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  • February 11, 2016
  • 02:44 AM
  • 5 views

2% of UK 16-year olds with chronic fatigue [syndrome]?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"CFS [chronic fatigue syndrome] affected 1.9% of 16-year-olds in a UK birth cohort and was positively associated with higher family adversity. Gender was a risk factor at age 16 years but not at age 13 years or in 16-year-olds without high levels of depressive symptoms."So said the findings reported by Simon Collin and colleagues [1] which also gained some media interest as per an entry on the BBC news website for example (see here). Based on data generated by the Children of the ........ Read more »

Collin, S., Norris, T., Nuevo, R., Tilling, K., Joinson, C., Sterne, J., & Crawley, E. (2016) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at Age 16 Years. PEDIATRICS, 137(2), 1-10. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2015-3434  

  • February 10, 2016
  • 03:07 PM
  • 25 views

Starting age of marijuana use may have long-term effects on brain development

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The age at which an adolescent begins using marijuana may affect typical brain development, according to researchers at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas. In a paper recently published, scientists describe how marijuana use, and the age at which use is initiated, may adversely alter brain structures that underlie higher order thinking.

... Read more »

  • February 10, 2016
  • 02:43 AM
  • 52 views

Autism and the 'female camouflage effect'

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Two papers provide some blogging fodder today. The first is from Agnieszka Rynkiewicz and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) who introduces a concept that many people with an interest in autism might have considered: a 'female camouflage effect' in autism. The second paper is by C Ellie Wilson and colleagues [2] and continues the idea that sex/gender differences present in autism might have some important implications for diagnostic evaluation.Both these papers entertain ........ Read more »

Wilson CE, Murphy CM, McAlonan G, Robertson DM, Spain D, Hayward H, Woodhouse E, Deeley PQ, Gillan N, Ohlsen JC.... (2016) Does sex influence the diagnostic evaluation of autism spectrum disorder in adults?. Autism : the international journal of research and practice. PMID: 26802113  

  • February 9, 2016
  • 02:41 PM
  • 63 views

Brain power: Wirelessly supplying power to the brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Human and animal movements generate slight neural signals from their brain cells. These signals obtained using a neural interface are essential for realizing brain-machine interfaces (BMI). Such neural recording systems using wires to connect the implanted device to an external device can cause infections through the opening in the skull. One method of solving this issue is to develop a wireless neural interface that is fully implantable on the brain.

... Read more »

  • February 9, 2016
  • 08:28 AM
  • 43 views

Bring Me Sunshine...

by AG McCluskey in Zongo's Cancer Diaries

The latest Public Health statement is about the dangers of suntanning. But what IS a suntan? And how could it lead to cancer...?... Read more »

NICE. (2016) Sunlight exposure: risks and benefits. National Institute for Health . info:/

Newton-Bishop, J., Chang, Y., Elliott, F., Chan, M., Leake, S., Karpavicius, B., Haynes, S., Fitzgibbon, E., Kukalizch, K., Randerson-Moor, J.... (2011) Relationship between sun exposure and melanoma risk for tumours in different body sites in a large case-control study in a temperate climate. European Journal of Cancer, 47(5), 732-741. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejca.2010.10.008  

  • February 9, 2016
  • 02:47 AM
  • 73 views

Decreased brain levels of vitamin B12 in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I have to thank Dr Malav Trivedi for bringing my attention to some recent findings reported by Yiting Zhang and colleagues (including Malav) [1] (open-access) suggesting that: "levels of vitamin B12, especially its MeCbl [methylcobalamin] form, decrease with age in frontal cortex of control human subjects."Further, researchers reported: "abnormally lower total Cbl [cobalamin] and MeCbl levels in subjects with autism and schizophrenia, as compared to age-matched cont........ Read more »

Zhang Y, Hodgson NW, Trivedi MS, Abdolmaleky HM, Fournier M, Cuenod M, Do KQ, & Deth RC. (2016) Decreased Brain Levels of Vitamin B12 in Aging, Autism and Schizophrenia. PloS one, 11(1). PMID: 26799654  

  • February 8, 2016
  • 01:59 PM
  • 131 views

We can build it better: Synthetic biopathway turns agriculture waste into ‘green’ products

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have engineered a new synthetic biopathway that can more efficiently and cost-effectively turn agricultural waste, like corn stover and orange peels, into a variety of useful products ranging from spandex to chicken feed.

... Read more »

Tai, Y., Xiong, M., Jambunathan, P., Wang, J., Wang, J., Stapleton, C., & Zhang, K. (2016) Engineering nonphosphorylative metabolism to generate lignocellulose-derived products. Nature Chemical Biology. DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.2020  

  • February 8, 2016
  • 08:00 AM
  • 122 views

Rare Variant Studies of Common Disease

by Daniel Koboldt in Massgenomics

Not so long ago, there was a hope in the research community that common genetic variation, i.e. variants present at minor allele frequencies >5% in human populations, might explain most or all of the heritability of common complex disease. That would have been convenient, because such variants can be genotyped with precise, inexpensive, high-density SNP […]... Read more »

  • February 8, 2016
  • 02:54 AM
  • 127 views

"People with ASD had lower odds of employment in the community"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The title of this quite brief post refers to an important finding detailed by Derek Nord and colleagues [1] who, when analysing data from the "2008–09 National Core Indicators Adult Consumer Survey", concluded that there were some important inequalities when it came to employment rates for those diagnosed on the autism spectrum.Employment rates and work opportunities for people diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a hot topic at the moment. The Nord findings build upon report af........ Read more »

  • February 7, 2016
  • 03:07 PM
  • 156 views

The molecular link between psychiatric disorders and type 2 diabetes

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

There may be a genetic connection between some mental health disorders and type 2 diabetes. In a new report, scientists show that a gene called “DISC1,” which is believed to play a role in mental health disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and some forms of depression, influences the function of pancreatic beta cells which produce insulin to maintain normal blood glucose levels.

