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  • January 31, 2014
  • 12:04 AM

You Sure You Want to Eat That? Perceived Consequences of Eating & Its Relation to Recovery

by Jackie in Science of Eating Disorders

I recently had a total Aha! moment (or a why-didn’t-I-ever-think-of-it moment) when I had chanced upon a recently published article titled “Eating Expectancies in Relation to Eating Disorder Recovery” by Fitzsimmons-Craft and colleagues. The title caught my attention because I had never come across any research tying eating expectancies to eating disorders, though I was familiar with the concept from the health psychology and obesity literature. Eating, as a behaviour and as a mechanism, is incredibly complex, with many factors contributing to why and how we eat; eating expectancies are one such factor.
Expectancy theory, first proposed by Tolman (1932), suggests that expectancies, or assumptions about the consequences of various behaviours, develop as a result of one’s learning history (Smith et al., 2007). Such expectancies are thought to influence subsequent behavioural choices, with one acting to either increase the likelihood of reward or decrease the likelihood of punishment. Essentially, expectancies are cognitive mechanisms that drive future behaviours.
With respect to eating, expectancies represent the culmination of one’s learning history as related to eating and act …

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Personality Traits after Recovery from Eating Disorders: Do Anorexia and Bulimia Patients Differ?
What’s The Point of Bingeing and Purging? And Why Can’t You Just Stop?

... Read more »

  • January 30, 2014
  • 04:28 PM

Evidence based de-implementation in orthodontics. Should we stop some of what we are doing?

by Kevin OBrien in Kevin OBrien's Orthodontic Blog

Evidence based de-implementation. Should we stop some of what we are doing? Over the past few months, I have made a real effort to read the general literature on evidence based care.  I came across this very interesting paper concerned with the re-evaluation of the evidence underpinning established clinical practice. It was written by  Vinay […]The post Evidence based de-implementation in orthodontics. Should we stop some of what we are doing? appeared first on Kevin O'Brien's Orthodontic Blog.... Read more »

  • January 30, 2014
  • 01:55 PM

A new way to induce pluripotency using exposure to low pH

by beredim in Stem Cells Freak

STAP cells generated entire fetus body.An unusual reprogramming phenomenon by which the fate of somatic cells can be drastically altered through changes to the external environment is described in two new papers appearing in this week's Nature.Postnatal somatic cells committed to a specific lineage are shown to be converted into a pluripotent state (capable of differentiating into almost all types of cells) when exposed to an environmental stress, in this case short exposure to low pH.This reprogramming process does not need nuclear manipulation or the introduction of transcription factors ( previously thought to be necessary to induce pluripotency) so the work may have important implications for regenerative medicine.Read More... Read more »

Haruko Obokata, Teruhiko Wakayama, Yoshiki Sasai, Koji Kojima, Martin P. Vacanti, Hitoshi Niwa, Masayuki Yamato, Charles A. Vacanti. (2013) Stimulus-triggered fate conversion of somatic cells into pluripotency. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature12968  

Haruko Obokata, Yoshiki Sasai, Hitoshi Niwa, Mitsutaka Kadota, Munazah Andrabi, Nozomu Takata, Mikiko Tokoro, Yukari Terashita, Shigenobu Yonemura, Charles A. Vacanti, Teruhiko Wakayama. (2013) Bidirectional developmental potential in reprogrammed cells with acquired pluripotency. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature12969  

  • January 30, 2014
  • 07:21 AM

EU's PM2.5 Limit Festering: New Study Linked PM with Heart Attack

by Imtiaz Ibne Alam in Medical-Reference - A Pioneer in Medical Blogging

Air pollution is a significant determinant of human health. Over the past decades, studies conducted in various parts of the world documented a number of hazardous effects of ambient air pollution on health.

