Increased sea temperature due to climate change can influence the distribution, abundance and seasonal timing of zooplankton. Changing zooplankton dynamics might in turn impact the higher trophic levels, such as fish and seabirds, feeding on these animals. In a recent paper, we show that temperature variation in the Atlantic waters of the Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea might have stronger effects on the abundance of the younger than older development stages of Calanus finmarchicus, and that these stages might appear earlier in spring during warm years.
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Kvile, K., Dalpadado, P., Orlova, E., Stenseth, N., & Stige, L. (2014) Temperature effects on Calanus finmarchicus vary in space, time and between developmental stages. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 85-104. DOI: 10.3354/meps11024
Biostars is a site for asking, answering and discussing bioinformatics questions and issues. We are members of the community and find it very useful. Often questions and answers arise at Biostars that are germane to our readers (end users of genomics resources). Every Thursday we will be highlighting one of those items or discussions here […]... Read more »
Forrest Alistair R. R., Michael Rehli, J. Kenneth Baillie, Michiel J. L. de Hoon, Vanja Haberle, Timo Lassmann, Ivan V. Kulakovskiy, Marina Lizio, Masayoshi Itoh, & Robin Andersson. (2014) A promoter-level mammalian expression atlas. Nature, 507(7493), 462-470. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature13182
Severin Jessica, Jayson Harshbarger, Hideya Kawaji, Carsten O Daub, Yoshihide Hayashizaki, Nicolas Bertin, & Alistair R R Forrest. (2014) Interactive visualization and analysis of large-scale sequencing datasets using ZENBU. Nature Biotechnology, 32(3), 217-219. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nbt.2840
The holiday season is upon us, and that means that many of us are thinking about gifts. As I’ve been wrapping the presents I’ve bought for my family, I’ve been […]... Read more »
King, J. (2004) Grave-Goods as Gifts in Early Saxon Burials (ca. AD 450-600). Journal of Social Archaeology, 4(2), 214-238. DOI: 10.1177/1469605304041076
"Increased autistic characteristics found in adults with epilepsy without an ASD [autism spectrum disorder] diagnosis suggest that epilepsy syndromes may incorporate behavioral aspects of autism in the absence of some of its core cognitive features."Contrariwise, if you think we're alive you ought to speak to us.That was the intriguing finding reported by Sally Ann Wakeford and colleagues  who examined test performance on the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) and "systemizing and empathizing abilities" in a small-ish sample of adults with epilepsy compared with those without epilepsy. They found that: "Significantly more autistic behavioral traits, as measured by the AQ, were related to having epilepsy" but those systemising (UK spelling) and empathising abilities did not differ between the groups. The AQ, as I've indicated in previous posts, is a self-report measure and not necessarily autism-specific in terms of the features being described, so one has to be slightly cautious from this angle. But please don't let that detract from the interesting suggestion being reported...Autism and epilepsy is an association which goes back quite a few years. Not only is epilepsy one of the more frequently reported comorbidities suggested to follow at least some diagnoses of autism (see here), epilepsy and autism co-occurring in certain situations, also provides some of the strongest evidence yet that the plural autisms might be a better definition than the catch-all categorisation that we currently use (see here). Dare I even direct you also to the preliminary research talking about joint intervention for autism and epilepsy too?Insofar as the connection between autism and epilepsy, the Wakeford results might also imply that the genetics and biology of autism (some autism) and epilepsy (some epilepsy) might also show some kind of interplay with one and another. From me, this could imply that the research by Ong and colleagues  talking about a heightened risk of epilepsy in those with autoimmune disorders (see here for my take), might also extend into autism as per quite the increasing body of peer-reviewed literature talking about autoimmunity and [some] autism.I'm also minded to suggest that despite the lack of a relationship between epilepsy and the core cognitive features of autism, I wouldn't yet rule out more subtle presentation as uniting the two diagnostic concepts .Music then... Pharrell Williams - Gust of Wind.---------- Wakeford S. et al. Autistic characteristics in adults with epilepsy. Epilepsy Behav. 2014 Oct 30;41C:203-207. Ong MS. et al. Population-level evidence for an autoimmune etiology of epilepsy. JAMA Neurol. 2014 May;71(5):569-74. Kavanaugh BC. et al. Parent-rated emotional–behavioral and executive functioning in childhood epilepsy. Epilepsy & Behavior. 2015; 42: 22-28.----------Wakeford S, Hinvest N, Ring H, & Brosnan M (2014). Autistic characteristics in adults with epilepsy. Epilepsy & behavior : E&B, 41C, 203-207 PMID: 25461216... Read more »
Metabolic syndrome is linked with an increased frequency and severity of lower urinary tract symptoms, but weight loss surgery may lessen these symptoms. The findings, which come from two studies published in BJU International, indicate that urinary problems may be added to the list of issues that can improve with efforts that address altered metabolism.
