Multiple sclerosis, unless you suffer from nerve damage it is a pain you (thankfully) will never have to feel. In most cases, treating the brutal pain caused by this (and other neurological diseases) is the only help that can be offered to people. The pain is caused by damage to myelin, the fatty insulator that enables communication between nerve cells, which characterizes multiple sclerosis (MS) and other devastating neurological diseases.... Read more »
Abiraman, K., Pol, S., O'Bara, M., Chen, G., Khaku, Z., Wang, J., Thorn, D., Vedia, B., Ekwegbalu, E., Li, J.... (2015) Anti-Muscarinic Adjunct Therapy Accelerates Functional Human Oligodendrocyte Repair. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(8), 3676-3688. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3510-14.2015
Think of it as interval training for the dinner table. Proponents of fasting style diets will be first to tell you there are health benefits, heck we've even covered some of the science here at the labs. Well new research shows that putting people on a intermittent fasting (or IF) diet may mimic some of the benefits of actual fasting, and that (ironically enough given their popularity) adding antioxidant supplements counteracts those benefits.... Read more »
Wegman, M., Guo, M., Bennion, D., Shankar, M., Chrzanowski, S., Goldberg, L., Xu, J., Williams, T., Lu, X., Hsu, S.... (2014) Practicality of Intermittent Fasting in Humans and its Effect on Oxidative Stress and Genes Related to Aging and Metabolism. Rejuvenation Research, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1089/rej.2014.1624
Life as we know it, when we peer deep into the vastness of space we look for someone — or something — that resembles ourselves. Carbon based, needs water lifeforms, but what if we’re being narrow-minded? A new type of methane-based, oxygen-free life form that can metabolize and reproduce similar to life on Earth has been modeled by a team of researchers suggests we are being too closed minded about life.... Read more »
James Stevenson,, Jonathan Lunine,, & Paulette Clancy. (2015) Membrane alternatives in worlds without oxygen: Creation of an azotosome. Science Advances. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1400067
Autoimmune diseases are tough to live with, frankly we don’t really understand the reasons they start at all, how to treat them, or even where to start in forming a cure. Well there might be some good news — as far as a treatment goes anyway — a newly characterized group of pharmacological compounds block both the inflammation and nerve cell damage seen in mouse models of multiple sclerosis.... Read more »
Haines, J., Herbin, O., de la Hera, B., Vidaurre, O., Moy, G., Sun, Q., Fung, H., Albrecht, S., Alexandropoulos, K., McCauley, D.... (2015) Nuclear export inhibitors avert progression in preclinical models of inflammatory demyelination. Nature Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1038/nn.3953
Sure it sounds like something from the book Frankenstein, but Sergio Canavero of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group has made it known that he intends to announce at this summer’s American Academy of Neurological and Orthopedic Surgeons meeting, that he believes he has put together a group of techniques that should make it possible to attach a human donor body to a head.... Read more »
Canavero, S. (2015) The "Gemini" spinal cord fusion protocol: Reloaded. Surgical Neurology International, 6(1), 18. DOI: 10.4103/2152-7806.150674
People say to avoid processed foods, while I don’t agree with that fully, a new study suggests that a common food additive may be causing problems. Emulsifiers, which are added to most processed foods to aid texture and extend shelf life, can alter the gut microbiota composition and localization to induce intestinal inflammation that promotes the development of inflammatory bowel disease and metabolic syndrome.... Read more »
Chassaing, B., Koren, O., Goodrich, J., Poole, A., Srinivasan, S., Ley, R., & Gewirtz, A. (2015) Dietary emulsifiers impact the mouse gut microbiota promoting colitis and metabolic syndrome. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature14232
Alternative fuels have a few large problems making them horrible options over oil (which is already a horrible choice). However, researchers may have finally eliminated one of those problems, cost. The team has invented a novel pretreatment technology that could cut the cost of biofuels production by about 30 percent or more by dramatically reducing the amount of enzymes needed to breakdown the raw materials that form biofuels.... Read more »
Nguyen, T., Cai, C., Kumar, R., & Wyman, C. (2015) Co-solvent Pretreatment Reduces Costly Enzyme Requirements for High Sugar and Ethanol Yields from Lignocellulosic Biomass. ChemSusChem. DOI: 10.1002/cssc.201403045
SUMMARY: Instead of travelling to remote locations in faraway countries, scientists sometimes discover a new species by looking a little more closely at an old specimen in a museum drawer. ... Read more... Read more »
Helgen Kristofer M., Roland Kays, Lauren Helgen, Mirian Tsuchiya, Aleta Quinn, Don Wilson, & Jesus Maldonado. (2013) Taxonomic revision of the olingos (Bassaricyon), with description of a new species, the Olinguito. ZooKeys, 1-83. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.324.5827
Our brains generate a constant hum of activity: As neurons fire, they produce brain waves that oscillate at different frequencies. Long thought to be merely a byproduct of neuron activity, recent studies suggest that these waves may play a critical role in communication between different parts of the brain.... Read more »
