Our world is in crisis! Ten years ago, Time Magazine featured the headline: “Be Worried. Be Very Worried.” (about global warming). But things only got worse since. Leaked TTIP documents point to a race to the bottom in ecological standards between the EU and the U.S. New NASA figures show that April 2016 was the seventh […]... Read more »
"The likelihood of being diagnosed with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] was significantly increased among children of two immigrant parents... and children of an immigrant father."So said the findings published by Venla Lehti and colleagues  continuing a research theme from this authorship group (see here) on how immigration might, for various reasons, bring about an increased or decreased risk of certain behavioural and/or psychiatric outcomes. This time a........ Read more »
Lehti V, Chudal R, Suominen A, Gissler M, & Sourander A. (2016) Association between immigrant background and ADHD: a nationwide population-based case-control study. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines. PMID: 27133554
Last month, Robert Vander Velde discussed a striking similarity between the linear version of our model of two anti-correlated goods and the Haert et al. (2002) optional public good game. Robert didn’t get a chance to go into the detailed math behind the scenes, so I wanted to do that today. The derivations here will […]... Read more »
Hauert, C., De Monte, S., Hofbauer, J., & Sigmund, K. (2002) Replicator dynamics for optional public good games. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 218(2), 187-94. PMID: 12381291
Researchers have uncovered a new molecular pathway for stimulating the body to burn fat -- a discovery that could help fight obesity and cardiovascular disease.By focusing on a protein known as folliculin, and knocking out the gene that produces it in fat cells, the researchers triggered a series of biomolecular signals that switched the cells from storing fat to burning it.
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Yan, M., Audet-Walsh., Manteghi, S., Rosa Dufour, C., Walker, B., Baba, M., St-Pierre, J., Giguère, V., & Pause, A. (2016) Chronic AMPK activation via loss of FLCN induces functional beige adipose tissue through PGC-1α/ERRα. Genes , 30(9), 1034-1046. DOI: 10.1101/gad.281410.116
In a recent paper in the Lancet Infectious Diseases, Pritt et al have identified a new genospecies of Borrelia which is attributed to have caused several cases of Lyme disease, marked by a high degree of spirochetemia. In their research article abstract, they state: Methods At the Mayo clinic, from 2003 to 2014, we tested […]... Read more »
Pritt BS, Mead PS, Johnson DK, Neitzel DF, Respicio-Kingry LB, Davis JP, Schiffman E, Sloan LM, Schriefer ME, Replogle AJ.... (2016) Identification of a novel pathogenic Borrelia species causing Lyme borreliosis with unusually high spirochaetaemia: a descriptive study. The Lancet. Infectious diseases. PMID: 26856777
A recent column in Nature by Daniel Sarewitz laments the ever increasing torrent of academic publications. Quantity goes up, but quality does not follow suit. There are more scientists than ever. And they publish more than ever. However, that doesn’t mean they publish more high quality research. This harks back to the work of Derek J. […]... Read more »
Kidwell MC, Lazarević LB, Baranski E, Hardwicke TE, Piechowski S, Falkenberg LS, Kennett C, Slowik A, Sonnleitner C, Hess-Holden C.... (2016) Badges to Acknowledge Open Practices: A Simple, Low-Cost, Effective Method for Increasing Transparency. PLoS biology, 14(5). PMID: 27171007
A group of individuals with chronic ankle instability have sensorimotor system deficits compared with a group of healthy controls and copers; however, the authors found no mechanical differences between any of the groups.... Read more »
Bowker S, Terada M, Thomas AC, Pietrosimone BG, Hiller CE, & Gribble PA. (2016) Neural Excitability and Joint Laxity in Chronic Ankle Instability, Coper, and Control Groups. Journal of athletic training. PMID: 27065189
Flying a plane is no trivial task, but adverse weather conditions are where things get seriously challenging. Tragically, a contributing factor to many fatal accidents is when the pilot has misjudged the appropriateness of the flying conditions. Now in a somewhat worrying paper in Applied Cognitive Psychology Stephen Walmsley and Andrew Gilbey of Massey University have shown that pilots’ judgment of weather conditions, and their decisions on how to respond to them, are coloured by three classi........ Read more »
Walmsley, S., & Gilbey, A. (2016) Cognitive Biases in Visual Pilots' Weather-Related Decision Making. Applied Cognitive Psychology. DOI: 10.1002/acp.3225
The paper by Xiyue Xiong and colleagues  (open-access available here) took my attention recently and some further evidence contributory to the idea that the trillions of wee beasties that call our gastrointestinal (GI) tract home - collectively known as the gut microbiome - might have some important links to at least 'some' autism.Describing the results of "a GC/MS based metabolomic approach" - GC-MS being gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and metabolomic(s) being the analysis o........ Read more »
Xiong X, Liu D, Wang Y, Zeng T, & Peng Y. (2016) Urinary 3-(3-Hydroxyphenyl)-3-hydroxypropionic Acid, 3-Hydroxyphenylacetic Acid, and 3-Hydroxyhippuric Acid Are Elevated in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. BioMed research international, 9485412. PMID: 27123458
It's rare for scientists to get what they describe as "clean" results without spending a lot of time repeating the same experiment over and over again. But when researchers saw the mice they were working with doubling their weight within a month or two, they knew they were on to something.
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Djogo, T., Robins, S., Schneider, S., Kryzskaya, D., Liu, X., Mingay, A., Gillon, C., Kim, J., Storch, K., Boehm, U.... (2016) Adult NG2-Glia Are Required for Median Eminence-Mediated Leptin Sensing and Body Weight Control. Cell Metabolism, 23(5), 797-810. DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2016.04.013
Getting warm has a dramatic antidepressant effect, according to a new report published in the prestigious journal JAMA Psychiatry. But is it hot science or a hot mess?
