Posts

October 29, 2014

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7:19 PM | More Genetic Links Behind Autism
Vaccines do NOT cause autism. One more time, vaccines DO NOT cause autism. So what does cause autism, that problem has been plaguing scientists for awhile now. Thankfully two major […]

Iossifov, I., O’Roak, B., Sanders, S., Ronemus, M., Krumm, N., Levy, D., Stessman, H., Witherspoon, K., Vives, L., Patterson, K. & Smith, J. (2014). The contribution of de novo coding mutations to autism spectrum disorder, Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature13908

De Rubeis, S., He, X., Goldberg, A., Poultney, C., Samocha, K., Ercument Cicek, A., Kou, Y., Liu, L., Fromer, M., Walker, S. & Singh, T. (2014). Synaptic, transcriptional and chromatin genes disrupted in autism, Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature13772

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5:10 PM | This Month in Blastocystis Research (OCT 2014) - Trick or Treat Edition
Over the past 30 days I've hardly had any time to focus on Blastocystis. I've been busy preparing for and attending UEGWeek 2014, preparing abstracts for next year's ECCMID conference in Copenhagen, and I've also put a lot of effort into preparing proposals for this round of grant calls from the Danish Council for Independent Research.  Among other things, we are applying for money to develop DNA-probe based diagnostics, including a unique software, for use in the clinical microbiology lab […]

Fletcher S, Caprarelli G, Merif J, Andresen D, Hal SV, Stark D & Ellis J (2014). Epidemiology and geographical distribution of enteric protozoan infections in sydney, australia., Journal of public health research, 3 (2) 298. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25343139

Nagel R, Bielefeldt-Ohmann H & Traub R (2014). Clinical pilot study: efficacy of triple antibiotic therapy in Blastocystis positive irritable bowel syndrome patients., Gut pathogens, 6 34. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25349629

Nowack EC & Melkonian M (2010). Endosymbiotic associations within protists., Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 365 (1541) 699-712. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20124339

Prodeus TV, Zelia OP, Khlebnikova TA & Pikul' DA (2014). [Extraenteric infection caused by Blastocystis spp. in a female patient with liver abscess]., Meditsinskaia parazitologiia i parazitarnye bolezni, (2) 6-9. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25296418

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1:46 PM | Video Tip of the Week: PaleoBioDB, for your paleobiology searches
Yeah, I know, it’s not genomics–but it’s the history of life on this planet–right?  The Paleobiology Database has been keeping records of this ancient biology for a while now, and they have some really nice tools to explore the fossil records and resources that have become available. It’s also interesting to me to see the […]

Varela S., González-Hernández J., Sgarbi L., Marshall C., Uhen M., Peters S. & McClennen M. (2014). paleobioDB: an R package for downloading, visualizing and processing data from the Paleobiology Database, Ecography, DOI: 10.1111/ecog.01154

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1:05 PM | Halloween Horrors: Evidence of Torture in the Prehistoric Southwest US
With Halloween coming up right around the corner, there have been an increase in the attention paid to the spookier aspects of archaeology. We are increasingly able to find evidence of […]

Osterholtz, A. (2012). The social role of hobbling and torture: Violence in the prehistoric Southwest, International Journal of Paleopathology, 2 (2-3) 148-155. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpp.2012.09.011

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12:30 PM | How Does a Dog's Brain Respond to the Smell of a Familiar Human?
And what does it tell us about the importance of people to their dogs?Photo: hitmanphoto / ShutterstockNew fMRI research by Gregory Berns et al (in press) shows that dog’s brains respond differently to the smell of a familiar human compared to an unfamiliar human and other canines – suggesting that certain people are special to their dogs.The research focussed on a part of the brain called the caudate, which has been much investigated in humans, monkeys and rats. The scientists […]

Berns, G., Brooks, A. & Spivak, M. (2014). Scent of the familiar: An fMRI study of canine brain responses to familiar and unfamiliar human and dog odors, Behavioural Processes, DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2014.02.011

