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  • September 2, 2015
  • 02:13 AM
  • 10 views

Sub-threshold autistic traits and creativity

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was intrigued by the results reported by Catherine Best and colleagues [1] recently and the suggestion that yet another sweeping generalisation attributed to autism (or at least autistic traits) might turn out to be not as accurate or universal as we might have all been led to believe.Based on the analysis of data from over 300 people who completed an on-line questionnaire (anonymously) measuring autistic traits, researchers reported that creative ideas as measured by a divergent thinking task........ Read more »

  • September 1, 2015
  • 05:47 PM
  • 0 views

Does Everyone Dream?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Everyone dreams - even people who believe that they "never dream" and can't remember any of their dreams. That's according to a group of French researchers writing in the Journal of Sleep Research: Evidence that non-dreamers do dream.





In questionnaire surveys, up to 6.5% of people report that they 'never dream'. Although most of these people report having dreamed at some point in the past, roughly 1 in every 250 people say that they can't remember ever dreaming - not even once.

But... Read more »

  • September 1, 2015
  • 01:34 PM
  • 22 views

Researchers help identify neural basis of multitasking

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

What makes someone better at switching between different tasks? Looking for the mechanisms behind cognitive flexibility, researchers have used brain scans to shed new light on this question. By studying networks of activity in the brain’s frontal cortex, a region associated with control over thoughts and actions, the researchers have shown that the degree to which these networks reconfigure themselves while switching from task to task predicts people’s cognitive flexibility.... Read more »

  • September 1, 2015
  • 12:06 PM
  • 22 views

Parasitized Bees May Self-Medicate with Nectar

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Mary Poppins taught us that a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. A bumblebee's favorite sugary drink may already be laced with medicine. And bees seem to dose themselves with medicinal nectar when they're suffering from a gut full of parasites.

Plants manufacture many chemical compounds to defend against attackers. Some of these are familiar to humans—like capsaicin, the potent weapon made by chili pepper plants. But not every animal enjoys painful food experiences like we do........ Read more »

  • September 1, 2015
  • 10:25 AM
  • 17 views

The blastocyst achieves on-time implantation by entosis

by Xiaofei Sun in the Node

The process of embryo implantation consists of multiple steps: blastocyst apposition, adhesion to uterine luminal epithelial (LE) cells, and removal of the epithelial cells encasing the blastocysts. How the blastocyst trophectoderm breaches the luminal epithelial barrier has been studied for decades, the mechanism of the abstraction of LE cells was not clearly understood. Since the[...]

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The post The blastocyst achieves on-time implantation by entosis appeared first on the Node.
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Finn CA, & McLaren A. (1967) A study of the early stages of implantation in mice. Journal of Reproduction and Fertility, 259-267. info:/10.1530/jrf.0.0130259

Krehbiel RH. (1937) Cytological Studies of the Decidual Reaction in the Rat during Early Pregnancy and in the Production of Deciduomata. Physiological Zoology, 212-234. info:/

Sun X, Zhang L, Xie H, Wan H, Magella B, Whitsett JA, & Dey SK. (2012) Kruppel-like factor 5 (KLF5) is critical for conferring uterine receptivity to implantation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(4), 1145-1150. PMID: 22233806  

Wang H, & Dey SK. (2006) Roadmap to embryo implantation: clues from mouse models. Nature reviews. Genetics, 7(3), 185-199. PMID: 16485018  

  • September 1, 2015
  • 08:38 AM
  • 22 views

This Month in Blastocystis Research (AUG 2015)

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

When is a parasite not a parasite? Where lies the border between parasites and mutalists? Are we letting some of our common colonisers down by mere predjudice? Find out in This Month of Blastocystis Research (AUG 2015).... Read more »

Andersen LO, Bonde I, Nielsen HB, & Stensvold CR. (2015) A retrospective metagenomics approach to studying Blastocystis. FEMS microbiology ecology, 91(7). PMID: 26130823  

Lukeš J, Stensvold CR, Jirků-Pomajbíková K, & Wegener Parfrey L. (2015) Are Human Intestinal Eukaryotes Beneficial or Commensals?. PLoS pathogens, 11(8). PMID: 26270819  

