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  • March 9, 2017
  • 07:18 AM
  • 139 views

Getting High Off Snakebites?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

In a curious case report, Indian psychiatrists Lekhansh Shukla and colleagues describe a young man who said he regularly got high by being bitten by a snake.



The 21-year old patient sought treatment for his heavy drug abuse, which included heroin and marijuna. He also reported a less conventional habit: he visited a local snake charmer, where he was bitten on the lips by a "cobra" in order to get high:
He reported that his peers and the snake charmer informed him that he would have drows... Read more »

Shukla L, Reddy SS, Kandasamy A, & Benegal V. (2017) What kills everyone, gives a high for some-Recreational Snake Envenomation. Asian journal of psychiatry, 106-108. PMID: 28262128  

  • March 9, 2017
  • 03:58 AM
  • 144 views

This Is How Vision, Not Limbs, May Have Driven Fish onto Land

by beredim in Strange Animals






In a recent study, researchers provide a new theory for the reason we walk the Earth




A new provocative study suggests it was the power of the eyes and not the limbs that first led our ancient aquatic ancestors to make the momentous leap from water to land. According to it, crocodile-like animals first saw easy meals on land and consequently evolved limbs that enabled them to get there, ... Read more »

MacIver MA, Schmitz L, Mugan U, Murphey TD, & Mobley CD. (2017) Massive increase in visual range preceded the origin of terrestrial vertebrates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 28270619  

  • March 9, 2017
  • 03:06 AM
  • 157 views

"Relatives of individuals with ASD were at higher risk of ADHD"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Individuals with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and their relatives are at increased risk of ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder]."So said the paper published by Laura Ghirardi and colleagues [1] (open-access) who studied "1 899 654 individuals born in Sweden between 1987 and 2006" and identified some 28,000 cases of ASD and 82,000 cases of ADHD "with 13 793 individuals... being comorbid cases."Results: "Individuals with ASD were at higher risk of having ADHD, co........ Read more »

Ghirardi L, Brikell I, Kuja-Halkola R, Freitag CM, Franke B, Asherson P, Lichtenstein P, & Larsson H. (2017) The familial co-aggregation of ASD and ADHD: a register-based cohort study. Molecular psychiatry. PMID: 28242872  

  • March 8, 2017
  • 08:30 AM
  • 145 views

Epigenetic Predisposition to Radiation Fibrosis

by Christoph Weigel in EpiBeat

Radiotherapy is a highly efficient treatment for many cancers including breast cancer. Intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT), a relatively new type of radiation therapy, has proven successful as a curative treatment for early cancer stages. However, in spite of great improvements in dose delivery and imaging technology, unwanted exposure of healthy tissue to radiation cannot be fully avoided. The resulting late-onset toxicity due to the exposure of health tissue currently limits the usefulness of r........ Read more »

Weigel C, Veldwijk MR, Oakes CC, Seibold P, Slynko A, Liesenfeld DB, Rabionet M, Hanke SA, Wenz F, Sperk E.... (2016) Epigenetic regulation of diacylglycerol kinase alpha promotes radiation-induced fibrosis. Nature communications, 10893. PMID: 26964756  

  • March 8, 2017
  • 03:09 AM
  • 130 views

Blocking FRAAs and thyroid function in autism (continued)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Readers of this post are advised to check out a previous blogging occasion describing how 'FRAAs - folate receptor alpha autoantibodies - may correlate with reduced thyroid function in cases of autism' before heading into this entry on the recent paper published by Richard Frye and colleagues [1].You're back already? OK, well just in case you didn't read that last entry (😉), it's worthwhile first noting that: "Folate receptor α (FRα) autoantibodies (FRAAs) are prevalent in autism spectrum d........ Read more »

  • March 8, 2017
  • 02:16 AM
  • 135 views

See the First Underwater Video of the Ultra-Rare True's Beaked Whale

by beredim in Strange Animals






The group feautred in this videp was formed by three adult or sub-adult whales. Social behavior of the True's Beaked Whale is still unknown but the group seemed to dive in a coordinated manner, as has been observed in other species of beaked whales. Credit: Roland Edler





True's beaked whales (Mesoplodon mirus) are such an elusive species that it's only now that we finally have the ... Read more »

Aguilar de Soto, N., Martín, V., Silva, M., Edler, R., Reyes, C., Carrillo, M., Schiavi, A., Morales, T., García-Ovide, B., Sanchez-Mora, A.... (2017) True’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon mirus) in Macaronesia. PeerJ. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3059  

  • March 7, 2017
  • 04:23 AM
  • 161 views

Herbal medicines 'for' ADHD systematically reviewed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Dennis Anheyer and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) is offered up for your reading consumption today, and the results of a review of the available published science - "Only randomized controlled trails (RCT)" (authors' spelling mistake not mine) - looking at the use of herbal medicines for the treatment/management of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).OK I know some people read the term 'herbal medicine' and automatically think 'woo'. If I instead use th........ Read more »

