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  • December 17, 2016
  • 05:51 AM
  • 359 views

Pregnancy influenza infection not linked to offspring autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"There was no association between maternal influenza [flu] infection anytime during pregnancy and increased ASD [autism spectrum disorder] risk."So said the findings reported by Ousseny Zerbo and colleagues [1] continuing a research theme from this author (see here for example) looking at how various infections 'encountered' during critical periods of pregnancy may / may not impact on offspring autism risk. This time around the focus was on viral infections and in partic........ Read more »

  • December 16, 2016
  • 05:25 AM
  • 345 views

Patient participation in clinical trials

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

Clinical trials are crucial to help doctors and scientists understand how to safely treat a particular condition, to evaluate new treatments and to test drug safety and efficacy. They have an important role in every step of managing a condition with different clinical trials helping with prevention, diagnosis, treatments and follow-up support.... Read more »

  • December 16, 2016
  • 05:00 AM
  • 351 views

Friday Fellow: Common Stonewort

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll It’s always hard to introduce a less charismatic species here. Not because they are less interesting to me, but because I cannot find good information available. But I try to do my best to show all … Continue reading →... Read more »

Ariosa, Y., Quesada, A., Aburto, J., Carrasco, D., Carreres, R., Leganes, F., & Fernandez Valiente, E. (2004) Epiphytic Cyanobacteria on Chara vulgaris Are the Main Contributors to N2 Fixation in Rice Fields. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 70(9), 5391-5397. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.70.9.5391-5397.2004  

  • December 16, 2016
  • 03:16 AM
  • 355 views

Non-febrile seizures in children with autism vs unaffected siblings

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Children with idiopathic ASD [autism spectrum disorder] are significantly more likely to have non-febrile seizures than their unaffected siblings, suggesting that non-febrile seizures may be ASD-specific."So said the findings from Lena McCue and colleagues [1] (open-access) continuing a research theme looking at one of the important 'comorbidities' that seems to be over-represented when it comes to a diagnosis of autism (see here). Idiopathic autism or ASD refers to autism as the........ Read more »

  • December 15, 2016
  • 02:59 AM
  • 414 views

ADHD, not autism, might count when it comes to 'comorbid psychiatric symptomatology'

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin this fairly brief post: "Our study concluded that higher levels of ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] severity-not ASD [autism spectrum disorder] severity-were associated with a higher prevalence of comorbid psychiatric symptomatology in school-age children with ASD. These findings may encourage clinicians to thoroughly assess ADHD symptomatology in ASD children to better inform treatment planning."That was the research bottom line reported by Ro........ Read more »

  • December 14, 2016
  • 08:40 PM
  • 304 views

ZIKV replication and the induction of p53: a tale of three places ?

by thelonevirologist in Virology Tidbits

Zika Virus (ZIKV) is a mosquitoe-borne Flavivirus (MBFV), related to other Flavivirus’ that are transmitted by mosquitoes such as Dengue Virus (DENV), Yellow Fever Virus (YFV) or Tick Borne Encephalitis Virus (TBEV) and as such the viral genome is released into the cytoplasm following viral entry and translated into a single polyprotein that is cleaved by both viral and cellular proteases into the 3 structural and 7 non-structural proteins.
Here the induction of p53 dependent apoptosis an........ Read more »

Li H, Saucedo-Cuevas L, Shresta S, & Gleeson JG. (2016) The Neurobiology of Zika Virus. Neuron, 92(5), 949-958. PMID: 27930910  

Vasilakis N, & Weaver SC. (2016) Flavivirus transmission focusing on Zika. Current opinion in virology, 30-35. PMID: 27936448  

Barreto-Vieira DF, Barth OM, Silva MA, Santos CC, Santos Ada S, F JB Filho, & Filippis AM. (2016) Ultrastructure of Zika virus particles in cell cultures. Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, 111(8), 532-4. PMID: 27581122  

Li H, Saucedo-Cuevas L, Regla-Nava JA, Chai G, Sheets N, Tang W, Terskikh AV, Shresta S, & Gleeson JG. (2016) Zika Virus Infects Neural Progenitors in the Adult Mouse Brain and Alters Proliferation. Cell stem cell, 19(5), 593-598. PMID: 27545505  

