Post List

  • September 27, 2016
  • 03:09 PM
  • 6 views

Sex changes in nature

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

We might think of animal mating being as simple as 1 male and 1 female, like on Noah's Ark. But many types of fish undergo sex changes throughout their lives. My goal is to open people's eyes to the diversity among sex in animals.... Read more »

  • September 27, 2016
  • 08:32 AM
  • 26 views

Do you really see plants? Humans and their plant blindness

by Alice Breda in la-Plumeria

What do you see in the picture? An elephant, right?
Some will say that they see an African elephant, or perhaps an elephant in the savannah protecting from the sun in the shade of a tree. But who sees an elephant and a majestic flowering baobab surrounded by savannah shrubs in a dry grass meadow?
If your answer is the latter, congratulations, you are a quite unique case. If in the picture you just see “an elephant” then you are just like most of the people around you.

This phenomenon was first described in the 90s by two American botanists with the name of plant blindness. We are unable to see, notice and pay attention to plants surrounding us and therefore we have an hard time understanding their essential ecological role. We fail to appreciate the aesthetic features of these living organisms and the uniqueness of their biological characteristics, to the point of not being able to recognize plant species growing in our neighborhood or knowing what a plant really needs to survive.... Read more »

Wandersee, J., & Schussler, E. (1999) Preventing Plant Blindness. The American Biology Teacher, 61(2), 82-86. DOI: 10.2307/4450624  

  • September 27, 2016
  • 02:55 AM
  • 21 views

Neurotensin, intestinal inflammation and autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Elevated peripheral pro-NT [neurotensin] levels reflect more severe forms of active celiac disease, indicating a potential role of NT in intestinal inflammation."The suggestion, from Caroline Montén and colleagues [1], that the neuropeptide called neurotensin might play a role in paediatric coeliac disease is an interesting one that caught my eye recently. Interesting not only because of the potential implications for the archetypal 'gluten-causing' autoimmune condition called coeliac disease, but also because neurotensin might have some rather important links to [some] autism too [2].OK, a quick recap is perhaps useful. Neurotensin when it comes to autism typically means one name, Theoharis Theoharides, he of mast cells fame (see here). The idea is that neurotensin (NT) is, among other things, quite a 'potent trigger' of mast cells and when activated these mast cells can release their inner contents that include quite a few substances linked to allergic inflammation. At least some of the talk linking 'inflammation' and autism might include a role for mast cells [3]  and so hey presto, a potentially important chain of biological events might therefore be linked.Going back to the original Montén paper on NT and coeliac (celiac) disease, researchers set about investigating "if plasma pro-NT levels correlated with the degree of intestinal mucosal damage and tissue transglutaminase autoantibody (tTGA) levels in children with celiac disease." They did find elevated levels of one of the NT precursor fragments in a coeliac disease group (n=96) compared with controls (n=89) and there did seem to be something of a possible connection between pro-NT levels and tTGA. On these basis, they concluded that NT might indeed be linked to the intestinal inflammation noted in cases of coeliac disease. Mast cells might also be important to coeliac disease too according to recent findings.Accepting that coeliac disease is not autism (even though in some individual cases they may be linked [4]), there are a few further studies that might be required on this topic with autism in mind. As I've already mentioned, inflammation - particularly inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract - is not something unheard of in autism research/practice circles (see here). I know furrowed brows can be associated with this area of discussion but I'm talking about peer-reviewed science not anecdote and speculation. One might for example, see an investigation whereby those with autism and GI-related issues (including an inflammatory component) might be more closely inspected for something like NT to see if it is something important. You could even include those potentially falling into the grey area of non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) if you so wished (see here). Given also related findings for some on the autism spectrum in relation to tTGA too (see here) and the possibility of another link there with NT, some brave research team might also wish to inspect this parameter. I might also suggest that looking at gut motility patterns in relation to NT levels could be another area ripe for further investigation with autism in mind (see here) given some previous discussions on the effects of NT.Just a few suggestions for how a little more work in this area might prove illuminating.Insofar as what to do about a possible link between NT and autism, well someone it seems has already started that conversation [5] and discussions are seemingly continuing in the peer-reviewed domain [6]...----------[1] Montén C. et al. Role of pro-neurotensin as marker of paediatric celiac disease. Clin Exp Immunol. 2016 Sep 10.[2] Angelidou A. et al. Neurotensin is increased in serum of young children with autistic disorder. J Neuroinflammation. 2010 Aug 23;7:48.[3] Theoharides TC. et al. Atopic diseases and inflammation of the brain in the pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorders. Transl Psychiatry. 2016 Jun 28;6(6):e844.[4] Genuis SJ. & Bouchard TP. Celiac disease presenting as autism. J Child Neurol. 2010 Jan;25(1):114-9.[5] Ghanizadeh A. Targeting neurotensin as a potential novel approach for the treatment of autism. Journal of Neuroinflammation. 2010; 7:58.[6] Patel AB. et al. Neurotensin stimulates sortilin and mTOR in human microglia inhibitable by methoxyluteolin, a potential therapeutic target for autism. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Sep 23. pii: 201604992.----------Montén C, Torinsson Naluai Å, & Agardh D (2016). Role of pro-neurotensin as marker of paediatric celiac disease. Clinical and experimental immunology PMID: 27612962... Read more »

