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  • August 4, 2015
  • 04:34 PM
  • 18 views

Preventing addiction relapse by erasing drug-associated memories

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Recovering addicts often grapple with the ghosts of their addiction–memories that tempt them to relapse even after rehabilitation and months, or even years, of drug-free living. Now, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have made a discovery that brings them closer to a new therapy based on selectively erasing these dangerous and tenacious drug-associated memories.... Read more »

  • August 4, 2015
  • 12:40 PM
  • 9 views

Stem cells: From pluripotency to totipotency

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

While it is already possible to obtain in vitro pluripotent cells (ie, cells capable of generating all tissues of an embryo) from any cell type, researchers from Maria-Elena Torres-Padilla’s team have pushed the limits of science even further. They managed to obtain totipotent cells with the same characteristics as those of the earliest embryonic stages and with even more interesting properties.... Read more »

Ishiuchi, T., Enriquez-Gasca, R., Mizutani, E., Bošković, A., Ziegler-Birling, C., Rodriguez-Terrones, D., Wakayama, T., Vaquerizas, J., & Torres-Padilla, M. (2015) Early embryonic-like cells are induced by downregulating replication-dependent chromatin assembly. Nature Structural . DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.3066  

  • August 4, 2015
  • 10:21 AM
  • 11 views

Monkeys Try to Hide Illicit Hookups

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Just how much monkey business is there in monkey sex? In groups with alpha males, monkeys lower on the totem pole may have to sneak around to mate. How well they conceal their activities can shed light on the cognitive powers of primates.

Macaques are monkeys that live in troops with complex social hierarchies. High-ranking males may have dibs on mating with all the females in the group. But females give non-alpha males a chance too, and some studies have found that these hookups happen m... Read more »

Overduin-de Vries, A., Spruijt, B., de Vries, H., & Sterck, E. (2015) Tactical deception to hide sexual behaviour: macaques use distance, not visibility. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 69(8), 1333-1342. DOI: 10.1007/s00265-015-1946-5  

  • August 4, 2015
  • 02:53 AM
  • 19 views

Anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis and autism: research ascendancy