Pingen M, Bryden SR, Pondeville E, Schnettler E, Kohl A, Merits A, Fazakerley JK, Graham GJ, & McKimmie CS. (2016) Host Inflammatory Response to Mosquito Bites Enhances the Severity of Arbovirus Infection. Immunity, 44(6), 1455-69. PMID: 27332734  

Agarwal A, Joshi G, Nagar DP, Sharma AK, Sukumaran D, Pant SC, Parida MM, & Dash PK. (2016) Mosquito saliva induced cutaneous events augment Chikungunya virus replication and disease progression. Infection, genetics and evolution : journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases, 126-35. PMID: 26925703  

Hewitt G, Carroll B, Sarallah R, Correia-Melo C, Ogrodnik M, Nelson G, Otten EG, Manni D, Antrobus R, Morgan BA.... (2016) SQSTM1/p62 mediates crosstalk between autophagy and the UPS in DNA repair. Autophagy, 12(10), 1917-1930. PMID: 27391408  

Danthi P. (2016) Viruses and the Diversity of Cell Death. Annual review of virology, 3(1), 533-553. PMID: 27501259  

Parquet MC, Kumatori A, Hasebe F, Morita K, & Igarashi A. (2001) West Nile virus-induced bax-dependent apoptosis. FEBS letters, 500(1-2), 17-24. PMID: 11434919  

Zhao P, Han T, Guo JJ, Zhu SL, Wang J, Ao F, Jing MZ, She YL, Wu ZH, & Ye LB. (2012) HCV NS4B induces apoptosis through the mitochondrial death pathway. Virus research, 169(1), 1-7. PMID: 22542667  

Netsawang J, Noisakran S, Puttikhunt C, Kasinrerk W, Wongwiwat W, Malasit P, Yenchitsomanus PT, & Limjindaporn T. (2010) Nuclear localization of dengue virus capsid protein is required for DAXX interaction and apoptosis. Virus research, 147(2), 275-83. PMID: 19944121  

Licon Luna RM, Lee E, Müllbacher A, Blanden RV, Langman R, & Lobigs M. (2002) Lack of both Fas ligand and perforin protects from flavivirus-mediated encephalitis in mice. Journal of virology, 76(7), 3202-11. PMID: 11884544  

Tudzarova S, Mulholland P, Dey A, Stoeber K, Okorokov AL, & Williams GH. (2016) p53 controls CDC7 levels to reinforce G1 cell cycle arrest upon genotoxic stress. Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.), 15(21), 2958-2972. PMID: 27611229  

Abraham AG, & O'Neill E. (2014) PI3K/Akt-mediated regulation of p53 in cancer. Biochemical Society transactions, 42(4), 798-803. PMID: 25109960  

  • December 14, 2016
  • 07:43 AM
  • 314 views

The spotted gar genome illuminates vertebrate evolution and facilitates human-teleost comparisons

by Christian de Guttry in genome ecology evolution etc

The spotted gar genome illuminates vertebrate evolution and facilitates human-teleost comparisons About 450 mya bony vertebrates radiated into Lobe-finned fish, from which tetrapods appeared later, and Ray-finned fish, which include Teleost (Fig.1). Nowadays they make up to 96 percent of … Continue reading →... Read more »

Braasch I, Gehrke AR, Smith JJ, Kawasaki K, Manousaki T, Pasquier J, Amores A, Desvignes T, Batzel P, Catchen J.... (2016) The spotted gar genome illuminates vertebrate evolution and facilitates human-teleost comparisons. Nature genetics, 48(4), 427-37. PMID: 26950095  

  • December 14, 2016
  • 03:07 AM
  • 384 views

Urinary metabolomics in autism turns up tryptophan (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The tryptophan metabolic pathway collectively displays the largest perturbations in ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."So said the findings reported by Federica Gevi and colleagues [1] (open-access) who provide yet more 'metabolomic' data when it comes to autism to add to the already quite voluminous peer-reviewed matter on this topic (see here for example).Just in case you aren't analytical chemistry-saavy, metabolomics is basically the study of the various chemical fingerprints that th........ Read more »

