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  • January 27, 2017
  • 05:13 AM
  • 459 views

TSC1 expression is affected by VHL alterations and HIF-1α production in clear-cell RCC

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

VHL genetic alterations do not affect the production of HIF-α in clear-cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). However, their effects on tuberous sclerosis proteins (TSC1/2) and heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) expression are currently unknown. In a recent study, Damjanovic et al. (2016) evaluated the impact of VHL genetic alterations and HIF-α production on the expression of TSC proteins and Hsp90 in 47 sporadic ccRCCs and corresponding normal tissues.... Read more »

  • January 27, 2017
  • 05:00 AM
  • 514 views

Friday Fellow: Black Bread Mold

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Today’s Friday Fellow lives in our houses and our gardens, among our food and our crops. And every time we notice it, we get upset, because it means that something we were supposed to eat is … Continue reading →... Read more »

Hernández-Lauzardo, A., Bautista-Baños, S., Velázquez-del Valle, M., Méndez-Montealvo, M., Sánchez-Rivera, M., & Bello-Pérez, L. (2008) Antifungal effects of chitosan with different molecular weights on in vitro development of Rhizopus stolonifer (Ehrenb.:Fr.) Vuill. Carbohydrate Polymers, 73(4), 541-547. DOI: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2007.12.020  

  • January 27, 2017
  • 03:07 AM
  • 280 views

Vitamin D deficiency and risk of dementia

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The results of this systematic review show that low vitamin D levels might contribute to the development of dementia."Whilst slightly off-topic when it comes to the core research material typically included on this blog, I did want to bring to your attention the systematic review and meta-analysis results published by Isolde Sommer and colleagues [1] (open-access) for your perusal. Although unable to "identify a single study investigating the association between sunlight exposure and demen........ Read more »

Sommer I, Griebler U, Kien C, Auer S, Klerings I, Hammer R, Holzer P, & Gartlehner G. (2017) Vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC geriatrics, 17(1), 16. PMID: 28086755  

  • January 26, 2017
  • 03:10 AM
  • 302 views

Andrew Whitehouse on challenging yet another autism status quo: diagnosis before intervention

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This paper provides an overview of the benefits and drawbacks of the current clinical pathway that places primacy on a diagnostic assessment for triggering the commencement of therapy. The paper then presents an alternative clinical pathway - the identification and provision of therapy to infants at risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] - and provides a critical review of current evidence supporting this model."So said the 'lecture paper' by Andrew Whitehouse [1] and, as per the titl........ Read more »

  • January 25, 2017
  • 08:10 AM
  • 289 views

A poo transplant for [some] autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I've talked about 'fecal microbial transplants' a.k.a the poo(p) transplant before on this blog (see here). That previous entry was about the more typical (and potentially life-saving) use of a poo transplant - where stool from one person is extracted, 'repackaged' and transferred to another person - albeit with caveats in terms of possible long-term side-effects. Now it appears that poo transplants are being investigated with something rather more central to the typical cont........ Read more »

  • January 25, 2017
  • 08:00 AM
  • 223 views

Asthma & Histone Acetylation: an important epigenetic mechanism in allergic diseases

by Daniel Potaczek in EpiBeat

Epigenetic regulation is thought to be one of the most important mechanisms contributing to the development and clinical course of chronic immunological diseases like allergies and asthma. DNA methylation has been extensively studied in this context, which has not been a case of histone modifications such as histone acetylation or methylation.

Early epigenetic studies from our lab conducted in mouse models demonstrated a role for histone acetylation in mediating bacteria-induced protection ag........ Read more »

Harb H, Alashkar Alhamwe B, Garn H, Renz H, & Potaczek DP. (2016) Recent developments in epigenetics of pediatric asthma. Current opinion in pediatrics, 28(6), 754-763. PMID: 27662207  

Harb, H., Amarasekera, M., Ashley, S., Tulic, M., Pfefferle, P., Potaczek, D., Martino, D., Kesper, D., Prescott, S., & Renz, H. (2016) Epigenetic Regulation in Early Childhood: A Miniaturized and Validated Method to Assess Histone Acetylation. International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, 168(3), 173-181. DOI: 10.1159/000442158  

Harb, H., Raedler, D., Ballenberger, N., Böck, A., Kesper, D., Renz, H., & Schaub, B. (2015) Childhood allergic asthma is associated with increased IL-13 and FOXP3 histone acetylation. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 136(1), 200-202. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2015.01.027  

Stefanowicz, D., Lee, J., Lee, K., Shaheen, F., Koo, H., Booth, S., Knight, D., & Hackett, T. (2015) Elevated H3K18 acetylation in airway epithelial cells of asthmatic subjects. Respiratory Research, 16(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12931-015-0254-y  

Harb, H., & Renz, H. (2015) Update on epigenetics in allergic disease. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 135(1), 15-24. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2014.11.009  

