Post List

Biology posts

(Modify Search »)

  • October 22, 2016
  • 03:10 PM

Red meat and organs may pose a significant health hazard

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Neu5Gc, a non-human sialic acid sugar molecule common in red meat that increases the risk of tumor formation in humans, is also prevalent in pig organs, with concentrations increasing as the organs are cooked, a study has found. The research suggests that Neu5Gc may pose a significant health hazard among those who regularly consume organ meats from pigs.

... Read more »

  • October 22, 2016
  • 06:00 AM

Does Effect Size Matter for fMRI?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

fMRI researchers should care about (and report) the size of the effects that they study, according to a new Neuroimage paper from NIMH researchers Gang Chen and colleagues. It's called Is the statistic value all we should care about in neuroimaging?. The authors include Robert W. Cox, creator of the popular fMRI analysis software AFNI.

Chen et al. explain the purpose of their paper:
Here we address an important issue that has been embedded within the neuroimaging community for a long tim... Read more »

  • October 22, 2016
  • 04:21 AM

Language and motor skills: preschool predictors of academic achievement in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A fairly quick post for your reading delight today as I bring the paper by Miller and colleagues [1] to your attention suggesting that: "Early intervention targeting language and motor skills may improve later achievement in this population."'This population' referred to a small cohort (N=26) of children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who were examined "at the approximate ages of two, four, and ten" years with regards to their academic achievement and the variables that might b........ Read more »

Miller LE, Burke JD, Troyb E, Knoch K, Herlihy LE, & Fein DA. (2016) Preschool predictors of school-age academic achievement in autism spectrum disorder. The Clinical neuropsychologist, 1-22. PMID: 27705180  

  • October 21, 2016
  • 03:15 PM

A new view of the immune system

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Pathogen epitopes are fragments of bacterial or viral proteins. Attached to the surface structure of cells, they prompt the body's immune system to mount a response against foreign substances. Researchers have determined that nearly a third of all existing human epitopes consist of two different fragments. Known as 'spliced epitopes', these types of epitopes have long been regarded as rare. The fact that they are so highly prevalent might, among other things, explain why the immun........ Read more »

Liepe, J., Marino, F., Sidney, J., Jeko, A., Bunting, D., Sette, A., Kloetzel, P., Stumpf, M., Heck, A., & Mishto, M. (2016) A large fraction of HLA class I ligands are proteasome-generated spliced peptides. Science, 354(6310), 354-358. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf4384  

  • October 21, 2016
  • 05:39 AM

Chest CT in patients with spontaneous pneumothorax is cost-effective

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

Patients that present with a spontaneous pneumothorax (SP) without a known medical history of lung disease are usually diagnosed as primary spontaneous pneumothorax - a pneumothorax that occurs without underlying diseases. However, underlying diffuse cystic lung diseases such as Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome (BHD), lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) and pulmonary Langerhans cell histiocytosis (PLCH) may have a spontaneous pneumothorax as their first symptom. In their new study, Gupta et al. (2016) evaluat........ Read more »

  • October 21, 2016
  • 04:37 AM

One more time: asthma and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm actually getting a little bored of talking about the various peer-reviewed research looking at a possible connection between asthma and autism on this blog. It's not that it isn't an interesting topic but rather that the data is coming in thick and fast suggesting that behaviour and physiology are not completely separate anymore.I did however want to direct you to the paper by Alessandro Tonacci and colleagues [1] who, following a systematic review "according to the PRISMA guidelines" s........ Read more »

Tonacci A, Billeci L, Ruta L, Tartarisco G, Pioggia G, & Gangemi S. (2016) A systematic review of the association between allergic asthma and autism. Minerva pediatrica. PMID: 27706122  

  • October 20, 2016
  • 01:51 PM

Oligodendrocyte selectively myelinates a particular set of axons in the white matter

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

There are three kinds of glial cells in the brain, oligodendrocyte, astrocyte and microglia. Oligodendrocytes myelinate neuronal axons to increase conduction velocity of neuronal impulses. A Japanese research team found a characteristic feature of oligodendrocytes that selectively myelinate a particular set of neuronal axons.

