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  • June 7, 2015
  • 12:10 PM

Babies who can resettle are more likely to ‘sleep through the night’

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Good news, for parents who see their babies “resettle” when they wake up. According to a video study, young infants who can “resettle” themselves after waking up are more likely to sleep for prolonged periods at night. Okay, maybe that’s bad news for parents who don’t have a baby who “resettles,” but it’s still good information.... Read more »

  • June 7, 2015
  • 09:05 AM

Therapeutic horseback riding for autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This is the first large-scale randomized, controlled trial demonstrating efficacy of THR [therapeutic horseback riding] for the ASD [autism spectrum disorder] population, and findings are consistent with previous equine-assisted intervention studies."So said the results of the study by Robin Gabriels and colleagues [1] who, under randomised controlled trial conditions, set about "evaluating the effectiveness of therapeutic horseback riding (THR) on self-regulation, soci........ Read more »

  • June 6, 2015
  • 12:47 PM

That daily soda or sugary drink habit may be punishing your liver

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

If you enjoy a daily soda, or other tasty sugar filled drink, you may want to put it down. New research shows that a daily sugar-sweetened beverage habit may increase the risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The study comes from researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts University and is bad news for anyone who loves sugary drinks.... Read more »

  • June 5, 2015
  • 04:09 PM

Why good people do bad things

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Honest behavior is much like sticking to a diet. When facing an ethical dilemma, being aware of the temptation before it happens and thinking about the long-term consequences of misbehaving could help more people do the right thing, according to a new study. This is the first study to test how the two separate factors of identifying an ethical conflict and preemptively exercising self-control interact in shaping ethical decision-making.... Read more »

  • June 5, 2015
  • 02:34 PM

Dietary supplementation and autism (and the horror of a GFCF diet)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

As perhaps expected, the results reported by Patricia Stewart and colleagues [1] suggesting that: "Few children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] need most of the micronutrients they are commonly given as supplements, which often leads to excess intake" has generated some interesting media headlines given their mention of the words "gluten/casein-free diet (GFCF)".A case in point is an article titled: 'Autism Diets' Do Not Provide Children With Adequate Supplementation, Can Lead To O........ Read more »

Patricia A. Stewart, Susan L. Hyman, Brianne L. Schmidt, Eric A. Macklin, Ann Reynolds, Cynthia R. Johnson, S. Jill James, & Patricia Manning-Courtney. (2015) Dietary Supplementation in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Common, Insufficient, and Excessive. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. info:/

  • June 5, 2015
  • 11:04 AM

Bipolar Disorder Guidelines: NICE Update

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Clinicians treating bipolar disorder and patients with a bipolar disorder diagnosis are aided by the availability of expert opinion guidelines.In the last post, I reviewed a study that found decreased rates of suicidal behavior in bipolar patients treated with antidepressant drugs.This review prompted me to look for a recent consensus update on assessment and treatment of bipolar. One recent update came from the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence or NICE. This guideline is free........ Read more »

Kendall T, Morriss R, Mayo-Wilson E, Marcus E, & Guideline Development Group of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. (2014) Assessment and management of bipolar disorder: summary of updated NICE guidance. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 25258392  

  • June 5, 2015
  • 04:56 AM

Enterovirus encephalitis increases risk of ADHD

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Patients with EV [enterovirus] encephalitis have an increased risk of developing ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder]."So said the findings from Chou and colleagues [1] (open-access here) based on data derived from everyone's favourite 'big data' database - the National Health Insurance Research Database of Taiwan (see here for one of many examples of the database being put to good research use)."The study population consisted of 2646 children diagnosed with ADHD and 2........ Read more »

  • June 4, 2015
  • 02:15 PM

Eating the placenta: trendy but no proven health benefits and unknown risks

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Celebrities such as Kourtney Kardashian blogged and raved about the benefits of their personal placenta ‘vitamins’ and spiked women’s interest in the practice of consuming their placentas after childbirth.

