Posts

October 02, 2014

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10:15 PM | Living on the edge: doped graphene quantum dots perform as well as platinum in fuel cell electrodes!
Beating platinum is akin to finding the Holy Grail for material scientists working on fuel cells.  We know very little about the microscopic workings of catalysis, but platinum – beautiful, shiny, and and far too expensive to base an economy … Continue reading →

Fei, H., Ye, R., Ye, G., Gong, Y., Peng, Z., Fan, X., Samuel, E., Ajayan, P. & Tour, J. (2014). Boron- and Nitrogen-Doped Graphene Quantum Dots/Graphene Hybrid Nanoplatelets as Efficient Electrocatalysts for Oxygen Reduction, ACS Nano, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1021/nn504637y

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9:04 PM | The Mysterious Origins of HIV Discovered
There have been a lot of theories on where HIV came from, anywhere from the mundane, it spread from other animals. To the down right crazy, the government created it […]

Nuno R. Faria1, Andrew Rambaut, Marc A. Suchard, Guy Baele, Trevor Bedford, Melissa J. Ward, Andrew J. Tatem, João D. Sousa, Nimalan Arinaminpathy, Jacques Pépin, & David Posada (2014). The early spread and epidemic ignition of HIV-1 in human populations, Science, Other:

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6:01 PM | Survivin: You wouldn’t be alive without it
  Enzymes perform numerous tasks in order to contribute to the global goal of organism survival. One such enzyme is Survivin. Survivin wears many “hats” within the cell and is a vital part of cellular homeostasis. Here I will introduce you to two of the main processes Survivin regulates. Survivin is a multifunctional protein involved […]

Johnson M.E. (2004). Survivin: A Bifunctional Inhibitor of Apoptosis Protein, Veterinary Pathology, 41 (6) 599-607. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1354/vp.41-6-599

WHEATLEY S. (2005). Survivin: A Protein with Dual Roles in Mitosis and Apoptosis, International Review of Cytology, 247 35-88. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0074-7696(05)47002-3

Tazo Y., Takashi Onda & Makoto Saegusa (2014). Bifunctional roles of survivin-ΔEx3 and survivin-2B for susceptibility to apoptosis in endometrial carcinomas, Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00432-014-1762-8

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12:03 PM | Coeliac disease risk not affected by early feeding practices
I'd like to bring three papers to your attention, all united by their discussion of coeliac (celiac) disease, that most classic of autoimmune conditions in the most part managed by the use of a lifelong gluten-free diet.First up are the papers by Elena Lionetti and colleagues [1] and Sabine Vriezinga and colleagues [2] which unfortunately pour cold water on the notion that the risk of developing coeliac disease (CD) can be somehow mitigated via the use of either the early or delayed […]

Lionetti E, Castellaneta S, Francavilla R, Pulvirenti A, Tonutti E, Amarri S, Barbato M, Barbera C, Barera G, Bellantoni A & Castellano E (2014). Introduction of Gluten, HLA Status, and the Risk of Celiac Disease in Children., The New England journal of medicine, 371 (14) 1295-1303. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25271602

Vriezinga SL, Auricchio R, Bravi E, Castillejo G, Chmielewska A, Crespo Escobar P, Kolaček S, Koletzko S, Korponay-Szabo IR, Mummert E & Polanco I (2014). Randomized Feeding Intervention in Infants at High Risk for Celiac Disease., The New England journal of medicine, 371 (14) 1304-1315. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25271603

Elfström P, Sundström J & Ludvigsson JF (2014). Systematic review with meta-analysis: associations between coeliac disease and type 1 diabetes., Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25270960

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10:37 AM | What do sperm have to do with brain tumors?
  This post was originally published in the Knoepfler Lab Stem Cell Blog.      Sometimes in science there are unexpected threads tying seemingly very different things together. Unraveling the knots in these threads can lead to new insights into important developmental processes and mechanisms of disease. My lab studies epigenomic and transcription factors including […]

Yuen, B., Bush, K., Barrilleaux, B., Cotterman, R. & Knoepfler, P. (2014). Histone H3.3 regulates dynamic chromatin states during spermatogenesis, Development, 141 (18) 3483-3494. DOI: 10.1242/dev.106450

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8:57 AM | Volatile organic compounds and autism
As harsh as the phrase volatile organic compounds (VOCs) might appear at first glance, all this refers to is a class of compounds containing carbon which have a tendency to evaporate at room temperature assuming normal air pressure. VOCs have been associated with pollutants as per their inclusion in various literature on the topic of things like indoor air pollution (see here) and the fact that just about everything around us in the modern home or office is likely to release VOCs. Whilst not […]