The adverse effects of particulate matter (PM) on health are especially well documented. However, while there is no evident and appropriate safe level of exposure, ...... Read more »

  • January 29, 2014
  • 08:15 AM

Sweet, Salt, Bitter, Sour - They Ain't The Half Of It

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

What are the tastes humans sense? Sweet salt, sour, and bitter – don’t forget umami. Even though it has been around since 1908, umami as a concept has hit it big in just the past decade or so. This makes one wonder, are there more tastes out there? How about fat. New research shows that there are fatty acid receptors in the oral cavity, and they do induce specific physiologic responses. Is this the same as tasting?

Fatty acid receptors may turn out to be especially important for obesity research. People with less active or fewer fatty acid receptors tend to eat more, as their hormonal balance tips toward hunger. It may be that inducing expression of these receptors could lead to more satiety and less overeating.

How about water, do we taste water? We definitely have receptors for water – they help us swallow. And just to confuse things more – new research shows that being in love can make water taste sweeter.
... Read more »

Keller KL, Liang LC, Sakimura J, May D, van Belle C, Breen C, Driggin E, Tepper BJ, Lanzano PC, Deng L.... (2012) Common variants in the CD36 gene are associated with oral fat perception, fat preferences, and obesity in African Americans. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 20(5), 1066-73. PMID: 22240721  

Chan KQ, Tong EM, Tan DH, & Koh AH. (2013) What do love and jealousy taste like?. Emotion (Washington, D.C.), 13(6), 1142-9. PMID: 24040883  

  • January 29, 2014
  • 06:07 AM

Camel milk for autism: one hump or two?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I am so sorry dear readers for the dreadful pun used in the title of this post. It comes from years of reading books about 'knock-knock' jokes and the ever versatile 'the boy stood on the burning deck' ditties. More so in recent times with the advent of one of my brood starting to use the old 'Dr Who' version of the knock-knock joke. Having said all that I'm sure some people might think I am joking when it comes to talking about camel milk as a potential intervention for autism (some autism).Send in the camel corp @ Wikipedia But I assure you readers that I am quite serious...The primary fodder for this post comes in the shape of the trial results reported by Bashir and Al-Ayadhi [1] and their assertion that "camel milk administered for 2 weeks significantly improved clinical measurements of autism severity". The results are based on a small sample of children diagnosed with an autism spectrum condition and who were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (a) boiled camel milk (CM), (b) raw camel milk and (c) normal cows milk (acting as a placebo). Alongside plotting responses to group assignment based on the CARS, the authors also reported on serum levels of Thymus and Activation-Regulated Chemokine (TARC) otherwise known as CCL17.The results: well bearing in mind this was a small study looking at intervention over the course of only 2 weeks "significant improvements were observed in CARS score (p=0.04) in raw CM group only". That and levels of TARC also being reported to have dropped significantly in both the CM groups but not the placebo group.I would echo the sentiments of the authors in their desire to see further more methodologically strong trials on whether CM might indeed have some potentially important effects for at least some people on the autism spectrum. One might argue that use of cows milk as a placebo may be problematic or indeed that the study may have benefited from a milk exclusion or non-mammalian milk source group as part of the trial. But it didn't.This is also not the first time that the words 'camel milk and autism' have appeared together in a research sense as per the study by Al-Ayadhi & Elamin [2] (open-access here) looking at what happened to antioxidant biomarkers as a function of adopting camel milk including that very important compound, glutathione (see here). That and some research write-up of a case study of camel milk use in one child with autism [3] (open-access here). Don't underestimate the value of the N=1 when it comes to autism... 'if you've met one person with autism' and all that.As for the hows and whys of camel milk potentially affecting the presentation of autism, well, outside of the possible immunological effects as per other research from some of the same authors [4] I'm inclined to suggest a few areas which might be important:Lactose, the sugar in milk, has previously appeared on the autism research radar as per the Kushak findings a few years back (see here). Although I'm no expert on the chemical composition of camel milk, there is some evidence to suggest that some of those with a lactose intolerance might be able to better 'tolerate' camel milk [5]. One might envisage similar things where lactose intolerance / lactase deficiency is present in cases of autism too.Milk protein structure is another area of possible inquiry. Harking back to some elements of the opioid-excess hypothesis of autism [6] the suggestion is that not all milk protein derived from various mammals is the same. Indeed, even within the same species, milk protein composition might not necessarily be the same [7]. So, would the subtle changes in milk protein (and subsequent peptide formation) be different in camel milk vs. cows milk?Interestingly, camel milk is nutritionally different from other forms of milk [8]. When we're talking about higher levels of things like iron or zinc being present in comparison to more typical bovine milk samples, there's always the possibility that this might also have an effect. Having said that iron and calcium for example, aren't necessarily good bed-fellows...The very interesting paper by Yang and colleagues [9] describing the proteomic analysis of various types of milk, placed camel milk in its very own category when it came to the expression of proteins distinct from every other animal milk investigated (cow, goat, buffalo, yak). I might be making mountains out of molehills here but this could be potentially important. I could spend all night listing the correlations being made from GABA to phospholipids. Take yer pick... Oh, and on the topic of GABA, I'll also direct you some other recent preliminary research from some of the authors of the camel milk trial (see here).Science is science, and whether or not you believe that camel milk or any other alternative to regular cow milk might be able to exert an effect on at least some cases of autism, this is nevertheless a potentially interesting area of autism research. Complimentary perhaps to some of the other dietary intervention research that has been done (see here) but with the added bonus that, if found to be effective in larger scientific trials, exclusion of milk may not be as daunting a prospect as it is currently for many people with autism.So the question remains, one hump or two?And since we're on the topic of camels and the very soft connection with Egypt, I leave you with a song about walking [like an .....] by the Bangles.----------[1] Bashir S. & Al-Ayadhi L. Effect of camel milk on Thymus and Activation-Regulated Chemokine (TARC) in autistic children: double blind study. Pediatr Res. 2013 Dec 27. doi: 10.1038/pr.2013.248.[2] Al-Ayadhi LY & Elamin NE. Camel Milk as a Potential Therapy as an Antioxidant in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:602834.[3] Adams CM. Patient report: autism spectrum disorder treated with camel milk. Glob Adv Health Med. 2013 Nov;2(6):78-80.[4] Al-Ayadhi LY. & Mostafa GA. Elevated serum levels of macrophage-derived chemokine and thymus and activation-regulated chemokine in autistic children. J Neuroinflammation. 2013; 10: 72.[5] Cardoso RR. et al. Consumption of camel's milk by patients intolerant to lactose. A preliminary study. Rev Alerg Mex. 2010 Jan-Feb;57(1):26-32.[6] Shattock P. & Whiteley P. Biochemical aspects in autism spectrum disorders: updating the opioi... Read more »

