Prenatal antidepressant exposure is associated with risk for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder but not autism spectrum disorder in a large health system

Previous studies suggested that risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
may be increased in children exposed to antidepressants during the
prenatal period. The disease specificity of this risk has not been
addressed and the possibility of confounding has not been excluded.
Children with ASD or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
delivered in a large New England health-care system were identified from
electronic health records (EHR), and each diagnostic group was matched
1:3 with children without ASD or ADHD. All children were linked with
maternal health data using birth certificates and EHRs to determine
prenatal medication exposures. Multiple logistic regression was used to
examine association between prenatal antidepressant exposures and ASD or
ADHD risk. A total of 1377 children diagnosed with ASD and 2243 with
ADHD were matched with healthy controls. In models adjusted for
sociodemographic features, antidepressant exposure prior to and during
pregnancy was associated with ASD risk, but risk associated with
exposure during pregnancy was no longer significant after controlling
for maternal major depression (odds ratio (OR) 1.10 (0.70–1.70)).
Conversely, antidepressant exposure during but not prior to pregnancy
was associated with ADHD risk, even after adjustment for maternal
depression (OR 1.81 (1.22–2.70)). These results suggest that the risk of
autism observed with prenatal antidepressant exposure is likely
confounded by severity of maternal illness, but further indicate that
such exposure may still be associated with ADHD risk. This risk, modest
in absolute terms, may still be a result of residual confounding and
must be balanced against the substantial consequences of untreated
maternal depression.

Fine particulate air pollution associated with increased risk of childhood autism

Exposure to fine particulate air pollution during pregnancy through the
first two years of a child's life may be associated with an increased
risk of the child developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a condition
that affects one in 68 children, according to a University of
Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health investigation of children in
southwestern Pennsylvania.

The zoonotic potential of Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis: a systematic review and meta-analyses of the evidence.

This systematic review-meta-analysis appraises and summarizes all the
available research (128 papers) on the zoonotic potential of
Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis. The latter has been debated
for a century due to pathogenic and clinical similarities between
Johne's disease in ruminants and Crohn's disease (108 studies) in humans
and recently for involvement in other human diseases; human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection (2), sarcoidosis (3), diabetes
mellitus type 1 (T1DM) (7) and type 2 (3), multiple sclerosis (5) and
Hashimoto's thyroiditis (2). Meta-analytical results indicated a
significant positive association, consistently across different
laboratory methods for Crohn's disease [odds ratio (OR) range
4·26-8·44], T1DM (OR range 2·91-9·95) and multiple sclerosis (OR range
6·5-7·99). The latter two and the thyroiditis hypothesis require further
investigation to confirm the association. Meta-regression of Crohn's
disease studies using DNA detection methods indicated that choice of
primers and sampling frame (e.g. general population vs. hospital-based
sample) explained a significant proportion of heterogeneity. Other
epidemiological studies demonstrated a lack of association between
high-risk occupations and development of Crohn's disease. Due to
knowledge gaps in understanding the role of M. paratuberculosis in the
development or progression of human disease, the evidence at present is
not strong enough to inform the potential public health impact of M.
paratuberculosis exposure.

Paracetamol in pregnancy may lower testosterone in unborn boys

The University of Edinburgh study tested the effect of paracetamol on
testosterone production in mice that carried grafts of human testicular
tissue. These grafts have been shown to mimic how the developing testes
grow and function during pregnancy.
Scientists gave the mice a typical daily dose of paracetamol - over a
period of either 24 hours or seven days. They measured the amount of
testosterone produced by the human tissue an hour after the final dose
of paracetamol.
They found there was no effect on testosterone production following
24 hours of paracetamol treatment. After seven days of exposure,
however, the amount of testosterone was reduced by 45 per cent.
The team - from the University's MRC Centre for Reproductive Health -
say further research is required to establish the mechanism by which
paracetamol might have this effect.

The study is published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
It is funded by the Wellcome Trust, the British Society of Paediatric
Endocrinology and Diabetes and the Medical Research Council.

Dr Rod Mitchell, a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Research
Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, said: "This study adds to
existing evidence that prolonged use of paracetamol in pregnancy may increase the risk of reproductive disorders in male babies.

Link between vitamin E, exposure to air pollution -- ScienceDaily

A new study from King's College London and the University of Nottingham
has found an association between the amount of vitamin E in the body,
exposure to particulate pollution and lung function. The paper adds to
growing evidence from previous studies suggesting that some vitamins may
play a role in helping to protect the lungs from air pollution.
Although the new study did not specifically demonstrate a protective
effect, it is the first to show a clear link between vitamin E
concentrations in the blood and exposure to fine particulate pollution
in the general population.

