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  • May 27, 2016
  • 03:40 PM
  • 25 views

How the brain makes -- and breaks -- a habit

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Not all habits are bad. Some are even necessary. It's a good thing, for example, that we can find our way home on "autopilot" or wash our hands without having to ponder every step. But inability to switch from acting habitually to acting in a deliberate way can underlie addiction and obsessive compulsive disorders.

... Read more »

Christina M. Gremel,, Jessica H. Chancey,, Brady K. Atwood,, Guoxiang Luo,, Rachael Neve,, Charu Ramakrishnan,, Karl Deisseroth,, David M. Lovinger, & Rui M. Costa. (2016) Endocannabinoid Modulation of Orbitostriatal Circuits Gates Habit Formation. Neuron. info:/10.1016/j.neuron.2016.04.043

  • May 27, 2016
  • 12:33 PM
  • 28 views

Starvation-induced FLCN association with lysosomes via a Rab34–RILP complex

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

Dynamic positioning of lysosomes in the cytoplasm plays an important role in their function and is, in part, regulated by cellular nutrient status. The FLCN/FNIP complex is known to be active on the lysosome surface, where it interacts with Rag GTPases, supports the nutrient‐dependent recruitment and activation of mTORC1, and regulates the localisation of lysosome associated transcription factors (Petit et al., 2013; Tsun et al., 2013). New research from Starling et al. (2016) now shows that f........ Read more »

  • May 27, 2016
  • 03:07 AM
  • 36 views

Wandering and autism continued... yet again

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I know that I'm probably starting to sound like a broken record on the topic of wandering (elopement) and autism on this blog (see here and see here and see here) but I am yet again going to briefly talk about peer-reviewed research in this area simply because it's just too damned important not to.This time around the results from Catherine Rice and colleagues [1] are the source of my musings and the conclusion that: "wandering among children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder], regard........ Read more »

  • May 26, 2016
  • 04:58 PM
  • 26 views

Global Warming and the Lion's Mane

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

I discuss how global warming may affect the reproductive success of male lions.... Read more »

West PM, & Packer C. (2002) Sexual selection, temperature, and the lion's mane. Science (New York, N.Y.), 297(5585), 1339-43. PMID: 12193785  

  • May 26, 2016
  • 11:54 AM
  • 35 views

Male dragonflies are not as violent as thought

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Males and females are defined by their gametes. Males have tiny, usually mobile gametes, while females have very large gametes that usually do not move. This means that females produce less gametes, but put a lot … Continue reading →... Read more »

Chapman, T., Arnqvist, G., Bangham, J., & Rowe, L. (2003) Sexual conflict. Trends in Ecology , 18(1), 41-47. DOI: 10.1016/S0169-5347(02)00004-6  

Córdoba-Aguilar, A., Vrech, D., Rivas, M., Nava-Bolaños, A., González-Tokman, D., & González-Soriano, E. (2014) Allometry of Male Grasping Apparatus in Odonates Does Not Suggest Physical Coercion of Females. Journal of Insect Behavior, 28(1), 15-25. DOI: 10.1007/s10905-014-9477-x  

  • May 26, 2016
  • 02:55 AM
  • 39 views

CRISPR-Cas9 and autism research

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

If you feel brave enough, today I will direct your reading attention to the paper by Michael Williams and colleagues [1] detailing the application of a particularly important genome editing technique called CRISPR-Cas9 [2] to autism-related science.Titled: "A Retroviral CRISPR-Cas9 System for Cellular Autism-Associated Phenotype Discovery in Developing Neurons" the Williams paper probably won't win any awards for plain English but don't be fooled about just how important this pape........ Read more »

Williams MR, Fricano-Kugler CJ, Getz SA, Skelton PD, Lee J, Rizzuto CP, Geller JS, Li M, & Luikart BW. (2016) A Retroviral CRISPR-Cas9 System for Cellular Autism-Associated Phenotype Discovery in Developing Neurons. Scientific reports, 25611. PMID: 27161796  

  • May 25, 2016
  • 09:00 AM
  • 75 views

Are our gut bacteria the key to immortality?

