Today I bring the findings reported by Chou and colleagues  (open-access available here) to the blogging table and how the research might of the Taiwan National Health Insurance Database (NHIRD) brought it's 'big data' ("n = 23 422 955") to bear on the question: what is the risk of developing schizophrenia where one or more first-degree or other relatives are affected?The answer: "Having an affected co-twin, first-degree relative, second-degree relative, or spouse was associate........ Read more »
Chou IJ, Kuo CF, Huang YS, Grainge MJ, Valdes AM, See LC, Yu KH, Luo SF, Huang LS, Tseng WY.... (2016) Familial Aggregation and Heritability of Schizophrenia and Co-aggregation of Psychiatric Illnesses in Affected Families. Schizophrenia bulletin. PMID: 27872260
When you're doing two things at once - like listening to the radio while driving - your brain organizes itself into two, functionally independent networks, almost as if you temporarily have two brains. That's according to a fascinating new study from University of Wisconsin-Madison neuroscientists Shuntaro Sasai and colleagues. It's called Functional split brain in a driving/listening paradigm
In referring to 'split brains' in their title, Sasai et al. are linking their work to the litera... Read more »
Sasai, S., Boly, M., Mensen, A., & Tononi, G. (2016) Functional split brain in a driving/listening paradigm. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201613200. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1613200113
One central concept in the OMA project and other
work we do to infer relationships between genes is that of Hierarchical
Orthologous Groups, or “HOGs” for the initiated.
We’ve written several papers on aspects pertaining to HOGs—how to infer
how to evaluate them, they being
increasingly adopted by orthology
resources, etc.—but there is
still a great deal of confusion as to what HOGs are and why they matter.
Natasha Glover, talented postdoc in the lab,........ Read more »
Altenhoff, A., Gil, M., Gonnet, G., & Dessimoz, C. (2013) Inferring Hierarchical Orthologous Groups from Orthologous Gene Pairs. PLoS ONE, 8(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053786
Boeckmann, B., Robinson-Rechavi, M., Xenarios, I., & Dessimoz, C. (2011) Conceptual framework and pilot study to benchmark phylogenomic databases based on reference gene trees. Briefings in Bioinformatics, 12(5), 423-435. DOI: 10.1093/bib/bbr034
Sonnhammer, E., Gabaldon, T., Sousa da Silva, A., Martin, M., Robinson-Rechavi, M., Boeckmann, B., Thomas, P., Dessimoz, C., & , . (2014) Big data and other challenges in the quest for orthologs. Bioinformatics, 30(21), 2993-2998. DOI: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btu492
Where is the septum?
The term septum, when used in reference to the brain (it is a common anatomical term used to refer to a partition), indicates a subcortical structure in the forebrain that is found near the midline of the brain. The septum in humans can be separated into two structures: the septum pellucidum and septum verum. Each of these is sometimes........ Read more »
Sheehan, T., Chambers, R., & Russell, D. (2004) Regulation of affect by the lateral septum: implications for neuropsychiatry. Brain Research Reviews, 46(1), 71-117. DOI: 10.1016/j.brainresrev.2004.04.009
"Prescription drug use and polypharmacy rates among adults with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] are substantially higher than those in an age-, sex-, and race-matched cohort of adults without ASD."That sentence taken from the paper by Rini Vohra and colleagues  (open-access available here) is probably not likely to win any 'novel findings of the year' awards given the already quite voluminous data published on the medication use and autism (see here for example). What gives the ........ Read more »
Vohra R, Madhavan S, Sambamoorthi U, StPeter C, Poe S, Dwibedi N, & Ajmera M. (2016) Prescription Drug Use and Polypharmacy Among Medicaid-Enrolled Adults with Autism: A Retrospective Cross-Sectional Analysis. Drugs - real world outcomes. PMID: 27873285
"A total of 22 original papers that examined the association between folic acid supplementation in human pregnancy and neurodevelopment/autism were identified after the screening, with 15 studies showing a beneficial effect of folic acid supplementation on neurodevelopment/autism, 6 studies showed no statistically significant difference, while one study showed a harmful effect in > 5 mg folic acid supplementation/day during pregnancy."That rather long quote taken from the paper published by Y........ Read more »
Gao Y, Sheng C, Xie RH, Sun W, Asztalos E, Moddemann D, Zwaigenbaum L, Walker M, & Wen SW. (2016) New Perspective on Impact of Folic Acid Supplementation during Pregnancy on Neurodevelopment/Autism in the Offspring Children - A Systematic Review. PloS one, 11(11). PMID: 27875541
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are non-coding RNAs, roughly 22 nucleotides in size that are central and negative regulators of gene expression. They exert their functions through base-pairing with the 3’UTR of mRNAs and block expression at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels, depending on the perfect or imperfect match in sequences between miRNAs and their target genes. miRNAs are central nodes in a variety of biological processes like cell proliferation, apoptosis, migration and dif........ Read more »
Parodi F, Carosio R, Ragusa M, Di Pietro C, Maugeri M, Barbagallo D, Sallustio F, Allemanni G, Pistillo MP, Casciano I.... (2016) Epigenetic dysregulation in neuroblastoma: A tale of miRNAs and DNA methylation. Biochimica et biophysica acta, 1859(12), 1502-1514. PMID: 27751904
Does non-ionizing radiation pose a health risk? Everyone knows that ionizing radiation, like gamma rays, can cause cancer by damaging DNA. But the scientific consensus is that there is no such risk from non-ionizing radiation such as radiowaves or Wi-Fi.
