Post List

Biology posts

(Modify Search »)

  • October 10, 2015
  • 03:43 AM

Views on autism from an "unaffected sibling"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

It was a bit of a breath of fresh air to read the paper by Lauren Singer [1] (open-access) published in the journal Molecular Autism recently. Detailing the personal experiences of a sibling with a sister with autism who has "gone to walks, raised money via lemonade stands, volunteered in respite programs for families with kids with autism, and participated in autism research studies at the Yale Child Study Center", her very personal account is an important read in amongst the huge peer-rev........ Read more »

  • October 9, 2015
  • 11:26 PM

Pain is in the brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Chronic pain results from disease or trauma to the nervous system. Damaged nerve fibres with heightened responses to normal stimuli send incorrect messages to pain centres in the brain. This phenomenon, called “peripheral and central sensitization” is one of the key mechanisms involved in the condition which touches people with diabetes, cancer, and those suffering from multiple sclerosis, among others.... Read more »

  • October 9, 2015
  • 06:41 AM

The neuroscience of traumatic brain injury

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many as 1.7 million people in the United States experience a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year, over 15% of which are thought to be sports-related. Despite the relatively high prevalence of these injuries, however, it seems we are just beginning to appreciate the true extent of the effects they can have on the brain. Awareness of previously unrecognized consequences to TBI and repeated TBI--along with the realization that........ Read more »

  • October 9, 2015
  • 05:31 AM

The Poor, Unhappy, Chain-smoking Brain

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A thought-provoking new paper from Oxford neuroscientists Stephen Smith and colleagues reports a correlation between a certain pattern of brain activity and, well, a great many things.

The researchers took 461 resting state fMRI scans from the open Human Connectome Project (HCP) database. Associated with each scan is a set of 'meta-data' about the volunteer who had the scan. These 158 variables (listed here) cover everything from age and gender, to mental health status, income, and 'times use... Read more »

Smith SM, Nichols TE, Vidaurre D, Winkler AM, Behrens TE, Glasser MF, Ugurbil K, Barch DM, Van Essen DC, & Miller KL. (2015) A positive-negative mode of population covariation links brain connectivity, demographics and behavior. Nature Neuroscience. PMID: 26414616  

  • October 9, 2015
  • 03:08 AM

ADHD and asthma (yet again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Children with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] have a higher prevalence of asthma than the general Quebec pediatric population."So said the findings of the study by Grizenko and colleagues [1] adding to quite a volume of research potentially connecting the two conditions. During this latest foray into this area of research, researchers also observed that: "Children with ADHD born prematurely and/or those whose mothers experienced stress during pregnancy have a significa........ Read more »

Grizenko N, Osmanlliu E, Fortier MÈ, & Joober R. (2015) Increased Risk of Asthma in Children with ADHD: Role of Prematurity and Maternal Stress during Pregnancy. Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry , 24(2), 109-115. PMID: 26379722  

  • October 8, 2015
  • 01:21 PM

Sex change hormonal treatments alter brain chemistry

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Hormonal treatments administered as part of the procedures for sex reassignment have well-known and well-documented effects on the secondary sexual characteristics of the adult body, shifting a recipient’s physical appearance to that of the opposite sex. New research indicates that these hormonal treatments also alter brain chemistry.... Read more »

Kranz, G., Wadsak, W., Kaufmann, U., Savli, M., Baldinger, P., Gryglewski, G., Haeusler, D., Spies, M., Mitterhauser, M., Kasper, S.... (2015) High-Dose Testosterone Treatment Increases Serotonin Transporter Binding in Transgender People. Biological Psychiatry, 78(8), 525-533. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.09.010  

  • October 8, 2015
  • 11:50 AM

Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen…And Prevent Skin Cancer

by Julia van Rensburg in The 'Scope

Part II in our series looking at the scientific evidence behind sunscreen and skin cancer.... Read more »

  • October 8, 2015
  • 11:38 AM

Who Are You Wearing?: Does Competition Affect How Women View Luxury?

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

What do you think of when I say “luxury consumption”? Probably something that requires a Robin Leach voice over, right? Now what if I ask you why these luxuries are so valued? Is it because they are of excellent quality? Aesthetically appealing? Highly exclusive? Next, consider the audience for the luxury – who is admiring who? And what does that luxury symbolize? Status? Wealth? Success?A recent paper in Evolutionary Psychology takes a look at these questions and has one of the best title........ Read more »

  • October 8, 2015
  • 04:28 AM

KPAX002 for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

My attention was grabbed recently by the paper published by Jon Kaiser [1] (open-access available here) detailing the results of a 'proof-of-concept investigation' examining the use of something called KPAX002 on a small number of participants diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).Looking at how KPAX002 - "a combination of low-dose methylphenidate hydrochloride and mitochondrial support nutrients currently under development by K-PAX Pharmaceuticals" - impacted on fatigue symptoms and "co........ Read more »

  • October 7, 2015
  • 06:19 PM

Parents influence children’s play of violent video games

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Parents who are more anxious and emotional can impact the amount of violent video games their children play, according to new consumer research from Iowa State University. Russell Laczniak, a professor of marketing and the John and Connie Stafford Professor in Business, says given the harmful effects of violent video games, he and his colleagues wanted to better understand how parents influence children’s behavior.... Read more »