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Reza Kiani and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) detailing the presence of anti-N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor encephalitis in two people "with autism and intellectual disability presenting with neuropsychiatric symptoms of catatonia and neuroleptic malignant syndrome" caught my eye recently.Having previously talked about anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis and autism in a previous blog post (see here) back in 2013 with the emphasis on a possible link to 'autistic regression', I've been intrigued by the rise and rise of peer-reviewed material on this subject in the intervening years. Subsequent descriptions such as the one from González-Toro and colleagues [2] again talking about children diagnosed with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis after suffering a "regression of previously acquired abilities that developed into autism" further adds to my interest in this potentially important connection. That also there may be several roads leading to a diagnosis of autism is also an important take-away point from such work.Kiani et al continue with the idea that there may be an "aetiological role of the immune system in the pathogenesis of various psychiatric disorders" on the back of various studies looking at anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. On this occasion, they detail two case reports where autism and learning (intellectual) disability were already diagnosed but deteriorations in behaviour were noted. The first case report of a woman in her early-30s who "presented with social withdrawal and a persistently low mood" that subsequently led into "objective evidence of hallucinations" illustrates how various tests followed various symptoms ultimately leading the authors to suspect anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. Importantly, they detail how psychotropic medication was the first choice of intervention and how, only after this 'failed', did they look for anti-NMDA-receptor antibodies. Of importance to the female presentation of anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis were the further investigations looking for any signs of "an underlying tumour, particularly an ovarian teratoma" given previous suggestions of a possible link [3].The second case report focused on a middle-aged man "with moderate intellectual disability, autism and a history of affective psychosis in remission." Again, antipsychotic medication was the first thing to be reached for when "his condition deteriorated and he displayed aggressive outbursts and insomnia." Alas, this did not improve his state and neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) was eventually diagnosed as a result of such intervention. Anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis was finally considered when "further investigations revealed positive anti-NMDA-receptor antibodies."Of note for both these individuals was the effect of treating anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. This involved the use of methylprednisolone, an anti-inflammatory compound, normally administered for various autoimmune conditions. Interestingly, as a corticosteroid, prednisolone (the un-methylated version of methylprednisolone) has been talked about with 'regressive autism' in mind before in the peer-reviewed literature (see here). Kiani et al note that delivery of methylprednisolone was associated with a gradual recovery in behavioural symptoms "with no evidence of psychosis or cognitive deficit.""In both patients the diagnosis was made with delay owing to the complexity of their presentation." This is an important sentence from Kiani and colleagues. Not only in respect to the various behavioural and somatic issues that were present (including comorbid diagnoses) but also insofar as issues with communication for example. I've talked about similar things before on this blog (see here). Further, the authors reiterate "the complex presentation of anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis in... patients with intellectual disability and autism" and how further research is required to see whether diagnostic conditions such autism and/or learning disability "are more prone to develop this type of encephalitis or have a worse prognosis in comparison with the rest of the population." I struggle to disagree with such sentiments.Music: Hozier - Take Me To Church.----------[1] Kiani R. et al. Anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis presenting with catatonia and neuroleptic malignant syndrome in patients with intellectual disability and autism. BJPsych Bull. 2015 Feb;39(1):32-5.[2] González-Toro MC. et al. Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis: two paediatric cases. Rev Neurol. 2013 Dec 1;57(11):504-8.[3] Dabner M. et al. Ovarian teratoma associated with anti-N-methyl D-aspartate receptor encephalitis: a report of 5 cases documenting prominent intratumoral lymphoid infiltrates. Int J Gynecol Pathol. 2012 Sep;31(5):429-37.----------Kiani R, Lawden M, Eames P, Critchley P, Bhaumik S, Odedra S, & Gumber R (2015). Anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis presenting with catatonia and neuroleptic malignant syndrome in patients with intellectual disability and autism. BJPsych bulletin, 39 (1), 32-5 PMID: 26191422... Read more »

  • August 3, 2015
  • 12:50 PM
  • 38 views

New approach for making vaccines for deadly diseases

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers have devised an entirely new approach to vaccines – creating immunity without vaccination. The team has demonstrated that animals injected with synthetic DNA engineered to encode a specific neutralizing antibody against the dengue virus were capable of producing the exact antibodies necessary to protect against disease, without the need for standard antigen-based vaccination. Importantly, this approach, termed DMAb, was rapid, protecting animals within a week of administration.... Read more »

Flingai, S., Plummer, E., Patel, A., Shresta, S., Mendoza, J., Broderick, K., Sardesai, N., Muthumani, K., & Weiner, D. (2015) Protection against dengue disease by synthetic nucleic acid antibody prophylaxis/immunotherapy. Scientific Reports, 12616. DOI: 10.1038/srep12616  

  • August 3, 2015
  • 11:00 AM
  • 31 views

Nature Neuroscience paper: “Oscillatory dynamics coordinating human frontal networks in support of goal maintenance”

by Bradley Voytek in Oscillatory Thoughts 2.0

Phew! One of my post-doc papers is finally out in Nature Neuroscience, “Oscillatory dynamics coordinating human frontal networks in support of goal maintenance” (link). (Parenthetical: if this kind of thing interests you, feel free to drop me an email and/or drop by my lab’s posters at SfN (PDF)!) I can’t begin to express, within the constraints of my literary ability, […]... Read more »

Voytek B, Kayser AS, Badre D, Fegen D, Chang EF, Crone NE, Parvizi J, Knight RT, & D'Esposito M. (2015) Oscillatory dynamics coordinating human frontal networks in support of goal maintenance. Nature neuroscience. PMID: 26214371  

  • August 3, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 34 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: Combatting distrust of science  

