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  • July 28, 2015
  • 01:35 PM
  • 7 views

Where memory is encoded and retrieved

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Are the same regions and even the same cells of the brain area called hippocampus involved in encoding and retrieving memories or are different areas of this structure engaged? This question has kept neuroscientists busy for a long time. Researchers at the Mercator Research Group “Structure of Memory” at RUB have now found out that the same brain cells exhibit activity in both processes.... Read more »

  • July 28, 2015
  • 03:35 AM
  • 35 views

Adult outcomes following childhood psychiatric problems

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A long quote to begin:"If the goal of public health efforts is to increase opportunity and optimal outcomes, and to reduce distress, then there may be no better target than the reduction of childhood psychiatric distress—at the clinical and subthreshold levels."That was the bottom line reported by William Copeland and colleagues [1] (open-access) who set out to test whether psychiatric problems presenting in childhood can "adversely affect adult functioning even if the problems themselves do n........ Read more »

  • July 27, 2015
  • 02:49 PM
  • 42 views

Some vaccines support evolution of more-virulent viruses

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Scientific experiments with the herpes virus such as the one that causes Marek’s disease in poultry have confirmed, for the first time, the highly controversial theory that some vaccines could allow more-virulent versions of a virus to survive, putting unvaccinated individuals at greater risk of severe illness. The research has important implications for food-chain security and food-chain economics, as well as for other diseases that affect humans and agricultural animals.... Read more »

Andrew F. Read, Susan J. Baigent, Claire Powers, Lydia B. Kgosana, Luke Blackwell, Lorraine P. Smith, David A. Kennedy, Stephen W. Walkden-Brown, & Venugopal K. Nair. (2015) Imperfect Vaccination Can Enhance the Transmission of Highly Virulent Pathogens. PLOS Biology. info:/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002198

  • July 27, 2015
  • 03:08 AM
  • 48 views

Incontinence and paediatric autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Urinary incontinence - "the unintentional passing of urine" - is a fairly common issue affecting millions of people of all ages worldwide. Achieving full bladder and bowel control is seen as a typical part of growing up but for some children, particularly those diagnosed with a behavioural or developmental condition, issues with incontinence can persist much later into life [1].The findings reported by Alexander von Gontard and colleagues [2] bring the issue of incontinence into the autism resea........ Read more »

von Gontard A, Pirrung M, Niemczyk J, & Equit M. (2015) Incontinence in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of pediatric urology. PMID: 26052001  

  • July 26, 2015
  • 07:39 PM
  • 70 views

Sleep not just protects memories against forgetting, it also makes them more accessible

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Sleeping not only protects memories from being forgotten, it also makes them easier to access, according to new research from the University of Exeter and the Basque Centre for Cognition, Brain and Language. The findings suggest that after sleep we are more likely to recall facts which we could not remember while still awake.... Read more »

Dumay, N. (2015) Sleep not just protects memories against forgetting, it also makes them more accessible. Cortex. info:/http://hdl.handle.net/10871/17864

  • July 26, 2015
  • 03:12 PM
  • 47 views

Cell phone notifications may be driving you to distraction

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Whether you are alerted to an incoming phone call or text by a trendy ringtone, an alarm bell or a quiet vibration, just receiving a notification on your cell phone can cause enough of a distraction to impair your ability to focus on a given task. In fact, the distraction caused by a simple notification — whether it is a sound or a vibration — is comparable to the effects seen when users actively use their cell phones to make calls or send text messages, the researchers found.... Read more »

Stothart, C., Mitchum, A., & Yehnert, C. (2015) The Attentional Cost of Receiving a Cell Phone Notification. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. DOI: 10.1037/xhp0000100  

  • July 26, 2015
  • 12:22 AM
  • 55 views

The relationship between self-reported sleep disturbance and polysomnography in traumatic brain injury

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

Check it out. My work during postdoc that was just published early online in Brain Injury. Feel free to contact me for a PDF copy.AbstractPRIMARY OBJECTIVE: To characterize sleep architecture and self-reported sleep quality, fatigue and daytime sleepiness in individuals with TBI. Possible relationships between sleep architecture and self-reported sleep quality, fatigue and daytime sleepiness were examined.METHODS: Forty-four community-dwelling adults with TBI completed the Pittsburgh Sleep Qua........ Read more »

