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  • November 28, 2015
  • 03:20 PM

The silence of the genes, an epigenetic tale

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Research led by Dr. Keiji Tanimoto from the University of Tsukuba, Japan, has brought us closer to understanding the mechanisms underlying the phenomenon of genomic imprinting. In this intriguing event, one copy of a gene is ‘turned off’, or silenced, depending on whether it was derived from the mother or the father.... Read more »

Matsuzaki H, Okamura E, Takahashi T, Ushiki A, Nakamura T, Nakano T, Hata K, Fukamizu A, & Tanimoto K. (2015) De novo DNA methylation through the 5'-segment of the H19 ICR maintains its imprint during early embryogenesis. Development (Cambridge, England), 142(22), 3833-44. PMID: 26417043  

  • November 27, 2015
  • 03:05 PM

Synapse discovery could lead to new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A team of researchers led by UNSW Australia scientists has discovered how connections between brain cells are destroyed in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease – work that opens up a new avenue for research on possible treatments for the degenerative brain condition.... Read more »

  • November 26, 2015
  • 04:37 PM

Stem cell study paves the way for patient therapies

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Stem cells that have been specifically developed for use as clinical therapies are fit for use in patients, an independent study of their genetic make-up suggests. The research – which focused on human embryonic stem cells – paves the way for clinical trials of cell therapies to treat conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, age-related degeneration of the eyes and spinal cord injury.... Read more »

Canham, M., Van Deusen, A., Brison, D., De Sousa, P., Downie, J., Devito, L., Hewitt, Z., Ilic, D., Kimber, S., Moore, H.... (2015) The Molecular Karyotype of 25 Clinical-Grade Human Embryonic Stem Cell Lines. Scientific Reports, 17258. DOI: 10.1038/srep17258  

  • November 25, 2015
  • 07:40 PM

Closing the loop on an HIV escape mechanism

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Nearly 37 million people worldwide are living with HIV. When the virus destroys so many immune cells that the body can’t fight off infection, AIDS will develop. The disease took the lives of more than a million people last year.... Read more »

Lu, M., Hou, G., Zhang, H., Suiter, C., Ahn, J., Byeon, I., Perilla, J., Langmead, C., Hung, I., Gor'kov, P.... (2015) Dynamic allostery governs cyclophilin A–HIV capsid interplay. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201516920. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1516920112  

  • November 25, 2015
  • 01:13 PM

How to assess research proposals?

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective

The peer review of research proposals (grants) aims to judge the merit of projects and researchers and enable the best to be contemplated. The director of an institution in the United Kingdom shared on Twitter his struggle in evaluating the numerous proposals received and started a discussion forum from which ideas and suggestions emerged. … Read More →... Read more »

Singh Chawla, D. (2015) How to judge scientists’ strengths. Nature, 527(7578), 279-279. DOI: 10.1038/527279f  

  • November 25, 2015
  • 10:15 AM

The Fatal Flaw in Trial of Continuous or Interrupted Chest Compressions during CPR

by Rogue Medic in Rogue Medic

This is not a study that has a valid control group to determine if there is any benefit from ventilation. There is no group that does not receive ventilations, so it is like a study of one type of blood-letting vs. another type of blood-letting with the researchers taking for granted that blood-letting does improve outcomes. That is not a problem if blood-letting actually improves outcomes.

Should we take it for granted that blood-letting improves outcomes and that the only hypothesis worth s........ Read more »

Nichol, G., Leroux, B., Wang, H., Callaway, C., Sopko, G., Weisfeldt, M., Stiell, I., Morrison, L., Aufderheide, T., Cheskes, S.... (2015) Trial of Continuous or Interrupted Chest Compressions during CPR. New England Journal of Medicine, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1509139  

Alldredge BK,, Gelb AM,, Isaacs SM,, Corry MD,, Allen F,, Ulrich S,, Gottwald MD,, O’Neil N,, Neuhaus JM,, Segal MR,.... (2001) A Comparison of Lorazepam, Diazepam, and Placebo for the Treatment of Out-of-Hospital Status Epilepticus. New England Journal of Medicine, 345(25), 1860-1860. DOI: 10.1056/NEJM200112203452521  

  • November 24, 2015
  • 02:52 PM

Insights into protein structure could change the future of biomedicine

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have discovered a new way to create designer proteins that have the potential to transform biotechnology and personalized medicines.

In a range of experiments Professor Elizabeth Meiering, in collaboration with colleagues from India and the United States, created a protein that can withstand a range of physiological and environmental conditions – a problem that has challenged chemists looking to create super stable, highly functional proteins.... Read more »

Broom, A., Ma, S., Xia, K., Rafalia, H., Trainor, K., Colon, W., Gosavi, S., & Meiering, E. (2015) Designed protein reveals structural determinants of extreme kinetic stability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1510748112  

  • November 23, 2015
  • 07:00 PM

Dopamine measurements reveal insights into how we learn

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute scientists have reported measurements of dopamine release with unprecedented temporal precision in the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease. The measurements, collected during brain surgery as the conscious patients played an investment game, demonstrate how rapid dopamine release encodes information crucial for human choice.... Read more »

Kenneth T. Kishida, Ignacio Saez, Terry Lohrenz, Mark R. Witcher, Adrian W. Laxton, Stephen B. Tatter, Jason P. White, Thomas L. Ellis, Paul E. M. Phillips, & P. Read Montague. (2015) Subsecond dopamine fluctuations in human striatum encode superposed error signals about actual and counterfactual reward. Proceedings of the natural sciences academy of the United States of America. info:/10.1073/pnas.1513619112