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

The art of persuasion is often complex and diverse, but today’s study also shows how it can be simple and elegant. Here’s a surprisingly easy way to diminish the automatic, knee-jerk and distrusting reaction to scientific findings. Tell your listeners about scientific consensus. Today’s researchers call consensus a “gateway belief” that results in the ability […]

Related posts:
Simple Jury Persuasion: Educating jurors about science may have no effect
Simple Jury Persuasion: The Alpha Strategies
Simple Jury Persuasion: The “halo of scientific validity” effect


... Read more »

  • August 3, 2015
  • 05:25 AM
  • 40 views

The smell of fish boosts our reasoning skills

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

The nose is an early warning system, urging us to look closer at what we are planning to put in our mouths. But it’s not just alerting us to questionable food. Past research using economic games has shown that when we’re suspicious of a smell, this emotion can spill into social situations, affecting how trusting we are towards others. Now a new study shows that even without the involvement of other people to trust or distrust, smell can make us suspicious of ideas and concepts – and this additional scrutiny actually helps us to make better judgments.In the first experiment, 61 student participants were asked to tackle two factual problems where there was no guarantee that either had a right answer. One of the problems: “What country is famous for cuckoo clocks, chocolate, banks, and pocket knives?” did have a true answer, Switzerland, but the other: “How many animals of each kind did Moses take on the Ark?” was a trick question known to be good at catching people out. Indeed, under standard conditions, more than 80 per cent of participants fell for it. But importantly, a subset of participants had been exposed to a smell emanating from fish oil on the underside of the desk – and these participants did much better at the task, with over 40 per cent suspecting that something was … well, fishy, and choosing the “can’t say” response option. These participants weren’t indiscriminately paranoid – they didn’t misidentify the Switzerland question as unanswerable. This shows that rather than the smell replacing one bias with another – trusting with untrusting – the participants’ reasoning improved.Pong eliminates wrong once more in the second experiment, where 91 participants tried to figure out the rule governing a number series – 2-4-6 – by suggesting further numbers to test their hypotheses. In this predicament, it’s vital to use some of the six guesses to try and disprove your rule, not merely to confirm it (the actual rule was "any number higher than the last, regardless of odd/evenness"), but people mostly don’t – they are too trusting of their initial conclusions (an error known as the confirmation bias). Under normal conditions, only 28 per cent of participants tried even one disproof. But almost half of participants exposed to the fishy smell tried a disproof, leading them to achieve significantly better rates of identifying the true rule.Smell doesn’t just prime us to treat food with suspicion. It generalises to the social sphere, and beyond that to the realm of reasoning, where it can encourage us to treat ideas more sceptically and questioningly, and to check our own assumptions. Nothing to turn up your nose to._________________________________ Lee, D., Kim, E., & Schwarz, N. (2015). Something smells fishy: Olfactory suspicion cues improve performance on the Moses illusion and Wason rule discovery task Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 59, 47-50 DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2015.03.006 Post written by Alex Fradera (@alexfradera) for the BPS Research Digest.Our free fortnightly email will keep you up-to-date with all the psychology research we digest: Sign up!

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  • August 3, 2015
  • 02:34 AM
  • 46 views

