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  • June 29, 2015
  • 03:26 PM
  • 160 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
  • 08:00 AM
  • 143 views

Stand and Deliver: We Think Better on Our Feet — Literally

by Jeremiah Stanghini in Jeremiah Stanghini

Did you see the post from ScienceDaily a couple of months ago? As it turns out, we think better when we’re on our feet. Maybe more importantly though, given how much we tend to sit throughout the day, standing is a good way to … Continue reading →... Read more »

Dornhecker, M., Blake, J., Benden, M., Zhao, H., & Wendel, M. (2015) The effect of stand-biased desks on academic engagement: an exploratory study. International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, 1-10. DOI: 10.1080/14635240.2015.1029641  

  • June 29, 2015
  • 06:49 AM
  • 119 views

Cancer Breakthrough: New Devise Optomizes Lymphoma Treatment

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

CIVO tests cancer drugs in human lymphomas in only 72 hours.... Read more »

Klinghoffer, R., Bahrami, S., Hatton, B., Frazier, J., Moreno-Gonzalez, A., Strand, A., Kerwin, W., Casalini, J., Thirstrup, D., You, S.... (2015) A technology platform to assess multiple cancer agents simultaneously within a patient's tumor. Science Translational Medicine, 7(284), 284-284. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaa7489  

  • June 29, 2015
  • 04:57 AM
  • 155 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
  • 99 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
  • 01:34 PM
  • 125 views

Pharma Make The Most of A Negative Result

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A misleading piece of statistical rhetoric has appeared in a paper about an experimental antidepressant treatment. The study is published in the Journal of Affective Disorders. JAD is a respectable mid-ranked psychiatry journal - yet on this occasion they seem to have dropped the ball badly.



The study examined whether the drug armodafinil (Nuvigil) improved mood in people with bipolar disorder who were in a depressive episode. In a double-blind trial, 462 patients were randomized to treat... Read more »

  • June 28, 2015
  • 12:58 PM
  • 131 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 27, 2015
  • 07:26 PM
  • 125 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
  • 08:18 AM
  • 161 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 26, 2015
  • 05:50 PM
  • 168 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
  • 04:31 AM
  • 141 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  

  • June 25, 2015
  • 03:02 PM
  • 130 views

Synthetic biology used to engineer new route to biochemicals

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Living cells can make a vast range of products for us, but they don’t always do it in the most straightforward or efficient way. Shota Atsumi, a chemistry professor at UC Davis, aims to address that through “synthetic biology:” designing and building new biochemical pathways within living cells, based on existing pathways from other living things.... Read more »

  • June 25, 2015
  • 11:42 AM
  • 110 views

Bipolar Disorder: Novel Clinical Trials I

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

To finish out the bipolar disorder topic month I will review some of the novel clinical trials in this condition.Clinicaltrials.gov is a valuable resource in searching for active and recently completed clinical trials.Here are some of the rostered trials from this site related to bipolar disorder that caught my attention.Sensoril for Bipolar DisorderSensoril is the trade name for the natural product ashwagandha an herbal extract from the herb Withania somnifera. This trial was sponsored through ........ Read more »

  • June 25, 2015
  • 09:05 AM
  • 98 views

Allergies! Type I Hypersensitivity: When More Isn’t Better

by Julia van Rensburg in The 'Scope

How the immune system becomes hypersensitive to allergens and makes spring a little less pleasant for some.... Read more »

Kasaian MT, Meyer CH, Nault AK, & Bond JF. (1995) An increased frequency of IgE-producing B cell precursors contributes to the elevated levels of plasma IgE in atopic subjects. Clinical and experimental allergy : journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 25(8), 749-55. PMID: 7584687  

Takhar P, Smurthwaite L, Coker HA, Fear DJ, Banfield GK, Carr VA, Durham SR, & Gould HJ. (2005) Allergen drives class switching to IgE in the nasal mucosa in allergic rhinitis. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), 174(8), 5024-32. PMID: 15814733  

  • June 25, 2015
  • 04:47 AM
  • 133 views

Stalking and 'unexpected subthreshold autism spectrum'

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I deliberated for quite a while as to whether or not I should write this post on the back of the findings reported by Liliana Dell’Osso and colleagues [1] detailing the experiences of a "25-year-old man with a diagnosis of delusional disorder, erotomanic type" who was hospitalised when presenting with psychotic symptoms "in the framework of a repeated stalking behavior towards his ex girlfriend." Said man was assessed for "adult autism spectrum symptoms" via the Ritvo Autism and Aspe........ Read more »

  • June 24, 2015
  • 02:05 PM
  • 134 views

Oh, to have Dr. Facebook on call!

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

If it were up to Internet-savvy Americans, more of them would be emailing or sending Facebook messages to their doctors to chat about their health. That’s the result of a national survey led by Joy Lee of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US.... Read more »

  • June 24, 2015
  • 01:14 PM
  • 135 views

What your clothes may say about you

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Moving closer to the possibility of “materials that compute” and wearing your computer on your sleeve, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering have designed a responsive hybrid material that is fueled by an oscillatory chemical reaction and can perform computations based on changes in the environment or movement, and potentially even respond to human vital signs. The material system is sufficiently small and flexible that it could ultimately be integrated in........ Read more »

  • June 24, 2015
  • 11:02 AM
  • 115 views

Bipolar Disorder Link to Rheumatoid Arthritis

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Finding links between disorders felt to be distinct is a helpful tool in understanding genetics and pathophysiology. An example would be the discovery that individuals with genetically determined elevated cholesterol levels had higher rates of cardiovascular disease. This led to drug development of cholesterol lowering agents leading to reduced rates of cardiovascular disease and mortality.A recent population-based study from a research team in Taiwan identified an increased risk of bipolar........ Read more »

  • June 24, 2015
  • 04:51 AM
  • 151 views

Infant sleep duration a risk factor for autism spectrum behaviours in girls?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

To quote from the study results published by Janet Saenz and colleagues [1] (open-access available here): "less sleep duration in infant girls across a period of 5 days was predictive of higher ASD [autism spectrum disorder] scores on the BITSEA [Brief Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment] in toddlerhood."Based on a sample of 47 children - 29 males and 18 females - researchers initially studied sleep patterns for participants at 3-4 months of age using actigrap........ Read more »

  • June 23, 2015
  • 02:50 PM
  • 176 views

Consciousness has less control than believed, according to new theory

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Consciousness — the internal dialogue that seems to govern one’s thoughts and actions — is far less powerful than people believe, serving as a passive conduit rather than an active force that exerts control, according to a new theory proposed by an SF State researcher.... Read more »

Morsella, E., Godwin, C., Jantz, T., Krieger, S., & Gazzaley, A. (2015) Homing in on Consciousness in the Nervous System: An Action-Based Synthesis. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1-106. DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X15000643  

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