Brincat, S., & Miller, E. (2015) Frequency-specific hippocampal-prefrontal interactions during associative learning. Nature Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1038/nn.3954
By Ana Breit When people think of nutritional deficiencies, they probably picture women with goiters due to lack of iodine or other newsworthy examples. In reality, the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States is iron deficiency. Iron Deficiency (ID) is especially common in endurance athletes, especially female athletes. Start of 2013 Roy Griak Invitational Cross Country Meet at the University of Minnesota. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Larson.Iron is the metal in humans that allows oxygen to be carried in our bloodstream to all of our other organs. Without enough iron, less oxygen is taken to the muscles and other organs that need it. People with anemia (iron deficiency) may experience fatigue, weakness, and dizziness. Scientists Irena Auersperger, from the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, Branko Skof and Bojan Leskosek, both from the University Medical Centre in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Ales Jerin, from the University Clinic Golnik in Golnik, Slovenia, and finally Mitja Lainscak, from Campus Virchow-Klinikum in Berlin, Germany asked how iron levels affect performance levels in female runners and whether or not intensified training impacts various iron parameters. Fourteen moderately active women were chosen to participate in the study. In order to be enrolled they had to have regular menstrual cycles, eat animal products on a regular basis, and not be taking forms of medication except birth control. Each woman was put into one of two groups based on her ferritin levels. (Ferritin is a protein that stores iron). Anyone with ferritin levels greater than 20 micrograms per liter was put in the Normal group (for normal iron stores). Anyone with ferritin less than or at 20 micrograms per liter was put into the Depleted group (for depleted iron stores). The study took place during a training period leading up to the International Ljubljana Marathon. During the eight week training period, runners had routine tests consisting of a 2400 meter (1.5 miles) time trial on a standard 400 meter outdoor track. Blood samples were taken at three different times: once before the eight week training period, once after the training period, and once more ten days after the marathon. These measurement times will be referred to as baseline, training, and recovery, respectively. Height, weight, and body fat percentage were measured during baseline and at recovery. Each woman then ran on a treadmill so researchers could measure her maximum speed, maximum oxygen consumption (VO2 max), and heart rate. Blood samples were taken at baseline, training, and recovery points to measure various blood parameters and iron parameters. Both Normal and Depleted groups had similar body measurements, VO2 max, and heart rates. Both groups had improvements in their endurance measurements, however, only the Normal group had endurance improvements that could be documented as significant while the Iron Deficient group’s endurance improvements were less. By the end of the experiment, most of the runners were anemic. Both groups experienced a decrease in iron levels during the training and recovery periods compared with the baseline levels. Overall, both groups’ iron levels decreased in all areas during the training phase, even though they were both getting stronger and faster. The group that started out with lower iron levels did not show as great of an improvement as the group with the normal iron levels at baseline. Even after the 10 day recovery period, iron level parameters were still considered low. With this data, the researchers agree that Iron Deficiency decreases performance levels of female athletes. Even though most people consider running to be a very healthy pastime, it can have undesired negative effects as well. All endurance athletes, especially female athletes, should have their iron levels checked regularly, and should make a conscious effort to incorporate iron into their hopefully already healthy diet by eating any enriched grains and a healthy amount of red meat. With consent of a physician, iron supplements can also be a good way to keep iron levels in check. Bibliography Auersperger I, Škof B, Leskošek B, Knap B, Jerin A, & Lainscak M (2013). Exercise-induced changes in iron status and hepcidin response in female runners. PloS one, 8 (3) PMID: 23472137 ... Read more »
Auersperger I, Škof B, Leskošek B, Knap B, Jerin A, & Lainscak M. (2013) Exercise-induced changes in iron status and hepcidin response in female runners. PloS one, 8(3). PMID: 23472137
Two years before the United States put men on the moon, William James Popham and colleagues conducted two very interesting—and to a reader in the 21st century, bizarre—education experiments in southern California which were designed to validate a test they had developed to measure what they called "teacher proficiency."... Read more »
Popham, W. (1971) Performance Tests of Teaching Proficiency: Rationale, Development, and Validation. American Educational Research Journal, 8(1), 105-117. DOI: 10.3102/00028312008001105
