Post List

  • July 6, 2015
  • 02:45 PM

Link between autoimmune diseases, medications, and a dangerous heart condition

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Mohamed Boutjdir, PhD, professor of medicine, cell biology, and physiology and pharmacology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, has led a study with international collaborators identifying the mechanism by which patients with various autoimmune and connective tissue disorders may be at risk for life-threatening cardiac events if they take certain anti-histamine or anti-depressant medications. Dr. Boutjdir is also director of the Cardiac Research Program at VA New York Harbor Healthcare System.... Read more »

Yue, Y., Castrichini, M., Srivastava, U., Fabris, F., Shah, K., Li, Z., Qu, Y., El-Sherif, N., Zhou, Z., January, C.... (2015) Pathogenesis of the Novel Autoimmune-Associated Long QT Syndrome. Circulation. DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.115.009800  

  • July 6, 2015
  • 02:22 PM

Restraint and confinement still an everyday practice in mental health settings

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Providers of mental-health services still rely on intervention techniques such as physical restraint and confinement to control some psychiatric hospital patients, a practice which can cause harm to both patients and care facilities, according to a new study from the University of Waterloo. The study found that almost one in four psychiatric patients in Ontario hospitals are restrained using control interventions, such as chairs that prevent rising, wrist restraints, seclusion rooms or acute control medications.... Read more »

Mah, T., Hirdes, J., Heckman, G., & Stolee, P. (2015) Use of control interventions in adult in-patient mental health services. Healthcare Management Forum, 28(4), 139-145. DOI: 10.1177/0840470415581230  

  • July 6, 2015
  • 08:29 AM

Scientists Predict A Talking Elephant, Szilamandee

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A talking white elephant called Slizamandee could save the world with his wisdom and "teach us with the deepest voice of history", according to an academic paper published today.

The article appeared in the journal Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology. The authors are led by Otto E. Rössler, a biochemist. It's called Is it Ethical to heal a young white Elephant from his physiological Autism? Many thanks to Michelle Dawson for bringing it to my attention.

Rössler et al. start ou... Read more »

Rossler, O., Theis, C., Heiter, J., Fleischer, W., & Student, A. (2015) Is it Ethical to heal a young white Elephant from his physiological Autism?. Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2015.06.020  

  • July 6, 2015
  • 08:08 AM

Saving For Retirement — As Simple As Counting in Days

by Jeremiah Stanghini in Jeremiah Stanghini

A few years ago, I wrote a post about the problems with saying “I’ll be ready in 5 minutes.” It turns out, there’s now research that — in a way — supports the point I was trying to make. In this … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • July 6, 2015
  • 06:08 AM

Why Radicalize? Five Motives For Becoming A Jihadist

by Sarah Boers-Goi in United Academics

Radicalization is an analyzable process, rather than the outcome of an ‘evil’ personality.... Read more »

  • July 6, 2015
  • 04:54 AM

Is coeliac disease an aetiological factor in paediatric nonsyndromic intellectual disability?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

