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  • January 25, 2017
  • 02:56 AM
  • 263 views

Autism and visual impairment reviewed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Of the various autism science journals out there in peer-reviewed (La-La!) land, one journal in particular is really starting to grow on me: [The] Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.I like this journal because it is basically systematic review and meta-analysis heaven when it comes to the quite voluminous autism research literature and seems to publish some real gems (see here for example).Another paper from this journal caught my eye recently by Maggie Butchart and colleagues ........ Read more »

Butchart, M., Long, J., Brown, M., McMillan, A., Bain, J., & Karatzias, T. (2017) Autism and Visual Impairment: a Review of the Literature. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI: 10.1007/s40489-016-0101-1  

  • January 24, 2017
  • 11:52 AM
  • 281 views

Crowdfunding and Tribefunding in Science

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

Competition for government research grants to fund scientific research remains fierce in the United States. The budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which constitute the major source of funding for US biological and medical research, has been increased only modestly during the past decade but it is not even keeping up with inflation. This problem is compounded by the fact that more scientists are applying for grants now than one or two decades ago, forcing the NIH to enforce strict........ Read more »

Vachelard J, Gambarra-Soares T, Augustini G, Riul P, & Maracaja-Coutinho V. (2016) A Guide to Scientific Crowdfunding. PLoS Biology, 14(2). PMID: 26886064  

  • January 24, 2017
  • 10:44 AM
  • 346 views

Whip Spiders Use Their Feet to Smell Their Way Home

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



After a late dinner, a jungle-dwelling whip spider can't rely on an Uber driver to get her home. She has to find the way herself, in the pitch-black, picking her way over thick undergrowth to reach the tree she lives on. It's a trick she can even manage when plucked from her home tree and tossed into the forest at random, up to 10 meters away. Now scientists think whip spiders don't use her eyes for this homing feat—they use their feet.

Whip spiders hunt by night and hunker down at dawn ........ Read more »

  • January 24, 2017
  • 04:49 AM
  • 259 views

Fatty acids 'for autism'? Meta-analysis says probably not but...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Because of the limited number of included studies and small sample sizes, no firm conclusions can be drawn. However, the limited data currently available suggest that ω-3 FA [fatty acid] supplementation does not enhance the performance of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."Those were the conclusions reached in the systematic review and meta-analysis paper published by Andrea Horvath and colleagues [1] looking at the collected peer-reviewed literature on the topic up t........ Read more »

  • January 23, 2017
  • 02:45 AM
  • 275 views

Autism diagnoses (and diagnostic stability) in Germany

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"From 2006 to 2012, the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder diagnoses in 0- to 24-year-olds increased from 0.22% to 0.38%."That was one of the details included in the rather interesting paper by Christian Bachmann and colleagues [1] who provided some introductory information on the the trends in autism diagnoses in Germany. I say 'introductory information' because it appears that autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has not exactly received the research attention in Germany that it p........ Read more »

Christian J Bachmann, Bettina Gerste, & Falk Hoffmann. (2016) Diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders in Germany: Time trends in administrative prevalence and diagnostic stability. Autism: International Journal of Research . info:/10.1177/1362361316673977

  • January 22, 2017
  • 04:58 PM
  • 114 views

Nature Shapes Faithful and Unfaithful Brains

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

Among monogamous animals, some individuals are more faithful than others. Could these differences in fidelity be, in part, because of differences in our brains? And if so, why does this diversity in brain and behavior exist?A snuggly prairie vole family. Photo from theNerdPatrol at Wikimedia Commons.Prairie voles are small North American rodents that form monogamous pair bonds, share parental duties, and defend their homes. Although prairie voles form monogamous pairs, that does not mean they ar........ Read more »

  • January 21, 2017
  • 09:54 PM
  • 283 views

Don’t let the web bugs bite

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll If you think spiders are scary creatures, today you will learn that they are scared too. But what could scary a spider? Well, a web bug! We usually think of spider webs as an astonishing evolutionary … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 21, 2017
  • 03:25 AM
  • 306 views

"no evidence that the probiotic formulation is effective in treating low mood"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm a great believer in balance when it comes to this blog and its content. As enthusiastic as I might be about a particular topic or topics, I don't want to lose sight of the fact that peer-reviewed science is a messy business and often filled with contrary findings.With 'contrary' in mind, I want to talk today about a paper by Amy Romijn and colleagues [1] detailing the results of a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial of a probiotic mix which contained "freeze-dried L. helv........ Read more »