The discovery that the human brain continues to produce new neurons in adulthood challenged a major dogma in the field of neuroscience, but the role of these neurons in behavior and cognition is still not clear. In a review article researchers synthesize the vast literature on this topic, reviewing environmental factors that influence the birth of new neurons in the adult hippocampus, a region of the brain that plays an important role in memory and learning.... Read more »
Opendak, M., & Gould, E. (2015) Adult neurogenesis: a substrate for experience-dependent change. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2015.01.001
Droughts have been severe in California and surrounding states, but will they be any worse than previous droughts in Earth's history? A combination of climate models and tree ring analysis provides an answer.... Read more »
Benjamin I. Cook, Toby R. Ault, Jason E. Smerdon. (2015) Unprecedented 21st century drought risk in the American Southwest and Central Plains. Science Advances. info:/
In the relatively new 24 hour, always on the go, digital lifestyle we live — might living a structured life with regularly established mealtimes and early bedtimes lead to a better life and perhaps even prevent the onset of mental illness? Well according to a new study, it might do just that, you could have a better quality of life just by being a little more structured thanks to our circadian rhythm.... Read more »
Blum, I., Zhu, L., Moquin, L., Kokoeva, M., Gratton, A., Giros, B., & Storch, K. (2014) A highly tunable dopaminergic oscillator generates ultradian rhythms of behavioral arousal. eLife. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.05105
What started as an evolutionary protection against starvation has become a biological “bad joke” for people who need to lose weight. The human body doesn’t distinguish between dieting and possible starvation, so when there is a decrease in calories consumed, human metabolism increases its energy efficiency and weight loss is resisted.... Read more »
Koganti, S., Zhu, Z., Subbotina, E., Gao, Z., Sierra, A., Proenza, M., Yang, L., Alekseev, A., Hodgson-Zingman, D., & Zingman, L. (2015) Disruption of KATP channel expression in skeletal muscle by targeted oligonucleotide delivery promotes activity-linked thermogenesis. Molecular Therapy. DOI: 10.1038/mt.2015.21
Cancer vaccines, once they were science fiction and now they are designed to turn the body’s own immune system specifically against tumor cells. Particularly promising are vaccines that are directed against so-called neoantigens — which are proteins that have undergone a genetic mutation in tumor cells and, therefore, differ from their counterparts in healthy cells.... Read more »
Bunse, L., Schumacher, T., Sahm, F., Pusch, S., Oezen, I., Rauschenbach, K., Gonzalez, M., Solecki, G., Osswald, M., Capper, D.... (2015) Proximity ligation assay evaluates IDH1R132H presentation in gliomas. Journal of Clinical Investigation. DOI: 10.1172/JCI77780
Many countries are adding biofuels to their mandates for carbon-free, renewable energy? But does biofuel truly fit the bill? Not so much, contrary to what popular culture hopes to believe. Find out the details here.... Read more »
Horita, M., Kitamoto, H., Kawaide, T., Tachibana, Y., & Shinozaki, Y. (2015) On-farm solid state simultaneous saccharification and fermentation of whole crop forage rice in wrapped round bale for ethanol production. Biotechnology for Biofuels, 8(1). DOI: 10.1186/s13068-014-0192-9
In a new paper, a group of MIT researchers argue that science is producing PhDs in far greater numbers than there are available tenured jobs for them to fill.
The authors, engineers Richard C. Larson, Navid Ghaffarzadegan, and Yi Xue, start out by noting that
The academic job market has become more and more competitive... nowadays, less than 17% of new PhDs in science, engineering and health-related fields find tenure-track positions within 3 years after graduation.
But why? Are we simp... Read more »
Larson RC, Ghaffarzadegan N, & Xue Y. (2014) Too Many PhD Graduates or Too Few Academic Job Openings: The Basic Reproductive Number R 0 in Academia. Systems research and behavioral science, 31(6), 745-750. PMID: 25642132
We may just have found a missing link in the fight towards an HIV vaccine. No, this is not an over-hyped headline, in a remarkable new advance against the virus that causes AIDS, scientists have announced the creation of a novel drug candidate that is so potent and universally effective, it might work as part of an unconventional vaccine.... Read more »
Gardner, M., Kattenhorn, L., Kondur, H., von Schaewen, M., Dorfman, T., Chiang, J., Haworth, K., Decker, J., Alpert, M., Bailey, C.... (2015) AAV-expressed eCD4-Ig provides durable protection from multiple SHIV challenges. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature14264
Ever go shopping when you’re hungry and notice you walked out with a lot more than you were expecting to buy? While most people know that when you are hungry, you typically will buy more food (as illustrated by The Oatmeal above), new research shows that there is a clear link between hunger and buying non-food items. A team of international researchers has released a paper that describes five laboratory and field studies they conducted which showed how people respond to non-food objects when they are hungry.... Read more »
Alison Jing Xu, Norbert Schwarz, & Robert S. Wyer, Jr. (2015) Hunger promotes acquisition of nonfood objects. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. info:/10.1073/pnas.1417712112
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