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  • June 30, 2015
  • 03:28 PM
  • 8 views

Molecular bits of living things with fun names

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

Most of the fancy words used by life science folks are dry but effective. However, every once in a while a researcher will discover a new gene or small molecule and decide to gift it with a fun and creative name.The bacterium Photorhabdus luminescens has a gene called makes caterpillars floppy (mcf), which encodes a toxin that causes caterpillars to go all floppy like before it kills them. P. luminescens is a super interesting little bug. It hangs out in the gut of a worm that infects insects, h........ Read more »

  • June 30, 2015
  • 02:56 PM
  • 6 views

Women’s faces get redder at ovulation, but human eyes can’t pick up on it

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Previous studies have shown that men find female faces more attractive when the women are ovulating, but the visual clues that allow this are unclear. Now, new research investigating whether it might be to do with subtle changes in skin colour has shown that women’s faces do increase in redness during ovulation, but the levels of change are just under the detectable range of the human eye.... Read more »

Hannah Rowland, & Robert Burriss. (2015) Women’s faces get redder at ovulation, but human eyes can’t pick up on it. PLOS ONE. info:/

  • June 30, 2015
  • 12:32 PM
  • 9 views

Omega-3 supplements and antioxidants may help with preclinical Alzheimer’s disease

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Here’s more evidence that fish oil supplementation and antioxidants might be beneficial for at least some people facing Alzheimer’s disease. A new report describes the findings of a very small study in which people with mild clinical impairment, such as those in the very early stages of the disease, saw clearance of the hallmark amyloid-beta protein and reduced inflammation in neurological tissues. Although the findings involved just 12 patients over the course of 4 to 17 months, the finding........ Read more »

Fiala M, Halder RC, Sagong B, Ross O, Sayre J, Porter V, & Bredesen DE. (2015) ω-3 Supplementation increases amyloid-β phagocytosis and resolvin D1 in patients with minor cognitive impairment. FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. PMID: 25805829  

  • June 30, 2015
  • 05:06 AM
  • 16 views

Low glycemic index diet reduces symptoms of mouse autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin: "Overall, the manuscript supports the idea that ASD [autism spectrum disorder] results from gene–environment interactions and that in the presence of a genetic predisposition to ASD, diet can make a large difference in the expression of the condition."The manuscript in question was by Antonio Currais and colleagues [1] reporting some rather interesting results based on the 'dangermouse' that is the BTBR mouse model of autism. Researchers from the Salk Inst........ Read more »

  • June 29, 2015
  • 07:55 PM
  • 23 views

You may already be beating cancer

by Angela Reisetter in Steeped in Science

A look at living with disease close at hand, using a couple different papers. Living with Risk.... Read more »

  • June 29, 2015
  • 03:26 PM
  • 29 views

How your brain knows it’s summer

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers led by Toru Takumi at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have discovered a key mechanism underlying how animals keep track of the seasons. The study shows how circadian clock machinery in the brain encodes seasonal changes in daylight duration through GABA activity along with changes in the amount of chloride located inside certain neurons.... Read more »

Myung J, Hong S, DeWoskin D, Schutter E, Forger, DB, and Takumi T. (2015) GABA-mediated repulsive coupling between circadian clock neurons in the SCN encodes seasonal time. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. info:/10.1073/pnas.1421200112

  • June 29, 2015
  • 01:51 PM
  • 27 views

The fear you experience playing video games is real, and you enjoy it

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

With the advent of video games, a frequently asked question has been whether we get as engrossed in them emotionally as we do when we see a scary movie. The answer is yes and many game players enjoy the fear caused by the zombies, disfigured humans and darkness they often encounter, the researchers found.... Read more »

  • June 29, 2015
  • 04:57 AM
  • 43 views

Fermented foods and social anxiety?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Stumbling across a headline that reads: 'Study Finds Decreased Social Anxiety Among Young Adults Who Eat Fermented Foods' was bound to pique my blogging interest. When I eventually tracked down the source paper behind the headline I became more and more intrigued as today I bring to your attention the study findings reported by Matthew Hilimire and colleagues [1].Implementing "a cross-sectional approach to determine whether consumption of fermented foods likely to contain probiotics interac........ Read more »

Hilimire MR, DeVylder JE, & Forestell CA. (2015) Fermented foods, neuroticism, and social anxiety: An interaction model. Psychiatry research, 228(2), 203-8. PMID: 25998000  

