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  • April 23, 2014
  • 08:25 AM
  • 1 view

Chili Peppers Run Hot And Cold

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Hot peppers are hot because their capsaicin binds to the TRPV1 heat sensing ion channel. Agonists of TRPV1 can lead to a hypothermia, while antagonists result in a hyperthermia. Normally these would be poor outcomes, but there are particular instances that new researchs are showing to be beneficial. Brown adipose tissue is promoted by TRPV1 agonists, and studies are showing that capsaicin can hinder formation of white adipose tissue. Likewise, agonists of TRPV1 can induce a protective hypothermi........ Read more »

Yoneshiro T, Aita S, Matsushita M, Kayahara T, Kameya T, Kawai Y, Iwanaga T, & Saito M. (2013) Recruited brown adipose tissue as an antiobesity agent in humans. The Journal of clinical investigation, 123(8), 3404-8. PMID: 23867622  

Feng Z, Hai-Ning Y, Xiao-Man C, Zun-Chen W, Sheng-Rong S, & Das UN. (2014) Effect of yellow capsicum extract on proliferation and differentiation of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes. Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.), 30(3), 319-25. PMID: 24296036  

Muzzi M, Felici R, Cavone L, Gerace E, Minassi A, Appendino G, Moroni F, & Chiarugi A. (2012) Ischemic neuroprotection by TRPV1 receptor-induced hypothermia. Journal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism : official journal of the International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, 32(6), 978-82. PMID: 22434066  

  • April 23, 2014
  • 04:25 AM
  • 8 views

Phenylalanine and schizophrenia: new directions for intervention?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

As regular readers might already have noticed, amino acids are a bit of a obsession of mine on this blog. Out of all of them - and there are quite a few - I'm particularly interested in the aromatic amino acids and the their various connections to health and wellbeing. I've talked at length about some of the proposed connections made between amino acids such as tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylalanine to all manner of conditions but specifically with the autism spectrum in mind (see here).The conv........ Read more »

Olaoluwa Okusaga, Olesja Muravitskaja, Dietmar Fuchs, Ayesha Ashraf, Sarah Hinman, Ina Giegling, Annette M. Hartmann, Bettina Konte, Marion Friedl, Jason Schiffman.... (2014) Elevated Levels of Plasma Phenylalanine in Schizophrenia: A Guanosine Triphosphate Cyclohydrolase-1 Metabolic Pathway Abnormality?. PLoS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085945  

  • April 22, 2014
  • 10:40 PM
  • 12 views

Autism, SSRIs, and Epidemiology 101

by in Neuroscientifically Challenged

I can understand the eagerness with which science writers jump on stories that deal with new findings about autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). After all, the mystery surrounding the rapid increase in ASD rates over the past 20 years (see right) has made any ASD-related study that may offer some clues inherently interesting. Because people are anxiously awaiting some explanation of this medical enigma, it seems like science writers almost have an obligation to discuss new findings concerning the c........ Read more »

  • April 22, 2014
  • 10:21 AM
  • 28 views

Religious Belief Linked to Brain Cortex Thickness

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

In a previous post, I reviewed a longitudinal study of religious belief and major depression.This study by Lisa Miller and colleagues found a reduced risk of depression in subjects who rated religious belief or spirituality as an important factor in their lives.Reduction in depression risk with religiosity/spirituality was largest (90% smaller risk) in those with a family history of depression.This correlation may not be causal and may be explained by some common third factor between religion an........ Read more »

  • April 21, 2014
  • 04:27 PM
  • 39 views

Daylight Savings is a Public Health Concern. Who is responsible? The circadian system or sleep homeostat?

by Allison in Dormivigilia

A study published in 2013 did a US examination of the risk for heart attack from falling back or springing forward (Daylight Savings). The results mirror those of a landmark study on the subject. But neither study seems to think that disruption of circadian rhythms is responsible, but rather that one hour of precious sleep lost or gained...... Read more »