  • March 6, 2017
  • 06:32 AM
  • 165 views

The growing divide between higher and low impact scientific journals

by Richard Kunert in Brain's Idea

Ten years ago the Public Library of Science started one big lower impact and a series of smaller higher impact journals. Over the years these publication outlets diverged. The growing divide between standard and top journals might mirror wider trends in scholarly publishing. There are roughly two kinds of journals in the Public Library of […]... Read more »

Vale, R.D. (2015) Accelerating scientific publication in biology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 13439-13446. DOI: 10.1101/022368  

  • March 6, 2017
  • 04:39 AM
  • 128 views

Bumblebees Learn To Score Goals For Food !

by beredim in Strange Animals

New study by researchers at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) shows how bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) can be trained to score goals with a mini-ball, revealing unprecedented learning abilities:



Researchers train bumblebees to move a ball in order to access a sugar solution as a reward.


The study, published in the journal Science, suggests that species whose lifestyle demands advanced ... Read more »

  • March 6, 2017
  • 04:25 AM
  • 160 views

"Logical fallacies in animal model research"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A paper which is a bit 'out of left field' is presented for your reading pleasure today and how one should be rather careful about how animal research - "with focus on animal models of mental illness" - is translated into relevance to humans [1].The paper by Espen Sjoberg is pertinent to various diagnostic labels including depression and schizophrenia. I would perhaps disagree with the author including autism under the specific heading of 'mental illness' (bearing in mind various mental hea........ Read more »

Sjoberg EA. (2017) Logical fallacies in animal model research. Behavioral and Brain Functions. info:/10.1186/s12993-017-0121-8

  • March 4, 2017
  • 04:43 AM
  • 150 views

Fatigue in adults with a 22q11.2 deletion syndrome

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The genetic condition called 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11.2DS) has, on occasion, provided some research fodder for this blog (see here and see here). The reason for its inclusion here has tended to be around the 'overlap' in the presentation of 22q11.2 and autism/autistic features and the importance of appropriate screening as and when an autism diagnosis is received (see here). Remember: receipt of an autism diagnosis is a starting point not the finishing line.Today I'm once again talk........ Read more »

Vergaelen E, Claes S, Kempke S, & Swillen A. (2017) High prevalence of fatigue in adults with a 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. American journal of medical genetics. Part A. PMID: 28190295  

  • March 3, 2017
  • 11:05 PM
  • 111 views

All-Atom Molecular Dynamics Simulations

by ragothamanyennamalli in Getting to know Structural Bioinformatics

With increasing computational power (aka GPU) that can be accessed these days, it is no wonder that performing all-atom molecular dynamics simulation for a longer time, with duplicates and/or triplicates, has become easier.... Read more »

  • March 3, 2017
  • 03:48 PM
  • 151 views

Brain Activity At The Moment of Death

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

What happens in the brain when we die?



Canadian researchers Loretta Norton and colleagues of the University of Western Ontario examine this grave question in a new paper: Electroencephalographic Recordings During Withdrawal of Life-Sustaining Therapy Until 30 Minutes After Declaration of Death

Norton et al. examined frontal EEG recordings from four critically ill patients at the point where their life support was withdrawn. Here are some details on the four:



Here's the EEG recor... Read more »

Norton L, Gibson RM, Gofton T, Benson C, Dhanani S, Shemie SD, Hornby L, Ward R, & Young GB. (2017) Electroencephalographic Recordings During Withdrawal of Life-Sustaining Therapy Until 30 Minutes After Declaration of Death. The Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences, 44(2), 139-145. PMID: 28231862  

  • March 3, 2017
  • 05:14 AM
  • 110 views

Rare Disease Day – Findacure Scientific Conference: Drug Repurposing for Rare Diseases

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

This year’s Findacure Scientific Conference took place in London on Rare Disease Day and was again focused on Drug Repurposing for Rare Diseases. The conference brought together over 100 representatives from patient groups, researchers and members of the healthcare industry to discuss the importance and the latest developments in drug repurposing for rare diseases.... Read more »

  • March 3, 2017
  • 02:56 AM
  • 149 views

Poverty status and autism, ADHD and asthma

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Christian Pulcini and colleagues [1] talking about poverty status potentially influencing "parent-reported lifetime prevalence and comorbidities" when it comes to three target conditions (autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD] and asthma) should have been a call to action. Concluding that "poor and near poor children had a higher lifetime prevalence of asthma and ADHD, but not ASD [autism spectrum disorder]" [2], some of the findings have instead attracted crit........ Read more »

Pulcini CD, Zima BT, Kelleher KJ, & Houtrow AJ. (2017) Poverty and Trends in Three Common Chronic Disorders. Pediatrics. PMID: 28193790  