  • July 25, 2015
  • 01:17 PM
  • 72 views

Spines of boys and girls differ at birth

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Looking at measurements of the vertebrae – the series of small bones that make up the spinal column – in newborn children, investigators at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles found that differences between the sexes are present at birth. Results of the study suggest that this difference is evolutionary, allowing the female spine to adapt to the fetal load during pregnancy.... Read more »

Ponrartana, S., Aggabao, P., Dharmavaram, N., Fisher, C., Friedlich, P., Devaskar, S., & Gilsanz, V. (2015) Sexual Dimorphism in Newborn Vertebrae and Its Potential Implications. The Journal of Pediatrics, 167(2), 416-421. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2015.04.078  

  • July 25, 2015
  • 03:51 AM
  • 69 views

Medical comorbidity and adult autism (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Regular readers are probably tired of reading blog titles like the one for today on this site. It's not as if the idea that a diagnosis of autism might predispose someone to quite a few more comorbid conditions (see here and see here) hasn't been discussed on quite a few occasions.But just in case the message hasn't got through, I draw your attention to the paper by Kyle Jones and colleagues [1] concluding that: "Adults in this cohort of autism spectrum disorder first ascertained in the 198........ Read more »

  • July 24, 2015
  • 02:21 PM
  • 99 views

Brain structure reveals ability to regulate emotions

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

We all vary in how often we become happy, sad or angry, and also in how strongly these emotions are expressed. This variability is a part of our personality and can be seen as a positive aspect that increases diversity in society. However, there are people that find it so difficult to regulate their emotions that it has a serious impact on their work, family and social life. These individuals may be given an emotional instability diagnosis such as borderline personality disorder or antisocial pe........ Read more »

Petrovic, P., Ekman, C., Klahr, J., Tigerstrom, L., Ryden, G., Johansson, A., Sellgren, C., Golkar, A., Olsson, A., Ohman, A.... (2015) Significant gray matter changes in a region of the orbitofrontal cortex in healthy participants predicts emotional dysregulation. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsv072  

  • July 24, 2015
  • 03:05 AM
  • 83 views

Autism, asthma and IL-17

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"IL-17 was increased in ASD [autism spectrum disorder] children with co-morbid asthma compared to controls with the same condition."That was the conclusion reached by Marjannie Eloi Akintunde and colleagues [1] including some notable names on the authorship list from the University of California, Davis. IL-17 (Interleukin 17) by the way, refers to a group of cytokines - chemical messengers of the immune system - linked to various processes centred on inflammation. Jin & Dong [........ Read more »

Akintunde, M., Rose, M., Krakowiak, P., Heuer, L., Ashwood, P., Hansen, R., Hertz-Picciotto, I., & Van de Water, J. (2015) Increased production of IL-17 in children with autism spectrum disorders and co-morbid asthma. Journal of Neuroimmunology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2015.07.003  

  • July 23, 2015
  • 02:33 PM
  • 99 views

Body fat can send signals to brain, affecting stress response

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The brain’s effect on other parts of the body has been well established. Now, a group of researchers has found that it’s a two-way street: Body fat can send a signal that affects the way the brain deals with stress and metabolism. While the exact nature of those signals remains a mystery, researchers say simply knowing such a pathway exists and learning more about it could help break a vicious cycle: Stress causes a desire to eat more, which can lead to obesity. And too much extra fat can im........ Read more »

de Kloet, A., Krause, E., Solomon, M., Flak, J., Scott, K., Kim, D., Myers, B., Ulrich-Lai, Y., Woods, S., Seeley, R.... (2015) Adipocyte glucocorticoid receptors mediate fat-to-brain signaling. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 110-119. DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.03.008  

  • July 23, 2015
  • 02:58 AM
  • 73 views

Sickle cell disease, asthma and behaviour

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Children with sickle cell disease may have increased risk for certain neurodevelopmental diagnoses based on their disease characteristics and associated comorbidities."That was the conclusion reached by Eboni Lance and colleagues [1] following their retrospective chart review including "59 children with sickle cell disease with a documented neurodevelopmental diagnosis, specifically attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD], attention issues, behavioral issues, executive dy........ Read more »

