Posts

October 22, 2014

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7:55 PM | Converting Skin Cells to Neurons: A Fight Against Huntington’s
Neurological diseases are some of the hardest to fight against (in my opinion). The big reason is the brain, we still know so little about it and treatment for anything […]

Victor, M., Richner, M., Hermanstyne, T., Ransdell, J., Sobieski, C., Deng, P., Klyachko, V., Nerbonne, J. & Yoo, A. (2014). Generation of Human Striatal Neurons by MicroRNA-Dependent Direct Conversion of Fibroblasts, Neuron, 84 (2) 311-323. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.10.016

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3:21 PM | Are All Labrador Retrievers the Same?
Or do show dogs and field dogs vary in temperament?Photo: c.byatt-norman / ShutterstockIt’s often said there are personality differences between Labrador Retrievers bred to show (conformation dogs) and those bred to work (field dogs). And chocolate labs have a reputation for being different than black and yellow labs. Is it true? New research by Sarah Lofgren et al (Royal (Dick) Veterinary School, University of Edinburgh) investigates.Although many Labrador Retrievers are family pets, […]

Lofgren, S., Wiener, P., Blott, S., Sanchez-Molano, E., Woolliams, J., Clements, D. & Haskell, M. (2014). Management and personality in Labrador Retriever dogs, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 156 44-53. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2014.04.006

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2:29 PM | Martin Gardner
Come ha ricordato Maurizio Codogno è stato il centenario di Martin Gardner. Recupero oggi con la traduzione di un articolo di David Singmaster uscito su "Nature" nel 2010 come ricordo per la figura di riferimento che ha rappresentato per moltissimi lettori, amanti della matematica e matematici professionisti.Dalla metà degli anni '50 fino ai primi anni '80 del XX sexolo, probabilmente la più nota sezione di Scientific American è stata Mathematical games di Martin […]

Singmaster D. (2010). Obituary: Martin Gardner (1914–2010), Nature, 465 (7300) 884-884. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/465884a

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1:46 PM | Video Tip of the Week: SeqMonk
Always on the lookout for effective visualization tools, I recently came across a series of videos about the SeqMonk software. It’s not software that I had used before, so I wanted to look at the videos, and then try it out. It downloaded quickly, offered me an extensive list of genomes to load up, and […]

Chatterjee A., P. A. Stockwell, E. J. Rodger & I. M. Morison (2012). Comparison of alignment software for genome-wide bisulphite sequence data, Nucleic Acids Research, 40 (10) e79-e79. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gks150

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12:00 PM | Death By Haunted House
Halloween is a time when fear is invited. The rush of adrenaline in a controlled environment is life-affirming. Not much else to comment on here, except that he seems to have excellent oral hygiene for a chainsaw-wielding maniac.A big man with the chainsaw and the gaping wound on his face jumps out from around the corner and growls. You leap backward and scream, your heart pounding in your ears. You’re ready to either take that power tool and teach him a lesson or to run like the kid from […]

Greek, R. (2012). Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing. By Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers. Knopf Doubleday Publishing: New York, NY, USA, 2012; Hardback, 320 pp; $16.23; ISBN-10: 0307593487, Animals, 2 (4) 559-563. DOI: 10.3390/ani2040559

Volchan, E., Souza, G., Franklin, C., Norte, C., Rocha-Rego, V., Oliveira, J., David, I., Mendlowicz, M., Coutinho, E., Fiszman, A. & Berger, W. (2011). Is there tonic immobility in humans? Biological evidence from victims of traumatic stress, Biological Psychology, 88 (1) 13-19. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2011.06.002

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8:26 AM | Autism, parental concerns and socioeconomic status
I'd like to think that there are some rather important messages to be taken from the paper by Xiang Sun and colleagues [1] on level of parental concern, socioeconomic status (SES) and risk of autism. Not only did the authors conclude that: "a higher SES was not associated with the risk of having ASC [autism spectrum conditions]" they also found that: "No child met ASC criteria where parents expressed no concerns".Do you prefer "fashion victim" or "ensembly challenged"?SES - including […]

Sun, X., Allison, C., Auyeung, B., Baron-Cohen, S. & Brayne, C. (2014). Parental concerns, socioeconomic status, and the risk of autism spectrum conditions in a population-based study, Research in Developmental Disabilities, 35 (12) 3678-3688. DOI: 10.1016/j.ridd.2014.07.037

