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  • January 15, 2015
  • 05:10 AM
  • 542 views

Maternal thyroid autoantibody and offspring autism risk

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I have, on this blog, previously mentioned the paper by Alan Brown and colleagues [1] suggesting that: "The prevalence of maternal TPO-Ab+ [thyroid peroxidase antibody] was significantly increased in pregnancies giving rise to autism cases (6.15%) compared to controls (3.54%)." It was during some discussion on the suggested diagnosis of Down syndrome disintegrative disorder (see here) and the idea that some signs and symptoms of regressive autism (?) might overlap with TPO antibodies i........ Read more »

Brown, A., Surcel, H., Hinkka-Yli-Salomäki, S., Cheslack-Postava, K., Bao, Y., & Sourander, A. (2015) Maternal thyroid autoantibody and elevated risk of autism in a national birth cohort. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 86-92. DOI: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2014.10.010  

  • January 14, 2015
  • 03:54 PM
  • 516 views

The hidden neurological impact of explosions on military members

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

More bad news for war Veterans, the brains of some Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans who survived blasts from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and died later of other causes show a distinctive honeycomb pattern of broken and swollen nerve fibers throughout critical brain regions, including those that control executive function. The pattern is different from brain damage caused by car crashes, drug overdoses or collision sports, and may be the never-before-reported signature of blast injuri........ Read more »

Ryu J, Horkayne-Szakaly I, Xu L, Pletnikova O, Leri F, Eberhart C, Troncoso JC, & Koliatsos VE. (2014) The problem of axonal injury in the brains of veterans with histories of blast exposure. Acta neuropathologica communications, 2(1), 153. PMID: 25422066  

  • January 14, 2015
  • 05:11 AM
  • 522 views

Autism research in Jamaica

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

For the past couple of years I've been tracking some rather interesting publications coming out of data from Jamaica on the topic of autism / autism spectrum disorder (ASD) specifically looking at the possible overlap between genes and various environmental factors. I thought now would be a good time to bring this collection of papers to the blogging table and summarise their findings based on the analysis of data collected from The Jamaican Autism study. The fact that their latest res........ Read more »

Rahbar MH, Samms-Vaughan M, Loveland KA, Pearson DA, Bressler J, Chen Z, Ardjomand-Hessabi M, Shakespeare-Pellington S, Grove ML, Beecher C.... (2012) Maternal and paternal age are jointly associated with childhood autism in Jamaica. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 42(9), 1928-38. PMID: 22230961  

  • January 13, 2015
  • 02:07 PM
  • 479 views

Genetic brain disorders start at the synapse

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

As we’ve seen from research featured here at the lab, there are many genetic disorders that cause intellectual disability and autism. Historically, these were viewed as untreatable. However, in recent years we have shown via animal models that it is possible to reverse the effects of these gene mutations. But the question remained whether different gene mutations disrupt common physiological processes. If this were the case, a treatment developed for one genetic cause of autism and intellectua........ Read more »

  • January 13, 2015
  • 04:58 AM
  • 468 views

Autism diagnosis as a predictor of slow colonic transit

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Slow colonic transit is all about issues with the speed of gastrointestinal (GI) motility and how as well as deriving nourishment from our food/drink, the other important task which our gut undertakes is the removal of waste, which it generally does pretty well. The paper by Zainab Ridha and colleagues [1] suggested that a diagnosis of autism might be over-represented when it came to their review of children referred for "nuclear transit studies", that is measuring bowel transit by mea........ Read more »

Ridha Z, Quinn R, & Croaker GD. (2014) Predictors of slow colonic transit in children. Pediatric surgery international. PMID: 25549892  

  • January 12, 2015
  • 08:26 PM
  • 1,269 views

Volcanic eruptions partially explain global warming hiatus

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

The well-known global warming hiatus since 2000 has been partially explained by recent data from satellite measurements showing that sulfate emissions from volcanic eruptions is reflecting incoming sunlight.... Read more »

Santer, B., Solomon, S., Bonfils, C., Zelinka, M., Painter, J., Beltran, F., Fyfe, J., Johannesson, G., Mears, C., Ridley, D.... (2014) Observed multi-variable signals of late 20th and early 21st century volcanic activity. Geophysical Research Letters. DOI: 10.1002/2014GL062366  