Cozzolino R, De Magistris L, Saggese P, Stocchero M, Martignetti A, Di Stasio M, Malorni A, Marotta R, Boscaino F & Malorni L & (2014). Use of solid-phase microextraction coupled to gas chromatography-mass spectrometry for determination of urinary volatile organic compounds in autistic children compared with healthy controls., Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry, 406 (19) 4649-62. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24828982

Kalkbrenner AE, Schmidt RJ & Penlesky AC (2014). Environmental Chemical Exposures and Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Review of the Epidemiological Evidence., Current problems in pediatric and adolescent health care, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25199954

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8:50 AM | JUST PUBLISHED: A Trial to Evaluate the Efficacy of an Integrated Smoking Cessation Intervention among Mental Health Patients
Depending on diagnosis and setting, between 33 and 90 per cent of people with mental illness smoke tobacco, both in Australia and worldwide. As a result, tobacco-related diseases are one of the leading causes of mortality among this population subgroup. A paucity of research to date has examined the efficacy of cessation strategies to assist people with mental illness to quit smoking. However, limited findings have suggested that aids that have been found to be effective for the general […]

Metse, A., Bowman, J., Wye, P., Stockings, E., Adams, M., Clancy, R., Terry, M., Wolfenden, L., Freund, M., Allan, J. & Prochaska, J. (2014). Evaluating the efficacy of an integrated smoking cessation intervention for mental health patients: Study protocol for a randomised controlled trial, Trials, 15 (266) 1-7. DOI: 10.1186/1745-6215-15-266

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October 01, 2014

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8:21 PM | The Ever Plastic Brain and Intellectual Disabilities
The plasticity of the brain is always somewhat of a shock. It’s near incredible what the brain can achieve, look at people who have strokes, or any other sort of […]

Hans T. Bjornsson, Joel S. Benjamin, Li Zhang, Jacqueline Weissman, Elizabeth E. Gerber, Yi-Chun Chen, Rebecca G. Vaurio, Michelle C. Potter, Kasper D. Hansen & Harry C. Dietz & (2014). Histone deacetylase inhibition rescues structural and functional brain deficits in a mouse model of Kabuki syndrome, Science Translational Medicine , Other:

Hans T. Bjornsson, Joel S. Benjamin, Li Zhang, Jacqueline Weissman, Elizabeth E. Gerber, Yi-Chun Chen, Rebecca G. Vaurio, Michelle C. Potter, Kasper D. Hansen & Harry C. Dietz & (2014). Histone deacetylase inhibition rescues structural and functional brain deficits in a mouse model of Kabuki syndrome, Science Translational Medicine, Other:

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6:17 PM | What Encourages People to Walk Their Dog?
And is dog-walking a good way to persuade people to take more exercise?Photo: Monkey Business Images / ShutterstockWe know that most people do not get the 150 minutes of exercise per week that is recommended. Could encouraging people to walk their dogs more often help, and if so, how best to go about it? A new paper by Carri Westgarth et al (2014) of the University of Liverpool reviews the state of current research.Although to some dog owners a daily walk is an essential part of the routine, […]

Cutt, H., Giles-Corti, B. & Knuiman, M. (2008). Encouraging physical activity through dog walking: Why don't some owners walk with their dog?, Preventive Medicine, 46 (2) 120-126. DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2007.08.015

Westgarth, C., Christley, R. & Christian, H. (2014). How might we increase physical activity through dog walking?: A comprehensive review of dog walking correlates, International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 11 (1) 83. DOI: 10.1186/1479-5868-11-83

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4:00 PM | Walking the Line: The Complexity of Punishment Decisions
One night, Mark withdraws $200 cash from an ATM. He is on his way to meet his family, and intends to treat everyone to a special dinner at his favorite restaurant for his wife’s birthday. Just as he finishes his transaction, Dan rounds the street corner, pulls out a knife, and threatens Mark to hand … Continue reading →

Buckholtz J.W., Paul E. Dux, David H. Zald, John C. Gore, Owen D. Jones & René Marois (2008). The Neural Correlates of Third-Party Punishment, Neuron, 60 (5) 930-940. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2008.10.016

Greene J.D. (2001). An fMRI Investigation of Emotional Engagement in Moral Judgment, Science, 293 (5537) 2105-2108. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1062872