Montén C, Torinsson Naluai Å, & Agardh D. (2016) Role of pro-neurotensin as marker of paediatric celiac disease. Clinical and experimental immunology. PMID: 27612962  

  • September 26, 2016
  • 07:04 PM
  • 24 views

What is behavior? Baby don’t ask me, don’t ask me, no more

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll One of the most difficult concepts to explain in biology is certainly life itself. But I am not here today to talk about the definition of life, but rather of another puzzling concept: behavior. Behavior is the … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • September 26, 2016
  • 01:35 PM
  • 41 views

Why do more men than women commit suicide?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Why do more men die when they attempt suicide than women? The answer could lie in four traits, finds scientists. There are over 6,000 British lives lost to suicide each year, and nearly 75 per cent of those are male. However, research has found women are more likely to suffer from depression, and to attempt to take their own life.

... Read more »

Deshpande, G., Baxi, M., Witte, T., & Robinson, J. (2016) A Neural Basis for the Acquired Capability for Suicide. Frontiers in Psychiatry. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2016.00125  

  • September 26, 2016
  • 04:30 AM
  • 59 views

Exergaming Brings Postural Control Rehabilitation Up to a Whole New Level

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

Exergaming using the XBOX Kinect system has the potential to enhance postural control compared to standard gym-based exercise.... Read more »