In answer to the question posed in the title of this post on whether coeliac disease (CD) might show some connection to intellectual (learning) disability, 'probably not' is the finding reported by Taner Sezer and colleagues [1].Researchers initially looked at "serum levels of tissue transglutaminase antibody and total IgA" in over 230 children diagnosed with nonsyndromic intellectual disability compared with about the same number of asymptomatic controls. Nonsyndromic intellectual disability by the way, is "defined by the presence of intellectual disability as the sole clinical feature" according to other sources [2]. They reported that "3 patients in the nonsyndromic intellectual disability group (5.45%) and 1 in the control group (0.41%) had positive serum tissue transglutaminase antibody." But when it came to the diagnosis of CD only 1 patient who had nonsyndromic intellectual disability fulfilled the gold-standard criteria of "Duodenal biopsy confirmed celiac disease."The authors conclude by saying that the: "screening test for celiac disease should not be necessary as a part of the management of mild and moderate nonsyndromic intellectual disability." But further: "cases of severe nonsyndromic intellectual disability could be examined for celiac disease."These are important data but as you may imagine, I'm minded to suggest that there may be other issues that require further attention. First, and in keeping with a recurrent theme on this blog, CD has a hallowed place in the whole 'gluten affects health' arena as the archetypal gluten-linked autoimmune condition. In recent years however, we've been introduced to the concept of a wider spectrum of issues with gluten not necessarily CD and not necessarily other gluten-related ills such as wheat allergy: non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). I know there are ums-and-ahs about how real NCGS is and what constitutes diagnostic criteria (see here) but I'm of the opinion that we need to look at this wider concept with much greater assiduity.Second, and allied to the idea that CD might not be the be-all-and-end-all of gluten issues is the idea that the serology of CD but not the histology might show some connection to behaviour. I say this with the Ludvigsson paper in mind (see here) and what it might mean for autism, a label that shares quite a bit of overlap with learning disability (see here).Finally, I do find it interesting that whilst Sezer et al suggest that population-wide screening for CD should not be carried out for nonsyndromic intellectual disability they do suggest that specific cases might warrant further investigation. Drawing on the data from research on Down's syndrome for example, manifesting intellectual disability and carrying something of quite an elevated risk of CD (see here), it is evident that there may in some cases be a heightened risk of CD or other gluten-related issues co-occurring within this population. If one also considers that a gluten-free diet (the primary tool to manage CD) might also show some effect on EEG findings (see here) bearing in mind the connection between EEG findings, epilepsy / seizure-type disorders and intellectual disability [3], it's also not beyond the realms of possibility that further relationships might be noted with continued investigations in this area.Music: The Libertines - What A Waster.----------[1] Sezer T. et al. Is Celiac Disease an Etiological Factor in Children with Nonsyndromic Intellectual Disability? J Child Neurol. 2015 Jun 15. pii: 0883073815589759.[2] Kaufman L. et al. The genetic basis of non-syndromic intellectual disability: a review. Journal of neurodevelopmental disorders. 2010;2(4):182-209.[3] Robertson J. et al. Prevalence of epilepsy among people with intellectual disabilities: A systematic review. Seizure. 2015 Jul;29:46-62.----------Sezer T, Balcı O, Özçay F, Bayraktar N, & Alehan F (2015). Is Celiac Disease an Etiological Factor in Children with Nonsyndromic Intellectual Disability? Journal of child neurology PMID: 26078418... Read more »

  • July 6, 2015
  • 12:05 AM

Structural Brain Changes Associated to Concussion History and Cognition

by Jane McDevitt in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

Prior concussion that resulted in loss of consciousness is a risk factor for decreased hippocampal regions and mild cognitive impairment later in life.... Read more »

  • July 5, 2015
  • 01:50 PM

Discovery points to a new path toward a universal flu vaccine

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Flu vaccines can be something of a shot in the dark. Not only must they be given yearly, there’s no guarantee the strains against which they protect will be the ones circulating once the season arrives. New research by Rockefeller University scientists suggests it may be possible to harness a previously unknown mechanism within the immune system to create more effective and efficient vaccines against this ever-mutating virus.... Read more »

Wang, T., Maamary, J., Tan, G., Bournazos, S., Davis, C., Krammer, F., Schlesinger, S., Palese, P., Ahmed, R., & Ravetch, J. (2015) Anti-HA Glycoforms Drive B Cell Affinity Selection and Determine Influenza Vaccine Efficacy. Cell, 162(1), 160-169. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.06.026  

  • July 4, 2015
  • 02:50 PM

Evidence of Value of Orphan Drugs Inconsistent

by Marie Benz in Interview with: Igho Onakpoya MD MSc Clarendon Scholar University of Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences Oxford UK MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Onakpoya: Several … Continue reading →
The post Evidence of Value of Orphan Drugs Inconsistent appeared first on Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more »

Igho Onakpoya MD MSc, & Clarendon Scholar. (2015) Evidence of Value of Orphan Drugs Inconsistent. info:/

