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  • May 26, 2016
  • 02:55 AM
  • 22 views

CRISPR-Cas9 and autism research

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

If you feel brave enough, today I will direct your reading attention to the paper by Michael Williams and colleagues [1] detailing the application of a particularly important genome editing technique called CRISPR-Cas9 [2] to autism-related science.Titled: "A Retroviral CRISPR-Cas9 System for Cellular Autism-Associated Phenotype Discovery in Developing Neurons" the Williams paper probably won't win any awards for plain English but don't be fooled about just how important this pape........ Read more »

Williams MR, Fricano-Kugler CJ, Getz SA, Skelton PD, Lee J, Rizzuto CP, Geller JS, Li M, & Luikart BW. (2016) A Retroviral CRISPR-Cas9 System for Cellular Autism-Associated Phenotype Discovery in Developing Neurons. Scientific reports, 25611. PMID: 27161796  

  • May 25, 2016
  • 11:05 AM
  • 25 views

A New Chromosome Y Risk for Alzheimers

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

There are many risk factors for Alzheimer's Disease (AD) including history of head trauma and family history of AD.The strongest risk factor is advanced age. Yearly risk for AD is about 1% per year in 70 year old populations jumping to around 7% in 90 year old groups.Now a recent study is shedding some light on a new risk for AD in men. This risk appears to be related to a chromosome Y phenomenon known to be associated with aging.Elderly men show a tendency to lose the Y chromosome from a small ........ Read more »

Dumanski JP et al. (2016) Mosiac loss of chromosome Y in blood is associated with Alzheimer's disease. American Journal of Human Genetics. info:/10.1016/j.ajhg.2016.05.014

  • May 25, 2016
  • 09:00 AM
  • 44 views

Are our gut bacteria the key to immortality?

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

The fight against aging Ever since the ancient Sumerians, men has sought eternal life. We still do. Anti-aging science has become quite an industry. As we dive deeper and deeper into our biological foundations, we’re learning more and more about how and why we age. A lot of mysteries remain, but there’s still talk about […]... Read more »

De Winter, G. (2014) Aging as Disease. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 18(2), 237-243. DOI: 10.1007/s11019-014-9600-y  

Biagi E, Franceschi C, Rampelli S, Severgnini M, Ostan R, Turroni S, Consolandi C, Quercia S, Scurti M, Monti D.... (2016) Gut Microbiota and Extreme Longevity. Current biology : CB. PMID: 27185560  

  • May 25, 2016
  • 02:52 AM
  • 38 views

The persistence of self-injury in relation to autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Some behaviours associated with a diagnosis of autism don't make for great dinner table discussion. Self-injurious behaviours (SIBs), as exemplified by head banging, hair pulling and eye gouging must rank as some of the more distressing facets of [some] autism insofar as their potential effect on the person and also the people around them.These and other types of behaviour commonly headed under the category of so-called 'challenging behaviours' have tended not to be too evident when it come........ Read more »

  • May 24, 2016
  • 10:44 AM
  • 41 views

Does Flu Vaccination Reduce Dementia Risk?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

In my daily review of neuroscience news I ran across an article flu vaccination and dementia risk in heart failure.This study was reported at the 3rd World Congress on Acute Heart Failure by Dr. Ju-Chi Liu from Taipei Medical University.So how might influenza vaccination be related to dementia risk?  We do know acute influenza infection reaches the brain causing headache and increasing brain inflammation, at least temporarily. We also know brain inflammation may be involved in the mechanism........ Read more »

  • May 24, 2016
  • 03:07 AM
  • 58 views

Around 1 in 5 with autism will experience seizure or seizure disorder

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Jennifer Jaskiewicz and colleagues [1] recently offered a further important insight into the relationship between autism and seizure or seizure disorder (i.e. epilepsy).Based on the examination of records of nearly 50,000 children and young adults diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with approximately quarter of a million 'not-autism' participants, authors reported some interesting trends. Concluding that some 19% of participants with autism experienced "s........ Read more »

Jennifer Jaskiewicz, Apryl Susi, Elizabeth Hisle-Gorman, David Dennison, Gregory Gorman, Cade Nylund, & Christine Erdie-Lalena. (2016) Quantification of Risks of Seizure in Autism. Neurology. info:/

  • May 23, 2016
  • 10:39 AM
  • 67 views

Emotional Processing: A Key to Depression Treatment?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

