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  • October 20, 2016
  • 01:51 PM

Oligodendrocyte selectively myelinates a particular set of axons in the white matter

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

There are three kinds of glial cells in the brain, oligodendrocyte, astrocyte and microglia. Oligodendrocytes myelinate neuronal axons to increase conduction velocity of neuronal impulses. A Japanese research team found a characteristic feature of oligodendrocytes that selectively myelinate a particular set of neuronal axons.

... Read more »

  • October 20, 2016
  • 04:32 AM

"Folinic acid improves communication in childhood autism"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin: "... in this small trial of children with non-syndromic ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and language impairment, treatment with high-dose folinic acid for 12 weeks resulted in improvement in verbal communication as compared with placebo, particularly in those participants who were positive for FRAAs [folate receptor-α autoantibody]."Those were the findings reported by Richard Frye and colleagues [1] (open-access) continuing a research theme from this group l........ Read more »

  • October 19, 2016
  • 01:01 PM

The Discovery of DNA Structure – Who Stayed in the Shadows of a Nobel?

by Rita Silva in United Academics

In 1962, the Nobel Prize of Medicine was given to Watson, Crick and Wilkins, for their finding of the double-helical structure of the DNA molecule. But who were the scientists overshadowed by the names of Watson and Crick?... Read more »

Leslie Pray. (2008) Discovery of DNA structure and function: Watson and Crick. Nature Education, 1(1). info:other/

  • October 19, 2016
  • 02:51 AM

Paracetamol for fever 'associated' with autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"In this study, we again show that acetaminophen use is associated with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."That was one of the results reported by Stephen Schultz & Georgianna Gould [1] (open-access available here) as part of their survey of the US "National Database for Autism Research (NDAR) of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)" looking at "whether ASD is associated with acetaminophen use." Acetaminophen by the way, is another name for paracetamol, the over-the-counter ........ Read more »

  • October 18, 2016
  • 08:22 PM

Autophagy in CSFV and ZIKV infected cells: persistence versus neurodegenerative disease

by thelonevirologist in Virology Tidbits

Zika Virus (ZIKV) was first isolated in 1947 from a sentinel monkey in Uganda and associated with human infection in 1954 when neutralizing antibodies were detected in the sera of residents in India, with antibodies also being found in residents from various African countries. ZIKV is mosquitoe-borne Flavivirus that is predominantly transmitted via Aedes Agypti, although sexual transmission (female to male, male to female, male to male) and transmission via blood transfusion has also been report........ Read more »

Pei J, Zhao M, Ye Z, Gou H, Wang J, Yi L, Dong X, Liu W, Luo Y, Liao M.... (2014) Autophagy enhances the replication of classical swine fever virus in vitro. Autophagy, 10(1), 93-110. PMID: 24262968  

Frankel LB, Lubas M, & Lund AH. (2016) Emerging connections between RNA and autophagy. Autophagy, 1-21. PMID: 27715443  

Zhang F, Hammack C, Ogden SC, Cheng Y, Lee EM, Wen Z, Qian X, Nguyen HN, Li Y, Yao B.... (2016) Molecular signatures associated with ZIKV exposure in human cortical neural progenitors. Nucleic acids research, 44(18), 8610-8620. PMID: 27580721  

Calvet, G., Aguiar, R., Melo, A., Sampaio, S., de Filippis, I., Fabri, A., Araujo, E., de Sequeira, P., de Mendonça, M., de Oliveira, L.... (2016) Detection and sequencing of Zika virus from amniotic fluid of fetuses with microcephaly in Brazil: a case study. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 16(6), 653-660. DOI: 10.1016/S1473-3099(16)00095-5  

Cauchemez S, Besnard M, Bompard P, Dub T, Guillemette-Artur P, Eyrolle-Guignot D, Salje H, Van Kerkhove MD, Abadie V, Garel C.... (2016) Association between Zika virus and microcephaly in French Polynesia, 2013-15: a retrospective study. Lancet (London, England), 387(10033), 2125-32. PMID: 26993883  

Cloëtta D, Thomanetz V, Baranek C, Lustenberger RM, Lin S, Oliveri F, Atanasoski S, & Rüegg MA. (2013) Inactivation of mTORC1 in the developing brain causes microcephaly and affects gliogenesis. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 33(18), 7799-810. PMID: 23637172  

