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  • June 8, 2016
  • 07:22 AM
  • 223 views

Weird stuff found in recreational drugs: Alcohol edition

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

Today's post is the first in a series I'm going to write about extra ingredients found in illicit recreational drugs. One of the major issues with street drugs is their manufacture and distribution is often poorly regulated. This means they can accidentally become contaminated with all sorts of toxic substances during production. Additionally, a wide range of chemical compounds, some of them harmful, may be intentionally added to dilute a drug (like a bar watering down their drinks to make more ........ Read more »

Holstege CP, Ferguson JD, Wolf CE, Baer AB, & Poklis A. (2004) Analysis of moonshine for contaminants. Journal of Toxicology. Clinical Toxicology, 42(5), 597-601. PMID: 15462151  

  • June 8, 2016
  • 03:08 AM
  • 167 views

Stressed medial students and Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Our findings indicate that the daily consumption of probiotics such as LcS [Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota] preserves the diversity of the gut microbiota and may relieve stress-associated responses of abdominal dysfunction in healthy subjects exposed to stressful situations."So said the findings reported by Akito Kato-Kataoka and colleagues [1] who following the use of a "double-blind, placebo-controlled trial" method were able to potentially offer "healthy medical students undert........ Read more »

  • June 7, 2016
  • 05:40 PM
  • 241 views

Mobilizing mitochondria may be key to regenerating damaged neurons

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Mitochondria, sure it's the powerhouse of the cell, but maybe it can be much more that. At least that's what it looks like thanks to researchers at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke who have discovered that boosting the transport of mitochondria along neuronal axons enhances the ability of mouse nerve cells to repair themselves after injury.

... Read more »

Bing Zhou, Panpan Yu, Mei-Yao Lin, Tao Sun, Yanmin Chen, & Zu-Hang Sheng. (2016) Facilitation of axon regeneration by enhancing mitochondrial transport and rescuing energy deficits. Journal of Cell Biology. info:/10.1083/jcb.201605101

  • June 7, 2016
  • 03:09 AM
  • 191 views

Interest in romantic relationships is high in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

It's official: "the vast majority of high-functioning adults with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] are interested in romantic relationships." Yes, the scientific findings reported by Sandra Strunz and colleagues [1] have said as much.Sorry to be so sarcastic about them but coming from a place where the words 'the bleedin' obvious' are commonly used, I couldn't believe that in 2016 anyone would genuinely believe otherwise. Yes, I know the autism awareness et al message still has some........ Read more »

  • June 6, 2016
  • 01:52 PM
  • 206 views

The truth is out there: Scientists unlock X-Files DNA mystery

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Scientists have unlocked a crucial part of the mystery as to how our DNA can replicate and repair itself - something which is essential for all life forms. The new research has revealed how branched DNA molecules are removed from the iconic double-helical structure -a process which scientists have been looking to unlock for over 20 years.

... Read more »

AlMalki, F., Flemming, C., Zhang, J., Feng, M., Sedelnikova, S., Ceska, T., Rafferty, J., Sayers, J., & Artymiuk, P. (2016) Direct observation of DNA threading in flap endonuclease complexes. Nature Structural . DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.3241  

  • June 6, 2016
  • 11:50 AM
  • 184 views

Neuroscience Medicine: The Time Has Come

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

As basic and clinical sciences advance, it becomes increasing important to understand the role of multidisciplinary efforts in scientific progress. In this post, I propose rethinking and renaming the medically-related neuroscience disciplines into a new specialty called neuroscience medicine.Basic neuroscience research has evolved and emerged as a powerful discipline due to the increasing use of multidisciplinary research teams. Basic neuroscience involves collaboration of various scientifi........ Read more »

  • June 6, 2016
  • 03:00 AM
  • 188 views

C-reactive protein "may be a causal risk factor for schizophrenia"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Although the public perception of science is that researchers go around 'proving' or 'disproving' that A leads to B or X causes Y, it is still surprisingly rare to see the word 'causal' in many areas of peer-reviewed research. Aside from the fact that science generally works around the concept of 'probability' - producing data pertinent to discussions on whether something is more or less likely to be true/false - most science is not so forthright in its conclusions. Certainly science covering th........ Read more »

