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  • October 15, 2016
  • 03:26 PM
  • 423 views

Untangling a cause of memory loss in neurodegenerative diseases

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Tauopathies are a group of neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease that are characterized by the deposition of aggregates of the tau protein inside brain cells. A new study reveals that the cutting of tau by an enzyme called caspase-2 may play a critical role in the disordered brain circuit function that occurs in these diseases.

... Read more »

Zhao, X., Kotilinek, L., Smith, B., Hlynialuk, C., Zahs, K., Ramsden, M., Cleary, J., & Ashe, K. (2016) Caspase-2 cleavage of tau reversibly impairs memory. Nature Medicine. DOI: 10.1038/nm.4199  

  • October 15, 2016
  • 05:47 AM
  • 483 views

Know your brain: Suprachiasmatic nucleus

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

Where is the suprachiasmatic nucleus?











the suprachiasmatic nucleus is represented by a small green area within the hypothalamus (indicated by red arrow).







The suprachiasmatic nuclei are two small, paired nuclei that are found in the hypothalamus. Each suprachiasmatic nucleus only contains approximately 10,000 neurons. The nuclei rest on each side of the third ventricle, just above the optic chiasm. The location provides the rationale for........ Read more »

  • October 15, 2016
  • 04:50 AM
  • 363 views

Atopic dermatitis and the "increased risk of developing ADHD and ASD later in life"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm not gonna dwell too much on the findings reported by Lee and colleagues [1] talking about how "toddlers who suffer from AD [atopic dermatitis] at the age younger than 3 years are at a higher risk of developing ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] and ASD [autism spectrum disorder] during later childhood" because science already seems to understand that there may be an important connection between early allergic disease and later offspring behavioural/........ Read more »

  • October 14, 2016
  • 02:28 PM
  • 380 views

High cholesterol triggers mitochondrial oxidative stress leading to osteoarthritis

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

High cholesterol might harm more than our cardiovascular systems. New research using animal models suggests that high cholesterol levels trigger mitochondrial oxidative stress on cartilage cells, causing them to die, and ultimately leading to the development of osteoarthritis.

... Read more »

  • October 14, 2016
  • 07:00 AM
  • 440 views

Friday Fellow: Witch’s Jelly

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll I wonder how many people can say they have a bacterium that reminds them of their childhood. Well, at least I can say that I have. When I was a boy and started to know about … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • October 14, 2016
  • 06:20 AM
  • 574 views

Forgetting Earth, forgetting Mars: Dementia, pollution, and space travel

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

Forgetting Earth Dementia. Few words inspire greater fear in those of us who value (quasi-?) independent thought. The term ‘dementia’ encompasses various brain disorders that all share some scary traits: general decline in cognitive function, decreased ability to speak, and in later stages, being unable to take care of oneself. Unfortunately, as human lifespan increases […]... Read more »

Killin LO, Starr JM, Shiue IJ, & Russ TC. (2016) Environmental risk factors for dementia: a systematic review. BMC geriatrics, 16(1), 175. PMID: 27729011  

Parihar VK, Allen BD, Caressi C, Kwok S, Chu E, Tran KK, Chmielewski NN, Giedzinski E, Acharya MM, Britten RA.... (2016) Cosmic radiation exposure and persistent cognitive dysfunction. Scientific reports, 34774. PMID: 27721383  

  • October 14, 2016
  • 02:58 AM
  • 355 views

Yet more on potential biomarkers and chronic fatigue syndrome

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

'Thick and fast' is probably the best way that I can describe the flurry of peer-reviewed scientific papers recently appearing (see here and see here for examples) talking about how chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) (also linked to the diagnosis of myalgic encephalomyelitis, ME) might have some important biological processes attached to it.Now we can add the findings reported by Federica Ciregia and colleagues [1] (open-access) to the list and their observations that "the identification of bio........ Read more »

  • October 13, 2016
  • 02:56 AM
  • 417 views

ADHD and conduct disorder long-term

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Today I'm once again blogging about peer-reviewed research suggesting that when it comes to the long-term effects of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) on a person, there is some pretty solid evidence that addressing symptoms early could "potentially avert a wide range of future adverse outcomes."The paper making such a conclusion is the one from Holly Erskine and colleagues [1] who conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis pertinent to this topic; also taking into accoun........ Read more »

Erskine HE, Norman RE, Ferrari AJ, Chan GC, Copeland WE, Whiteford HA, & Scott JG. (2016) Long-Term Outcomes of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Conduct Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 55(10), 841-50. PMID: 27663939  

  • October 12, 2016
  • 01:56 PM
  • 418 views

Vitamins A and C help erase cell memory

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Vitamins A and C aren't just good for your health, they affect your DNA too. Researchers have discovered how vitamins A and C act to modify the epigenetic 'memory' held by cells; insight which is significant for regenerative medicine and our ability to reprogramme cells from one identity to another.

