Capitalizing on experimental genetic techniques, researchers have demonstrated that temporarily turning off an area of the brain changes patterns of activity across much of the remaining brain. The research suggests that alterations in the functional connectivity of the brain in humans may be used to determine the sites of pathology in complex disorders such as schizophrenia and autism.
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Grayson, D., Bliss-Moreau, E., Machado, C., Bennett, J., Shen, K., Grant, K., Fair, D., & Amaral, D. (2016) The Rhesus Monkey Connectome Predicts Disrupted Functional Networks Resulting from Pharmacogenetic Inactivation of the Amygdala. Neuron, 91(2), 453-466. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.06.005
Cave art, wild fires, new dinosaur with teeny T-rex arms, thirsty trees and a new method to create hydrogen from grass. Here are five of the latest scientific studies published open-access this week.... Read more »
Cooper, J., Samson, A., Nieves, M., Lace, M., Caamaño-Dones, J., Cartwright, C., Kambesis, P., & Frese, L. (2016) ‘The Mona Chronicle’: the archaeology of early religious encounter in the New World. Antiquity, 90(352), 1054-1071. DOI: 10.15184/aqy.2016.103
Apesteguía, S., Smith, N., Juárez Valieri, R., & Makovicky, P. (2016) An Unusual New Theropod with a Didactyl Manus from the Upper Cretaceous of Patagonia, Argentina. PLOS ONE, 11(7). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0157793
Young-Robertson, J., Bolton, W., Bhatt, U., Cristóbal, J., & Thoman, R. (2016) Deciduous trees are a large and overlooked sink for snowmelt water in the boreal forest. Scientific Reports, 29504. DOI: 10.1038/srep29504
Nagra, G., Treble, P., Andersen, M., Fairchild, I., Coleborn, K., & Baker, A. (2016) A post-wildfire response in cave dripwater chemistry. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 20(7), 2745-2758. DOI: 10.5194/hess-20-2745-2016
Caravaca, A., Jones, W., Hardacre, C., & Bowker, M. (2016) H production by the photocatalytic reforming of cellulose and raw biomass using Ni, Pd, Pt and Au on titania . Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Science, 472(2191), 20160054. DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2016.0054
The brain's reward centers in severely obese women continue to respond to food cues even after they've eaten and are no longer hungry, in contrast to their lean counterparts. The study compared attitudes and the brain activity of 15 severely obese women (those with a body mass index greater than 35) and 15 lean women (those with a BMI under 25).
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Puzziferri, N., Zigman, J., Thomas, B., Mihalakos, P., Gallagher, R., Lutter, M., Carmody, T., Lu, H., & Tamminga, C. (2016) Brain imaging demonstrates a reduced neural impact of eating in obesity. Obesity, 24(4), 829-836. DOI: 10.1002/oby.21424
Granted, I am taking a slight departure from the material typically discussed on this blog by introducing the paper by Yan Zhang and colleagues  who reported the findings of a meta-analysis examining "the efficacy of different probiotic types, doses and treatment durations in IBS [irritable bowel syndrome] patients diagnosed by Rome III criteria via a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs)." The results however - "Probiotics are an effective pharmacological t........ Read more »
Zhang Y, Li L, Guo C, Mu D, Feng B, Zuo X, & Li Y. (2016) Effects of probiotic type, dose and treatment duration on irritable bowel syndrome diagnosed by Rome III criteria: a meta-analysis. BMC gastroenterology, 16(1), 62. PMID: 27296254
Most of us don't give much thought to drops of liquid that end up outside our drinking glasses. But physicists care a lot about liquid droplets, and study their whole lifespans—from the first splash or drip to the moment a drop disappears.
Liquids that contain three different substances, though, haven't been studied as much. Detlef Lohse, a physicist at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, and his colleagues took a deep dive into one such liquid: ouzo.
Ouzo is a mixture of wate... Read more »
Tan H, Diddens C, Lv P, Kuerten JG, Zhang X, & Lohse D. (2016) Evaporation-triggered microdroplet nucleation and the four life phases of an evaporating Ouzo drop. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 27418601
Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common type of kidney cancer and although the majority of cases are sporadic approximately 3% of cases are caused by genetic conditions such as BHD, VHL, HLRCC and TSC (Randall et al., 2014). These inherited forms of RCC have provided great insights into sporadic cancer genetics. BHD patients can develop multiple kidney tumours. In most cases these tumours are small local RCCs that can be surgically removed. However, these treatments are not without risk,........ Read more »
Randall JM, Millard F, & Kurzrock R. (2014) Molecular aberrations, targeted therapy, and renal cell carcinoma: current state-of-the-art. Cancer metastasis reviews, 33(4), 1109-24. PMID: 25365943
I can't profess to be an expert on the techniques called sigmoidectomy and appendicostomy so won't even try and pretend that I am. From what I gather from Dr Google, the latter is a surgical technique generally performed to "help deliver enemas more easily" to relieve constipation, whilst the former involves the surgical removal of some or all of the sigmoid colon. Both are only generally indicated when traditional methods of treating constipation for example, fail.The reason I'm briefly ta........ Read more »
De La Torre L, Cogley K, Calisto J, Nace G, & Correa C. (2016) Primary sigmoidectomy and appendicostomy for chronic idiopathic constipation. Pediatric surgery international. PMID: 27372298
Soft robots do a lot of things well but they're not exactly known for their speed. The artificial muscles that move soft robots, called actuators, tend to rely on hydraulics or pneumatics, which are slow to respond and difficult to store.
