Do we do too many 12 lead ECGs on patients who do not have chest pain?
This is something that some people worry about.
Save the electrodes!
Those poor little electrodes are being abused!
Are electrodes being abused?... Read more »
Glickman SW, Shofer FS, Wu MC, Scholer MJ, Ndubuizu A, Peterson ED, Granger CB, Cairns CB, & Glickman LT. (2012) Development and validation of a prioritization rule for obtaining an immediate 12-lead electrocardiogram in the emergency department to identify ST-elevation myocardial infarction. American heart journal, 163(3), 372-82. PMID: 22424007
A new type of consumer has evolved in recent years—the love child of the Couch Potato and the Channel Surfer, raised by streaming devices and nurtured by entire seasons of shows available at the click of a remote. Neuroscience, it turns out, can partially explain the phenomenon of binge-watching TV.... Read more »
Training Characteristics Related to Running Related Injuries... Read more »
Malisoux, L., Urhausen, A., & Theisen, D. (2014) IMPACT OF TRAINING CHARACTERISTICS ON RUNNING-RELATED INJURIES IN RECREATIONAL RUNNERS. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 48(7), 631-632. DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2014-093494.194
I discuss a recent Science review about data regarding the cold tropical Pacific and its relationship to recent global temperature data.... Read more »
Clement, A., & DiNezio, P. (2014) The Tropical Pacific Ocean--Back in the Driver's Seat?. Science, 343(6174), 976-978. DOI: 10.1126/science.1248115
Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology have succeeded for the first time in creating a diode made of tungsten diselenide. Experiments show that this material may be used to create ultrathin flexible solar cells. Even flexible displays could become possible.... Read more »
Pospischil, A., Furchi, M., & Mueller, T. (2014) Solar-energy conversion and light emission in an atomic monolayer p–n diode. Nature Nanotechnology. DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2014.14
Few areas of biomedical research have benefited more from next-gen sequencing than studies of rare inherited diseases. Rapid, inexpensive exome sequencing in individuals with rare, presumably-monogenic diseases has been hugely successful over the past few years. There’s been a lot of discussion in the NGS community about the analysis burden of the large-scale whole-genome sequencing […]... Read more »
Koboldt DC, Larson DE, Sullivan LS, Bowne SJ, Steinberg KM, Churchill JD, Buhr AC, Nutter N, Pierce EA, Blanton SH.... (2014) Exome-Based Mapping and Variant Prioritization for Inherited Mendelian Disorders. American journal of human genetics. PMID: 24560519
This month I will be focusing on sleep and the brain. The importance of sleep to normal and abnormal brain functioning is receiving increased research attention.A variety of sleep abnormalities have been described in major depression and bipolar affective disorder. Depression has been linked to delayed sleep onset, reduced time to first rapid eye movement (REM) period, reduced sleep efficiency and disruption of the circadian rhythm of sleep.Sleep physiology also varies throughout the lifespan. Puberty produces a delay in the sleep-wake cycle while older age is associated with a earlier sleep-wake cycle and reduced total sleep time.Robillard and colleagues recently published a study designed to tease out the effects of depression on sleep across the life cycle. The key elements of the design of their study included the following components:Subjects: 238 treatment-seeking individuals with a lifetime history of mood disorder ranging in age from 12 to 90 years of ageProcedures: Subjects wore an activity watch (actigraphy) for up to 22 days and completed sleep diaries. Additionally, subjects completed the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale a measure of current severity of depression symptomsOutcome variables: sleep onset time, sleep offset time, total time in bed, total sleep time, time awake after sleep onset and sleep efficiency (time asleep divided by time in bed). Additionally, five circadian rhythm parameters were estimated from the dataData analysis: Outcome variables were examined using two-way ANOVA with depression severity and age category as covariatesThe study found significant differences in the depression-related sleep parameters by age and depression severity:Younger age effects: Depression severity in younger adolescents and younger adults was associated with later sleep onset and offset, longer time in bed, longer time awake after sleep onset and lower sleep efficiencyOlder age effects: Depression severity in older adults was associated with reduced circadian rhythm strengthEffects found in all age groups: Depression severity was associated with disruption of sleep consolidationThe authors note in their discussion that sleep offset (later morning awakening) is associated with age and depression severity and "may be especially sensitive to the additive effects of age and depression". This study is limited to use of actigraphy data and did not include more accurate polysomnography (sleep studies). Additionally, the study did not include a non-depressed control sample. Finally, there is limited description of psychotropic drug use in the sample a potentially confounding factor. Nevertheless, this is an important study that helps tease out the effects of depression compared to the effects of age on sleep. Depression appears to adversely effect sleep function across the life cycle. Sleep function can be a valuable tool for assessment and monitoring treatment in mood disorders.Readers with more interest in this research can access the free full-text article by clicking on the link citation link below.Photo of a red shouldered hawk is from the author's files.Follow the author on Twitter @WRY999Robillard, R., Naismith, S., Smith, K., Rogers, N., White, D., Terpening, Z., Ip, T., Hermens, D., Whitwell, B., Scott, E., & Hickie, I. (2014). Sleep-Wake Cycle in Young and Older Persons with a Lifetime History of Mood Disorders PLoS ONE, 9 (2) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0087763... Read more »
