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  • March 2, 2017
  • 03:11 AM
  • 170 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
  • 121 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
  • 168 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
  • 115 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
  • 121 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  

  • February 28, 2017
  • 02:42 AM
  • 167 views

Premature mortality in intellectual disability in Australia (and England)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Adults with ID [intellectual disability] experience premature mortality and over-representation of potentially avoidable deaths."The paper by Julian Trollor and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) provides some sombre reading today, as once again the topic of early mortality is raised on this blog. Looking at several measures - the "Age Standardised Mortality Rate (ASMR), Comparative Mortality Figure (CMF), years of productive life lost (YPLL) and proportion of deaths with pot........ Read more »

  • February 27, 2017
  • 05:29 AM
  • 173 views

Know your brain: Mammillary bodies

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

Where are the mammillary bodies?























The mammillary bodies are part of the diencephalon, which is a collection of structures found between the brainstem and cerebrum. The diencephalon includes the hypothalamus, and the mammillary bodies are found on the inferior surface of the hypothalamus (the side of the hypothalamus that is closer to the brainstem). The mam........ Read more »

Vann SD, & Aggleton JP. (2004) The mammillary bodies: two memory systems in one?. Nature reviews. Neuroscience, 5(1), 35-44. PMID: 14708002  

  • February 27, 2017
  • 03:16 AM
  • 181 views

Low muscle tone and autistic traits

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This large study showed a prospective association of infant muscle tone with autistic traits in childhood."So said the findings reported by Fadila Serdarevic and colleagues [1] who, looking at nearly 3000 children, were able to assess early motor development and muscle tone "between ages 2 and 5 months" and later parental ratings of autistic traits in children at 6 years of age. Said autistic traits were surveyed using the "the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) and the Pervasive Developmental P........ Read more »

Serdarevic F, Ghassabian A, van Batenburg-Eddes T, White T, Blanken LM, Jaddoe VW, Verhulst FC, & Tiemeier H. (2017) Infant muscle tone and childhood autistic traits: A longitudinal study in the general population. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. PMID: 28181411  

  • February 25, 2017
  • 04:07 AM
  • 222 views

1 in 5 children "met criteria for low language at 7 years"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Although primarily looking at the potential predictors of language outcome, the study results published by Cristina McKean and colleagues [1] revealed the rather important title heading this blog entry: "Almost 19% of children (22/1204;18.9%) met criteria for low language at 7 years."The source of the finding was a cohort of some 1900 infants "recruited at age 8 to 10 months" who were followed until aged 7 years old and subject to quite a bit of research inspection looking at "early life factors........ Read more »

McKean C, Reilly S, Bavin EL, Bretherton L, Cini E, Conway L, Cook F, Eadie P, Prior M, Wake M.... (2017) Language Outcomes at 7 Years: Early Predictors and Co-Occurring Difficulties. Pediatrics. PMID: 28179482  

  • February 24, 2017
  • 06:18 PM
  • 194 views

Symbiote Separation: Coral Bleaching and Climate Change

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

It’s been a while since I’ve broken down some studies for you, so I took on a big one.I’m sure you’ve heard of coral bleaching. What is it? Why does it happen? Why does it matter? To start off, you need to know a little bit more about the individuals that make up a head (fan, whip, etc.): the polyp. Coral polyps look like tiny plants but are actually tiny animals (less than ½ an inch in diameter). They produce calcium carbonate to create a protective shell or skeleton that, when thousan........ Read more »

  • February 24, 2017
  • 06:00 AM
  • 191 views

Friday Fellow: B. coli

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll It’s time to give more space for parasites, including human parasites! So today our fellow comes right from the stool of many mammals, including humans. Its name is Balantidium coli, or B. coli for short. B. coli is … Continue reading →... Read more »

Schuster, F., & Ramirez-Avila, L. (2008) Current World Status of Balantidium coli. Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 21(4), 626-638. DOI: 10.1128/CMR.00021-08  

  • February 24, 2017
  • 03:07 AM
  • 210 views

Say my name

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"At 9 months of age, infants developing ASD [autism spectrum disorder] were more likely to fail to orient to their names, persisting through 24 months."So said the findings reported by Meghan Miller and colleagues [1] investigating an often over-looked but typically informative question relevant to childhood autism screening and assessment: the response to name. Anyone who knows a little about instruments such as the ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) will already know ........ Read more »

Miller M, Iosif AM, Hill M, Young GS, Schwichtenberg AJ, & Ozonoff S. (2017) Response to Name in Infants Developing Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Prospective Study. The Journal of pediatrics. PMID: 28162768  

  • February 23, 2017
  • 02:59 AM
  • 231 views

"Autoimmune epilepsy is an underrecognized condition..."

