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  • May 25, 2016
  • 02:52 AM
  • 13 views

The persistence of self-injury in relation to autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Some behaviours associated with a diagnosis of autism don't make for great dinner table discussion. Self-injurious behaviours (SIBs), as exemplified by head banging, hair pulling and eye gouging must rank as some of the more distressing facets of [some] autism insofar as their potential effect on the person and also the people around them.These and other types of behaviour commonly headed under the category of so-called 'challenging behaviours' have tended not to be too evident when it come........ Read more »

  • May 24, 2016
  • 02:31 PM
  • 15 views

Hatching Sea Turtles Get a Hand from Their Siblings

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Smashing out of its egg is only the first step in a baby sea turtle's grueling early days. The turtle fights free of its eggshell only to find itself buried underground. It has to intuit which way is up, then dig out of the packed sand. As soon as it breaks onto the surface of the beach, it begins a mad sprint to the ocean. All around are its brothers and sisters, flailing toward the water as fast as their own flippers will carry them. In the sea they'll keep swimming frantically, trying ........ Read more »

  • May 24, 2016
  • 11:27 AM
  • 29 views

ZIKV infection in mice: cell cycle defects as a cause for microcephaly?

by thelonevirologist in Virology Tidbits

Zika Virus (ZIKV) was first isolated in 1947 from a sentinel monkey in Uganda and despite sporadic local outbreaks only caused mild disease in humans. The emergence of ZIKV combined with severe pathogenicity in South America as early as 2014 however raised questions about the molecular evolution of ZIKV since ZIKV was previously only associated with arthralgia and a mild febrile illness but not neuropathological disorders including abnormal foetal brain development and Guillan-Barre Syndrome (GB........ Read more »

Tang H, Hammack C, Ogden SC, Wen Z, Qian X, Li Y, Yao B, Shin J, Zhang F, Lee EM.... (2016) Zika Virus Infects Human Cortical Neural Progenitors and Attenuates Their Growth. Cell stem cell, 18(5), 587-90. PMID: 26952870  

Rodriguez-Morales AJ, Bandeira AC, & Franco-Paredes C. (2016) The expanding spectrum of modes of transmission of Zika virus: a global concern. Annals of clinical microbiology and antimicrobials, 13. PMID: 26939897  

Miner JJ, Cao B, Govero J, Smith AM, Fernandez E, Cabrera OH, Garber C, Noll M, Klein RS, Noguchi KK.... (2016) Zika Virus Infection during Pregnancy in Mice Causes Placental Damage and Fetal Demise. Cell, 165(5), 1081-91. PMID: 27180225  

Cugola, F., Fernandes, I., Russo, F., Freitas, B., Dias, J., Guimarães, K., Benazzato, C., Almeida, N., Pignatari, G., Romero, S.... (2016) The Brazilian Zika virus strain causes birth defects in experimental models. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature18296  

Deng YQ, Zhao H, Li XF, Zhang NN, Liu ZY, Jiang T, Gu DY, Shi L, He JA, Wang HJ.... (2016) Isolation, identification and genomic characterization of the Asian lineage Zika virus imported to China. Science China. Life sciences, 59(4), 428-30. PMID: 26993654  

Grant, A., Ponia, S., Tripathi, S., Balasubramaniam, V., Miorin, L., Sourisseau, M., Schwarz, M., Sánchez-Seco, M., Evans, M., Best, S.... (2016) Zika Virus Targets Human STAT2 to Inhibit Type I Interferon Signaling. Cell Host . DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2016.05.009  

Ashour J, Laurent-Rolle M, Shi PY, & García-Sastre A. (2009) NS5 of dengue virus mediates STAT2 binding and degradation. Journal of virology, 83(11), 5408-18. PMID: 19279106  

Gelman A, Rawet-Slobodkin M, & Elazar Z. (2015) Huntingtin facilitates selective autophagy. Nature cell biology, 17(3), 214-5. PMID: 25720962  

Amaral N, Vendrell A, Funaya C, Idrissi FZ, Maier M, Kumar A, Neurohr G, Colomina N, Torres-Rosell J, Geli MI.... (2016) The Aurora-B-dependent NoCut checkpoint prevents damage of anaphase bridges after DNA replication stress. Nature cell biology, 18(5), 516-26. PMID: 27111841  

Schröder-Heurich B, Wieland B, Lavin MF, Schindler D, & Dörk T. (2014) Protective role of RAD50 on chromatin bridges during abnormal cytokinesis. FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 28(3), 1331-41. PMID: 24344331  

Uchil, P., Kumar, A., & Satchidanandam, V. (2006) Nuclear Localization of Flavivirus RNA Synthesis in Infected Cells. Journal of Virology, 80(11), 5451-5464. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.01982-05  

  • May 24, 2016
  • 10:02 AM
  • 19 views

Should Biologists be Guided by Beauty?