But a new Northwestern Medicine review of 10 current published research studies on placentophagy did not turn up any human or animal data to support the common claims that eating the placenta — either raw, cooked or encapsulated — offers protection against po........ Read more »

  • June 4, 2015
  • 01:28 PM

DNA breakage underlies both learning, age-related damage

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The process that allows our brains to learn and generate new memories also leads to degeneration as we age, according to a new study. The finding could ultimately help researchers develop new approaches to preventing cognitive decline in disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Each time we learn something new, our brain cells break their DNA, creating damage that the neurons must immediately repair.... Read more »

Ram Madabhushi, Fan Gao, Andreas R. Pfenning, Ling Pan, Satoko Yamakawa, Jinsoo Seo, Richard Rueda, Trongha X. Phan, Hidekuni Yamakawa, Ping-Chieh Pao.... (2015) Activity-Induced DNA Breaks Govern the Expression of Neuronal Early-Response Genes. Cell. DOI:  

  • June 4, 2015
  • 10:58 AM

Antidepressants Linked to Lower Suicide in Bipolar Disorder

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Bipolar disorder is known to have a marked increased lifetime risk for suicide.There has been limited study of the effect of specific interventions in the risk of suicidal behavior and completed suicide.A recent study has added to our understanding of this topic using data from the Collaborative Depression Study or CDS.The CDS is a large longitudinal stud funded by the NIMH that enrolled a large sample of subjects with bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder and unipolar depression.Subject were ........ Read more »

Leon AC, Fiedorowicz JG, Solomon DA, Li C, Coryell WH, Endicott J, Fawcett J, & Keller MB. (2014) Risk of suicidal behavior with antidepressants in bipolar and unipolar disorders. The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 75(7), 720-7. PMID: 25093469  

  • June 4, 2015
  • 05:15 AM

Clinical course of schizophrenia and Toxoplasma gondii infection

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Regular readers of this blog probably know that I'm quite interested in the idea that the parasitic organism known as Toxoplasma gondii might have some rather interesting 'connections' to the presentation of [some] schizophrenia (see here). That the cat that might be sat in front of you as you read this post might have the ability to 'share' such a marvellous organism such as T. gondii as per the 'feline zoonosis theory of schizophrenia' (see here) is another aspect that has been also been ........ Read more »

  • June 3, 2015
  • 03:49 PM

What musical taste tells us about social class

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Love the opera? Hungry for hip hop? It turns out that your musical likes and dislikes may say more about you than you think, according to UBC research. Even in 2015, social class continues to inform our cultural attitudes and the way we listen to music, according to the study. “Breadth of taste is not linked […]... Read more »

  • June 3, 2015
  • 11:29 AM

Measles-induced immune amnesia

by Aurelie in Coffee break Science

Measles is no trifling childhood disease. The virus is extremely contagious, and measles infection can have severe complications, such as pneumonia, encephalitis, brain damage, and death. Now, a recent study published in Science suggests that measles can also leave children… Continue reading →... Read more »

  • June 3, 2015
  • 08:15 AM

Clinical Sequencing Data Sharing Is Essential

by Daniel Koboldt in Massgenomics

The past few decades have seen rapid advances in our knowledge of genetic diseases, which affect an estimated 25 million Americans. These advances can be quantified in things like the growth of dbSNP (now contains about 90 million validated genetic variants) and the number of Mendelian disorders understood at the genetic level (over 5,000). Some of the […]... Read more »

Rehm HL, Berg JS, Brooks LD, Bustamante CD, Evans JP, Landrum MJ, Ledbetter DH, Maglott DR, Martin CL, Nussbaum RL.... (2015) ClinGen - The Clinical Genome Resource. The New England journal of medicine. PMID: 26014595  

  • June 3, 2015
  • 04:31 AM

Antimitochondrial antibodies and autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The current study demonstrated significantly high levels of AMA-M2 [antimitochondrial antibodies subtype 2] in autistic subjects when compared with healthy controls. Further large-scale studies are required to dissect any pathogenic role of these antibodies in the development of autism."Accepting that 'healthy controls' is not the terminology that I personally would use to describe 'not-autism' control participants and to 'dissect' findings perhaps conjures up some rather gruesome ima........ Read more »