  • September 26, 2016
  • 02:48 AM
  • 42 views

On HERV-H, autism, ADHD and methylphenidate?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Today's post is a bit of a mash-up including two paper: the first from Emanuela  Balestrieri and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) talking about "increased HERV-H [Human Endogenous Retroviruses - H] transcriptional activity in all autistic patients" included in their cohort (author's words not mine) and the second from D'Agati and colleagues [2] (open-access available here) describing "the reduction of HERV-H expression and the significant improvement of ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] symptoms after 6 months of methylphenidate treatment."Taken together, both papers provide some potentially important information on how those fossil viruses that litter the human genome might not be as redundant as we might have first thought. Also how some of the commonly used medications to treat/manage certain psychiatric labels might have quite a few more effects than those listed on the package insert. A shocker indeed.I've covered HERVs a few times on this blog in relation to quite a few labels (see here and see here and see here). If you've clicked on that first link, you'll know that this is not the first time that Balestrieri et al have talked about HERVs with autism in mind [2]. On that first occasion, they even went as far as proposing that "HERV-H expression be explored in larger samples of individuals with autism spectrum in order to determine its utility as a novel biological trait of this complex disorder." This time around "the transcriptional activity of three human endogenous retrovirus (HERV) families, in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs)" was examined in 30 children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and 30 asypmtomatic controls. Quantitative real-time PCR was the analytical weapon of choice, as "transcriptional levels of env of HERV families were quantitatively evaluated." As I've already mentioned, HERV-H expression showed some interesting trends compared to the not-autism controls. The authors note that this data from Albanian children is pretty much the same as what they found in Italian children diagnosed with autism.The D'Agati findings - also including Balestrieri on the authorship list - although discussing a case report on what happened to HERV-H expression following use of methlyphenidate (MPH) in relation to ADHD, might also have some implications for [some] autism. Reiterating that this was a case report where both before and after HERV-H expression levels were measured, it potentially offers a road map for how HERV-H expression might be 'affected' by the use of certain medicines. Yes, I know that researchers only measured one variable (HERV-H) and one variable/measurement does not a link make. But given the quite significant overlap between ADHD and autism (see here) and the insinuation that over-expression of HERV-H might not necessarily be a 'good thing', one could see how further [independent] studies might be informative in this area.Although slightly complicated by the fact that we are only beginning to realise how important HERVs might be to things like stem cells for example or even potentially being involved in the process of genetic deletion (see here), what is becoming clear is that these fossil viruses might be something to watch when it comes to health and wellbeing at different times of development. I've tried not to be too enthusiastic about HERVs and autism / ADHD / other (delete as appropriate) on this blog given our lack of understanding on any connection, specifically the hows and whys of any effect on either aetiology or symptoms. But it is getting harder not to wonder what role these and other mobile elements might play in development and behaviour, particularly in the context of HERVs being implicated in autoimmunity [3] (yes, that might also show a connection to some autism) and a possible role for the still emerging science of epigenetics in both HERV expression [4] and also [some] autism. There is lots more research to be done on this topic.----------[1] Balestrieri E. et al. Transcriptional activity of human endogenous retrovirus in Albanian children with autism spectrum disorders. New Microbiol. 2016 Sep;39(3):228-31.[2] D'Agati E. et al. First evidence of HERV-H transcriptional activity reduction after methylphenidate treatment in a young boy with ADHD. New Microbiol. 2016 Sep;39(3):237-9.[3] Tugnet N. et al. Human Endogenous Retroviruses (HERVs) and Autoimmune Rheumatic Disease: Is There a Link? The Open Rheumatology Journal. 2013;7:13-21.[4] Lavie L. et al. CpG methylation directly regulates transcriptional activity of the human endogenous retrovirus family HERV-K(HML-2). J Virol. 2005 Jan;79(2):876-83.----------Balestrieri E, Cipriani C, Matteucci C, Capodicasa N, Pilika A, Korca I, Sorrentino R, Argaw-Denboba A, Bucci I, Miele MT, Coniglio A, Alessandrelli R, & Sinibaldi Vallebona P (2016). Transcriptional activity of human endogenous retrovirus in Albanian children with autism spectrum disorders. The new microbiologica, 39 (3), 228-31 PMID: 27602423... Read more »

Balestrieri E, Cipriani C, Matteucci C, Capodicasa N, Pilika A, Korca I, Sorrentino R, Argaw-Denboba A, Bucci I, Miele MT.... (2016) Transcriptional activity of human endogenous retrovirus in Albanian children with autism spectrum disorders. The new microbiologica, 39(3), 228-31. PMID: 27602423  

  • September 25, 2016
  • 09:29 PM
  • 44 views

Big news in iPS cell transplants

by adam phillips in It Ain't Magic

iPS cell-derived retinal cells have been successfully transplanted from one money to another without need of immunosuppressant drugs.... Read more »

  • September 25, 2016
  • 02:57 PM
  • 63 views

Linking perception to action

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers studying how the brain uses perception of the environment to guide action offer a new understanding of the neural circuits responsible for transforming sensation into movement.