The researchers, led by Clemens Janssen of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studied 29 people with depression who were not receiving any other treatments. Half were randomized to receive whole-body hyperthermia (WBH), using a setup which raised their core body temperature to 38.5 degrees (37 degrees is normal).
The o... Read more »
Janssen CW, Lowry CA, Mehl MR, Allen JJ, Kelly KL, Gartner DE, Medrano A, Begay TK, Rentscher K, White JJ.... (2016) Whole-Body Hyperthermia for the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA psychiatry. PMID: 27172277
As a follow up to my previous post, I would like to say something about several mouse studies from Stephen Barthold's group. These papers are often cited by those who believe that retreatment is needed in patients who continue to experience symptoms following treatment of Lyme disease with conventional antibiotic regimens. The assumption is that post-treatment symptoms stem from spirochetes surviving the initial antibiotic therapy.In the 2008 and 2010 studies (described in detail her........ Read more »
Hodzic E, Imai D, Feng S, & Barthold SW. (2014) Resurgence of persisting non-cultivable Borrelia burgdorferi following antibiotic treatment in mice. PLOS One, 9(1). PMID: 24466286
T. gondii cyst in a mouse brain.
For a simple protozoan, Toxoplasma gondii has experienced something of a meteoric rise in popularity over the past several years. Actually, to be fair T. gondii has garnered quite a bit of interest since the 1930s, when it was discovered the parasite could be transmitted from a mother to a fetus in the womb, sometimes resulting in severe congenital disorders. Curiosity about T. gondii grew significantly in the early 2000s, ........ Read more »
No two bacteria are identical - even when they are genetically the same. A new study from researchers reveals the conditions under which bacteria become individualists and how they help their group grow when times get tough. Whether you are a human or a bacterium, your environment determines how you can develop.
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Schreiber, F., Littmann, S., Lavik, G., Escrig, S., Meibom, A., Kuypers, M., & Ackermann, M. (2016) Phenotypic heterogeneity driven by nutrient limitation promotes growth in fluctuating environments. Nature Microbiology, 16055. DOI: 10.1038/nmicrobiol.2016.55
A remarkable case report describes the brain activity in a man at the moment that he underwent a revelatory experience.
According to the authors, Israeli researchers Arzy and Schurr, the man was 46 years old. He was Jewish, but he had never been especially religious. His supernatural experience occured in hospital where he was undergoing tests to help treat his right temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), a condition which he had suffered from for forty years. As part of the testing procedure, the pat... Read more »
Arzy S, & Schurr R. (2016) "God has sent me to you": Right temporal epilepsy, left prefrontal psychosis. Epilepsy , 7-10. PMID: 27176877
Continuing a research theme (see here), the paper by Jessica Green and colleagues  again focuses the spotlight on how the various childhood developmental diagnoses often enjoy mingling together when it comes to their real-life presentation; real ESSENCE in action. Such overlaps can and do present challenges to diagnosticians to unpick often complicated presentations (no, your 'Am I autistic?' screen is not really a good idea) and onwards the best way forward to manage symptoms ........ Read more »
Green JL, Sciberras E, Anderson V, Efron D, & Rinehart N. (2016) Association between autism symptoms and functioning in children with ADHD. Archives of disease in childhood. PMID: 27117836
In 348/7 BC, fearing anti-Macedonian sentiment or disappointed with the control of Plato’s Academy passing to Speusippus, Aristotle left Athens for Asian Minor across the Aegean sea. Based on his five years — before returning to Macedonia to tutor Alexander the Great — studying of the natural history of Lesbos, he wrote the pioneering work […]... Read more »
Recently, scientists discovered a new learning rule for a specific type of excitatory synaptic connection in the hippocampus. These synapses are located in the so-called CA3 region of the hippocampus, which plays a critical role for storage and recall of spatial information in the brain. One of its hallmark properties is that memory recall can even be triggered by incomplete cues. This enables the network to complete neuronal activity patterns, a phenomenon termed pattern completion.
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Mishra, R., Kim, S., Guzman, S., & Jonas, P. (2016) Symmetric spike timing-dependent plasticity at CA3–CA3 synapses optimizes storage and recall in autoassociative networks. Nature Communications, 11552. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms11552
Life is full of paradoxes and uncertainty – good people who do bad things, and questions with no right or wrong answer. But the human mind abhors doubt and contradictions, which provoke an uncomfortable state of "cognitive dissonance". In turn, this motivates us to see the world in neat, black and white terms. For example, we'll decide the good person must really have been bad all along, or conversely that the bad thing they did wasn't really too bad after all. But a pair of researchers in Isr........ Read more »
Lomranz, J., & Benyamini, Y. (2015) The Ability to Live with Incongruence: Aintegration—The Concept and Its Operationalization. Journal of Adult Development, 23(2), 79-92. DOI: 10.1007/s10804-015-9223-4
Artist's depiction of the WMAP satellite gathering data to understand the Big Bang. Source: NASA.For decades physicists have been trying to decipher the first moments after the Big Bang. Using very large telescopes, for example, scientists scan the skies and look at how fast galaxies move. Satellites study the relic radiation left from the Big Bang, called the cosmic microwave background radiation. And finally, particle colliders, like the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, allow researchers to smas........ Read more »
Grohs, E., Fuller, G., Kishimoto, C., Paris, M., & Vlasenko, A. (2016) Neutrino energy transport in weak decoupling and big bang nucleosynthesis. Physical Review D, 93(8). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.93.083522
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