Antiviral compound may protect brain from pathogens, West Nile virus study shows

Studying West Nile virus infection in mice, scientists at Washington University School of
Medicine in St. Louis showed that interferon-lambda tightens the blood-brain barrier, making it harder for the virus to invade the brain.

The blood-brain barrier is a natural defense system that is supposed
to keep pathogens out of the brain. Sometimes, however, bacteria or
viruses circulating in the blood slip past the blood-brain barrier,
turning routine illnesses into serious infections.

Exogenous microRNAs in maternal food pass through placenta, regulate fetal gene expression

Zhang's group at Nanjing University reports that small non-coding RNAs
in maternal food can transfer through placenta to regulate fetal gene
MicroRNAs (miRNA) are a class of noncoding RNAs with lengths of
approximately 22 nucleotides that bind to target messenger RNAs to
inhibit protein translation. In previous studies, the same group has
found that plant miRNAs can enter into the host blood and tissues via
the route of food-intake. The food-derived exogenous miRNAs are
absorbed, packaged into microvesical (MV) and then secreted into
circulation by cells of animal GI tract. More importantly, once inside
the host, the food-derived exogenous miRNAs can regulate host physiology
by regulating host "target" genes in the cross-kingdom manner. In
support of this new concept, they have also found a plant microRNA,
MIR2911, which is enriched in honeysuckle, directly targets influenza A viruses (IAV) including H1N1, H5N1 and H7N9. Drinking of honeysuckle soup can prevent IAV infection and reduce H5N1-induced mice death.
Here, they report another surprising finding that exogenous plant miRNAs
and artificial synthetic small influence RNAs (siRNAs) can transfer
through the placenta and directly regulate fetus gene expression.
Firstly, exogenous plant miRNAs was detected in human umbilical cord
blood, amniotic fluid as well as animal fetuses with certain level. When
pregnant mice were administrated honeysuckle soup (the exogenous plant
microRNAs are physiological concentration in food), the plant MIR2911
was detected in fetus liver at a significant level. Finally, feeding
pregnant mice with synthetic alpha-fetoprotein (AFP, only expressed in
fetus liver) siRNA decreased significantly AFP mRNA and protein levels.
They have further demonstrated that MV- driven small RNAs are able to
pass through placenta.

Fracking may affect air quality and human health - Medical News Today

The researchers found that hydraulic fracturing - a technique for
releasing natural gas from below-ground rock formations - emits
pollutants known as PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), including
some that are linked with increased risk of cancer and respiratory ailments.

Variants in Antiviral Genes are Risk Factors for Cognitive Decline and Dementia. - PubMed - NCBI

A gene association study of factors regulating antiviral response such
as interferon (IFN)-λ3, also known as IL-28B, mediator complex (Med) 23,
and interferon regulatory factor (IRF) 7 with cognitive deterioration
and Alzheimer's disease (AD) was performed. Differences in the TT
genotype distribution of IL-28B single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)
between AD patients and controls were found. The GG genotype of Med23
gene appeared to influence the progression of the disease, being more
frequent in the APOE ε4 negative elderly that developed AD during the
five year follow-up. Leukocyte positivity for Epstein Barr virus (EBV) and human herpes virus
(HHV)-6 DNA was analyzed. Med23 GG genotype correlated with the
positivity to HHV-6 DNA. EBV and HHV-6 plasma IgG levels were also
investigated and EBV IgG levels were increased in AD with the IRF7 GG
genotype. A differential genetic background in genes regulating anti-virus
responses was associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline
and AD. EBV and HHV-6 appeared to be risk factors for AD in genetically
susceptible elderly.

Fracking may affect air quality, human health -- ScienceDaily

Infant antibiotic use linked to adult diseases -- ScienceDaily

A new study led by researchers at the University of Minnesota has found a
three-way link among antibiotic use in infants, changes in the gut
bacteria, and disease later in life. The imbalances in gut microbes,
called dysbiosis, have been tied to infectious diseases, allergies and
other autoimmune disorders, and even obesity, later in life.

Cell Host & Microbe: Special issue on the microbiome

This Special Issue of Cell Host & Microbe is focused on the host-microbiota balance. The issue features a series of Reviews, Perspectives, and Articles that examine how the host-microbiota balance is established and linked to host physiology, how it maintains host health and function, and how the disturbance of this delicate balance can cause disease.

Seasonal immunity: Activity of thousands of genes differs from winter to summer -- ScienceDaily

Our immune systems vary with the seasons, according to a study that
could help explain why certain conditions such as heart disease and
rheumatoid arthritis are aggravated in winter whilst people tend to be
healthier in the summer. The study shows that the activity of almost a
quarter of our genes (5,136 out of 22,822 genes tested) differs
according to the time of year, with some more active in winter and
others more active in summer. This seasonality also affects our immune
cells and the composition of our blood and adipose tissue (fat).