  • December 13, 2016
  • 04:25 AM
  • 378 views

'My child is not talking'. Online concerns and internet-based screening for autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Online communities are used as platforms by parents to verify developmental and health concerns related to their child."That was the starting point for the study results reported by Ben-Sasson & Yom-Tov [1] (open-access available here) who approached an increasingly important issue related to how the Internet and social media in particular, is fast becoming one of the 'go-to' options when it comes to parental concerns about their child's development and the question: could it be autism........ Read more »

  • December 12, 2016
  • 03:16 PM
  • 540 views

Bacteria Help Pitcher Plants Trap Prey

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Pity the insect that tumbles into a pitcher plant's trap. The slippery walls and waiting pool of water ensure it won't clamber back out. There's nothing left to do but wait to be digested.

The California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica) is also called the cobra lily for its curled-over shape that hides its exit from its victims. Unlike other pitcher plants, it doesn't fill its trap from above with rainwater but from below, drawing water up with its roots. But like others, it seems... Read more »

  • December 12, 2016
  • 06:00 AM
  • 62 views

Ancient Predator of the Northern Plains Had Fiercest Bite of Any Mammal Ever, Study Says

by Blake de Pastino in Western Digs

A scrappy mammal that lived alongside dinosaurs 66 million years ago may not have been huge, but it packed the most powerful bite ever recorded in any mammal, living or extinct, scientists say.... Read more »

  • December 12, 2016
  • 04:37 AM
  • 360 views

Maternal immune activation (MIA) and Old World monkeys

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Old World monkeys detailed in the title of this post, specifically refers to a type of animal called a rhesus macaque who were the 'participants' of choice as detailed in a recent study by Destanie Rose and colleagues [1] looking at a concept called maternal immune activation (MIA).Those who followed this blog down the years will no doubt have seen me discuss MIA before in the context of autism and/or schizophrenia (see here for example). The basic theory is that whilst in-utero a........ Read more »

  • December 11, 2016
  • 02:07 PM
  • 362 views

MS2 mRNA imaging in yeast: more evidence for artefacts

by Gal Haimovich in Green Fluorescent Blog

Previously, on the story of MS2 in yeast: Last year, Roy Parker published a short article, in which he claimed that using the MS2 system in yeast causes the accumulation of 3′ RNA fragments, probably due to inhibition of mRNA … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • December 10, 2016
  • 04:28 AM
  • 431 views

"Are we expecting too much from the extreme male brain theory of autism?"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The title of this post reflects the commentary published by Andrew Whitehouse [1] (open-access) discussing the meaning of the findings reported by Kung and colleagues [2] who quite categorically stated that there was: "No relationship between prenatal androgen exposure and autistic traits" in their study.OK, androgen exposure and psychology basically refers to the extreme male brain theory and autism which suggests that the so-called over-representation of autism in males is potentiall........ Read more »

  • December 9, 2016
  • 04:53 AM
  • 395 views

'Big data' Taiwan and schizophrenia risk

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Today I bring the findings reported by Chou and colleagues [1] (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 »

  • December 8, 2016
  • 05:12 PM
  • 569 views

Do We All Have Split Brains?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

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  

  • December 8, 2016
  • 03:14 PM
  • 210 views

ExAC presents a catalogue of human protein-coding genetic variation

by Kamil S. Jaron in genome ecology evolution etc

Exploration of variability of human genomes represents a key step in the holy grail of human genetics – to link genotypes with phenotypes, it also provides insights to human evolution and history. For this purpose Exome Aggregation Consortium (ExAC) have … Continue reading →... Read more »

Lek M, Karczewski KJ, Minikel EV, Samocha KE, Banks E, Fennell T, O'Donnell-Luria AH, Ware JS, Hill AJ, Cummings BB.... (2016) Analysis of protein-coding genetic variation in 60,706 humans. Nature, 536(7616), 285-91. PMID: 27535533  

  • December 8, 2016
  • 09:14 AM
  • 344 views

What are Hierarchical Orthologous Groups (HOGs)?

by Christophe Dessimoz in Open Reading Frame


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
them,
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 »

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  

  • December 8, 2016
  • 05:59 AM
  • 444 views

Know your brain: Septum

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

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 »

  • December 8, 2016
  • 04:51 AM
  • 376 views

Prescription medication use and autism: good medicines management required

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"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 [1] (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 »

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