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  • May 2, 2016
  • 02:45 PM
  • 12 views

Origin of synaptic pruning process linked to learning, autism and schizophrenia identified

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Vaccines don't cause autism, but because the brain is so complex, we still don't know how much of it works so figuring out the real causes (as in more than one) of autism has been slow going. Well, researchers have identified a brain receptor that appears to initiate adolescent synaptic pruning, a process believed necessary for learning, but in this case it is one that appears to go awry in both autism and schizophrenia.... Read more »

Sonia Afroz, Julie Parato, Hui Shen Sheryl, & Sue Smith. (2016) Synaptic pruning in the female hippocampus is triggered at puberty by extrasynaptic GABAA receptors on dendritic spines . eLife. info:/

  • May 2, 2016
  • 04:30 AM
  • 19 views

If the Helmet Don’t Fit, You May Have to Sit (Out Longer with a Concussion)

by Stephen Stache in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

An athlete with a poorly fit helmet that sustains a concussion may have an increased risk of more severe symptoms and prolonged recovery.... Read more »

  • May 2, 2016
  • 02:55 AM
  • 21 views

On defining chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Most people who know a little bit about chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) will probably understand the potential importance of the findings reported by Leonard Jason and colleagues [1] (open-access available here). Suggesting that there may be "four groupings of patients" when it comes to how we "name and define the illnesses", this research group who surveyed over 500 people "in the United States, Great Britain, and Norway" report on one of the biggest challenge........ Read more »

Jason LA, McManimen S, Sunnquist M, Brown A, Furst J, Newton JL, & Strand EB. (2016) Case definitions integrating empiric and consensus perspectives. Fatigue : biomedicine, health , 4(1), 1-23. PMID: 27088059  

  • April 30, 2016
  • 02:55 PM
  • 71 views

Salts in the brain control our sleep-wake cycle

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Insomnia, fun fact those of us who have served or are serving in the military have a much higher incidence of sleep problems. So if you are like me and have ever been prescribed something to help you sleep, you know that there are some unwanted side effects. For instance the time I lost memory of a whole day of interacting with people to the ambien I had taken the night before, not fun. Thankfully Danish researchers found that the level of salts in the brain plays a critical role in whether we a........ Read more »

  • April 30, 2016
  • 02:45 AM
  • 70 views

The 'anti-neuroinflammatory activity' of oxytocin

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Whilst the package inserts of the various drugs that modern medicine has at its disposal provides important information on potential mode of action, there is a growing realisation that drugs generally have quite a few more molecular targets than are perhaps listed. Take for example the quite commonly used (in some parts of the world anyway) compound called melatonin  that in some instances can provide almost miraculous relief when it comes to sleeping issues under certain circumstances. A d........ Read more »

  • April 29, 2016
  • 11:02 AM
  • 70 views

Bringing ‘Dirty’ Mice Into Labs Opens A World Of Possibilities

by Rita dos Santos Silva in United Academics

Treating immune disorders might have gotten easier with a new mouse model.... Read more »

  • April 29, 2016
  • 09:38 AM
  • 72 views

Hunting For The Signatures of Cancer

by EE Giorgi in CHIMERAS

Signatures of Mutational Processes Extracted from the Mutational Catalogs of 21 Breast Cancer Genomes. Credit:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2012.12.008Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide, with approximately 14 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer related deaths each year (Source: WHO). A family history of cancer typically increases a person's risk of developing the disease, yet most cancer cases have no family history at all. This suggests that a combination of both ge........ Read more »

Siegel, R., Miller, K., & Jemal, A. (2015) Cancer statistics, 2015. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 65(1), 5-29. DOI: 10.3322/caac.21254  

Alexandrov LB. (2015) Understanding the origins of human cancer. Science (New York, N.Y.), 350(6265), 1175. PMID: 26785464  

Alexandrov LB, Nik-Zainal S, Wedge DC, Aparicio SA, Behjati S, Biankin AV, Bignell GR, Bolli N, Borg A, Børresen-Dale AL.... (2013) Signatures of mutational processes in human cancer. Nature, 500(7463), 415-21. PMID: 23945592  

Alexandrov LB, Nik-Zainal S, Siu HC, Leung SY, & Stratton MR. (2015) A mutational signature in gastric cancer suggests therapeutic strategies. Nature communications, 8683. PMID: 26511885  

  • April 29, 2016
  • 02:33 AM
  • 76 views

Organophosphate exposure and ADHD?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Children with higher urinary DMP [dimethylphosphate] concentrations may have a twofold to threefold increased risk of being diagnosed with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder]."So said the results presented in the paper by Yu and colleagues [1] who looking at "97 doctor-diagnosed ADHD cases and 110 non-ADHD controls who were 4-15 years of age" examined urine and blood samples for various factors including "biomarkers of OP [organophosphate] pesticide exposure." Th........ Read more »

  • April 28, 2016
  • 09:33 AM
  • 102 views

Breathing Bordeaux is entirely different from drinking it!