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

The fight against aging Ever since the ancient Sumerians, men has sought eternal life. We still do. Anti-aging science has become quite an industry. As we dive deeper and deeper into our biological foundations, we’re learning more and more about how and why we age. A lot of mysteries remain, but there’s still talk about […]... Read more »

De Winter, G. (2014) Aging as Disease. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 18(2), 237-243. DOI: 10.1007/s11019-014-9600-y  

Biagi E, Franceschi C, Rampelli S, Severgnini M, Ostan R, Turroni S, Consolandi C, Quercia S, Scurti M, Monti D.... (2016) Gut Microbiota and Extreme Longevity. Current biology : CB. PMID: 27185560  

  • May 25, 2016
  • 08:31 AM
  • 53 views

Video Tip of the Week: ProSplign in NCBI’s Genome Workbench

by Mary in OpenHelix

There are many tools at NCBI, with a huge range of functions. Literature, sequence data, variations, protein structure, chemicals and bioassays, and more. It’s hard to keep track of what’s available. Their video tutorials are helping me to be aware of new tools, and new features within existing tools. For this week’s Tip of the […]... Read more »

  • May 25, 2016
  • 07:45 AM
  • 63 views

Don't Be So Sensitive

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Just like some people have a tendency to go overboard, so do some immune systems. Here’s all the ways that your immune system can get it wrong and leave you with allergies – and how some allergies can save your life.... Read more »

Calboli FC, Cox DG, Buring JE, Gaziano JM, Ma J, Stampfer M, Willett WC, Tworoger SS, Hunter DJ, Camargo CA Jr, Michaud DS. (2011) Prediagnostic plasma IgE levels and risk of adult glioma in four prospective cohort studies. J Natl Cancer Inst. . DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djr361  

  • May 25, 2016
  • 02:52 AM
  • 65 views

The persistence of self-injury in relation to autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Some behaviours associated with a diagnosis of autism don't make for great dinner table discussion. Self-injurious behaviours (SIBs), as exemplified by head banging, hair pulling and eye gouging must rank as some of the more distressing facets of [some] autism insofar as their potential effect on the person and also the people around them.These and other types of behaviour commonly headed under the category of so-called 'challenging behaviours' have tended not to be too evident when it come........ Read more »

  • May 24, 2016
  • 02:31 PM
  • 56 views

Hatching Sea Turtles Get a Hand from Their Siblings

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Smashing out of its egg is only the first step in a baby sea turtle's grueling early days. The turtle fights free of its eggshell only to find itself buried underground. It has to intuit which way is up, then dig out of the packed sand. As soon as it breaks onto the surface of the beach, it begins a mad sprint to the ocean. All around are its brothers and sisters, flailing toward the water as fast as their own flippers will carry them. In the sea they'll keep swimming frantically, trying ........ Read more »

  • May 24, 2016
  • 11:27 AM
  • 65 views

ZIKV infection in mice: cell cycle defects as a cause for microcephaly?

by thelonevirologist in Virology Tidbits

Zika Virus (ZIKV) was first isolated in 1947 from a sentinel monkey in Uganda and despite sporadic local outbreaks only caused mild disease in humans. The emergence of ZIKV combined with severe pathogenicity in South America as early as 2014 however raised questions about the molecular evolution of ZIKV since ZIKV was previously only associated with arthralgia and a mild febrile illness but not neuropathological disorders including abnormal foetal brain development and Guillan-Barre Syndrome (GB........ Read more »

Tang H, Hammack C, Ogden SC, Wen Z, Qian X, Li Y, Yao B, Shin J, Zhang F, Lee EM.... (2016) Zika Virus Infects Human Cortical Neural Progenitors and Attenuates Their Growth. Cell stem cell, 18(5), 587-90. PMID: 26952870  

Rodriguez-Morales AJ, Bandeira AC, & Franco-Paredes C. (2016) The expanding spectrum of modes of transmission of Zika virus: a global concern. Annals of clinical microbiology and antimicrobials, 13. PMID: 26939897  