... Read more »

  • September 24, 2016
  • 06:24 PM
  • 69 views

Impacts and injury and the transition to minimalist running shoes

by Craig Payne in Running Research Junkie

Impacts and injury and the transition to minimalist running shoes... Read more »

  • September 24, 2016
  • 03:26 AM
  • 81 views

Correcting ophthalmic problems in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

'Does Correction of Strabismus Improve Quality of Life in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder?' went the title of the paper by Pinar Ozer and colleagues [1]. Yes, it may very well do was the answer (but with certain caveats and the requirement for a lot more research in this area).Strabismus, a condition where the eyes don't line up in the same direction, can sometime have some quite noticeable effects on a person's vision and indeed, has been linked to various other non-vision related symptoms and outcomes.Ozer et al looked to identify "the impact of optical or surgical correction of the strabismus on the child using a questionnaire for parents." The published research of this team has been previously discussed on this blog (see here) with ophthalmic findings in mind, and the requirement for quite a few more resources to be put into eye examinations when autism is diagnosed (see here). This time around they were discussing what happens when such eye issues are resolved.I'm not completely convinced that the Ozer findings this time around reporting 'significant improvements' in areas of "psychosocial interactions" is as it stands, a methodologically firm finding just pertinent to autism. Although no expert on strabismus, from what I gather, the 'cosmetic' side of the condition can have some far-reaching effects on 'psychosocial' functions. I daresay that such effects would be just as prevalent in autism as they are in the general population and hence, correction would likely have similar outcomes.I am more open to the idea that if strabismus is affecting vision, as in causing something like blurred or double vision, correction of the issue may in some cases have some important 'effects' in relation to autism. Accepting that structural issues with the eye are not necessarily the same as or causative of visual perceptual issues that seem to crop up quite often in the autism research arena, it is not outside the realms of possibility that something like strabismus could be part and parcel of visual effects for some people.I suppose to reiterate, screening for structural eye/vision issues when it comes to autism remains a pretty important area.To close, karate gradings for one of my brood today and this is what they will be attempting...----------[1] Ozer PA. et al. Does Correction of Strabismus Improve Quality of Life in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Results of a Parent Survey by Ophthalmologists. Semin Ophthalmol. 2016 Sep 6:1-6.----------Ozer PA, Kabatas EU, Bicer BK, Bodur S, & Kurtul BE (2016). Does Correction of Strabismus Improve Quality of Life in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Results of a Parent Survey by Ophthalmologists. Seminars in ophthalmology, 1-6 PMID: 27599387... Read more »

  • September 23, 2016
  • 04:14 PM
  • 80 views

PD-L1 expression associates with non-inactivated VHL ccRCC

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

The loss of the of the tumor suppressor gene VHL and the subsequent deregulation of VHL/HIF/VEGF signalling are known to play a role in development of clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). Renal tumours associated with BHD syndrome are histologically diverse and include a percentage of ccRCC (Pavlovich et al., 2002). Anti-angiogenic therapies targeting the VHL/HIF/VEGF pathway have emerged in past years (Rini et al., 2006) but the development of resistance to these therapeutic agents is leading to the development of a new approach based on targeted immunotherapy against immune checkpoint PD1/PDL1 to restore antitumor immune response. In a new study Kammerer-Jacquet et al. (2016) assessed a large series of 98 cases of ccRCC and correlated PDL1 expression with clinical data follow-up of up to 10 years, expression of VEGF, PAR-3, CAIX and PD-1 and complete VHL status. The authors found PD-L1 expression to be associated with non-inactivated VHL tumors and in particular wild-type VHL ccRCC. These tumors could benefit from therapies inhibiting PD-L1/PD-1.... Read more »

  • September 23, 2016
  • 07:00 AM
  • 84 views

Friday Fellow: Rosy Crust

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll If you are walking through a forest in Europe you may find the bark of some trees covered by a thin rosy or orange crust. Commonly known as rosy crust, its scientific name is Peniophora incarnata. As … Continue reading →... Read more »