... Read more »

Jurczyk A, Nowosielska A, Przewozniak N, Aryee KE, DiIorio P, Blodgett D, Yang C, Campbell-Thompson M, Atkinson M, Shultz L.... (2016) Beyond the brain: disrupted in schizophrenia 1 regulates pancreatic β-cell function via glycogen synthase kinase-3β. FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 30(2), 983-93. PMID: 26546129  

  • February 6, 2016
  • 03:49 PM
  • 165 views

Brain plasticity assorted into functional networks

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Plasticity of the brain, what does that even mean? Well the good news is that it isn’t just a marketing ploy, the brain needs to be “plastic” because we need to be able to adapt. Frankly speaking, the brain still has a lot to learn about itself. Scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have made a key finding of the striking differences in how the brain’s cells can change through experience.

... Read more »

  • February 6, 2016
  • 03:27 AM
  • 164 views

Sleep as a target of antibiotic use in chronic fatigue syndrome?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The primary finding from the study was evidence of an improvement in several objective sleep parameters in participants in whom the increased colonization of lactic acid producing organisms was resolved after antibiotic treatment."Those were the words written by Melinda Jackson and colleagues [1] (open-access) who, during an open-label trial, looked at whether administration of an antibiotic (erythromycin 400 mg) over the course of 6 days might have some important effects on elements of sleep i........ Read more »

  • February 5, 2016
  • 03:27 PM
  • 159 views

Man-made underwater sound may have wider ecosystem effects

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Underwater sound linked to human activity could alter the behaviour of seabed creatures that play a vital role in marine ecosystems, according to new research from the University of Southampton. The study found that exposure to sounds that resemble shipping traffic and offshore construction activities results in behavioural responses in certain invertebrate species that live in the marine sediment.

... Read more »

  • February 5, 2016
  • 03:01 AM
  • 96 views

Vitamin D supplementation and 'clinical improvement' in autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Vitamin D deficiency might contribute to the aetiology of ASD [autism spectrum disorder]. Supplementation of vitamin D3, which is a safe and cost-effective form of treatment, may significantly improve the outcome of some children with ASD, especially younger children."More big words have appeared from a research group who seem to be particularly interested in how vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin/hormone) might have some important links to at least some cases of autism. The findings thi........ Read more »

Feng J, Shan L, Du L, Wang B, Li H, Wang W, Wang T, Dong H, Yue X, Xu Z.... (2016) Clinical improvement following vitamin D3 supplementation in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Nutritional neuroscience. PMID: 26783092  

  • February 5, 2016
  • 02:34 AM
  • 103 views

Good morning genes

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

Genes could help in determining whether a person likes to rise early in the morning or not.

Published in:

Nature Communications

Study Further:

Researchers, in affiliation with 23andMe, Inc. recently worked on the DNA of 89,283 individuals, and found that genes could show some specific variations more frequently in the people, who self-identify themselves as early risers or morning people. They found 15 different spots in the genetic makeup that can vary between morning........ Read more »

  • February 4, 2016
  • 03:27 PM
  • 109 views

Taser shock disrupts brain function, has implications for police interrogations

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

More than two million citizens have been Tased by police as Taser stun guns have become one of the preferred less-lethal weapons by police departments across the United States during the past decade. But what does that 50,000-volt shock do to a person's brain?

... Read more »

  • February 4, 2016
  • 04:33 AM
  • 112 views

Establishing environmental exposures as risk factors for bipolar disorder: Difficult.

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The findings reported by Ciro Marangoni and colleagues [1] made for some interesting reading recently and their systematic review of longitudinal studies looking at the various environmental exposures put forward as possible risk factors pertinent to the development of bipolar disorder (BD).Trawling through the peer-reviewed material on this topic, the authors were able to 'clump' the various proposed risk factors into one of three categories: "neurodevelopment (maternal influenza during pr........ Read more »

  • February 3, 2016
  • 09:11 PM
  • 110 views

Effect of mobile phone place and its use on fertility of men

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

Men who use mobile phone more frequently and place their phone close to their groin have higher chances of getting abnormal sperm concentration.

Published in:

Reproductive BioMedicine Online

Study Further:

Researchers have reported that male infertility constitutes about 30% to 40% of all infertility cases. They also reported that studies are showing continuous decline in semen quality since the start of the last century. One of the potential contributing factors in th........ Read more »

Zilberlicht, A., Wiener-Megnazi, Z., Sheinfeld, Y., Grach, B., Lahav-Baratz, S., & Dirnfeld, M. (2015) Habits of cell phone usage and sperm quality – does it warrant attention?. Reproductive BioMedicine Online, 31(3), 421-426. DOI: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2015.06.006  

  • February 3, 2016
  • 03:06 PM
  • 117 views

Investigating potential fetal exposure to antidepressants

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Depression is a serious issue for expecting mothers. Left untreated, depression could have implications for a fetus’s health. But treating the disease during pregnancy may carry health risks for the developing fetus, which makes an expecting mother’s decision whether to take medication a very difficult one. To better understand how antidepressants affect fetuses during pregnancy, scientists studied exposure in mice.

... Read more »

  • February 3, 2016
  • 12:29 PM
  • 120 views

Gun-related murder rate in the U.S.

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

In the U.S., people face 25 times more chances of being killed by guns as compared to many other developed nations.

Published in:

The American Journal of Medicine

Study Further:

In a study on “violent death rates”, researchers have reported that the rate of gun-related murder in the U.S. is about 25 times higher as compared to 22 other high-income countries. Moreover, gun-related suicide rate in the U.S. is about 8 times more than other high-income nations;........ Read more »

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