Lower urinary tract symptoms related to urinary frequency and urgency, bladder leakage, the need to urinate at night, and incomplete bladder emptying are associated with obesity in both men and women. To see if these symptoms might also be linked with metabolic syndrome (a cluster of abnormalities including hypertension, high cholesterol, high blood glucose levels, and abdominal obesity), François Desgrandchamps, MD, PhD, of Saint-Louis Hospital in France, and his colleagues analyzed information on 4666 male patients aged 55 to 100 years who consulted a general practitioner during a 12-day period in 2009. Metabolic syndrome was reported in 51.5 percent of the patients and 47 percent were treated for lower urinary tract symptoms. There was a significant link between metabolic syndrome and treated lower urinary tract symptoms. The risk to be treated for lower urinary tract symptoms also increased with increasing number of metabolic syndrome components. Also, among individuals with lower urinary tract symptoms, symptoms were more severe in those with metabolic syndrome. “The prevention of such modifiable factors by the promotion of dietary changes and regular physical activity practice may be of great interest for public health,” the authors concluded.... Read more »
Pashootan, P., Ploussard, G., Cocaul, A., de Gouvello, A., & Desgrandchamps, F. (2014) Association between metabolic syndrome and severity of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS): an observational study in a 4666 European men cohort. BJU International. DOI: 10.1111/bju.12931
Despite what you may think, the supposed “explosion” of children diagnosed with autism can directly attributed to better diagnosing techniques and — more importantly — the change of definition to make Autism spectrum disorders more broad. Thankfully more causes of autism have been found, none of them remotely related to vaccines and now scientists have found that chemical modifications to DNA’s packaging—known as epigenetic changes—can activate or repress genes involved in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and early brain development.... Read more »
Gao, Z., Lee, P., Stafford, J., von Schimmelmann, M., Schaefer, A., & Reinberg, D. (2014) An AUTS2–Polycomb complex activates gene expression in the CNS. Nature, 516(7531), 349-354. DOI: 10.1038/nature13921
Ntziachristos, P., Tsirigos, A., Welstead, G., Trimarchi, T., Bakogianni, S., Xu, L., Loizou, E., Holmfeldt, L., Strikoudis, A., King, B.... (2014) Contrasting roles of histone 3 lysine 27 demethylases in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Nature, 514(7523), 513-517. DOI: 10.1038/nature13605
Image credits: frauczepluch.blogspot.com Communications is key in any relationship, particularly that between patients and doctors. So what happens when the two parties don’t speak the same...... Read more »
Patil S, & Davies P. (2014) Use of Google Translate in medical communication: evaluation of accuracy. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 25512386
This week’s video tip of the week closes out a series that began last month. I started to explore one gene co-expression tool, which led me to another tool for visualization, and so on. This week’s tool is the final piece that you need to know about if you want to create the kind of […]... Read more »
Wright Derek W., Anton J. Enright, & Tom C. Freeman. (2014) Visualisation of BioPAX Networks using BioLayout Express3D. F1000Research. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.5499.1
Smoot M. E., J. Ruscheinski, P.-L. Wang, & T. Ideker. (2010) Cytoscape 2.8: new features for data integration and network visualization. Bioinformatics, 27(3), 431-432. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btq675