Yet according to a remarkable new paper from Magda Havas, the risk is real: it's called When theory and observation collide: Can non-ionizing radiation cause cancer?
There are a few remarkable things about this paper but chief among th... Read more »
Havas, M. (2016) When theory and observation collide: Can non-ionizing radiation cause cancer?. Environmental Pollution. DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2016.10.018
It would be great if, before starting a therapy, it was possible to test small doses of several drugs, at the same time, in a patient and compare their effects on the tumor, so to identify the one that works best.
The study of Yaari and colleagues from the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, published in Nature Communication, opens a way to this achievement.... Read more »
Yaari, Z., da Silva, D., Zinger, A., Goldman, E., Kajal, A., Tshuva, R., Barak, E., Dahan, N., Hershkovitz, D., Goldfeder, M.... (2016) Theranostic barcoded nanoparticles for personalized cancer medicine. Nature Communications, 13325. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms13325
Identify everyone born in Denmark between 1985-2002. Identify those treated "in the primary care setting" for an infection. Identify those diagnosed with schizophrenia and affective disorders. Look-see whether there is an overlap between infection or treated infection and schizophrenia / affective disorders. Report results.That's basically the study published by Köhler and colleagues  (a name that has appeared on this blog before) who concluded that: "Infections treated with anti-infect........ Read more »
Köhler O, Petersen L, Mors O, Mortensen PB, Yolken RH, Gasse C, & Benros ME. (2016) Infections and exposure to anti-infective agents and the risk of severe mental disorders: a nationwide study. Acta psychiatrica Scandinavica. PMID: 27870529
It was inevitable ("it is your destiny") that I would formulate a post about the paper published by Khaled Saad and colleagues  reporting results based on "a double-blinded, randomized clinical trial (RCT)" looking at the potential usefulness of a vitamin D supplement on "the core symptoms of autism in children." Inevitable because the peer-reviewed research literature looking at the sunshine vitamin/hormone in relation to autism is getting rather voluminous (see here and see here f........ Read more »
Saad K, Abdel-Rahman AA, Elserogy YM, Al-Atram AA, El-Houfey AA, Othman HA, Bjørklund G, Jia F, Urbina MA, Abo-Elela MG.... (2016) Randomized controlled trial of vitamin D supplementation in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines. PMID: 27868194
Most neuroscientists will tell you that long-term memories are stored in the brain in the form of synapses, the connections between neurons. On this view, memory formation occurs when synaptic connections are strengthened, or entirely new synapses are formed.
However, in a new piece in Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, Austrian researcher Patrick C. Trettenbrein critiques the synapse-memory theory: The Demise of the Synapse As the Locus of Memory.
Trettenbrein acknowledges that "t... Read more »
Trettenbrein, P. (2016) The Demise of the Synapse As the Locus of Memory: A Looming Paradigm Shift?. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience. DOI: 10.3389/fnsys.2016.00088
Do not mess with Lois.Today I'm posting on the topic of the paper by Rose Nevill and colleagues  concluding: "that while most outcome domains of parent-delivered intervention are associated with small effects, the quality of research is improving."Parent-mediated interventions in relation to autism have been covered on this blog quite recently (see here) accompanied by that 'super-parenting' headline fail. Such approaches work on the idea that helping parents to "develop strategies........ Read more »
Nevill, R., Lecavalier, L., & Stratis, E. (2016) Meta-analysis of parent-mediated interventions for young children with autism spectrum disorder. Autism. DOI: 10.1177/1362361316677838
Lab protocols on Blastocystis culture, cryopreservation, and subtyping are now available in Wiley Online Library.... Read more »
Stensvold CR, & Clark CG. (2016) Molecular Identification and Subtype Analysis of Blastocystis. Current Protocols in Microbiology. PMID: 27858971
Clark CG, & Stensvold CR. (2016) Blastocystis: Isolation, Xenic Cultivation, and Cryopreservation. Current protocols in microbiology. PMID: 27858970
"I was at a conference, and a colleague was talking about the locomotion of great apes in the trees," says Lewis Halsey, a physiologist at the University of Roehampton in London. The colleague mentioned that it's tough to measure how these animals use energy. That's when Halsey had an epiphany. "I was working with parkour athletes on another project," he says, studying how much energy the athletes used while jumping and climbing around a city. Why not use these human athletes to stand in........ Read more »
Halsey LG, Coward SR, & Thorpe SK. (2016) Bridging the gap: parkour athletes provide new insights into locomotion energetics of arboreal apes. Biology letters, 12(11). PMID: 27881766
