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  • July 24, 2014
  • 11:45 AM
  • 7 views

July 24, 2014

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

How many times can you say the word “gonad” in a sentence without giggling? If the answer is one, then I congratulate you on turning thirteen. If the answer is many, then you must be a biologist. Biologists appreciate the value of a good gonad, and so should you. The gonad of the worm C. elegans serves as an important model in which to study tissue organization and development, as you’ll see in the paper that accompanies today’s image. At the end of cell division, cytokinesis typically results in two separate daughter cells. Some cytokinesis, though, is incomplete and leads to two daughter cells sharing cytoplasm. This shared cytoplasm, or syncytium, can be found in the germ cells of many species from worms to humans. The germline of the worm C. elegans is a polarized tube in which germ cells are arranged around the shared cytoplasmic core and move along a conveyer belt of oocyte production. Amini and colleagues recently reported on the formation of the syncytial C. elegans germline throughout development, and the role of the short Anillin family scaffold protein ANI-2. ANI-2 is localized to the intercellular bridges that connect the germ cells to the shared cytoplasm, and loss of ANI-2 results in destabilization of intercellular bridges and sterility. The defects seen in worms lacking ANI-2 are likely due to a loss of the stability and elasticity of the intercellular bridges that is required to compensate for the stress of cytoplasmic streaming during oogenesis. Images above show the germlines of wild-type and ani-2(-) worms at different larval stages (membranes in green; nuclei in red). Worms lacking ANI-2 have abnormal multinucleated germ cells (arrowheads). Amini, R., Goupil, E., Labella, S., Zetka, M., Maddox, A., Labbe, J., & Chartier, N. (2014). C. elegans Anillin proteins regulate intercellular bridge stability and germline syncytial organization originally published in the Journal of Cell Biology, 206 (1), 129-143 DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201310117... Read more »

Amini, R., Goupil, E., Labella, S., Zetka, M., Maddox, A., Labbe, J., & Chartier, N. (2014) C. elegans Anillin proteins regulate intercellular bridge stability and germline syncytial organization. originally published in the Journal of Cell Biology, 206(1), 129-143. DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201310117  

  • July 24, 2014
  • 04:14 AM
  • 46 views

Prenatal valproate exposure and brains

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Amanda Wood and colleagues [1] (open-access) makes a potentially very important contribution to the growing literature looking at how prenatal exposure to sodium valproate (VPA) may affect some children. Authors reported on: "regional structural cortical brain changes in humans exposed to VPA in utero" and specifically, increased cortical thickness in the left inferior frontal gyrus.Lightning and lava @ Oliver Spalt @ Wikipedia In case you need any background on the story behind pregnancy exposure to VPA, I would direct you to a few previous posts where the topic has been covered on this blog (see here and see here) with an autism slant. You might also read my small contribution to a more formal article on this topic here.Outside of any reported elevated risk of offspring autism or autistic traits associated with prenatal VPA exposure, I'm also minded to bring in some interesting work on intestinal inflammation being reported in a VPA mouse model (see here) to further highlight that important gut-brain axis which I seem to be a little obsessed with.The Wood paper is open-access and has some accompanying media coverage but a few pointers might be useful...Following other work by the authors on this topic [2] the idea behind this latest research was to apply the science of neuroimaging to a participant group comprising 16 children exposed to VPA in-utero compared with age- and sex-matched children not exposed to such pharmaceutics prenatally.MRI scans were taken and analysed and "whole brain group differences" assessed. Results: well, as discussed, there were some findings in terms of cortical thickness but also specifically with language skills in mind. To quote again: "Asymmetry of cortical thickness in the inferior frontal lobes was seen in controls but not cases". I understand that this finding might have some relevance to language processing [3] although set my non-expert stall out on such matters. As per that previous link [2] and other evidence [4], language functions in VPA exposed children tend to poorer compared to controls and to those exposed to other anti-convulsant medication during the nine months that made us. This last point on different medications potentially carrying different risk profiles [5] is something equally interesting.Allowing for the relatively small participant groups studied and the lack of any other research parameter such as looking at accompanying brain chemistry which may be important [6], the Wood paper offers some intriguing insights into how pregnancy VPA use might affect infant brain development. The very important detail of analysis being based on real human children and not rat offspring also invites some further examination of previous results based on rodents [7]. Rats are rats, children are children.I'm going to leave you with a quote from the authors about their study: "VPA remains an important medication for people with epilepsy. What this study really tells us is that further research is required so that all women with epilepsy can make informed decisions about their medication use during pregnancy". I couldn't agree more, and as per the Treating for Two initiative, I'm not the only one.Music then... HRH Gaga and Just Dance.----------[1] Wood AG. et al. Altered cortical thickness following prenatal sodium valproate exposure. Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology. 2014. July 3. doi: 10.1002/acn3.74[2] Nadebaum C. et al. Language skills of school-aged children prenatally exposed to antiepileptic drugs. Neurology. 2011 Feb 22;76(8):719-26.[3] Powell HWR. et al. Hemispheric asymmetries in language-related pathways: A combined functional MRI and tractography study. NeuroImage. 2006; 32: 388-399.[4] Shallcross R. et al. In utero exposure to levetiracetam vs valproate: development and language at 3 years of age. Neurology. 2014 Jan 21;82(3):213-21.[5] Vajda FJE. et al. The teratogenicity of the newer antiepileptic drugs – an update. Acta Neurol Scand. 2014. July 18[6] Almeida LE. et al. Increased BDNF expression in fetal brain in the valproic acid model of autism. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2014 Mar;59:57-62.[7] Mychasiuk R. et al. Effects of rat prenatal exposure to valproic acid on behaviour and neuro-anatomy. Dev Neurosci. 2012;34(2-3):268-76.----------Wood, A., Chen, J., Barton, S., Nadebaum, C., Anderson, V., Catroppa, C., Reutens, D., O'Brien, T., & Vajda, F. (2014). Altered cortical thickness following prenatal sodium valproate exposure Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology DOI: 10.1002/acn3.74... Read more »