It’s not a case of ‘any puppy will do’ - the whole package counts.Photo: DragoNika / ShutterstockSurprisingly little is known about how people choose a new dog considering how popular they are. While it’s a personal choice, it has wider implications – humane societies would really like to know how to increase adoptions from shelters and decrease purchases from puppy mills. Could relocation programs, where dogs are brought in from out of town, be part of the solution?A new paper by Laurie Garrison and Emily Weiss (ASPCA) surveyed 1009 people who had either acquired a dog in the last year or were planning to get a dog. People were shown fake profiles of dogs and asked to say how likely they would be to choose it. The results showed people take many factors into account, and while specific details are important – such as wanting a puppy and not wanting a senior – they can be mitigated by other aspects of the dog.The authors say, “People considered the entire set of features and made trade-offs based on the combination. A positive feature such as puppy was often overridden by the relative influence of one or more of the six other features in the profile. Sometimes a negative feature such as senior dog was overcome by the relative positive influence of the other features.” “Overall, these results show that people have complex preferences, and which features are important vary widely across people. If an animal shelter has a great variety of dogs available, it is more likely that the set of features of a particular dog will match an adopter’s preferences.”The dog’s profiles were mostly not what people were looking for. The least popular dog had only 4% of people say they would choose it. Preferred attributes were a black or dark-coloured puppy of a medium-sized, unusual breed, from a shelter, originating from the local community and at high risk of euthanasia. Some people were prepared to drive a long way for the right dog, with 40% willing to drive 60 miles or further. Some of those who had obtained a puppy from a breeder had travelled more than 90 miles. In common with previous research, the survey found a difference between the number of people who would consider adopting from a shelter and the substantially lower number who actually did so. Amongst people who would not consider a shelter, the main reasons were they wanted a purebred dog and they thought the shelter would not have the kind of dog they wanted. The authors say increasing the variety of animals available at a shelter and publicizing this would encourage more people to consider it. It also might mean that some people would be prepared to wait for the right kind of dog to appear at the shelter, since they would know the choice of animals was always changing. However, since people had a preference for a local dog, it may be necessary to explain why dogs are brought in out-of-state or out-of-country.Of course, when people say ‘not the right kind of dog’ it’s possible they are referring to stereotyped beliefs about shelter animals. For example, in an Australian survey Kate Mornement et al found that about a third of respondents thought shelter dogs have a behaviour problem. In this case campaigns that emphasize the positives might help – for example the dogs are vaccinated, have had a behavioural assessment, behaviour and training advice is available, and highlighting the benefits of adult dogs.This study did not look at friendliness, which some research has found to be the most important factor when considering a dog (Mornement et al 2012; Siettou et al 2014). Another drawback is that the sample is not representative of the US population as a whole, tending more towards the northeast and to have a higher income and education level than average. The findings will be very useful to humane societies looking to increase canine adoptions. The authors say relocation programs make a wider variety of dogs available at the shelter, which may also benefit animals already there, since more people will come down to look at the dogs. The results show our choices in dogs are as individual as we are. What do you look for when choosing a dog?ReferencesGarrison, L., & Weiss, E. (2014). What Do People Want? Factors People Consider When Acquiring Dogs, the Complexity of the Choices They Make, and Implications for Nonhuman Animal Relocation Programs Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 18 (1), 57-73 DOI: 10.1080/10888705.2014.943836Mornement, K., Coleman, G., Toukhsati, S., & Bennett, P. (2012). What Do Current and Potential Australian Dog Owners Believe about Shelter Practices and Shelter Dogs? Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals, 25 (4), 457-473 DOI: 10.2752/175303712X13479798785850 ... Read more »
Garrison, L., & Weiss, E. (2014) What Do People Want? Factors People Consider When Acquiring Dogs, the Complexity of the Choices They Make, and Implications for Nonhuman Animal Relocation Programs. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 18(1), 57-73. DOI: 10.1080/10888705.2014.943836
Mornement, K., Coleman, G., Toukhsati, S., & Bennett, P. (2012) What Do Current and Potential Australian Dog Owners Believe about Shelter Practices and Shelter Dogs?. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People , 25(4), 457-473. DOI: 10.2752/175303712X13479798785850
Siettou, C., Fraser, I., & Fraser, R. (2014) Investigating Some of the Factors That Influence “Consumer” Choice When Adopting a Shelter Dog in the United Kingdom. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 17(2), 136-147. DOI: 10.1080/10888705.2014.883924
Your Christmas tree can kill you, but it can also save your life. The same holds true for mistletoe, ivy, and holly. Each is toxic, but each has uses in medicine. The least toxic Christmas plant is the most often thought of as poisonous – poinsettias really aren’t that bad, kids would have to eat 500 leaves to bring on the nastiest effects.... Read more »
Liu, B., Zhou, J., Li, Y., Zou, X., Wu, J., Gu, J., Yuan, J., Zhao, B., Feng, L., Jia, X.... (2014) Hederagenin from the leaves of ivy (Hedera helix L.) induces apoptosis in human LoVo colon cells through the mitochondrial pathway. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 14(1), 412. DOI: 10.1186/1472-6882-14-412
Tröger W, Galun D, Reif M, Schumann A, Stanković N, & Milićević M. (2014) Quality of life of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer during treatment with mistletoe: a randomized controlled trial. Deutsches Arzteblatt international, 111(29-30), 493. PMID: 25142075
Tsui, K., Wang, J., Wu, L., & Chiu, C. (2012) Molecular Mechanism of Isocupressic Acid Supresses MA-10 Cell Steroidogenesis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 1-12. DOI: 10.1155/2012/190107
Earl, E., Altaf, M., Murikoli, R., Swift, S., & O'Toole, R. (2010) Native New Zealand plants with inhibitory activity towards Mycobacterium tuberculosis. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 10(1), 25. DOI: 10.1186/1472-6882-10-25
Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are known to employ group foraging techniques, however details on how individuals coordinate with each other still remain a mystery.
A new study by Susan Parks, assistant professor of biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with a consortium of other researchers examined the importance of specific auditory cues that these whales emit... Read more »
Parks SE, Cusano DA, Stimpert AK, Weinrich MT, Friedlaender AS, & Wiley DN. (2014) Evidence for acoustic communication among bottom foraging humpback whales. Scientific reports, 7508. PMID: 25512188
We are again honored by our inclusion in the ABA Blawg 100 list for 2014. If you value this blog, please take a moment to vote for us here in the Litigation Category. Voting closes on December 19, 2014. Doug and Rita We’ve blogged a number of times about changing attitudes toward same sex marriage. […]
So how okay are we really with gay marriage?
Changing American Attitudes: Gay/Lesbian Issues
So we cannot talk about race but we overwhelmingly approve interracial marriage?