  • March 2, 2017
  • 03:11 AM
  • 160 views

Subgroups in autism (without intellectual disability)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] without ID [intellectual disability] could be differentiated into Moderate and Severe Social Impairment subgroups when core ASD symptoms were more closely examined."So said the findings reported by Felicity Klopper and colleagues [1] looking at an important part of the autism research scene related to the 'plurality' of the term autism and the seemingly vast range of presentations included under the label. Reliant on data obtained........ Read more »

Felicity Klopper, Renee Testa, Christos Pantelis, & Efstratios Skafidas. (2017) A cluster analysis exploration of autism spectrum disorder subgroups in children without intellectual disability. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. info:/10.1016/j.rasd.2017.01.006

  • March 1, 2017
  • 08:00 AM
  • 112 views

Transient Imprinting of Genes in the Human Placenta

by Marta Sanchez Delgado in EpiBeat

When the fertilization occurs, the maternal and paternal pronuclei have thousands of opposite methylated regions. Most of this germline methylation are resolved during the postfertilization epigenetic reprogramming by active mechanism for the sperm-derived methylated regions and depending on DNA replication for the oocyte-derived ones. There is a subset of regions that are known to avoid this demethylation: the imprinted differentially methylated regions (DMRs). The imprinted DMRs are in general........ Read more »

Sanchez-Delgado M, Court F, Vidal E, Medrano J, Monteagudo-Sánchez A, Martin-Trujillo A, Tayama C, Iglesias-Platas I, Kondova I, Bontrop R.... (2016) Human Oocyte-Derived Methylation Differences Persist in the Placenta Revealing Widespread Transient Imprinting. PLoS genetics, 12(11). PMID: 27835649  

Smallwood SA, & Kelsey G. (2012) De novo DNA methylation: a germ cell perspective. Trends in genetics : TIG, 28(1), 33-42. PMID: 22019337  

Smith ZD, Chan MM, Humm KC, Karnik R, Mekhoubad S, Regev A, Eggan K, & Meissner A. (2014) DNA methylation dynamics of the human preimplantation embryo. Nature, 511(7511), 611-5. PMID: 25079558  

Barbaux S, Gascoin-Lachambre G, Buffat C, Monnier P, Mondon F, Tonanny MB, Pinard A, Auer J, Bessières B, Barlier A.... (2012) A genome-wide approach reveals novel imprinted genes expressed in the human placenta. Epigenetics, 7(9), 1079-90. PMID: 22894909  

Hanna CW, Peñaherrera MS, Saadeh H, Andrews S, McFadden DE, Kelsey G, & Robinson WP. (2016) Pervasive polymorphic imprinted methylation in the human placenta. Genome research, 26(6), 756-67. PMID: 26769960  

  • March 1, 2017
  • 03:13 AM
  • 156 views

Sex and age might affect comorbidity profiles in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Supekar and colleagues [1] provides some food for thought today specifically with the idea that comorbidity profiles accompanying autism might be influenced by age and gender in mind.To quote: "These results highlight crucial differences between cross-sectional comorbidity patterns and their interactions with sex and age, which may aid in the development of effective sex- and age-specific diagnostic/treatment strategies for ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and comorbid condi........ Read more »

Supekar K, Iyer T, & Menon V. (2017) The influence of sex and age on prevalence rates of comorbid conditions in autism. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. PMID: 28188687  

  • February 28, 2017
  • 06:00 PM
  • 109 views

Cataloging a year of blogging: complexity in evolution, general models, and philosophy

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

Last month, with just hours to spare in January, I shared a linkdex of the 14 cancer-related posts from TheEGG in 2016. Now, as February runs out, it’s time to reflect on the 15 non cancer-specific posts from last year. Although, as we’ll see, some of them are still related to mathematical oncology. With a […]... Read more »

  • February 28, 2017
  • 02:00 PM
  • 115 views

A Weekend Camping Trip Is Enough to Reset Your Internal Clock

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Humans have been fighting our internal clocks ever since we invented sitting around a campfire. We have powerful natural rhythms that keep us on a 24-hour cycle; if you've ever been steamrollered by jet lag after an intercontinental flight, you know how powerful those rhythms are. But we muffle them with caffeine, alarm clocks, and electric lights. It's easy to undo the damage, though. One weekend of camping can do the trick—and it'll even cure your case of the Mondays.



In 2013, rese........ Read more »

Stothard ER, McHill AW, Depner CM, Birks BR, Moehlman TM, Ritchie HK, Guzzetti JR, Chinoy ED, LeBourgeois MK, Axelsson J.... (2017) Circadian Entrainment to the Natural Light-Dark Cycle across Seasons and the Weekend. Current biology : CB, 27(4), 508-513. PMID: 28162893  

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