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  • February 7, 2016
  • 03:07 PM
  • 24 views

The molecular link between psychiatric disorders and type 2 diabetes

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

There may be a genetic connection between some mental health disorders and type 2 diabetes. In a new report, scientists show that a gene called “DISC1,” which is believed to play a role in mental health disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and some forms of depression, influences the function of pancreatic beta cells which produce insulin to maintain normal blood glucose levels.

... Read more »

Jurczyk A, Nowosielska A, Przewozniak N, Aryee KE, DiIorio P, Blodgett D, Yang C, Campbell-Thompson M, Atkinson M, Shultz L.... (2016) Beyond the brain: disrupted in schizophrenia 1 regulates pancreatic β-cell function via glycogen synthase kinase-3β. FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 30(2), 983-93. PMID: 26546129  

  • February 6, 2016
  • 03:49 PM
  • 44 views

Brain plasticity assorted into functional networks

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Plasticity of the brain, what does that even mean? Well the good news is that it isn’t just a marketing ploy, the brain needs to be “plastic” because we need to be able to adapt. Frankly speaking, the brain still has a lot to learn about itself. Scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have made a key finding of the striking differences in how the brain’s cells can change through experience.

... Read more »

  • February 5, 2016
  • 04:24 PM
  • 66 views

Would You Stick Pins In A Voodoo Doll of Your Child?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Well? Would you...?

This was the question faced by the participants in a rather extraordinary series of studies described in a new paper from Illinois psychologists Randy J. McCarthy and colleagues. In total, 1081 parents with children aged under 18 were presented with an outline of a person, and asked to imagine that it was their own child. They were told to think of a time when their child made them angry. Finally, they were asked how many pins they would like to stick into the "doll" in or... Read more »

McCarthy RJ, Crouch JL, Basham AR, Milner JS, & Skowronski JJ. (2016) Validating the Voodoo Doll Task as a Proxy for Aggressive Parenting Behavior. Psychology of violence, 6(1), 135-144. PMID: 26839734  

  • February 5, 2016
  • 12:34 PM
  • 38 views

Abnormalities in later cognitive stages of beat processing?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

Beat deafness, a recently documented form of congenital amusia, provides a unique window into functional specialization of neural circuitry for the processing of musical stimuli: Beat-deaf individuals exhibit deficits that are specific to the detection of a regular beat in music and the ability to move along with a beat.... Read more »

Phillips-Silver, J., Toiviainen, P., Gosselin, N., Piché, O., Nozaradan, S., Palmer, C., & Peretz, I. (2011) Born to dance but beat deaf: A new form of congenital amusia. Neuropsychologia. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.02.002  

  • February 4, 2016
  • 11:30 PM
  • 64 views

Hadza hunter-gatherers, social networks, and models of cooperation

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

At the heart of the Great Lakes region of East Africa is Tanzania — a republic comprised of 30 mikoa, or provinces. Its border is marked off by the giant lakes Victoria, Tanganyika, and Malawi. But the lake that interests me the most is an internal one: 200 km from the border with Kenya at […]... Read more »

Apicella, C.L., Marlowe, F.W., Fowler, J.H., & Christakis, N.A. (2012) Social networks and cooperation in hunter-gatherers. Nature, 481(7382), 497-501. PMID: 22281599  

  • February 4, 2016
  • 01:28 PM
  • 59 views

Collective Burial: Emphasizing Community in Neolithic Spain

by Katy Meyers Emery in Bones Don't Lie

In the United States, historically we chose to bury our dead with our family and community. People would buy large plots within cemeteries where they could bury their relatives over […]... Read more »

Alt KW, Zesch S, Garrido-Pena R, Knipper C, Szécsényi-Nagy A, Roth C, Tejedor-Rodríguez C, Held P, García-Martínez-de-Lagrán Í, Navitainuck D.... (2016) A Community in Life and Death: The Late Neolithic Megalithic Tomb at Alto de Reinoso (Burgos, Spain). PloS one, 11(1). PMID: 26789731  

  • February 2, 2016
  • 03:03 PM
  • 103 views

Depressed or inflamed? Inflammation attacks brain’s reward center

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Inflammation is a good thing, it helps the body fight disease, and without it we wouldn't survive. Unfortunately, when inflammation isn't kept under control it can wreak havoc on the body. From potentially causing alzheimer's to arthritis it seems that unchecked inflammation can cause all sorts of issues. In fact, a new study adds to the list of issues out of control inflammation causes in the body.

... Read more »

  • February 1, 2016
  • 03:41 PM
  • 82 views

Blood pressure medicine may improve conversational skills of individuals with autism

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

An estimated 1 in 68 children in the United States has autism. The neurodevelopmental disorder, which impairs communication and social interaction skills, can be treated with medications and behavioral therapies, though there is no cure. Now, University of Missouri researchers have found that a medication commonly used to treat high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats may have the potential to improve some social functions of individuals with autism.

... Read more »

  • January 31, 2016
  • 02:57 PM
  • 141 views

The brains of patients with schizophrenia vary depending on the type of schizophrenia

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

I have a friend who lost an eye to his brother. Yes, you read that correctly, his brother tried to kill him and in the process he lost his eye. I’ve told this story before, but whenever new schizophrenia research comes out I feel the need to tell it again. While he has forgiven his brother (partly because not long after, he was diagnosed as schizophrenic), he will not be able to see him again until he is released from prison. A tragedy that could’ve been avoided had he been diagnosed sooner......... Read more »

  • January 30, 2016
  • 03:21 PM
  • 130 views

Neurological adaptations to the presence of toxic HIV protein

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Nearly half of HIV infected patients suffer from impaired neurocognitive function. The HIV protein transactivator of transcription (Tat) is an important contributor to HIV neuropathogenesis because it is a potent neurotoxin that continues to be produced despite treatment with antiretroviral therapy.