Knoch D. (2006). Disruption of Right Prefrontal Cortex by Low-Frequency Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Induces Risk-Taking Behavior, Journal of Neuroscience, 26 (24) 6469-6472. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/jneurosci.0804-06.2006

Sanfey A.G. (2003). The Neural Basis of Economic Decision-Making in the Ultimatum Game, Science, 300 (5626) 1755-1758. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1082976

Wout M.V., Alan G. Sanfey & Andre Aleman (2005). Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation over the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex affects strategic decision-making, NeuroReport, 16 (16) 1849-1852. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/01.wnr.0000183907.08149.14

Yamada M., Saori Fujie, Motoichiro Kato, Tetsuya Matsuda, Harumasa Takano, Hiroshi Ito, Tetsuya Suhara & Hidehiko Takahashi (2012). Neural circuits in the brain that are activated when mitigating criminal sentences, Nature Communications, 3 759. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms1757

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1:46 PM | Video Tip of the Week: MEGA, Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis
This week’s tip of the week highlights the MEGA tools–MEGA is a collection of tools that perform Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis. MEGA tools are not new–they’ve been developed and supported over many years. In fact, on their landing page you can see the first reference to MEGA was in 1994. How much computing were you […]

Tamura K., G. Peterson, N. Peterson, G. Stecher, M. Nei & S. Kumar (2011). MEGA5: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis Using Maximum Likelihood, Evolutionary Distance, and Maximum Parsimony Methods, Molecular Biology and Evolution, 28 (10) 2731-2739. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msr121

Tamura K., G. Stecher, D. Peterson, A. Filipski & S. Kumar (2013). MEGA6: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis Version 6.0, Molecular Biology and Evolution, 30 (12) 2725-2729. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/molbev/mst197

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12:59 PM | One Thing Is Just Like The Other – Sort Of
Biology concepts – undulipodia, convergent evolution, parallel evolution, homologous structures, re-emergent evolution, atavism, flagella, eukaryote, prokaryoteThis represents the evolution of cell phones over the last couple of decades. The latest models aren’t there since things are changing so fast. Evolution in biology doesn’t always work this way, one thing leading directly to another, sometimes you have to go back to a rotary phone go forward to an iPhone, and sometimes […]

Lahti, D. C., N. A. Johnson, et al. (2009). Relaxed selection in the wild. , Trends in Ecology and Evolution, , 24 (9) 487-496. Other:

Stone G & French V (2003). Evolution: have wings come, gone and come again?, Current biology : CB, 13 (11) 8. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12781152

Wiens JJ (2011). Re-evolution of lost mandibular teeth in frogs after more than 200 million years, and re-evaluating Dollo's law., Evolution; international journal of organic evolution, 65 (5) 1283-96. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21521189

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9:31 AM | It’s ‘Stoptober’ – but 28 days isn’t long enough to change a habit
A month feels a very long time when you’re trying to give something up. Crikey, if you’re trying to give up cigarettes then even a weekend seems an eternity. And now that October is upon us, scores of smokers are going cold turkey on the fags for a 28 day stint. It’s all part of … Continue reading →

Lally, P., van Jaarsveld, C., Potts, H. & Wardle, J. (2010). How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world, European Journal of Social Psychology, 40 (6) 998-1009. DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.674

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9:11 AM | Maternal complement C1q and offspring psychosis
"In conclusion, exposure to maternal C1q activity during pregnancy may be a risk factor for the development of schizophrenia and psychosis in offspring". That was the primary observation made by Emily Severance and colleagues [1] at Johns Hopkins, extending their scientific interest in immune system involvement being potentially linked to psychiatry [2]."Serve the public trust, protect the innocent, uphold the law"I've already talked about Dr Severance's previous research forays into complement […]

Emily G. Severance, Kristin L. Gressitt, Stephen L. Buka, Tyrone D. Cannon & Robert H. Yolken (2014). Maternal complement C1q and increased odds for psychosis in adult offspring, Schizophrenia Research, Other:

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September 30, 2014

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10:10 PM | New Immune System Discovery
The immune system is sort of this big enigma, we know how pieces of it work, but we don’t know it as well as we would like or we wouldn’t […]

Zhou RW, Mkhikian H, Grigorian A, Hong A, Chen D, Arakelyan A & Demetriou M (2014). N-glycosylation bidirectionally extends the boundaries of thymocyte positive selection by decoupling Lck from Ca2+ signaling., Nature immunology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25263124