Wood, A., Chen, J., Barton, S., Nadebaum, C., Anderson, V., Catroppa, C., Reutens, D., O'Brien, T., & Vajda, F. (2014) Altered cortical thickness following prenatal sodium valproate exposure. Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology. DOI: 10.1002/acn3.74  

  • July 23, 2014
  • 05:51 PM
  • 78 views

Lanthanum-Based Perovskite Materials to Improve Fuel Cells

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Scientists at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) have studied the effects of using lanthanum-based perovskite ceramic contact materials in solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs).... Read more »

  • July 23, 2014
  • 05:05 PM
  • 80 views

Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV), ER stress, and Apoptosis

by thelonevirologist in Virology Tidbits

Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV) is a causative agent of acute encephalitis in humans, and being an arthropod borne virus transmitted predominately by mosquitoes ( that primarily target domestic animals and humans, with an estimated mortality of up to 70000 deaths reported per annum. Upon infection the viral proteins localise to the ER where they induce the ER stress which eventually induces Caspase dependent apoptosis.
... Read more »

Unni SK, Růžek D, Chhatbar C, Mishra R, Johri MK, & Singh SK. (2011) Japanese encephalitis virus: from genome to infectome. Microbes and infection / Institut Pasteur, 13(4), 312-21. PMID: 21238600  

Cui J, Counor D, Shen D, Sun G, He H, Deubel V, & Zhang S. (2008) Detection of Japanese encephalitis virus antibodies in bats in Southern China. The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene, 78(6), 1007-11. PMID: 18541785  

Mori Y, Okabayashi T, Yamashita T, Zhao Z, Wakita T, Yasui K, Hasebe F, Tadano M, Konishi E, Moriishi K.... (2005) Nuclear localization of Japanese encephalitis virus core protein enhances viral replication. Journal of virology, 79(6), 3448-58. PMID: 15731239  

Uchil PD, Kumar AV, & Satchidanandam V. (2006) Nuclear localization of flavivirus RNA synthesis in infected cells. Journal of virology, 80(11), 5451-64. PMID: 16699025  

Ghosh Roy S, Sadigh B, Datan E, Lockshin RA, & Zakeri Z. (2014) Regulation of cell survival and death during Flavivirus infections. World journal of biological chemistry, 5(2), 93-105. PMID: 24921001  

Lu, M., Lawrence, D., Marsters, S., Acosta-Alvear, D., Kimmig, P., Mendez, A., Paton, A., Paton, J., Walter, P., & Ashkenazi, A. (2014) Opposing unfolded-protein-response signals converge on death receptor 5 to control apoptosis. Science, 345(6192), 98-101. DOI: 10.1126/science.1254312  

