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  • February 28, 2017
  • 03:00 PM
  • 309 views

A Weekend Camping Trip Is Enough to Reset Your Internal Clock

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Humans have been fighting our internal clocks ever since we invented sitting around a campfire. We have powerful natural rhythms that keep us on a 24-hour cycle; if you've ever been steamrollered by jet lag after an intercontinental flight, you know how powerful those rhythms are. But we muffle them with caffeine, alarm clocks, and electric lights. It's easy to undo the damage, though. One weekend of camping can do the trick—and it'll even cure your case of the Mondays.



In 2013, rese........ Read more »

Stothard ER, McHill AW, Depner CM, Birks BR, Moehlman TM, Ritchie HK, Guzzetti JR, Chinoy ED, LeBourgeois MK, Axelsson J.... (2017) Circadian Entrainment to the Natural Light-Dark Cycle across Seasons and the Weekend. Current biology : CB, 27(4), 508-513. PMID: 28162893  

  • February 28, 2017
  • 03:42 AM
  • 328 views

Premature mortality in intellectual disability in Australia (and England)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Adults with ID [intellectual disability] experience premature mortality and over-representation of potentially avoidable deaths."The paper by Julian Trollor and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) provides some sombre reading today, as once again the topic of early mortality is raised on this blog. Looking at several measures - the "Age Standardised Mortality Rate (ASMR), Comparative Mortality Figure (CMF), years of productive life lost (YPLL) and proportion of deaths with pot........ Read more »

  • February 27, 2017
  • 06:29 AM
  • 400 views

Know your brain: Mammillary bodies

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

Where are the mammillary bodies?























The mammillary bodies are part of the diencephalon, which is a collection of structures found between the brainstem and cerebrum. The diencephalon includes the hypothalamus, and the mammillary bodies are found on the inferior surface of the hypothalamus (the side of the hypothalamus that is closer to the brainstem). The mam........ Read more »

Vann SD, & Aggleton JP. (2004) The mammillary bodies: two memory systems in one?. Nature reviews. Neuroscience, 5(1), 35-44. PMID: 14708002  

  • February 27, 2017
  • 04:16 AM
  • 354 views

Low muscle tone and autistic traits

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This large study showed a prospective association of infant muscle tone with autistic traits in childhood."So said the findings reported by Fadila Serdarevic and colleagues [1] who, looking at nearly 3000 children, were able to assess early motor development and muscle tone "between ages 2 and 5 months" and later parental ratings of autistic traits in children at 6 years of age. Said autistic traits were surveyed using the "the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) and the Pervasive Developmental P........ Read more »

Serdarevic F, Ghassabian A, van Batenburg-Eddes T, White T, Blanken LM, Jaddoe VW, Verhulst FC, & Tiemeier H. (2017) Infant muscle tone and childhood autistic traits: A longitudinal study in the general population. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. PMID: 28181411  

  • February 25, 2017
  • 05:07 AM
  • 385 views

1 in 5 children "met criteria for low language at 7 years"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Although primarily looking at the potential predictors of language outcome, the study results published by Cristina McKean and colleagues [1] revealed the rather important title heading this blog entry: "Almost 19% of children (22/1204;18.9%) met criteria for low language at 7 years."The source of the finding was a cohort of some 1900 infants "recruited at age 8 to 10 months" who were followed until aged 7 years old and subject to quite a bit of research inspection looking at "early life factors........ Read more »

McKean C, Reilly S, Bavin EL, Bretherton L, Cini E, Conway L, Cook F, Eadie P, Prior M, Wake M.... (2017) Language Outcomes at 7 Years: Early Predictors and Co-Occurring Difficulties. Pediatrics. PMID: 28179482  

  • February 24, 2017
  • 07:18 PM
  • 445 views

Symbiote Separation: Coral Bleaching and Climate Change

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

It’s been a while since I’ve broken down some studies for you, so I took on a big one.I’m sure you’ve heard of coral bleaching. What is it? Why does it happen? Why does it matter? To start off, you need to know a little bit more about the individuals that make up a head (fan, whip, etc.): the polyp. Coral polyps look like tiny plants but are actually tiny animals (less than ½ an inch in diameter). They produce calcium carbonate to create a protective shell or skeleton that, when thousan........ Read more »