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Doan, L., Loehr, A., & Miller, L. (2014) Formal Rights and Informal Privileges for Same-Sex Couples: Evidence from a National Survey Experiment. American Sociological Review, 79(6), 1172-1195. DOI: 10.1177/0003122414555886
I am the league's director, Silas Ramsbottom.Upon reading the paper published by Ramaekers and colleagues  talking about the use of folinic acid in cases of schizophrenia as a function of the presence of "Auto-antibodies against folate receptor alpha (FRα)", I raised a little smile. Not only because the authors suggested that there may be quite a lot more to see in this area on top of some already interesting discussions about the folate cycle and schizophrenia, but also because of the 'overlap' with some autism findings which have been previously discussed on this blog (see here). Indeed, if readers would like quite a nice summary of this area of investigation - folate receptor autoantibodies - I'm minded to direct them to the paper by Richard Frye and colleagues  (open-access) which initially presented the idea of cerebral folate receptor autoantibodies occurring in autism to the world and was the source material for that previous blog post.Quoting from the Ramaekers study text: "Fifteen of 18 patients (83.3%) had positive serum FR auto-antibodies compared to only 1 in 30 controls". This was a study of those described as having "schizophrenia unresponsive to conventional treatment" and alongside the presence of those autoantibodies, researchers also assessed what some of the metabolic knock-on effects might have been in terms of analysis of spinal fluid levels of "MTHF [5,10-Methylenetetrahydrofolate] and the metabolites of pterins, dopamine and serotonin". It appears that FR autoantibodies may indeed affect levels of said compounds alongside "intermediates linked to metabolic processes affecting homocysteine levels... [and] synthesis of tetrahydrobiopterin". Homocysteine and tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) in schizophrenia y'say?"Administration of folinic acid (0.3-1mg/kg/day) to 7 participating patients during at least six months resulted in clinical improvement." Without wishing to provide any medical or clinical advice on the utility of folinic acid for schizophrenia or anything else, these are interesting findings. This is not the first time that folinic acid has been discussed in the research literature with schizophrenia in mind as per the case report by Wang and colleagues . In that single case, authors described the presence of the MTHFR mutation - "665C>T homozygous mutations in the MTHFR gene" - as the reason for secondary cerebral folate deficiency. Other authors have discussed more pertinent cases . Obviously one would like to see more formal clinical trials on the use of folinic acid as potentially being appropriate for at least some of the [plural] schizophrenias. The important thing to take from the Ramaekers and other studies is that a panel of tests might be able to spot who might be best responders to this kind of intervention...Music to close, and Peter Griffin sings the opening tune to Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade? Why not.---------- Ramaekers VT. et al. Folinic acid treatment for schizophrenia associated with folate receptor autoantibodies. Mol Genet Metab. 2014 Oct 12. pii: S1096-7192(14)00311-4. Frye RE. et al. Cerebral folate receptor autoantibodies in autism spectrum disorder. Molecular Psychiatry 2013;18(3):369-381. doi:10.1038/mp.2011.175. Wang Q. et al. Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency-induced schizophrenia in a school-age boy. Zhongguo Dang Dai Er Ke Za Zhi. 2014 Jan;16(1):62-6. Ho A. et al. Cerebral folate deficiency presenting as adolescent catatonic schizophrenia: a case report. J Child Neurol. 2010 Jul;25(7):898-900.----------Ramaekers VT, Thöny B, Sequeira JM, Ansseau M, Philippe P, Boemer F, Bours V, & Quadros EV (2014). Folinic acid treatment for schizophrenia associated with folate receptor autoantibodies. Molecular genetics and metabolism PMID: 25456743... Read more »
Ramaekers VT, Thöny B, Sequeira JM, Ansseau M, Philippe P, Boemer F, Bours V, & Quadros EV. (2014) Folinic acid treatment for schizophrenia associated with folate receptor autoantibodies. Molecular genetics and metabolism. PMID: 25456743
