A topical antibiotic cream applied to tick bites did not perform any better than placebo in preventing Lyme disease, according to results of a randomized clinical trial conducted in Europe. The study was published in Lancet Infectious Diseases.I wasn't planning to blog about the study, but I changed my mind after a reader emailed me a link to a news article reporting that the antibiotic cream was 100% effective. The lead investigator even claimed, "None of the test subjects went on t........ Read more »
Schwameis M, Kündig T, Huber G, von Bidder L, Meinel L, Weisser R, Aberer E, Härter G, Weinke T, Jelinek T.... (2016) Topical azithromycin for the prevention of Lyme borreliosis: a randomised, placebo-controlled, phase 3 efficacy trial. The Lancet. Infectious Diseases. PMID: 28007428
Earlier this year, neuroscience was shaken by the publication in PNAS of Cluster failure: Why fMRI inferences for spatial extent have inflated false-positive rates. In this paper, Anders Eklund, Thomas E. Nichols and Hans Knutsson reported that commonly used software for analysing fMRI data produces many false-positives.
But now, Boston College neuroscientist Scott D. Slotnick has criticized Eklund et al.'s alarming conclusions in a new piece in Cognitive Neuroscience.
In my view, ... Read more »
Slotnick SD. (2016) Resting-state fMRI data reflects default network activity rather than null data: A defense of commonly employed methods to correct for multiple comparisons. Cognitive neuroscience. PMID: 28002981
2016 is coming to an end, and in the last post of the year, I highlight three of the most important articles on Blastocystis published in 2016.... Read more »
Scanlan PD, Knight R, Song SJ, Ackermann G, & Cotter PD. (2016) Prevalence and genetic diversity of Blastocystis in family units living in the United States. Infection, genetics and evolution : journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases, 95-97. PMID: 27545648
Kurt Ö, Doğruman Al F, & Tanyüksel M. (2016) Eradication of Blastocystis in humans: Really necessary for all?. Parasitology international, 65(6 Pt B), 797-801. PMID: 26780545
2016 has been a busy year for BHD research. With the new year approaching, this week’s blog will review the studies we’ve particularly enjoyed writing about and revisit the year’s highlights.... Read more »
by Piter Kehoma Boll This is the last Friday Fellow of the year and I decided to choose a beautiful and little known plant, the peacock spikemoss, more commonly known as Willdenow’s spikemoss or peacock fern, and scientifically known as Selaginella … Continue reading →... Read more »
Chai, Tsun-Thai, & Wong, Fai-Chu. (2012) Antioxidant properties of aqueous extracts of Selaginella willdenowii. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research, 6(7). DOI: 10.5897/JMPR11.1378
Did Charles Darwin's thirst for skulls contribute to the near-extinction of the Aboriginal Tasmanian people?
If you believe certain creationists, Darwin sought examples of Tasmanian skulls in order to prove that this unfortunate race was a 'missing link' between humans and apes. However, according to John van Wyhe in a new paper called Darwin's body-snatchers?, this story has zero basis in fact.
As a Darwin scholar, I thought I had heard all the myths concerning Charles Darwin but on... Read more »
A huge of number of people keeps on thinking about the existence of some other intelligent beings in the universe but still we have not met any aliens. Why?
Earth is rare
Earth is special planet
One of the reasons that we have not met aliens is that Earth is rare and there is nothing just like Earth in the universe. In this regard, Paleontologist Peter Ward and astronomer Donald Brownlee presented the Rare Earth Hypothesis about 17 years ago.
