Posts

October 17, 2014

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9:22 AM | Altered ghrelin levels in boys with autism
"Honey, it's the '90s, remember?"Saudi Arabia and autism research? It must be at least one author from the research tag-team that is Mostafa and Al-Ayadhi.Indeed, in today's post it is Laila Al-Ayadhi featured on the paper by Felwah S. Al-Zaid and colleagues [1] (open-access) who concluded on: "a potential role for the hormone ghrelin in the pathogenesis of autism".Ghrelin, by the way, is often called the 'hunger hormone' as a result of its effects in relation to energy homoeostasis. […]

Al-Zaid FS, Alhader AA & Al-Ayadhi LY (2014). Altered ghrelin levels in boys with autism: a novel finding associated with hormonal dysregulation., Scientific reports, 4 6478. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25257829

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October 16, 2014

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9:20 PM | The “New” Roots of our Friends the Mitochondria
Mitochondria, the proverbial “powerhouse” of the cell. Mitochondria are found in virtually all eukaryotic cells, plant or animal and we thought that was pretty much the end of the story. […]

Zhang Wang & Martin Wu (2014). Phylogenomic Reconstruction Indicates Mitochondrial Ancestor Was an Energy Parasite , PLoS ONE, Other:

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8:18 PM | Inherited Memories: Too Good To Be True?
In December last year, researchers Brian Dias and Kerry Ressler made a splash with a paper seeming to show that memories can be inherited. This article, published in Nature Neuroscience, reported that if adult mice are taught to be afraid of a particular smell, then their children will also fear it. Which is pretty wild. […]The post Inherited Memories: Too Good To Be True? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.

Francis G (2014). Too much success for recent groundbreaking epigenetic experiments., Genetics, 198 (2) 449-51. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25316784

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6:19 PM | Is Axon Guidance by Attraction and Repulsion, or by a Roll of the Dice?
Attractants and repellants guide axons to their targets.  On its journey, a migrating axon may be confronted with multiple attractive and repulsive guidance cues.  This presents a conundrum. How does the axon avoid a tug-of-war between attractants and repellants?  Does the strongest cue win?  Can one cue negate the effects of another?  Can an axon switch its responsiveness to cues until they all match?  

Tang, X. & Wadsworth, W. (2014). SAX-3 (Robo) and UNC-40 (DCC) Regulate a Directional Bias for Axon Guidance in Response to Multiple Extracellular Cues, PLoS ONE, 9 (10) Other:

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8:59 AM | MicroRNAs and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
"No one User wrote me! I'm worth millions of their man-years!"Not so long ago I posted an entry talking about microRNAs and autism (see here). As well as including some rather interesting, if preliminary findings, that particular piece of work also served to introduce yet another layer of complexity to our genome and its expression: microRNAs.I was therefore always going to be more than a little intrigued by the results published by Ekua Brenu and colleagues [1] and their observations on […]

Brenu EW, Ashton KJ, Batovska J, Staines DR & Marshall-Gradisnik SM (2014). High-Throughput Sequencing of Plasma MicroRNA in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis., PloS one, 9 (9) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25238588

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6:00 AM | JUST PUBLISHED: Resilience and Responses to Persistent Pain
The concept of resilience is of considerable interest in clinical practice.  The resilient person shows relatively speedy recovery from a disturbance and an ability to resume their former work practices, habits and normal life.  In addition, they are able to maintain that recovery over the long-term.The maintenance of recovery is of particular interest in patients suffering from chronic pain, since the presence of persistent pain leads to a raft of behavioural and cognitive changes […]

Newton-John TR, Mason C & Hunter M (2014). The role of resilience in adjustment and coping with chronic pain., Rehabilitation psychology, 59 (3) 360-5. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25019306

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1:38 AM | Free Articles to Celebrate World Food Day 2014
We all know that today is World Food Day in honour of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). As we like to celebrate World Food Day meaningfully, we have compiled a list of articles that would be useful for everyone interested in food and nutrition. These articles are accessible […] The post Free Articles to Celebrate World Food Day 2014 appeared first on Wiley Asia Blog.

