, Auguste AJ, Langsjoen RM, Paessler S, Vasilakis N, & Weaver SC. (2016) Characterization of a Novel Murine Model to Study Zika Virus. The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene, 94(6), 1362-9. PMID: 27022155
Varkey JB, Shantha JG, Crozier I, Kraft CS, Lyon GM, Mehta AK, Kumar G, Smith JR, Kainulainen MH, Whitmer S.... (2015) Persistence of Ebola Virus in Ocular Fluid during Convalescence. The New England journal of medicine, 372(25), 2423-7. PMID: 25950269
Bayless NL, Greenberg RS, Swigut T, Wysocka J, & Blish CA. (2016) Zika Virus Infection Induces Cranial Neural Crest Cells to Produce Cytokines at Levels Detrimental for Neurogenesis. Cell host . PMID: 27693308
Dang J, Tiwari SK, Lichinchi G, Qin Y, Patil VS, Eroshkin AM, & Rana TM. (2016) Zika Virus Depletes Neural Progenitors in Human Cerebral Organoids through Activation of the Innate Immune Receptor TLR3. Cell stem cell, 19(2), 258-65. PMID: 27162029
Brault JB, Khou C, Basset J, Coquand L, Fraisier V, Frenkiel MP, Goud B, Manuguerra JC, Pardigon N, & Baffet AD. (2016) Comparative Analysis Between Flaviviruses Reveals Specific Neural Stem Cell Tropism for Zika Virus in the Mouse Developing Neocortex. EBioMedicine, 71-6. PMID: 27453325
Patel AK, Syeda S, & Hackam AS. (2013) Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) signaling in retinal pigment epithelium cells. JAK-STAT, 2(4). PMID: 24416648
New research has demonstrated that a nanoscale device, called a memristor, could be used to power artificial systems that can mimic the human brain. Artificial neural networks (ANNs) exhibit learning abilities and can perform tasks which are difficult for conventional computing systems, such as pattern recognition, on-line learning and classification.
... Read more »
Serb, A., Bill, J., Khiat, A., Berdan, R., Legenstein, R., & Prodromakis, T. (2016) Unsupervised learning in probabilistic neural networks with multi-state metal-oxide memristive synapses. Nature Communications, 12611. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms12611
In answer to the question that titles this post on whether parental age differences at offspring conception might matter when it comes to offspring risk of autism or schizophrenia, the answer is very possibly. As the paper by Byars & Boomsma  (open-access) reports: "Our study shows that autistic and schizophrenic disorder risks tend to be higher, in more dissimilarly aged parents, relative to parents with the most similar ages." This age disparity issue has been mentioned previously in th........ Read more »
Byars SG, & Boomsma JJ. (2016) Opposite differential risks for autism and schizophrenia based on maternal age, paternal age, and parental age differences. Evolution, medicine, and public health, 2016(1), 286-98. PMID: 27637201
There are many reports of drug use leading to mental health problems, and we all know of someone having a few too many drinks to cope with a bad day. Many people who are diagnosed with a mental health disorder indulge in drugs, and vice versa. As severity of both increase, problems arise and they become more difficult to treat. But why substance involvement and psychiatric disorders often co-occur is not well understood.
... Read more »
Carey, C., Agrawal, A., Bucholz, K., Hartz, S., Lynskey, M., Nelson, E., Bierut, L., & Bogdan, R. (2016) Associations between Polygenic Risk for Psychiatric Disorders and Substance Involvement. Frontiers in Genetics. DOI: 10.3389/fgene.2016.00149
Prevention programs focused on reducing the risk of ankle injury are effective for soccer athletes.... Read more »
Grimm, N., Jacobs, J., Kim, J., Amendola, A., & Shea, K. (2016) Ankle Injury Prevention Programs for Soccer Athletes Are Protective: A Level-I Meta-Analysis. The Journal of Bone , 98(17), 1436-1443. DOI: 10.2106/JBJS.15.00933
"Biomarker studies of PUFA [polyunsaturated fatty acid] and treatment studies of n-3 [omega-3] PUFA in bipolar disorder show promise for indicating a way forward in the study of PUFA in bipolar disorder."I don't want to labour any points raised by the review of studies published by Erika Saunders and colleagues  looking at fatty acids and bipolar disorder but there does seem to be a familiar ring to the current evidence base on how for at least 'some' cases of bipolar diso........ Read more »
Saunders EF, Ramsden CE, Sherazy MS, Gelenberg AJ, Davis JM, & Rapoport SI. (2016) Omega-3 and Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Bipolar Disorder: A Review of Biomarker and Treatment Studies. The Journal of clinical psychiatry. PMID: 27631140
Scientists have discovered a new pathway in the brain that can be manipulated to alleviate depression. The pathway offers a promising new target for developing a drug that could be effective in individuals for whom other antidepressants have failed. New antidepressant options are important because a significant number of patients don't adequately improve with currently available antidepressant drugs.