Suay, I., Arenal, F,, Asensio, F. J., Basilio, A., Cabello, M. A., Díez, M. T., García, J. B., González del Val, A., Gorrochategui, J., Hernández, P.... (2000) Screening of basidiomycetes for antimicrobial activities. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, 78(2), 129-140. DOI: 10.1023/A:1026552024021  

  • September 23, 2016
  • 02:42 AM
  • 86 views

Epilepsy and systemic autoimmune diseases: birds of a feather?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A couple of years back on this blog I talked about some rather intriguing research suggesting that epilepsy and autoimmune disease might not be unstrange diagnostic bedfellows (see here) and that a "potential role of autoimmunity must be given due consideration in epilepsy." [1]Today, I'm continuing that research theme as the findings from Zhang Lin and colleagues [2] caught my eye concluding that: "There is an association between epilepsy and SAD [systemic autoimmune diseases], which was shown to be stronger at a young age."Relying on that rather important methodological tool called a meta-analysis, where various study findings are lumped together and conclusions (hopefully) derived from the whole, Lin et al included data from some 25 studies where epilepsy and SAD had been examined together "which included 10,972 patients with epilepsy (PWE) and 2,618,637 patients with SAD."Aside from those with epilepsy showing "more than a 2.5-fold increased risk of SAD" the authors also observed the opposite too: "patients with SAD were also shown to have a more than 2.5-fold increased risk of epilepsy." When it came to specifics, those diagnosed with epilepsy were observed to show "a 2.6-fold increased risk of celiac disease" and those "patients with systemic lupus erythematosus had a 4.5-fold increased risk of epilepsy."I remain intrigued about this topic. Appreciating that within the peer-reviewed literature there is such a thing as autoimmune epilepsy [3] and that even in cases of epilepsy seemingly without the autoimmune encephalitis element to it, there may be antibodies to neuronal tissue involved [4], there are perhaps some further important clinical studies to be done in this area. It is for example, not uncommon to see more than one autoimmune condition appearing at the same time (see here) as various autoimmune overlaps have been noted in the quite voluminous science literature on this topic. The implications perhaps being that if one could find some of the 'causes' behind such autoimmune issues (be that related to molecular mimicry or the presence of a superantigen for examples) one may potentially be able to treat/manage quite a few conditions.Wearing my autism research blogging hat and extending the possibility of an 'autism link' discussed on my previous post on this topic, I'd like to think there may be some scope for further inquiry with autism in mind too. Not only because epilepsy is one of the prime comorbidites attached to a diagnosis of autism (see here) but also that for some people on the autism spectrum, autoimmunity is also potentially something to contend with (see here). Should we therefore be so surprised at the possibility that autism, epilepsy and autoimmunity could form an important clinical triad for some?And with full caveats in action about not giving medical or clinical advice on this blog, there is a body of evidence out there supporting immunotherapy for certain types of epilepsy [5] where other interventions have failed. Mmm, I also wonder...----------[1] Ong MS. et al. Population-level evidence for an autoimmune etiology of epilepsy. JAMA Neurol. 2014 May;71(5):569-74.[2] Lin Z. et al. Association between epilepsy and systemic autoimmune diseases: A meta-analysis. Seizure. 2016 Aug 23;41:160-166.[3] Britton J. Autoimmune epilepsy. Handb Clin Neurol. 2016;133:219-45.[4] Wright S. et al. Neuronal antibodies in pediatric epilepsy: Clinical features and long-term outcomes of a historical cohort not treated with immunotherapy. Epilepsia. 2016 May;57(5):823-31.[5] Bello-Espinosa LE. et al. Efficacy of intravenous immunoglobulin in a cohort of children with drug-resistant epilepsy. Pediatr Neurol. 2015 May;52(5):509-16.----------Lin Z, Si Q, & Xiaoyi Z (2016). Association between epilepsy and systemic autoimmune diseases: A meta-analysis. Seizure, 41, 160-166 PMID: 27592469... Read more »

  • September 22, 2016
  • 03:14 PM
  • 112 views

Historical analysis examines sugar industry role in heart disease research

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Using archival documents, a new report examines the sugar industry's role in coronary heart disease research and suggests the industry sponsored research to influence the scientific debate to cast doubt on the hazards of sugar and to promote dietary fat as the culprit in heart disease.