  • November 22, 2015
  • 03:01 PM

Neuroscience and the search for happiness

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Exercising, meditating, scouring self-help books… we go out of our way to be happy, but do we really know what happiness is? Wataru Sato and his team at Kyoto University have found an answer from a neurological perspective.... Read more »

Sato, W., Kochiyama, T., Uono, S., Kubota, Y., Sawada, R., Yoshimura, S., & Toichi, M. (2015) The structural neural substrate of subjective happiness. Scientific Reports, 16891. DOI: 10.1038/srep16891  

  • November 22, 2015
  • 09:14 AM

Are pre-registrations the solution to the replication crisis in Psychology? Not really.

by Richard Kunert in Brain's Idea

Most psychology findings are not replicable. What can be done? In his Psychological Science editorial, Stephen Lindsay advertises pre-registration as the solution, writing that “Personally, I aim never again to submit for publication a report of a study that was not preregistered”. I took a look at whether pre-registrations are effective and feasible [TL;DR: no […]... Read more »

  • November 21, 2015
  • 05:09 PM

The mysterious fungus that has major health consequences

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers at the University of Toronto examined fungi in the mucus of patients with cystic fibrosis and discovered how one particularly cunning fungal species has evolved to defend itself against neighbouring bacteria. A regular resident of our microbiome – and especially ubiquitous in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients -the Candida albicans fungus is an “opportunistic pathogen.”
... Read more »

  • November 20, 2015
  • 02:43 PM

Inflammation linked to weakened reward circuits in depression

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

About one third of people with depression have high levels of inflammation markers in their blood. New research indicates that persistent inflammation affects the brain in ways that are connected with stubborn symptoms of depression, such as anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure.... Read more »

  • November 19, 2015
  • 07:55 PM

Yin and yang of serotonin neurons in mood regulation

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Low levels of serotonin in the brain are known to play a role in depression and anxiety, and it is customary to treat these disorders with medications that increase the amount of this neurotransmitter. However, a new study carried out by researchers suggests that this approach may be too simple. It appears that neighboring serotonin-producing brainstem regions exert different and sometimes opposing effects on behavior.... Read more »

Anne Teissier, Alexei Chemiakine, Benjamin Inbar, Susan M. Dymecki, Holly Moore, & Mark S. Ansorge. (2015) Activity of Raphe´ Serotonergic Neurons Controls Emotional Behaviors. Cell Reports. info:/

  • November 18, 2015
  • 07:37 PM

Master switch for brain development

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Scientists at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) in Mainz have unraveled a complex regulatory mechanism that explains how a single gene can drive the formation of brain cells. The research is an important step towards a better understanding of how the brain develops. It also harbors potential for regenerative medicine.... Read more »

  • November 18, 2015
  • 03:15 PM

Making climate change local: how to motivate city-wide adaptation strategies

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

More than 80% of the US population lives in cities, making their adaptation strategies one of the most important political decisions in the coming decades. Here we discuss a new study that identifies reasons why some cities have already prepared response programs while others haven't yet started.... Read more »

  • November 17, 2015
  • 04:48 PM

What’s in a name? More than you think…

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

What’s in a name? In the case of the usernames of video gamers, a remarkable amount of information about their real world personalities, according to research. Analysis of anonymised data from one of the world’s most popular computer games by scientists in the Department of Psychology at York also revealed information about their ages.... Read more »

  • November 16, 2015
  • 08:37 PM

Strongest evidence yet of a link between breakfast and educational outcomes

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A direct and positive link between pupils’ breakfast quality and consumption, and their educational attainment, has for the first time been demonstrated in a ground-breaking new study carried out by public health experts at Cardiff University. The study of 5000 9-11 year-olds from more than 100 primary schools sought to examine the link between breakfast consumption and quality and subsequent attainment in Key Stage 2 Teacher Assessments* 6-18 months later.... Read more »

  • November 15, 2015
  • 04:00 PM

Some Notes on Reductionism

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

We can and should (and do) avoid the idea that stringing together "nothing but" pieces of content is sufficient to make 'holistic' understanding bubble up as an emergent property of student learning. But equally dubious, and equally unsubscribed, is the idea that learning can be transformed from fragmented to holistic by subtracting something from the experience.... Read more »

  • November 15, 2015
  • 03:19 PM

The rise of do-it-yourself biology

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The Wilson Center’s Synthetic Biology Project has released a short documentary on the growth of the do-it-yourself biology (DIYbio) movement as seen through a community DIYbio lab in Baltimore, Maryland. ... Read more »

The Wilson Center. (2015) The rise of do-it-yourself biology: A look at the Baltimore Underground Science Space. Synthetic Biology Project. info:other/Link

  • November 14, 2015
  • 04:18 PM

3-D printing aids in understanding food enjoyment

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Tasting food relies on food volatiles moving from the back of the mouth to the nasal cavity, but researchers have wondered why airflow doesn’t carry them in the other direction, into the lungs. Now a team of engineers, using a 3D printed model of the human airway from nostril to trachea, has determined that the shape of the airway preferentially transfers volatiles to the nasal cavity and allows humans to enjoy the smell of good food.... Read more »

Ni, R., Michalski, M., Brown, E., Doan, N., Zinter, J., Ouellette, N., & Shepherd, G. (2015) Optimal directional volatile transport in retronasal olfaction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1511495112  

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