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  • January 21, 2017
  • 09:54 PM
  • 21 views

Don’t let the web bugs bite

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll If you think spiders are scary creatures, today you will learn that they are scared too. But what could scary a spider? Well, a web bug! We usually think of spider webs as an astonishing evolutionary … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 21, 2017
  • 03:25 AM
  • 42 views

"no evidence that the probiotic formulation is effective in treating low mood"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm a great believer in balance when it comes to this blog and its content. As enthusiastic as I might be about a particular topic or topics, I don't want to lose sight of the fact that peer-reviewed science is a messy business and often filled with contrary findings.With 'contrary' in mind, I want to talk today about a paper by Amy Romijn and colleagues [1] detailing the results of a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial of a probiotic mix which contained "freeze-dried L. helv........ Read more »

  • January 20, 2017
  • 05:19 AM
  • 59 views

RCC: Updates on Guidelines for Adjuvant Therapy and new drug combination

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

The European Association of Urology (EAU) Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC) guidelines panel has recently updated its recommendation on adjuvant therapy with sunitinib in non-metastatic RCC after surgical tumour removal (Bex et al., 2016). These clinical guidelines provide urologists with evidence-based information and recommendations for the management of RCC and the panel includes urological surgeons, oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and patient advocates. Based on the conflicting results of t........ Read more »

  • January 20, 2017
  • 05:00 AM
  • 33 views

Friday Fellow: Giant Kelp

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll This week we’ll stay in the sea and meet on of the most impressive algae, the giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera. It is called giant for a good reason, since it can grow up to 50 m in … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 20, 2017
  • 03:10 AM
  • 50 views

Diagnosing ME/CFS the machine learning way?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

In today's post I want to draw your attention to the findings reported by Diana Ohanian and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) talking about "the use of machine learning to further explore the unique nature"of various conditions/labels including those typically headed under the label of chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME).Including one 'Jason LA' on the authorship list, researchers set about looking at "what key symptoms differentiate Myalgic Encephalomyelitis ........ Read more »

  • January 19, 2017
  • 03:04 AM
  • 65 views

The correlates of regressive autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"A more homogeneous subgroup with regression between 18 and 36 months (n = 48) had higher rates of intellectual disability, epilepsy, and special education, more socially restrictive educational settings, and more severe ASD [autism spectrum disorder] communication deficits and schizophrenia spectrum symptoms than non-regressed youth (n = 136)."So said the findings reported by Kenneth Gadow and colleagues [1] taking on one of the more important issues in relation to autism: dev........ Read more »

  • January 18, 2017
  • 03:13 AM
  • 90 views

Physical activity levels and autism (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Adolescents with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] spent less time in MVPA [moderate and vigorous physical activity] compared to TD [typically developing] adolescents (29 min/day vs. 50 min/day, p < 0.001) and fewer met the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (14 vs. 29%, p > 0.05)."So said the study results published by Heidi Stanish and colleagues [1] adding yet more to another growth autism research area - physical activity and exercise - ........ Read more »

  • January 17, 2017
  • 05:05 PM
  • 91 views

Axl and GAS6: apoptotic mimicry and NLRP-3 inhibition during Zika Virus infection

by thelonevirologist in Virology Tidbits

Zika Virus (ZIKV) is a positive sense RNA virus that belongs to the Flavivirus genus of the Flaviviridae family that includes other human pathogens including Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), Yellow Fever Virus (YFV), West Nile Virus, Dengue Virus (DENV), Tick Borne Encephalitis Virus (TBEV), and Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV).
Although being first isolated in 1947, until recently ZIKV was not associated with severe disease; following the introduction of ZIKV in the Americas however, foetal ZIKV inf........ Read more »

Retallack H, Di Lullo E, Arias C, Knopp KA, Laurie MT, Sandoval-Espinosa C, Mancia Leon WR, Krencik R, Ullian EM, Spatazza J.... (2016) Zika virus cell tropism in the developing human brain and inhibition by azithromycin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(50), 14408-14413. PMID: 27911847  

El Costa H, Gouilly J, Mansuy JM, Chen Q, Levy C, Cartron G, Veas F, Al-Daccak R, Izopet J, & Jabrane-Ferrat N. (2016) ZIKA virus reveals broad tissue and cell tropism during the first trimester of pregnancy. Scientific reports, 35296. PMID: 27759009  

Quicke KM, Bowen JR, Johnson EL, McDonald CE, Ma H, O'Neal JT, Rajakumar A, Wrammert J, Rimawi BH, Pulendran B.... (2016) Zika Virus Infects Human Placental Macrophages. Cell host , 20(1), 83-90. PMID: 27247001  

Savidis, G., Perreira, J., Portmann, J., Meraner, P., Guo, Z., Green, S., & Brass, A. (2016) The IFITMs Inhibit Zika Virus Replication. Cell Reports, 15(11), 2323-2330. DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.05.074  