Robillard, R., Naismith, S., Smith, K., Rogers, N., White, D., Terpening, Z., Ip, T., Hermens, D., Whitwell, B., Scott, E.... (2014) Sleep-Wake Cycle in Young and Older Persons with a Lifetime History of Mood Disorders. PLoS ONE, 9(2). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0087763
You might say the benefit of staying alive is an actual no-brainer: even brainless lifeforms do their best not to die. For the most part, anyway. When they’re under stress, single-celled organisms may opt to cut up their DNA and neatly implode. A new study hints that by committing suicide in this way, an organism […]The post Suicidal Algae Help Their Relatives and Harm Their Rivals appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »
Durand, P., Choudhury, R., Rashidi, A., & Michod, R. (2014) Programmed death in a unicellular organism has species-specific fitness effects. Biology Letters, 10(2), 20131088-20131088. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2013.1088
Michele MarksteinUsing a new approach to systematically test chemotherapy drugs in an unusual animal model, a research team led by University of Massachusetts Amherst molecular biologist Michele Markstein, with Norbert Perrimon at Harvard Medical School, report that several have a serious side effect: Inducing hyper proliferation in stem cells that could lead to tumor recurrence.Markstein says, “We discovered that several chemotherapeutics that stop fast growing tumors have the opposite effect on stem cells in the same animal, causing them to divide too rapidly. This was a surprise, because it showed that the same drug could have opposite actions on cells in the same animal: Suppressing tumor growth on one cell population while initiating growth in another. Not only is the finding of clinical interest, but with this study we used an emerging new non-traditional tool for assessing drugs using stem cells in the fruit fly gut.” “We did these experiments in the fly because Drosophila stem cells, in the intestine, are very much like the stem cells in our intestine, and it’s a lot easier to do experiments in flies than humans or even mice.” she added.Read More... Read more »
Markstein, M., Dettorre, S., Cho, J., Neumuller, R., Craig-Muller, S., & Perrimon, N. (2014) Systematic screen of chemotherapeutics in Drosophila stem cell tumors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1401160111
A new study by Berkeley Lab researchers at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) shows that nearly 90-percent of the electrons generated by a hybrid photocathode material designed to store solar energy in hydrogen are being stored in the target hydrogen molecules.... Read more »
Krawicz, A., Cedeno, D., & Moore, G. (2014) Energetics and Efficiency Analysis of a Cobaloxime-Modified Semiconductor at Simulated Air Mass 1.5 Illumination. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. DOI: 10.1039/c4cp00495g
What happens when you swap the order of protein synthesis in Rift Valley Fever virus?... Read more »
Brennan, B., Welch, S., & Elliott, R. (2014) The Consequences of Reconfiguring the Ambisense S Genome Segment of Rift Valley Fever Virus on Viral Replication in Mammalian and Mosquito Cells and for Genome Packaging. PLoS Pathogens, 10(2). DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003922
Dr. Robert A.J. Signer (left) and Dr. Sean MorrisonImage courtesy of UT Southwestern Medical CenterFor the first time, researchers have shown that an essential biological process known as protein synthesis can be studied in adult stem cells – something scientists have long struggled to accomplish. The groundbreaking findings from the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) also demonstrate that the precise amount of protein produced by blood-forming stem cells is crucial to their function.The discovery, published online yesterday in Nature, measures protein production, a process known as translation, and shows that protein synthesis is not only fundamental to how stem cells are regulated, but also is critical to their regenerative potential.Read More... Read more »
Signer, R., Magee, J., Salic, A., & Morrison, S. (2014) Haematopoietic stem cells require a highly regulated protein synthesis rate. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature13035