... Read more »

Hore, T., von Meyenn, F., Ravichandran, M., Bachman, M., Ficz, G., Oxley, D., Santos, F., Balasubramanian, S., Jurkowski, T., & Reik, W. (2016) Retinol and ascorbate drive erasure of epigenetic memory and enhance reprogramming to naïve pluripotency by complementary mechanisms. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201608679. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1608679113  

  • October 12, 2016
  • 03:02 AM
  • 360 views

Obesity in adolescent chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"At 13 years, adolescents who had received a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) who were attending specialist CFS/ME services were more than two times more likely to be obese than adolescents in the general population."At first reading, I wasn't particularly surprised by the findings reported by Norris and colleagues [1] (open-access) drawing on data partly derived from everyone's favourite UK longitudinal birth cohort: ALSPAC (Avon Longitudinal Study of Par........ Read more »

Norris T, Hawton K, Hamilton-Shield J, & Crawley E. (2016) Obesity in adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome: an observational study. Archives of disease in childhood. PMID: 27655658  

  • October 11, 2016
  • 03:01 AM
  • 412 views

Taekwondo training and balance in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"TKD [Taekwondo] training can help children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] improve their balance."Go on."Our findings suggest that TKD can be a fun, feasible, and effective therapeutic option for balance improvement of children with ASD."So said the results of the study by Yumi Kim [1] (open-access) looking at whether the Korean martial art might be able to help with aspects of some of the very important movement issues that can be associated with a diagnosis of autism.B........ Read more »

Kim Y, Todd T, Fujii T, Lim JC, Vrongistinos K, & Jung T. (2016) Effects of Taekwondo intervention on balance in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of exercise rehabilitation, 12(4), 314-9. PMID: 27656628  

  • October 10, 2016
  • 04:39 AM
  • 399 views

"Learning difficulties linked with winter conception"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Having recently mentioned the BBC headline that makes up the title of this entry in a related post (see here) I'm pleased to be finally able to bring the paper by Daniel Mackay and colleagues [1] (open-access) to your attention.Observing that in Scotland at least, "that season of conception is strikingly associated with the subsequent risk of special educational needs in the offspring" there are various potential implications to come from such data covering both learning (intellectual) disabilit........ Read more »

  • October 9, 2016
  • 03:07 PM
  • 530 views

New sensor material could enable more sensitive readings of biological signals

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

High-tech prosthetics, computers that are controlled by thought, the ability to walk or even move again, these are just a few of the promises of technology. Unfortunately, while the tech is -- mostly -- up to the challenge, getting the biology side of things to cooperate has been difficult at best, but that could change. Now, scientists have created a material that could make reading biological signals, from heartbeats to brainwaves, much more sensitive.

... Read more »

Giovannitti, A., Nielsen, C., Sbircea, D., Inal, S., Donahue, M., Niazi, M., Hanifi, D., Amassian, A., Malliaras, G., Rivnay, J.... (2016) N-type organic electrochemical transistors with stability in water. Nature Communications, 13066. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms13066  

  • October 8, 2016
  • 03:15 PM
  • 487 views

That time 20,000 jellyfish orbited Earth

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Why did NASA put jellyfish aboard the space shuttle in the 1990s? I discuss the reasoning behind this experimentand the results.... Read more »

Spangenberg, D., Jernigan, T., McCombs, R., Lowe, B., Sampson, M., & Slusser, J. (1994) Development studies of Aurelia (Jellyfish) ephyrae which developed during the SLS-1 mission. Advances in Space Research, 14(8), 239-247. DOI: 10.1016/0273-1177(94)90408-1  

  • October 8, 2016
  • 03:27 AM
  • 390 views

Pregnancy hypertension and offspring autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Hypertension in pregnancy was associated with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] in this population even after controlling for known confounders."So said the findings reported by Eileen Curran and colleagues [1] who, once again (see here), relied on "data from the Millennium Cohort Study" to produce some potentially important information about how adverse pregnancy conditions may/may not impact on offspring behaviour and development.Hypertension (a.k.a high blood pressure) during pre........ Read more »

Eileen A. Curran, Ali S. Khashan, Gerard W. O’Keeffe, & Louise C. Kenny. (2016) 35 Hypertension in pregnancy and autism spectrum disorder in a British cohort. regnancy Hypertension: An International Journal of Women's Cardiovascular Health., 153. info:/

  • October 7, 2016
  • 04:01 PM
  • 461 views

ZIKV and ocular infections

by thelonevirologist in Virology Tidbits

Although being first isolated in 1947 from a sentinel rhesus monkey in forests of Uganda, until 2007 Zika Virus (ZIKV) outbreaks have been sporadic, being limited to tropical regions in Africa as well as Southeast Asia and only been associated with relative mild symptoms in about 20% of infected people. Autochthonous transmission of ZIKV outside these areas was only reported in 2007 in the Federal States of Micronesia (FSM), 2013 in French Polynesia, and in 2015 in South America, spreading to th........ Read more »