Buttriss, J. (2013). Food security through the lens of nutrition, Nutrition Bulletin, 38 (2) 254-261. DOI: 10.1111/nbu.12031

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October 15, 2014

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6:49 PM | A Random Walk into the Genetics of Axon Guidance
The man claimed he was a wizard and had cast the “spell of attraction” on the target.  Now the target would guide his arrow to the mark.  So we gave the man a broken arrow and watched to see if this arrow could hit the target.  The man took the arrow and flung it at the target.  Indeed, this arrow too could hit the target. Credit: Nina Matthews PhotographyPerhaps we had asked the wrong question.  Instead of looking at whether the arrow made it to […]

Wadsworth, W. (2002). Moving around in a worm: netrin UNC-6 and circumferential axon guidance in C. elegans, Trends in Neurosciences, 25 (8) 423-429. DOI: 10.1016/S0166-2236(02)02206-3

Kulkarni, G., Xu, Z., Mohamed, A., Li, H., Tang, X., Limerick, G. & Wadsworth, W. (2013). Experimental evidence for UNC-6 (netrin) axon guidance by stochastic fluctuations of intracellular UNC-40 (DCC) outgrowth activity, Biology Open, 2 (12) 1300-1312. DOI: 10.1242/bio.20136346

Yang, Y., Lee, W., Tang, X. & Wadsworth, W. (2014). Extracellular Matrix Regulates UNC-6 (Netrin) Axon Guidance by Controlling the Direction of Intracellular UNC-40 (DCC) Outgrowth Activity, PLoS ONE, 9 (5) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0097258

Xu, Z., Li, H. & Wadsworth, W. (2009). The Roles of Multiple UNC-40 (DCC) Receptor-Mediated Signals in Determining Neuronal Asymmetry Induced by the UNC-6 (Netrin) Ligand, Genetics, 183 (3) 941-949. DOI: 10.1534/genetics.109.108654

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6:22 PM | You can tell [my mood] by the way I walk
Ever see a guy walking down the street and know he’s depressed? Or how about someone happy, with a little bounce in their step? The way we walk says a […]

Michalak J, Rohde K & Troje NF (2014). How we walk affects what we remember: Gait modifications through biofeedback change negative affective memory bias., Journal of behavior therapy and experimental psychiatry, 46C 121-125. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25310681

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5:52 PM | My Dog Comes First: The Importance of Pets to Homeless Youth
Dogs and cats have both advantages and disadvantages for street-involved youth.Photo: everst / ShutterstockResearch by Michelle Lem et al (University of Guelph) asks homeless young people (aged 18-24) what their pet means to them. Previous studies have focussed on the benefits to homeless people of owning a dog or cat. The aim of this study was to get a balanced picture of both the advantages and disadvantages. Ten homeless young people took part in in-depth interviews about their pet. 8 […]

Lem, M., Coe, J.B., Haley, D.B., Stone, E. & O'Grady, W. (2013). Effects of companion animal ownership among Canadian street-involved youth: A qualitative analysis, Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, XL (4) 285-304.

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3:29 PM | Trauma research needs to be more global and accessible
Imagine a 7-year old boy living in India. One day, his father gets drunk and kills his mother. The boy is a witness to the homicide, and develops a high fever as a response. Imagine you’re the mental health professional … Continue reading →

Fodor, K., Unterhitzenberger, J., Chou, C., Kartal, D., Leistner, S., Milosavljevic, M., Nocon, A., Soler, L., White, J., Yoo, S. & Alisic, E. (2014). Is traumatic stress research global? A bibliometric analysis, European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 5 DOI: 10.3402/ejpt.v5.23269

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1:46 PM | Video Tip of the Week: MedGen, GTR, and ClinVar
The terrific folks at NCBI have been increasing their outreach with a series of webinars recently. I talked about one of them not too long ago, and I mentioned that when I found the whole webinar I’d highlight that. This recording is now available, and if you are interested in using these medical genetics resources, […]