Cugola FR, Fernandes IR, Russo FB, Freitas BC, Dias JL, Guimarães KP, Benazzato C, Almeida N, Pignatari GC, Romero S.... (2016) The Brazilian Zika virus strain causes birth defects in experimental models. Nature, 534(7606), 267-71. PMID: 27279226  

De Carvalho NS, De Carvalho BF, Fugaça CA, Dóris B, & Biscaia ES. (2016) Zika virus infection during pregnancy and microcephaly occurrence: a review of literature and Brazilian data. The Brazilian journal of infectious diseases : an official publication of the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases, 20(3), 282-9. PMID: 27102780  

Arroba AI, Rodríguez-de la Rosa L, Murillo-Cuesta S, Vaquero-Villanueva L, Hurlé JM, Varela-Nieto I, & Valverde ÁM. (2016) Autophagy resolves early retinal inflammation in Igf1-deficient mice. Disease models , 9(9), 965-74. PMID: 27483352  

McLean JE, Wudzinska A, Datan E, Quaglino D, & Zakeri Z. (2011) Flavivirus NS4A-induced autophagy protects cells against death and enhances virus replication. The Journal of biological chemistry, 286(25), 22147-59. PMID: 21511946  

Barrows NJ, Campos RK, Powell ST, Prasanth KR, Schott-Lerner G, Soto-Acosta R, Galarza-Muñoz G, McGrath EL, Urrabaz-Garza R, Gao J.... (2016) A Screen of FDA-Approved Drugs for Inhibitors of Zika Virus Infection. Cell host , 20(2), 259-70. PMID: 27476412  

Tang, H., Hammack, C., Ogden, S., Wen, Z., Qian, X., Li, Y., Yao, B., Shin, J., Zhang, F., Lee, E.... (2016) Zika Virus Infects Human Cortical Neural Progenitors and Attenuates Their Growth. Cell Stem Cell, 18(5), 587-590. DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2016.02.016  

Goodfellow FT, Tesla B, Simchick G, Zhao Q, Hodge T, Brindley MA, & Stice SL. (2016) Zika Virus Induced Mortality and Microcephaly in Chicken Embryos. Stem cells and development. PMID: 27627457  

Sir D, Kuo CF, Tian Y, Liu HM, Huang EJ, Jung JU, Machida K, & Ou JH. (2012) Replication of hepatitis C virus RNA on autophagosomal membranes. The Journal of biological chemistry, 287(22), 18036-43. PMID: 22496373  

Adams Waldorf, K., Stencel-Baerenwald, J., Kapur, R., Studholme, C., Boldenow, E., Vornhagen, J., Baldessari, A., Dighe, M., Thiel, J., Merillat, S.... (2016) Fetal brain lesions after subcutaneous inoculation of Zika virus in a pregnant nonhuman primate. Nature Medicine. DOI: 10.1038/nm.4193  

Metz P, Chiramel A, Chatel-Chaix L, Alvisi G, Bankhead P, Mora-Rodriguez R, Long G, Hamacher-Brady A, Brady NR, & Bartenschlager R. (2015) Dengue Virus Inhibition of Autophagic Flux and Dependency of Viral Replication on Proteasomal Degradation of the Autophagy Receptor p62. Journal of virology, 89(15), 8026-41. PMID: 26018155  

Ho HK, White CC, Fernandez C, Fausto N, Kavanagh TJ, Nelson SD, & Bruschi SA. (2005) Nrf2 activation involves an oxidative-stress independent pathway in tetrafluoroethylcysteine-induced cytotoxicity. Toxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology, 86(2), 354-64. PMID: 15901913  

Ravikumar, B., Sarkar, S., Davies, J., Futter, M., Garcia-Arencibia, M., Green-Thompson, Z., Jimenez-Sanchez, M., Korolchuk, V., Lichtenberg, M., Luo, S.... (2010) Regulation of Mammalian Autophagy in Physiology and Pathophysiology. Physiological Reviews, 90(4), 1383-1435. DOI: 10.1152/physrev.00030.2009  

Menzies FM, Fleming A, & Rubinsztein DC. (2015) Compromised autophagy and neurodegenerative diseases. Nature reviews. Neuroscience, 16(6), 345-57. PMID: 25991442  

Li, Y., Chen, B., Zou, W., Wang, X., Wu, Y., Zhao, D., Sun, Y., Liu, Y., Chen, L., Miao, L.... (2016) The lysosomal membrane protein SCAV-3 maintains lysosome integrity and adult longevity. The Journal of Cell Biology. DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201602090  

