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  • September 2, 2014
  • 12:52 PM
  • 28 views

Epigenetics: Taking Control of the Music

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

When I try to explain epigenetics to someone, I like to use the musician metaphor. Your genes are the sheet music and how your body reads those genes, that is your body acting like a musician, making those notes it’s own. This is even more evident when you realize that all human cells contain essentially the same DNA sequence. Up until now we've had to be the audience to this genetic symphony, but new research is helping scientists take control of the music.... Read more »

Müller-Ott K, Erdel F, Matveeva A, Mallm JP, Rademacher A, Hahn M, Bauer C, Zhang Q, Kaltofen S, Schotta G.... (2014) Specificity, propagation, and memory of pericentric heterochromatin. Molecular systems biology, 10(8), 746. PMID: 25134515  

  • September 2, 2014
  • 08:00 AM
  • 27 views

The Anti-Vaccine Movement Is A Preventable Disease

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

Yet another study that attempts to make a link between vaccines and autism has been withdrawn by the publishers. Data from the CDC was re-analysed, and low and behold, a link between vaccine timing and autism was drawn, but only for African-American boys. The problems with this paper and the anti-vaccine movement in general are discussed.... Read more »

  • September 2, 2014
  • 06:46 AM
  • 33 views

How Liked And Disliked Music Influence Our Brain

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

What different effects does the music we like elicit in our brain compared to the one we don’t like? Scientists from Wake Forest University in North Carolina looked at our brain’s responses to music.... Read more »

  • September 1, 2014
  • 09:24 PM
  • 41 views

The neuroscience of self-control

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

In the 1960s, a psychologist at Stanford named Walter Mischel began a series of experiments exploring the dynamics of self-control in children. In one such experiment, Mischel gave preschoolers the choice between two outcomes, one of which was clearly preferable. For example, they were able to choose between 2 marshmallows and 1 marshmallow (the experiments became known as the Stanford marshmallow experiments for this reason).But there was a catch. The experimenter would tell the children that h........ Read more »

Inzlicht, M., Legault, L., & Teper, R. (2014) Exploring the Mechanisms of Self-Control Improvement. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23(4), 302-307. DOI: 10.1177/0963721414534256  

  • August 31, 2014
  • 06:36 PM
  • 52 views

Whitman Was Not a Neuroscientist

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Do I contradict myself?Very well then I contradict myself,(I am large, I contain multitudes.)-Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself" (from Leaves of Grass)Science is the search for objective truth based on physical laws of the universe. Scientific theories try to explain the consistent and predictable behavior of natural systems. They are generally reductionist, meaning that complex systems are reduced to simpler and more fundamental elements. The principles of physics, for instance, are expressed in th........ Read more »

  • August 31, 2014
  • 02:38 PM
  • 46 views

New Synthetic Amino Acid for a New Class of Drugs

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Creating new drug molecules is challenging, developing drugs that are highly effective against a target, but with minimal (or no) toxicity and side-effects to the patient can be an exercise in futility. These drug properties are directly conferred by the 3D structure of the drug molecule. So ideally, the drug should have a shape that is perfectly complementary to a disease-causing target, so that it binds it with high specificity.With that, scientists have developed a synthetic amino acid that c........ Read more »

Chen S. Gopalakrishnan R, Schaer T, Marger F, Hovius R, Bertrand D, Pojer F, Heinis C. (2014) Di-thiol amino acids can structurally shape and enhance the ligand-binding properties of polypeptides. Nature Chemistry. info:/10.1038/nchem.2043

  • August 30, 2014
  • 02:54 PM
  • 84 views

Direct mind-to-mind communication in humans

by Shelly Fan in Neurorexia

Image credit: www.techspot.com Here’s something right out of science fiction: a team of neuroscientists in Spain developed a system that allows a person to transmit the...... Read more »

Grau C, Ginhoux R, Riera A, Nguyen TL, Chauvat H, Berg M, Amengual JL, Pascual-Leone A, & Ruffini G. (2014) Conscious Brain-to-Brain Communication in Humans Using Non-Invasive Technologies. PloS one, 9(8). PMID: 25137064  