Acland A., R. Agarwala, T. Barrett, J. Beck, D. A. Benson, C. Bollin, E. Bolton, S. H. Bryant, K. Canese, D. M. Church & K. Clark (2013). Database resources of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, Nucleic Acids Research, 42 (D1) D7-D17. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkt1146

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1:13 PM | Remembering visual images
There is an interesting recent paper (see citation) on visual memory. The researchers’ intent is to map and areas and causal directions between them for a particular process in healthy individuals so that sufferers showing lost of that process can be studied in the same way and the areas/connections which are faulty identified. In this […]

Nenert, R., Allendorfer, J. & Szaflarski, J. (2014). A Model for Visual Memory Encoding, PLoS ONE, 9 (10) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0107761

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12:15 PM | Biochemical ‘memory’ can help bacteria to grow
When we think of ‘memory’ we typically think of the brain being able to recall facts and events, but ‘memory’ can take other forms: some plastics can ‘remember’ particular shapes, material shapes or magnetic alignment can be used for storing digital data and our immune systems also have a capacity to ‘remember’ past infections. Bacteria…

Lambert, G. & Kussell, E. (2014). Memory and Fitness Optimization of Bacteria under Fluctuating Environments, PLoS Genetics, 10 (9) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004556

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12:00 PM | Frankenstein Meets Genetic Modification
Biology concepts – Frankenstein, asystole, ethics, genetically modified organisms, genetically modified foods, synthetic biology, decomposers, electroconvulsive therapyMary Shelly was wedded to Lord Byron, one of the great poets of the early 19th century. But she was fair writer on her own. Note the bolts on the monster’s neck. These were added by make-up artist Jack P. Pierce. He said they were electrodes, not bolts, even though Mary Shelly never actually wrote that the good doctor […]

Goldstein, D. (2014). Tempest in a Tea Pot: How did the Public Conversation on Genetically Modified Crops Drift so far from the Facts?, Journal of Medical Toxicology, 10 (2) 194-201. DOI: 10.1007/s13181-014-0402-7

Tufarelli V & Laudadio V (2013). Genetically Modified Feeds in Poultry Diet: Safety, Performance and Product Quality., Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24915369

Van Eenennaam AL & Young AE (2014). Prevalence and impacts of genetically engineered feedstuffs on livestock populations., Journal of animal science, 92 (10) 4255-78. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25184846

Snell C, Bernheim A, Bergé JB, Kuntz M, Pascal G, Paris A & Ricroch AE (2012). Assessment of the health impact of GM plant diets in long-term and multigenerational animal feeding trials: a literature review., Food and chemical toxicology : an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association, 50 (3-4) 1134-48. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22155268

McCall WV, Andrade C & Sienaert P (2014). Searching for the mechanism(s) of ECT's therapeutic effect., The journal of ECT, 30 (2) 87-9. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24755719

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9:16 AM | Hookworm infection and microchallenge for coeliac disease?
I'm getting rather baffled by some of the literature appearing with the autoimmune condition coeliac (celiac) disease in mind. The paper by Kalliokoski and colleagues [1] started the bafflement ball rolling with their suggestion that: "administration of IgA-deficient celiac disease patient serum or total IgG induces both deterioration of the intestinal mucosa and clinical features of celiac disease in mice". Then came the paper from Namatovu and colleagues [2] who concluded that: […]

Croese J, Giacomin P, Navarro S, Clouston A, McCann L, Dougall A, Ferreira I, Susianto A, O'Rourke P, Howlett M & McCarthy J (2014). Experimental hookworm infection and gluten microchallenge promote tolerance in celiac disease., The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25248819

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8:38 AM | How You Feel About People is Related to How You Feel About Cities
You take delight not in a city's seven or seventy wonders, but in the answer it gives to a question of yours. (Calvino, 1978, p. 44).There are numerous structural factors that influence people’s attitudes towards cities, including the city’s architecture, size, infrastructure, transport, crime rates, population density, and quality of housing, to name just a few.  However, as the Italian writer Calvino (1978) alluded to in his book Invisible Cities, these factors may be […]