Han J, Back SH, Hur J, Lin YH, Gildersleeve R, Shan J, Yuan CL, Krokowski D, Wang S, Hatzoglou M.... (2013) ER-stress-induced transcriptional regulation increases protein synthesis leading to cell death. Nature cell biology, 15(5), 481-90. PMID: 23624402  

  • July 23, 2014
  • 03:43 PM
  • 74 views

Physicians face difficult choices when treating patients with bipolar and obsessive compulsive disorders

by Valerie Ashton in The Molecular Scribe

New research suggests patients with both bipolar disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder should receive treatments for bipolar disorder alone. Bipolar and obsessive compulsive disorder therapies taken together can cause worsening of disease symptoms, making it difficult for physicians to treat both conditions. This is a concern as over 1 in 5 patients with bipolar disorder develop obsessive compulsive disorder during their lifetime.... Read more »

  • July 23, 2014
  • 01:21 PM
  • 79 views

Voyager has hit interstellar space…. maybe?

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Poor Voyager, he just can’t catch a break. We’ve said it’s hit interstellar space more times than we want to admit and in 2012, the Voyager mission team announced that […]... Read more »

G. Gloeckler, & L. A. Fisk. (2014) A test for whether or not Voyager 1 has crossed the heliopause. Geophysical Research Letters. info:/10.1002/2014GL060781

  • July 23, 2014
  • 01:13 PM
  • 78 views

Preregistration for All Medical Animal Research

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Writing in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation, three Dutch researchers say that All preclinical trials should be registered in advance in an online registry Citing the fact that all clinical trials are (in theory) already registered, authors Jansen of Lorkeers et al say that the system should be extended to cover preclinical medical research, […]The post Preregistration for All Medical Animal Research appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Jansen of Lorkeers, S., Doevendans, P., & Chamuleau, S. (2014) All preclinical trials should be registered in advance in an online registry. European Journal of Clinical Investigation. DOI: 10.1111/eci.12299  

  • July 23, 2014
  • 12:46 PM
  • 86 views

As a butterfly flaps its wings in Tokyo, a neuron in your head veers slightly heavenward…

by neuroecology in Neuroecology

When you look at the edge of a table, there is a neuron in your head that goes from silence to pop pop pop. As you extend your arm, a nerve commanding the muscle does the same thing. Your retina has neurons whose firing rate goes up or down depending on whether it detects a light spot […]... Read more »

Churchland, M., Cunningham, J., Kaufman, M., Foster, J., Nuyujukian, P., Ryu, S., & Shenoy, K. (2012) Neural population dynamics during reaching. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature11129  

Shenoy KV, Sahani M, & Churchland MM. (2013) Cortical control of arm movements: a dynamical systems perspective. Annual review of neuroscience, 337-59. PMID: 23725001  

