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  • October 31, 2014
  • 04:05 PM
  • 12 views

New Genetic Editing Technique Offers Novel Treatment of Defects

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

The promises of genetic modifications are endless, longer life, better health, cures for genetic based diseases that would otherwise cause an unimaginable amount of suffering all wiped out. We’ve come a long way in genetic alteration thanks, in part, to the ever faster moving pace of science. While genetic modification is the thing of horror movies, it also can change the world in ways we cannot even imagine — unfortunately getting genome-editing proteins into cells, where they need to be t........ Read more »

  • October 31, 2014
  • 12:05 PM
  • 24 views

I Need How Many Calories? Caloric Needs in Bulimia Nervosa Patients

by Tetyana in Science of Eating Disorders


In the 1980s, a few studies came out suggesting that patients with bulimia nervosa (BN) require fewer calories for weight maintenance than anorexia nervosa patients (e.g., Newman, Halmi, & Marchi, 1987) and healthy female controls (e.g., Gwirtsman et al., 1989).
Gwirtsman et al. (1989), after finding that patients with bulimia nervosa required few calories for weight maintenance than healthy volunteers, had these suggestions for clinicians:
When bulimic patient........ Read more »

de Zwaan, M., Aslam, Z., & Mitchell, J.E. (2002) Research on energy expenditure in individuals with eating disorders: a review. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 31(4), 361-9. PMID: 11948641  

Gwirtsman, H.E., Kaye, W.H., Obarzanek, E., George, D.T., Jimerson, D.C., & Ebert, M.H. (1989) Decreased caloric intake in normal-weight patients with bulimia: comparison with female volunteers. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 49(1), 86-92. PMID: 2912015  

  • October 31, 2014
  • 05:06 AM
  • 25 views

Caesarean section births and autism risk?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

It was a familiar story. Big media headlines such as: Caesarean sections 'may increase risk of autism' appearing all over, but when it came to finding the study behind the headlines, the publishing journal seemed to be trailing a little way behind. We've been in a similar situation before."As the flames rose to her Roman nose"Anyhow, the paper by Eileen Curran and colleagues [1] (open-access) has finally made it to the research table and hence is fodder for today's ramblings with the sugges........ Read more »

  • October 30, 2014
  • 03:45 PM
  • 40 views

Zombies: Science Fiction vs. Fact

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Well in the spirit of Halloween I thought I would make a nice little zombie post. Zombies, those brain loving little guys, [and girls] are everywhere. From shows like The Walking […]... Read more »

Lafferty KD. (2006) Can the common brain parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, influence human culture?. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 273(1602), 2749-55. PMID: 17015323  

Vyas A, Kim SK, Giacomini N, Boothroyd JC, & Sapolsky RM. (2007) Behavioral changes induced by Toxoplasma infection of rodents are highly specific to aversion of cat odors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(15), 6442-7. PMID: 17404235  

Thomas, F., Schmidt-Rhaesa, A., Martin, G., Manu, C., Durand, P., & Renaud, F. (2002) Do hairworms (Nematomorpha) manipulate the water seeking behaviour of their terrestrial hosts?. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 15(3), 356-361. DOI: 10.1046/j.1420-9101.2002.00410.x  

W. Wesołowska T. Wesołowski. (2014) Do Leucochloridium sporocysts manipulate the behaviour of their snail hosts?. Journal of Zoology , 292(3), 151-155. info:/10.1111/jzo.12094

  • October 30, 2014
  • 11:20 AM
  • 34 views

Alcoholism as a Reward System Dysfunction

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Alcoholism and other addictive behaviors often occur together within individual patients.For example, individuals with alcoholism commonly also are smokers and meet criteria for a diagnosis of nicotine dependence.This co-occurrence suggests multiple types of addiction may share genetic and environmental risk factors. Additionally, there might be a common neurobiological mechanism in play for many addictions.Kenneth Blum and other leading alcoholism researchers recently published a review that pr........ Read more »

  • October 30, 2014
  • 04:44 AM
  • 37 views

Pain and adolescent Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"We found a higher prevalence of severe pain among adolescents with CFS [Chronic Fatigue Syndrome] and lowered pain thresholds compared with HCs [healthy controls]".That was the headline generated by the study from Anette Winger and colleagues [1] (open-access) looking to describe several parameters tied into experience of pain in the context of CFS. Further: "The total sum of bodily symptoms represented a heavy burden with great functional consequences".Your hokey pokey drag........ Read more »

  • October 29, 2014
  • 03:19 PM
  • 52 views

More Genetic Links Behind Autism

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Vaccines do NOT cause autism. One more time, vaccines DO NOT cause autism. So what does cause autism, that problem has been plaguing scientists for awhile now. Thankfully two major genetic studies of autism and involving more than 50 laboratories worldwide, have newly implicated dozens of genes in the disorder. The research shows that rare mutations in these genes affect communication networks in the brain and compromise fundamental biological mechanisms that govern whether, when, and how genes ........ Read more »