  • January 29, 2014
  • 12:05 AM

Variability in Instructions Given for Pediatric Concussion Care in an Emergency Room

by Jacqueline Phillips in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

A lack of consistency was found in pediatric concussion diagnosis and management in one emergency department over a year. Most patients did not receive restriction upon their physical activity or instructions as to when to return to play. ... Read more »

De Maio VJ, Joseph DO, Tibbo-Valeriote H, Cabanas JG, Lanier B, Mann CH, & Register-Mihalik J. (2014) Variability in Discharge Instructions and Activity Restrictions for Patients in a Children's ED Postconcussion. Pediatric Emergency Care, 30(1), 20-5. PMID: 24365726  

  • January 28, 2014
  • 10:34 AM

Converting adult human skin cells to hair-follicle-producing stem cells

by beredim in Stem Cells Freak

Hair shafts (arrows) formed by induced pluripotent stem cell-derived epithelial stem cells.If the content of many a situation comedy, not to mention late-night TV advertisements, is to be believed, there's an epidemic of balding men along with an intense desire to fix their follicular deficiencies.One potential approach to reversing hair loss is using stem cells to regenerate the missing or dying hair follicles. As of now, it hasn't been possible to generate sufficient number of hair-follicle-generating stem cells.Now, a new study by Xiaowei "George" Xu, MD, PhD, associate professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Dermatology at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues published in Nature Communications shows a method for converting adult cells into epithelial stem cells (EpSCs), the first time anyone has achieved this in either humans or mice.Read More... Read more »