  • July 23, 2014
  • 11:54 AM
  • 79 views

The Adolescent Dog: One Last Chance?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A synthesis of the latest research on social influences on development suggests adolescence is an important time for mammals – including dogs.Photo: dezi / ShutterstockMost people are familiar with the idea of a sensitive period for puppies that ends around 12 or 14 weeks. Is it possible that adolescence is also an important period for brain development and future behaviour?Social experience plays an important role in shaping animal behaviour throughout development according to Sachser et al (2013). They consider the way the environment influences the mother and, in turn, the behaviour of her offspring (e.g. through stress hormones). This ensures the offspring is prepared for that environment as adults. While the paper looks at the prenatal period right through to adolescence, it is the section on adolescent animals that is of most interest. They write that “the adolescent phase may provide a last chance for correction if the future environment deviates from that predicted in earlier phases.”Most developmental research has focussed on pregnancy and the period shortly after birth. During this time, maternal hormones and behaviour have a large impact on the development of offspring. However, some parts of the brain are still plastic (i.e. able to change and develop) into adulthood. This includes the hippocampus and amygdala.   The scientists say, “There is increasing evidence that adolescence, that is, the gradual transition from childhood to adulthood, also represents an additional sensitive period (beyond the prenatal and early postnatal periods) in which behavioural profiles are routinely and profoundly shaped by social events.”The potential for change during adolescence is necessary, they argue, because sometimes there will be a mismatch between the conditions in which the offspring is born and experiences very early life, and the environment in which it matures. In particular, they suggest future studies should examine the effects of this kind of mismatch, in order to find out more about this stage of development.One example of the influence of the social environment in adolescence can be found in guinea pigs. If they spend their adolescence in colonies that include both males and females, they develop good social skills. As adults, they are able to get on with other guinea pigs in the colony without being aggressive; they are also able to become part of a new colony with unfamiliar guinea pigs. However, if they spend adolescence as part of a male-female pair, they become aggressive to unfamiliar males. Thus, the adolescent experiences have shaped adult behaviour. The research considered by Sachser et al is mainly about mice, guinea pigs and wild cavies, but these ideas are thought to apply to the mammalian brain in general. They tie in with work on plasticity in the human brain. For example, Dr. Bruce Perry (2006) says that “important neurodevelopmental processes continue to take place throughout childhood and adolescence as the brain’s systems become more complex. Major cortical restructuring and myelination continue into early adult life.” Writing about the implications for dogs, Riemer et al (2014) say,  “… a major reorganisation of the central nervous system occurs during puberty, and there is growing evidence that adolescence can be considered as an additional sensitive period (beyond the prenatal and early postnatal periods), with profound effects on future behaviour (reviewed in Sachser et al 2013). There is evidence that steroid-dependent adolescent brain and behavioural development can be modified by social experience. Thus, experiences after the first sensitive period of socialisation, and in particular during adolescence, will also play an important role in determining the adult animal's behaviour.” This is good news for poorly socialized adolescent dogs, as it means there is still an important window of opportunity in which to improve their behaviour. This is an age at which many dogs are surrendered to rescue organizations because they are no longer cute puppies and their increased size means their behaviour has become problematic. A better understanding of development during this stage would therefore benefit many dogs.So does this research mean we don’t need to worry about puppy socialization anymore? Absolutely not! This is the most important time for ensuring your puppy will grow up to be a calm, friendly adult dog. (For suggestions, see this excellent article by Anne Springer on ‘five things you can do to bite proof your puppy’). However, if you have an adolescent dog that hasn’t been socialized, it means it would be a good idea to build positive socialization experiences into their training plan.Not enough is known about canine development, and more research is needed to confirm the biological and behavioural changes that take place during adolescence. We look forward to learning more about this important stage of development. The papers by Sachser et al (2013) and Riemer et al (2014) are open access and can be read at the links below.What was your dog like as an adolescent?ReferencesPerry, Bruce D. and Szalavitz, Maia (2006) The boy who was raised as a dog and other stories from a child psychiatrist’s notebook. NY: Basic Books.Riemer, S., Müller, C., Virányi, Z., Huber, L., & Range, F. (2014). The Predictive Value of Early Behavioural Assessments in Pet Dogs – A Longitudinal Study from Neonates to Adults PLoS ONE, 9 (7) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101237 ... Read more »

  • July 23, 2014
  • 10:22 AM
  • 38 views

What the textbooks don't tell you - one of psychology's most famous experiments was seriously flawed