In my last post I reported on the use of machine learning to aid in predicting response to depression treatment.Another interesting depression prediction tool is being investigated in a trial in England funded by the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.This trial uses a visual facial recognition tool. The hypothesis is that early antidepressant action can be identified by changes in facial emotional recognition.This trial stems from work by Catherine Harmer Ph.D. from the University of Oxford. He........ Read more »

  • May 23, 2016
  • 02:48 AM
  • 63 views

Sex-specific immune response to Candida albicans in schizophrenia and beyond

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I have quite a bit of time for the various members of the Stanley Division of Developmental Neurovirology at Johns Hopkins on this blog. Not least because of the interesting work of one researcher in particular - Emily Severance - as a name behind some potentially very important research on how food, infection and immune function might come together in complicated conditions such as [some] schizophrenia and [some] bipolar disorder (see here and see here).Continuing their 'gut-brain' theme (........ Read more »

Severance, E., Gressitt, K., Stallings, C., Katsafanas, E., Schweinfurth, L., Savage, C., Adamos, M., Sweeney, K., Origoni, A., Khushalani, S.... (2016) Candida albicans exposures, sex specificity and cognitive deficits in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. npj Schizophrenia, 16018. DOI: 10.1038/npjschz.2016.18  

  • May 22, 2016
  • 04:04 PM
  • 95 views

How depression and antidepressant drugs work

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Treating depression is kind of a guessing game. Trying to find a medication that works without causing side effects can take months, or more likely, years. However, new research demonstrates the effectiveness of ketamine to treat depression in a mouse model of the disease and brings together two hypotheses for the cause of depression.

... Read more »

  • May 21, 2016
  • 10:21 AM
  • 76 views

Quick Aspirin Use Reduces Stroke Risk in TIA

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

A free full-text commentary in the Lancet summarizes recent evidence of the benefit of aspirin in stroke prevention.This commentary focused on what is called secondary prevention. Secondary prevention is defined as prevention following events related to the disease in question.So secondary prevention in stroke would be reduction in stroke risk in those who have had a stroke or pre-stroke syndromes such as transient ischemic attacks (TIA).The key take-home message from the commentary by Graeme Ha........ Read more »

  • May 21, 2016
  • 02:57 AM
  • 124 views

Add-on nutraceuticals for depression?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

It came as no surprise to me that the systematic review and meta-analysis article by Jerome Sarris and colleagues [1] found what it did in relation to the use of [certain] adjunctive (add-on) nutraceuticals alongside antidepressants to reduce depressive symptoms: some of them might actually be clinically useful.With no medical or clinical advice given or intended, the authors report that "adjunctive use of SAMe, methylfolate, omega-3, and vitamin D with antidepressants" might be something to con........ Read more »

Sarris J, Murphy J, Mischoulon D, Papakostas GI, Fava M, Berk M, & Ng CH. (2016) Adjunctive Nutraceuticals for Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses. The American journal of psychiatry. PMID: 27113121  

  • May 20, 2016
  • 03:52 PM
  • 124 views

You are what you eat: Immune cells remember their first meal

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Scientists have identified the trigger for immune cells' inflammatory response -- a discovery that may pave the way for new treatments for many human diseases. Immune cells play essential roles in the maintenance and repair of our bodies. When we injure ourselves, immune cells mount a rapid inflammatory response to protect us against infection and help heal the damaged tissue.

... Read more »

  • May 20, 2016
  • 10:50 AM
  • 107 views

Predicting Depression Treatment Response: Machine Learning

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Treatment of depression remains primarily an uninformed clinical process. Several effective drug and psychotherapy interventions are available. However, there is no reliable way to determine which treatment is likely to be the most effective for an individual patient.A recent study that used machine learning techniques to address this problem has been published.A research team from Yale University used clinical data from the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) tr........ Read more »

Chekroud AM, Zotti RJ, Shehzad Z, Gueorguieva R, Johnson MK, Trivedi MH, Cannon TD, Krystal JH, & Corlett PR. (2016) Cross-trial prediction of treatment outcome in depression: a machine learning approach. The lancet. Psychiatry, 3(3), 243-50. PMID: 26803397  

  • May 20, 2016
  • 02:53 AM
  • 114 views

On the question of valproate use and pregnancy

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I very much want to stress the point that 'no medical or clinical advice is given or intended' on this blog before proceeding further with discussions based on the commentary paper by Richard Balon & Michelle Riba titled: 'Should Women of Childbearing Potential Be Prescribed Valproate?' [1].Valproate, as in preparations like sodium valproate, has been a particular talking point in recent years as a consequence of something of an emerging body of peer-reviewed science suggesting that its use ........ Read more »

  • May 19, 2016
  • 11:53 AM
  • 140 views

To Beat Sleep Apnea, Try the Didgeridoo

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



People with sleep apnea are at war with their windpipes. But they might be able to get some help from a different kind of wind pipe—namely, the Australian Aboriginal instrument called the didgeridoo.