Ruifeng Yang, Ying Zheng, Michelle Burrows, Shujing Liu, Zhi Wei, Arben Nace, Wei Guo,Suresh Kumar, George Cotsarelis, Xiaowei Xu. (2013) Generation of folliculogenic human epithelial stem cells from induced pluripotent stem cells. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4071  

  • January 28, 2014
  • 06:45 AM

Singapore researchers coax stem cells into developing liver and pancreas precursor cells

by beredim in Stem Cells Freak

Researchers at the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) in A*STAR announced today that they have developed a new method of directing human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) into highly pure populations of endoderm, a valuable cell type that gives rise to organs including the liver and pancreas.These cells are highly sought-after for therapeutic and biotechnological purposes, but have been historically difficult to attain from hPSCs. The ability to generate pure endoderm at higher yields from hPSCs is a key and important step towards the use of stem cells in clinical applications.Read More... Read more »

  • January 28, 2014
  • 06:38 AM

Geneticaly developed toxin destroy HIV carrying lymphocytes

by B V Waghmare in HIV virus and antiretroviral drugs and antiAIDS vaccine research and developmets

Drug that destroy HIV carrying lymphocytes; can impart complete treatment so that patient will not have to take antiretroviral drugs through out life as after certain period after attaining nill HIV count discontinuation of antiretroviral drug therapy there will be no hidden HIV virus in human body cells lymphocytes that relapse HIV infection and reproduce HIV count. ... Read more »

B V Waghmare. (2014) Drug that destroy HIV carrying lymphocytes; will result in complete treatment that will not require to taking antiretroviral drugs through out life. . info:/

  • January 27, 2014
  • 03:07 PM

New method to produce human embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos

by beredim in Stem Cells Freak

Karl Tryggvason (left)and Outi HovattaCreditResearchers at the Karolinska Institutet just announced that they have developed a new method which allows the large-scale production of human embryonic stem cells of high clinical quality, without destroying any human embryos. The discovery is a big step forward for stem cell research and for the high hopes for replacing damaged cells and thereby curing serious illnesses such as diabetes and Parkinson's disease.Currently the use of human embryonic stem cells is highly controversial as they are made from surplus in vitro fertilized (IVF) embryos that are not used for the generation of pregnancies. The embryos are destroyed in the process. Therefore it has been illegal in the USA to to use this method for deriving embryonic stem cell lines. Sweden s legislation has been more permissive. It has been possible to generate embryonic stem cells from excess, early IVF embryos with the permission of the persons donating their eggs and sperm.Read More... Read more »

Sergey Rodin, Liselotte Antonsson, Colin Niaudet, Oscar E. Simonson, Elina Salmela, Emil M. Hansson, Anna Domogatskaya, Zhijie Xiao, Pauliina Damdimopoulou, Mona Sheikhi, José Inzunza, Ann-Sofie Nilsson, Duncan Baker, Raoul Kuiper, Yi Sun, Elisabeth Blen. (2013) Clonal culturing of human embryonic stem cells on laminin-521/E-cadherin matrix in defined and xeno-free environment. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4195  

  • January 27, 2014
  • 10:20 AM

Breast stem cells retain cancer legacy

by beredim in Stem Cells Freak

 Professor Jane Visvader, Dr Nai Yang Fu, Dr Anne Rios and Professor Geoff Lindeman (left to right) Researchers at the Melbourne’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute announced yesterday that they discovered that breast stem cells and their ‘daughters’ have a much longer lifespan than previously thought, and are active in puberty and throughout life.The longevity of breast stem cells and their daughters means that they could retain genetic defects or damage that evolves to cancer decades later, potentially shifting back the timeline of breast cancer development.The finding is also integral to identifying the ‘cells of origin’ of breast cancer and the ongoing quest to develop new treatments and diagnostics for breast cancer.Read More... Read more »