  • January 12, 2015
  • 05:08 PM
  • 702 views

Study shows rise in mass die-offs

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

You really don’t hear much about mass die-offs from mainstream news outlets; this might make you think they don’t happen that often. However, an analysis of 727 mass die-offs of nearly 2,500 animal species from the past 70 years has found that such events are increasing among birds, fish, and marine invertebrates. At the same time, the number of individuals killed appears to be decreasing for reptiles and amphibians, and is unchanged for mammals.... Read more »

Samuel B. Fey, Adam M. Siepielski, Sébastien Nusslé, Kristina Cervantes-Yoshida, Jason L. Hwan, Eric R. Huber, Maxfield J. Fey, Alessandro Catenazzi, & Stephanie M. Carlson. (2015) Recent shifts in the occurrence, cause, and magnitude of animal mass mortality events. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. info:/10.1073/pnas.1414894112

  • January 12, 2015
  • 10:24 AM
  • 724 views

Collective Personality and Our Environment

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

We are all familiar with the concept of the personality of an individual. We are less familiar with group- or collective personalities (although most teachers can tell you at length about the personalities of each of their classes). The concept is the same: whereas an individual personality relates to an individual’s consistent behaviors across time and contexts, a collective personality relates to a group’s consistent behaviors across time and contexts. Collective personalities can be stron........ Read more »

  • January 11, 2015
  • 08:02 PM
  • 903 views

Police Brutality And The Efficacy Of Body-Worn Cameras

by Alexis Delanoir in How to Paint Your Panda

In a study entitled "The Effect of Police Body-Worn Cameras on Use of Force and Citizen's Complaints Against the Police: A Randomized Controlled Trial," published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Ariel et al. review what is the first scientific report on the topic of whether or not police body-worn cameras work in terms of decreasing the rate of excessive force by police. As the title suggests, it also reviewed the effects of body-worn cameras on the rate of complaints ........ Read more »

  • January 11, 2015
  • 03:10 PM
  • 546 views

Being angry might be good for your health

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In the US and many Western countries, people are urged to manage feelings of anger or suffer its ill effects. We are raised to, for a large part, stifle our emotions and to “not be so angry.” However, new research with participants from the US and Japan suggests that anger may actually be linked with better, not worse, health at least in certain cultures.... Read more »

Kitayama S., J. M. Boylan, Y. Miyamoto, C. S. Levine, H. R. Markus, M. Karasawa, C. L. Coe, N. Kawakami, G. D. Love, & C. D. Ryff. (2015) Expression of Anger and Ill Health in Two Cultures: An Examination of Inflammation and Cardiovascular Risk. Psychological Science. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797614561268  

  • January 10, 2015
  • 03:54 PM
  • 474 views

Experiment showcasing humanity’s ‘dark side’ may offer a way to control it

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

It was an infamous experiment, one on obedience and reprehensible behavior done in 1961. With memories of Holocaust atrocities and the prosecution of Nazi officials at Nuremberg still fresh, psychologist Stanley Milgram made history. You may not remember the name per say, but chances are you know his work.... Read more »

  • January 10, 2015
  • 10:31 AM
  • 836 views

Neuromyths and the disconnect between science and the public

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

When the movie Lucy was released in the summer of 2014, it was quickly followed by a flurry of attention surrounding the idea that we only use 10% of our brains. According to this perspective, around 90% of our neurons lie dormant, all the while teasing us by reminding us that we have only achieved a small fraction of our human potential. In the movie, Scarlet Johansson plays a woman who takes an experimental new drug that makes her capable of using upwards of 90% of her brain. Due to this sudde........ Read more »

Howard-Jones, P. (2014) Neuroscience and education: myths and messages. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 15(12), 817-824. DOI: 10.1038/nrn3817  

  • January 9, 2015
  • 04:36 PM
  • 533 views

Humans keep the memories accurate by forgetting

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Your brain is a memory powerhouse, constantly recording experiences in long-term memory. Those memories help you find your way through the world: Who works the counter each morning at your favorite coffee shop? How do you turn on the headlights of your car? What color is your best friend’s house? But then your barista leaves for law school, you finally buy a new car and your buddy spends the summer with a paint brush in hand. Suddenly, your memories are out of date. So what do you do, forget a........ Read more »