Miner JJ, Cao B, Govero J, Smith AM, Fernandez E, Cabrera OH, Garber C, Noll M, Klein RS, Noguchi KK.... (2016) Zika Virus Infection during Pregnancy in Mice Causes Placental Damage and Fetal Demise. Cell, 165(5), 1081-91. PMID: 27180225  

Cugola, F., Fernandes, I., Russo, F., Freitas, B., Dias, J., Guimarães, K., Benazzato, C., Almeida, N., Pignatari, G., Romero, S.... (2016) The Brazilian Zika virus strain causes birth defects in experimental models. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature18296  

Deng YQ, Zhao H, Li XF, Zhang NN, Liu ZY, Jiang T, Gu DY, Shi L, He JA, Wang HJ.... (2016) Isolation, identification and genomic characterization of the Asian lineage Zika virus imported to China. Science China. Life sciences, 59(4), 428-30. PMID: 26993654  

Grant, A., Ponia, S., Tripathi, S., Balasubramaniam, V., Miorin, L., Sourisseau, M., Schwarz, M., Sánchez-Seco, M., Evans, M., Best, S.... (2016) Zika Virus Targets Human STAT2 to Inhibit Type I Interferon Signaling. Cell Host . DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2016.05.009  

Ashour J, Laurent-Rolle M, Shi PY, & García-Sastre A. (2009) NS5 of dengue virus mediates STAT2 binding and degradation. Journal of virology, 83(11), 5408-18. PMID: 19279106  

Gelman A, Rawet-Slobodkin M, & Elazar Z. (2015) Huntingtin facilitates selective autophagy. Nature cell biology, 17(3), 214-5. PMID: 25720962  

Amaral N, Vendrell A, Funaya C, Idrissi FZ, Maier M, Kumar A, Neurohr G, Colomina N, Torres-Rosell J, Geli MI.... (2016) The Aurora-B-dependent NoCut checkpoint prevents damage of anaphase bridges after DNA replication stress. Nature cell biology, 18(5), 516-26. PMID: 27111841  

Schröder-Heurich B, Wieland B, Lavin MF, Schindler D, & Dörk T. (2014) Protective role of RAD50 on chromatin bridges during abnormal cytokinesis. FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 28(3), 1331-41. PMID: 24344331  

Uchil, P., Kumar, A., & Satchidanandam, V. (2006) Nuclear Localization of Flavivirus RNA Synthesis in Infected Cells. Journal of Virology, 80(11), 5451-5464. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.01982-05  

  • May 24, 2016
  • 10:02 AM
  • 51 views

Should Biologists be Guided by Beauty?

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

One key characteristic of a beautiful scientific theory is the simplicity of the underlying concepts. According to Weinberg, Einstein's theory of gravitation is described in fourteen equations whereas Newton's theory can be expressed in three. Despite the appearance of greater complexity in Einstein's theory, Weinberg finds it more beautiful than Newton's theory because the Einsteinian approach rests on one elegant central principle – the equivalence of gravitation and ........ Read more »

Dietrich, M., Ankeny, R., & Chen, P. (2014) Publication Trends in Model Organism Research. Genetics, 198(3), 787-794. DOI: 10.1534/genetics.114.169714  

Weinberg, Steven. (1992) Dreams of a Final Theory . Vintage Books. info:/

  • May 24, 2016
  • 03:07 AM
  • 70 views

Around 1 in 5 with autism will experience seizure or seizure disorder

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Jennifer Jaskiewicz and colleagues [1] recently offered a further important insight into the relationship between autism and seizure or seizure disorder (i.e. epilepsy).Based on the examination of records of nearly 50,000 children and young adults diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with approximately quarter of a million 'not-autism' participants, authors reported some interesting trends. Concluding that some 19% of participants with autism experienced "s........ Read more »

Jennifer Jaskiewicz, Apryl Susi, Elizabeth Hisle-Gorman, David Dennison, Gregory Gorman, Cade Nylund, & Christine Erdie-Lalena. (2016) Quantification of Risks of Seizure in Autism. Neurology. info:/

  • May 23, 2016
  • 04:13 PM
  • 81 views

Extreme beliefs often mistaken for insanity, new study finds

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In the aftermath of violent acts such as mass shootings, many people assume mental illness is the cause. After studying the 2011 case of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, researchers are suggesting a new forensic term to classify non-psychotic behavior that leads to criminal acts of violence.