  • July 4, 2015
  • 02:26 PM

Long-term memories are maintained by prion-like proteins

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Research from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) has uncovered further evidence of a system in the brain that persistently maintains memories for long periods of time. And paradoxically, it works in the same way as mechanisms that cause mad cow disease, kuru, and other degenerative brain diseases.... Read more »

Fioriti, L., Myers, C., Huang, Y., Li, X., Stephan, J., Trifilieff, P., Colnaghi, L., Kosmidis, S., Drisaldi, B., Pavlopoulos, E.... (2015) The Persistence of Hippocampal-Based Memory Requires Protein Synthesis Mediated by the Prion-like Protein CPEB3. Neuron, 86(6), 1433-1448. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.05.021  

Drisaldi, B., Colnaghi, L., Fioriti, L., Rao, N., Myers, C., Snyder, A., Metzger, D., Tarasoff, J., Konstantinov, E., Fraser, P.... (2015) SUMOylation Is an Inhibitory Constraint that Regulates the Prion-like Aggregation and Activity of CPEB3. Cell Reports, 11(11), 1694-1702. DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.04.061  

Stephan, J., Fioriti, L., Lamba, N., Colnaghi, L., Karl, K., Derkatch, I., & Kandel, E. (2015) The CPEB3 Protein Is a Functional Prion that Interacts with the Actin Cytoskeleton. Cell Reports, 11(11), 1772-1785. DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.04.060  

  • July 4, 2015
  • 11:33 AM

The Smile of Value Creation

by Andreas Wieland in Supply Chain Management Research

Mudambi (2008) notes that “value-added is becoming increasingly concentrated at the upstream and downstream ends of the value chain” and that “activities at both ends of the value chain are intensive in their application of knowledge and creativity”. Value-added along the value chain is, thus, represented by a “smiling curve”. Mudambi, R. (2008). Location, Control […]... Read more »

  • July 4, 2015
  • 05:19 AM

A viral 'cause' of obesity?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I must thank Leah Hardy (@LeahFHardy) for bringing to my attention the paper by Qinglong Shang and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) reporting that: "Ad36 [Human adenovirus 36] infection is associated with an increased risk of obesity development."Based on a meta-analysis of the available research literature examining whether Ad-36 - "a nonenveloped icosahedral virus comprised of double-stranded DNA and is one of 56 serotypes in 7 subgroups of human adenoviruses" - might be linked to obesity, researchers concluded that the weight of evidence from 11 studies did favour "an association between Ad36 infection and a significantly increased risk of obesity development, especially in children." Such findings can be added to other meta-analyses [2] that have also previously suggested that there may be more to see in this 'infectobesity' area [3].I have to say that I was quite unaware of the links being made between Ad-36 and obesity prior to reading the Shang paper. I've previously tackled the idea that the obesity might have some important microbiological links (see here) before on this blog but never considered the possibility of a viral infection as showing involvement until now. Obviously one has to be a little guarded against making any sweeping statements that for example, Ad-36 is the primary cause of all obesity, because in all likelihood the issue is likely to be rather more complex than that. Appreciating that the old 'energy in, energy out' hypothesis is itself likely to be an over-simplification of why we are faced with growing rates of overweight and obesity, I'm sure that Ad-36 probably fits into a rather large jigsaw puzzle - somewhere. The requirement for a greater understanding of the hows and whys of any viral - obesity link is also strong alongside the idea that even if proved, any viral link should not absolve responsibility for eating and exercising right as part of maintaining a healthy weight.Research such as that from Berger and colleagues [4] suggesting that "Ad36(+) may be associated with biomarkers implicated in inflammation but not with greater levels of fat mass" offers some cautionary data on why there may be quite a bit more research needed looking at Ad-36 and obesity. If one considers that inflammation seems to be part and parcel of obesity, the whole thing starts to get quite a bit more complicated.Still, if science does start to get closer to the idea that Ad-36 (or other agents) might indeed heightened the risk of obesity and perhaps even suggest 'transferability' from person-to-person, this may open up new ways of tackling this issue [5] even with the prospect of immunising against infection-induced weight gain [6].Music: Babies by Pulp.----------[1] Shang Q. et al. Serological data analyses show that adenovirus 36 infection is associated with obesity: a meta-analysis involving 5739 subjects. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2014 Mar;22(3):895-900.[2] Yamada T. et al. Association of Adenovirus 36 Infection with Obesity and Metabolic Markers in Humans: A Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. PLoS One. 2012; 7(7): e42031.[3] Valiquette L. et al. A microbiological explanation for the obesity pandemic? Can J Infect Dis Med Microbiol. 2014 Nov-Dec;25(6):294-5.[4] Berger PK. et al. Association of adenovirus 36 infection with adiposity and inflammatory-related markers in children. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Sep;99(9):3240-6.[5] Esposito S. et al. Adenovirus 36 infection and obesity. J Clin Virol. 2012 Oct;55(2):95-100.[6] Na HN. & Nam JH. Proof-of-concept for a virus-induced obesity vaccine; vaccination against the obesity agent adenovirus 36. Int J Obes (Lond). 2014 Nov;38(11):1470-4.----------Shang Q, Wang H, Song Y, Wei L, Lavebratt C, Zhang F, & Gu H (2014). Serological data analyses show that adenovirus 36 infection is associated with obesity: a meta-analysis involving 5739 subjects. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 22 (3), 895-900 PMID: 23804409... Read more »