... Read more »

  • October 20, 2016
  • 04:32 AM

"Folinic acid improves communication in childhood autism"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin: "... in this small trial of children with non-syndromic ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and language impairment, treatment with high-dose folinic acid for 12 weeks resulted in improvement in verbal communication as compared with placebo, particularly in those participants who were positive for FRAAs [folate receptor-α autoantibody]."Those were the findings reported by Richard Frye and colleagues [1] (open-access) continuing a research theme from this group l........ Read more »

  • October 19, 2016
  • 01:01 PM

The Discovery of DNA Structure – Who Stayed in the Shadows of a Nobel?

by Rita Silva in United Academics

In 1962, the Nobel Prize of Medicine was given to Watson, Crick and Wilkins, for their finding of the double-helical structure of the DNA molecule. But who were the scientists overshadowed by the names of Watson and Crick?... Read more »

Leslie Pray. (2008) Discovery of DNA structure and function: Watson and Crick. Nature Education, 1(1). info:other/

  • October 19, 2016
  • 02:51 AM

Paracetamol for fever 'associated' with autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"In this study, we again show that acetaminophen use is associated with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."That was one of the results reported by Stephen Schultz & Georgianna Gould [1] (open-access available here) as part of their survey of the US "National Database for Autism Research (NDAR) of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)" looking at "whether ASD is associated with acetaminophen use." Acetaminophen by the way, is another name for paracetamol, the over-the-counter ........ Read more »

  • October 18, 2016
  • 08:22 PM

Autophagy in CSFV and ZIKV infected cells: persistence versus neurodegenerative disease

by thelonevirologist in Virology Tidbits

Zika Virus (ZIKV) was first isolated in 1947 from a sentinel monkey in Uganda and associated with human infection in 1954 when neutralizing antibodies were detected in the sera of residents in India, with antibodies also being found in residents from various African countries. ZIKV is mosquitoe-borne Flavivirus that is predominantly transmitted via Aedes Agypti, although sexual transmission (female to male, male to female, male to male) and transmission via blood transfusion has also been report........ Read more »

Pei J, Zhao M, Ye Z, Gou H, Wang J, Yi L, Dong X, Liu W, Luo Y, Liao M.... (2014) Autophagy enhances the replication of classical swine fever virus in vitro. Autophagy, 10(1), 93-110. PMID: 24262968  

Frankel LB, Lubas M, & Lund AH. (2016) Emerging connections between RNA and autophagy. Autophagy, 1-21. PMID: 27715443  

Zhang F, Hammack C, Ogden SC, Cheng Y, Lee EM, Wen Z, Qian X, Nguyen HN, Li Y, Yao B.... (2016) Molecular signatures associated with ZIKV exposure in human cortical neural progenitors. Nucleic acids research, 44(18), 8610-8620. PMID: 27580721  

Calvet, G., Aguiar, R., Melo, A., Sampaio, S., de Filippis, I., Fabri, A., Araujo, E., de Sequeira, P., de Mendonça, M., de Oliveira, L.... (2016) Detection and sequencing of Zika virus from amniotic fluid of fetuses with microcephaly in Brazil: a case study. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 16(6), 653-660. DOI: 10.1016/S1473-3099(16)00095-5  

Cauchemez S, Besnard M, Bompard P, Dub T, Guillemette-Artur P, Eyrolle-Guignot D, Salje H, Van Kerkhove MD, Abadie V, Garel C.... (2016) Association between Zika virus and microcephaly in French Polynesia, 2013-15: a retrospective study. Lancet (London, England), 387(10033), 2125-32. PMID: 26993883  

Cloëtta D, Thomanetz V, Baranek C, Lustenberger RM, Lin S, Oliveri F, Atanasoski S, & Rüegg MA. (2013) Inactivation of mTORC1 in the developing brain causes microcephaly and affects gliogenesis. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 33(18), 7799-810. PMID: 23637172  

Cugola FR, Fernandes IR, Russo FB, Freitas BC, Dias JL, Guimarães KP, Benazzato C, Almeida N, Pignatari GC, Romero S.... (2016) The Brazilian Zika virus strain causes birth defects in experimental models. Nature, 534(7606), 267-71. PMID: 27279226  

De Carvalho NS, De Carvalho BF, Fugaça CA, Dóris B, & Biscaia ES. (2016) Zika virus infection during pregnancy and microcephaly occurrence: a review of literature and Brazilian data. The Brazilian journal of infectious diseases : an official publication of the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases, 20(3), 282-9. PMID: 27102780  

Arroba AI, Rodríguez-de la Rosa L, Murillo-Cuesta S, Vaquero-Villanueva L, Hurlé JM, Varela-Nieto I, & Valverde ÁM. (2016) Autophagy resolves early retinal inflammation in Igf1-deficient mice. Disease models , 9(9), 965-74. PMID: 27483352  