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

Zimbardo speaking in '09Conducted in 1971, the Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE) has acquired a mythical status and provided the inspiration for at least two feature-length films. You'll recall that several university students allocated to the role of jailor turned brutal and the study had to be aborted prematurely. Philip Zimbardo, the experiment's lead investigator, says the lesson from the research is that in certain situations, good people readily turn bad. "If you put good apples into a bad situation, you’ll get bad apples," he has written.The SPE was criticised back in the 70s, but that criticism has noticeably escalated and widened in recent years. New details to emerge show that Zimbardo played a key role in encouraging his "guards" to behave in tyrannical fashion. Critics have pointed out that only one third of guards behaved sadistically (this argues against the overwhelming power of the situation). Question marks have also been raised about the self-selection of particular personality types into the study. Moreover, in 2002, the social psychologists Steve Reicher and Alex Haslam conducted the BBC Prison Study to test the conventional interpretation of the SPE. The researchers deliberately avoided directing their participants as Zimbardo had his, and this time it was the prisoners who initially formed a strong group identity and overthrew the guards.Given that the SPE has been used to explain modern-day atrocities, such as at Abu Ghraib, and given that nearly two million students are enrolled in introductory psychology courses in the US, Richard Greggs, professor emeritus at the University of Florida, says "it is especially important that coverage of it in our texts be accurate."So, have the important criticisms and reinterpretations of the SPE been documented by key introductory psychology textbooks? Greggs analysed the content of 13 leading US introductory psychology textbooks, all of which have been revised in recent years, including:  Discovering Psychology (Cacioppo and Freberg, 2012); Psychological Science (Gazzaniga et al, 2012); and Psychology (Schacter et al, 2011).Of the 13 analysed texts, 11 dealt with the Stanford Prison Experiment, providing between one to seven paragraphs of coverage. Nine included photographic support for the coverage. Five provided no criticism of the SPE at all. The other six provided only cursory criticism, mostly focused on the questionable ethics of the study. Only two texts mentioned the BBC Prison Study. Only one text provided a formal scholarly reference to a critique of the SPE.Why do the principal psychology introductory textbooks, at least in the US, largely ignore the wide range of important criticisms of the SPE? Greggs didn't approach the authors of the texts so he can't know for sure. He thinks it unlikely that ignorance is the answer. Perhaps the authors are persuaded by Zimbardo's answers to his critics, says Greggs, but even so, surely the criticisms should be mentioned and referenced. Another possibility is that textbook authors are under pressure to shorten their texts, but surely they are also under pressure to keep them up-to-date.It would be interesting to compare coverage of the SPE in European introductory texts. Certainly there are contemporary books by British psychologists that do provide more in-depth critical coverage of the SPE.Greggs' advice for textbook authors is to position coverage of the SPE in the research methods chapter (instead of under social psychology), and to use the experiment's flaws as a way to introduce students to key issues such as ecological validity, ethics, demand characteristics and subsequent conflicting results. "In sum," he writes, "the SPE and its criticisms comprise a solid thread to weave numerous research concepts together into a good 'story' that would not only enhance student learning but also lead students to engage in critical thinking about the research process and all of the possible pitfalls along the way."_________________________________ Griggs, R. (2014). Coverage of the Stanford Prison Experiment in Introductory Psychology Textbooks Teaching of Psychology, 41 (3), 195-203 DOI: 10.1177/0098628314537968 --further reading--Foundations of sand? The lure of academic myths and their place in classic psychologyImage credit: Jdec/WikipediaPost written by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.
... Read more »

  • July 23, 2014
  • 09:38 AM
  • 22 views

Video Tip of the Week: Nowomics, set up alert feeds for new data

by Mary in OpenHelix

Yeah, I know you know. There’s a lot of genomics and proteomics data coming out every day–some of it in the traditional publication route, but some of it isn’t–and it’s only getting harder and harder to wrangle the useful information to access the signal from the noise.  I can remember when merely looking through the […]... Read more »

Acland A., T. Barrett, J. Beck, D. A. Benson, C. Bollin, E. Bolton, S. H. Bryant, K. Canese, D. M. Church, & K. Clark. (2014) Database resources of the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Nucleic Acids Research, 42(D1). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkt1146  

  • July 23, 2014
  • 08:00 AM
  • 19 views

Let's Get Loud

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Loud noises are common in nature. New research is giving clues as to how and why animals make such noise. A new study investigates the reasons that howler monkeys howl. Protection and marking territory are main reasons, including for protection of infants or feeding areas.

A slightly older study notes that blue whale song has become lower in pitch since the whaling ban. The authors suggest that the reason for this may be that males don’t have to sing as loud (higher frequencies are louder) because there are more females. The other hypothesis is that more human noise requires them to use lower frequencies to hear each other.
... Read more »

  • July 23, 2014
  • 07:01 AM
  • 41 views

Seeing Red: A New Way To Predict Preeclampsia

by Rebekah Morrow in United Academics

New Congo red test predicts development of preeclampsia with pregnant women. A large collaboration of scientists recently reported a new method of determining which women would develop preeclampsia. Urine samples were collected from more than 600 patients and mixed with a dye called Congo red. Congo red stains large clumps of proteins, but doesn’t mark smaller separate proteins.... Read more »

Buhimschi IA, Nayeri UA, Zhao G, Shook LL, Pensalfini A, Funai EF, Bernstein IM, Glabe CG, & Buhimschi CS. (2014) Protein misfolding, congophilia, oligomerization, and defective amyloid processing in preeclampsia. Science translational medicine, 6(245). PMID: 25031267  