  • October 7, 2015
  • 09:38 AM

Video Tip of the Week: Weave, Web-based Analysis and Visualization Environment

by Mary in OpenHelix

At the recent Discovery On Target conference, a workshop on data and analytics for drug discovery contained several informative talks. This week’s Video Tip of the Week was inspired by the first speaker in that session, Georges Grinstein. Not only was the software he talked about something I wanted to examine right away (Weave)–his philosophy on […]... Read more »

Patterson, D., Hicks, T., Dufilie, A., Grinstein, G., & Plante, E. (2015) Dynamic Data Visualization with Weave and Brain Choropleths. PLOS ONE, 10(9). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0139453  

Daniels, K., Grinstein, G., Russell, A., & Glidden, M. (2012) Properties of normalized radial visualizations. Information Visualization, 11(4), 273-300. DOI: 10.1177/1473871612439357  

  • October 7, 2015
  • 08:00 AM

Twin Sons Of Different Mothers…… Or Fathers

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Can a pregnant woman get pregnant? Sounds like a riddle, but really it is superfetation. Getting pregnant in two successive cycles and having twins with different fathers really creates a problem in defining what twins actually are. Twins don’t have to be conceived at the same time, born at the same time, have the same father, or even be of the same “race.”... Read more »

Claas, M., Timmermans, A., & Bruinse, H. (2010) Case report: a black and white twin. Journal of Perinatology, 30(6), 434-436. DOI: 10.1038/jp.2009.156  

  • October 7, 2015
  • 04:30 AM

On glyphosate and autism (without scaremongering)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Glyphosate use and autism rates - should I blog about it?Well, after some deliberation I decided it was a topic worthy of an entry. There is some peer-reviewed science discussions behind it and, as per other areas of controversy on the autism research landscape, the idea that 'science is about debate' (why else does everyone keep going on about open-access and transparency) should always prevail.I'm assuming most people have heard of the organophosphonate (that's phosphonate not p........ Read more »

  • October 6, 2015
  • 01:51 PM

American placebo – An increase in the placebo response, but only in America?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A new study finds that rising placebo responses may play a part in the increasingly high failure rate for clinical trials of drugs designed to control chronic pain caused by nerve damage. Surprisingly, however, the analysis of clinical trials conducted since 1990 found that the increase in placebo responses occurred only in trials conducted wholly in the U.S.; trials conducted in Europe or Asia showed no changes in placebo responses over that period.... Read more »

  • October 6, 2015
  • 10:11 AM

How Cuttlefish Stay Camouflaged On the Go

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Most camouflaged creatures try to hold still so they won't give away their ruse. But cuttlefish aren't most creatures. These masters of camouflage can change color to seamlessly match their background, and they can keep swimming while they do it.

"Cuttlefish are one of nature's fastest dynamic camouflagers," says Noam Josef, a graduate student at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. The cephalopods can change color in just one tenth of a second. They can also create different........ Read more »

Josef N, Berenshtein I, Fiorito G, Sykes AV, & Shashar N. (2015) Camouflage during movement in the European cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis). The Journal of experimental biology. PMID: 26385328  

  • October 6, 2015
  • 06:00 AM

Deadlier than Darth: Death by worm-star

by socgenmicro in Microbe Post

If you happen to be a nematode, worm-stars are probably your worst nightmare. One minute, you’re swimming around minding your own business. The next, you’ve been sucked into a wildly thrashing mass of your peers, all stuck to each other … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • October 6, 2015
  • 04:37 AM

Prenatal hormone involvement in autism risk?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The findings reported by Gayle Windham and colleagues [1] caught my eye recently and their observations based on the examination of mid-pregnancy serum hormone and protein markers for some 2500 mothers of children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with 600,000 controls.Detailing results based on: "Second trimester levels of unconjugated estriol (uE3), human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), and maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein (MSAFP)", researchers reported that their results........ Read more »

  • October 5, 2015
  • 06:48 PM

Gut bacteria population, diversity linked to anorexia nervosa

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers at the UNC School of Medicine found that people with anorexia nervosa have very different microbial communities residing inside their guts compared to healthy individuals and that this bacterial imbalance is associated with some of the psychological symptoms related to the eating disorder.... Read more »

Kleiman, S., Watson, H., Bulik-Sullivan, E., Huh, E., Tarantino, L., Bulik, C., & Carroll, I. (2015) The Intestinal Microbiota in Acute Anorexia Nervosa and During Renourishment. Psychosomatic Medicine, 1. DOI: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000247  

  • October 5, 2015
  • 04:12 PM

Weird colours of bones and teeth

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

I like making lists about living things. Colour is a great starting point for such lists, whether they're about body parts infected by microbes or the origins of science words. For this post, I'm going to look at how bones and teeth can take on a bunch of strange colours...... Read more »

  • October 5, 2015
  • 12:50 PM

This Month in Blastocystis Research (SEP 2015)

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

Slightly delayed, the "This Month" post is mainly on Blastocystis survyes, detection and host specificity.... Read more »

Stensvold CR, Suresh GK, Tan KS, Thompson RC, Traub RJ, Viscogliosi E, Yoshikawa H, & Clark CG. (2007) Terminology for Blastocystis subtypes--a consensus. Trends in parasitology, 23(3), 93-6. PMID: 17241816  

Wang W, Cuttell L, Bielefeldt-Ohmann H, Inpankaew T, Owen H, & Traub RJ. (2013) Diversity of Blastocystis subtypes in dogs in different geographical settings. Parasites , 215. PMID: 23883734  

join us!

Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.

If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.

Register Now

Research Blogging is powered by SMG Technology.

To learn more, visit