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12:00 PM | Almost This Or Almost That? Must Be The Other
Biology concepts – Protista, taxonomy, phylum, kingdom, monophyletic, paraphyletic, cladistics, algae, diatom, dinoflagellateEuglena gracilis is an organism in the Kingdom Protista. It has one long flagellar undulipodium, but it can also move by amoeboid movement. It has chloroplasts and can do photosynthesis, but it also can eat other organisms. Is it any wonder that classifying protists is so hard?Classifying living organisms is self-perpetuating job. Imagine if the dentist sold candy […]

Fu G, Nagasato C, Oka S, Cock JM & Motomura T (2014). Proteomics Analysis of Heterogeneous Flagella in Brown Algae (Stramenopiles)., Protist, 165 (5) 662-675. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25150613

Wei Y, Liu Q, Yu J, Feng Q, Zhao L, Song H & Wang W (2014). Antibacterial mode of action of 1,8-dihydroxy-anthraquinone from Porphyra haitanensis against Staphylococcus aureus., Natural product research, 1-4. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25259418

Maggs CA, Fletcher HL, Fewer D, Loade L, Mineur F & Johnson MP (2011). Speciation in red algae: members of the Ceramiales as model organisms., Integrative and comparative biology, 51 (3) 492-504. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21742776

Strauch SM, Richter P, Schuster M & Häder DP (2010). The beating pattern of the flagellum of Euglena gracilis under altered gravity during parabolic flights., Journal of plant physiology, 167 (1) 41-6. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19679374

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8:36 AM | The stability of an Asperger syndrome diagnosis
"Asperger Syndrome, when considered as an ASD/PDD [autism spectrum disorder/pervasive developmental disorder] diagnosis, was fairly stable into adulthood, but there was a significant increase over time in cases no longer meeting criteria for an ASD diagnosis according to the DSM-IV, or AS according to the Gillberg criteria".The night is darkest just before the dawn.That was one of the primary conclusions made in the paper by Adam Helles and colleagues [1] who prospectively followed a group […]

Adam Helles, Carina I. Gillberg, Christopher Gillberg & Eva Billstedt (2014). sperger syndrome in males over two decades: stability and predictors of diagnosis, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Other:

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2:11 AM | When Should Online Dating Partners Meet Offline?
Will the amount of online communications affect face-to-face (FtF) relational outcomes among online daters? Researchers analysed experience of using various online date sites of 433 online daters recruited by a market research firm. The results of a new study suggest that online daters create mental constructs of their potential partners by using online dating profiles […] The post When Should Online Dating Partners Meet Offline? appeared first on Wiley Asia Blog.

Ramirez, A., Bryant Sumner, E., Fleuriet, C. & Cole, M. (2014). When Online Dating Partners Meet Offline: The Effect of Modality Switching on Relational Communication Between Online Daters, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, DOI: 10.1111/jcc4.12101

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October 28, 2014

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8:11 PM | Scientists resurrect 700-year-old viruses, Just in time for Halloween!
You know how some zombie movies start with a discovery of a virus, it gets loose, and things quickly spiral out of control from that? Well in breaking news a […]

Ng, T., Chen, L., Zhou, Y., Shapiro, B., Stiller, M., Heintzman, P., Varsani, A., Kondov, N., Wong, W., Deng, X. & Andrews, T. (2014). Preservation of viral genomes in 700-y-old caribou feces from a subarctic ice patch, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1410429111

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3:38 PM | Turning on proteins with light
Just like for married couples, communication is fundamental for cells. When an embryo is developing, its cells need to tell one another who and where they are, so every tissue and organ grows in the right place and at the right time. Our neurons are constantly talking to each other to control our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Even single-cell organisms like bacteria can exchange information to decide, for example, how many times they should multiply.But how do cells communicate? Scientists […]

Grusch M., R. Riedler, E. Reichhart, C. Differ, W. Berger, A. Ingles-Prieto & H. Janovjak (2014). Spatio-temporally precise activation of engineered receptor tyrosine kinases by light, The EMBO Journal, 33 (15) 1713-1726. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15252/embj.201387695