Inoshita M, Numata S, Tajima A, Kinoshita M, Umehara H, Nakataki M, Ikeda M, Maruyama S, Yamamori H, Kanazawa T.... (2016) A significant causal association between C-reactive protein levels and schizophrenia. Scientific reports, 26105. PMID: 27193331  

  • June 4, 2016
  • 03:40 AM
  • 198 views

Antibiotic brain part 2

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Mouse study finds link between gut bacteria and neurogenesis" went the press release accompanying the paper by Luisa Möhle and colleagues [1] (open-access). Describing the results of a mouse study - that's MOUSE study - researchers reported that "treatment of adult mice with antibiotics decreases hippocampal neurogenesis and memory retention."The antibiotic mix used on study mice was quite an aggressive one: "ampicillin plus sulbactam (1.5 g/l; Pfizer), vancomycin (500 mg/l; Cell Pharm), ........ Read more »

Luisa Möhle, Daniele Mattei, Markus M. Heimesaat, Stefan Bereswill, André Fischer, Marie Alutis, Timothy French, Dolores Hambardzumyan, Polly Matzinger, Ildiko R. Dunay.... (2016) Ly6Chi Monocytes Provide a Link between Antibiotic-Induced Changes in Gut Microbiota and Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis. Cell Reports. info:/10.1016/j.celrep.2016.04.074

  • June 3, 2016
  • 02:55 PM
  • 250 views

Zika virus directly infects brain cells and evades immune system detection

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The mosquito-borne Zika virus linked to microcephaly and other neurological problems in newborns of affected mothers directly infects the brain progenitor cells destined to become neurons. The team of researchers used a strain of Zika currently impacting the Americas, and found that the virus infects about 20 percent of cells on average, evades immune system detection, and continues to replicate for weeks.

... Read more »

  • June 3, 2016
  • 11:43 AM
  • 247 views

Anonymising and sharing patient data

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

Patient data is extremely valuable for biomedical and healthcare research. Collecting and sharing patient data globally can lead to several benefits such as better understanding diseases, identifying patterns in public health and disease, developing and monotoring drugs and treatments, allowing researchers to build on the work of others efficiently and finding suitable candidates to take part in clinical trials. However, concerns about privacy have been a barrier for making patient data availabl........ Read more »

El Emam K, Rodgers S, & Malin B. (2015) Anonymising and sharing individual patient data. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 25794882  

  • June 3, 2016
  • 04:56 AM
  • 191 views

The effects of acute exercise on ME/CFS/SEID meta-analysed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Accepting that the science recipe that is a meta-analysis is only as good as the research ingredients that go into it, I was interested to see the results published by Bryan Loy and colleagues [1] who concluded that: "preliminary evidence indicates that acute exercise increases fatigue in people with ME/CFS/SEID more than in control groups, but effects were heterogeneous between studies."ME - myalgic encephalomyelitis - and CFS - chronic fatigue syndrome - are conditions that I'm interested........ Read more »

  • June 2, 2016
  • 12:11 PM
  • 215 views

The Future of Neuroscience Education

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

I spent the majority of my career in medical education and saw significant changes over time.One encouraging sign was the emergence of neuroscience as a respected and beneficial academic discipline.Now, a new perspective on Neuroscience Training for the 21st Center has been written by Huda Akil and colleagues. This perspective is recently published in the journal Neuron with free access to the full-text manuscript.Here are my notes from reading this perspective. Readers can access the free full-........ Read more »

Akil, H., Balice-Gordon, R., Cardozo, D., Koroshetz, W., Posey Norris, S., Sherer, T., Sherman, S., & Thiels, E. (2016) Neuroscience Training for the 21st Century. Neuron, 90(5), 917-926. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.05.030  