According to the Rare Earth Hypothesis, t........ Read more »
Time flies! Once again, I'm posting my annual 'state of the science' autism research review, this time covering the particularly unusual year of 2016.With around 300 blog entries to choose from, I'm changing the format this year to list a 'top 5' of areas where I think some scientific progress has been made. The caveat as ever being that there are still mountains to climb in terms of delineating aetiology, nature and importantly, how one can actually improve quality of life for those on the........ Read more »
Nevill, R., Lecavalier, L., & Stratis, E. (2016) Meta-analysis of parent-mediated interventions for young children with autism spectrum disorder. Autism. DOI: 10.1177/1362361316677838
Thiamine, or vitamin B1, is vital for the survival of all living things. One of the biologically functional forms of thiamine, thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP), is essential for the catalytic activity of several critical metabolic enzymes. For this reason, we must get thiamine from the food that we eat (or the vitamin pills that we swallow). Microbes obtain the vitamin from their surroundings, but they can also make their own thiamine if it's not available.It turns out that the Lym........ Read more »
Zhang K, Bian J, Deng Y, Smith A, Nunez RE, Li MB, Pal U, Yu AM, Qiu W, Ealick SE.... (2016) Lyme disease spirochaete Borrelia burgdorferi does not require thiamin. Nature Microbiology, 16213. PMID: 27869793
Xu H, Caimano MJ, Lin T, He M, Radolf JD, Norris SJ, Gherardini F, Wolfe AJ, & Yang XF. (2010) Role of acetyl-phosphate in activation of the Rrp2-RpoN-RpoS pathway in Borrelia burgdorferi. PLoS pathogens, 6(9). PMID: 20862323
Subba Raju BV, Esteve-Gassent MD, Karna SL, Miller CL, Van Laar TA, & Seshu J. (2011) Oligopeptide permease A5 modulates vertebrate host-specific adaptation of Borrelia burgdorferi. Infection and immunity, 79(8), 3407-20. PMID: 21628523
Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome is caused by mutations in the FLCN gene. The FLCN protein acts as a tumour suppressor and BHD patients have a high risk of developing renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The mechanisms of tumour formation in BHD have been investigated using mouse models and human RCC tissues. However, in vitro signalling studies of human renal cells with mutant FLCN are still scarce. In a recent study, Furuya et al. (2016) established a new cell line from a BHD patient’s chromophobe ........ Read more »
Furuya, M., Hasumi, H., Baba, M., Tanaka, R., Iribe, Y., Onishi, T., Nagashima, Y., Nakatani, Y., Isono, Y., & Yao, M. (2016) Establishment and characterization of BHD-F59RSVT, an immortalized cell line derived from a renal cell carcinoma in a patient with Birt–Hogg–Dubé syndrome. Laboratory Investigation. DOI: 10.1038/labinvest.2016.137
With the pinnacle of the season of 'jolly' almost upon us, I'd like to make some brief discussion on the findings reported by Denise Rogers and colleagues  and specifically the observation that: "ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] symptoms were significantly greater in the CFS [chronic fatigue syndrome] group than in HC [healthy controls]."With the aim of examining both the prevalence of fatigue in cases of ADHD and the prevalence of ADHD symptoms in adults wi........ Read more »
Rogers, D., Dittner, A., Rimes, K., & Chalder, T. (2016) Fatigue in an adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder population: A trans-diagnostic approach. British Journal of Clinical Psychology. DOI: 10.1111/bjc.12119
by Piter Kehoma Boll Celebrating Christmas (or whatever you call this time of the year), today’s Friday Fellow is another lichen. And the reason I chose it is because it is known as Christmas wreath lichen due to its red … Continue reading →... Read more »
"Some psychosis cases an 'immune disorder'" went the BBC headline with reference to the paper by Belinda Lennox and colleagues  talking about the detection of antibodies against the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) in cases of first-episode psychosis (FEP).Although by no means a universal phenomenon, researchers reported that 3% of their 228 participants diagnosed with FEP who provided a blood sample showed the presence of NMDAR antibodies compared with none of the healthy controls ........ Read more »
Lennox, B., Palmer-Cooper, E., Pollak, T., Hainsworth, J., Marks, J., Jacobson, L., Lang, B., Fox, H., Ferry, B., Scoriels, L.... (2016) Prevalence and clinical characteristics of serum neuronal cell surface antibodies in first-episode psychosis: a case-control study. The Lancet Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1016/S2215-0366(16)30375-3