Whitehead, N. (2014) Proteins and a pregnancy woe. Science, 345(6194), 249-249. DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6194.249  

  • July 23, 2014
  • 06:57 AM
  • 78 views

Top-of-atmosphere contribution to unforced variability in global temperature

by Ed Hawkins in Climate Lab Book

As the attention received by the ‘global warming hiatus’ demonstrates, global mean surface temperature (T) variability on decadal timescales is of great interest to both the general public and to scientists. Here, I will discuss a recently published paper (Brown … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • July 23, 2014
  • 05:00 AM
  • 52 views

Might you like a water mite named after you?

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

In light of the new water mite named after pop star Jennifer Lopez, we take a funny look at other critters named after celebrities.... Read more »

  • July 23, 2014
  • 03:46 AM
  • 56 views

Trauma and PTSD raise risk of autoimmune disorders?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I admit to some head scratching when I first read the paper by Aoife O’Donovan and colleagues [1] reporting that among war veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, "trauma exposure and PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] may increase risk of autoimmune disorders".It wasn't that I didn't believe the results, but rather that the idea that a physical event with a psychological consequence could impact on a somatic condition with an autoimmune element to it seemed to open up some new avenues particularly pertinent to this blog and its focus on psychology and biology intersecting. That there may be consequences for other conditions from the O'Donovan findings was something else that piqued my interest.Sunset in Rio @ BBC 1Anyway, a few details first:A retrospective study based on the analysis of several thousands of medical records of US troops deployed into active theatre in Iraq or Afghanistan was the study starting point. The idea being that outside of PTSD being "associated with endocrine and immune abnormalities" [2] there may be more to see when it comes to autoimmune disease - conditions characterised by a breakdown in the immune system distinguishing self from other. The types of autoimmune disorder included for study ranged from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to lupus erythematosus.From an initial cohort of 666,269 veterans, 203,766 (30%) were diagnosed with PTSD and just shy of 20% were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder other than PTSD. Comparing those with PTSD with those without, authors reported a "significantly higher adjusted relative risk (ARR) for diagnosis with any of the autoimmune disorders alone or in combination compared to veterans with no psychiatric diagnoses... and compared to veterans diagnosed with psychiatric disorders other than PTSD".Both men and women with PTSD seemed to be equally affected by autoimmune disorders. Military sexual trauma exposure was also "independently associated with increased risk in both men and women" of autoimmune disorders.The first thing that struck me about the O'Donovan findings was the observation that nearly a third of all veterans were diagnosed with PTSD. I've talked before about concepts like shell shock and how thousands of troops suffered psychological trauma during the First World War (see here). In the modern era where trench warfare has to some extent been overtaken by the digital battlefield, it appears that the psychological harms of war still persist and still inflict a terrible burden.As intrigued as I was about the PTSD - autoimmune disorder connection included in the O'Donovan paper, a quick trawl through some of the other research in this area tells me this is not the first time that such an association has been made. The results from Boscarino [3] hinted that "chronic sufferers of PTSD may be at risk for autoimmune diseases" based on an analysis of Vietnam war veterans. The comparison between veterans who operated in different theatres of conflict (Iraq/Afghanistan vs. Vietnam) also to some degree negates any individual geographical effect from the war zone itself as influencing the results. The paper by Zung and colleagues [4] looking at paediatric type 1 diabetes frequency and psychological stress associated with the 2006 Lebanon War concluded that war trauma might play a role in the increased numbers of cases situated near the conflict. One wonders what the outcome of current events might be too. Such data also implies that age and occupation (i.e. a military career) are not going to be able to account for the PTSD - autoimmunity link either.So then to the question of what mechanism might be driving this association. Outside of the general area of immune response and something like inflammation [5], the paper by Sommershof and colleagues [6] reported data pointing to a "profoundly altered composition of the peripheral T cell compartment [which] might cause a state of compromised immune responsiveness" in relation to traumatic stress and physical health. I'm no expert on T cells but I gather that they do play an important role in the issue of autoimmunity [7] (open-access) so perhaps there is more research to do there. O'Donovan et al also list "lifestyle factors" as also influencing the trauma exposure / PTSD - autoimmune disease relationship which brings into play a whole host of issues ranging from drug and/or alcohol abuse to less extreme environmental factors. I'd also be minded to suggest that culturally-related issues might also play a role in any relationship as per studies like the one from Whealin and colleagues [8] talking about "risk and resilience correlates of PTSD" as a function of ethnicity. I might also draw your attention to the important paper by Alessio Fasano on gut permeability and autoimmune disease [9] which might very well link PTSD to other physiological events as per other descriptions [10].Whichever way you look at the O'Donovan paper, their findings present some stark facts about caring for war veterans. They also emphasise how war really can be hell.----------[1] O'Donovan A. et al. Elevated Risk For Autoimmune Disorders In Iraq And Afghanistan Veterans With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Biological Psychiatry. 2014. June 28.[2] Pace TW. & Heim CM. A short review on the psychoneuroimmunology of posttraumatic stress disorder: from risk factors to medical comorbidities. Brain Behav Immun. 2011 Jan;25(1):6-13.[3] Boscarino JA. Posttraumatic stress disorder and physical illness: results from clinical and epidemiologic studies. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2004 Dec;1032:141-53.[4] Zung A. et al. Increase in the incidence of type 1 diabetes in Israeli children following the Second Lebanon War. Pediatr Diabetes. 2012 Jun;13(4):326-33.[5] Tursich M. et al. Association of trauma exposure with proinflammatory activity: a transdiagnostic meta-analysis. Translational Psychiatry. 2014. July 22.[6] Sommershof A. et al. Substantial reduction of naïve and regulatory T cells following traumatic stress. Brain Behav Immun. 2009 Nov;23(8):1117-24.[7] Dejaco C. et al. Imbalance of regulatory T cells in human autoimmune diseases. Immunology. Mar 2006; 117: 289–300.[8] Whealin JM. et al. Evaluating PTSD prevalence and resilience factors in a predominantly Asian American and Pacific Islander sample of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. J Affect Disord. 2013 Sep 25;150(3):1062-8.[9] Fa... Read more »