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8:47 PM | Ritratti: Winifred Edgerton Merrill
Winifred Edgerton Merrill fu la prima americana ad ottenere un dottorato in matematica presso la Columbia University nel 1886. Nella sua tesi sviluppò una rappresentazione geometrica degli infinitesimi in diversi sistemi di coordinate, utilizzando lo jacobiano per per derivare le trasformazioni tra gli integrali nei diversi sistemi.Tra matematica e astronomiaNata a Ripon, nel Wisconsin, il 24 settembre del 1862 da Emmet e Clara Edgerton, si trasferisce con la famiglia a New York intorno […]

Kelly S.E. & Rozner S.A. (2012). Winifred Edgerton Merrill: "She Opened the Door", Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 59 (04) 504-512. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1090/noti818

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8:13 PM | How space dust teaches us about scientific progresses
Sometimes I feel that it sucks to be a physicist. (Just to clarify – I am not one, and this is my personal opinion, having worked years in a department full of physicists, and with a background in non-physics fields. This is not after any discussion with other physicists in my dept – they might agree, they might […]

Ade P.A.R., M. Amiri, D. Barkats, S. J. Benton, C. A. Bischoff, J. J. Bock, J. A. Brevik, I. Buder, E. Bullock & G. Davis & (2014). BICEP2. II. EXPERIMENT AND THREE-YEAR DATA SET, The Astrophysical Journal, 792 (1) 62. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0004-637x/792/1/62

Ade P.A.R., D. Barkats, S. J. Benton, C. A. Bischoff, J. J. Bock, J. A. Brevik, I. Buder, E. Bullock, C. D. Dowell & L. Duband & (2014). Detection of B-Mode Polarization at Degree Angular Scales by BICEP2, Physical Review Letters, 112 (24) DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/physrevlett.112.241101

Planck Collaboration, R. Adam, P. A. R. Ade, N. Aghanim, M. Arnaud, J. Aumont, C. Baccigalupi, A. J. Banday, R. B. Barreiro, J. G. Bartlett & N. Bartolo (2014). Planck intermediate results. XXX. The angular power spectrum of polarized dust emission at intermediate and high Galactic latitudes, arXiv: http://arxiv.org/abs/1409.5738v1

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4:25 PM | This Month in Blastocystis Research (SEP 2014)
Before leaving for Venice and Padova to introduce Blastocystis to the XXX National Congress of The Italian Society of Protistology (ONLUS), allow me to kick in just a few words for the September issue of 'This Month in Blastocystis Research'.I will highlight two papers.The first is a study from the US (Yes, - US data! How rare is that?). The team investigated the prevalence and subtype distribution of Blastocystis among client-owned and shelter-resident cats and dogs. Studies of Blastocystis in […]

Krogsgaard LR, Engsbro AL, Stensvold CR, Vedel Nielsen H & Bytzer P (2014). The Prevalence of Intestinal Parasites is not Greater Among Individuals with IBS: a Population-Based Case-Control Study., Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology : the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25229421

Krogsgaard LR, Engsbro AL & Bytzer P (2013). The epidemiology of irritable bowel syndrome in Denmark. A population-based survey in adults ≤50 years of age., Scandinavian journal of gastroenterology, 48 (5) 523-9. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23506174

Ruaux CG & Stang BV (2014). Prevalence of Blastocystis in Shelter-Resident and Client-Owned Companion Animals in the US Pacific Northwest., PloS one, 9 (9) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25226285

Wang W, Cuttell L, Bielefeldt-Ohmann H, Inpankaew T, Owen H & Traub RJ (2013). Diversity of Blastocystis subtypes in dogs in different geographical settings., Parasites & vectors, 6 215. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23883734

Wawrzyniak I, Poirier P, Viscogliosi E, Dionigia M, Texier C, Delbac F & Alaoui HE (2013). Blastocystis, an unrecognized parasite: an overview of pathogenesis and diagnosis., Therapeutic advances in infectious disease, 1 (5) 167-78. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25165551

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9:06 AM | Autoimmune thyroiditis and depressive disorder
"Our study demonstrates a strong association between anti-TPO levels, which are considered to be of diagnostic value for autoimmune thyroiditis... with uni- or bipolar depression.""Beware the bad cat bearing a grudge"So said the study published by Detlef Degner and colleagues [1]. Anti-TPO antibodies by the way, refers to anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies which, as the name suggests, are antibodies against thyroid peroxidase, an important step in the production of thyroid […]

Degner D, Haust M, Meller J, Rüther E & Reulbach U (2014). Association between autoimmune thyroiditis and depressive disorder in psychiatric outpatients., European archives of psychiatry and clinical neuroscience, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25193677

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