Scanlan PD, Stensvold CR, Rajilić-Stojanović M, Heilig HG, De Vos WM, O'Toole PW, & Cotter PD. (2014) The microbial eukaryote Blastocystis is a prevalent and diverse member of the healthy human gut microbiota. FEMS microbiology ecology, 90(1), 326-30. PMID: 25077936  

  • September 1, 2015
  • 03:07 AM
  • 35 views

Let's talk about sex and autism (reviewed)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The review from Nicola Beddows and Rachel Brooks [1] highlighting the important issue of sexual behaviour with autism in mind is brought to your attention today.Trawling through the peer-reviewed literature looking at reports of inappropriate sexual behaviour present in adolescents diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the authors concluded that various behaviours were included and that there were a variety of possible reasons for said behaviours. Indeed they report that: "Despi........ Read more »

  • August 31, 2015
  • 04:09 PM
  • 36 views

Sodium formaldehyde sulfoxylate is a picky antidote

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

Sodium formaldehyde sulfoxylate, a small sulfur-containing molecule with a propensity to give away its electrons (i.e. a strong reducing agent), has many names and many uses. One of its aliases, rongalite, comes from “rongeage", a French word meaning discharge. It refers to the industrial use of the molecule as a bleaching agent to remove colour from textiles (e.g. to create a white design on a dyed background) and other materials (e.g. to clear up discoloured sugar juice squeezed from plants)........ Read more »

Kotha S, & Khedkar P. (2012) Rongalite: A useful green reagent in organic synthesis. Chemical Reviews, 112(3), 1650-80. PMID: 22107104  

  • August 31, 2015
  • 02:24 PM
  • 46 views

Television viewing linked to higher injury risk in hostile people

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

People with hostile personality traits who watch more television than their peers may be at a greater risk for injury, potentially because they are more susceptible to the influence of television on violence and risk-taking behaviors, a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health analysis discovered.... Read more »

Fabio, A., Chen, C., Dearwater, S., Jacobs, D., Erickson, D., Matthews, K., Iribarren, C., Sidney, S., & Pereira, M. (2015) Television viewing and hostile personality trait increase the risk of injuries. International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion, 1-10. DOI: 10.1080/17457300.2015.1061560  

  • August 31, 2015
  • 10:09 AM
  • 50 views

Cow Pies Can Make You Smarter and Less Stressed

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

It seems like everyone is running around buying school supplies and books, registering for classes, and fretting about how hard it is going to be to learn another whole year’s worth of stuff. The secret to success, it turns out, may lie in cow dung.A cow pie. Photo taken by Jeff Vanuga at the USDA available at Wikimedia Commons.Recent research has highlighted the important role that microbes living in animal digestive tracts have on host animals’ health and behavior. This influence of our gu........ Read more »

  • August 31, 2015
  • 04:16 AM
  • 49 views

Mesenchymal stem cell transplantation and a mouse model of autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I once again tread carefully in this brief post talking about stem cells and autism on the back of what seems to be some growing research interest in this area (see here).The paper by Hadar Segal-Gavish and colleagues [1] adds to this increasing interest with their efforts detailing what happened to a mouse model of autism (the BTBR mouse) following "intracerebroventricular MSC [mesenchymal stem cells] transplantation."Looking at what happened when MSC transplantation was used, th........ Read more »

Segal-Gavish H, Karvat G, Barak N, Barzilay R, Ganz J, Edry L, Aharony I, Offen D, & Kimchi T. (2015) Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation Promotes Neurogenesis and Ameliorates Autism Related Behaviors in BTBR Mice. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. PMID: 26257137  

  • August 30, 2015
  • 02:34 PM
  • 56 views

The alien within: Fetal cells influence maternal health during pregnancy (and long after)

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Parents go to great lengths to ensure the health and well-being of their developing offspring. The favor, however, may not always be returned. Dramatic research has shown that during pregnancy, cells of the fetus often migrate through the placenta, taking up residence in many areas of the mother’s body, where their influence may benefit or undermine maternal health.... Read more »

