Post List

  • July 18, 2016
  • 02:45 AM
  • 271 views

Reconsidering the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) for autism screening?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin: "The AQ's [Autism Spectrum Quotient] utility for screening referrals was limited in this sample. Recommendations supporting the AQ's role in the assessment of adult ASD [autism spectrum disorder], e.g. UK NICE guidelines, may need to be reconsidered."Taken from the paper published by Ashwood and colleagues [1], the findings from this team don't make for great reading if you happen to be a fan of the AQ as a potential screening instrument for adult autism. Indeed,........ Read more »

Ashwood KL, Gillan N, Horder J, Hayward H, Woodhouse E, McEwen FS, Findon J, Eklund H, Spain D, Wilson CE.... (2016) Predicting the diagnosis of autism in adults using the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) questionnaire. Psychological medicine, 1-10. PMID: 27353452  

  • July 17, 2016
  • 03:08 PM
  • 350 views

Specialized neurons in emotional memory play important role in fear

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Fear memory encoding, the process responsible for persistent reactions to trauma-associated cues, is influenced by a sparse but potent population of inhibitory cells called parvalbumin-interneurons (PV-INs) in the amygdala, according to a new study.

... Read more »

  • July 17, 2016
  • 06:24 AM
  • 354 views

Know your brain: Periaqueductal gray

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

Where is the periaqueductal gray?















The periaqueductal gray, or PAG, is an area of gray matter found in the midbrain. The PAG surrounds the cerebral aqueduct (hence the name periaqueductal) and occupies a column of brainstem that stretches about 14 mm long. There are no obvious visible anatomical divisions within the PAG, but researchers have divided the PAG into four columns based on differences in connectivity and function: the dorsomedial, dorsolater........ Read more »

  • July 17, 2016
  • 04:57 AM
  • 347 views

Would you mind if your child wanted to become an interpreter?

by Jinhyun Cho in Language on the Move

I recently volunteered to give a presentation on the profession of translation and interpreting as a parent helper for a...... Read more »

  • July 16, 2016
  • 04:45 PM
  • 327 views

Reopening avenues for attacking ALS

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers have found evidence that bone marrow transplantation may one day be beneficial to a subset of patients suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal neurodegenerative disorder more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

... Read more »

Burberry, A., Suzuki, N., Wang, J., Moccia, R., Mordes, D., Stewart, M., Suzuki-Uematsu, S., Ghosh, S., Singh, A., Merkle, F.... (2016) Loss-of-function mutations in the C9ORF72 mouse ortholog cause fatal autoimmune disease. Science Translational Medicine, 8(347), 347-347. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf6038  

  • July 16, 2016
  • 04:06 PM
  • 232 views

Blogs, Papers, Plagiarism and Bitcoin

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Retraction Watch reports on a strange case of alleged plagiarism.

In February 2016, F1000Research published a paper called How blockchain-timestamped protocols could improve the trustworthiness of medical science. The authors, Greg Irving and John Holden, demonstrated the use of the bitcoin blockchain as a way of publicly verifying the existence of a certain document at a certain point in time. This approach, they say, could be used to make preregistered research protocols more secure. A prob... Read more »

  • July 16, 2016
  • 06:48 AM
  • 263 views

Increased microbial translocation in ME/CFS

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The cause of ME/CFS [myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome] is unknown, but gut dysbiosis could be contributing to some of the symptoms and their severity. Developing therapeutic interventions aimed at reducing local inflammation, restoring gastrointestinal tract immunity and integrity and modifying the intestinal microbiome may ameliorate ME/CFS symptoms in a number of affected patients."Those were the important conclusions reported by Ludovic Giloteaux and colleagues [1........ Read more »

  • July 15, 2016
  • 02:24 PM
  • 414 views

Repeated stimulation treatment can restore movement to paralyzed muscles

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Conducted at the BioMag laboratory at the Helsinki University Hospital, a new patient study could open a new opportunity to rehabilitate patients with spinal cord damage. In a new study which two patients with spinal cord injuries received a form of treatment that combined transcranial magnetic stimulation with simultaneous peripheral nerve stimulation given repeatedly for nearly six months.