  • August 29, 2014
  • 07:15 PM
  • 55 views

A change of mind: from bitter recollections to sweet memories

by Shelly Fan in Neurorexia

There are a LOT of articles on this study already, but most don’t go into the technical details – the part that, in my opinion,...... Read more »

  • August 29, 2014
  • 09:26 AM
  • 46 views

Breaking research: A study in fruit flies finds a possible drug target to compensate for symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

by Bethany Christmann in Fly on the Wall

Parkinson’s disease is caused by the progressive death of neurons important for movement and results in symptoms such as shaking or rigidity in the limbs, slow movements, and difficulty walking. The primary treatment is a drug called L-Dopa, which compensates for the neuron loss but eventually becomes less effective as more and more neurons die […]... Read more »

  • August 28, 2014
  • 04:53 PM
  • 149 views

This is your Brain. This is your Brain on Drugs

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Drugs are bad for the brain. That is (excuse the horrible pun) a no-brainer, but while scientists have seen the after effect drugs have on the brain, we have never seen how they affect the blood flow to the brain. That is of course, until now. A new method for measuring and imaging how quickly blood flows in the brain could help doctors and researchers better understand how drug abuse affects the brain and they are currently testing this new method as we speak.... Read more »

  • August 28, 2014
  • 11:40 AM
  • 136 views

Gambler Sub-types: Three Distinct Profiles

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

One method to advance understanding of a disorder is to use statistical modeling for sub-type or class analysis.Lia Nower and colleagues recently published the results of such an analysis from the large general population data-set known as the U.S. National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC).In this sample, 851 adults 18 years and older were identified with disordered gambling.This group then underwent a type of latent class statistical analysis known as the Pathways........ Read more »

  • August 27, 2014
  • 03:23 PM
  • 96 views

The Learning Brain Unravelled

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

As an engineer you would think math would come easy to me, it didn’t. Funny thing though, science in general and biology in particular came very easy to me. The big question is why? Why would math, something I need to know how to do for my work and my degree, be so hard to learn? Thankfully science has stepped in to answer the question, at least partially, about why somethings can come so easy to a person and other things (like me and math) take so much longer to pick up.[…]... Read more »

Patrick T. Sadtler,, Kristin M. Quick,, Matthew D. Golub,, Steven M. Chase,, Stephen I. Ryu,, Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara,, Byron M. Yu,, & Aaron P. Batista. (2014) Neural constraints on learning. Nature. info:/10.1038/nature13665

  • August 27, 2014
  • 10:58 AM
  • 78 views

Diagnostic Profile in Pathological Gamblers

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Behavioral disorders like pathological gambling (PG) rarely occur alone as a single uncomplicated disorder.In a previous post, I noted the overlap of PG with personality disorder, anxiety disorder, depression, bipolar disorder and substance abuse.A recent study from Germany adds to our knowledge of the general diagnostic profile in the PG population.Erbas and Buchner reviewed German national data sources and other German studies to come up with a series of findings:Twelve month prevalence rates ........ Read more »

  • August 27, 2014
  • 09:45 AM
  • 91 views

Is it really possible for someone to turn into THE HULK? Don’t make me angry.

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

Could epigenetics provide a bit of a biological explanation behind THE HULK?... Read more »

  • August 26, 2014
  • 04:39 AM
  • 93 views

Brian Hooker's Hooked Hoax: Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) Vaccination and Autism Spectrum Disorder

by Alexis Delanoir in How to Paint Your Panda

10 years after the initial study by DeStefano et al. (2004) was conducted, famous anti-vaccine alarmist Brian Hooker, along with Andrew Wakefield, are talking about a "whistleblower" in the CDC claiming that the original data was fraudulent, and was masking a 336% increased risk in ASD in African American boys receiving the MMR vaccine "on time." Did Hooker prove anything in his new study, however? Only that he doesn't understand epidemiology or statistics.... Read more »