Iossifov, I., O’Roak, B., Sanders, S., Ronemus, M., Krumm, N., Levy, D., Stessman, H., Witherspoon, K., Vives, L., Patterson, K.... (2014) The contribution of de novo coding mutations to autism spectrum disorder. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature13908  

De Rubeis, S., He, X., Goldberg, A., Poultney, C., Samocha, K., Ercument Cicek, A., Kou, Y., Liu, L., Fromer, M., Walker, S.... (2014) Synaptic, transcriptional and chromatin genes disrupted in autism. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature13772  

  • October 29, 2014
  • 01:45 PM
  • 49 views

This Month in Blastocystis Research (OCT 2014) - Trick or Treat Edition

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

October was mostly about conferences and funding. And why is no one studying endosymbiosis in Blastocystis?... Read more »

Fletcher S, Caprarelli G, Merif J, Andresen D, Hal SV, Stark D, & Ellis J. (2014) Epidemiology and geographical distribution of enteric protozoan infections in sydney, australia. Journal of public health research, 3(2), 298. PMID: 25343139  

Nowack EC, & Melkonian M. (2010) Endosymbiotic associations within protists. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 365(1541), 699-712. PMID: 20124339  

Prodeus TV, Zelia OP, Khlebnikova TA, & Pikul' DA. (2014) [Extraenteric infection caused by Blastocystis spp. in a female patient with liver abscess]. Meditsinskaia parazitologiia i parazitarnye bolezni, 6-9. PMID: 25296418  

  • October 29, 2014
  • 04:36 AM
  • 58 views

The stability of an Asperger syndrome diagnosis

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Asperger Syndrome, when considered as an ASD/PDD [autism spectrum disorder/pervasive developmental disorder] diagnosis, was fairly stable into adulthood, but there was a significant increase over time in cases no longer meeting criteria for an ASD diagnosis according to the DSM-IV, or AS according to the Gillberg criteria".The night is darkest just before the dawn.That was one of the primary conclusions made in the paper by Adam Helles and colleagues [1] who prospectively followed a group ........ Read more »

Adam Helles, Carina I. Gillberg, Christopher Gillberg, & Eva Billstedt. (2014) sperger syndrome in males over two decades: stability and predictors of diagnosis. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. info:/doi: 10.1111/jcpp.12334

  • October 28, 2014
  • 04:11 PM
  • 60 views

Scientists resurrect 700-year-old viruses, Just in time for Halloween!

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

You know how some zombie movies start with a discovery of a virus, it gets loose, and things quickly spiral out of control from that? Well in breaking news a team of researchers have found two 700-year-old viral sequences in frozen caribou dung in an arctic ice patch. The group isolated part of a viral RNA genome and the complete genome of a DNA virus. Then they infected living plants with the DNA virus, what could go wrong?... Read more »

Ng, T., Chen, L., Zhou, Y., Shapiro, B., Stiller, M., Heintzman, P., Varsani, A., Kondov, N., Wong, W., Deng, X.... (2014) Preservation of viral genomes in 700-y-old caribou feces from a subarctic ice patch. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1410429111  

  • October 28, 2014
  • 11:59 AM
  • 61 views

Night Owls Show Increased Alcohol Use Risk

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Humans commonly display a circadian rhythm preference for getting up early in the morning or staying up late at night (night owls).This sleep timing, or diurnal preference appears to have genetic contributions.Additionally, diurnal preference may contribute to risk for alcohol consumption as more alcohol is consumed later in the day and during the night time.Nathaniel Watson and colleagues at the University of Washington and the University of Texas recently explored the relationship between diur........ Read more »

Watson NF, Buchwald D, & Harden KP. (2013) A twin study of genetic influences on diurnal preference and risk for alcohol use outcomes. Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 9(12), 1333-9. PMID: 24340296  

  • October 28, 2014
  • 03:42 AM
  • 67 views

Zinc and depression

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Low dietary zinc intake is associated with a greater incidence of depression in both men and women, as shown in two prospective cohorts".At the risk of overdoing the whole 'you are what you eat' sentiment, today I'm addressing a portion of the peer-reviewed research literature linking issues with zinc availability to depression. That opening quote by the way, comes from the paper by Khanrin Phungamla Vashum and colleagues [1] who looked at self-reported dietary intake of zinc based on data........ Read more »

  • October 27, 2014
  • 03:40 PM
  • 75 views

Real Zombie-Making Parasites Among Us

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

The mummified cat and the rat in the crypt of Christ Church in Dublin. Photo by Adrian Grycuk at Wikimedia Commons.The Happening, M. Night Shyamalan’s worst panned movie of all time, is a science fiction thriller about people going into a mysterious trance and committing suicide as a result of other mind-hacking species. One of the leading criticisms raised against this movie is the ridiculousness of the premise. One species can’t cause another to willingly commit suicide! …Or can they? T........ Read more »

  • October 27, 2014
  • 03:37 PM
  • 60 views

Research Shows Synapses are Always Ready to Go

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

The inner workings of the brain are quick, but really they have to be. Neurons need to be able to rapidly propagate information in their interior via electrical signals and they communicate with each other at special contact points known as the synapses. These chemical messenger substances (known as neurotransmitters) are stored in vesicles at the synapses. When a synapse becomes active, some of these vesicles fuse with the cell membrane and release their contents. To ensure that valuable time i........ Read more »