De Leo MG, Staiano L, Vicinanza M, Luciani A, Carissimo A, Mutarelli M, Di Campli A, Polishchuk E, Di Tullio G, Morra V.... (2016) Autophagosome-lysosome fusion triggers a lysosomal response mediated by TLR9 and controlled by OCRL. Nature cell biology, 18(8), 839-50. PMID: 27398910  

  • October 18, 2016
  • 04:32 AM

Chronic fatigue syndrome and the detrimental application of the 'biopsychosocial model'

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

'The times they are a changin'' said a Nobel prize winner and that's also a sentiment that seems true when it comes to chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyeltis (CFS/ME) too (see here for example).Anyone who has followed the tos-and-fros of the PACE trial - the one that suggested that CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and GET (graded exercise therapy) might provide some significant relief of symptoms associated with CFS/ME - will probably have heard the ........ Read more »

Geraghty KJ, & Esmail A. (2016) Chronic fatigue syndrome: is the biopsychosocial model responsible for patient dissatisfaction and harm?. The British journal of general practice : the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners, 66(649), 437-8. PMID: 27481982  

  • October 17, 2016
  • 02:01 PM

Cold medicine could stop cancer spread

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Bladder cancer is the seventh most common cancer in males worldwide. Every year, about 20,000 people in Japan are diagnosed with bladder cancer, of whom around 8,000--mostly men--succumb to the disease. Bladder cancers can be grouped into two types: non-muscle-invasive cancers, which have a five-year survival rate of 90 percent, and muscle-invasive cancers, which have poor prognoses.

... Read more »

  • October 17, 2016
  • 03:00 AM

Maternal obesity and offspring autism meta-analysed (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Meta-analyses eh? You spend ages waiting for one and two come along in quick succession. Well today I'm posting about yet another meta-analysis of the peer-reviewed scientific literature suggesting that "excessive maternal BMI [body mass index] is associated with an increased ASD [autism spectrum disorder] risk in offspring." [1]The review by Ying Wang et al follows hot on the heels of the meta-analysis by Li and colleagues [2] (see here for my take) but further looked a........ Read more »

  • October 16, 2016
  • 08:58 PM

Call me: female zebra finches prefer their mate’s call

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Social interactions are highly sought-after and rewarding in many animals... Even when social interactions involve only one of our senses, they are still rewarding. For example, we like looking at photos of our friends on Facebook, or hearing the voice of a faraway relative via telephone. It’s the same with other animals; not only is socialization rewarding and can be used as an incentive for learning, but just the sights, sounds, and even smells of others are also rewarding. Hernandez et ........ Read more »

  • October 16, 2016
  • 02:18 PM

Female brains change in sync with hormones

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Although it has already been known for some time that the brain does not remain rigid in its structure even in adulthood, scientists have recently made a surprising discovery. The brain is not only able to adapt to changing conditions in long-term processes, but it can do this every month.

... Read more »

Barth, C., Steele, C., Mueller, K., Rekkas, V., Arélin, K., Pampel, A., Burmann, I., Kratzsch, J., Villringer, A., & Sacher, J. (2016) In-vivo Dynamics of the Human Hippocampus across the Menstrual Cycle. Scientific Reports, 32833. DOI: 10.1038/srep32833  

  • October 15, 2016
  • 03:26 PM

Untangling a cause of memory loss in neurodegenerative diseases

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Tauopathies are a group of neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease that are characterized by the deposition of aggregates of the tau protein inside brain cells. A new study reveals that the cutting of tau by an enzyme called caspase-2 may play a critical role in the disordered brain circuit function that occurs in these diseases.

... Read more »

Zhao, X., Kotilinek, L., Smith, B., Hlynialuk, C., Zahs, K., Ramsden, M., Cleary, J., & Ashe, K. (2016) Caspase-2 cleavage of tau reversibly impairs memory. Nature Medicine. DOI: 10.1038/nm.4199  

  • October 15, 2016
  • 05:47 AM

Know your brain: Suprachiasmatic nucleus

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

Where is the suprachiasmatic nucleus?

the suprachiasmatic nucleus is represented by a small green area within the hypothalamus (indicated by red arrow).