While multiple certifications exist for strength and conditioning coaches, both the CSCS and SCCC do not adequately prepare coaches to recognize or prevent exertional heat stroke during high-intensity training sessions.... Read more »
Valdes, A., Hoffman, J., Clark, M., & Stout, J. (2014) National Collegiate Athletic Association Strength and Conditioning Coachesʼ Knowledge and Practices Regarding Prevention and Recognition of Exertional Heat Stroke. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 28(11), 3013-3023. DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000365
Upon viral entry and release of the viral genome, viral RNA and DNA can be recognised by Toll-like Receptors (TLR), which once stimulated induce the expression of specific genes such as Interferon that are part of the antiviral response. TLR mediated signalling pathways predominantly signal through interferon regulatory factors (IRF) as well as Nuclear Factor-κB (NF-κB) and AP-1, eliciting the induction of the Interferon type-1 response and the expression of inflammatory cytokines as well as facilitating the presentation of viral antigens by MHC Class I and Class II molecules. In general, TLR-signalling is mediated via five adaptor proteins, MyD88, MyD88-adapter like (MAL), Toll/interleukin receptor (TIR) domain-containing adaptor protein inducing interferon β (TRIF), TRIF-related adaptor molecule (TRAM), and sterile α- and armadillo motif-containing protein (SARM). Following the activation of TLR, MyD88 us the key signalling protein for all TLRs (with the notable exception of TLR3 and subsets of TLR4).Here the role of MyD88 and DRAM-1 mediated induction of autophagy by Rift Valley Fever Virus are discussed. ... Read more »
Moy, R., Gold, B., Molleston, J., Schad, V., Yanger, K., Salzano, M., Yagi, Y., Fitzgerald, K., Stanger, B., Soldan, S.... (2014) Antiviral Autophagy Restricts Rift Valley Fever Virus Infection and Is Conserved from Flies to Mammals. Immunity, 40(1), 51-65. DOI: 10.1016/j.immuni.2013.10.020
Shi CS, & Kehrl JH. (2008) MyD88 and Trif target Beclin 1 to trigger autophagy in macrophages. The Journal of biological chemistry, 283(48), 33175-82. PMID: 18772134
van der Vaart, M., Korbee, C., Lamers, G., Tengeler, A., Hosseini, R., Haks, M., Ottenhoff, T., Spaink, H., & Meijer, A. (2014) The DNA Damage-Regulated Autophagy Modulator DRAM1 Links Mycobacterial Recognition via TLR-MYD88 to Autophagic Defense. Cell Host , 16(1), 141. DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2014.06.003
Mah LY, O'Prey J, Baudot AD, Hoekstra A, & Ryan KM. (2012) DRAM-1 encodes multiple isoforms that regulate autophagy. Autophagy, 8(1), 18-28. PMID: 22082963
Meijer AH, & van der Vaart M. (2014) DRAM1 promotes the targeting of mycobacteria to selective autophagy. Autophagy. PMID: 25484076
Wang RC, Wei Y, An Z, Zou Z, Xiao G, Bhagat G, White M, Reichelt J, & Levine B. (2012) Akt-mediated regulation of autophagy and tumorigenesis through Beclin 1 phosphorylation. Science (New York, N.Y.), 338(6109), 956-9. PMID: 23112296
Narayanan A, Amaya M, Voss K, Chung M, Benedict A, Sampey G, Kehn-Hall K, Luchini A, Liotta L, Bailey C.... (2014) Reactive oxygen species activate NFκB (p65) and p53 and induce apoptosis in RVFV infected liver cells. Virology, 270-86. PMID: 24418562
Baer A, Austin D, Narayanan A, Popova T, Kainulainen M, Bailey C, Kashanchi F, Weber F, & Kehn-Hall K. (2012) Induction of DNA damage signaling upon Rift Valley fever virus infection results in cell cycle arrest and increased viral replication. The Journal of biological chemistry, 287(10), 7399-410. PMID: 22223653
Narayanan A, Popova T, Turell M, Kidd J, Chertow J, Popov SG, Bailey C, Kashanchi F, & Kehn-Hall K. (2011) Alteration in superoxide dismutase 1 causes oxidative stress and p38 MAPK activation following RVFV infection. PloS one, 6(5). PMID: 21655261
Liang Q, Chang B, Brulois KF, Castro K, Min CK, Rodgers MA, Shi M, Ge J, Feng P, Oh BH.... (2013) Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus K7 modulates Rubicon-mediated inhibition of autophagosome maturation. Journal of virology, 87(22), 12499-503. PMID: 24027317
Zhao Q, Liang D, Sun R, Jia B, Xia T, Xiao H, & Lan K. (2014) Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus-Encoded RTA Impairs Innate Immunity via Ubiquitin-mediated Degradation of MyD88. Journal of virology. PMID: 25320320