Rubin, M. & Morrison, T. (2014). Individual Differences in Individualism and Collectivism Predict Ratings of Virtual Cities’ Liveability and Environmental Quality, The Journal of General Psychology, 141 (4) 348-372. DOI: 10.1080/00221309.2014.938721

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8:17 AM | Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Mid-Cingulate Cortex
What happens in the brain during a highly immersive reading experience? According to the fiction feeling hypothesis (Jacobs, 2014), narratives with highly emotional content cause a deeper sense of immersion by engaging the affective empathy network to a greater extent than neutral narratives. Emotional empathy — in this case, the ability to identify with a fictional character via grounded metarepresentations of ‘global emotional moments’ (Hsu et al., 2014) — relies […]

Hsu CT, Conrad M & Jacobs AM (2014). Fiction feelings in Harry Potter: haemodynamic response in the mid-cingulate cortex correlates with immersive reading experience., Neuroreport, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25304498

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October 14, 2014

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8:58 PM | Carbon’s Place in a Silicon World
Everything is silicon based, well mainly your computer, your TV, your ipad, and pretty much every piece of electronics in existence. Still the world turns and so does technology; at […]

Sharon Bahena-Garrido, Norihiro Shimoi, Daisuke Abe, Toshimasa Hojo, Yasumitsu Tanaka & Kazuyuki Tohji (2014). Plannar light source using a phosphor screen with single-walled carbon nanotubes as field emitters, Review of Scientific Instruments, Other:

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5:34 PM | These Tiny Animals Live Only on Driftwood
Maybe you gave your last realtor a long series of must-haves: a washing machine in unit, proximity to the train, a gas stovetop. But there’s no way you’re as picky as the driftwood hopper. This minute crustacean will only live in rotting chunks of driftwood. David Wildish, a marine zoologist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, […]The post These Tiny Animals Live Only on Driftwood appeared first on Inkfish.

Wildish, D. (2014). New genus and two new species of driftwood hoppers (Crustacea, Amphipoda, Talitridae) from northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean coastal regions, Zoosystematics and Evolution, 90 (2) 133-146. DOI: 10.3897/zse.90.8410

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3:49 PM | New Morbid Terminology: Overburden
As funerary archaeologists, we need to consider the whole range of behavior surrounding death and burial. This includes the ritual surrounding preparation of the body for burial, modes of transportation […]

McGowan, G. & Prangnell, J. (2014). A method for calculating soil pressure overlying human burials, Journal of Archaeological Science, DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2014.09.016

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2:22 PM | Treating school uniforms to reduce dengue: the Finances
 [A shorter version of this article first appeared on SciDev.Net] Scientists working to reduce dengue among school children in Thailand are testing something new: insecticide-treated school uniforms. A recent model published in PLoS One suggests that this intervention can be economically attractive in the context of Thailand. Using data from dengue studies in Thailand, the […]

Tozan Y, Ratanawong P, Louis VR, Kittayapong P & Wilder-Smith A (2014). Use of insecticide-treated school uniforms for prevention of dengue in schoolchildren: a cost-effectiveness analysis., PloS one, 9 (9) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25247556

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11:10 AM | Prenatal genetic testing and autism: a delicate subject
I realise that the paper by Lei-Shih Chen and colleagues [1] covers a most sensitive topic when it comes to the autism spectrum, exploring: "the attitudes toward PGT [prenatal genetic testing] and termination decisions of 42 parents of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]". Indeed, this is not the first time that this research group has looked at this area of autism research [2] and it seems like they will be talking about it further too (see here).I chose to discuss the most […]

Chen LS, Xu L, Dhar SU, Li M, Talwar D & Jung E (2014). Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Qualitative Study of Attitudes toward Prenatal Genetic Testing and Termination Decisions of Affected Pregnancies., Clinical genetics, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25251361

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8:57 AM | High Emotional Intelligence linked with more delinquency among young women (but not men)
If, as research suggests, the psychological trait of sensation seeking is the catalyst for youthful delinquency, might high emotional intelligence (EI; having empathy for other people's emotions and good control over one's own) act as a calming restraint? That was the question Alison Bacon her colleagues posed in their study of 96 undergrads (average age 20; 48 women).Their "surprising and unprecedented" discovery was that for women, not only did high EI not moderate the link between sensation […]