Screening for autism in young children: 6 questions to ask

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Question 1: Does your child ever point with their index finger to ask for something?Question 2: Is your child able to imitate you or your actions, for example if you pull a face?Question 3: Does your child ever use pretend play, for example to talk on a phone or take care of a doll?Question 4: Does your child look at something across a room when you point to it?Question 5: Does your child understand what people say?Question 6: Does your child ever bring an object to you to show you something?The paper from Yoko Kamio and colleagues [1] (open-access) suggests that these 6 questions taken from the 23-item M-CHAT Japanese version (JV) might have the methodological strength to screen for possible autism in toddlers -- at least in Japan. M-CHAT by the way, is one of the instruments of choice when it comes to screening for possible autism and has seen some developments in recent times (see here).Based on data derived from "two prospective community cohorts in Japan, Fukuoka (cohort 1) and Tokyo (cohort 2)" cumulatively including some 2500 children "who received health check-ups when aged 18 months", researchers analysed data using a model of discriminant function analysis based on groupings of those who were eventually diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with those who weren't. They concluded that their study "identified a highly discriminative 6-item set from the 23-item M-CHAT-JV and demonstrated its reliability and validity with cohort data from 2 geographically different regions in Japan." The results, I might add, were not 100% reliable in terms of the 6-item screening method used, but this is real life and, as far as I am aware, we don't have a perfectly reliable autism screen at the moment.These are interesting results as a function of the important autism science on the best way to 'red flag' autism in its very earliest days (see here). Indeed, the focus on social-communicative functions (including pointing) follows a trend in the peer-reviewed research literature in this area, as something to focus on when it comes to early screening for autism. I say this bearing in mind that within the very heterogeneous label of autism, there are cases of regression into autism at a time later than 18 months."Considering the tight time constraints in primary care settings, a brief screening tool might be helpful in facilitating the integration of autism-specific screening within routine general developmental screening." These are noble sentiments from the authors and kinda accords with some increasing moves in autism practice to make things more streamlined in these resource-austere times that we live in (see here). Obviously we await further research in this area on whether the Kamio findings cross cultures and geographies with other infant cohorts or not. If they do however, combined with the rise and rise of telemedicine for example, the days of the [often] long and expensive autism screening and diagnosis process might be numbered. Oh, and screening might just start to be interactive too [2] (see here for more information on the RITA-T).Music: iLL BLU - Lonely People ft. James Morrison.----------[1] Kamio Y. et al. Brief Report: Best Discriminators for Identifying Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder at an 18-Month Health Check-Up in Japan. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2015. July 19.[2] Choueiri R. & Wagner S. A New Interactive Screening Test for Autism Spectrum Disorders in Toddlers. J Pediatr. 2015 Aug;167(2):460-466.----------Kamio, Y., Haraguchi, H., Stickley, A., Ogino, K., Ishitobi, M., & Takahashi, H. (2015). Brief Report: Best Discriminators for Identifying Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder at an 18-Month Health Check-Up in Japan Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders DOI: 10.1007/s10803-015-2527-1... Read more »

  • August 2, 2015
  • 01:29 PM
  • 60 views

Perfectionism linked to burnout at work, school and sports

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Concerns about perfectionism can sabotage success at work, school or on the playing field, leading to stress, burnout and potential health problems, according to new research. In the first meta-analysis of the relationship between perfectionism and burnout, researchers analyzed the findings from 43 previous studies conducted over the past 20 years. It turns out perfectionism isn’t all bad.... Read more »

  • August 2, 2015
  • 09:54 AM
  • 49 views

A Close Look at the Connectivity of a Single Brain

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

In a new paper just out in Neuron, researchers Timothy Laumann and colleagues present an in-depth analysis of the functional connectivity of a single human brain.



The brain in question belongs to neuroscientist Russ Poldrack, and he's one of the authors of the paper. Poldrack was fMRI scanned a total of 84 times over a period of 532 days. The goal of this intense scanning schedule was to provide a detailed analysis of the functional connectivity of an individual brain.

Previous studies... Read more »

Laumann TO, Gordon EM, Adeyemo B, Snyder AZ, Joo SJ, Chen MY, Gilmore AW, McDermott KB, Nelson SM, Dosenbach NU.... (2015) Functional System and Areal Organization of a Highly Sampled Individual Human Brain. Neuron. PMID: 26212711  

  • August 2, 2015
  • 09:25 AM
  • 31 views

Motion to repudiate Mr. Jeffrey Beall’s classist attack on SciELO

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective

By the Brazilian Forum of Public Health Journals Editors and the Associação Brasileira de Saúde Coletiva (Abrasco, Brazilian Public Health Association) … Read More →... Read more »