... Read more »

  • September 22, 2016
  • 09:27 AM
  • 120 views

Will tardigrades get humanity into space?

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

The mighty water bear Tardigrades, aka water bears, are tiny animals that can be found just about everywhere on earth, with a slight preference for the moisture in moss. They happily amble along on their four pairs of legs and slurp up plant cells, algae, and even smaller invertebrates that can’t get away fast enough […]... Read more »

Boothby TC, Tenlen JR, Smith FW, Wang JR, Patanella KA, Nishimura EO, Tintori SC, Li Q, Jones CD, Yandell M.... (2015) Evidence for extensive horizontal gene transfer from the draft genome of a tardigrade. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(52), 15976-81. PMID: 26598659  

Koutsovoulos G, Kumar S, Laetsch DR, Stevens L, Daub J, Conlon C, Maroon H, Thomas F, Aboobaker AA, & Blaxter M. (2016) No evidence for extensive horizontal gene transfer in the genome of the tardigrade Hypsibius dujardini. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(18), 5053-8. PMID: 27035985  

Hashimoto T, Horikawa DD, Saito Y, Kuwahara H, Kozuka-Hata H, Shin-I T, Minakuchi Y, Ohishi K, Motoyama A, Aizu T.... (2016) Extremotolerant tardigrade genome and improved radiotolerance of human cultured cells by tardigrade-unique protein. Nature communications, 12808. PMID: 27649274  

  • September 22, 2016
  • 03:14 AM
  • 95 views

"Paediatricians are seeing more children with developmental-behavioural conditions"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The findings reported by Harriet Hiscock and colleagues [1] are brought to the blogging table today, specifically that suggestion that paediatricians, at least in Australia, might be encountering an increased number of "developmental/behavioural conditions" as part of their workload.Looking at the clinical experiences of some 180 paediatricians who took part in the study in late 2013 and comparing them with data from 2008, researchers probed a number of practices relating to "(i) conditions seen; (ii) consultation duration; (iii) imaging and pathology ordered; and (iv) prescribing." The details associated with seeing an increasing number of children "with developmental-behavioural conditions" included: "More paediatricians reported diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder... attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder... and intellectual disability... in first consultations."Whilst being slightly careful that 'seeing more children with developmental-behavioural conditions' is not necessarily equated with there 'being' more children with such issues, I'm inclined to suggest that such data is important. Quite a few times in the British media at least, stories have emerged about long waiting times for developmental assessments (see here for one example) and how an already stretched National Health Service (NHS) is seemingly struggling in some parts, to cope with the number of referrals coming through (see here).As part of a wider peer-reviewed and 'other' evidence base suggesting that (a) the estimated prevalence rates for autism have increased (see here) and (b) there may be a 'real' increase in 'rates of behaviour' associated with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (see here) I am becoming more and more convinced that old arguments about 'better awareness' or 'diagnostic switching' are becoming less relevant to the debate about the increasing numbers of cases of autism (see here for example).I don't doubt that as a society we are far more aware of autism than we ever were (we've even started 'screening for it' during early infancy here in Blighty) and where decades ago someone for example, might have been diagnosed with a learning disability even though they presented with autistic features so things are a little different nowadays. But the sorts of stresses and strains being placed on developmental screening and diagnostic services (particularly paediatric services) in comparison to times gone by are seemingly not comparable anymore. Even taking into account population increases and changes to the organisation of screening and diagnostic services, talk of a growing tide of children being diagnosed, or waiting to be assessed, as being on the autism spectrum is something that really should be prompting a lot more urgency and action. I might also add that arguments about better clinical awareness - did they really miss all those children? - really do a disservice to those who have been skillfully diagnosing autism for many years. Value our experts!And alongside the talk about children being diagnosed, adult services too are also under a lot more pressure these days...----------[1] Hiscock H. et al. Trends in paediatric practice in Australia: 2008 and 2013 national audits from the Australian Paediatric Research Network. J Paediatr Child Health. 2016 Sep 4.----------Hiscock H, Danchin MH, Efron D, Gulenc A, Hearps S, Freed GL, Perera P, & Wake M (2016). Trends in paediatric practice in Australia: 2008 and 2013 national audits from the Australian Paediatric Research Network. Journal of paediatrics and child health PMID: 27594610... Read more »