  • February 24, 2017
  • 07:00 AM
  • 350 views

Friday Fellow: B. coli

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll It’s time to give more space for parasites, including human parasites! So today our fellow comes right from the stool of many mammals, including humans. Its name is Balantidium coli, or B. coli for short. B. coli is … Continue reading →... Read more »

Schuster, F., & Ramirez-Avila, L. (2008) Current World Status of Balantidium coli. Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 21(4), 626-638. DOI: 10.1128/CMR.00021-08  

  • February 24, 2017
  • 04:07 AM
  • 376 views

Say my name

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"At 9 months of age, infants developing ASD [autism spectrum disorder] were more likely to fail to orient to their names, persisting through 24 months."So said the findings reported by Meghan Miller and colleagues [1] investigating an often over-looked but typically informative question relevant to childhood autism screening and assessment: the response to name. Anyone who knows a little about instruments such as the ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) will already know ........ Read more »

Miller M, Iosif AM, Hill M, Young GS, Schwichtenberg AJ, & Ozonoff S. (2017) Response to Name in Infants Developing Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Prospective Study. The Journal of pediatrics. PMID: 28162768  

  • February 23, 2017
  • 03:59 AM
  • 415 views

"Autoimmune epilepsy is an underrecognized condition..."

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Among adult patients with epilepsy of unknown etiology, a significant minority had detectable serum Abs [autoantibodies] suggesting an autoimmune etiology."So said the findings reported by Divyanshu Dubey and colleagues [1] continuing a research theme previously discussed on this blog (see here) on how epilepsy / seizure-type disorder(s) for some might have more to do with immune function than many people might think.OK, a brief bit of background: epilepsy is a blanket term cover........ Read more »

Dubey D, Alqallaf A, Hays R, Freeman M, Chen K, Ding K, Agostini M, & Vernino S. (2017) Neurological Autoantibody Prevalence in Epilepsy of Unknown Etiology. JAMA neurology. PMID: 28166327  

  • February 22, 2017
  • 08:18 AM
  • 367 views

Hydrolagus erithacus: New Species of Ghost Shark Discovered

by beredim in Strange Animals



Kristin Walovich holds the newly described species of ghost shark
Photo Credit: Kristin Walovich




Researchers recently announced the discovery of a new species of ghost shark, Hydrolagus erithacus. Ghost sharks - which aren’t actually sharks but instead their closest living relatives - are an extraordinarily rare sighting. Actually, it was just a few months ago, when a ghost shark was filmed... Read more »

  • February 22, 2017
  • 05:20 AM
  • 441 views

History of bipolar disorder = elevated risk of dementia: is vitamin D important?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"History of BD [bipolar disorder] is associated with significantly higher risk of dementia in older adults."So said the systematic review and meta-analysis published by Breno Diniz and colleagues [1] taking in the accumulated peer-reviewed literature on this topic. Including data for some 3000 individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder and nearly 200,000 controls (without bipolar disorder), authors calculated something of a significantly higher risk of dementia in those with a do........ Read more »

Diniz BS, Teixeira AL, Cao F, Gildengers A, Soares JC, Butters MA, & Reynolds CF 3rd. (2017) History of Bipolar Disorder and the Risk of Dementia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. The American journal of geriatric psychiatry : official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. PMID: 28161155  

  • February 21, 2017
  • 10:00 PM
  • 359 views

Redrawing Ratite Relationships

by Jente Ottenburghs in Evolutionary Stories

Scientists have sequenced the DNA of two extinct birds: the moa and the elephantbird. Comparison with their living relatives led to some surprising findings.... Read more »

Maderspacher F. (2017) Evolution: Flight of the Ratites. Current biology : CB, 27(3). PMID: 28171755  

Yonezawa T, Segawa T, Mori H, Campos PF, Hongoh Y, Endo H, Akiyoshi A, Kohno N, Nishida S, Wu J.... (2017) Phylogenomics and Morphology of Extinct Paleognaths Reveal the Origin and Evolution of the Ratites. Current biology : CB, 27(1), 68-77. PMID: 27989673  

  • February 21, 2017
  • 10:02 AM
  • 456 views

Who Can Swim Further: A Race to the Depths and Back (A Guest Post)