... Read more »

Rahman T, Resnick PJ, & Harry B. (2016) Anders Breivik: Extreme Beliefs Mistaken for Psychosis. The journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 44(1), 28-35. PMID: 26944741  

  • May 23, 2016
  • 02:48 AM
  • 72 views

Sex-specific immune response to Candida albicans in schizophrenia and beyond

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I have quite a bit of time for the various members of the Stanley Division of Developmental Neurovirology at Johns Hopkins on this blog. Not least because of the interesting work of one researcher in particular - Emily Severance - as a name behind some potentially very important research on how food, infection and immune function might come together in complicated conditions such as [some] schizophrenia and [some] bipolar disorder (see here and see here).Continuing their 'gut-brain' theme (........ Read more »

Severance, E., Gressitt, K., Stallings, C., Katsafanas, E., Schweinfurth, L., Savage, C., Adamos, M., Sweeney, K., Origoni, A., Khushalani, S.... (2016) Candida albicans exposures, sex specificity and cognitive deficits in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. npj Schizophrenia, 16018. DOI: 10.1038/npjschz.2016.18  

  • May 22, 2016
  • 08:17 PM
  • 70 views

Piggybacking Instead of Killing: New Insights Into Virus Community Dynamics

by Geoffrey Hannigan in Prophage

The human microbiome is an important component of human health and disease. It is an ecosystem of microbes that exists in and on humans, and can affect disease states through disturbances in composition, diversity, metabolism, etc. Understanding the human microbiome will not only allow us to better understand human health, but it will also allow us to treat medical conditions in new and effective ways (e.g. Fecal Microbiota Transplants).... Read more »

Knowles B, Silveira CB, Bailey BA, Barott K, Cantu VA, Cobián-Güemes AG, Coutinho FH, Dinsdale EA, Felts B, Furby KA.... (2016) Lytic to temperate switching of viral communities. Nature, 531(7595), 466-70. PMID: 26982729  

  • May 22, 2016
  • 04:04 PM
  • 97 views

How depression and antidepressant drugs work

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Treating depression is kind of a guessing game. Trying to find a medication that works without causing side effects can take months, or more likely, years. However, new research demonstrates the effectiveness of ketamine to treat depression in a mouse model of the disease and brings together two hypotheses for the cause of depression.

... Read more »

  • May 22, 2016
  • 05:51 AM
  • 101 views

Pinpointing the Origins of Migraine in the Brain

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Migraines are a very unpleasant variety of headaches, often associated with other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, photophobia (aversion to light) and visual disturbances. Hundreds of millions of people around the world suffer regular migraines, but their brain basis remains largely unclear.



Now a new paper reports that the origin of migraines may have been pinpointed - in the brain of one sufferer, at least. German neuroscientists Laura H. Schulte and Arne May used fMRI to record brain... Read more »

  • May 21, 2016
  • 03:44 PM
  • 110 views

Bacteria in branches naturally fertilize trees

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The bacteria in and on our bodies have been shown to be vital for human health, influencing nutrition, obesity and protection from diseases. But science has only recently delved into the importance of the microbiome of plants. Since plants can't move, they are especially reliant on partnerships with microbes to help them get nutrients.

... Read more »

Doty, S., Sher, A., Fleck, N., Khorasani, M., Bumgarner, R., Khan, Z., Ko, A., Kim, S., & DeLuca, T. (2016) Variable Nitrogen Fixation in Wild Populus. PLOS ONE, 11(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155979  

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