  • September 21, 2016
  • 12:35 PM
  • 101 views

Protect kids from toxic secondhand smoke, experts urge

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

It's advice most smokers with children probably take lightly, but they shouldn't. Parents and policy advocates should take a "zero tolerance" approach to exposing children to secondhand cigarette smoke, which can be responsible for lifelong cardiovascular consequences in addition to respiratory and other health issues.

... Read more »

  • September 21, 2016
  • 11:46 AM
  • 99 views

Brain Imaging: UK Biobank Epidemiology Study

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

I wanted to alert Brain Posts readers to a very important ongoing study out of the United Kingdom.The UK Biobank prospective epidemiological study is a study designed to identify imaging markers for a wide variety of diseases. Additionally, a goal of the study is to better understand disease mechanisms.Here is what is being collected on 100,000 healthy participants who will be tracked over decades:Brain structural and functional imaging (fMRI)Brain diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)Neuropsychological testing, i.e. cognitionBody and cardiac imagingGeneticsLifestyle informationBiomarker phenotypingHealth recordsThis ambitious study reminds me of the Framingham study in the U.S. that helped identify a group of risk factors for cardiac and vascular disease.Some early results from the UK Biobank study of early 5,000 subjects has been published in Nature Neuroscience.The manuscript shows that the UK Biobank will be a powerful resource in replicating other studies. They reported a initial attempt to replicate an Austrian Stroke Prevention study (ASPS) finding. The UK Biobank data analysis demonstrated changes in brain gray matter on T2* imaging linked to older age, smoking and increased BMI. This finding is felt to demonstrate increased brain iron accumulation with aging and degeneration.The UK Biobank data results were "highly concordant with the ASPS".I highly recommend reviewing this early manuscript in the UK Biobank Epidemiological Study.  Readers can access the free full-text manuscript by clicking on the PMID link in the citation below. It features a review of the methodology of the study. Numerous important research findings will emerge from this study in the years and decades to come.The Brits are to be congratulated on such an important and costly effort.Image of brain is an iPad screen shot from the iPad app 3D Brain.Follow me on Twitter WRY999Miller KL, Alfaro-Almagro F, Bangerter NK, Thomas DL, Yacoub E, Xu J, Bartsch AJ, Jbabdi S, Sotiropoulos SN, Andersson JL, Griffanti L, Douaud G, Okell TW, Weale P, Dragonu I, Garratt S, Hudson S, Collins R, Jenkinson M, Matthews PM, & Smith SM (2016). Multimodal population brain imaging in the UK Biobank prospective epidemiological study. Nature neuroscience PMID: 27643430... Read more »

Miller KL, Alfaro-Almagro F, Bangerter NK, Thomas DL, Yacoub E, Xu J, Bartsch AJ, Jbabdi S, Sotiropoulos SN, Andersson JL.... (2016) Multimodal population brain imaging in the UK Biobank prospective epidemiological study. Nature neuroscience. PMID: 27643430  

  • September 21, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 95 views

Interracial marriage is more accepted in 2016, except for those who find it “icky”

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We’ve written about American attitudes toward interracial marriage a fair amount here and (at least once) questioned poll results suggesting dramatic improvement in attitudes toward  interracial marriage among Americans (an 87% approval rating?!). While interracial relationships may be more acceptable to many more Americans, there is also the recent report of an attack on an […]

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Where are racism and sexism in 2016? They haven’t gone  anywhere….... Read more »

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