  • June 2, 2015
  • 03:41 PM

Neurobiology of Child Neglect/Abuse: Nemeroff Lecture Notes

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

I had the opportunity to attend the Warren Neuroscience Lecture presented by Dr. Charles Nemeroff in Tulsa, OK on June 2, 2015.Dr. Nemeroff has been an international leader in research in mood and anxiety disorders. His recent focus has been on the effects of adverse childhood environments on risk for adult mood and anxiety disorders. Here are my notes that summarize some of the key points from his lecture.Introduction:Stress is an important factor in understanding depressionEarly life stre........ Read more »

  • June 2, 2015
  • 06:48 AM

The Benefits Of A Herpes Infection

by Rebekah Morrow in United Academics

Herpes boosts the immune system and helps fight off other viruses.... Read more »

Furman, D., Jojic, V., Sharma, S., Shen-Orr, S., L. Angel, C., Onengut-Gumuscu, S., Kidd, B., Maecker, H., Concannon, P., Dekker, C.... (2015) Cytomegalovirus infection enhances the immune response to influenza. Science Translational Medicine, 7(281), 281-281. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaa2293  

  • June 2, 2015
  • 04:52 AM

Yokukansan and treatment-resistant schizophrenia?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'll freely admit that I'm no expert on yokukansan (YKS), the "traditional Asian herbal medicine" that comprises Atractylodis lanceae Rhizoma, Poria, Cnidii Rhizoma, Uncariae Uncis cum Ramulus, Angelicae Radix, Bupleuri Radix and Glycyrrhizae Radix. Yokukansan, in some circles also known as TJ-54, has however cropped up on my autism research radar before as per the very preliminary findings reported by Miyaoka and colleagues [1] (open-access) a few years back suggesting that the h........ Read more »

Miyaoka T, Furuya M, Horiguchi J, Wake R, Hashioka S, Thoyama M, Murotani K, Mori N, Minabe Y, Iyo M.... (2015) Efficacy and safety of yokukansan in treatment-resistant schizophrenia: a randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 201592. PMID: 25954314  

  • June 2, 2015
  • 01:46 AM

Possible link between Alzheimer's disease and disrupted sleep-dependent memory consolidation?

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

It has been well established that certain kinds of sleep consolidate certain kinds of memory. Mander and colleagues (2015) discovered that in older adults, beta-amyloid (the main component of amyloid plagues found in Alzheimer's disease) appears to disrupt slow wave activity in the medial frontal cortex during NREM sleep, which then impairs hippocampus-based memory consolidation. It would also be interesting to investigate possible disruptions in thalamic sleep spindle activity to see how this m........ Read more »

  • June 1, 2015
  • 03:20 PM

How does human behavior lead to surgical errors? Researchers count the ways

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Why are major surgical errors called “never events?” Because they shouldn’t happen — but do. Mayo Clinic researchers identified 69 never events among 1.5 million invasive procedures performed over five years and detailed why each occurred. Using a system created to investigate military plane crashes, they coded the human behaviors involved to identify any environmental, organizational, job and individual characteristics that led to the never events.... Read more »

Cornelius A. Thiels, DO, Tarun Mohan Lal, MS, Joseph M. Nienow, MBA, Kalyan S. Pasupathy, PhD, Renaldo C. Blocker, PhD, Johnathon M. Aho, MD, Timothy I. Morgenthaler, MD, Robert R. Cima, MD, Susan Hallbeck, PhD, & Juliane Bingener. (2015) Surgical never events and contributing human factors . Surgery . info:/

Cima RR, Kollengode A, Clark J, Pool S, Weisbrod C, Amstutz GJ, & Deschamps C. (2011) Using a data-matrix-coded sponge counting system across a surgical practice: impact after 18 months. Joint Commission journal on quality and patient safety / Joint Commission Resources, 37(2), 51-8. PMID: 21939132  

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