  • July 3, 2015
  • 04:37 PM

REM sleep critical for young brain development; medication interferes

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Rapid eye movement or REM sleep actively converts waking experiences into lasting memories and abilities in young brains reports a new study. The finding broadens the understanding of children’s sleep needs and calls into question the increasing use of REM-disrupting medications such as stimulants and antidepressants.

... Read more »

Michelle C. Dumoulin Bridi, Sara J. Aton, Julie Seibt, Leslie Renouard, Tammi Coleman1, & Marcos G. Frank. (2015) Rapid eye movement sleep promotes cortical plasticity in the developing brain. Science Advances. info:/10.1126/sciadv.1500105

  • July 3, 2015
  • 04:05 PM

Novel DNA repair mechanism brings new horizons

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The DNA molecule is chemically unstable giving rise to DNA lesions of different nature. That is why DNA damage detection, signaling and repair, collectively known as the DNA damage response, are needed. A group of researchers discovered a new mechanism of DNA repair, which opens up new perspectives for the treatment and prevention of neurodegenerative diseases.... Read more »

Nikolay A. Pestov, Nadezhda S. Gerasimova, Olga I. Kulaeva, & Vasily M. Studitsky. (2015) Structure of transcribed chromatin is a sensor of DNA damage. Science Advances. info:/10.1126/sciadv.1500021

  • July 3, 2015
  • 11:47 AM

Smile at a party and people are more likely to remember seeing your face there

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

When you smile at a party, your facial expression is emotionally consistent with the happy context and as a consequence other guests will in future be more likely to remember that they've seen your face before, and where you were when they saw you. That's according to a team of Italian researchers led by Stefania Righi who have explored how memory for a face is affected by the emotion shown on that face and the congruence between that emotional expression and its surrounding context.The researchers first presented 30 participants (11 men) with 64 unfamiliar face and scene pairings. The faces were either smiling or fearful and they were either presented alongside an image of a happy scene (e.g. a party) or a fear-inducing scene (e.g. a car crash). The participants' task at this stage was simply to indicate whether each face-scene pairing was emotionally congruent or not.Next came the memory test. Different faces (some previously seen, some new) were flashed up on-screen against a black background and the participants had to say whether they'd seen the face before or if it was entirely new. After each face, three scenes appeared of the same genre (e.g. three party scenes), and the participants had to say which specific scene the face had previously appeared alongside.Previously seen happy faces were better remembered than fearful faces, but only when they appeared alongside a happy scene. Memory for fearful faces, by contrast, was unaffected by the congruence of the accompanying scene. Why should smiling faces at a party or other happy context be better remembered than a fearful face? The researchers think the combination of a smiling face and happy scene has a broadening effect on observers' attention, enhancing their memories for the face. From a methodological point of view, it's shame the study didn't also feature neutral faces: without these, we can't be certain whether smiling faces in a happy context were enhancing memory or if fearful faces in that context were harming memory, or a bit of both.Figure 3 from Righi et al, 2015.The researchers also propose that smiling faces have a "unitising effect" whereby the face and its context are bound together in memory. This idea also appeared to be supported by the results: participants were better at remembering the accompanying scenes (happy and fearful) for smiling faces than fearful faces.Put these two key results together and it means that we're particularly likely to remember a smiling face we saw at a party, and the specific context we saw it in. Righi and her colleagues said it made sense for memory to work this way. "A smiling person communicates a social bond and the ability to remember, not only the face identity, but also the context of the first encounter with that 'potential friend', could reflect an adaptive behaviour in view of future social relations." The new results also complement past research on memory for face-name pairings: presented with a name, participants were better at remembering when it was earlier paired with a happy face than a neutral one._________________________________ Righi, S., Gronchi, G., Marzi, T., Rebai, M., & Viggiano, M. (2015). You are that smiling guy I met at the party! Socially positive signals foster memory for identities and contexts Acta Psychologica, 159, 1-7 DOI: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2015.05.001 Post written by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.