Jiddou MR, Pica M, Boura J, Qu L, & Franklin BA. (2013) Incidence of myocardial infarction with shifts to and from daylight savings time. The American journal of cardiology, 111(5), 631-5. PMID: 23228926  

  • April 21, 2014
  • 03:00 PM
  • 34 views

EASTER CHOCOLATE CRAVINGS: THE POWER OF POLYPHENOLS

by Alex Giffen in Antisense Science

The health benefits of chocolate explained this Easter... Read more »

Katz, D., Doughty, K., & Ali, A. (2011) Cocoa and Chocolate in Human Health and Disease. Antioxidants , 15(10), 2779-2811. DOI: 10.1089/ars.2010.3697  

Franco R, Oñatibia-Astibia A, & Martínez-Pinilla E. (2013) Health benefits of methylxanthines in cacao and chocolate. Nutrients, 5(10), 4159-73. PMID: 24145871  

Selmi C, Cocchi CA, Lanfredini M, Keen CL, & Gershwin ME. (2008) Chocolate at heart: the anti-inflammatory impact of cocoa flavanols. Molecular nutrition , 52(11), 1340-8. PMID: 18991246  

Ellam S, & Williamson G. (2013) Cocoa and human health. Annual review of nutrition, 105-28. PMID: 23642199  

  • April 21, 2014
  • 05:15 AM
  • 37 views

Lathosterolosis, cholesterol and autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Although intrigued by the findings reported by Pier Luigi Calvo and colleagues [1] describing a "unique case" potentially linking liver functions and cognitive functions with a hat-tip to the presentation of autistic behaviours, I'll readily admit that I am way out of my comfort and competence zones when discussing this paper so please be ready with that pinch of salt.How do you like your eggs in the morning? @ Wikipedia As per what the paper and accompanying press release (see he........ Read more »

Calvo, P., Brunati, A., Spada, M., Romagnoli, R., Corso, G., Parenti, G., Rossi, M., Baldi, M., Carbonaro, G., David, E.... (2014) Liver Transplantation in Defects of Cholesterol Biosynthesis: The Case of Lathosterolosis. American Journal of Transplantation. DOI: 10.1111/ajt.12645  

  • April 20, 2014
  • 03:34 PM
  • 84 views

420: How Marijuana Messes With the Brain

by Alexis Delanoir in How to Paint Your Panda

Cannabis use has previously been associated with cognitive impairment, and Smith et al. (2013) showed that heavy marijuana use was associated with poor working memory and brain abnormalities. Now, Gilman et al. (2014) propose that even casual use of marijuana is associated with such negative effects. Is this an issue of correlation/causation, of funding bias, or are the world's weed smokers really in neurological danger? In this post, in celebration of 4/20, I provide context for the recent........ Read more »

Meier, M., Caspi, A., Ambler, A., Harrington, H., Houts, R., Keefe, R., McDonald, K., Ward, A., Poulton, R., & Moffitt, T. (2012) Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(40). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1206820109  

  • April 19, 2014
  • 07:34 AM
  • 106 views

Typing Method for Cryptosporidium Meleagridis

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Christen Rune Stensvold

You can read about the development and use of a highly applicable typing method for C. meleagridis isolates in a newly published paper in Journal of Clinical Microbiology.... Read more »

  • April 19, 2014
  • 07:34 AM
  • 132 views

Typing Method for Cryptosporidium Meleagridis

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

You can read about the development and use of a highly applicable typing method for C. meleagridis isolates in a newly published paper in Journal of Clinical Microbiology.... Read more »

  • April 19, 2014
  • 05:34 AM
  • 56 views

Dump fossil fuels for the health of our hearts

by Andy Extance in Simple Climate

Cleaning up air pollution will provide immediate health gains as well as longer-term climate benefits, highlights New York University's George Thurston... Read more »

Thurston, G. (2013) Mitigation policy: Health co-benefits. Nature Climate Change, 3(10), 863-864. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2013  