Brass AL, Huang IC, Benita Y, John SP, Krishnan MN, Feeley EM, Ryan BJ, Weyer JL, van der Weyden L, Fikrig E.... (2009) The IFITM proteins mediate cellular resistance to influenza A H1N1 virus, West Nile virus, and dengue virus. Cell, 139(7), 1243-54. PMID: 20064371  

Bailey CC, Zhong G, Huang IC, & Farzan M. (2014) IFITM-Family Proteins: The Cell's First Line of Antiviral Defense. Annual review of virology, 261-283. PMID: 25599080  

Meertens L, Carnec X, Lecoin MP, Ramdasi R, Guivel-Benhassine F, Lew E, Lemke G, Schwartz O, & Amara A. (2012) The TIM and TAM families of phosphatidylserine receptors mediate dengue virus entry. Cell host , 12(4), 544-57. PMID: 23084921  

Bhattacharyya S, Zagórska A, Lew ED, Shrestha B, Rothlin CV, Naughton J, Diamond MS, Lemke G, & Young JA. (2013) Enveloped viruses disable innate immune responses in dendritic cells by direct activation of TAM receptors. Cell host , 14(2), 136-47. PMID: 23954153  

  • January 17, 2017
  • 04:28 AM
  • 106 views

Vitamin D supplementation and self-perceived fatigue

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Vitamin D treatment significantly improved fatigue in otherwise healthy persons with vitamin D deficiency."Supplementation details, described in the paper by Albina Nowak and colleagues [1] (open-access available here), were a single dose of 100,000 IU [international units] of vitamin D or a placebo (mannitol) administered to 120 adult participants who presented with "fatigue and vitamin D deficiency (serum 25(OH)D < 20 μg/L)." This was a double-blind trial and self-perceived fatigue ........ Read more »

Nowak A, Boesch L, Andres E, Battegay E, Hornemann T, Schmid C, Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Suter PM, & Krayenbuehl PA. (2016) Effect of vitamin D3 on self-perceived fatigue: A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial. Medicine, 95(52). PMID: 28033244  

  • January 16, 2017
  • 03:11 AM
  • 130 views

Autism-like traits and/or autism elevated in psychosis

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Rates of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and ASD traits are elevated in a psychosis population."The paper by Debbie Kincaid and colleagues [1] provides yet more [short] blogging material pertinent to the increasing interest in how psychosis may be yet another comorbidity over-represented when it comes to autism (see here) and vice-versa. I know this is another topic that has to be treated with some caution in terms of concepts like stigma but more discussions - science discussions........ Read more »

  • January 15, 2017
  • 05:45 AM
  • 150 views

“World’s toughest bacterium” - Deinococcus radiodurans

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

The bacterium, Deinococcus radiodurans, is thought to be discovered as a contaminant in radiation-sterilized cans in 1960s. The name of the bacterium comes from the Ancient Greek, i.e. deinos and kokkos meaning “terrible grain/berry”, and the Latin language, i.e. radius and durare, meaning “radiation surviving”. The bacterium is also known as Conan the Bacterium.

Deinococcus radiodurans is a comparatively larger bacterium having spherical shape. It is a red-pigmented b........ Read more »

  • January 14, 2017
  • 11:53 AM
  • 152 views

What Can fMRI Tell Us About Mental Illness?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A remarkable and troubling new paper: Addressing reverse inference in psychiatric neuroimaging: Meta-analyses of task-related brain activation in common mental disorders



Icahn School of Medicine researchers Emma Sprooten and colleagues carried out an ambitious task: to pull together the results of every fMRI study which has compared task-related brain activation in people with a mental illness and healthy controls.

Sprooten et al.'s analysis included 537 studies with a total of 21,427 ... Read more »

  • January 14, 2017
  • 04:35 AM
  • 224 views

No significant difference in circulating cytokines in autism vs controls?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"As compared with 54 typically developing controls, we found no evidence of differences in the blood profile of immune mediators supportive of active systemic inflammation mechanisms in participants with autism."That was the unexpected research bottom-line published by Carlos Pardo and colleagues [1] (open-access) examining whether various immune-related chemicals - "cytokines, chemokines, or growth factors in serum and cerebrospinal fluid" - might be linked to autism following longitudinal........ Read more »

  • January 13, 2017
  • 05:11 AM
  • 138 views

Nutrient-dependent FNIP degradation regulates FLCN localization and promotes renal cancer progression

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

Birt-Hogg-Dubé (BHD) syndrome is a rare disorder caused by mutations in FLCN and associated with increased risk of kidney cancer. It has been shown that FLCN-interacting protein 1 and 2 (FNIP1 and FNIP2) double knockout mice, like the FLCN knockout mice, develop renal carcinoma (Hasumi et al., 2015). However, the molecular mechanisms linking FNIP and FLCN remain unknown. In their new study, Nagashima et al. (2016) show that FNIP2 undergoes proteasome-dependent degradation via β-TRCP ........ Read more »