McLean JE, Wudzinska A, Datan E, Quaglino D, & Zakeri Z. (2011) Flavivirus NS4A-induced autophagy protects cells against death and enhances virus replication. The Journal of biological chemistry, 286(25), 22147-59. PMID: 21511946  

Barrows NJ, Campos RK, Powell ST, Prasanth KR, Schott-Lerner G, Soto-Acosta R, Galarza-Muñoz G, McGrath EL, Urrabaz-Garza R, Gao J.... (2016) A Screen of FDA-Approved Drugs for Inhibitors of Zika Virus Infection. Cell host , 20(2), 259-70. PMID: 27476412  

Tang, H., Hammack, C., Ogden, S., Wen, Z., Qian, X., Li, Y., Yao, B., Shin, J., Zhang, F., Lee, E.... (2016) Zika Virus Infects Human Cortical Neural Progenitors and Attenuates Their Growth. Cell Stem Cell, 18(5), 587-590. DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2016.02.016  

Goodfellow FT, Tesla B, Simchick G, Zhao Q, Hodge T, Brindley MA, & Stice SL. (2016) Zika Virus Induced Mortality and Microcephaly in Chicken Embryos. Stem cells and development. PMID: 27627457  

Sir D, Kuo CF, Tian Y, Liu HM, Huang EJ, Jung JU, Machida K, & Ou JH. (2012) Replication of hepatitis C virus RNA on autophagosomal membranes. The Journal of biological chemistry, 287(22), 18036-43. PMID: 22496373  

Adams Waldorf, K., Stencel-Baerenwald, J., Kapur, R., Studholme, C., Boldenow, E., Vornhagen, J., Baldessari, A., Dighe, M., Thiel, J., Merillat, S.... (2016) Fetal brain lesions after subcutaneous inoculation of Zika virus in a pregnant nonhuman primate. Nature Medicine. DOI: 10.1038/nm.4193  

Metz P, Chiramel A, Chatel-Chaix L, Alvisi G, Bankhead P, Mora-Rodriguez R, Long G, Hamacher-Brady A, Brady NR, & Bartenschlager R. (2015) Dengue Virus Inhibition of Autophagic Flux and Dependency of Viral Replication on Proteasomal Degradation of the Autophagy Receptor p62. Journal of virology, 89(15), 8026-41. PMID: 26018155  

Ho HK, White CC, Fernandez C, Fausto N, Kavanagh TJ, Nelson SD, & Bruschi SA. (2005) Nrf2 activation involves an oxidative-stress independent pathway in tetrafluoroethylcysteine-induced cytotoxicity. Toxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology, 86(2), 354-64. PMID: 15901913  

Ravikumar, B., Sarkar, S., Davies, J., Futter, M., Garcia-Arencibia, M., Green-Thompson, Z., Jimenez-Sanchez, M., Korolchuk, V., Lichtenberg, M., Luo, S.... (2010) Regulation of Mammalian Autophagy in Physiology and Pathophysiology. Physiological Reviews, 90(4), 1383-1435. DOI: 10.1152/physrev.00030.2009  

Menzies FM, Fleming A, & Rubinsztein DC. (2015) Compromised autophagy and neurodegenerative diseases. Nature reviews. Neuroscience, 16(6), 345-57. PMID: 25991442  

Li, Y., Chen, B., Zou, W., Wang, X., Wu, Y., Zhao, D., Sun, Y., Liu, Y., Chen, L., Miao, L.... (2016) The lysosomal membrane protein SCAV-3 maintains lysosome integrity and adult longevity. The Journal of Cell Biology. DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201602090  

De Leo MG, Staiano L, Vicinanza M, Luciani A, Carissimo A, Mutarelli M, Di Campli A, Polishchuk E, Di Tullio G, Morra V.... (2016) Autophagosome-lysosome fusion triggers a lysosomal response mediated by TLR9 and controlled by OCRL. Nature cell biology, 18(8), 839-50. PMID: 27398910  

  • October 18, 2016
  • 04:32 AM

Chronic fatigue syndrome and the detrimental application of the 'biopsychosocial model'

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

'The times they are a changin'' said a Nobel prize winner and that's also a sentiment that seems true when it comes to chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyeltis (CFS/ME) too (see here for example).Anyone who has followed the tos-and-fros of the PACE trial - the one that suggested that CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and GET (graded exercise therapy) might provide some significant relief of symptoms associated with CFS/ME - will probably have heard the ........ Read more »

Geraghty KJ, & Esmail A. (2016) Chronic fatigue syndrome: is the biopsychosocial model responsible for patient dissatisfaction and harm?. The British journal of general practice : the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners, 66(649), 437-8. PMID: 27481982  

  • October 17, 2016
  • 02:01 PM

Cold medicine could stop cancer spread

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Bladder cancer is the seventh most common cancer in males worldwide. Every year, about 20,000 people in Japan are diagnosed with bladder cancer, of whom around 8,000--mostly men--succumb to the disease. Bladder cancers can be grouped into two types: non-muscle-invasive cancers, which have a five-year survival rate of 90 percent, and muscle-invasive cancers, which have poor prognoses.