  • July 23, 2014
  • 12:05 AM
  • 30 views

Despite the Hype: Many Former NFL Athletes May Have Normal Neurological Function and Structure

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

Neuropsychological impairments were found in some retired NFL players; however, the majority of retired NFL players had no clinical signs of chronic brain damage. Some retired players had lesions found on brain imaging tests and these were associated with the number of previous concussions.... Read more »

  • July 22, 2014
  • 11:20 PM
  • 35 views

Heroes and Villains: Banal or Special People? Part 2 of 2

by Scott McGreal in Eye on Psych

According to Zimbardo and colleagues, both heroic acts and evil acts occur primarily in response to situational factors, rather than internal features of the person. However, on closer inspection, the situationist analysis provides inconsistent accounts of how each of these occurs. Evil actions are attributed to factors entirely outside the person, while heroism relies on the person’s inner qualities.... Read more »

  • July 22, 2014
  • 06:47 PM
  • 44 views

When Crazy becomes a Crime

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

My friend has a glass eye, you would never notice and unless you knew the story you might not think anything of it. His older brother did it. Yes, you […]... Read more »

Dana Goldman,, John Fastenau,, Riad Dirani,, Eric Hellend,, Geoff Joyce,, Ryan Conrad,, & Darius Lakdawalla,. (2014) Medicaid Prior Authorization Policies and Imprisonment Among Patients With Schizophrenia. The American Journal of Managed Care, 20(7). info:/2014;20(7):577-586

  • July 22, 2014
  • 03:38 PM
  • 27 views

Cheaper Platinum-Yttrium Fuel Cell Catalyst Developed

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Researchers at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) report that they have developed a platinum-yttrium fuel cell catalyst which is stable, more active and less expensive than the existing platinum catalysts.... Read more »

Patricia Hernandez-Fernandez, Federico Masini, David N. McCarthy, Christian E. Strebel, Daniel Friebel, Davide Deiana, Paolo Malacrida, Anders Nierhoff, Anders Bodin, Anna M. Wise, Jane H. Nielsen, Thomas W. Hansen, Anders Nilsson, Ifan E. L. . (2014) Mass-selected nanoparticles of PtxY as model catalysts for ​oxygen electroreduction. Nature Chemistry. info:/10.1038/nchem.2001

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