Mukhopadhyay S, Panda PK, Sinha N, Das DN, & Bhutia SK. (2014) Autophagy and apoptosis: where do they meet?. Apoptosis : an international journal on programmed cell death, 19(4), 555-66. PMID: 24415198
We’ve all seen the PSA’s trying to show the effects of meth use and in particular, what it does to your teeth. Typically, when it comes to drug use, people will not look at the long term side effects from their addiction instead thinking in the short term. This is unfortunate because as it turns out, methamphetamine users are three times more at risk for getting Parkinson’s disease than non-illicit drug users with even worse news for women, new research shows.... Read more »
Curtin K, Fleckenstein AE, Robison RJ, Crookston MJ, Smith KR, & Hanson GR. (2014) Methamphetamine/amphetamine abuse and risk of Parkinson's disease in Utah: A population-based assessment. Drug and alcohol dependence. PMID: 25479916
It’s time to search out Christmas gifts! Let brain research guide you in your giving. We now know why women are often better at picking out gifts, and we know that you expect people to like your homemade gifts more than you should. We have learned that we give gifts to make ourselves feel good, and that too many gifts can screw your kids up for life. But most importantly, it actually is the thought that counts! Merry Christmas.... Read more »
Dunn, E., Huntsinger, J., Lun, J., & Sinclair, S. (2008) The Gift of Similarity: How Good and Bad Gifts Influence Relationships. Social Cognition, 26(4), 469-481. DOI: 10.1521/soco.2008.26.4.469
Moll, J., Krueger, F., Zahn, R., Pardini, M., de Oliveira-Souza, R., & Grafman, J. (2006) Human fronto-mesolimbic networks guide decisions about charitable donation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103(42), 15623-15628. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0604475103
Science is in crisis. Everyone in the scientific community knows about it but few want to talk about it. The crisis is one of honesty. A junior scientist (like me) asks himself a similar question to Galileo in 1633: how much honesty is desirable in science? Science Wonderland According to nearly all empirical scientific publications […]... Read more »
John, L., Loewenstein, G., & Prelec, D. (2012) Measuring the Prevalence of Questionable Research Practices with Incentives for Truth-Telling. SSRN Electronic Journal. DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.1996631
Simmons, J., Nelson, L., & Simonsohn, U. (2011) False-Positive Psychology: Undisclosed Flexibility in Data Collection and Analysis Allows Presenting Anything as Significant. Psychological Science, 22(11), 1359-1366. DOI: 10.1177/0956797611417632
My name's Buttercup. You've met Baron von Shush."Our study demonstrated that serum TRX [thioredoxin] levels were associated with ASD [autism spectrum disorder], and elevated levels could be considered as a novel, independent diagnosis indicator of ASD." So was the conclusion reported by Qing-biao Zhang and colleagues  looking at serum levels of TRX in 80 children diagnosed with an ASD compared against "100 sex and age matched typically developing children".I'll freely admit that I was not even aware of thioredoxin (TRX) before reading this study; although a quick trawl through some of the research literature on this protein that "act as antioxidants by facilitating the reduction of other proteins by cysteine thiol-disulfide exchange" (thank you Wikipedia) hints that I should have been. Quite a good [peer-reviewed] overview of TRX can be found in the paper by Arnér & Holmgren  and in particular, describing their role in the process of reducing oxidative stress similar to another compound of interest to this blog: glutathione.Zhang and colleagues reported significantly higher median serum levels of TRX in their participants with autism compared to asymptomatic controls. Further, that the severity of autism - as measured using the CARS - might also be linked to TRX levels, and "the optimal cut-off value of serum TRX levels as an indicator for auxiliary diagnosis of autism was projected to be 10.6ng/ml". I might add that such results should not be translated as serum levels of TRX higher than 10.6 ng/ml = autism exclusively, as per other research looking at elevated levels