Rice, M., Thurston, G., Balmes, J., & Pinkerton, K. (2014) Climate Change. A Global Threat to Cardiopulmonary Health. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 189(5), 512-519. DOI: 10.1164/rccm.201310-1924PP  

  • April 19, 2014
  • 12:46 AM
  • 52 views

Energy Expenditure (Calories Burned) in Anorexia Nervosa Patients

by Tetyana in Science of Eating Disorders


How many calories do patients with anorexia nervosa need to eat to gain a kilo (2.2 lbs)? It seems like a simple question and one that we should have figured out a long time ago, given the importance (err, necessity) of refeeding and weight restoration in recovery from anorexia nervosa.
Unfortunately, research in this area has often led to contradictory results (see Salisbury et al., 1995 and de Zwaan et al., 2002 for reviews). Fortunately, a paper by Stephan Zipfel and colleagues (2013,........ Read more »

Zipfel S, Mack I, Baur LA, Hebebrand J, Touyz S, Herzog W, Abraham S, Davies PS, & Russell J. (2013) Impact of exercise on energy metabolism in anorexia nervosa. Journal of Eating Disorders, 1(1), 37. PMID: 24499685  

  • April 18, 2014
  • 01:07 PM
  • 42 views

Overcomming Social Phobia with CBT and Pharmacotherapy

by Vivek Misra in Uber Notions

photo credit: ParadigmMalibu.comSocial phobia, a type of anxiety disorder, is characterized by persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others (1). The individual fears that he or she will act in a way (or show anxiety symptoms) that will be embarrassing and humiliating.  Exposure to the feared situation almost invariably provokes anxiety, which may take the form of a situationally bou........ Read more »

Domschke K, Stevens S, Beck B, Baffa A, Hohoff C, Deckert J, & Gerlach AL. (2009) Blushing propensity in social anxiety disorder: influence of serotonin transporter gene variation. Journal of neural transmission (Vienna, Austria : 1996), 116(6), 663-6. PMID: 18629430  

Nahshoni E, Gur S, Marom S, Levin JB, Weizman A, & Hermesh H. (2004) QT dispersion in patients with social phobia. Journal of affective disorders, 78(1), 21-6. PMID: 14672793  

  • April 17, 2014
  • 07:49 AM
  • 89 views

Cannabis use and structural changes in the brain

by Robb Hollis in Antisense Science

“One or two spliffs a week could mess up your brain” – Metro, 16 April 2014

Spark your interest? This headline caught the eyes of the Antisense team, so we chased down the original article in the Journal of Neuroscience and took a closer look!

Cannabis is the most commonly used illegal drug in the US, and the ‘casual use’ culture surrounding marijuana is a subject of great debate and controversy, with arguments for drug legalisation making their way into our ........ Read more »

  • April 17, 2014
  • 04:31 AM
  • 51 views

Mitochondrial dysfunction as a neurobiological subtype of autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Suzanne Goh and colleagues [1] reporting on "a possible neurobiological subtype of mitochondrial dysfunction in ASD [autism spectrum disorder]" is a worthy addition to the research roll call which has graced this blog down the years. Based on the analysis of brain lactate levels - a potential marker of mitochondrial dysfunction - via the analysis of lactate doublets on brain magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI), authors picked up a significantly higher rate of l........ Read more »

  • April 16, 2014
  • 02:00 PM
  • 29 views

Glucosidase I: Could targeting N-linked glycosylation of proteins help us fight viral infection?

by Amy Swanston in Antisense Science

Viruses are sneaky. As you probably already know from your last bout with the common cold or the flu, for most viral infections doctors will simply prescribe plenty of water and bed rest. But what if we could stop the virus from replicating, or block it from entering the host cells in the first place?
Recent research on two siblings with a rare mutation in a key glycosylation enzyme (alpha-glucosidase I) sparked our interest as these children were found to be resistant to a number of bacteria........ Read more »