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October 21, 2014

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8:51 PM | Dude, wheres my Hover Car? Oh wait…
We all (of a certain age) remember the Jetsons, a futuristic family with hi-tech gadgets and gizmos. However, nothing said, “the future is here” quite like things hovering. Even in […]

Hendo Hover (2014). Hendo Hoverboards - World's first REAL hoverboard, Kickstarter, Other:

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3:36 PM | Inflazione infinita e fine del tempo
Come saprete i dati di BICEP che sembrava dovessero confermare l'inflazione cosmica e le onde gravitazionali primordiali hanno subito una verifica negativa. Come spiegano molto bene Amedeo e Sandro, l'interpretazione dei risultati è stata completamente ribaltata dalle analisi di Planck.Uno degli aspetti che, con quell'annuncio di metà aprile, non avevo trattato ma che mi sarebbe piaciuto era la questione dell'inflazione infinita. Questa ipotesi teorica venne introdotta da Alan […]

Alan H. Guth (2001). Eternal Inflation, arXiv: http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0101507v1

Guth A.H. (2007). Eternal inflation and its implications, Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical, 40 (25) 6811-6826. DOI: 10.1088/1751-8113/40/25/S25

Bousso R., Freivogel B., Leichenauer S. & Rosenhaus V. (2011). Eternal inflation predicts that time will end, Physical Review D, 83 (2) DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/physrevd.83.023525

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8:53 AM | Antibiotics and childhood obesity: a weighty correlation
It's been a few weeks since the publication of the paper by L. Charles Bailey and colleagues [1] correlating early multiple exposure to broad spectrum antibiotics with obesity in infancy. On purpose I've left it a while before talking about this research so as to let the scientific dust settle a little and get a flavour for some of the discussions about this research (see here and see here).You're a true vulgarian, aren't you?A few details about the Bailey study first:Looking at the […]

Bailey LC, Forrest CB, Zhang P, Richards TM, Livshits A & DeRusso PA (2014). Association of Antibiotics in Infancy With Early Childhood Obesity., JAMA pediatrics, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25265089

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October 20, 2014

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8:50 PM | A Venusian Mystery Explored Once More
Venus, the place where women are from… supposedly. To say Venus has a harsh climate would be an understatement, this is one of many reasons why we will never (or […]

Harrington, E. et. Al (2014). The puzzle of radar-bright highlands on venus: a high-spatial resolution study in Ovda regio, Geological Society of America, Other:

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3:55 PM | A camera and quantum physics could improve phone security
Smartphones nowdays can be used in loads of different ways: we can use them to transfer cash, upload information to social media and, very occasionally, actually use them to converse with other humans. Your phone can say a lot about you – the type of phone you have and the way you personalise it can…

Sanguinetti, B., Martin, A., Zbinden, H. & Gisin, N. (2014). Quantum Random Number Generation on a Mobile Phone, Physical Review X, 4 (3) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevX.4.031056

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2:56 PM | Persistent Insomnia and Alcoholism
Sleep problems complicate the treatment and recovery in alcoholism. Heavy alcohol consumption modifies the nature of sleep architecture.A high blood alcohol concentration at bedtime may promote sleep early in the sleep cycle.However, as alcohol levels decline, sleep is often interrupted with limiting rapid eye movement (REM) sleep duration.Shortened total sleep time with alcohol can produce a lack of feeling well rested on awakening.For those with alcoholism or alcohol dependence, […]

Brower KJ, Krentzman A & Robinson EA (2011). Persistent insomnia, abstinence, and moderate drinking in alcohol-dependent individuals., The American journal on addictions / American Academy of Psychiatrists in Alcoholism and Addictions, 20 (5) 435-40. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21838842

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2:20 PM | Moral Time: Does Our Internal Clock Influence Moral Judgments?
Does morality depend on the time of the day? The study "The Morning Morality Effect: The Influence of Time of Day on Unethical Behavior" published in October of 2013 by Maryam Kouchaki and Isaac Smith suggested that people are more honest in the mornings, and that their ability to resist the temptation of lying and cheating wears off as the day progresses. In a series of experiments, Kouchaki and Smith found that moral awareness and self-control in their study subjects decreased... Read […]

Gunia BC, Barnes CM & Sah S (2014). The Morality of Larks and Owls: Unethical Behavior Depends on Chronotype as Well as Time of Day., Psychological science, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25287664