... Read more »
Brooker SM, Gobeske KT, Chen J, Peng CY, & Kessler JA. (2016) Hippocampal bone morphogenetic protein signaling mediates behavioral effects of antidepressant treatment. Molecular psychiatry. PMID: 27698430
Honest signalling Theory. Why would animals tell the truth? Is it strong moral fiber? Maybe they paid really close attention when their mother told them the story of the boy who cried wolf? It's actually about self preservation.
Signalling theory states that animals send out signals that benefit themselves. Honest signalling theory states when an animal tells the truth , eg: sends a signal that says 'I'm healthy' when the animal is actually healthy, it does so to avoid a p........ Read more »
Blount JD, Speed MP, Ruxton GD, & Stephens PA. (2009) Warning displays may function as honest signals of toxicity. Proceedings. Biological sciences, 276(1658), 871-7. PMID: 19019790
Me and my microbes In the past decade or so, the microbiota, the community of microbes that makes its home in the guts of humans and other animals, has become quite a popular research topic. Quite rightly so, since our little guests seem to affect aspects of our lives that we wouldn’t necessarily consider to […]... Read more »
Faria VG, Martins NE, Magalhães S, Paulo TF, Nolte V, Schlötterer C, Sucena É, & Teixeira L. (2016) Drosophila Adaptation to Viral Infection through Defensive Symbiont Evolution. PLoS genetics, 12(9). PMID: 27684942
Solé RV, Montañez R, & Duran-Nebreda S. (2015) Synthetic circuit designs for earth terraformation. Biology direct, 37. PMID: 26187273
The quote: "a low prevalence of definite pathology in children with autism spectrum disorder undergoing brain MRI [magnetic resonance imaging]" heading up today's post is taken from the paper by Alison Cooper and colleagues  who among other things, examined whether MRI picked up anything 'useful' when it came to autism / autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in their cohort. MRI, by the way, refers to the fantastic imaging technology that provides those rather detailed pictures of our inner bod........ Read more »
Cooper AS, Friedlaender E, Levy SE, Shekdar KV, Bradford AB, Wells KE, & Mollen C. (2016) The Implications of Brain MRI in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of child neurology. PMID: 27629267
Patients who return to pre-injury activities one year after an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction reported being more motivated prior to and during the rehabilitation process to return to these activities than athletes who did not return to pre-injury activities.... Read more »
Sonesson S, Kvist J, Ardern C, Österberg A, & Silbernagel KG. (2016) Psychological factors are important to return to pre-injury sport activity after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: expect and motivate to satisfy. Knee surgery, sports traumatology, arthroscopy : official journal of the ESSKA. PMID: 27562372
A team of scientists are redefining what it means to be a prion--a type of protein that can pass heritable traits from cell to cell by its structure instead of by DNA. Although prions are infamous for causing Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, fatal familial insomnia, and bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow's disease, the present study indicates that prions identified in yeast, and possibly in plants, and other organisms may be beneficial.
... Read more »
Chakrabortee, S., Byers, J., Jones, S., Garcia, D., Bhullar, B., Chang, A., She, R., Lee, L., Fremin, B., Lindquist, S.... (2016) Intrinsically Disordered Proteins Drive Emergence and Inheritance of Biological Traits. Cell. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.09.017
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