  • August 2, 2015
  • 08:31 AM
  • 59 views

Blood Pressure Dippers May React Differently to Morning Blood Pressure Surge

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Sante D. Pierdomenico Associate Professor of Internal Medicine University “Gabriele d’Annunzio” Chieti-Pescara – Italy Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Pierdomenico: Though a peak incidence of cardiovascular … Continue reading →
The post Blood Pressure Dippers May React Differently to Morning Blood Pressure Surge appeared first on MedicalResearch.com Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more »

Prof. Sante D. Pierdomenico. (2015) Blood Pressure Dippers May React Differently to Morning Blood Pressure Surge . MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • August 2, 2015
  • 08:13 AM
  • 46 views

Epigenetic Biomarker May Improve Cervical Cancer Screening

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christos Nikolaidis Ph.D. Laboratory of Pharmacology Medical School, Democritus University of Thrace Dragana, Alexandroupolis Greece Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Epigenetic changes are part of the natural history of cervical neoplasia. Tracking … Continue reading →
The post Epigenetic Biomarker May Improve Cervical Cancer Screening appeared first on MedicalResearch.com Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more »

Christos Nikolaidis Ph.D. (2015) Epigenetic Biomarker May Improve Cervical Cancer Screening. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • August 1, 2015
  • 08:42 PM
  • 67 views

The Idiosyncratic Side of Diagnosis by Brain Scan and Machine Learning

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

R2D3R2D3 recently had a fantastic Visual Introduction to Machine Learning, using the classification of homes in San Francisco vs. New York as their example. As they explain quite simply: In machine learning, computers apply statistical learning techniques to automatically identify patterns in data. These techniques can be used to make highly accurate predictions. You should really head over there right now to view it, because it's very impressive.Computational neuroscience types are using machine learning algorithms to classify all sorts of brain states, and diagnose brain disorders, in humans. How accurate are these classifications? Do the studies all use separate training sets and test sets, as shown in the example above?Let's say your fMRI measure is able to differentiate individuals with panic disorder (n=33) from those with panic disorder + depression (n=26) with 79% accuracy.1 Or with structural MRI scans you can distinguish 20 participants with treatment-refractory depression from 21 never-depressed individuals with 85% accuracy.2 Besides the issues outlined in the footnotes, the “reality check” is that the model must be able to predict group membership for a new (untrained) data set. And most studies don't seem to do this.I was originally drawn to the topic by a 3 page article entitled, Machine learning algorithm accurately detects fMRI signature of vulnerability to major depression (Sato et al., 2015). Wow! Really? How accurate? Which fMRI signature? Let's take a look.machine learning algorithm = Maximum Entropy Linear Discriminant Analysis (MLDA)accurately predicts = 78.3% (72.0% sensitivity and 85.7% specificity)fMRI signature = “guilt-selective anterior temporal functional connectivity changes” (seems a bit overly specific and esoteric, no?)vulnerability to major depression = 25 participants with remitted depression vs. 21 never-depressed participantsThe authors used a “standard leave-one-subject-out procedure in which the classification is cross-validated iteratively by using a model based on the sample after excluding one subject to independently predict group membership” but they did not test their fMRI signature in completely independent groups of participants.Nor did they try to compare individuals who are currently depressed to those who are currently remitted. That didn't matter, apparently, because the authors suggest the fMRI signature is a trait marker of vulnerability, not a state marker of current mood. But the classifier missed 28% of the remitted group who did not have the “guilt-selective anterior temporal functional connectivity changes.”What is that, you ask? This is a set of mini-regions (i.e., not too many voxels in each) functionally connected to a right superior anterior temporal lobe seed region of interest during a contrast of guilt vs. anger feelings (selected from a number of other possible emotions) for self or best friend, based on written imaginary scenarios like “Angela [self] does act stingily towards Rachel [friend]” and “Rachel does act stingily towards Angela” conducted outside the scanner (after the fMRI session is over). Got that?You really need to read a bunch of other articles to understand what that means, because the current paper is less than 3 pages long. Did I say that already?modified from Fig 1B (Sato et al., 2015). Weight vector maps highlighting voxels among the 1% most discriminative for remitted major depression vs. controls, including the subgenual cingulate cortex, both hippocampi, the right thalamus and the anterior insulae.The patients were previously diagnosed according to DSM-IV-TR (which was current at the time), and in remission for at least 12 months. The study was conducted by investigators from Brazil and the UK, so they didn't have to worry about RDoC, i.e. “new ways of classifying mental disorders based on behavioral dimensions and neurobiological measures” (instead of DSM-5 criteria). A “guilt-proneness” behavioral construct, along with the “guilt-selective” network of idiosyncratic brain regions, might be more in line with RDoC than past major depression diagnosis.Could these results possibly generalize to other populations of remitted and never-depressed individuals? Well, the fMRI signature seems a bit specialized (and convoluted). And overfitting is another likely problem here... In their next post, R2D3 will discuss overfitting: Ideally, the [decision] tree should perform similarly on both known and unknown data. So this one is less than ideal. [NOTE: the one that's 90% in the top figure] These errors are due to overfitting. Our model has learned to treat every detail in the training data as important, even details that turned out to be irrelevant.In my next post, I'll present an unsystematic review of machine learning as applied to the classification of major depression. It's notable that Sato et al. (2015) used the word “classification” instead of “diagnosis.”3 Footnotes1 The sensitivity (true positive rate) was 73% and the specificity (true negative rate) was 85%. After correcting for confounding variables, these numbers were 77% and 70%, respectively.2 The abstract concludes this is a “high degree of accuracy.” Not to pick on these particular authors (this is a typical study), but Dr. Dorothy Bishop explains why this is not very helpful for screening or diagnostic purposes. And what you'd really want to do here is to discriminate between treatment-resistant vs. treatment-responsive depression. If an individual does not respond to standard treatments, it would be highly beneficial to avoid a long futile period of medication trials. 3 In case you're wondering, the title of this post was based on The Dark Side of Diagnosis by Brain Scan, which is about Dr  Daniel Amen. The work of the investigators discussed here is in ... Read more »