  • January 25, 2017
  • 02:56 AM
  • 272 views

Autism and visual impairment reviewed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Of the various autism science journals out there in peer-reviewed (La-La!) land, one journal in particular is really starting to grow on me: [The] Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.I like this journal because it is basically systematic review and meta-analysis heaven when it comes to the quite voluminous autism research literature and seems to publish some real gems (see here for example).Another paper from this journal caught my eye recently by Maggie Butchart and colleagues ........ Read more »

Butchart, M., Long, J., Brown, M., McMillan, A., Bain, J., & Karatzias, T. (2017) Autism and Visual Impairment: a Review of the Literature. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI: 10.1007/s40489-016-0101-1  

  • January 24, 2017
  • 11:52 AM
  • 294 views

Crowdfunding and Tribefunding in Science

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

Competition for government research grants to fund scientific research remains fierce in the United States. The budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which constitute the major source of funding for US biological and medical research, has been increased only modestly during the past decade but it is not even keeping up with inflation. This problem is compounded by the fact that more scientists are applying for grants now than one or two decades ago, forcing the NIH to enforce strict........ Read more »

Vachelard J, Gambarra-Soares T, Augustini G, Riul P, & Maracaja-Coutinho V. (2016) A Guide to Scientific Crowdfunding. PLoS Biology, 14(2). PMID: 26886064  

  • January 24, 2017
  • 10:44 AM
  • 353 views

Whip Spiders Use Their Feet to Smell Their Way Home

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



After a late dinner, a jungle-dwelling whip spider can't rely on an Uber driver to get her home. She has to find the way herself, in the pitch-black, picking her way over thick undergrowth to reach the tree she lives on. It's a trick she can even manage when plucked from her home tree and tossed into the forest at random, up to 10 meters away. Now scientists think whip spiders don't use her eyes for this homing feat—they use their feet.

Whip spiders hunt by night and hunker down at dawn ........ Read more »

  • January 24, 2017
  • 04:49 AM
  • 264 views

Fatty acids 'for autism'? Meta-analysis says probably not but...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Because of the limited number of included studies and small sample sizes, no firm conclusions can be drawn. However, the limited data currently available suggest that ω-3 FA [fatty acid] supplementation does not enhance the performance of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."Those were the conclusions reached in the systematic review and meta-analysis paper published by Andrea Horvath and colleagues [1] looking at the collected peer-reviewed literature on the topic up t........ Read more »

  • January 23, 2017
  • 02:45 AM
  • 288 views

Autism diagnoses (and diagnostic stability) in Germany

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"From 2006 to 2012, the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder diagnoses in 0- to 24-year-olds increased from 0.22% to 0.38%."That was one of the details included in the rather interesting paper by Christian Bachmann and colleagues [1] who provided some introductory information on the the trends in autism diagnoses in Germany. I say 'introductory information' because it appears that autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has not exactly received the research attention in Germany that it p........ Read more »

Christian J Bachmann, Bettina Gerste, & Falk Hoffmann. (2016) Diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders in Germany: Time trends in administrative prevalence and diagnostic stability. Autism: International Journal of Research . info:/10.1177/1362361316673977

  • January 22, 2017
  • 04:58 PM
  • 119 views

Nature Shapes Faithful and Unfaithful Brains

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

Among monogamous animals, some individuals are more faithful than others. Could these differences in fidelity be, in part, because of differences in our brains? And if so, why does this diversity in brain and behavior exist?A snuggly prairie vole family. Photo from theNerdPatrol at Wikimedia Commons.Prairie voles are small North American rodents that form monogamous pair bonds, share parental duties, and defend their homes. Although prairie voles form monogamous pairs, that does not mean they ar........ Read more »

  • January 21, 2017
  • 09:54 PM
  • 290 views

Don’t let the web bugs bite

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll If you think spiders are scary creatures, today you will learn that they are scared too. But what could scary a spider? Well, a web bug! We usually think of spider webs as an astonishing evolutionary … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 21, 2017
  • 03:25 AM
  • 313 views

"no evidence that the probiotic formulation is effective in treating low mood"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm a great believer in balance when it comes to this blog and its content. As enthusiastic as I might be about a particular topic or topics, I don't want to lose sight of the fact that peer-reviewed science is a messy business and often filled with contrary findings.With 'contrary' in mind, I want to talk today about a paper by Amy Romijn and colleagues [1] detailing the results of a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial of a probiotic mix which contained "freeze-dried L. helv........ Read more »

  • January 20, 2017
  • 05:19 AM
  • 253 views

RCC: Updates on Guidelines for Adjuvant Therapy and new drug combination

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

The European Association of Urology (EAU) Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC) guidelines panel has recently updated its recommendation on adjuvant therapy with sunitinib in non-metastatic RCC after surgical tumour removal (Bex et al., 2016). These clinical guidelines provide urologists with evidence-based information and recommendations for the management of RCC and the panel includes urological surgeons, oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and patient advocates. Based on the conflicting results of t........ Read more »