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Duduta, M., Wood, R., & Clarke, D. (2016) Multilayer Dielectric Elastomers for Fast, Programmable Actuation without Prestretch. Advanced Materials. DOI: 10.1002/adma.201601842
Mohi looks up at her mother. Confused. Afraid. Mother had always said that she had to keep her filtration veil on when they left their housedome. But now, here stood her mother, unveiled. The woman gifted an encouraging nod to her young daughter. Mohi removed her veil. Air! Light! The freshness of the breeze and […]... Read more »
Steffen W, Richardson K, Rockström J, Cornell SE, Fetzer I, Bennett EM, Biggs R, Carpenter SR, de Vries W, de Wit CA.... (2015) Sustainability. Planetary boundaries: guiding human development on a changing planet. Science, 347(6223). PMID: 25592418
Newbold T, Hudson LN, Arnell AP, Contu S, De Palma A, Ferrier S, Hill SL, Hoskins AJ, Lysenko I, Phillips HR.... (2016) Has land use pushed terrestrial biodiversity beyond the planetary boundary? A global assessment. Science, 353(6296), 288-91. PMID: 27418509
I want to make an initial point about the paper by Corentin Gonthier and colleagues  and their research findings titled: 'Sensory Processing in Low-Functioning Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Distinct Sensory Profiles and Their Relationships with Behavioral Dysfunction', I'm not a great fan of the use of the term 'functioning' when it comes to autism. Yes, I know what message it's trying to convey in terms of 'severity' of autism and/or accompanying learning (intellectual) disabili........ Read more »
Gonthier C, Longuépée L, & Bouvard M. (2016) Sensory Processing in Low-Functioning Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Distinct Sensory Profiles and Their Relationships with Behavioral Dysfunction. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 27364513
The world around is complex and changing constantly. To put it in order, we devise categories into which we sort new concepts. To do this we apply different strategies. A team of researchers wanted to find out which areas of the brain regulate these strategies. The results of their study using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) show that there are indeed particular brain areas, which become active when a certain strategy of categorisation is applied.
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Lech, R., Güntürkün, O., & Suchan, B. (2016) An interplay of fusiform gyrus and hippocampus enables prototype- and exemplar-based category learning. Behavioural Brain Research, 239-246. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2016.05.049
A nucleosome is constituted by positively charged histone proteins and negatively charged DNA. Methylation as well as other covalent modifications on DNA and histones ( together also called epigenetic modifications or marks) play important roles in the regulation of chromatin structure and function. TET (Ten-Eleven Translocation) proteins were identified as 5mC oxidases which not only generate new 5mC oxidative derivates (5hmC, 5caC and 5fC) but also initiate active or passive DNA demethylation1........ Read more »
Kong L, Tan L, Lv R, Shi Z, Xiong L, Wu F, Rabidou K, Smith M, He C, Zhang L.... (2016) A primary role of TET proteins in establishment and maintenance of De Novo bivalency at CpG islands. Nucleic acids research. PMID: 27288448
Tahiliani M, Koh KP, Shen Y, Pastor WA, Bandukwala H, Brudno Y, Agarwal S, Iyer LM, Liu DR, Aravind L.... (2009) Conversion of 5-methylcytosine to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in mammalian DNA by MLL partner TET1. Science (New York, N.Y.), 324(5929), 930-5. PMID: 19372391
He YF, Li BZ, Li Z, Liu P, Wang Y, Tang Q, Ding J, Jia Y, Chen Z, Li L.... (2011) Tet-mediated formation of 5-carboxylcytosine and its excision by TDG in mammalian DNA. Science (New York, N.Y.), 333(6047), 1303-7. PMID: 21817016
Ito S, Shen L, Dai Q, Wu SC, Collins LB, Swenberg JA, He C, & Zhang Y. (2011) Tet proteins can convert 5-methylcytosine to 5-formylcytosine and 5-carboxylcytosine. Science (New York, N.Y.), 333(6047), 1300-3. PMID: 21778364
Zhang, H., Zhang, X., Clark, E., Mulcahey, M., Huang, S., & Shi, Y. (2010) TET1 is a DNA-binding protein that modulates DNA methylation and gene transcription via hydroxylation of 5-methylcytosine. Cell Research, 20(12), 1390-1393. DOI: 10.1038/cr.2010.156
Ehrlich M. (2002) DNA methylation in cancer: too much, but also too little. Oncogene, 21(35), 5400-13. PMID: 12154403
Cedar H, & Bergman Y. (2009) Linking DNA methylation and histone modification: patterns and paradigms. Nature reviews. Genetics, 10(5), 295-304. PMID: 19308066