Sadat, M., Moir, S., Chun, T., Lusso, P., Kaplan, G., Wolfe, L., Memoli, M., He, M., Vega, H., Kim, L.... (2014) Glycosylation, Hypogammaglobulinemia, and Resistance to Viral Infections. New England Journal of Medicine, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1302846  

Herscovics, A. (1999) Importance of glycosidases in mammalian glycoprotein biosynthesis. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - General Subjects, 1473(1), 96-107. DOI: 10.1016/S0304-4165(99)00171-3  

  • April 16, 2014
  • 08:05 AM
  • 46 views

Using Pain To Stop Pain

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Chronic pain can involve TRPV1 pathways, yet traditional TRPV1 antagonists cannot be used due to incidence of hyperthermia. New research has identified new routes of administration, new agonists and new allosteric functions that will make TRPV1 a viable target for chronic, acute, and cancer-mediated pains. Alternative mechanisms, such as counter irritants and acupuncture are also gaining in evidence for mechaisms that involve TRPV1 signaling pathways... Read more »

Andreev YA, Kozlov SA, Korolkova YV, Dyachenko IA, Bondarenko DA, Skobtsov DI, Murashev AN, Kotova PD, Rogachevskaja OA, Kabanova NV.... (2013) Polypeptide modulators of TRPV1 produce analgesia without hyperthermia. Marine drugs, 11(12), 5100-15. PMID: 24351908  

Lee MG, Huh BK, Choi SS, Lee DK, Lim BG, & Lee M. (2012) The effect of epidural resiniferatoxin in the neuropathic pain rat model. Pain physician, 15(4), 287-96. PMID: 22828682  

Kelly S, Chapman RJ, Woodhams S, Sagar DR, Turner J, Burston JJ, Bullock C, Paton K, Huang J, Wong A.... (2013) Increased function of pronociceptive TRPV1 at the level of the joint in a rat model of osteoarthritis pain. Annals of the rheumatic diseases. PMID: 24152419  

  • April 16, 2014
  • 01:54 AM
  • 52 views

Joined by HDAC (inhibitors)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm treading quite carefully with this post which came about following my [non-expert] reading of the paper abstract from Anand Venkatraman and colleagues [1] on a potential downside to the use of HDAC (histone deacetylase) inhibitors for treating spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1), a progressive disease affecting movement and other knock-on functions. This follows other work suggesting that certain HDAC inhibitors might offer some important new lines of investigation when it co........ Read more »

  • April 15, 2014
  • 08:00 PM
  • 43 views

New Study Shows Surgical Checklists In Operating Rooms Are Less Effective Than Assumed

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

Optimizing such tailored checklists, understanding why some studies indicate benefits of checklists whereas others do not and re-evaluating the efficacy of checklists in the non-academic setting will all require a substantial amount of future research before one can draw definitive conclusions about the efficacy of checklists. Regulatory agencies in Canada and the United Kingdom should reconsider their current mandates. Perhaps an even more important lesson to be learned is that health regulator........ Read more »

Urbach DR, Govindarajan A, Saskin R, Wilton AS, & Baxter NN. (2014) Introduction of surgical safety checklists in Ontario, Canada. The New England Journal of Medicine, 370(11), 1029-38. PMID: 24620866  

  • April 15, 2014
  • 11:43 AM
  • 68 views

Religious Belief and Depression Resilience

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Identifying risk factors for brain disorders is a key element in clinical research.Understanding protective or resilience factors for brain disorders is also important and receiving increased attention in clinical research.Factors that promote resilience to brain disorders may come from a variety of domains. Religious belief is one domain receiving attention as a potential resilience factor.Miller and colleagues recently published a longitudinal study of religious belief and risk for major ........ Read more »

Miller L, Wickramaratne P, Gameroff MJ, Sage M, Tenke CE, & Weissman MM. (2012) Religiosity and major depression in adults at high risk: a ten-year prospective study. The American journal of psychiatry, 169(1), 89-94. PMID: 21865527  

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