  • January 13, 2017
  • 05:00 AM
  • 122 views

Friday Fellow: Branching Vase Sponge

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll A fascinating group of animals that has not yet joined the Friday Fellows are the sponges. Different from all other animals, sponges have a unique body structure that behaves more like a plant or fungus. They … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 13, 2017
  • 03:13 AM
  • 144 views

Exercise as an intervention for anxiety?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Our data suggest that exercise is more effective than control at reducing anxiety symptoms."So said the meta-analysis published by Brendan Stubbs and colleagues [1] who surveyed the peer-reviewed literature "investigating the benefits of exercise compared to usual treatment or control conditions in people with an anxiety and/or stress-related disorders." From the 6 randomised, controlled trials found "from inception until December 2015" exercise (various types of exercise regime) did seem to ha........ Read more »

  • January 12, 2017
  • 04:28 AM
  • 140 views

On autism risk and immigrant status

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Fifteen studies suggest a higher prevalence rate of ASDs [autism spectrum disorder] among children of immigrants in comparison to native children."Those fifteen studies formed a large part of the seventeen studies included in the review by Rafal Kawa and colleagues [1] who set out to look at the collected peer-reviewed literature on the topic of the "prevalence and risk for ASD in Europe among immigrants and ethnic minorities." Carried out as part of a European Union (EU) initiative t........ Read more »

Kawa R, Saemundsen E, Lóa Jónsdóttir S, Hellendoorn A, Lemcke S, Canal-Bedia R, García-Primo P, & Moilanen I. (2016) European studies on prevalence and risk of autism spectrum disorders according to immigrant status-a review. European journal of public health. PMID: 28013245  

  • January 11, 2017
  • 08:00 AM
  • 161 views

DNA Methylation in the Placenta: accelerated aging in pregnancy complications

by Tina Bianco-Miotto in EpiBeat

The placenta is a unique organ as it is an extra-embryonic tissue primarily regulated by the fetal genome and shared between mother and fetus. However, it is a transient organ that is only needed throughout pregnancy and gestation and then is discarded after delivery. The essential role of the placenta in pregnancy is unquestionable but, surprisingly, as highlighted by the NIH NICHD Human Placenta Project (https://www.nichd.nih.gov/research/HPP/Pages/default.aspx), it is the human organ we know ........ Read more »

Bianco-Miotto T, Mayne BT, Buckberry S, Breen J, Rodriguez Lopez CM, & Roberts CT. (2016) Recent progress towards understanding the role of DNA methylation in human placental development. Reproduction (Cambridge, England), 152(1). PMID: 27026712  

Ehrlich M, Gama-Sosa MA, Huang LH, Midgett RM, Kuo KC, McCune RA, & Gehrke C. (1982) Amount and distribution of 5-methylcytosine in human DNA from different types of tissues of cells. Nucleic acids research, 10(8), 2709-21. PMID: 7079182  

Fuke C, Shimabukuro M, Petronis A, Sugimoto J, Oda T, Miura K, Miyazaki T, Ogura C, Okazaki Y, & Jinno Y. (2004) Age related changes in 5-methylcytosine content in human peripheral leukocytes and placentas: an HPLC-based study. Annals of human genetics, 68(Pt 3), 196-204. PMID: 15180700  

Schroeder DI, Blair JD, Lott P, Yu HO, Hong D, Crary F, Ashwood P, Walker C, Korf I, Robinson WP.... (2013) The human placenta methylome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(15), 6037-42. PMID: 23530188  

Robinson WP, & Price EM. (2015) The human placental methylome. Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in medicine, 5(5). PMID: 25722473  

Marioni RE, Shah S, McRae AF, Chen BH, Colicino E, Harris SE, Gibson J, Henders AK, Redmond P, Cox SR.... (2015) DNA methylation age of blood predicts all-cause mortality in later life. Genome biology, 25. PMID: 25633388  

  • January 11, 2017
  • 03:24 AM
  • 160 views

"the patient improved significantly when a gluten-free diet was started"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The quote making up the title of this post comes from the case report described by Albino J Oliveira-Maia and colleagues [1] talking yet again about how coeliac disease - the archetypal autoimmune condition where dietary gluten is the baddie - may have effects well beyond just the physical.Describing the experiences of a woman who was admitted to a psychiatry inpatient unit on the basis of "suicidal behaviours" who also "developed an agitated catatonic state", a mix of "antidepressants, anx........ Read more »

Oliveira-Maia AJ, Andrade I, & Barahona-Corrêa JB. (2016) Case of coeliac disease presenting in the psychiatry ward. BMJ case reports. PMID: 28003229  

  • January 10, 2017
  • 09:00 AM
  • 153 views

The Rise Of Superbugs: How Bacteria Defeat Antibiotics

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

Mechanisms of antibiotic resistance... Read more »

Blair, J., Webber, M., Baylay, A., Ogbolu, D., & Piddock, L. (2014) Molecular mechanisms of antibiotic resistance. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 13(1), 42-51. DOI: 10.1038/nrmicro3380  

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