Kevin Kit ParkerAfter more than a decade of advances in stem cell research, almost anyone with a basic understanding of life sciences understands that stem cells are the basic form of cell from which all the other specialized cells, and eventually organs and body parts, derive.But what makes a "good" stem cell, one that can reliably be used in drug development, and for disease study? Researchers have made enormous strides in understanding the process of cellular reprogramming, and how and why stem cells commit to becoming various types of adult cells. But until now, there have been no standards, no criteria, by which to test these ubiquitous cells for their ability to faithfully adopt characteristics that make them suitable substitutes for patients for drug testing. And the need for such quality control standards becomes ever more critical as industry looks toward manufacturing products and treatments using stem cells.Read More... Read more »
Sheehy, S., Pasqualini, F., Grosberg, A., Park, S., Aratyn-Schaus, Y., & Parker, K. (2014) Quality Metrics for Stem Cell-Derived Cardiac Myocytes. Stem Cell Reports. DOI: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2014.01.015
A new study by researchers at the Karolinska Institutet,Sweden suggests that the expression of the so called MYC gene is important and necessary for neurogenesis in the spinal cord. The findings appear in the journal EMBO Reports .The MYC gene encodes the protein with the same name, and has an important role in many cellular processes such as proliferation, metabolism, cell death and the potential of differentiation from immature stem cell s to different types of specialized cells . Importantly it is also one of the most frequently activated genes in human cancer.Read More... Read more »
Zinin N, Adameyko I, Wilhelm M, Fritz N, Uhlén P, Ernfors P, & Henriksson MA. (2014) MYC proteins promote neuronal differentiation by controlling the mode of progenitor cell division. EMBO reports. PMID: 24599748
The bite of an infected Ixodes hard tick transmits the Lyme disease spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, to humans. Ticks acquire B. burgdorferi by feeding on reservoir hosts colonized with the spirochete. Reservoir hosts include small mammals such as the white-footed mouse, the main reservoir of B. burgdorferi in the northeastern United States.A study that just came out in The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine is accompanied by videos of Borrelia burgdorferi being transmitted between mouse and tick.1 The authors prepared the mice by infecting them with B. burgdorferi genetically modified to express green fluorescent protein. After waiting two weeks to allow the spirochetes to disseminate, they placed one hungry Ixodes scapularis tick onto an ear of each infected mouse. Figure 1 from Bockenstedt et al., 20141. A feeding tick (arrow) attached to the ear of a mouse. The tick is engorged with blood.Nymphal ticks feed for an average of 2.5 to 8 days. The meal starts with the tick inserting its barbed feeding apparatus into the skin. (For a close-up view of this process, head over to the blog Phenomena: Not Exactly Rocket Science.) The tick releases saliva through the feeding canal into the skin. Tick saliva contains substances that damage host tissue surrounding the feeding apparatus and pharmacologic agents that inhibit clotting and engage the immune system. Intervals of salivation alternate with ingestion of blood, tissue fluid, and lymph that pool at the feeding site.2 The authors examined the feeding site by two photon intravital microscopy to observe what was happening to the spirochetes. They saw spirochetes in the dermis moving towards the feeding apparatus and disappearing as they presumably got sucked into the feeding canal. One such spirochete is digitally colored in red in the video below, which was shot 48 hours into the blood meal. (One hour of video footage was compressed into 30 seconds.) The feeding apparatus is the green structure near the top of the viewing field. Previous studies have suggested that ticks acquire B. burgdorferi from skin, not from blood.3 The videos from this study provide support for this notion.Are the spirochetes mere passengers that get caught in the flow of fluid being drawn into the feeding canal, or are they active participants? The authors argue for an active role for the spirochetes:Spirochete movement is unlikely to be due simply to the mechanical flux of tissue fluid as the tick feeds because close examination of individual spirochetes that move toward the hypostome reveals both the oscillating movements that we observe in the absence of tick feeding as well as directional translocation.References1. Bockenstedt LK, Gonzalez D, Mao J, Li M, Belperron AA, & Haberman A (2014). What ticks do under your skin: two-photon intravital imaging of Ixodes scapularis feeding in the presence of the Lyme disease spirochete. The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, 87 (1), 3-13 PMID: 246003322. Anderson JF, & Magnarelli LA (2008). Biology of ticks. Infectious Disease Clinics of North America, 22 (2) PMID: 184527973. Nakayama Y, & Spielman A (1989). Ingestion of Lyme disease spirochetes by ticks feeding on infected hosts. The Journal of infectious diseases, 160 (1), 166-7 PMID: 2732513... Read more »
Bockenstedt LK, Gonzalez D, Mao J, Li M, Belperron AA, & Haberman A. (2014) What ticks do under your skin: two-photon intravital imaging of Ixodes scapularis feeding in the presence of the Lyme disease spirochete. The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, 87(1), 3-13. PMID: 24600332
Nakayama Y, & Spielman A. (1989) Ingestion of Lyme disease spirochetes by ticks feeding on infected hosts. The Journal of infectious diseases, 160(1), 166-7. PMID: 2732513
