Riviste scientifiche

Electric current helps dampen tics in people with Tourette's syndrome

New Scientist - %age fa
Applying an electric current to the wrist can lessen the frequency of tics associated with Tourette’s syndrome, because it stimulates brainwaves that keep us motionless

CO2 levels hit record high despite emissions dip from coronavirus

New Scientist - %age fa
Global lockdown has done little to slow the rise in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, meaning that the coronavirus pandemic will have no impact on climate change

GPS mystery is making ships appear to teleport and move in circles

New Scientist - %age fa
Ships from around the world are mysteriously sending false reports of their locations. It could be due to a new kind of GPS spoofing device, which is making the vessels appear to circle a point near San Francisco

This robot can tell when sewers need repairing by scratching the walls

New Scientist - %age fa
A four-legged robot that wades through water and climbs over obstacles can detect when the concrete in underground sewerage tunnels needs repair

Why #oddlysatisfying videos are so oddly satisfying

New Scientist - Me, 03/06/2020 - 20:00
Watching videos of different tasks being completed is oddly satisfying and reminds us of pre-lockdown life, says Annalee Newitz

Chronic Lyme disease: How one tick bite can ruin your health for ever

New Scientist - Me, 03/06/2020 - 20:00
For some people, the symptoms of Lyme disease never go away after treatment. Now we have clues about why this happens, supporting the idea that "chronic Lyme" really does exist

First life on Earth may actually have been built from both RNA and DNA

New Scientist - Me, 03/06/2020 - 18:00
Many biologists suspect that the first life on Earth was based on RNA, but a new study suggests DNA could have been in the mix right from the start

We've just found the largest and oldest Mayan monument yet

New Scientist - Me, 03/06/2020 - 18:00
The 3000-year-old site of Aguada Fénix is the oldest and largest Mayan monument to be discovered and dates from a time before the society had a powerful ruling class

Two-sided solar panels that track the sun produce a third more energy

New Scientist - Me, 03/06/2020 - 18:00
Double-sided solar panels that track the sun as it moves in the sky would produce 35 per cent more energy and reduce the average cost of electricity by 16 per cent

Why have there been so many coronavirus deaths in the UK?

New Scientist - Me, 03/06/2020 - 15:50
How the UK’s handling of testing, contact tracing, protective equipment and lockdown led to one of the highest covid-19 death tolls in the world

124 coronavirus vaccines are in development – but will any work?

New Scientist - Me, 03/06/2020 - 15:15
Ten experimental vaccines for covid-19 are already being trialled in people but we don’t know yet if it’s possible to induce long-lasting immunity with a vaccine

Huge amounts of carbon from forest fires ends up in the ocean

New Scientist - Me, 03/06/2020 - 12:00
About a third of the black carbon created when plants are partially burned ends up in oceans via rivers, a finding that helps us model carbon storage and climate change

Why the universe I invented is right – but still not the final answer

New Scientist - Me, 03/06/2020 - 08:00
Nobel prizewinner Jim Peebles introduced dark matter and dark energy into our standard model of the cosmos – but that is only an approximation to a deeper truth, he says.

Mars’s moon Phobos may someday turn back into a ring around the planet

New Scientist - Ma, 02/06/2020 - 22:00
Mars’s moon Phobos may go through cycles where it is smashed up and becomes a ring around the planet, only to coalesce into a solid moon again

Oldest known parasite is a worm-like animal from 512 million years ago

New Scientist - Ma, 02/06/2020 - 18:00
Hundreds of fossil animals that lived more than 500 million years ago had worm-like objects attached to them – the oldest hard evidence of parasitism

DNA analysis sheds new light on ancient biblical Dead Sea Scrolls

New Scientist - Ma, 02/06/2020 - 18:00
Analysis of DNA traces found on fragments of the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls is helping to piece them together, providing new insights into the history of Judaism and Christianity

Genetically altered human cells can vary their transparency like squid

New Scientist - Ma, 02/06/2020 - 18:00
Humans cells can be genetically engineered to produce a squid protein that changes how transparent they are, which could lead to see-through patches of tissue

The entire universe may once have been spinning all over the place

New Scientist - Ma, 02/06/2020 - 14:19
A strange asymmetry in the rotation of galaxies we see today hints that the early universe may have spun in a complicated dance

US voting data from millions of people is being traded on the dark web

New Scientist - Ma, 02/06/2020 - 14:01
High-profile breaches of voting data in the US and other countries have found their way on to the dark web, where they are being traded for as little as $9.99

Studying individual risk factors for self-harm in the UK Biobank: A polygenic scoring and Mendelian randomisation study

PLoS Medicine - Lu, 01/06/2020 - 23:00

by Kai Xiang Lim, Frühling Rijsdijk, Saskia P. Hagenaars, Adam Socrates, Shing Wan Choi, Jonathan R. I. Coleman, Kylie P. Glanville, Cathryn M. Lewis, Jean-Baptiste Pingault

Background

Identifying causal risk factors for self-harm is essential to inform preventive interventions. Epidemiological studies have identified risk factors associated with self-harm, but these associations can be subject to confounding. By implementing genetically informed methods to better account for confounding, this study aimed to better identify plausible causal risk factors for self-harm.

Methods and findings

Using summary statistics from 24 genome-wide association studies (GWASs) comprising 16,067 to 322,154 individuals, polygenic scores (PSs) were generated to index 24 possible individual risk factors for self-harm (i.e., mental health vulnerabilities, substance use, cognitive traits, personality traits, and physical traits) among a subset of UK Biobank participants (N = 125,925, 56.2% female) who completed an online mental health questionnaire in the period from 13 July 2016 to 27 July 2017. In total, 5,520 (4.4%) of these participants reported having self-harmed in their lifetime. In binomial regression models, PSs indexing 6 risk factors (major depressive disorder [MDD], attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder [ADHD], bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcohol dependence disorder, and lifetime cannabis use) predicted self-harm, with effect sizes ranging from odds ratio (OR) = 1.05 (95% CI 1.02 to 1.07, q = 0.008) for lifetime cannabis use to OR = 1.20 (95% CI 1.16 to 1.23, q = 1.33 × 10−35) for MDD. No systematic differences emerged between suicidal and non-suicidal self-harm. To further probe causal relationships, two-sample Mendelian randomisation (MR) analyses were conducted, with MDD, ADHD, and schizophrenia emerging as the most plausible causal risk factors for self-harm. The genetic liabilities for MDD and schizophrenia were associated with self-harm independently of diagnosis and medication. Main limitations include the lack of representativeness of the UK Biobank sample, that self-harm was self-reported, and the limited power of some of the included GWASs, potentially leading to possible type II error.

Conclusions

In addition to confirming the role of MDD, we demonstrate that ADHD and schizophrenia likely play a role in the aetiology of self-harm using multivariate genetic designs for causal inference. Among the many individual risk factors we simultaneously considered, our findings suggest that systematic detection and treatment of core psychiatric symptoms, including psychotic and impulsivity symptoms, may be beneficial among people at risk for self-harm.

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