  • January 20, 2017
  • 05:19 AM
  • 242 views

RCC: Updates on Guidelines for Adjuvant Therapy and new drug combination

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

The European Association of Urology (EAU) Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC) guidelines panel has recently updated its recommendation on adjuvant therapy with sunitinib in non-metastatic RCC after surgical tumour removal (Bex et al., 2016). These clinical guidelines provide urologists with evidence-based information and recommendations for the management of RCC and the panel includes urological surgeons, oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and patient advocates. Based on the conflicting results of t........ Read more »

  • January 20, 2017
  • 05:00 AM
  • 257 views

Friday Fellow: Giant Kelp

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll This week we’ll stay in the sea and meet on of the most impressive algae, the giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera. It is called giant for a good reason, since it can grow up to 50 m in … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 20, 2017
  • 03:10 AM
  • 268 views

Diagnosing ME/CFS the machine learning way?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

In today's post I want to draw your attention to the findings reported by Diana Ohanian and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) talking about "the use of machine learning to further explore the unique nature"of various conditions/labels including those typically headed under the label of chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME).Including one 'Jason LA' on the authorship list, researchers set about looking at "what key symptoms differentiate Myalgic Encephalomyelitis ........ Read more »

  • January 19, 2017
  • 03:04 AM
  • 291 views

The correlates of regressive autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"A more homogeneous subgroup with regression between 18 and 36 months (n = 48) had higher rates of intellectual disability, epilepsy, and special education, more socially restrictive educational settings, and more severe ASD [autism spectrum disorder] communication deficits and schizophrenia spectrum symptoms than non-regressed youth (n = 136)."So said the findings reported by Kenneth Gadow and colleagues [1] taking on one of the more important issues in relation to autism: dev........ Read more »

  • January 18, 2017
  • 03:13 AM
  • 298 views

Physical activity levels and autism (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Adolescents with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] spent less time in MVPA [moderate and vigorous physical activity] compared to TD [typically developing] adolescents (29 min/day vs. 50 min/day, p < 0.001) and fewer met the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (14 vs. 29%, p > 0.05)."So said the study results published by Heidi Stanish and colleagues [1] adding yet more to another growth autism research area - physical activity and exercise - ........ Read more »

  • January 17, 2017
  • 05:05 PM
  • 244 views

Axl and GAS6: apoptotic mimicry and NLRP-3 inhibition during Zika Virus infection

by thelonevirologist in Virology Tidbits

Zika Virus (ZIKV) is a positive sense RNA virus that belongs to the Flavivirus genus of the Flaviviridae family that includes other human pathogens including Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), Yellow Fever Virus (YFV), West Nile Virus, Dengue Virus (DENV), Tick Borne Encephalitis Virus (TBEV), and Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV).
Although being first isolated in 1947, until recently ZIKV was not associated with severe disease; following the introduction of ZIKV in the Americas however, foetal ZIKV inf........ Read more »

Retallack H, Di Lullo E, Arias C, Knopp KA, Laurie MT, Sandoval-Espinosa C, Mancia Leon WR, Krencik R, Ullian EM, Spatazza J.... (2016) Zika virus cell tropism in the developing human brain and inhibition by azithromycin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(50), 14408-14413. PMID: 27911847  

El Costa H, Gouilly J, Mansuy JM, Chen Q, Levy C, Cartron G, Veas F, Al-Daccak R, Izopet J, & Jabrane-Ferrat N. (2016) ZIKA virus reveals broad tissue and cell tropism during the first trimester of pregnancy. Scientific reports, 35296. PMID: 27759009  

Quicke KM, Bowen JR, Johnson EL, McDonald CE, Ma H, O'Neal JT, Rajakumar A, Wrammert J, Rimawi BH, Pulendran B.... (2016) Zika Virus Infects Human Placental Macrophages. Cell host , 20(1), 83-90. PMID: 27247001  

Savidis, G., Perreira, J., Portmann, J., Meraner, P., Guo, Z., Green, S., & Brass, A. (2016) The IFITMs Inhibit Zika Virus Replication. Cell Reports, 15(11), 2323-2330. DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.05.074  

Brass AL, Huang IC, Benita Y, John SP, Krishnan MN, Feeley EM, Ryan BJ, Weyer JL, van der Weyden L, Fikrig E.... (2009) The IFITM proteins mediate cellular resistance to influenza A H1N1 virus, West Nile virus, and dengue virus. Cell, 139(7), 1243-54. PMID: 20064371  