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12:14 PM | Paradosso cosmico
The Time Machine at the End of the World, di Les Edwardsvia ahiddenworld.tumblr.comCome tutti i generi, anche la fantascienza in ultima analisi è interessata a parlare dell'essere umano. In particolare, come ricorda Isaac Asimov, parla dell'essere umano contemporaneo, nascondendo il messaggio dietro una rappresentazione meravigliosa, dietro un sense of wonder dovuto a progressi scientifici inimmaginabili.I due progressi scientifici che muovono la maggior parte della fantascienza (non […]

Gödel K. (1949). An Example of a New Type of Cosmological Solutions of Einstein's Field Equations of Gravitation, Reviews of Modern Physics, 21 (3) 447-450. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/revmodphys.21.447

Silk J. (1970). The Instability of a Rotating Universe, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 147 (1) 13-19. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mnras/147.1.13

Deutsch D. (1991). Quantum mechanics near closed timelike lines, Physical Review D, 44 (10) 3197-3217. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/physrevd.44.3197

Deutsch, D. & Lockwood, M. (1994). The Quantum Physics of Time Travel, Scientific American, 270 (3) 68-74. DOI: 10.1038/scientificamerican0394-68

Buser M., Kajari E. & Schleich W.P. (2013). Visualization of the Gödel universe, New Journal of Physics, 15 (1) 013063. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1367-2630/15/1/013063

Sorli A., Fiscaletti D. & Gregl T. (2013). New insights into Gödel's universe without time, Physics Essays, 26 (1) 113-115. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4006/0836-1398-26.1.113

Ringbauer M., Broome M.A., Myers C.R., White A.G. & Ralph T.C. (2014). Experimental simulation of closed timelike curves, Nature Communications, 5 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms5145

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8:36 AM | Reasons for visiting ER by those with autism
ER - Emergency Room - or as we call it here in Blighty Accident & Emergency (A & E), is never a particularly desirable place to visit given the emphasis on illness or injury of yourself or loved one. That being said, staff there do a sterling job sometimes under very stressful circumstances, responding to all-manner of complaints, some of which are life-threatening.The paper by Dorothea Iannuzzi and colleagues [1] sought to identify some of the medical reasons why ER […]

Iannuzzi DA, Cheng ER, Broder-Fingert S & Bauman ML (2014). Brief Report: Emergency Department Utilization by Individuals with Autism., Journal of autism and developmental disorders, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25261249

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October 19, 2014

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5:43 PM | DNA Nanotech: The First Large DNA Crystals
DNA is the stuff of life as we know it, but it is the potential as a programmable material platform that could spawn entire new and revolutionary nanodevices in computer science, microscopy, […]

Ke, Y., Ong, L., Sun, W., Song, J., Dong, M., Shih, W. & Yin, P. (2014). DNA brick crystals with prescribed depths, Nature Chemistry, DOI: 10.1038/nchem.2083

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3:00 PM | Ten years into the making, the HIV-1 mosaic vaccine finally goes into human trial
© Bette Korber et al. I hope you will all forgive me if this week I'm gushing over my amazing mentor Bette Korber, as last week she shared some awesome news on Facebook:"A landmark in my life happened yesterday, a major step in a long story. A decade ago I had an idea for making an HIV vaccine that had the potential to work globally. After a struggle (in my first 2 failed proposals, reviewers declared what I proposed was impossible), I got an internal grant from Los Alamos to develop the […]

Fischer W, Perkins S, Theiler J, Bhattacharya T, Yusim K, Funkhouser R, Kuiken C, Haynes B, Letvin NL, Walker BD & Hahn BH (2007). Polyvalent vaccines for optimal coverage of potential T-cell epitopes in global HIV-1 variants., Nature medicine, 13 (1) 100-6. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17187074

Nkolola JP, Bricault CA, Cheung A, Shields J, Perry J, Kovacs JM, Giorgi E, van Winsen M, Apetri A, Brinkman-van der Linden EC & Chen B (2014). Characterization and immunogenicity of a novel mosaic M HIV-1 gp140 trimer., Journal of virology, 88 (17) 9538-52. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24965452

Barouch DH, Stephenson KE, Borducchi EN, Smith K, Stanley K, McNally AG, Liu J, Abbink P, Maxfield LF, Seaman MS & Dugast AS (2013). Protective efficacy of a global HIV-1 mosaic vaccine against heterologous SHIV challenges in rhesus monkeys., Cell, 155 (3) 531-9. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24243013