  • January 20, 2017
  • 05:00 AM
  • 271 views

Friday Fellow: Giant Kelp

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll This week we’ll stay in the sea and meet on of the most impressive algae, the giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera. It is called giant for a good reason, since it can grow up to 50 m in … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 20, 2017
  • 03:10 AM
  • 274 views

Diagnosing ME/CFS the machine learning way?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

In today's post I want to draw your attention to the findings reported by Diana Ohanian and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) talking about "the use of machine learning to further explore the unique nature"of various conditions/labels including those typically headed under the label of chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME).Including one 'Jason LA' on the authorship list, researchers set about looking at "what key symptoms differentiate Myalgic Encephalomyelitis ........ Read more »

  • January 19, 2017
  • 03:04 AM
  • 297 views

The correlates of regressive autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"A more homogeneous subgroup with regression between 18 and 36 months (n = 48) had higher rates of intellectual disability, epilepsy, and special education, more socially restrictive educational settings, and more severe ASD [autism spectrum disorder] communication deficits and schizophrenia spectrum symptoms than non-regressed youth (n = 136)."So said the findings reported by Kenneth Gadow and colleagues [1] taking on one of the more important issues in relation to autism: dev........ Read more »

  • January 18, 2017
  • 03:13 AM
  • 305 views

Physical activity levels and autism (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Adolescents with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] spent less time in MVPA [moderate and vigorous physical activity] compared to TD [typically developing] adolescents (29 min/day vs. 50 min/day, p < 0.001) and fewer met the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (14 vs. 29%, p > 0.05)."So said the study results published by Heidi Stanish and colleagues [1] adding yet more to another growth autism research area - physical activity and exercise - ........ Read more »

  • January 17, 2017
  • 05:05 PM
  • 251 views

Axl and GAS6: apoptotic mimicry and NLRP-3 inhibition during Zika Virus infection

by thelonevirologist in Virology Tidbits

Zika Virus (ZIKV) is a positive sense RNA virus that belongs to the Flavivirus genus of the Flaviviridae family that includes other human pathogens including Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), Yellow Fever Virus (YFV), West Nile Virus, Dengue Virus (DENV), Tick Borne Encephalitis Virus (TBEV), and Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV).
Although being first isolated in 1947, until recently ZIKV was not associated with severe disease; following the introduction of ZIKV in the Americas however, foetal ZIKV inf........ Read more »

Retallack H, Di Lullo E, Arias C, Knopp KA, Laurie MT, Sandoval-Espinosa C, Mancia Leon WR, Krencik R, Ullian EM, Spatazza J.... (2016) Zika virus cell tropism in the developing human brain and inhibition by azithromycin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(50), 14408-14413. PMID: 27911847  

El Costa H, Gouilly J, Mansuy JM, Chen Q, Levy C, Cartron G, Veas F, Al-Daccak R, Izopet J, & Jabrane-Ferrat N. (2016) ZIKA virus reveals broad tissue and cell tropism during the first trimester of pregnancy. Scientific reports, 35296. PMID: 27759009  

Quicke KM, Bowen JR, Johnson EL, McDonald CE, Ma H, O'Neal JT, Rajakumar A, Wrammert J, Rimawi BH, Pulendran B.... (2016) Zika Virus Infects Human Placental Macrophages. Cell host , 20(1), 83-90. PMID: 27247001  

Savidis, G., Perreira, J., Portmann, J., Meraner, P., Guo, Z., Green, S., & Brass, A. (2016) The IFITMs Inhibit Zika Virus Replication. Cell Reports, 15(11), 2323-2330. DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.05.074  

Brass AL, Huang IC, Benita Y, John SP, Krishnan MN, Feeley EM, Ryan BJ, Weyer JL, van der Weyden L, Fikrig E.... (2009) The IFITM proteins mediate cellular resistance to influenza A H1N1 virus, West Nile virus, and dengue virus. Cell, 139(7), 1243-54. PMID: 20064371  

Bailey CC, Zhong G, Huang IC, & Farzan M. (2014) IFITM-Family Proteins: The Cell's First Line of Antiviral Defense. Annual review of virology, 261-283. PMID: 25599080  

Meertens L, Carnec X, Lecoin MP, Ramdasi R, Guivel-Benhassine F, Lew E, Lemke G, Schwartz O, & Amara A. (2012) The TIM and TAM families of phosphatidylserine receptors mediate dengue virus entry. Cell host , 12(4), 544-57. PMID: 23084921  

Bhattacharyya S, Zagórska A, Lew ED, Shrestha B, Rothlin CV, Naughton J, Diamond MS, Lemke G, & Young JA. (2013) Enveloped viruses disable innate immune responses in dendritic cells by direct activation of TAM receptors. Cell host , 14(2), 136-47. PMID: 23954153  

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