... Read more »

  • January 29, 2016
  • 01:51 PM
  • 129 views

How to unlock inaccessible genes

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

An international team of biologists has discovered how specialized enzymes remodel the extremely condensed genetic material in the nucleus of cells in order to control which genes can be used. It was known that the DNA in cells is wrapped around proteins in structures called nucleosomes that resemble beads on a string, which allow the genetic material to be folded and compacted into a structure called chromatin.

... Read more »

de Dieuleveult, M., Yen, K., Hmitou, I., Depaux, A., Boussouar, F., Dargham, D., Jounier, S., Humbertclaude, H., Ribierre, F., Baulard, C.... (2016) Genome-wide nucleosome specificity and function of chromatin remodellers in ES cells. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature16505  

  • January 27, 2016
  • 03:37 AM
  • 105 views

Caste system has affected Indians’ genomes

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

The caste system has affected Indians, even at the level of DNA.

Published in:

PNAS

Study Further:

Caste system in India was introduced about 1,500 years ago, when Gupta emperors were ruling most of the India. That caste system also made it socially unacceptable to marry outside the castes. Now, researchers have found that the caste system left a significant impact on the genes of Indians.

In a study, researchers from India studied the genomes of about 367 Indians f........ Read more »

  • January 26, 2016
  • 06:18 PM
  • 122 views

Ways of seeing

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Here in Australia we celebrated our national holiday yesterday. Australia Day marks the end of the summer holiday season and as everyone heads back to school and work, Language on the Move is coming back from our break, too. Welcome … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 26, 2016
  • 03:20 PM
  • 109 views

Why you should never use the term ‘the mentally ill’

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Even subtle differences in how you refer to people with mental illness can affect levels of tolerance, a new study has found. In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers found that participants showed less tolerance toward people who were referred to as "the mentally ill" when compared to those referred to as "people with mental illness."

... Read more »

  • January 25, 2016
  • 11:52 AM
  • 133 views

Zika virus and the negligence towards health research in poor countries

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll About a year ago, almost nobody on the whole world was aware of the existence of a virus named Zika virus and the illness it may cause in humans, the Zika fever or Zika disease. But … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 24, 2016
  • 01:52 PM
  • 120 views

60 genetic disorders affect skin and nervous system

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

One of the most common genetic disorders is a condition called neurofibromatosis, which causes brown spots on the skin and benign tumors on the brain, spinal cord and other parts of the nervous system. Neurofibromatosis is one of at least 60 genetic diseases called neurocutaneous disorders that involve the skin, central nervous system, and/or peripheral nervous system.

... Read more »

Figueiredo, A., Mata-Machado, N., McCoyd, M., & Biller, J. (2016) Neurocutaneous Disorders for the Practicing Neurologist: a Focused Review. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports, 16(2). DOI: 10.1007/s11910-015-0612-7  

  • January 23, 2016
  • 02:26 PM
  • 151 views

When the music stops: Intensive instrument playing can lead to movement disorders

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A musician takes up his/her violin and starts to play, but rather than gripping the strings, the fingers seize up--and this happens every time he/she takes up the instrument. Such a movement disorder--the so-called focal dystonia-- is a dramatic disease for those affected, which has thus far barely been studied.

... Read more »

Rozanski VE, Rehfuess E, Bötzel K, Nowak D. (2015) Task-specific dystonia in professional musicians—a systematic review of the importance of intensive playing as a risk factor. Dtsch Arztebl Int. info:/10.3238/arztebl.2015.0871

  • January 22, 2016
  • 02:50 PM
  • 151 views

Neurons in your gut help the immune system keep inflammation in check

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The immune system exercises constant vigilance to protect the body from external threats–including what we eat and drink. A careful balancing act plays out as digested food travels through the intestine. Immune cells must remain alert to protect against harmful pathogens like Salmonella, but their activity also needs to be tempered since an overreaction can lead to too much inflammation and permanent tissue damage.

... Read more »

  • January 21, 2016
  • 02:27 PM
  • 177 views

Anxious? Chronic stress and anxiety can damage the brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A scientific review paper warns that people need to find ways to reduce chronic stress and anxiety in their lives or they may be at increased risk for developing depression and even dementia. Led by the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences, the review examined brain areas impacted by chronic anxiety, fear and stress in animal and human studies that are already published.... Read more »

Mah, L., Szabuniewicz, C., & Fiocco, A. (2016) Can anxiety damage the brain?. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 29(1), 56-63. DOI: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000223  

  • January 21, 2016
  • 08:25 AM
  • 160 views

A 5,300 Year Old Stomach Ache

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

The fascinating history of the stomach ulcer bacteria H. pylori, which was recently found in Otzi, the 5,300 year old iceman.... Read more »

Tito RY, Knights D, Metcalf J, Obregon-Tito AJ, Cleeland L, Najar F, Roe B, Reinhard K, Sobolik K, Belknap S.... (2012) Insights from characterizing extinct human gut microbiomes. PloS one, 7(12). PMID: 23251439  

Maixner, F., Krause-Kyora, B., Turaev, D., Herbig, A., Hoopmann, M., Hallows, J., Kusebauch, U., Vigl, E., Malfertheiner, P., Megraud, F.... (2016) The 5300-year-old Helicobacter pylori genome of the Iceman. Science, 351(6269), 162-165. DOI: 10.1126/science.aad2545  

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