Easwaran H, Johnstone SE, Van Neste L, Ohm J, Mosbruger T, Wang Q, Aryee MJ, Joyce P, Ahuja N, Weisenberger D.... (2012) A DNA hypermethylation module for the stem/progenitor cell signature of cancer. Genome research, 22(5), 837-49. PMID: 22391556
Lian CG, Xu Y, Ceol C, Wu F, Larson A, Dresser K, Xu W, Tan L, Hu Y, Zhan Q.... (2012) Loss of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine is an epigenetic hallmark of melanoma. Cell, 150(6), 1135-46. PMID: 22980977
Tan L, & Shi YG. (2012) Tet family proteins and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in development and disease. Development (Cambridge, England), 139(11), 1895-902. PMID: 22569552
The naked mole rat is quite naked, but a lack of hair does help it move around in its environment. Other mammals that are supposedly hairless aren’t really, even dolphins have a few hairs. Of course, some humans and other mammals can have autoimmune disease mutations that make them completely hairless. For the naked mole rat it was a strange adaptation with strange results – it has become the only cold-blooded (ectothermic) mammal!... Read more »
Kutsukake, N., Inada, M., Sakamoto, S., & Okanoya, K. (2012) A Distinct Role of the Queen in Coordinated Workload and Soil Distribution in Eusocial Naked Mole-Rats. PLoS ONE, 7(9). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044584
I have to say that I initially felt slightly uncomfortable reading the study results published by Jillian Austin and colleagues  providing "preliminary validation for the use of autism disclosure cards in buffering negative judgment." Uncomfortable because, despite the fact that it is human nature for people to stop, stare and perhaps question something when it seems 'out of the ordinary', the idea that when children with autism specifically 'misbehave' in a public place their parents need to........ Read more »
Austin JE, Zinke VL, & Davies WH. (2016) Influencing Perception About Children with Autism and their Parents Using Disclosure Cards. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 27241346
Biologists have found that a protein that plays a key role in the lives of stem cells can bolster the growth of damaged muscle tissue, a step that could potentially contribute to treatments for muscle degeneration caused by old age and diseases such as muscular dystrophy. The results show that a particular type of protein called integrin is present on the stem cell surface and used by stem cells to interact with, or "sense" their surroundings.
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Rozo, M., Li, L., & Fan, C. (2016) Targeting β1-integrin signaling enhances regeneration in aged and dystrophic muscle in mice. Nature Medicine. DOI: 10.1038/nm.4116
I'm cautious about the findings reported by Daniel Blockmans & Philippe Persoons  talking about how long-term use of the stimulant medication methylphenidate (MPH) might be something to consider for at least some people diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Cautious because the sole use of a questionnaire looking "for possible improvement of concentration difficulties and fatigue" following the use of MPH on this research occasion is not exactly a top tier scientific method...Non........ Read more »
Blockmans D, & Persoons P. (2016) Long-term methylphenidate intake in chronic fatigue syndrome. Acta clinica Belgica, 1-8. PMID: 27351244
Parthenogenesis is the development of eggs without fertilization. For the first time, it has been shown to occur in the sterlet sturgeon. ... Read more »
Siddique MA, Butts IA, Cosson J, & Linhart O. (2016) First report on facultative parthenogenetic activation of eggs in sterlet sturgeon, Acipenser ruthenus. Animal Reproduction Science, 110-5. PMID: 26952761
Human intelligence is being defined and measured for the first time ever. Researchers have been recently undertaken to quantify the brain's dynamic functions, and identify how different parts of the brain interact with each other at different times - namely, to discover how intellect works.
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Zhang, J., Cheng, W., Liu, Z., Zhang, K., Lei, X., Yao, Y., Becker, B., Liu, Y., Kendrick, K., Lu, G.... (2016) Neural, electrophysiological and anatomical basis of brain-network variability and its characteristic changes in mental disorders. Brain. DOI: 10.1093/brain/aww143
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 , 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
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.
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Lucas, E., Jegarl, A., Morishita, H., & Clem, R. (2016) Multimodal and Site-Specific Plasticity of Amygdala Parvalbumin Interneurons after Fear Learning. Neuron. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.06.032
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