ALZFORUM LIVE WEBINAR: Computational Modeling—Will it Rescue AD Clinical Trials?

The Alzheimer's field has had its share of clinical trial flops. Now there's a push to learn from past failures. Computational scientists in pharmaceutical companies are guiding clinical trial design by first putting drug candidates through their paces in simulations. Those are proprietary, but C-Path’s Coalition Against Major Diseases has built some open-access simulation tools

Environmental exposure to hormones used in animal agriculture greater than expected -- ScienceDaily

Research by an Indiana University environmental scientist and colleagues
at universities in Iowa and Washington finds that potentially harmful
growth-promoting hormones used in beef production are expected to
persist in the environment at higher concentrations and for longer
durations than previously thought.
The study focuses on the environmental fate of trenbolone acetate, or TBA, a highly potent synthetic analogue of testosterone, used to promote weight gain in beef cattle. A majority of beef cattle produced in the U.S. are treated with TBA or one of five other growth hormones approved for use in animal agriculture.
The compound and its byproducts are examples of contaminants of emerging concern called endocrine disruptors. In the environment they are capable of interfering with reproductive processes and behaviors in fish and other aquatic life.

Borna Disease Virus Phosphoprotein Modulates Epigenetic Signaling in Neurons To Control Viral Replication

Understanding the modalities of interaction of neurotropic viruses with their target cells represents a major challenge that may improve our knowledge of many human neurological disorders for which viral origin is suspected. Borna disease virus (BDV) represents an ideal model to analyze the molecular mechanisms of viral persistence in neurons and its consequences for neuronal homeostasis. It is now established that BDV ensures its long-term maintenance in infected cells through a stable interaction of viral components with the host cell chromatin, in particular, with core histones. This has led to our hypothesis that such an interaction may trigger epigenetic changes in the host cell. Here, we focused on histone acetylation, which plays key roles in epigenetic regulation of gene expression, notably for neurons. We performed a comparative analysis of histone acetylation patterns of neurons infected or not infected by BDV, which revealed that infection decreases histone acetylation on selected lysine residues. We showed that the BDV phosphoprotein (P) is responsible for these perturbations, even when it is expressed alone independently of the viral context, and that this action depends on its phosphorylation by protein kinase C. We also demonstrated that BDV P inhibits cellular histone acetyltransferase activities. Finally, by pharmacologically manipulating cellular acetylation levels, we observed that inhibiting cellular acetyl transferases reduces viral replication in cell culture. Our findings reveal that manipulation of cellular epigenetics by BDV could be a means to modulate viral replication and thus illustrate a fascinating example of virus-host cell interaction. IMPORTANCE Persistent DNA viruses often subvert the mechanisms that regulate cellular chromatin dynamics, thereby benefitting from the resulting epigenetic changes to create a favorable milieu for their latent and persistent states. Here, we reasoned that Borna disease virus (BDV), the only RNA virus known to durably persist in the nucleus of infected cells, notably neurons, might employ a similar mechanism. In this study, we uncovered a novel modality of virus-cell interaction in which BDV phosphoprotein inhibits cellular histone acetylation by interfering with histone acetyltransferase activities. Manipulation of cellular histone acetylation is accompanied by a modulation of viral replication, revealing a perfect adaptation of this “ancient” virus to its host that may favor neuronal persistence and limit cellular damage.

Strong statin-diabetes link seen in large study of Tricare patients

Strong statin-diabetes link seen in large study of Tricare patients

Differential effects of fructose versus glucose on brain and appetitive responses to food cues and decisions for food rewards

Prior studies suggest that fructose compared with glucose may be a weaker suppressor of appetite, and neuroimaging research shows that food cues trigger greater brain reward responses in a fasted relative to a fed state. We sought to determine the effects of ingesting fructose versus glucose on brain, hormone, and appetitive responses to food cues and food-approach behavior. Twenty-four healthy volunteers underwent two functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) sessions with ingestion of either fructose or glucose in a double-blinded, random-order cross-over design. fMRI was performed while participants viewed images of high-calorie foods and nonfood items using a block design. After each block, participants rated hunger and desire for food. Participants also performed a decision task in which they chose between immediate food rewards and delayed monetary bonuses. Hormones were measured at baseline and 30 and 60 min after drink ingestion. Ingestion of fructose relative to glucose resulted in smaller increases in plasma insulin levels and greater brain reactivity to food cues in the visual cortex (in whole-brain analysis) and left orbital frontal cortex (in region-of-interest analysis). Parallel to the neuroimaging findings, fructose versus glucose led to greater hunger and desire for food and a greater willingness to give up long-term monetary rewards to obtain immediate high-calorie foods. These findings suggest that ingestion of fructose relative to glucose results in greater activation of brain regions involved in attention and reward processing and may promote feeding behavior.