... Read more »

  • July 15, 2016
  • 05:56 AM
  • 362 views

How to test for music skills

by Richard Kunert in Brain's Idea

In a new article I evaluate a recently developed test for music listening skills. To my great surprise the test behaves very well. This could open the path to better understand the psychology underlying music listening. Why am I surprised? I got my first taste of how difficult it is to replicate published scientific results […]... Read more »

Singleton, C., Horne, J., & Simmons, F. (2009) Computerised screening for dyslexia in adults. Journal of Research in Reading, 32(1), 137-152. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9817.2008.01386.x  

  • July 15, 2016
  • 04:50 AM
  • 257 views

Does target shooting make teenagers aggressive?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

When the dust settles on the tragedy of the latest mass shooting, gun clubs usually see a spike in their memberships as people look to arm and defend themselves. At the same time, many others argue for greater gun controls, and from their perspective, recreational target shooting is very much part of the problem, not the answer.Anecdotally, this is borne out by the many killers who often turn out to have been target shooters. Indeed, in Germany after the teenage perpetrators of two spree atrocit........ Read more »

Erle, T., Barth, N., Kälke, F., Duttler, G., Lange, H., Petko, A., & Topolinski, S. (2016) Are target-shooters more aggressive than the general population?. Aggressive Behavior. DOI: 10.1002/ab.21657  

  • July 15, 2016
  • 02:54 AM
  • 303 views

Another study to watch... vitamin D and/or fatty acid supplements for autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Hot on the heels of a recent post about a study to watch for (see here) details of yet another "randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial" have been published in the form of the trial protocol by Hajar Mazahery and colleagues [1].This time around the aim is to "investigate the effect of vitamin D, n-3 LCPUFAs [omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids] or a combination of both on core symptoms of ASD [autism spectrum disorder]" and hopefully with it, the generat........ Read more »

  • July 14, 2016
  • 11:30 PM
  • 379 views

Evolutionary dynamics of acid and VEGF production in tumours

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

Today was my presentation day at ECMTB/SMB 2016. I spoke in David Basanta’s mini-symposium on the games that cancer cells play and postered during the poster session. The mini-symposium started with a brief intro from David, and had 25 minute talks from Jacob Scott, myself, Alexander Anderson, and John Nagy. David, Jake, Sandy, and John […]... Read more »

Hauert, C., De Monte, S., Hofbauer, J., & Sigmund, K. (2002) Replicator dynamics for optional public good games. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 218(2), 187-94. PMID: 12381291  

  • July 14, 2016
  • 09:39 PM
  • 278 views

Are NETs involved in fighting Leptospira interrogans infections?

by Microbe Fan in Spirochetes Unwound

Neutrophils are the most abundant white blood cells in the bloodstream.  As the first immune cells to be recruited to infected tissues, they play a key role in the fighting microbial intruders.  It's long been known that they engulf microbes by phagocytosis, which results in the microbes being imprisoned within phagosomes inside the neutrophil.  Deadly proteases, antimicrobial proteins, and reactive oxygen species are released into the phagosome to kill the microbes.Another means ........ Read more »

Scharrig E, Carestia A, Ferrer MF, Cédola M, Pretre G, Drut R, Picardeau M, Schattner M, & Gómez RM. (2015) Neutrophil extracellular traps are involved in the innate immune response to infection with Leptospira. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 9(7). PMID: 26161745  

Brinkmann V, Reichard U, Goosmann C, Fauler B, Uhlemann Y, Weiss DS, Weinrauch Y, & Zychlinsky A. (2004) Neutrophil extracellular traps kill bacteria. Science (New York, N.Y.), 303(5663), 1532-5. PMID: 15001782  

  • July 14, 2016
  • 03:58 PM
  • 441 views

Organic computers are coming

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Move over silicon, tomorrow's computers could be made of something completely different. A team of international researchers managed to find a molecule that, to their opinion, could give the impetus to the development of organic electronics.