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

It was the summer of 1882, and grape farmers in the Médoc region of southwest France (north of Bordeaux, on the Atlantic coast) had a problem.Schoolchildren (or university students, or just anyone travelling the roads along which the grapevines grew, depending on what source you're reading) were pilfering their grapes. To try and ward them off, some farmers decided to dissolve some slaked lime and copper sulfate in water and spray it on their grapevines closest to the roads. The idea was... Read more »

  • April 28, 2016
  • 02:55 AM
  • 100 views

What parents of children with autism expect from their child's therapists

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Parents ultimately wanted therapists to produce positive outcomes for their children and were willing to sacrifice other desired qualities, as long as the therapy program was effective."and"The SLPs [Speech-Language Pathologists] expressed strong support for evidence-based practice (EBP) and indicated that they thought parents expected their children would be provided with evidence-based interventions."Those quotes come from two papers recently published in the same journal; the first........ Read more »

  • April 27, 2016
  • 04:55 PM
  • 186 views

Addiction, it’s in your genes… maybe

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Why does one person who tries cocaine get addicted, while another might use it and then leave it alone? Why do some people who kick a drug habit manage to stay clean, while others relapse? And why do some families seem more prone to addiction than others? According to a new study, the road to answering these questions may have a lot to do with specific genetic factors that vary from individual to individual.

... Read more »

Flagel, S., Chaudhury, S., Waselus, M., Kelly, R., Sewani, S., Clinton, S., Thompson, R., Watson, S., & Akil, H. (2016) Genetic background and epigenetic modifications in the core of the nucleus accumbens predict addiction-like behavior in a rat model. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201520491. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1520491113  

  • April 27, 2016
  • 10:35 AM
  • 126 views

Food to Restore a Heart

by Aurametrix team in Health Technologies

We know that diet, exercise and low-stress life will keep the heart healthy. But sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. Thanks to more coordinated, faster emergency response and improved treatment, heart attacks aren't as deadly as they used to be. But survivors still face a substantial risk of further cardiovascular events. How to restore after a heart attack and prevent another one? What to do besides obvious things such as taking medications, reducing stress, calories, avoidin........ Read more »

Li S, Flint A, Pai JK, Forman JP, Hu FB, Willett WC, Rexrode KM, Mukamal KJ, & Rimm EB. (2014) Low carbohydrate diet from plant or animal sources and mortality among myocardial infarction survivors. Journal of the American Heart Association, 3(5). PMID: 25246449  

  • April 27, 2016
  • 08:35 AM
  • 80 views

Your Body Has A Photographic Memory

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

For the first time anywhere - an easy explanation of your immune system in 1500 words! For the low, low price of zero dollars you can find out how your body protects you better the second time you are exposed to a disease. Special bonus offer – we’ll throw in how vaccines work and why you need one every year for the flu, although your old flu vaccines might still be helping you. ... Read more »

  • April 27, 2016
  • 04:30 AM
  • 83 views

Should We Drop the Vertical Drop Jump?

by Nicole Cattano in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

Performance on the vertical drop jump landing task was not found to be associated with anterior cruciate ligament injury risk in a group of female handball and soccer athletes. ... Read more »

  • April 27, 2016
  • 03:07 AM
  • 94 views

The A Word: the science behind...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The A WordI'm not typically inclined to talk about TV programmes on this blog (well, not usually) but today I'm making an exception based on the conclusion of the BBC drama series 'The A Word' last evening.For those who might not know, this [fictional] series charts the ups and downs of a family living in the Lake District whose lives are in one way or another touched by autism as a function of a 5-year old boy diagnosed with the condition. The show had a notable addition to the cast with a very........ Read more »

  • April 26, 2016
  • 10:42 AM
  • 81 views

You Scratch My Back

by AG McCluskey in Zongo's Cancer Diaries

Where does the idea of a scientist as a crazed loner come from. Let's work together!... Read more »

Brown, R., Deletic, A., & Wong, T. (2015) Interdisciplinarity: How to catalyse collaboration. Nature, 525(7569), 315-317. DOI: 10.1038/525315a  

AG McCluskey. (2016) You Scratch My Back.. Zongo's Cancer Diaries. info:/

  • April 26, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 97 views

Gently frying your eyeballs at work

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

When I was a kid, I got thwacked in the face with a golf club. It was totally my fault. I was goofing around with my cousins (as one does) and failed to notice one of them winding up for a swing. Ended up with four stitches, the first one just half an inch from my left eye.... Read more »

  • April 26, 2016
  • 03:10 AM
  • 96 views

Bacterial origin and transferability of depression?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Zheng and colleagues [1] caught my eye recently and the interesting ideas that "dysbiosis of the gut microbiome may have a causal role in the development of depressive-like behaviors" and "transplantation of GF [germ-free] mice with ‘depression microbiota’ derived from MDD [major depressive disorder] patients resulted in depression-like behaviors compared with colonization with ‘healthy microbiota’ derived from healthy control individuals."Bearing in........ Read more »

  • April 25, 2016
  • 04:30 AM
  • 95 views

Patient-Reported Outcome Measures Are Associated to Biochemical Markers

by Jane McDevitt in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

Poor scores on the Knee Osteoarthritis Outcome Score and Tegner Activity Scale may be associated with elevated biomarker concentration levels that reflect collagen turnover.... Read more »

  • April 25, 2016
  • 02:15 AM
  • 113 views

Parenting a child with autism or ADHD: what the science says...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm talking about parenting again today. Two papers are served up for your reading interest today, providing an important 'science-based' perspective on the general experience of parenting a child who is also diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).The first paper by Britt Laugesen and colleagues [1] "aimed to identify and synthesize the best available evidence on parenting experiences of living with a child with attention-deficit hyper........ Read more »

Laugesen B, Lauritsen MB, Jørgensen R, Sørensen EE, Rasmussen P, & Grønkjær M. (2016) Living with a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a systematic review. International journal of evidence-based healthcare. PMID: 27058250  

Khan, T., Ooi, K., Ong, Y., & Jacob, S. (2016) A meta-synthesis on parenting a child with autism. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 745. DOI: 10.2147/NDT.S100634  

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