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

One key characteristic of a beautiful scientific theory is the simplicity of the underlying concepts. According to Weinberg, Einstein's theory of gravitation is described in fourteen equations whereas Newton's theory can be expressed in three. Despite the appearance of greater complexity in Einstein's theory, Weinberg finds it more beautiful than Newton's theory because the Einsteinian approach rests on one elegant central principle – the equivalence of gravitation and ........ Read more »

Dietrich, M., Ankeny, R., & Chen, P. (2014) Publication Trends in Model Organism Research. Genetics, 198(3), 787-794. DOI: 10.1534/genetics.114.169714  

Weinberg, Steven. (1992) Dreams of a Final Theory . Vintage Books. info:/

  • May 24, 2016
  • 03:07 AM
  • 39 views

Around 1 in 5 with autism will experience seizure or seizure disorder

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Jennifer Jaskiewicz and colleagues [1] recently offered a further important insight into the relationship between autism and seizure or seizure disorder (i.e. epilepsy).Based on the examination of records of nearly 50,000 children and young adults diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with approximately quarter of a million 'not-autism' participants, authors reported some interesting trends. Concluding that some 19% of participants with autism experienced "s........ Read more »

Jennifer Jaskiewicz, Apryl Susi, Elizabeth Hisle-Gorman, David Dennison, Gregory Gorman, Cade Nylund, & Christine Erdie-Lalena. (2016) Quantification of Risks of Seizure in Autism. Neurology. info:/

  • May 23, 2016
  • 04:13 PM
  • 61 views

Extreme beliefs often mistaken for insanity, new study finds

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In the aftermath of violent acts such as mass shootings, many people assume mental illness is the cause. After studying the 2011 case of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, researchers are suggesting a new forensic term to classify non-psychotic behavior that leads to criminal acts of violence.

... Read more »

Rahman T, Resnick PJ, & Harry B. (2016) Anders Breivik: Extreme Beliefs Mistaken for Psychosis. The journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 44(1), 28-35. PMID: 26944741  

  • May 23, 2016
  • 02:48 AM
  • 52 views

Sex-specific immune response to Candida albicans in schizophrenia and beyond

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I have quite a bit of time for the various members of the Stanley Division of Developmental Neurovirology at Johns Hopkins on this blog. Not least because of the interesting work of one researcher in particular - Emily Severance - as a name behind some potentially very important research on how food, infection and immune function might come together in complicated conditions such as [some] schizophrenia and [some] bipolar disorder (see here and see here).Continuing their 'gut-brain' theme (........ Read more »

Severance, E., Gressitt, K., Stallings, C., Katsafanas, E., Schweinfurth, L., Savage, C., Adamos, M., Sweeney, K., Origoni, A., Khushalani, S.... (2016) Candida albicans exposures, sex specificity and cognitive deficits in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. npj Schizophrenia, 16018. DOI: 10.1038/npjschz.2016.18  

  • May 22, 2016
  • 08:17 PM
  • 52 views

Piggybacking Instead of Killing: New Insights Into Virus Community Dynamics

by Geoffrey Hannigan in Prophage

The human microbiome is an important component of human health and disease. It is an ecosystem of microbes that exists in and on humans, and can affect disease states through disturbances in composition, diversity, metabolism, etc. Understanding the human microbiome will not only allow us to better understand human health, but it will also allow us to treat medical conditions in new and effective ways (e.g. Fecal Microbiota Transplants).... Read more »

Knowles B, Silveira CB, Bailey BA, Barott K, Cantu VA, Cobián-Güemes AG, Coutinho FH, Dinsdale EA, Felts B, Furby KA.... (2016) Lytic to temperate switching of viral communities. Nature, 531(7595), 466-70. PMID: 26982729  

  • May 22, 2016
  • 04:04 PM
  • 74 views

How depression and antidepressant drugs work

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Treating depression is kind of a guessing game. Trying to find a medication that works without causing side effects can take months, or more likely, years. However, new research demonstrates the effectiveness of ketamine to treat depression in a mouse model of the disease and brings together two hypotheses for the cause of depression.

... Read more »

  • May 22, 2016
  • 05:51 AM
  • 76 views

Pinpointing the Origins of Migraine in the Brain

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Migraines are a very unpleasant variety of headaches, often associated with other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, photophobia (aversion to light) and visual disturbances. Hundreds of millions of people around the world suffer regular migraines, but their brain basis remains largely unclear.



Now a new paper reports that the origin of migraines may have been pinpointed - in the brain of one sufferer, at least. German neuroscientists Laura H. Schulte and Arne May used fMRI to record brain... Read more »

  • May 21, 2016
  • 03:44 PM
  • 94 views

Bacteria in branches naturally fertilize trees

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The bacteria in and on our bodies have been shown to be vital for human health, influencing nutrition, obesity and protection from diseases. But science has only recently delved into the importance of the microbiome of plants. Since plants can't move, they are especially reliant on partnerships with microbes to help them get nutrients.

