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Trauma and PTSD raise risk of autoimmune disorders?
I admit to some head scratching when I first read the paper by Aoife O’Donovan and colleagues [1] reporting that among war veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, "trauma exposure and PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] may increase risk of autoimmune disorders".It wasn't that I didn't believe the results, but rather that the idea that a physical event with a psychological consequence could impact on a somatic condition with an autoimmune element to it seemed to […]

O’Donovan, A., Cohen, B., Seal, K., Bertenthal, D., Margaretten, M., Nishimi, K. & Neylan, T. (2014). Elevated Risk For Autoimmune Disorders In Iraq And Afghanistan Veterans With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Biological Psychiatry, DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.06.015

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Heroes and Villains: Banal or Special People? Part 2 of 2
In part 1 of this post, I discussed the situationist analysis of the “banality” of evil and of heroism respectively. To recap, according to Phil Zimbardo and colleagues, both heroic acts and evil acts occur primarily in response to situational factors, rather than internal features of the person. However, on closer inspection, the situationist analysis provides inconsistent accounts of how each of these occurs. Evil actions are attributed to factors entirely outside the person, […]

Carnahan T & McFarland S (2007). Revisiting the Stanford prison experiment: could participant self-selection have led to the cruelty?, Personality & social psychology bulletin, 33 (5) 603-14. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17440210

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When Crazy becomes a Crime
My friend has a glass eye, you would never notice and unless you knew the story you might not think anything of it. His older brother did it. Yes, you […]

Dana Goldman,, John Fastenau,, Riad Dirani,, Eric Hellend,, Geoff Joyce,, Ryan Conrad, & Darius Lakdawalla, (2014). Medicaid Prior Authorization Policies and Imprisonment Among Patients With Schizophrenia, The American Journal of Managed Care, 20 (7) Other:

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Fasting Improves Recovery of Bone Marrow Stem Cells after Chemotherapy
[Note: This is a guest post by Tauseef (@CellSpell)] Fasting is defined as either completely abstaining from or minimizing food intake for a defined period time - ranging from about 12 hours to even a few weeks. Calorie restriction, on the other hand, refers to an overall reduction in the daily calorie intake by about 20%-40% without necessarily reducing the meal intake frequency. Although calorie restriction is well-suited for weight loss and thus also reduces the risk of chronic diseases... […]

Cheng, C., Adams, G., Perin, L., Wei, M., Zhou, X., Lam, B., Da Sacco, S., Mirisola, M., Quinn, D., Dorff, T. & Kopchick, J. (2014). Prolonged Fasting Reduces IGF-1/PKA to Promote Hematopoietic-Stem-Cell-Based Regeneration and Reverse Immunosuppression, Cell Stem Cell, 14 (6) 810-823. DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2014.04.014

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Fasting Improves Recovery of Bone Marrow Stem Cells after Chemotherapy
[Note: This is a guest post by Tauseef (@CellSpell)] Fasting is defined as either completely abstaining from or minimizing food intake for a defined period time - ranging from about 12 hours to even a few weeks. Calorie restriction, on the other hand, refers to an overall reduction in the daily calorie intake by about 20%-40% without necessarily reducing the meal intake frequency. Although calorie restriction is well-suited for weight loss and thus also reduces the risk of chronic diseases... […]

Cheng, C., Adams, G., Perin, L., Wei, M., Zhou, X., Lam, B., Da Sacco, S., Mirisola, M., Quinn, D., Dorff, T. & Kopchick, J. (2014). Prolonged Fasting Reduces IGF-1/PKA to Promote Hematopoietic-Stem-Cell-Based Regeneration and Reverse Immunosuppression, Cell Stem Cell, 14 (6) 810-823. DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2014.04.014

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Suspicious Things Really Make Us ‘Smell Something Fishy’
When we say “Fred is a warm person,” we don’t usually mean his body temperature is hotter than average. We use metaphors such as “warm”, “high”, and “clean” to describe more abstract concepts like “friendly,” “powerful,” and “morally sound.” So we mean that Fred is friendly, not that he has a fever. But these metaphors […]

Lee S.W.S. & Schwarz N. (2012). Bidirectionality, mediation, and moderation of metaphorical effects: The embodiment of social suspicion and fishy smells., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103 (5) 737-749. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0029708

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Optical Cables, from Thin Air!
It’s a project that would make Tesla proud. Just imagine being able to instantaneously run an optical cable or fiber to any point on earth, or even into space. That’s […]

Rosenthal, E., Jhajj, N., Wahlstrand, J. & Milchberg, H. (2014). Collection of remote optical signals by air waveguides, Optica, 1 (1) 5. DOI: 10.1364/OPTICA.1.000005

Jhajj, N., Rosenthal, E., Birnbaum, R., Wahlstrand, J. & Milchberg, H. (2014). Demonstration of Long-Lived High-Power Optical Waveguides in Air, Physical Review X, 4 (1) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevX.4.011027

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Common variation and the genetics of autism
The paper by Trent Gaugler and colleagues [1] reporting that the genetic architecture of the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) seems in the most part to be due to "common variation" over and above "rare variants or spontaneous glitches" adds to the quite voluminous literature in this area.Everything in proportion? @ Wikipedia Based on an analysis of "a unique epidemiological sample from Sweden" researchers looked at DNA variations in some 3000 individuals with autism and asymptomatic […]

Gaugler T, Klei L, Sanders SJ, Bodea CA, Goldberg AP, Lee AB, Mahajan M, Manaa D, Pawitan Y, Reichert J & Ripke S (2014). Most genetic risk for autism resides with common variation., Nature genetics, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25038753

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Autism and Parents: Reducing stress
Raising an autistic child can be a gift. Unfortunately it can also be challenging and stressful. Let’s be real, it’s stressful just being a parent, throw in a disability that […]

Dykens E.M. & Fisher M.H. (2014). Reducing Distress in Mothers of Children With Autism and Other Disabilities: A Randomized Trial, Pediatrics , DOI: doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-3164

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A History of Bioinformatics (told from the Year 2039)
A week or so back I was watching the chatter around the #ISMB / #BOSC2014 meeting, and saw a number of amusing and intriguing comments about Titus Brown’s keynote talk. CTB talking as if date were 2039. "'bioinformatics' and 'systems biology' are now simply 'biology" #BOSC2014 — Stephen Turner (@genetics_blog) July 11, 2014 #BOSC2014 @ctitusbrown […]

Stein L.D. (2008). Bioinformatics: alive and kicking, Genome Biology, 9 (12) 114. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/gb-2008-9-12-114

Heinlein R. (1952). Where to?, Galaxy Magazine, February 13-22. Other:

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