Matsutani et al. (2016) reported for the first time BHD syndrome accompanied by pulmonary arteriovenous malformation. The patient, a young male with no significant medical history, presented with chest pain. Chest X-ray and CT revealed emphysematous changes in both lungs and a tumour with pleural fluid. A thoracoscopy revealed dark red pleural fluid and multiple cysts in the lung. The tumour lesion was resected and identified as a non-malignant intrapulmonary hematoma caused by a significant hae........ Read more »
Matsutani, N., Dejima, H., Takahashi, Y., Uehara, H., Iinuma, H., Tanaka, F., & Kawamura, M. (2016) Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome accompanied by pulmonary arteriovenous malformation. Journal of Thoracic Disease, 8(10). DOI: 10.21037/jtd.2016.09.68
Gunji-Niitsu, Y., Kumasaka, T., Kitamura, S., Hoshika, Y., Hayashi, T., Tokuda, H., Morita, R., Kobayashi, E., Mitani, K., Kikkawa, M.... (2016) Benign clear cell “sugar” tumor of the lung in a patient with Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome: a case report. BMC Medical Genetics, 17(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12881-016-0350-y
by Piter Kehoma Boll Today’s Friday Fellow may not seem to be such an astonishing plant, but it has its peculiarities, some of them quite interesting. Commonly known as Indian shot, African arrowroot, purple arrowroot, and many other names, it … Continue reading →... Read more »
Cui, L., Ouyang, Y., Lou, Q., Yang, F., Chen, Y., Zhu, W., & Luo, S. (2010) Removal of nutrients from wastewater with Canna indica L. under different vertical-flow constructed wetland conditions. Ecological Engineering, 36(8), 1083-1088. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2010.04.026
Woradulayapinij, W., Soonthornchareonnon, N., & Wiwat, C. (2005) In vitro HIV type 1 reverse transcriptase inhibitory activities of Thai medicinal plants and Canna indica L. rhizomes. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 101(1-3), 84-89. DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2005.03.030
Yes, it is childish but...With all the continued chatter on a possible role for the collected gut microbiota - those wee beasties that inhabit our deepest, darkest recesses - in relation to some autism (see here for example), the paper by Roberta Grimaldi and colleagues  (open-access available here) provides yet more potentially important information.So, poo(p) samples were the starring material in the paper - "obtained from three non-autistic children and three autistic child donors"- and sp........ Read more »
Grimaldi R, Cela D, Swann JR, Vulevic J, Gibson GR, Tzortzis G, & Costabile A. (2016) In vitro fermentation of B-GOS: Impact on faecal bacterial populations and metabolic activity in autistic and non-autistic children. FEMS microbiology ecology. PMID: 27856622
"Dietary fiber deprivation, together with a fiber-deprived, mucus-eroding microbiota, promotes greater epithelial access and lethal colitis by the mucosal pathogen, Citrobacter rodentium."So said the findings reported by Mahesh Desai and colleagues  meriting an editorial in the publishing journal  as the sentiments of 'eating your greens' applies to some rather interesting [mouse] findings.Fibre (UK spelling) comes in various different forms typically categorised as soluble and insoluble d........ Read more »
Desai MS, Seekatz AM, Koropatkin NM, Kamada N, Hickey CA, Wolter M, Pudlo NA, Kitamoto S, Terrapon N, Muller A.... (2016) A Dietary Fiber-Deprived Gut Microbiota Degrades the Colonic Mucus Barrier and Enhances Pathogen Susceptibility. Cell, 167(5), 1339-2147483647. PMID: 27863247
Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecologic malignancy. After epigenomic analysis of patient tumors, aberrant DNA methylation patterns are universally observed in the most abundant histological subtype of ovarian cancer, high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC). These epigenetic modifications like DNA methylation are known to frequently affect gene regulation involved in cancer-related processes. Since epigenetic alterations are reversible in nature, these changes have emerged as attractive ta........ Read more »
Tomar T, de Jong S, Alkema NG, Hoekman RL, Meersma GJ, Klip HG, van der Zee AG, & Wisman GB. (2016) Genome-wide methylation profiling of ovarian cancer patient-derived xenografts treated with the demethylating agent decitabine identifies novel epigenetically regulated genes and pathways. Genome medicine, 8(1), 107. PMID: 27765068
Alkema NG, Wisman GB, van der Zee AG, van Vugt MA, & de Jong S. (2016) Studying platinum sensitivity and resistance in high-grade serous ovarian cancer: Different models for different questions. Drug resistance updates : reviews and commentaries in antimicrobial and anticancer chemotherapy, 55-69. PMID: 26830315
Hidalgo M, Amant F, Biankin AV, Budinská E, Byrne AT, Caldas C, Clarke RB, de Jong S, Jonkers J, Mælandsmo GM.... (2014) Patient-derived xenograft models: an emerging platform for translational cancer research. Cancer discovery, 4(9), 998-1013. PMID: 25185190
Alkema NG, Tomar T, Duiker EW, Jan Meersma G, Klip H, van der Zee AG, Wisman GB, & de Jong S. (2015) Biobanking of patient and patient-derived xenograft ovarian tumour tissue: efficient preservation with low and high fetal calf serum based methods. Scientific reports, 14495. PMID: 26440065
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