A team led by researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has made improvements in computer processing using an emerging class of magnetic materials called “multiferroics,” and these advances could make future devices far more energy-efficient than current technologies.... Read more »
Cherepov, S., Khalili Amiri, P., Alzate, J., Wong, K., Lewis, M., Upadhyaya, P., Nath, J., Bao, M., Bur, A., Wu, T.... (2014) Electric-field-induced spin wave generation using multiferroic magnetoelectric cells. Applied Physics Letters, 104(8), 82403. DOI: 10.1063/1.4865916
Most folks who read this blog will be aware that a new human genome assembly has been completed, released, and is available for anyone to obtain. One of my favorite overviews of that new version can be found in this readable piece at Bio-IT World: Deanna Church on the Reference Genome Past, Present and Future. […]... Read more »
This is the week when I get to introduce a new batch of students to the idea that our unconscious minds can make better decisions than our conscious ones (if you’re not an expert, anyway). Which may be even more important to know, given some new evidence about just how quickly our unconscious minds can process incoming information.... Read more »
The flush of envy - pain at another's good fortune - is a common experience in many a workplace. This emotion can disrupt wellbeing, heighten turnover, and contribute to poorer group performance. John Veiga and colleagues felt that existing models for evaluating workplace emotions give an incomplete account of envy, which is intimately linked to cognition and social standing. In a new article, they propose a new take on the green-eyed monster.Veiga's model begins with a felt appraisal triggered by a situation: a painful feeling that may not be understood, but is certainly unwelcome. On its heels follow a pair of cognitive processes, social comparison and a memory search for existing schemas. Social comparison takes that felt appraisal and asks what it means for the person’s environment: does another person's success threaten my own social standing? When an individual’s own standing is particularly vague or precarious, then this is likely to be a primary focus.Schemas, meanwhile, are the maps of reality that we organise and live by, from 'how to deal with bureaucracy' to ‘I’m always the bridesmaid, never the bride.' As envy-inducing events reoccur - as they surely do for all but the most enlightened - we are presented with opportunities to fold them into schemas such as 'the newcomers always get more recognition for work I do just as well'. As the events are emotionally charged, the schema into which they coalesce is a powerful thing that fuses past experience with interpretation. When the schema is activated its reading of the world floods into awareness to colour the existing moment, making it harder to see things as they are, rather than as validation of 'the way things must be.'After thoughts, action. Affect-driven behaviours are the spontaneous ways we relieve the tension of a painful emotion, and include a sudden outburst or muttered curses. Another way to manage the emotion is through delayed, premeditated actions like spreading malicious rumours, engaging in plots or sabotage; these are especially shaped by schemas, which cry out for you to make good on your long-standing fantasies of turning the tables. Bad news for the person, the relationship, and the organisation.58% of 278 survey respondents from hundreds of companies had experienced an envy-eliciting event with detrimental consequences, and this model helps us understand why this is so common. Notable is the role of social comparison, which helps the flash of envy become something more serious. At work, your social standing isn't just an ego issue, but can involve the way you are treated by others, what you are paid, and potentially even your survival within your organisation. What's more, organisations like to make successes as visible as possible, through prizes, employee of the month schemes, bonuses and mentions. Much research attention is paid to the benefits of this for recipients, but less so for the deleterious effects on those who are passed over.This new model helps us get serious about understanding the impact of envy, and could help us understand why in some instances a low level of envy can be useful. Further research would need to look at how we may compensate for threats to social standing by demonstrating fair and legitimate means to restore standing, such as by ensuring that rewards, ratings and recognition are made transparent and understandable to all.Veiga, J., Baldridge, D., & Markóczy, L. (2014). Toward greater understanding of the pernicious effects of workplace envy The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 1-18 DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2013.877057... Read more »
Veiga, J., Baldridge, D., & Markóczy, L. (2014) Toward greater understanding of the pernicious effects of workplace envy. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 1-18. DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2013.877057
Another daylight saving time (DST) has come and gone without triggering the collapse of society, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t had an impact. Research suggests that DST can influence energy use (pdf), the prevalence of workplace accidents (pdf), and the tendency to shirk work responsibilities by looking at random stuff on the internet (a […]... Read more »
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