... Read more »

  • July 14, 2016
  • 01:27 PM
  • 439 views

Weird stuff found in recreational drugs: Cocaine edition

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

This is the fifth and final post in a series on strange substances accidentally or intentionally added to street drugs. When you're done here, check out the posts on alcohol, meth, opioids, and pot/LSD.If a drug is being sold illegally, chances are its sellers have added crap to it in order to make more money. Cocaine is no exception to this deception. Substances added to nose candy because they resemble the drug but otherwise don't mimic or influence its effects include talc powder, flour, corn........ Read more »

  • July 14, 2016
  • 11:56 AM
  • 314 views

Facial expressions of intense joy and pain are indistinguishable

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Eyes shut tight, face contorted into a grimace. Are they ecstatic or anguished? Ignorant of the context, it can be hard to tell. Recent research that involved participants looking at images of the facial expressions of professional tennis players supported this intuition – participants naive to the context were unable to tell the difference between the winners and losers.From a scientific perspective, the problem with the tennis study is that the findings might have been affected by the player........ Read more »

  • July 14, 2016
  • 11:15 AM
  • 331 views

Does Sugar Really Fuel Willpower?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Another prominent psychology theory has come under scrutiny by researchers who say the published results look unrealistic.



In a new paper, Miguel A. Vadillo et al. take aim at the idea that the body's reserves of willpower rely on glucose.

The background here is the 'ego depletion' model, a psychological theory which holds that self-control is effortful and draws on a limited resource, which can eventually be depleted if it's overused. Many researchers have proposed that glucose is thi... Read more »

  • July 14, 2016
  • 10:14 AM
  • 293 views

Folliculin is required for embryonic brain development in zebrafish

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome (BHD) is caused by mutations in the gene encoding folliculin (FLCN). How this leads to the BHD clinical manifestations is not yet clear. Since homozygous mutations of FLCN are lethal in mice, rats and dogs at early embryonic stage (Hasumi et al., 2009), zebrafish is a valuable alternative model to study the developmental functions of FLCN. Newly published research from Kenyon et al. (2016) examines the role of FLCN in zebrafish development using morpholino oligonuc........ Read more »

Kenyon EJ, Luijten MN, Gill H, Li N, Rawlings M, Bull JC, Hadzhiev Y, van Steensel MA, Maher E, & Mueller F. (2016) Expression and knockdown of zebrafish folliculin suggests requirement for embryonic brain morphogenesis. BMC developmental biology, 16(1), 23. PMID: 27391801  

  • July 14, 2016
  • 03:09 AM
  • 281 views

Gastrin-releasing peptide and autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Gastrin-releasing peptide was safe and well tolerated by most subjects and may be effective for core symptoms of autism."So said the results of the study - open trial - by Michele Michelin Becker and colleagues [1] continuing a research theme from this author [2] on the potential need for further scientific scrutiny when it comes to the use of gastrin-releasing peptides (GRP) and autism. Emphasising again that results were based on the use of an open trial (everyone knew what was bein........ Read more »

  • July 13, 2016
  • 10:30 PM
  • 406 views

Modeling influenza at ECMTB/SMB 2016

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

This week, I am at the University of Nottingham for the joint meeting of the Society of Mathematical Biology and the European Conference on Mathematical and Theoretical Biology — ECMTB/SMB 2016. It is a huge meeting, with over 800 delegates in attendance, 308 half-hour mini-symposium talks, 264 twenty-minute contributed talks, 190 posters, 7 prize talks, […]... Read more »

Gog, J.R., Ballesteros, S., Viboud, C., Simonsen, L., Bjornstad, O.N., Shaman, J., Chao, D.L., Khan, F., & Grenfell, B.T. (2014) Spatial Transmission of 2009 Pandemic Influenza in the US. PLoS Computational Biology, 10(6). PMID: 24921923  

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