  • January 27, 2014
  • 08:09 AM

Vagal Nerve Blockade in Type 2 Diabetes Clinical Trial

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

One of the potential advances in diabetes management is modulation of the vagus nerve.The vagus nerve appears to influence a variety of physiological factors related to calorie intake, metabolism and blood glucose control.Severing the vagus nerve (vagotomy) results in weight loss and increased satiety but can cause gastric retention.An implantable device that can intermittently block vagal nerves may provide favorable metabolic modulation without the adverse effects of vagotomy.An initial study of vagal blockade in morbid obesity was published in 2012.This study was conducted in the U.S. and Australia with 503 morbid obese subjects with a mean BMI of 41.All subjects had a vagal blockade device implanted but only 2/3 of them had active vagal blockade provided during the 12 month study.Active vagal blockade subjects showed a 17% reduction in weight over the study but this was not statistically different than the control group that had a 16% reduction in body weight.A second trial published in 2013 looked at the response of 28 obese subjects with type 2 diabetes to vagal blockade.This smaller study did not include a control group. This limits the generalizability of the study. Here are the key findings in the type 2 diabetes trial:Weight loss: 25% body weight loss over 12 monthsHemaglobin A1C: declined by 1.0Blood pressue: subjects with hypertension showed an 8 mmHg mean arterial pressure at 12 monthsIt is clear there is more need for clinical research to determine the potential clinical utility of implanting a vagal nerve device in obese and diabetic individuals.Any intervention that promotes weight loss is beneficial to metabolic and blood pressure measures.Implanting a vagal nerve device may have significant placebo effects. It is dramatic intervention and in the second study was accompanied by significant counseling and clinical monitoring. Separating the effect of the device from the effect of the other components of the trial is difficult.Vagal blockade is relatively straightforward,  but it is not without risk. Similar to implanting a pacemaker, the surgery has a relative low rate of serious complication.Given the mixed findings to date, this approach can not be currently endorsed as a standard treatment approach. Future trials may provide evidence of merit in specific clinical populations.Readers with more interest in the diabetes trial can access the free full-text article by clicking on the PMID link below.Disclosure: Brain Posts does not recommend specific medication, diets or surgical treatment options. Personal decisions about medical interventions need to be made in consultation with a personal physician.Photo of downy woodpecker is from the author's files.Follow the author on Twitter WRY999.Shikora S, Toouli J, Herrera MF, Kulseng B, Zulewski H, Brancatisano R, Kow L, Pantoja JP, Johnsen G, Brancatisano A, Tweden KS, Knudson MB, & Billington CJ (2013). Vagal blocking improves glycemic control and elevated blood pressure in obese subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Journal of obesity, 2013 PMID: 23984050Sarr MG, Billington CJ, Brancatisano R, Brancatisano A, Toouli J, Kow L, Nguyen NT, Blackstone R, Maher JW, Shikora S, Reeds DN, Eagon JC, Wolfe BM, O'Rourke RW, Fujioka K, Takata M, Swain JM, Morton JM, Ikramuddin S, Schweitzer M, Chand B, Rosenthal R, & EMPOWER Study Group (2012). The EMPOWER study: randomized, prospective, double-blind, multicenter trial of vagal blockade to induce weight loss in morbid obesity. Obesity s... Read more »

Shikora S, Toouli J, Herrera MF, Kulseng B, Zulewski H, Brancatisano R, Kow L, Pantoja JP, Johnsen G, Brancatisano A.... (2013) Vagal blocking improves glycemic control and elevated blood pressure in obese subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Journal of obesity, 245683. PMID: 23984050  