The suprachiasmatic nuclei are two small, paired nuclei that are found in the hypothalamus. Each suprachiasmatic nucleus only contains approximately 10,000 neurons. The nuclei rest on each side of the third ventricle, just above the optic chiasm. The location provides the rationale for........ Read more »

  • October 15, 2016
  • 04:50 AM

Atopic dermatitis and the "increased risk of developing ADHD and ASD later in life"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm not gonna dwell too much on the findings reported by Lee and colleagues [1] talking about how "toddlers who suffer from AD [atopic dermatitis] at the age younger than 3 years are at a higher risk of developing ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] and ASD [autism spectrum disorder] during later childhood" because science already seems to understand that there may be an important connection between early allergic disease and later offspring behavioural/........ Read more »

  • October 14, 2016
  • 02:28 PM

High cholesterol triggers mitochondrial oxidative stress leading to osteoarthritis

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

High cholesterol might harm more than our cardiovascular systems. New research using animal models suggests that high cholesterol levels trigger mitochondrial oxidative stress on cartilage cells, causing them to die, and ultimately leading to the development of osteoarthritis.

... Read more »

  • October 14, 2016
  • 07:00 AM

Friday Fellow: Witch’s Jelly

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll I wonder how many people can say they have a bacterium that reminds them of their childhood. Well, at least I can say that I have. When I was a boy and started to know about … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • October 14, 2016
  • 06:20 AM

Forgetting Earth, forgetting Mars: Dementia, pollution, and space travel

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

Forgetting Earth Dementia. Few words inspire greater fear in those of us who value (quasi-?) independent thought. The term ‘dementia’ encompasses various brain disorders that all share some scary traits: general decline in cognitive function, decreased ability to speak, and in later stages, being unable to take care of oneself. Unfortunately, as human lifespan increases […]... Read more »

Killin LO, Starr JM, Shiue IJ, & Russ TC. (2016) Environmental risk factors for dementia: a systematic review. BMC geriatrics, 16(1), 175. PMID: 27729011  

Parihar VK, Allen BD, Caressi C, Kwok S, Chu E, Tran KK, Chmielewski NN, Giedzinski E, Acharya MM, Britten RA.... (2016) Cosmic radiation exposure and persistent cognitive dysfunction. Scientific reports, 34774. PMID: 27721383  

  • October 14, 2016
  • 02:58 AM

Yet more on potential biomarkers and chronic fatigue syndrome

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

'Thick and fast' is probably the best way that I can describe the flurry of peer-reviewed scientific papers recently appearing (see here and see here for examples) talking about how chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) (also linked to the diagnosis of myalgic encephalomyelitis, ME) might have some important biological processes attached to it.Now we can add the findings reported by Federica Ciregia and colleagues [1] (open-access) to the list and their observations that "the identification of bio........ Read more »

  • October 13, 2016
  • 02:56 AM

ADHD and conduct disorder long-term

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Today I'm once again blogging about peer-reviewed research suggesting that when it comes to the long-term effects of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) on a person, there is some pretty solid evidence that addressing symptoms early could "potentially avert a wide range of future adverse outcomes."The paper making such a conclusion is the one from Holly Erskine and colleagues [1] who conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis pertinent to this topic; also taking into accoun........ Read more »

Erskine HE, Norman RE, Ferrari AJ, Chan GC, Copeland WE, Whiteford HA, & Scott JG. (2016) Long-Term Outcomes of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Conduct Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 55(10), 841-50. PMID: 27663939  

  • October 12, 2016
  • 01:56 PM

Vitamins A and C help erase cell memory

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Vitamins A and C aren't just good for your health, they affect your DNA too. Researchers have discovered how vitamins A and C act to modify the epigenetic 'memory' held by cells; insight which is significant for regenerative medicine and our ability to reprogramme cells from one identity to another.

... Read more »

Hore, T., von Meyenn, F., Ravichandran, M., Bachman, M., Ficz, G., Oxley, D., Santos, F., Balasubramanian, S., Jurkowski, T., & Reik, W. (2016) Retinol and ascorbate drive erasure of epigenetic memory and enhance reprogramming to naïve pluripotency by complementary mechanisms. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201608679. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1608679113  

  • October 12, 2016
  • 03:02 AM

Obesity in adolescent chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"At 13 years, adolescents who had received a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) who were attending specialist CFS/ME services were more than two times more likely to be obese than adolescents in the general population."At first reading, I wasn't particularly surprised by the findings reported by Norris and colleagues [1] (open-access) drawing on data partly derived from everyone's favourite UK longitudinal birth cohort: ALSPAC (Avon Longitudinal Study of Par........ Read more »

Norris T, Hawton K, Hamilton-Shield J, & Crawley E. (2016) Obesity in adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome: an observational study. Archives of disease in childhood. PMID: 27655658  

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