  • August 1, 2015
  • 01:58 PM
  • 66 views

Childhood cancer cells drain immune system’s batteries

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Cancer cells in neuroblastoma contain a molecule that breaks down a key energy source for the body’s immune cells, leaving them too physically drained to fight the disease, according to new research. Cancer Research UK-funded scientists have discovered that the cells in neuroblastoma – a rare type of childhood cancer that affects nerve cells – produce a molecule that breaks down arginine, one of the building blocks of proteins and an essential energy source for immune cells.... Read more »

  • August 1, 2015
  • 09:20 AM
  • 54 views

Genes May Explain Why Smarter People Live Longer

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Rosalind Arden Centre for Philosophy of Natural & Social Science London School of Economics London MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Arden: We’ve known for a while that … Continue reading →
The post Genes May Explain Why Smarter People Live Longer appeared first on MedicalResearch.com Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more »

Dr. Rosalind Arden. (2015) Genes May Explain Why Smarter People Live Longer. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • August 1, 2015
  • 07:25 AM
  • 40 views

Patients With Blood Cancers May Need More Support At End Of Life

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof David C Currow Discipline of Palliative and Supportive Services Flinders University Adelaide, SA, Australia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Prof. Currow: This study grew out of a desire to better understand the … Continue reading →
The post Patients With Blood Cancers May Need More Support At End Of Life appeared first on MedicalResearch.com Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more »

Prof David C Currow. (2015) Patients With Blood Cancers May Need More Support At End Of Life. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • August 1, 2015
  • 03:16 AM
  • 71 views