... Read more »

  • October 17, 2016
  • 03:00 AM

Maternal obesity and offspring autism meta-analysed (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Meta-analyses eh? You spend ages waiting for one and two come along in quick succession. Well today I'm posting about yet another meta-analysis of the peer-reviewed scientific literature suggesting that "excessive maternal BMI [body mass index] is associated with an increased ASD [autism spectrum disorder] risk in offspring." [1]The review by Ying Wang et al follows hot on the heels of the meta-analysis by Li and colleagues [2] (see here for my take) but further looked a........ Read more »

  • October 16, 2016
  • 08:58 PM

Call me: female zebra finches prefer their mate’s call

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Social interactions are highly sought-after and rewarding in many animals... Even when social interactions involve only one of our senses, they are still rewarding. For example, we like looking at photos of our friends on Facebook, or hearing the voice of a faraway relative via telephone. It’s the same with other animals; not only is socialization rewarding and can be used as an incentive for learning, but just the sights, sounds, and even smells of others are also rewarding. Hernandez et ........ Read more »

  • October 16, 2016
  • 02:18 PM

Female brains change in sync with hormones

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Although it has already been known for some time that the brain does not remain rigid in its structure even in adulthood, scientists have recently made a surprising discovery. The brain is not only able to adapt to changing conditions in long-term processes, but it can do this every month.

... Read more »

Barth, C., Steele, C., Mueller, K., Rekkas, V., Arélin, K., Pampel, A., Burmann, I., Kratzsch, J., Villringer, A., & Sacher, J. (2016) In-vivo Dynamics of the Human Hippocampus across the Menstrual Cycle. Scientific Reports, 32833. DOI: 10.1038/srep32833  

  • October 15, 2016
  • 03:26 PM

Untangling a cause of memory loss in neurodegenerative diseases

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Tauopathies are a group of neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease that are characterized by the deposition of aggregates of the tau protein inside brain cells. A new study reveals that the cutting of tau by an enzyme called caspase-2 may play a critical role in the disordered brain circuit function that occurs in these diseases.

... Read more »

Zhao, X., Kotilinek, L., Smith, B., Hlynialuk, C., Zahs, K., Ramsden, M., Cleary, J., & Ashe, K. (2016) Caspase-2 cleavage of tau reversibly impairs memory. Nature Medicine. DOI: 10.1038/nm.4199  

  • October 15, 2016
  • 05:47 AM

Know your brain: Suprachiasmatic nucleus

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

Where is the suprachiasmatic nucleus?

the suprachiasmatic nucleus is represented by a small green area within the hypothalamus (indicated by red arrow).

The suprachiasmatic nuclei are two small, paired nuclei that are found in the hypothalamus. Each suprachiasmatic nucleus only contains approximately 10,000 neurons. The nuclei rest on each side of the third ventricle, just above the optic chiasm. The location provides the rationale for........ Read more »

  • October 15, 2016
  • 04:50 AM

Atopic dermatitis and the "increased risk of developing ADHD and ASD later in life"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm not gonna dwell too much on the findings reported by Lee and colleagues [1] talking about how "toddlers who suffer from AD [atopic dermatitis] at the age younger than 3 years are at a higher risk of developing ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] and ASD [autism spectrum disorder] during later childhood" because science already seems to understand that there may be an important connection between early allergic disease and later offspring behavioural/........ Read more »

  • October 14, 2016
  • 02:28 PM

High cholesterol triggers mitochondrial oxidative stress leading to osteoarthritis

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

High cholesterol might harm more than our cardiovascular systems. New research using animal models suggests that high cholesterol levels trigger mitochondrial oxidative stress on cartilage cells, causing them to die, and ultimately leading to the development of osteoarthritis.

... Read more »

join us!

Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.

If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.

Register Now

Research Blogging is powered by SMG Technology.

To learn more, visit