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1:51 PM | Tagged Dolphins Adjust by Swimming Slowly
Scientists love the data they get by attaching electronic tags to animals, but these devices can be a literal drag. For animals that fly or swim, tags can mess up their mechanics and force them to spend more energy. That’s what scientists expected to see when they studied dolphins with data loggers suction-cupped to their […]The post Tagged Dolphins Adjust by Swimming Slowly appeared first on Inkfish.

van der Hoop JM, Fahlman A, Hurst T, Rocho-Levine J, Shorter KA, Petrov V & Moore MJ (2014). Bottlenose dolphins modify behavior to reduce metabolic effect of tag attachment., The Journal of experimental biology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25324344

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10:20 AM | What I don’t hear can’t hurt me: insecure managers avoid input from employees
Organisations do better when there are clear communication channels that allow staff to point out ways the company can improve. Similarly, teams who freely share ideas and concerns are more tight-knit and motivated. And their managers get enhanced awareness, and to share in the praise for any improvements that pay off. So encouraging employee voice should be a no-brainer, especially for any manager feeling unsure of their ability to deliver solo. Yet according to new research, these insecure […]

Fast, N., Burris, E. & Bartel, C. (2014). Managing to Stay in the Dark: Managerial Self-Efficacy, Ego Defensiveness, and the Aversion to Employee Voice, Academy of Management Journal, 57 (4) 1013-1034. DOI: 10.5465/amj.2012.0393

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7:42 AM | Zinc and depression
"Low dietary zinc intake is associated with a greater incidence of depression in both men and women, as shown in two prospective cohorts".At the risk of overdoing the whole 'you are what you eat' sentiment, today I'm addressing a portion of the peer-reviewed research literature linking issues with zinc availability to depression. That opening quote by the way, comes from the paper by Khanrin Phungamla Vashum and colleagues [1] who looked at self-reported dietary intake of zinc based on […]

Vashum KP, McEvoy M, Milton AH, McElduff P, Hure A, Byles J & Attia J (2014). Dietary zinc is associated with a lower incidence of depression: findings from two Australian cohorts., Journal of affective disorders, 166 249-57. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25012438

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October 27, 2014

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7:40 PM | Real Zombie-Making Parasites Among Us
The mummified cat and the rat in the crypt of Christ Church in Dublin. Photo by Adrian Grycuk at Wikimedia Commons.The Happening, M. Night Shyamalan’s worst panned movie of all time, is a science fiction thriller about people going into a mysterious trance and committing suicide as a result of other mind-hacking species. One of the leading criticisms raised against this movie is the ridiculousness of the premise. One species can’t cause another to willingly commit suicide! […]

Kaushik, M., Knowles, S. & Webster, J. (2014). What Makes a Feline Fatal in Toxoplasma gondii's Fatal Feline Attraction? Infected Rats Choose Wild Cats, Integrative and Comparative Biology, 54 (2) 118-128. DOI: 10.1093/icb/icu060

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7:37 PM | Research Shows Synapses are Always Ready to Go
The inner workings of the brain are quick, but really they have to be. Neurons need to be able to rapidly propagate information in their interior via electrical signals and […]

Imig, C., Min, S., Krinner, S., Arancillo, M., Rosenmund, C., Südhof, T., Rhee, J., Brose, N. & Cooper, B. (2014). The Morphological and Molecular Nature of Synaptic Vesicle Priming at Presynaptic Active Zones, Neuron, 84 (2) 416-431. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.10.009

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3:10 PM | Brain Imaging In Alcoholic Brain Thiamine Deficiency
Chronic consumption of large quantities of alcohol can produce severe deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1).This can precipitate an acute brain failure known as Wernicke's encephalopathy. Wernicke's encephalopathy is characterized by sudden onset of mental status changes, eye muscle impairment and disturbed gait or ataxia.Other illnesses can also produce this level of severe thiamine deficiency. A partial list of these non-alcoholism causes for thiamine deficiency with encephalopathy […]

Manzo G, De Gennaro A, Cozzolino A, Serino A, Fenza G & Manto A (2014). MR imaging findings in alcoholic and nonalcoholic acute Wernicke's encephalopathy: a review., BioMed research international, 2014 503596. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25050351