... Read more »

  • July 3, 2015
  • 11:45 AM

Warming Climate May Not Reduce Winter Mortality

by Marie Benz in Interview with: Prof. Patrick L Kinney Ph.D. Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and Director, Columbia Climate and Health Program Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University, New York, NY Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Kinney: … Continue reading →
The post Warming Climate May Not Reduce Winter Mortality appeared first on Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more »

Prof. Patrick L Kinney Ph.D., & Professor of Environmental Health Sciences. (2015) Warming Climate May Not Reduce Winter Mortality. info:/

  • July 3, 2015
  • 09:55 AM

Evidence for "Unconscious Learning" Questioned

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Can we learn without being aware of what we're learning? Many psychologists say that 'unconscious', or implicit, learning exists.

But in a new paper, London-based psychologists Vadillo, Konstantinidis, and Shanks call the evidence for this into question.

Vadillo et al. focus on one particular example of implicit learning, the contextual cueing paradigm. This involves a series of stimulus patterns, each consisting of a number of "L" shapes and one "T" shape in various orientations. For ... Read more »

  • July 3, 2015
  • 09:13 AM

Diabetes Medication Reduced Weight and Improved Metabolic Parameters in Obese Patients

by Marie Benz in Interview with: Dr. F. Xavier Pi–Sunyer MD Division of Endocrinology and Obesity Research Center Columbia University, New York Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Pi-Sunye: In a large randomized trial, … Continue reading →
The post Diabetes Medication Reduced Weight and Improved Metabolic Parameters in Obese Patients appeared first on Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more »

Dr. F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer MD, & Division of Endocrinology and Obesity Research Center. (2015) Diabetes Medication Reduced Weight and Improved Metabolic Parameters in Obese Patients. info:/

  • July 3, 2015
  • 08:54 AM

Low Testosterone Linked To Obesity and Depression In Men

by Marie Benz in Interview with: Michael S. Irwig MD Division of Endocrinology Medical Faculty Associates George Washington University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Many factors are associated with lower testosterone levels and … Continue reading →
The post Low Testosterone Linked To Obesity and Depression In Men appeared first on Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more »

Michael S. Irwig MD Division of Endocrinology Medical Faculty Associates. (2015) Low Testosterone Linked To Obesity and Depression In Men. info:/

  • July 3, 2015
  • 08:15 AM

Male Kangaroos' Arms Evolved to Pound the Crap out of Each Other

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

When you look at a kangaroo or a wallaby, it's obvious the animal is well built for bouncing around the outback. What may be less obvious is that its arms are built for fighting—if it's male, that is. Males of these species have disproportionately long arm bones. And the more brawling a species does, the more exaggerated the difference between the beefy-armed males and their normal-limbed mates.

To understand this evolutionary quirk, we'll need to review the rules of fighting in wallabies... Read more »

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