  • August 29, 2015
  • 01:48 PM
  • 84 views

Confidence in parenting could help break cycle of abuse

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

To understand how confidence in parenting may predict parenting behaviors in women who were abused as children, psychologists have found that mothers who experienced more types of maltreatment as children are more critical of their ability to parent successfully. Intervention programs for moms at-risk, therefore, should focus on bolstering mothers’ self-confidence–not just teach parenting skills, the researchers said.... Read more »

  • August 29, 2015
  • 05:17 AM
  • 77 views

Maternal obesity and offspring autism meta-analysed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

So: "The meta-analysis results support an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder in children of women who were obese during pregnancy. However, further study is warranted to confirm these results."That was the conclusion reached by Ya-Min Li and colleagues [1] looking at the collected peer-reviewed data currently available on how maternal weight might impact on offspring neurodevelopmental outcomes. Without wishing to blame or stigmatise (this is a blog based on the examination of cold,........ Read more »

  • August 28, 2015
  • 02:13 PM
  • 79 views

Bacteria can colour our insides!

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

Included in the vast array of molecules put together by bacteria are pigments, with a blotch of colour often marking the presence of a large bacterial population in nature. In addition to green stains on damp concrete and vibrant rainbows of ooze in hot springs, pigment-making bacteria will very occasionally announce their presence by infecting us and subsequently changing the colour of our body parts and fluids. Weird eh?The king of turning people a different colour is Serratia marcescens. This........ Read more »

  • August 28, 2015
  • 01:59 PM
  • 84 views

Fish oil-diet benefits may be mediated by gut microbes

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Diets rich in fish oil versus diets rich in lard produce very different bacteria in the guts of mice, reports a new study. The researchers transferred these microbes into other mice to see how they affected health. The results suggest that gut bacteria share some of the responsibility for the beneficial effects of fish oil and the harmful effects of lard.... Read more »

  • August 28, 2015
  • 01:28 PM
  • 75 views

Swarming Squid Sperm: A Strategy in Sneakiness

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Sneaky swarming squid sperm. Yeah, let’s talk about that. ‘Cause you hear that and you gotta know, right? But before all the sperm and the swarming is the amorous squid. Let’s start there.As you may expect, squid have both a male and a female. Male squid produce spermatophores, packets of sperm that they can transfer to the females. Female squid carry around these sperm packets until they are ready to spawn. That can be quite some time in some species. When they are ready, they will use th........ Read more »

Hirohashi, N., Alvarez, L., Shiba, K., Fujiwara, E., Iwata, Y., Mohri, T., Inaba, K., Chiba, K., Ochi, H., Supuran, C.... (2013) Sperm from Sneaker Male Squids Exhibit Chemotactic Swarming to CO2. Current Biology, 23(9), 775-781. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.03.040  

  • August 28, 2015
  • 12:03 PM
  • 89 views

Chickens Help Scientists Study Dinosaur Death Pose

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



To address a long-standing mystery in paleontology, scientists went to the grocery store.

Many dinosaur fossils appear in the same pose, not so much "terrible lizard" as "terrible limbo accident." Their tails are stretched out and their necks thrown back grotesquely. But it's not clear why this is. Researchers from the University of Calgary in Canada got a fresh take on the puzzle—or, at least, a recently killed and frozen take—by using dead chickens.

"Chickens are living dinosaurs, a........ Read more »

  • August 28, 2015
  • 04:05 AM
  • 92 views

Autoantibodies not implicated in cases of autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Contrary results are a common feature of the autism peer-reviewed research landscape. No sooner does one group publish the next 'big thing' when it comes to the singular term 'autism' than seemingly opposite results follow suit.So it is with the paper under discussion today by Simran Kalra and colleagues [1] (open-access) who concluded that: "The idea that autoantibodies represent an underlying cause or are biomarkers for autism pathophysiology is not supported by this report."Autoantibodies by ........ Read more »

  • August 27, 2015
  • 01:45 PM
  • 89 views

HIV particles do not cause AIDS, our own immune cells do

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers have revealed that HIV does not cause AIDS by the virus’s direct effect on the host’s immune cells, but rather through the cells’ lethal influence on one another. HIV can either be spread through free-floating virus that directly infect the host immune cells or an infected cell can pass the virus to an uninfected cell.... Read more »

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