Bacon, A., Burak, H. & Rann, J. (2014). Sex differences in the relationship between sensation seeking, trait emotional intelligence and delinquent behaviour, The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 25 (6) 673-683. DOI: 10.1080/14789949.2014.943796

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6:00 AM | Drinking Decaf Coffee Maybe Good for the Liver
Researchers from the National Cancer Institute report that decaffeinated coffee drinking may benefit liver health. Results of the study published in Hepatology, a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, show that higher coffee consumption, regardless of caffeine content, was linked to lower levels of abnormal liver enzymes. This suggests that […] The post Drinking Decaf Coffee Maybe Good for the Liver appeared first on Wiley Asia Blog.

Xiao, Q., Sinha, R., Graubard, B. & Freedman, N. (2014). Inverse associations of total and decaffeinated coffee with liver enzyme levels in NHANES 1999-2010, Hepatology, DOI: 10.1002/hep.27367

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October 13, 2014

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9:30 PM | Yes folks... broccoli chemical impacts on autism presentation
Please do not adjust your set. Broccoli, or least a chemical found in broccoli called sulforaphane has, under placebo-controlled, double-blind experimental conditions, been reported to impact on the presentation of autism according to the paper by Kanwaljit Singh and colleagues [1] (open-access).Eat your greens @ Fir0002/FlagstaffotosI had to do a bit of a double-take myself when I first read about these results (see here). Indeed, even the authors themselves seemed to be a […]

Kanwaljit Singh, Susan L. Connors, Eric A. Macklin, Kirby D. Smith, Jed W. Fahey, Paul Talalay & Andrew W. Zimmerman (2014). Sulforaphane treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), PNAS, Other:

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9:27 PM | Free Radicals and Wound Healing
Free radicals, said in the right crowd and you might hear someone scream for their life. Of course, to be perfectly transparent antioxidants have already shown to be bad in […]

Suhong Xu, & Andrew D. Chisholm (2014). C. elegans Epidermal Wounding Induces a Mitochondrial ROS Burst that Promotes Wound Repair , Developmental Cell, Other:

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9:17 PM | Emodiversity: A Mix of Emotions Is Healthiest?
“Emodiversity” – a life containing a balance of different emotions – is good for you. So say psychologists Jordi Quoidbach and colleagues in a rather cool new paper (pdf). In two large surveys (with a total of over 37,000 responders), conducted in France and Belgium, Quoidbach et al. show that emodiversity is an independent predictor […]The post Emodiversity: A Mix of Emotions Is Healthiest? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.

Quoidbach J, Gruber J, Mikolajczak M, Kogan A, Kotsou I & Norton MI (2014). Emodiversity and the Emotional Ecosystem., Journal of experimental psychology. General, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25285428

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2:00 PM | Guiding light to boost algae biofuel production
Algae are aquatic organisms which make ponds murky and biofoul the hulls of boats and ships and slow them down. But these these tiny green creatures could also be the future of fuel production – they produce natural oils (lipids) which can be extracted and turned into a wide range of hydrocarbon fuels including diesel…

Ahsan, S., Pereyra, B., Jung, E. & Erickson, D. (2014). Engineered surface scatterers in edge-lit slab waveguides to improve light delivery in algae cultivation, Optics Express, 22 (S6) DOI: 10.1364/OE.22.0A1526

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8:46 AM | Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for anxiety in autism
I'll readily admit that despite having a tinge of psychology running through my research career, I'm not overly enthused about the impact of the discipline on the autism spectrum down the years. I'm not necessarily just talking about the Freudian effect which set autism research back decades and shamefully added needless worry and stigma to those on the spectrum and their loved ones, but also the grand over-arching psychological theories which seemed, for example, to completely miss the […]

Ung D, Selles R, Small BJ & Storch EA (2014). A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety in Youth with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders., Child psychiatry and human development, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25246292

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