Bailey CC, Zhong G, Huang IC, & Farzan M. (2014) IFITM-Family Proteins: The Cell's First Line of Antiviral Defense. Annual review of virology, 261-283. PMID: 25599080  

Meertens L, Carnec X, Lecoin MP, Ramdasi R, Guivel-Benhassine F, Lew E, Lemke G, Schwartz O, & Amara A. (2012) The TIM and TAM families of phosphatidylserine receptors mediate dengue virus entry. Cell host , 12(4), 544-57. PMID: 23084921  

Bhattacharyya S, Zagórska A, Lew ED, Shrestha B, Rothlin CV, Naughton J, Diamond MS, Lemke G, & Young JA. (2013) Enveloped viruses disable innate immune responses in dendritic cells by direct activation of TAM receptors. Cell host , 14(2), 136-47. PMID: 23954153  

  • January 17, 2017
  • 04:28 AM
  • 292 views

Vitamin D supplementation and self-perceived fatigue

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Vitamin D treatment significantly improved fatigue in otherwise healthy persons with vitamin D deficiency."Supplementation details, described in the paper by Albina Nowak and colleagues [1] (open-access available here), were a single dose of 100,000 IU [international units] of vitamin D or a placebo (mannitol) administered to 120 adult participants who presented with "fatigue and vitamin D deficiency (serum 25(OH)D < 20 μg/L)." This was a double-blind trial and self-perceived fatigue ........ Read more »

Nowak A, Boesch L, Andres E, Battegay E, Hornemann T, Schmid C, Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Suter PM, & Krayenbuehl PA. (2016) Effect of vitamin D3 on self-perceived fatigue: A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial. Medicine, 95(52). PMID: 28033244  

  • January 16, 2017
  • 03:11 AM
  • 322 views

Autism-like traits and/or autism elevated in psychosis

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Rates of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and ASD traits are elevated in a psychosis population."The paper by Debbie Kincaid and colleagues [1] provides yet more [short] blogging material pertinent to the increasing interest in how psychosis may be yet another comorbidity over-represented when it comes to autism (see here) and vice-versa. I know this is another topic that has to be treated with some caution in terms of concepts like stigma but more discussions - science discussions........ Read more »

  • January 15, 2017
  • 05:45 AM
  • 291 views

“World’s toughest bacterium” - Deinococcus radiodurans

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

The bacterium, Deinococcus radiodurans, is thought to be discovered as a contaminant in radiation-sterilized cans in 1960s. The name of the bacterium comes from the Ancient Greek, i.e. deinos and kokkos meaning “terrible grain/berry”, and the Latin language, i.e. radius and durare, meaning “radiation surviving”. The bacterium is also known as Conan the Bacterium.

Deinococcus radiodurans is a comparatively larger bacterium having spherical shape. It is a red-pigmented b........ Read more »

  • January 14, 2017
  • 11:53 AM
  • 440 views

What Can fMRI Tell Us About Mental Illness?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A remarkable and troubling new paper: Addressing reverse inference in psychiatric neuroimaging: Meta-analyses of task-related brain activation in common mental disorders



Icahn School of Medicine researchers Emma Sprooten and colleagues carried out an ambitious task: to pull together the results of every fMRI study which has compared task-related brain activation in people with a mental illness and healthy controls.

Sprooten et al.'s analysis included 537 studies with a total of 21,427 ... Read more »

  • January 14, 2017
  • 04:35 AM
  • 371 views

No significant difference in circulating cytokines in autism vs controls?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"As compared with 54 typically developing controls, we found no evidence of differences in the blood profile of immune mediators supportive of active systemic inflammation mechanisms in participants with autism."That was the unexpected research bottom-line published by Carlos Pardo and colleagues [1] (open-access) examining whether various immune-related chemicals - "cytokines, chemokines, or growth factors in serum and cerebrospinal fluid" - might be linked to autism following longitudinal........ Read more »

  • January 13, 2017
  • 05:11 AM
  • 263 views

Nutrient-dependent FNIP degradation regulates FLCN localization and promotes renal cancer progression

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

Birt-Hogg-Dubé (BHD) syndrome is a rare disorder caused by mutations in FLCN and associated with increased risk of kidney cancer. It has been shown that FLCN-interacting protein 1 and 2 (FNIP1 and FNIP2) double knockout mice, like the FLCN knockout mice, develop renal carcinoma (Hasumi et al., 2015). However, the molecular mechanisms linking FNIP and FLCN remain unknown. In their new study, Nagashima et al. (2016) show that FNIP2 undergoes proteasome-dependent degradation via β-TRCP ........ Read more »

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