  • July 22, 2015
  • 09:36 PM
  • 71 views

Using low-dose irradiation, researchers can now edit human genes

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

For the first time, researchers have employed a gene-editing technique involving low-dose irradiation to repair patient cells. This method, developed by researchers in the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute, is 10 times more effective than techniques currently in use.... Read more »

Hatada, S., Subramanian, A., Mandefro, B., Ren, S., Kim, H., Tang, J., Funari, V., Baloh, R., Sareen, D., Arumugaswami, V.... (2015) Low-Dose Irradiation Enhances Gene Targeting in Human Pluripotent Stem Cells. Stem Cells Translational Medicine. DOI: 10.5966/sctm.2015-0050  

  • July 22, 2015
  • 12:33 PM
  • 69 views

Static synapses on a moving structure: Mind the gap!

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In biology, stability is important. From body temperature to blood pressure and sugar levels, our body ensures that these remain within reasonable limits and do not reach potentially damaging extremes. Neurons in the brain are no different and, in fact, have developed a number of ways to stabilise their electrical activity so as to avoid becoming either overexcitable, potentially leading to epilepsy, or not excitable enough, leading to non functional neurons.... Read more »

  • July 22, 2015
  • 03:03 AM
  • 51 views

Health-related quality of life in CFS/ME

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Hvidberg et al (2015) PLoS One. e0132421Two papers are served up for your reading today. Both provide stark peer-reviewed evidence that when it comes to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) / myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), measures of quality of life (QoL) rank this/these condition(s) as potentially causing great suffering compared with population norms and various other states.The first paper is by Michael Falk Hvidberg and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) and details respo........ Read more »

  • July 21, 2015
  • 12:29 PM
  • 68 views

Mediterranean Diet and Alzheimer's Disease Prevention

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

There is an urgent need to identify strategies to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.The role of diet as a prevention strategy is controversial. Some research evidence supports a role for a Mediterranean diet in cognitive health and dementia prevention.A recent brain imaging study adds to this evidence. Dr. Lisa Mosconi and colleagues at New York University School of Medicine completed a cross-sectional study of brain magnetic resonance imaging and diet........ Read more »

Mosconi L, Murray J, Tsui WH, Li Y, Davies M, Williams S, Pirraglia E, Spector N, Osorio RS, Glodzik L.... (2014) Mediterranean Diet and Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Assessed Brain Atrophy in Cognitively Normal Individuals at Risk for Alzheimer's Disease. The journal of prevention of Alzheimer's disease, 1(1), 23-32. PMID: 25237654  

  • July 21, 2015
  • 03:16 AM
  • 68 views

Early pregnancy maternal hypothyroxinemia and offspring ADHD symptoms

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Children exposed to maternal hypothyroxinemia in early pregnancy had more ADHD [attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder] symptoms, independent of confounders. This finding suggests that intrauterine exposure to insufficient thyroid hormone levels influences neurodevelopment in offspring."That was the bottom line reported by Thiago Modesto and colleagues [1] looking at how "mild thyroid hormone insufficiency" in early pregnancy might link into offspring behavioural outcomes a few........ Read more »

  • July 20, 2015
  • 12:48 PM
  • 80 views

Research investigates whether solar events could trigger birth defects on Earth

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Studies find airplane crews at high altitude are exposed to potentially harmful levels of radiation from cosmic rays. But could these cosmic rays pose hazards even at sea level? In recent years, research has suggested congenital birth defects down on Earth’s surface could be caused by these “solar particle events” — spikes in cosmic rays from the sun that touch off the northern lights and sometimes hamper communications or the electric power grid.... Read more »

  • July 20, 2015
  • 03:31 AM
  • 92 views

Homocysteine and autism: yet more...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

It's been a while since I've discussed the issue of homocysteine - that's homocysteine not homocystine - with autism in mind, so consider this short blog entry a bit of an update to previous discussions (see here and see here).In case you need to know it, homocysteine is an important component of the trans-sulfuration pathway intersecting with both the methione cycle and the folate cycle. Collectively, these biological processes have important functions for various aspects of biology includ........ Read more »

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