Methylphenidate: a repairer of the 'oxidative balance' in ADHD?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A fairly quick post for you today based on the findings reported by Esra Guney and colleagues [1] who examined whether markers of oxidative stress - an imbalance "between the systemic manifestation of reactive oxygen species and a biological system's ability to readily detoxify the reactive intermediates or to repair the resulting damage" - might be something to look at when it comes to cases of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).They concluded that, based on a small-ish sample size, there may be more to see when it comes to oxidative metabolism with ADHD in mind. Their findings are not a million miles away from other work in this area [2] bearing in mind the need for further investigations. I might add that given the quite strong links being put forward between autism and issues with oxidative stress (see here) and the quite consistent overlap between autism and ADHD (see here), future work might need to take quite a broad view of any relationship.Of particular note to me in the Guney paper was mention of how differences in the oxidative stress index before and after intervention (i.e. medication) in their cohort might offer some new ideas about how certain types of medicines 'work' on cases of ADHD. So: "It was also determined that methylphenidate repairs the oxidative balance by increasing antioxidant defence mechanisms."Methylphenidate (MPH) (known as Concerta or Ritalin) is a medication of choice for many people diagnosed with ADHD. Although by no means an expert on the whys and wherefores of how MPH works, discussions have always been a little unclear as to how something that looks chemically like an amphetamine (a stimulant) seems to have such a calming effect on some of the characteristics of ADHD. As a nootropic (so-called smart drug) the idea that MPH might work as a performance enhancer offers some clues as to how it might impact on ADHD type symptoms but still curiosity remains on it's important effects.The idea that MPH might, in amongst its various proposed actions, also impact on processes pertinent to oxidative stress is an interesting one. Animal studies have previously suggested that administration of MPH might affect key compounds related to oxidative stress [3] in particular, related to oxidative defences. That being said, evidence has also been produced to suggest that MPH might do more to induce oxidative stress [4] than to solve any issues, so one has to be a little guarded about making too many sweeping generalisations. That drug dose might also be an important factor is something to take on board too.Assuming further work is forthcoming to further elucidate any role for MPH in relation to the processes of oxidative stress, some intriguing prospects may lie on the research horizon.Music: Dream Academy - Life In A Northern Town.----------[1] Guney E. et al. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and oxidative stress: A short term follow up study. Psychiatry Res. 2015 Jul 8. pii: S0165-1781(15)00448-5.[2] Joseph N. et al. Oxidative Stress and ADHD: A Meta-Analysis. J Atten Disord. 2013 Nov 14.[3] Schmitz F. et al. Chronic methylphenidate administration alters antioxidant defenses and butyrylcholinesterase activity in blood of juvenile rats. Mol Cell Biochem. 2012 Feb;361(1-2):281-8.[4] Martins MR. et al. Methylphenidate treatment induces oxidative stress in young rat brain. Brain Res. 2006 Mar 17;1078(1):189-97.----------Guney, E., Cetin, F., Alisik, M., Tunca, H., Tas Torun, Y., Iseri, E., Isik Taner, Y., Cayci, B., & Erel, O. (2015). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and oxidative stress: A short term follow up study Psychiatry Research DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2015.07.003... Read more »

Guney, E., Cetin, F., Alisik, M., Tunca, H., Tas Torun, Y., Iseri, E., Isik Taner, Y., Cayci, B., & Erel, O. (2015) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and oxidative stress: A short term follow up study. Psychiatry Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2015.07.003  

  • July 31, 2015
  • 02:33 PM
  • 88 views

Crystal clear images uncover secrets of hormone receptors

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Many hormones and neurotransmitters work by binding to receptors on a cell’s exterior surface. This activates receptors causing them to twist, turn and spark chemical reactions inside cells. NIH scientists used atomic level images to show how the neuropeptide hormone neurotensin might activate its receptors. Their description is the first of its kind for a neuropeptide-binding G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), a class of receptors involved in a wide range of disorders and the target of many drugs.... Read more »

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