  • January 27, 2014
  • 05:29 AM

Stability and trajectories in childhood autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin this post taken from the paper by Patricia Towle and colleagues*: "approximately 20% no longer had ASD diagnoses". The background to this observation was a study utilising a "chart abstraction protocol" to examine the longitudinal presentation of autism and in particular, "establishing a rate of diagnostic stability for school-aged children diagnosed with ASD early".Keep calm and... @ WikipediaStability, and in particular, the diagnostic stability of autism, is fast becoming an interest of mine. I've talked about it a few times with reference to the continued rush to diagnose autism earlier and earlier (see here) and that rather interesting body of work which suggests that in amongst the various trajectories of autism, one of them might include an "optimal outcome" group of children who move out of the diagnostic boundaries that are autism.Some details. The Towle paper looked at 80 children who were identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) early; as in before the age of 3 years (16-36 months; Time 1). Parents of some of the children provided various details about their child at a follow-up period (7-16 years; Time 2) in order to ascertain where they were at school age including determining diagnosis. As you've probably realised, determining diagnosis involved a review of the various data available to authors and not a formal face-to-face assessment.Their results from the various data sources analysed suggested a few things. As per the beginning quote, about 20% of the children went "off the spectrum". That being said the authors also report that "important learning challenges" remained for this group which ties in quite nicely with my recent review of optimal outcome (see here). Off the spectrum did not also imply free of the need for classroom support. Towle and colleagues also reported some interesting trends across their various groupings outside of just those related to the "No ASD/LD" category. That for example, attentional issues were pretty widespread across their cohort with a diagnosis of ASD (whether moderate/severe or mild) is informative. Again without boasting, I have talked about the link between autism and conditions like ADHD, and in particular the question of whether managing attentional issues might have some knock-on effects to the presentation of core behaviours. There are quite a few other important factoids to take from the Towle paper but not for today and not for this post.Whilst however I'm on the topic of trajectories, I wonder if it might also be worthwhile introducing the paper by Venker and colleagues** and their analysis of trajectories of autism severity based in part on calibrated severity scores derived from the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). The long-and-short of it was that based on a group of children diagnosed with an ASD, severity trajectories, four of them, were plotted derived from annual follow-ups using ADOS and other measures. Those trajectories were: persistent high, persistent moderate, worsening and improving. Venker et al found that 80% of their participant group fell into the persistent high and persistent moderate groupings meaning that for the majority of children, there was "little change in overall severity level during early development". That being said, 14% of their sample were placed in the 'improving' grouping and 6% in the 'worsening' grouping hinting at a more fluidic profile for some children on the autism spectrum.So, there you have it. Two very different ways of looking at autism: chart abstraction vs. annual formal assessment demonstrating both diversity in developmental trajectories in autism and also at least some degree of instability in terms of presented symptoms for some. Whilst the Venker paper has the upper hand in terms of the use of a formal, objective assessments, it's actually the Towle paper which perhaps gives a bigger picture of autism in terms of their focus on other comorbidity and how it may very much complete the clinical picture of autism. Comorbidity might actually turn out to be pretty important for autism as I've hinted about in other posts.Oh, and I'll be talking about the Deborah Anderson paper*** fairly soon too so stayed tuned.To close, the picture included with this post, of the 'Keep calm and carry on' ilk also ties into a recent feature I read about the Minnesota experiment during WW2. If you're really interested, I was also brought to quite an interesting paper on the topic (see here, open-access) (with thanks to Mary Mangan & Jeremy Yoder on G+ for the link).----------* Towle PO. et al. School-Aged Functioning of Children Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder Before Age Three: Parent-Reported Diagnostic, Adaptive, Medication, and School Placement Outcomes. J Autism Dev Disord. 2013 Dec 18.** Venker CE. et al. Trajectories of Autism Severity in Early Childhood. J Autism Dev Disord. 2013 Aug 2.*** Anderson D. et al. Predicting young adult outcome among more and less cognitively able individuals with autism spectrum disorders. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2013 Dec 9. doi: 10.1111/jcpp.12178.----------Towle PO, Vacanti-Shova K, Shah S, & Higgins-D'alessandro A (2013). School-Aged Functioning of Children Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder Before Age Three: Parent-Reported Diagnostic, Adaptive, Medication, and School Placement Outcomes. Journal of autism and developmental disorders PMID: 24346492Venker CE, Ray-Subramanian CE, Bolt DM, & Weismer SE (2013). Trajectories of Autism Severity in Early Childhood. Journal of autism and developmental disorders PMID: 23907710... Read more »