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

By Jefferson LeThe blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is the largest mammal on the planet. Image byNMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NOAA) available at Wikimedia Commons.Helloooooo! My name is Bailey and I am a 25 meter long blue whale, the largest living mammal on Earth! My friend Finley, a 21 meter long fin whale comes in second for largest in size. We had an interesting adventure recently where we were followed by humans. While Finley and I were foraging for food, I overheard the huma........ Read more »

Croll DA, Acevedo-Gutiérrez A, Tershy BR, & Urbán-Ramírez J. (2001) The diving behavior of blue and fin whales: is dive duration shorter than expected based on oxygen stores?. Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular , 129(4), 797-809. PMID: 11440866  

  • February 21, 2017
  • 04:39 AM
  • 394 views

Neuropsychiatric disorder onset "temporally related to prior vaccinations"?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Given the modest magnitude of these findings in contrast to the clear public health benefits of the timely administration of vaccines in preventing mortality and morbidity in childhood infectious diseases, we encourage families to maintain vaccination schedules according to CDC guidelines."The quote opening this post comes from the paper published by Douglas Leslie and colleagues [1] (open-access) and offers not a conclusion from their study looking at the possibility that "the onset of some ne........ Read more »

  • February 20, 2017
  • 03:30 PM
  • 298 views

This Squid Gives Better Side-Eye Than You

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Yes, this cephalopod is looking at you funny. It's a kind of cockeyed squid—an animal that looks like some jokester misassembled a Mr. Potato Head. One of the cockeyed squid's eyes is big, bulging and yellow. The other is flat and beady. After studying more than 25 years' worth of undersea video footage, scientists think they know why.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in California has been dropping robotic submarines into the ocean for decades. The footage from th........ Read more »

  • February 20, 2017
  • 05:33 AM
  • 400 views

Catatonic symptoms and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Catatonic symptoms are more prevalent in young people with autism than previously thought" said the article recently published by Breen and Hare [1]. Continuing a research theme of at least one of the authors [2], the idea that catatonic symptoms - primarily manifesting as stupor, unresponsiveness to light, noise or touch, mutism, etc - might be over-represented when it comes to autism is not a new one by any means.Breen & Hare set about looking for "the presence and nature of such att........ Read more »

  • February 20, 2017
  • 03:24 AM
  • 346 views

This Is Why Squids End up with Mismatched Eyes

by beredim in Strange Animals


Deep sea creatures come with all kinds of strange features that help them to survive their cold, dark habitat.. Some have eyes the size of a basketball, others come with appendages that blink and glow, deep-sea dwellers have developed some strange features and the "cockeyed" squid Histioteuthis heteropsis has one normal eye and one giant, bulging, yellow eye.





Histioteuthis heteropsis
One ... Read more »

  • February 18, 2017
  • 05:30 AM
  • 390 views

Social interaction and autism: it takes two to tango

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Psychology experiments are not generally fodder for this blog when it comes to autism. The main reason being that quite a few appearing in the peer-reviewed literature tend to look at quite abstract features perhaps somewhat removed from the daily lives of autistic people and their significant others. A few also seem to struggle with the idea that grand over-arching psychological theories (that seem to inevitably follow psychological findings in particular) are not required when it comes to auti........ Read more »

  • February 17, 2017
  • 04:03 PM
  • 416 views

The Fantasy of Connecting Two Spinal Cords

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A peculiar new paper proposes the idea of "connecting two spinal cords as a way of sharing information between two brains". The author is Portuguese psychiatrist Amílcar Silva-dos-Santos and the paper appears in Frontiers in Psychology.



Frontiers are a publisher with a troubled history of publishing dubious science. But this paper is unusual, even by Frontiers' standards, because it contains virtually no science at all.

In a nutshell, Silva-Dos-Santos suggests that it would be interest... Read more »

  • February 17, 2017
  • 06:00 AM
  • 381 views

Friday Fellow: Brown-gutted Mud Roundworm

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll If you have your face buried in the mud at the bottom of a European lake, you may end up finding some of those tiny little roundworms known as Monhystera stagnalis. As usual, there is no common … Continue reading →... Read more »

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