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8:37 AM | Diagnosing autism late: after psychosis
The case report from Marly Simoncini and colleagues [1] (open-access) is the topic of today's post. Describing the case of Mr. A, a young man who attempted suicide during a psychotic episode, the paper tracks the developmental history and diagnostic evaluation of this person culminating in a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) "that had been completely overlooked".The best thing we can do is go on with our daily routineThe paper is open-access and I would encourage readers to take […]

Simoncini, M., Miniati, M., Vanelli, F., Callari, A., Vannucchi, G., Mauri, M. & Dell’Osso, L. (2014). Lifetime Autism Spectrum Features in a Patient with a Psychotic Mixed Episode Who Attempted Suicide, Case Reports in Psychiatry, 2014 1-4. DOI: 10.1155/2014/459524

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October 26, 2014

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7:58 PM | The Cause Behind Seizures post-Vaccination
The anti-vaccination movement is a dangerous one. Children are falling ill (and in certain cases dying) over nothing more than fear and misinformation. The problem is science doesn’t have all […]

Bjarke Feenstra et al. (2014). Common variants associated with general and MMR vaccine–related febrile seizures, Nature Genetics, Other:

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Editor's Pick
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3:00 PM | Ebola could mutate as rapidly as the flu
© Science MagazineThe largest genomic data collected on the Ebola virus to date has been recently published in Science [1], giving unique insights on the origin and spread of the greatest Ebola outbreak so far. The Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976, when it caused 318 cases: until now, it was the largest outbreak. "The current outbreak started in February 2014 in Guinea, West Africa, and spread into Liberia in March, Sierra Leone in May, and Nigeria in late July. It is the largest […]

Gire SK, Goba A, Andersen KG, Sealfon RS, Park DJ, Kanneh L, Jalloh S, Momoh M, Fullah M, Dudas G & Wohl S (2014). Genomic surveillance elucidates Ebola virus origin and transmission during the 2014 outbreak., Science (New York, N.Y.), 345 (6202) 1369-72. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25214632

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11:26 AM | Biology and maths partner to understand life decisions
Starting with the one fertilized egg that we all once were, embryonic development is made of cell divisions and most importantly of cell decisions. These first life decisions are the first steps of the development of various cell types, which will further divide, decide, specialize, organize, form specialized organs and ultimately an entire very complex […]

Bessonnard, S., De Mot, L., Gonze, D., Barriol, M., Dennis, C., Goldbeter, A., Dupont, G. & Chazaud, C. (2014). Gata6, Nanog and Erk signaling control cell fate in the inner cell mass through a tristable regulatory network, Development, 141 (19) 3637-3648. DOI: 10.1242/dev.109678

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3:30 AM | Stem cells, branching processes and stochasticity in cancer
When you were born, you probably had 270 bones in your body. Unless you’ve experienced some very drastic traumas, and assuming that you are fully grown, then you probably have 206 bones now. Much like the number and types of internal organs, we can call this question of science solved. Unfortunately, it isn’t always helpful […]

Traulsen, A., Pacheco, J. & Dingli, D. (2010). Reproductive fitness advantage of BCR–ABL expressing leukemia cells, Cancer Letters, 294 (1) 43-48. DOI: 10.1016/j.canlet.2010.01.020

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1:43 AM | Fright Week: The Waking Nightmare of Lord Voldemort
Nightmares can seem very real at times, but then we wake up and realize it was all a bad dream. Now imagine having a vivid nightmare with all the reality of waking life and then... it turns out you're actually awake through it all!This happened to an 11 year old Italian boy who reported frightening auditory and visual hallucinations of Voldemort, the archenemy of Harry Potter, for three straight days. These hallucinations began after a bout of sore throat and fever (38°C).  […]

Vita MG, Batocchi AP, Dittoni S, Losurdo A, Cianfoni A, Stefanini MC, Vollono C, Della Marca G & Mariotti P (2008). Visual hallucinations and pontine demyelination in a child: possible REM dissociation?, Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 4 (6) 588-90. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19110890

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