  • August 25, 2014
  • 07:13 PM
  • 76 views

Zombie Ant Fungi knows it’s prey

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

So awhile back I was bored and to kill some time wisely I wrote this little bit on real life (sometime potential) zombies. It featured a special section on a particular group of fungi that created some really crazy zombie ants. Ants, which would do the bidding of the fungus, would eventually latch itself in a “death bite” and sprout the parasite from its head. Yeah I know, not a pleasant death. In any case new research is showing just how cool — and evidently smart — these fungi really a........ Read more »

de Bekker C, Quevillon LE, Smith PB, Fleming KR, Ghosh D, Patterson AD, & Hughes DP. (2014) Species-specific ant brain manipulation by a specialized fungal parasite. BMC evolutionary biology, 14(1), 166. PMID: 25085339  

  • August 24, 2014
  • 03:06 PM
  • 96 views

Correcting the Critics of Nicholas Wade & MAOA

by nooffensebut in The Unsilenced Science

Geneticists are not the leading experts on behavioral genetics, and they and other critics have made numerous errors and misjudgments about Nicholas Wade’s book A Troublesome Inheritance, as well as MAOA or warrior gene research.... Read more »

Bevilacqua L, Doly S, Kaprio J, Yuan Q, Tikkanen R, Paunio T, Zhou Z, Wedenoja J, Maroteaux L, Diaz S.... (2010) A population-specific HTR2B stop codon predisposes to severe impulsivity. Nature, 468(7327), 1061-6. PMID: 21179162  

Cases O, Seif I, Grimsby J, Gaspar P, Chen K, Pournin S, Müller U, Aguet M, Babinet C, & Shih JC. (1995) Aggressive behavior and altered amounts of brain serotonin and norepinephrine in mice lacking MAOA. Science (New York, N.Y.), 268(5218), 1763-6. PMID: 7792602  

Tuinier S, Verhoeven WMA, Scherders MJWT, Fekkes D, & Pepplinkhuizen L. (1995) Neuropsychiatric and biological characteristics of X-linked MAO-A deficiency syndrome. A single case intervention study. New Trends in Experimental and Clinical Psychiatry, 99-107. info:/

Zhu B, Chen C, Moyzis R, Dong Q, Chen C, He Q, Li J, Lei X, & Lin C. (2012) Association between the HTR2B gene and the personality trait of fun seeking. Personality and Individual Differences, 53(8), 1029-1033. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2012.07.026  

  • August 24, 2014
  • 01:30 PM
  • 79 views

mTOR and the Cause of Autism

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Autism is a hot topic, lets face it, the increase in prevalence has started to cause a panic in some people. That fear is what the anti-vaccination movement is hoping […]... Read more »

Tang, G., Gudsnuk, K., Kuo, S., Cotrina, M., Rosoklija, G., Sosunov, A., Sonders, M., Kanter, E., Castagna, C., Yamamoto, A.... (2014) Loss of mTOR-Dependent Macroautophagy Causes Autistic-like Synaptic Pruning Deficits. Neuron. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.07.040  

  • August 23, 2014
  • 03:04 PM
  • 111 views

Pseudoscience And Ad Hominems: Is Religion a Mental Illness?

by Alexis Delanoir in How to Paint Your Panda

Many anti-theists claim that religion is a mental illness or a mental disorder, sometimes linking it to schizophrenia, and thus state it should be treated as such. Is it, though? Claiming that religion is a mental disorder does nothing for productive discussion in the fields of theology and philosophy, and is simply incorrect. In this post, I examine the arguments made by proponents of this hypothesis and rebut them, citing the DSM-V and relevant scientific literature.... Read more »

Siddle, R., Haddock, G., Tarrier, N., & Faragher, E. (2014) Religious delusions in patients admitted to hospital with schizophrenia. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 37(3), 130-138. DOI: 10.1007/s001270200005  

  • August 22, 2014
  • 01:20 PM
  • 99 views

Pomegranate eases Alzheimer’s? I’m skeptical

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Alternative medicine is garbage, there I said it. Thankfully there is a difference between alternative and "natural" medicine. I shudder at the term "natural" medicine, but that is typically what medicine based from things in nature (in other words practically all medicine used). Well to cut to the chase, new research shows that the onset of Alzheimer's disease can be slowed and some of its symptoms curbed by a natural compound that is found in pomegranate, unfortunately I am just a little skept........ Read more »

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