"New form of autism found" went one of the headlines reporting on the paper by Dora C. Tărlungeanu and colleagues  and findings that "elucidate a neurological syndrome defined by SLC7A5 mutations and support an essential role for the BCAA [branched-chain amino acids] in human brain function." This work continues a rather important research story talking about how one 'type' of autism might have some important roots in relation to the branched-chain amino acids and their m........ Read more »
Tărlungeanu, D., Deliu, E., Dotter, C., Kara, M., Janiesch, P., Scalise, M., Galluccio, M., Tesulov, M., Morelli, E., Sonmez, F.... (2016) Impaired Amino Acid Transport at the Blood Brain Barrier Is a Cause of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Cell, 167(6), 1481-2147483647. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.11.013
There are two major way to label inner proteins, structures or organnelles for live cell imaging. The most common method is fusing the studied protein to a fluorescent protein. A second approach is the addition of labeling agents from outside the … Continue reading →... Read more »
Teng KW, Ishitsuka Y, Ren P, Youn Y, Deng X, Ge P, Belmont AS, & Selvin PR. (2016) Labeling proteins inside living cells using external fluorophores for microscopy. eLife. PMID: 27935478
"Gestational vitamin D deficiency was associated with autism-related traits in a large population-based sample. Because gestational vitamin D deficiency is readily preventable with safe, cheap and accessible supplements, this candidate risk factor warrants closer scrutiny."So said the findings reported by Vinkhuyzen and colleagues  (open-access) reporting on data derived from "the Generation R Study, a population-based prospective cohort from fetal life onward, based in Rotterdam, The Netherl........ Read more »
Vinkhuyzen AA, Eyles DW, Burne TH, Blanken LM, Kruithof CJ, Verhulst F, Jaddoe VW, Tiemeier H, & McGrath JJ. (2016) Gestational vitamin D deficiency and autism-related traits: the Generation R Study. Molecular psychiatry. PMID: 27895322
"In the ASD [autism spectrum disorder] brain, there is an altered expression of genes associated with BBB [blood-brain barrier] integrity coupled with increased neuroinflammation and possibly impaired gut barrier integrity."Although pretty enthused to see research linking names like Anna Sapone, Tim Buie and Alessio Fasano in the recent paper published by Maria Fiorentino and colleagues  (open-access), I was slightly less impressed with the use of the term 'the ASD brain' ........ Read more »
Fiorentino, M., Sapone, A., Senger, S., Camhi, S., Kadzielski, S., Buie, T., Kelly, D., Cascella, N., & Fasano, A. (2016) Blood–brain barrier and intestinal epithelial barrier alterations in autism spectrum disorders. Molecular Autism, 7(1). DOI: 10.1186/s13229-016-0110-z
In 1864, five years after reading Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, Pyotr Kropotkin — the anarchist prince of mutual aid — was leading a geographic survey expedition aboard a dog-sleigh — a distinctly Siberian variant of the HMS Beagle. In the harsh Manchurian climate, Kropotkin did not see competition ‘red in tooth and claw’, […]... Read more »
Sinai, S, Olejarz, J, Neagu, IA, & Nowak, MA. (2016) Primordial Sex Facilitates the Emergence of Evolution. arXiv. arXiv: 1612.00825v1
"There was no association between maternal influenza [flu] infection anytime during pregnancy and increased ASD [autism spectrum disorder] risk."So said the findings reported by Ousseny Zerbo and colleagues  continuing a research theme from this author (see here for example) looking at how various infections 'encountered' during critical periods of pregnancy may / may not impact on offspring autism risk. This time around the focus was on viral infections and in partic........ Read more »
Zerbo O, Qian Y, Yoshida C, Fireman BH, Klein NP, & Croen LA. (2016) Association Between Influenza Infection and Vaccination During Pregnancy and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder. JAMA pediatrics. PMID: 27893896
Clinical trials are crucial to help doctors and scientists understand how to safely treat a particular condition, to evaluate new treatments and to test drug safety and efficacy. They have an important role in every step of managing a condition with different clinical trials helping with prevention, diagnosis, treatments and follow-up support.... Read more »
Moorcraft SY, Marriott C, Peckitt C, Cunningham D, Chau I, Starling N, Watkins D, & Rao S. (2016) Patients' willingness to participate in clinical trials and their views on aspects of cancer research: results of a prospective patient survey. Trials, 17. PMID: 26745891
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