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  • 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
  • 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 25, 2015
  • 04:41 AM

The Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) and the media: a few thoughts

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Are you on the autistic spectrum? Take the test" read a recent media headline.Commenting on the findings reported by Emily Ruzich and colleagues [1], the headline is followed by some pretty bizarre text about how the study "has confirmed that men are more likely to be autistic than women."I have to take some exception to this sentence, as I quote from the Ruzich findings: "In a sample of nearly half a million individuals, we found a moderate effect of sex on AQ [Autism-Spectrum Quotie........ Read more »

  • 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 24, 2015
  • 04:33 AM

Secondary conditions impacting on obesity stats in autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Decision makers, clinicians, and researchers developing interventions for children with ASDs [autism spectrum disorders] should consider how secondary conditions may impact obesity and related activities."That was the conclusion reached in the study by Kathryn Corvey and colleagues [1] looking to: "examine obesity, overweight, physical activity, and sedentary behavior among children and youth with and without ASD using nationally representative data and controlling for secondary ........ Read more »

  • 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 23, 2015
  • 05:14 PM

Afflictions of early automobile users

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

The widespread introduction of the automobile in the early 20th century brought with it an unfortunate collection of new ways to get injured. In addition to collisions, people were harmed by hand cranks, detachable rims, and carbon monoxide.Back in the day, motor vehicles had to be started by hand. Within a car's engine, the up-and-down motion of pistons (produced by igniting a fuel-air mixture) is converted into rotational motion via a crankshaft. When starting up an engine, the crankshaft has ........ Read more »

  • November 23, 2015
  • 12:06 PM

Gambling and Brain Frontal-Striatum Connections

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

For the remainder of 2015, Brain Posts will focus on pathological gambling and also highlight the top-viewed posts for the year.Functional connectivity is a relatively recent brain imaging technique that provides a new look at brain circuitry at rest and with tasks.Resting state connectivity using fMRI provides a snapshot of brain connections in each individual. There is increasing study of resting connectivity in individuals with disorders in neuroscience medicine compared to control population........ Read more »

  • November 23, 2015
  • 04:33 AM

Does eczema increase the risk of childhood speech disorder?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Nativity Kylo?The question posed in the title of this post reflects some interesting data published by Mark Strom & Jonathan Silverberg [1] who reported that: "Pediatric eczema may be associated with increased risk of speech disorder" on the basis of their analysis of data for some 350,000 children "from 19 US [United States] population-based cohorts."Taking into account various variables such as "sociodemographics and comorbid allergic disease" authors determined that among the 19........ Read more »

  • 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 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 21, 2015
  • 10:40 AM

Where Are All the Wearables We Want to Wear?

by Aurametrix team in Health Technologies

Millions of years ago our ancestors straightened up and started carrying tools around, instead of dropping them after use. And so technology became a part of daily routine.​As time passed, more useful tools were made than it was feasible to carry or wear over the shoulder. One solution to this problem was monetary exchange, the other was a better technology. Wearables promised to add more convenience than carryables and, ever since humans started to wear clothes some 170,000 years ag........ Read more »

Bouzouggar A, Barton N, Vanhaeren M, d'Errico F, Collcutt S, Higham T, Hodge E, Parfitt S, Rhodes E, Schwenninger JL.... (2007) 82,000-year-old shell beads from North Africa and implications for the origins of modern human behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(24), 9964-9. PMID: 17548808  

Sungmee Park, & Jayaraman S. (2014) A transdisciplinary approach to wearables, big data and quality of life. Conference proceedings : .. Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Annual Conference, 4155-8. PMID: 25570907  

  • November 21, 2015
  • 10:37 AM

Microbe-made musical mouthpiece malaise

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

When you play a wind-driven musical instrument, be it bagpipe, harmonica, brass, or woodwind, you're potentially doing two things: (1) creating an enjoyable sound, and (2) being exposed to microbes present inside the instrument or its mouthpiece.The latter, which occurs as you breathe in with the mouthpiece close to your mouth, can occasionally result in health problems. These include mouth and throat infections (e.g. cold sores and strep throat), which tend to occur at schools where inadequatel........ Read more »

Cormier Y. (2010) Wind-instruments lung: A foul note. CHEST Journal, 138(3), 467. DOI: 10.1378/chest.10-0868  

  • November 21, 2015
  • 03:26 AM

Subthreshold autism signs in childhood OCD

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

OCD in the title of this post, refers to obsessive compulsive disorder and the intriguing observation put forward by Arildskov and colleagues [1] suggesting that: "Pediatric OCD patients were found to exhibit elevated rates of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] symptoms compared to a norm group of school-age children."Taking advantage of data collected as part of the Nordic Long-term OCD Treatment Study and specifically where "parents of 257 children and adolescent........ Read more »

Arildskov, T., Højgaard, D., Skarphedinsson, G., Thomsen, P., Ivarsson, T., Weidle, B., Melin, K., & Hybel, K. (2015) Subclinical autism spectrum symptoms in pediatric obsessive–compulsive disorder. European Child . DOI: 10.1007/s00787-015-0782-5  

  • 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 20, 2015
  • 03:02 AM

Vitamin D levels and autism meta-analysed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin: "Levels of serum 25(OH) D in participants with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] were significantly lower than controls, suggesting that lower vitamin D level might be a risk factor for ASD."That was the bottom line finding reported by Tiantian Wang and colleagues [1] following their systematic review and meta-analysis of the existing peer-reviewed science literature looking at whether serum concentrations of 25-hydroxy vitamin D - the typically measured compou........ 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 19, 2015
  • 04:48 AM

Heavy metals, heavy conflicts and autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Two papers are presented for your reading delight today, both based on the often contentious issue of heavy metals and autism.The first paper is from Farida El Baz Mohamed and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) and further substantiates the claim that for whatever reason(s) the levels of various heavy metals seem to be increased or raised in some children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The second paper by Janet Kern and colleagues [2] (open-access available here)........ Read more »

  • 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
  • 01:00 PM

Predictors of Poor Outcome After Traumatic Brain Injury

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The outcome following traumatic brain injury (TBI) is often unpredictable and variable.Two individuals with similar types of TBI can have quite different outcomes ranging from total disability to functional employment.Torun Finnanger and colleagues from Norway and Australia recently reported on a study that examined a number of predictor variables on self-reported outcome following TBI.In this study, 67 adolescents and adults with moderate to severe TBI completed baseline assessments and were fo........ Read more »

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