  • June 28, 2015
  • 03:10 PM
  • 35 views

Blood & Fog: The Military's Germ Warfare Tests in San Francisco

by Rebecca Kreston in BODY HORRORS

The Nuremberg Code was drafted in 1947 following the appalling revelations of human experimentation committed in Nazi concentration camps. The overarching goal of the Code was to establish a set of rules for the ethical conduct of research using human subjects, guaranteeing that the rights and welfare of such participants would be protected. Two important principles guide and define this Code: the concept of voluntary, informed consent and that no experiment shall be conducted in which "there i........ Read more »

WHEAT RP, ZUCKERMAN A, & RANTZ LA. (1951) Infection due to chromobacteria; report of 11 cases. A.M.A. archives of internal medicine, 88(4), 461-6. PMID: 14867953  

  • June 28, 2015
  • 12:58 PM
  • 48 views

Rare neurons enable mental flexibility

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Behavioral flexibility — the ability to change strategy when the rules change — is controlled by specific neurons in the brain, Researchers have confirmed. Cholinergic interneurons are rare — they make up just one to two percent of the neurons in the striatum, a key part of the brain involved with higher-level decision-making. Scientists have suspected they play a role in changing strategies, and researchers at OIST recently confirmed this with experiments.... Read more »

Aoki, S., Liu, A., Zucca, A., Zucca, S., & Wickens, J. (2015) Role of Striatal Cholinergic Interneurons in Set-Shifting in the Rat. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(25), 9424-9431. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0490-15.2015  

  • June 28, 2015
  • 10:11 AM
  • 32 views

Cellular Senescence in Regeneration

by Max_Yun in the Node

Salamanders are remarkable organisms. Following the amputation or loss of complex structures such as parts of their eyes, hearts and brains, tails -including the spinal cord-, jaws and even full limbs, they are able to set up a regeneration programme which leads to the exact replacement of the missing structure, even as adults. As such, […]... Read more »

Eguchi, G., Eguchi, Y., Nakamura, K., Yadav, M., Millán, J., & Tsonis, P. (2011) Regenerative capacity in newts is not altered by repeated regeneration and ageing. Nature Communications, 384. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1389  

van Deursen, J. (2014) The role of senescent cells in ageing. Nature, 509(7501), 439-446. DOI: 10.1038/nature13193  

Sousa-Victor, P., Gutarra, S., García-Prat, L., Rodriguez-Ubreva, J., Ortet, L., Ruiz-Bonilla, V., Jardí, M., Ballestar, E., González, S., Serrano, A.... (2014) Geriatric muscle stem cells switch reversible quiescence into senescence. Nature, 506(7488), 316-321. DOI: 10.1038/nature13013  

Yun, M., Gates, P., & Brockes, J. (2013) Regulation of p53 is critical for vertebrate limb regeneration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(43), 17392-17397. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1310519110  

Muñoz-Espín D, Cañamero M, Maraver A, Gómez-López G, Contreras J, Murillo-Cuesta S, Rodríguez-Baeza A, Varela-Nieto I, Ruberte J, Collado M.... (2013) Programmed cell senescence during mammalian embryonic development. Cell, 155(5), 1104-1118. PMID: 24238962  

Storer, M., Mas, A., Robert-Moreno, A., Pecoraro, M., Ortells, M., Di Giacomo, V., Yosef, R., Pilpel, N., Krizhanovsky, V., Sharpe, J.... (2013) Senescence Is a Developmental Mechanism that Contributes to Embryonic Growth and Patterning. Cell, 155(5), 1119-1130. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.10.041  

Demaria, M., Ohtani, N., Youssef, S., Rodier, F., Toussaint, W., Mitchell, J., Laberge, R., Vijg, J., Van Steeg, H., Dollé, M.... (2014) An Essential Role for Senescent Cells in Optimal Wound Healing through Secretion of PDGF-AA. Developmental Cell, 31(6), 722-733. DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2014.11.012  

  • June 27, 2015
  • 07:26 PM
  • 49 views

Brain scan can predict who responds best to certain treatment for OCD

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Tens of millions of Americans — an estimated 1 to 2 percent of the population — will suffer at some point in their lifetimes from obsessive-compulsive disorder, a disorder characterized by recurrent, intrusive, and disturbing thoughts (obsessions), and/or stereotyped recurrent behaviors (compulsions). Left untreated, OCD can be profoundly distressing to the patient and can adversely affect their ability to succeed in school, hold a job or function in society.... Read more »

  • June 27, 2015
  • 02:17 PM
  • 54 views

Natural wilderness areas need buffer zones to protect from human development

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Despite heavy development, the U.S. still has millions of acres of pristine wild lands. Coveted for their beauty, these wilderness areas draw innumerable outdoor enthusiasts eager for a taste of primitive nature. But University of Georgia researchers say these federally protected nature areas have a problem: Their boundaries have become prime real estate.... Read more »