... Read more »

Doty, S., Sher, A., Fleck, N., Khorasani, M., Bumgarner, R., Khan, Z., Ko, A., Kim, S., & DeLuca, T. (2016) Variable Nitrogen Fixation in Wild Populus. PLOS ONE, 11(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155979  

  • May 21, 2016
  • 08:19 AM
  • 81 views

The persistence of wealth and modern-day samurai

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

The rich stay rich If you had rich ancestors, you might just be in luck. Two Italian economists used tax data to identify the wealthiest families in the city-state Florence in 1427. In contrast with the idea that you’re largely responsible for your own fortune, they found that the wealth of the 1427 families was […]... Read more »

Barone, G and Mocetti, S. (2016) Intergenerational mobility in the very long run: Florence 1427-2011. Bank of Italy working papers. info:/

  • May 21, 2016
  • 02:57 AM
  • 114 views

Add-on nutraceuticals for depression?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

It came as no surprise to me that the systematic review and meta-analysis article by Jerome Sarris and colleagues [1] found what it did in relation to the use of [certain] adjunctive (add-on) nutraceuticals alongside antidepressants to reduce depressive symptoms: some of them might actually be clinically useful.With no medical or clinical advice given or intended, the authors report that "adjunctive use of SAMe, methylfolate, omega-3, and vitamin D with antidepressants" might be something to con........ Read more »

Sarris J, Murphy J, Mischoulon D, Papakostas GI, Fava M, Berk M, & Ng CH. (2016) Adjunctive Nutraceuticals for Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses. The American journal of psychiatry. PMID: 27113121  

  • May 20, 2016
  • 03:52 PM
  • 113 views

You are what you eat: Immune cells remember their first meal

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Scientists have identified the trigger for immune cells' inflammatory response -- a discovery that may pave the way for new treatments for many human diseases. Immune cells play essential roles in the maintenance and repair of our bodies. When we injure ourselves, immune cells mount a rapid inflammatory response to protect us against infection and help heal the damaged tissue.

... Read more »

  • May 20, 2016
  • 12:09 PM
  • 99 views

Can birds perceive rhythmic patterns?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

In a recent paper (Ten Cate et al., 2016) we review the available experimental evidence for the perception of regularity and rhythms by birds, like the ability to distinguish regular from irregular stimuli over tempo transformations and report data from new experiments. ... Read more »

  • May 20, 2016
  • 02:53 AM
  • 108 views

On the question of valproate use and pregnancy

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I very much want to stress the point that 'no medical or clinical advice is given or intended' on this blog before proceeding further with discussions based on the commentary paper by Richard Balon & Michelle Riba titled: 'Should Women of Childbearing Potential Be Prescribed Valproate?' [1].Valproate, as in preparations like sodium valproate, has been a particular talking point in recent years as a consequence of something of an emerging body of peer-reviewed science suggesting that its use ........ Read more »

  • May 19, 2016
  • 11:53 AM
  • 132 views

To Beat Sleep Apnea, Try the Didgeridoo

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



People with sleep apnea are at war with their windpipes. But they might be able to get some help from a different kind of wind pipe—namely, the Australian Aboriginal instrument called the didgeridoo.

In sleep apnea, obstructed airways stop a person's breathing over and over at night. It's normal for the throat muscles to relax during sleep, but for sleep apnea sufferers this relaxation combines with other factors to make breathing impossible. Apnea leads to broken sleep, snoring, and exh........ Read more »

  • May 19, 2016
  • 08:31 AM
  • 122 views

Antimicrobial antenna bacteria of bee-hunting wasps

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

For many people, including myself, a mention of the word wasp brings to mind a particular yellow and black annoyance found hovering around garbage cans in the summertime. However, as is usually the case with the natural world, wasps are far more interesting than our common experiences with them let on. To start, there are thousands upon thousands of species, not just the yellow jackets we try to avoid being stung by as we eat at a picnic table out in the park. Wasps are close cousins of bees and........ Read more »

Seipke RF, Kaltenpoth M, & Hutchings MI. (2012) Streptomyces as symbionts: An emerging and widespread theme?. FEMS Microbiology Reviews, 36(4), 862-876. PMID: 22091965  

  • May 19, 2016
  • 07:29 AM
  • 125 views

Does Memory Reconsolidation Exist?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A new PNAS paper casts doubt on an influential theory of memory.

The reconsolidation hypothesis holds that when a memory is recalled, its molecular trace in the brain becomes plastic, meaning that the memory has to be consolidated or ‘saved’ all over again in order for it to persist. In other words, remembering makes a memory vulnerable to being modified or erased. Reconsolidation has generated lots of research interest and even speculation that blocking reconsolidation could be used as a t........ Read more »

Hardwicke TE, Taqi M, & Shanks DR. (2016) Postretrieval new learning does not reliably induce human memory updating via reconsolidation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(19), 5206-11. PMID: 27114514  

  • May 19, 2016
  • 03:09 AM
  • 124 views

Brain GABA levels and autism meta-analysed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Remmelt Schür and colleagues [1] provides some (brief) blogging fodder today and the observation that following a "systematic literature review and meta-analysis of 1 H-MRS studies" brain GABA levels were found to be significantly lower in cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) than compared to control (not autism) populations.GABA - gamma-Aminobutyric acid - has been something of interest for quite a few years in autism research circles (see here). It's particular role ........ Read more »

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