  • January 27, 2014
  • 12:05 AM

Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: A Bad Sign for a Future Knee Arthroplasty

by Kyle Harris in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

Patients who underwent cruciate ligament reconstruction were 7 times more likely to undergo prosthetic knee arthroplasty within 15 years of surgery. Other factors that increased the risk for knee arthroplasty included older patient age, female sex, higher comorbidity score, and a surgeon with a low annual surgical volume.... Read more »

Leroux T, Ogilvie-Harris D, Dwyer T, Chahal J, Gandhi R, Mahomed N, & Wasserstein D. (2014) The risk of knee arthroplasty following cruciate ligament reconstruction: a population-based matched cohort study. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. American Volume, 96(1), 2-10. PMID: 24382718  

  • January 24, 2014
  • 07:26 PM

Exciting Science: Oncolytic Viruses (Review published in PLOS Pathogens)

by Kausik Datta in In Scientio Veritas

Science is awesome. But I expect you already knew that, dear readers o'mine. In science laboratories across the world, every day dedicated researchers are testing ideas, generating and evaluating hypotheses, critically analyzing observations, and thereby, making significant contribution to the humanity's attempts to understand in greater depth and detail the wonderful natural world that surrounds us, of which we, along with other living beings and non-living objects, form a part. Ho hum, you say? Not so fast, buster! During this... Read more... Read more »

  • January 24, 2014
  • 09:00 AM

Dogs are hosts to the oldest and most widely disseminated cancer

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

A little while ago, I got a new friend and roommate: Sugar. She is very docile, loves walks and belly-rubs, but isn’t a huge fan of other dogs. Her previous owner was an elderly woman that couldn’t take Sugar outside during most of the year — if you haven’t heard, Montreal is pretty difficult to […]... Read more »

Murchison, E., Wedge, D.C., Alexandrov, L.B., Fu, B., Martincorena, I., Ning, Z., Tubio, J.M.C., Werner, E.I., Allen, J., De Nardi, A.B.... (2014) Transmissable dog cancer genome reveals the origin and history of an ancient cell lineage. Science, 437-440. DOI: 10.1126/science.1247167  

  • January 24, 2014
  • 05:52 AM

One step closer to making Beta cells from stem cells

by beredim in Stem Cells Freak

Endodermal cells form several organs like the lungs, liver and pancreas.The Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway and microRNA 335 have a key role in helpingdifferentiated progenitor cells form from stem cells. These progenitors are organized in germ layers and are thus the origin of different types of tissue, including the pancreas and its insulin-producing beta cells.With these findings, Helmholtz Zentrum München scientists have discovered key molecular functions of stem cell differentiation which could be used for beta cell replacement therapy in diabetes. The results of their two studies appear in the journal Development.The findings of the researchers at the Institute of Diabetes and Regeneration Research (IDR) at Helmholtz Zentrum München (HMGU) provide new insights into the molecular regulation of stem cell differentiation. Their findings reveal important target structures for regenerative therapy approaches to chronic diseases such as diabetes.Read More... Read more »