Lauren K. Ward, & Gary T. Green. (2015) Wilderness Zoning: Applying an Adapted Biosphere Reserve Model to Wilderness Areas. Illuminare. info:/http://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/illuminare/article/view/13341

  • June 27, 2015
  • 08:18 AM
  • 53 views

Probiotics, schizophrenia and inflammation

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I have to say that I was initially pretty interested to read the paper by Jakub Tomasik and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) discussing results examining the "possible immunomodulatory effects of probiotic supplementation in chronic schizophrenia patients."Interested because not only was this a partnership paper including Robert Yolken and Faith Dickerson on the authorship list (names who have appeared a few times on this blog) but also because of the subject matter extending som........ Read more »

  • June 27, 2015
  • 06:38 AM
  • 17 views

Friendly hello and a bit about stress & adult hippocampal neurogenesis

by cathlau in the Node

This is my first post for the Node, so I thought I would introduce myself a little bit… I just finished my MSc in Experimental Psychology (Behavioural Neuroscience) and now I am striving towards becoming a science communicator. Although, I would like to share the research that I am interested in and was involved in, […]... Read more »

Cohen, H., Zohar, J., Gidron, Y., Matar, M., Belkind, D., Loewenthal, U., Kozlovsky, N., & Kaplan, Z. (2006) Blunted HPA Axis Response to Stress Influences Susceptibility to Posttraumatic Stress Response in Rats. Biological Psychiatry, 59(12), 1208-1218. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2005.12.003  

Hanson, N., Owens, M., Boss-Williams, K., Weiss, J., & Nemeroff, C. (2011) Several stressors fail to reduce adult hippocampal neurogenesis. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 36(10), 1520-1529. DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2011.04.006  

Schoenfeld, T., & Gould, E. (2012) Stress, stress hormones, and adult neurogenesis. Experimental Neurology, 233(1), 12-21. DOI: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2011.01.008  

  • June 26, 2015
  • 05:50 PM
  • 66 views

A single mutation helped last year’s flu virus gain an advantage over the vaccine

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The 2014-2015 flu vaccine didn’t work as well compared to previous years because the H3N2 virus recently acquired a mutation that concealed the infection from the immune system. A new study reveals the major viral mutation responsible for the mismatch between the vaccine strain and circulating strains. The research will help guide the selection of viral strains for future seasonal flu vaccines.... Read more »

  • June 26, 2015
  • 12:33 PM
  • 51 views

Nervous Sea Squirts Squirt Out Their Stomachs and Grow New Ones

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



We may call someone gutless who's acting afraid. But certain coral-reef dwellers take gutless to a whole other level: they shoot their digestive tracts out of their bodies when they feel threatened. This seems to deter nearby fish from taking a bite. Even more amazing, though, is how quickly the gutless animals grow back their organs.

Polycarpa mytiligera is a little tube-shaped creature called an ascidian, or sea squirt. It resides in tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans. Wit... Read more »

  • June 26, 2015
  • 12:06 PM
  • 54 views

Study finds pet owners reluctant to face up to their cats’ kill count

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Cats are increasingly earning themselves a reputation as wildlife killers with estimates of animals killed every year by domestic cats in the UK numbering into the millions. This new study on the attitudes of cat owners suggests that proposals to keep cats indoors in order to preserve wildlife would not be well received.... Read more »

  • June 26, 2015
  • 12:06 PM
  • 47 views

Oak bump medicine

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

I own a couple of neat old medical books. One was published in 1935 and is entitled The Canadian Formulary. It's essentially a cookbook for pharmacists, particularly ones who plied their trade at the military hospital in Kingston, Ontario (there's a stamp on the inside cover). The book contains some interesting recipes, to say the least, which is what you get when your ingredient list includes arsenic, lead, mercury, strychnine, and chloroform.One recipe in particular that recently caught my eye........ Read more »

  • June 26, 2015
  • 04:31 AM
  • 52 views

Early sex differences are not autism-specific

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The title of this post mirrors the title of the paper published by Daniel Messinger and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) that reported on "younger sibling sex differences and proband sex differences on the odds of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] in a large sample of prospectively followed high-risk siblings."Researchers found that alongside "a three-to-one male:female odds ratio in ASD recurrence... the emergence of ASD symptoms in high-risk siblings—both with and without eventual AS........ Read more »

Messinger DS, Young GS, Webb SJ, Ozonoff S, Bryson SE, Carter A, Carver L, Charman T, Chawarska K, Curtin S.... (2015) Early sex differences are not autism-specific: A Baby Siblings Research Consortium (BSRC) study. Molecular autism, 32. PMID: 26045943  

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