Ventura CV, Maia M, Travassos SB, Martins TT, Patriota F, Nunes ME, Agra C, Torres VL, van der Linden V, Ramos RC.... (2016) Risk Factors Associated With the Ophthalmoscopic Findings Identified in Infants With Presumed Zika Virus Congenital Infection. JAMA ophthalmology, 134(8), 912-8. PMID: 27228275  

Furtado JM, Espósito DL, Klein TM, Teixeira-Pinto T, & da Fonseca BA. (2016) Uveitis Associated with Zika Virus Infection. The New England journal of medicine, 375(4), 394-6. PMID: 27332784  

Grant A, Ponia SS, Tripathi S, Balasubramaniam V, Miorin L, Sourisseau M, Schwarz MC, Sánchez-Seco MP, Evans MJ, Best SM.... (2016) Zika Virus Targets Human STAT2 to Inhibit Type I Interferon Signaling. Cell host , 19(6), 882-90. PMID: 27212660  

Khairallah M, Chee SP, Rathinam SR, Attia S, & Nadella V. (2010) Novel infectious agents causing uveitis. International ophthalmology, 30(5), 465-83. PMID: 19711015  

Goodfellow F, Tesla B, Simchick G, Hodge T, Zhao Q, Brindley MA, & Stice SL. (2016) Zika Virus Induced Mortality and Microcephaly in Chicken Embryos. Stem cells and development. PMID: 27627457  

Miner JJ, Sene A, Richner JM, Smith AM, Santeford A, Ban N, Weger-Lucarelli J, Manzella F, Rückert C, Govero J.... (2016) Zika Virus Infection in Mice Causes Panuveitis with Shedding of Virus in Tears. Cell reports, 16(12), 3208-18. PMID: 27612415  

Lazear HM, Govero J, Smith AM, Platt DJ, Fernandez E, Miner JJ, & Diamond MS. (2016) A Mouse Model of Zika Virus Pathogenesis. Cell host , 19(5), 720-30. PMID: 27066744  

Rossi SL, Tesh RB, Azar SR, Muruato AE, Hanley KA, Auguste AJ, Langsjoen RM, Paessler S, Vasilakis N, & Weaver SC. (2016) Characterization of a Novel Murine Model to Study Zika Virus. The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene, 94(6), 1362-9. PMID: 27022155  

Varkey JB, Shantha JG, Crozier I, Kraft CS, Lyon GM, Mehta AK, Kumar G, Smith JR, Kainulainen MH, Whitmer S.... (2015) Persistence of Ebola Virus in Ocular Fluid during Convalescence. The New England journal of medicine, 372(25), 2423-7. PMID: 25950269  

  • October 7, 2016
  • 01:57 PM
  • 524 views

First demonstration of brain-inspired device to power artificial systems

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

New research has demonstrated that a nanoscale device, called a memristor, could be used to power artificial systems that can mimic the human brain. Artificial neural networks (ANNs) exhibit learning abilities and can perform tasks which are difficult for conventional computing systems, such as pattern recognition, on-line learning and classification.

... Read more »

  • October 7, 2016
  • 03:11 AM
  • 385 views

Is parental age difference important for offspring autism and schizophrenia risk?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

In answer to the question that titles this post on whether parental age differences at offspring conception might matter when it comes to offspring risk of autism or schizophrenia, the answer is very possibly. As the paper by Byars & Boomsma [1] (open-access) reports: "Our study shows that autistic and schizophrenic disorder risks tend to be higher, in more dissimilarly aged parents, relative to parents with the most similar ages." This age disparity issue has been mentioned previously in th........ Read more »

  • October 6, 2016
  • 01:48 PM
  • 451 views

Mental illness genetically linked to drug use and misuse

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

There are many reports of drug use leading to mental health problems, and we all know of someone having a few too many drinks to cope with a bad day. Many people who are diagnosed with a mental health disorder indulge in drugs, and vice versa. As severity of both increase, problems arise and they become more difficult to treat. But why substance involvement and psychiatric disorders often co-occur is not well understood.

... Read more »

Carey, C., Agrawal, A., Bucholz, K., Hartz, S., Lynskey, M., Nelson, E., Bierut, L., & Bogdan, R. (2016) Associations between Polygenic Risk for Psychiatric Disorders and Substance Involvement. Frontiers in Genetics. DOI: 10.3389/fgene.2016.00149  

  • October 6, 2016
  • 03:01 AM
  • 394 views

Omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and bipolar disorder

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Biomarker studies of PUFA [polyunsaturated fatty acid] and treatment studies of n-3 [omega-3] PUFA in bipolar disorder show promise for indicating a way forward in the study of PUFA in bipolar disorder."I don't want to labour any points raised by the review of studies published by Erika Saunders and colleagues [1] looking at fatty acids and bipolar disorder but there does seem to be a familiar ring to the current evidence base on how for at least 'some' cases of bipolar diso........ Read more »

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