Santra S, Muldoon M, Watson S, Buzby A, Balachandran H, Carlson KR, Mach L, Kong WP, McKee K, Yang ZY & Rao SS (2012). Breadth of cellular and humoral immune responses elicited in rhesus monkeys by multi-valent mosaic and consensus immunogens., Virology, 428 (2) 121-7. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22521913

Barouch DH, O'Brien KL, Simmons NL, King SL, Abbink P, Maxfield LF, Sun YH, La Porte A, Riggs AM, Lynch DM & Clark SL (2010). Mosaic HIV-1 vaccines expand the breadth and depth of cellular immune responses in rhesus monkeys., Nature medicine, 16 (3) 319-23. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20173752

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October 18, 2014

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6:55 PM | New Genetic Test to help Solve Rare Disease Diagnosis
My sister suffers from a rare disease which causes small fiber polyneuropathy, or the killing of nerves in her hands and feet. As it progresses she has trouble standing or […]

Lee, H., Deignan, J., Dorrani, N., Strom, S., Kantarci, S., Quintero-Rivera, F., Das, K., Toy, T., Harry, B., Yourshaw, M. & Fox, M. (2014). Clinical Exome Sequencing for Genetic Identification of Rare Mendelian Disorders, JAMA, DOI: 10.1001/jama.2014.14604

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6:38 PM | Does Literary Fiction Challenge Racial Stereotypes?
A book is a mirror: if a fool looks in, do not expect an apostle to look out.                                                                Georg Christoph Lichtenberg […]

Johnson, D., Huffman, B. & Jasper, D. (2014). Changing Race Boundary Perception by Reading Narrative Fiction, Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 36 (1) 83-90. DOI: 10.1080/01973533.2013.856791

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9:30 AM | More epigenetics, EN-2 and autism... the plot thickens
I don't mind admitting that I was to some extent 'winging it' with my previous post on epigenetics and Engrailed-2 (EN-2) as a consequence of the findings reported by Jill James and colleagues [1] with autism in mind. Although an avid follower of the science of epigenetics when (cautiously) applied to autism, I am by no means any authority on the subject matter particularly when it comes to the nitty-gritty details. You can probably therefore expect similar things in my latest […]

James SJ, Shpyleva S, Melnyk S, Pavliv O & Pogribny IP (2014). Elevated 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in the Engrailed-2 (EN-2) promoter is associated with increased gene expression and decreased MeCP2 binding in autism cerebellum., Translational psychiatry, 4 PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25290267

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5:42 AM | Full-term developmet of quail chick by ICSI
The eggs of domestic birds have been used in the study of developmental biology, leading to the extensive accumulation of knowledge on embryonic development. However, the early events involved in bird development, particularly the mechanism underlying fertilization, have not been elucidated in as much detail as those of other species of animals. The ooplasm in […]

Mizushima, S., Hiyama, G., Shiba, K., Inaba, K., Dohra, H., Ono, T., Shimada, K. & Sasanami, T. (2014). The birth of quail chicks after intracytoplasmic sperm injection, Development, 141 (19) 3799-3806. DOI: 10.1242/dev.111765

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2:29 AM | Translational Findings: Fruit fly contributions to research in circadian rhythms
What are circadian rhythms, and why are they important to humans? Over the past century, technological innovations have changed human society dramatically, undeniably for the better. But the advent of jet travel, round-the-clock manufacturing, and internet communication has also had a disruptive effect on our bodies’ circadian rhythms. The word “circadian” comes from the latin […]
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October 17, 2014

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8:02 PM | A look at Air Pollution and Your Body
We have all probably seen stories from China on the horrid air pollution there. Accompanying those reports of course are the statistics for air pollution that deaths have caused. For […]

Gamon LF, White JM & Wille U (2014). Oxidative damage of aromatic dipeptides by the environmental oxidants NO2˙ and O3., Organic & biomolecular chemistry, 12 (41) 8280-7. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25207524

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12:55 PM | People Are More Swayed by Things That Look Sciencey
Anyone who’s paged through a women’s magazine will recognize this strategy: to make a product seem better, surround it with a scientific glow. “Clinical trials show lashes grow up to 400% fuller!” “27% reduction of dark spots in 10 weeks!” “Ceramides!” Does this actually help convince people to hand over their cash? A study using […]The post People Are More Swayed by Things That Look Sciencey appeared first on Inkfish.

Tal, A. & Wansink, B. (2014). Blinded with science: Trivial graphs and formulas increase ad persuasiveness and belief in product efficacy., Public Understanding of Science, DOI: 10.1177/0963662514549688

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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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Editor's Pick
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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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