Imig, C., Min, S., Krinner, S., Arancillo, M., Rosenmund, C., Südhof, T., Rhee, J., Brose, N., & Cooper, B. (2014) The Morphological and Molecular Nature of Synaptic Vesicle Priming at Presynaptic Active Zones. Neuron, 84(2), 416-431. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.10.009  

  • October 27, 2014
  • 12:30 PM
  • 68 views

Exercise Fights Chronic Stress-Dependent Depression

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

It is known that physical exercise improves the symptoms of depression. Several hypotheses have been formulated to explain how this occurs, but no clear biochemical mechanism had so far been demonstrated.... Read more »

Agudelo LZ, Femenía T, Orhan F, Porsmyr-Palmertz M, Goiny M, Martinez-Redondo V, Correia JC, Izadi M, Bhat M, Schuppe-Koistinen I.... (2014) Skeletal Muscle PGC-1α1 Modulates Kynurenine Metabolism and Mediates Resilience to Stress-Induced Depression. Cell, 159(1), 33-45. PMID: 25259918  

Wrann CD, White JP, Salogiannnis J, Laznik-Bogoslavski D, Wu J, Ma D, Lin JD, Greenberg ME, & Spiegelman BM. (2013) Exercise induces hippocampal BDNF through a PGC-1α/FNDC5 pathway. Cell metabolism, 18(5), 649-59. PMID: 24120943  

  • October 27, 2014
  • 11:10 AM
  • 74 views

Brain Imaging In Alcoholic Brain Thiamine Deficiency

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Chronic consumption of large quantities of alcohol can produce severe deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1).This can precipitate an acute brain failure known as Wernicke's encephalopathy. Wernicke's encephalopathy is characterized by sudden onset of mental status changes, eye muscle impairment and disturbed gait or ataxia.Other illnesses can also produce this level of severe thiamine deficiency. A partial list of these non-alcoholism causes for thiamine deficiency with encephalopathy includes........ Read more »

  • October 27, 2014
  • 04:37 AM
  • 63 views

Diagnosing autism late: after psychosis

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The case report from Marly Simoncini and colleagues [1] (open-access) is the topic of today's post. Describing the case of Mr. A, a young man who attempted suicide during a psychotic episode, the paper tracks the developmental history and diagnostic evaluation of this person culminating in a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) "that had been completely overlooked".The best thing we can do is go on with our daily routineThe paper is open-access and I would encourage readers to take s........ Read more »

Simoncini, M., Miniati, M., Vanelli, F., Callari, A., Vannucchi, G., Mauri, M., & Dell’Osso, L. (2014) Lifetime Autism Spectrum Features in a Patient with a Psychotic Mixed Episode Who Attempted Suicide. Case Reports in Psychiatry, 1-4. DOI: 10.1155/2014/459524  

  • October 26, 2014
  • 03:58 PM
  • 85 views

The Cause Behind Seizures post-Vaccination

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

The anti-vaccination movement is a dangerous one. Children are falling ill (and in certain cases dying) over nothing more than fear and misinformation. The problem is science doesn’t have all the answers and it is tempting to look to someone — or in this case a group of someones– who claim to have those answers, true or not. Well science eventually gets the answers we need and now scientists have found genetic clues to explain why a small number of children have febrile seizures—brief co........ Read more »

Bjarke Feenstra et al. (2014) Common variants associated with general and MMR vaccine–related febrile seizures. Nature Genetics. info:/dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3129

  • October 25, 2014
  • 03:47 AM
  • 98 views

Autism and intolerance of uncertainty

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Good morning, gentlemen, the temperature is 110 degrees'Change' is often mentioned as something potentially problematic for many on the autism spectrum, and how unexpected change can sometimes have profound effects in terms of those so-called 'challenging behaviours' or when it comes to the presentation of important comorbidity such as anxiety. Like many others from the outside looking in, I was always taught that change as a more general concept was the important issue in autism, but recently t........ Read more »

  • October 24, 2014
  • 05:20 PM
  • 79 views

The Genetics of Congenital Heart Defects Slowly Emerge from Down Syndrome Study

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Down syndrome, of all the genetic defects people are born with, is the most common (as far as chromosomal abnormalities go). Down syndrome involves having a third copy of all or part of chromosome 21 (for those who do not recall we are typically born with 23 pairs of chromosomes). In addition to intellectual disability, individuals with Down syndrome have a high risk of congenital heart defects. However, not all people with Down syndrome have them – about half have structurally normal hearts.... Read more »

Ramachandran D, Mulle JG, Locke AE, Bean LJ, Rosser TC, Bose P, Dooley KJ, Cua CL, Capone GT, Reeves RH.... (2014) Contribution of copy-number variation to Down syndrome-associated atrioventricular septal defects. Genetics in medicine : official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics. PMID: 25341113  

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