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Among adult patients with epilepsy of unknown etiology, a significant minority had detectable serum Abs [autoantibodies] suggesting an autoimmune etiology."So said the findings reported by Divyanshu Dubey and colleagues [1] continuing a research theme previously discussed on this blog (see here) on how epilepsy / seizure-type disorder(s) for some might have more to do with immune function than many people might think.OK, a brief bit of background: epilepsy is a blanket term cover........ Read more »

Dubey D, Alqallaf A, Hays R, Freeman M, Chen K, Ding K, Agostini M, & Vernino S. (2017) Neurological Autoantibody Prevalence in Epilepsy of Unknown Etiology. JAMA neurology. PMID: 28166327  

  • February 22, 2017
  • 07:18 AM
  • 193 views

Hydrolagus erithacus: New Species of Ghost Shark Discovered

by beredim in Strange Animals



Kristin Walovich holds the newly described species of ghost shark
Photo Credit: Kristin Walovich




Researchers recently announced the discovery of a new species of ghost shark, Hydrolagus erithacus. Ghost sharks - which aren’t actually sharks but instead their closest living relatives - are an extraordinarily rare sighting. Actually, it was just a few months ago, when a ghost shark was filmed... Read more »

  • February 22, 2017
  • 04:20 AM
  • 239 views

History of bipolar disorder = elevated risk of dementia: is vitamin D important?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"History of BD [bipolar disorder] is associated with significantly higher risk of dementia in older adults."So said the systematic review and meta-analysis published by Breno Diniz and colleagues [1] taking in the accumulated peer-reviewed literature on this topic. Including data for some 3000 individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder and nearly 200,000 controls (without bipolar disorder), authors calculated something of a significantly higher risk of dementia in those with a do........ Read more »

Diniz BS, Teixeira AL, Cao F, Gildengers A, Soares JC, Butters MA, & Reynolds CF 3rd. (2017) History of Bipolar Disorder and the Risk of Dementia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. The American journal of geriatric psychiatry : official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. PMID: 28161155  

  • February 21, 2017
  • 09:00 PM
  • 166 views

Redrawing Ratite Relationships

by Jente Ottenburghs in Evolutionary Stories

Scientists have sequenced the DNA of two extinct birds: the moa and the elephantbird. Comparison with their living relatives led to some surprising findings.... Read more »

Maderspacher F. (2017) Evolution: Flight of the Ratites. Current biology : CB, 27(3). PMID: 28171755  

Yonezawa T, Segawa T, Mori H, Campos PF, Hongoh Y, Endo H, Akiyoshi A, Kohno N, Nishida S, Wu J.... (2017) Phylogenomics and Morphology of Extinct Paleognaths Reveal the Origin and Evolution of the Ratites. Current biology : CB, 27(1), 68-77. PMID: 27989673  

  • February 21, 2017
  • 09:02 AM
  • 232 views

Who Can Swim Further: A Race to the Depths and Back (A Guest Post)

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

By Jefferson LeThe blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is the largest mammal on the planet. Image byNMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NOAA) available at Wikimedia Commons.Helloooooo! My name is Bailey and I am a 25 meter long blue whale, the largest living mammal on Earth! My friend Finley, a 21 meter long fin whale comes in second for largest in size. We had an interesting adventure recently where we were followed by humans. While Finley and I were foraging for food, I overheard the huma........ Read more »

Croll DA, Acevedo-Gutiérrez A, Tershy BR, & Urbán-Ramírez J. (2001) The diving behavior of blue and fin whales: is dive duration shorter than expected based on oxygen stores?. Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular , 129(4), 797-809. PMID: 11440866  

  • February 21, 2017
  • 03:39 AM
  • 240 views

Neuropsychiatric disorder onset "temporally related to prior vaccinations"?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Given the modest magnitude of these findings in contrast to the clear public health benefits of the timely administration of vaccines in preventing mortality and morbidity in childhood infectious diseases, we encourage families to maintain vaccination schedules according to CDC guidelines."The quote opening this post comes from the paper published by Douglas Leslie and colleagues [1] (open-access) and offers not a conclusion from their study looking at the possibility that "the onset of some ne........ Read more »

  • February 20, 2017
  • 02:30 PM
  • 69 views

This Squid Gives Better Side-Eye Than You

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Yes, this cephalopod is looking at you funny. It's a kind of cockeyed squid—an animal that looks like some jokester misassembled a Mr. Potato Head. One of the cockeyed squid's eyes is big, bulging and yellow. The other is flat and beady. After studying more than 25 years' worth of undersea video footage, scientists think they know why.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in California has been dropping robotic submarines into the ocean for decades. The footage from th........ Read more »

  • February 20, 2017
  • 04:33 AM
  • 230 views

Catatonic symptoms and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Catatonic symptoms are more prevalent in young people with autism than previously thought" said the article recently published by Breen and Hare [1]. Continuing a research theme of at least one of the authors [2], the idea that catatonic symptoms - primarily manifesting as stupor, unresponsiveness to light, noise or touch, mutism, etc - might be over-represented when it comes to autism is not a new one by any means.Breen & Hare set about looking for "the presence and nature of such att........ Read more »

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