  • June 2, 2016
  • 04:14 AM
  • 182 views

Neonatal pain 'causing' autism? I'm not so sure...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I wasn't actually going to talk about the paper by Jin Hwan Lee and colleagues [1] on this blog and the suggestion that: "severe inflammatory pain in neonates and persistent inflammatory reactions may predispose premature infants to development delays and psychiatric disorders including ASD [autism spectrum disorder]." I changed my mind however when a piece appeared on-line titled: 'New Autism Dispute: Is Circumcision a Factor?' with mention of 'ritual circumcision and autism' being ma........ Read more »

  • June 1, 2016
  • 03:30 PM
  • 227 views

New muscular dystrophy drug target identified

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Scientists have discovered that muscle cells affected by muscular dystrophy contain high levels of an enzyme that impairs muscle repair. This finding provides a new target for potential drug treatments for the disease, which currently has no cure. Muscular dystrophy (MD) is an inherited genetic condition that gradually causes a weakening of muscles.

... Read more »

  • June 1, 2016
  • 12:35 PM
  • 195 views

Pain Prevalence in Dementia

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The development of speech and language impairment in dementia presents barriers in many clinical domains.One important clinical domain is assessment and management of pain. Dementia may preclude spontaneous or interview-elicited pain reporting.A report today in MedicalXpress noted reduced reporting of pain in patients with diabetes and cognitive impairment.I was able to locate one free full-text manuscript reviewing the prevalence of pain in various types of dementias. This literature review fou........ Read more »

van Kooten J, Binnekade TT, van der Wouden JC, Stek ML, Scherder EJ, Husebø BS, Smalbrugge M, & Hertogh CM. (2016) A Review of Pain Prevalence in Alzheimer's, Vascular, Frontotemporal and Lewy Body Dementias. Dementia and geriatric cognitive disorders, 41(3-4), 220-32. PMID: 27160163  

  • June 1, 2016
  • 12:27 PM
  • 200 views

Breast Cancer Marker Awarded Amsterdam’s Most Innovative Idea

by Rita dos Santos Silva in United Academics

Health devices and big data ruled the Amsterdam Science & Innovation Awards 2016.... Read more »

  • June 1, 2016
  • 02:42 AM
  • 168 views

Language disorder and '2 children in every class'

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I read with great interest the paper by Courtenay Frazier Norbury and colleagues [1] concluding that: "At school entry, approximately two children in every class of 30 pupils will experience language disorder severe enough to hinder academic progress."With the aim of characterising "the impact of varying NVIQ [nonverbal IQ] criteria on prevalence, clinical presentation and functional impact of language disorder in the first UK population study of language impairment at school entr........ Read more »

  • May 31, 2016
  • 04:18 AM
  • 183 views

Cows milk protein intolerance and chronic fatigue syndrome

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Cow's milk protein intolerance is a common problem in young people with chronic fatigue syndrome, and is a treatable contributor to their symptoms."So said the paper by Peter Rowe and colleagues [1] who looked prospectively for signs of cow's milk protein intolerance (CMPI) in "55 adolescents and young adults with chronic fatigue syndrome" over the course of 2 years. Defining CMPI using 4 factors: "(1) no evidence of immediate or anaphylactic reactions to milk, (2) at least 2 of the following 3........ Read more »

  • May 30, 2016
  • 04:22 PM
  • 220 views

Google searches for 'chickenpox' reveal big impact of vaccinations

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Countries that implement government-mandated vaccinations for chickenpox see a sharp drop in the number of Google searches for the common childhood disease afterward, demonstrating that immunization significantly reduces seasonal outbreaks. That's one of the findings from a new study that analyzed thousands of Google searches for "chickenpox."

... Read more »

Bakker, K. M.,, Martinez-Bakker, M., Helm, B., & Stevenson, T. J. (2016) Digital epidemiology reveals global childhood disease seasonality and the effects of immunization . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. info:/

  • May 30, 2016
  • 03:04 AM
  • 187 views

Organic pollutants and behavioural severity in autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This study supports the hypothesis that environmental exposure to organic pollutants may play a significant role in the behavioral presentation of autism."Accepting that correlation is not the same as causation, the results published by Andrew Boggess and colleagues [1] (open-access here) make for some blogging fodder today and the idea that serum levels of various compounds headed under the description of organic pollutants (persistent or otherwise) might show some important connecti........ Read more »

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