In sleep apnea, obstructed airways stop a person's breathing over and over at night. It's normal for the throat muscles to relax during sleep, but for sleep apnea sufferers this relaxation combines with other factors to make breathing impossible. Apnea leads to broken sleep, snoring, and exh........ Read more »

  • May 19, 2016
  • 11:33 AM
  • 114 views

Language Disorder in Preschoolers

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Well-designed large population-based studies of the prevalence and correlates of learning disabilities in preschool children are rare.A research group working out of University College London has address that issues with a large study of language disorder in a group of over 7000 4 and 5 year olds in England.A stratified group of 529 children received a comprehensive assessment of language along with assessment of IQ, social, emotional and behavior function.The study found the following important........ Read more »

  • May 19, 2016
  • 03:09 AM
  • 128 views

Brain GABA levels and autism meta-analysed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Remmelt Schür and colleagues [1] provides some (brief) blogging fodder today and the observation that following a "systematic literature review and meta-analysis of 1 H-MRS studies" brain GABA levels were found to be significantly lower in cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) than compared to control (not autism) populations.GABA - gamma-Aminobutyric acid - has been something of interest for quite a few years in autism research circles (see here). It's particular role ........ Read more »

  • May 18, 2016
  • 09:36 AM
  • 129 views

Video Tip of the Week: JGI user meeting videos, and MetaSUB

by Mary in OpenHelix

This week’s Video Tip of the Week is actually a whole bunch of videos. Although I’ll highlight one here as our tip, there are many great talks from the recent JGI Genomics of Energy & Environment meeting. Although typically we focus on specific software tools for our tips, I think this is a nice case […]... Read more »

Afshinnekoo, E., Meydan, C., Chowdhury, S., Jaroudi, D., Boyer, C., Bernstein, N., Maritz, J., Reeves, D., Gandara, J., Chhangawala, S.... (2015) Geospatial Resolution of Human and Bacterial Diversity with City-Scale Metagenomics. Cell Systems, 1(1), 72-87. DOI: 10.1016/j.cels.2015.01.001  

Alexa B.R. McIntyre, Lindsay Rizzardi, Angela M Yu, Gail L. Rosen, Noah Alexander, Douglas J. Botkin, Kristen K. John, Sarah L. Castro-Wallace, Aaron S. Burton, Andrew Feinberg.... (2015) Nanopore Sequencing in Microgravity. bioRxiv. DOI: 10.1101/032342  

  • May 18, 2016
  • 02:57 AM
  • 129 views

Siblings of probands with autism: preferential screening suggested?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders cluster among siblings of probands with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."That was the research bottom line presented in the paper by Elina Jokiranta-Olkoniemi and colleagues [1] who extracted data from the Finnish Prenatal Study of Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders (FIPS-A). FIPS-A has been mentioned previously on this blog (see here) but this time around the aim was to look not at the various risk factors potentially associated........ Read more »

Jokiranta-Olkoniemi, E., Cheslack-Postava, K., Sucksdorff, D., Suominen, A., Gyllenberg, D., Chudal, R., Leivonen, S., Gissler, M., Brown, A., & Sourander, A. (2016) Risk of Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Among Siblings of Probands With Autism Spectrum Disorders. JAMA Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.0495  

  • May 17, 2016
  • 02:35 PM
  • 83 views

Nurses Frequently Attending Church Live Longer

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The Harvard-based Nurses' Health Study has been a remarkably productive longitudinal health study.My wife has been a subject in this study and frequently completes interval questionnaires regarding her health status.A recent publication looked at the relationship between religious service attendance and mortality in the Nurses's Health Study cohort.This manuscript tried to provide a more valid look at the relationship between religiosity/spirituality and health. Previous studies have found a lin........ Read more »

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