of TRX in other conditions .This is not the first time however that TRX has been studied with autism in mind. The paper by Yusra A Al-Yafee and colleagues  (open-access) looking at "sulfur-dependent detoxification mechanisms" in relation to the autism spectrum noted that alongside aberrant values for glutathione (yes, quite consistently so) in their autistic cohort, elevated levels of TRX and related thioredoxin reductase (TrxR) were also detected compared with controls. They stated: "the recorded raised levels of Trx, TrxR and Prxs [peroxidoxins] of the present study could be related to... previous work... which they proved that Saudi autistic children are under H2O2 stress due to over expression of SOD and a slightly lower activity of catalase." Interestingly, this group also suggested that TRX and glutathione parameters might also have some legs when it comes to their usefulness "as diagnostic biomarkers of autism."Oxidative stress and autism is a research area in the ascendancy. With links being made to the gastrointestinal (GI) issues quite commonly reported alongside a diagnosis of autism (see here) and some really quite interesting work talking about oxidative stress potentially inducing mitochondrial issues in autism (see here), some important correlations are being made. My recent discussions including the paper by Main and colleagues  (open-access) suggesting that: "children with autism are more sensitive to necrosis caused by oxidative and nitrosative stress than their non-autistic siblings" adds to the intrigue, as does a little study about broccoli extracts recently...Of course, quite a lot more replicative work is required, also including more focus on the hows and whys of issues with redox regulation related to autism. But more and more, oxidative stress is taking a place among quite a few other issues detected in at least some cases of autism .Music to close: Queenie Eye by Paul McCartney.---------- Zhang QB. et al. Thioredoxin: A novel, independent diagnosis marker in children with autism. Int J Dev Neurosci. 2014 Nov 26. pii: S0736-5748(14)00191-9. Arnér ES. & Holmgren A. Physiological functions of thioredoxin and thioredoxin reductase. Eur J Biochem. 2000 Oct;267(20):6102-9. Yamada Y. et al. Elevated serum levels of thioredoxin in patients with acute exacerbation of asthma. Immunol Lett. 2003 Apr 3;86(2):199-205. Al-Yafee YA. et al. Novel metabolic biomarkers related to sulfur-dependent detoxification pathways in autistic patients of Saudi Arabia. BMC Neurol. 2011 Nov 4;11:139. Main PA. et al. Necrosis is increased in lymphoblastoid cell lines from children with autism compared with their non-autistic siblings under conditions of oxidative and nitrosative stress. Mutagenesis. 2013 Jul;28(4):475-84. Rossignol DA, Frye RE. Evidence linking oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and inflammation in the brain of individuals with autism. Frontiers in Physiology 2014;5:150. doi:10.3389/fphys.2014.00150.----------Zhang QB, Gao SJ, & Zhao HX (2014). Thioredoxin: A novel, independent diagnosis marker in children with autism. International journal of developmental neuroscience : the official journal of the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience PMID: 25433158... Read more »
Zhang QB, Gao SJ, & Zhao HX. (2014) Thioredoxin: A novel, independent diagnosis marker in children with autism. International journal of developmental neuroscience : the official journal of the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience. PMID: 25433158
What’s that over there!? The next time you are around people, count how many people are on their phone? Distractions invade every aspect of our lives. Status updates, text messages, email notifications all threaten to steal our attention away from the moment. While we fight the urge to check the phone, our brains are making constant judgment calls about where to focus attention. The brain must continually filter important information from irrelevant interference.... Read more »
Ahrens, S., Jaramillo, S., Yu, K., Ghosh, S., Hwang, G., Paik, R., Lai, C., He, M., Huang, Z., & Li, B. (2014) ErbB4 regulation of a thalamic reticular nucleus circuit for sensory selection. Nature Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1038/nn.3897
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