  • January 24, 2014
  • 05:47 AM

Bacterial infections and behaviour

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm more than a little interested in bacteria on this blog. Indeed, quite a lot of chatter here has been dedicated to the various bacteria residing in our deepest, darkest recesses specifically with conditions like autism in mind. I'm also pretty interested in how other bacteria might also have the potential to do so much more than just affect a physical response. Take the issue of PANDAS (or PANS) as one example or even the notion of psychological development being linked to bacteria (in mice at least). Indeed, this piece in the New Scientist was a particularly interesting read for me (although I prefer the term psychobacteriomics...).Garden of Earthly Delights @ Wikipedia Today's post deals with a triad of papers which are united in their suggestion that infection caused by bacteria may indeed have some important repercussions for conditions such as autism, schizophrenia and psychotic illness. So without further ado...First we have the paper by Ousseny Zerbo and colleagues* who reported that although no overall "association between diagnoses of any maternal infection during pregnancy and ASD [autism spectrum disorder] was observed" in their cohort, women diagnosed with a bacterial infection during a hospital admission were "at increased risk of delivering a child with ASD". You can read more details about this study in the accompanying press release (see here) or media (see here). I should point out that this authorship group have some research form in the area of infection and autism as per my 'you give me fever' post.Then we have the paper by Nielsen and colleagues** who, based on quite a large study group, reported that "individuals who have had a hospital contact with infection are more likely to develop schizophrenia". Further that: " Bacterial infection was the type of infection that was associated with the highest risk of schizophrenia (RR = 1.63; 95% CI: 1.47-1.82)".Finally, the paper by Blomström and colleagues*** completes the triad and their suggestion of "a small but statistically significant association between hospital admissions for infections, in general, throughout childhood (0-13 years) and a later diagnosis of nonaffective psychosis" which "seemed to be driven by bacterial infection".As you might already have noticed these are studies of association and correlation and so can't necessarily show causality (i.e. that bacterial infection caused autism or schizophrenia or psychotic illness). Indeed, given the complexity and heterogeneity present in these conditions, including quite a lot of chatter about spectrums, it would be foolhardy to pin it down to just one factor as being causative. I should also point out that the relative risk of bacterial infection being linked to autism, schizophrenia or psychosis were also quite low in these studies despite the connections being made.That being said, the suggestion of a link between behaviour and a history of direct or indirect contact with bacterial pathogens is not something new. I've gone on (and on) about the concept of maternal immune activation and autism for example (see here and here) and the interesting data being generated in this area of investigation culminating with things like MAR autism and the recent leaky mice guts study. That alongside the fact that use of LPS (lipopolysaccharides) is a tool of choice when it comes to modelling bacterial infection on mouse models of autism or schizophrenia (see here). When it comes to specific agents harbouring bacteria, that's also been the topic of some discussion too (see here).There is more to do in this area in terms of issues like tracking down exactly what types of bacteria might show more involvement in any relationship and the mechanism of effect (Inflammation? A link to those jumping genes?). Indeed, whether certain types of bacterial infection might be more commonly associated with parts of the autism or schizophrenia spectrums as per what we found on two occasions (here**** and here*****) when it came to the parent-reported frequency of impetigo in some cases on the autism spectrum. Just one example of where research might start looking.Likewise, questions remain about the early treatment of bacterial infections and whether these might modify the risk of future development of the conditions being associated by these studies. Bear in mind however, that the use of antimicrobials (antibiotics) as the treatment of choice have also received some research attention both positive and not-so-positive (see here and here) when it comes to autism and schizophrenia.----------* Zerbo O. et al. Maternal Infection During Pregnancy and Autism Spectrum Disorders. J Autism Dev Disord. 2013 Dec 24.** Nielsen PR. et al. Hospital Contacts With Infection and Risk of Schizophrenia: A Population-Based Cohort Study With Linkage of Danish National Registers. Schizophr Bull. 2013 Dec 30.*** Blomström A. et al. Hospital Admission With Infection During Childhood and Risk for Psychotic Illness--A Population-based Cohort Study. Schizophr Bull. 2013 Dec 23.**** Whiteley P. Developmental, behavioural and somatic factors in pervasive developmental disorders: preliminary analysis. Child Care Health Dev. 2004 Jan;30(1):5-11.***** Whiteley P. et al. Trends in Developmental, Behavioral and Somatic Factors by Diagnostic Sub-group in Pervasive Developmental Disorders: A Follow-up Analysis. Autism Insights 2009:1 3-17----------... Read more »

Zerbo O, Qian Y, Yoshida C, Grether JK, Van de Water J, & Croen LA. (2013) Maternal Infection During Pregnancy and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 24366406  

  • January 23, 2014
  • 05:37 PM

We’re getting closer to a malaria vaccine

by sedeer in Inspiring Science

Malaria hardly needs an introduction. With over 200 million people infected, it takes the life of an African child every …Continue reading »... Read more »

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