Kim G, Lewis-Peacock JA, Norman KA, & Turk-Browne NB. (2014) Pruning of memories by context-based prediction error. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(24), 8997-9002. PMID: 24889631  

  • January 8, 2015
  • 05:33 PM
  • 599 views

Music takes the pain away post surgery

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In today’s society, when it is so easy to over medicate children and adults alike it is nice to finally read something that looks for an alternative option. This particular case deals with pain management in children post surgery and the study shows that pediatric patients who listened to 30 minutes of songs by Rihanna, Taylor Swift and other singers of their choosing — or audio books — had a significant reduction in pain after major surgery.... Read more »

  • January 8, 2015
  • 04:49 AM
  • 640 views

Abdominal discomfort syndrome in a subset of ME/CFS

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The findings show that ADS [abdominal discomfort syndrome] is a characteristic of a subset of patients with ME/CFS [Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome] and that increased bacterial translocation (leaky gut) is associated with ADS symptoms."Right there. God does not build in straight lines.So said the study by Michael Maes and colleagues [1] looking at both gastrointestinal (GI) symptom presentation in diagnosed cases of ME/CFS and "the IgA and IgM responses dire........ Read more »

  • January 7, 2015
  • 09:06 PM
  • 603 views

New antibiotic may help slow drug resistance

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Antibiotic resistance, a hot topic lately here at the labs, as evidence by this recent post. So it is fortuitous that I stumbled upon this little bit of research that suggests scientists (using a “revolutionary” approach) have devised an antibiotic that may offset the mounting problem of drug resistance for decades… hopefully.... Read more »

Ling LL, Schneider T, Peoples AJ, Spoering AL, Engels I, Conlon BP, Mueller A, Schäberle TF, Hughes DE, Epstein S.... (2015) A new antibiotic kills pathogens without detectable resistance. Nature. PMID: 25561178  

  • January 7, 2015
  • 04:55 AM
  • 513 views

Inflaming inflammation and autism: linking microglial activation and neuronal activity

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

It has been quite a few weeks since the publication of the paper by Simone Gupta and colleagues [1] (open-access) talking about "observations [that] provide pathways and candidate genes that highlight the interplay between innate immunity and neuronal activity in the aetiology of autism."I'm a wrecker. I wreck things, professionally. I mean.At the time of publication in early December (2014), there was quite a bit of media interest in the findings as per reports such as this one and th........ Read more »

  • January 6, 2015
  • 06:11 PM
  • 1,349 views

Tropical forests absorbing more carbon dioxide than previously thought

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

New analyses of theoretical models backed by experimental measurements indicate that tropical forests are absorbing much more CO2 than previously known!... Read more »

Schimel D, Stephens BB, & Fisher JB. (2014) Effect of increasing CO2 on the terrestrial carbon cycle. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 25548156  

  • January 6, 2015
  • 01:16 PM
  • 642 views

Lots of selfies may suggest you’re a narcissist

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Well I’ve got some bad news to all you selfie fanatics out there, a new study showed that men who posted more online photos of themselves than others scored higher on measures of narcissism and psychopathy. The study looked exclusively at men, however the men out there should have no fear, there is a follow up study being done with women as well.... Read more »

  • January 6, 2015
  • 04:40 AM
  • 566 views

Olanzapine, gut bacteria and weight gain in mice

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"These results collectively provide strong evidence for a mechanism underlying olanzapine-induced weight gain in mouse and a hypothesis for clinical translation in human patients."That was the summary statement derived from data published by Andrew Morgan and colleagues [1] (open-access) looking at how some of those trillions of wee beasties which colonise humans and animals (the microbiome) may very well influence response to medicines... at least in mice. The authors' specific focus on on........ Read more »

Morgan AP, Crowley JJ, Nonneman RJ, Quackenbush CR, Miller CN, Ryan AK, Bogue MA, Paredes SH, Yourstone S, Carroll IM.... (2014) The Antipsychotic Olanzapine Interacts with the Gut Microbiome to Cause Weight Gain in Mouse. PloS one, 9(12). PMID: 25506936  

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