Inundation of nitrogen into the atmosphere and terrestrial environments, through fossil fuel combustion and extensive fertilization, has risen tenfold since preindustrial times according to research published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles. Excess nitrogen can infiltrate water tables and can trigger extensive algal blooms that deplete aquatic environments of oxygen, among other damaging effects.
Although scientists have extensively studied the effects of excess nitrogen in terrestrial habita........ Read more »
Altieri, K., Hastings, M., Peters, A., Oleynik, S., & Sigman, D. (2014) Isotopic evidence for a marine ammonium source in rainwater at Bermuda. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. DOI: 10.1002/2014GB004809
More than 80% of injured college athletes reported social support from their athletic trainers during their recovery, and athletes reporting higher levels of satisfaction with the social support from their athletic trainers were less likely to report depression or anxiety at return to play.... Read more »
Yang, J., Schaefer, J., Zhang, N., Covassin, T., Ding, K., & Heiden, E. (2014) Social Support from the Athletic Trainer and Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety at Return to Play. Journal of Athletic Training, 2147483647. DOI: 10.4085/1062-6050-49.3.65
Much has been thrown at left-handed people—they are quick to anger, quickly scared and, with the exception of heads of state, are more or less life’s losers. There was even a time where left handedness was “beaten out” of children in school. Conversely, there have been much bestowed upon left-handed people—they are creative and score highly on certain tests. Obviously, scientists need to rely on more than popular notions to make connections, if any, between left-handed people and succe........ Read more »
Goodman, J. (2014) The Wages of Sinistrality: Handedness, Brain Structure, and Human Capital Accumulation. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 28(4), 193-212. DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.2020437
Imagine having a USB port in the body that we could use to insert a "flash drive" and transfer genetic data, therapies, or monitoring devices. The flash drive would have to be some kind of removable biological entity that has no problem getting in and out of the body. If you think about it, bacteria are the perfect candidates to be such devices. So, what if bacteria could be used as storage for genetic memory? This is not so far-fetched if you think that recent studies have shown for example tha........ Read more »
Ausländer D, Ausländer S, Charpin-El Hamri G, Sedlmayer F, Müller M, Frey O, Hierlemann A, Stelling J, & Fussenegger M. (2014) A synthetic multifunctional mammalian pH sensor and CO2 transgene-control device. Molecular cell, 55(3), 397-408. PMID: 25018017
Farzadfard, F., & Lu, T. (2014) Genomically encoded analog memory with precise in vivo DNA writing in living cell populations. Science, 346(6211), 1256272-1256272. DOI: 10.1126/science.1256272
A novel adenovirus potentiates the species jump of Chlamydophila psittaci from birds to man, causing atypical pneumonia (psittacosis). Viruses, in addition to jumping the species barrier themselves, now are helping other bacteria to do the same: is this the beginning of the age of microbes?... Read more »
To, K., Tse, H., Chan, W., Choi, G., Zhang, A., Sridhar, S., Wong, S., Chan, J., Chan, A., Woo, P.... (2014) A Novel Psittacine Adenovirus Identified During an Outbreak of Avian Chlamydiosis and Human Psittacosis: Zoonosis Associated with Virus-Bacterium Coinfection in Birds. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 8(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0003318
In a paper just published, a group of neuroscientists report that they've changed their minds about how the brain processes social pain. Here's the paper: Separate neural representations for physical pain and social rejection
The authors are Choong-Wan Woo and colleagues of the University of Colorado, Boulder. Woo et al. say that, based on a new analysis of fMRI brain scanning data, they've found evidence inconsistent with the popular theory that the brain responds to the 'pain' of social... Read more »
Woo CW, Koban L, Kross E, Lindquist MA, Banich MT, Ruzic L, Andrews-Hanna JR, & Wager TD. (2014) Separate neural representations for physical pain and social rejection. Nature Communications, 5380. PMID: 25400102
The American spy/intelligence agency, IARPA, is working to address the shortcomings of existing supercomputers through its program, C3.... Read more »
Holmes, D., Ripple, A., & Manheimer, M. (2013) Energy-Efficient Superconducting Computing—Power Budgets and Requirements. IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity, 23(3), 1701610-1701610. DOI: 10.1109/TASC.2013.2244634
Pain typically has a clear cause–but not always. When a person touches something hot or bumps into a sharp object, it’s no surprise that it hurts. But for people with certain chronic pain disorders, including fibromyalgia and phantom limb pain, even a gentle caress can result in agony and for some — like my sister — the pain can be almost never ending.... Read more »
Duan B, Cheng L, Bourane S, Britz O, Padilla C, Garcia-Campmany L, Krashes M, Knowlton W, Velasquez T, Ren X.... (2014) Identification of Spinal Circuits Transmitting and Gating Mechanical Pain. Cell, 159(6), 1417-1432. PMID: 25467445
Whilst understanding the power that headlines can have, alongside the way that statistics can sometimes mislead and/or be misrepresented, I don't want to shy away from the findings presented by Huey-Ling Chiang and colleagues  reporting that: "patients with autistic disorder have an increased risk of cancer."Curiosity often leads to trouble.Based yet again on data derived from the fantastic resource that is the Taiwan National Health Insurance database (see here for some other research e........ Read more »
Chiang, H., Liu, C., Hu, Y., Chen, S., Hu, L., Shen, C., Yeh, C., Chen, T., & Gau, S. (2014) Risk of Cancer in Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults with Autistic Disorder. The Journal of Pediatrics. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.10.029
Psychologists and psychiatrists are frequently called on to provide expert testimony in court. When the memories recalled by an alleged victim, suspect and/or eye-witness become an explicit issue, is it safe to assume that the psychologist or psychiatrist in the expert role will have up-to-date scientific knowledge about the reliability of memory? Worryingly, a new Norwegian study suggests not.Annika Melinder and Svein Magnussen surveyed 858 psychologists and 78 psychiatrists about their underst........ Read more »
Melinder, A., & Magnussen, S. (2014) Psychologists and psychiatrists serving as expert witnesses in court: what do they know about eyewitness memory?. Psychology, Crime , 21(1), 53-61. DOI: 10.1080/1068316X.2014.915324
Solar panels, they are big, heavy, cannot flex, and are still very inefficient. While efficiency isn’t the big issue, flexibility has relegated solar panels to rooftops and solar farms. Well that is until now, researchers have just invented a new way to spray solar cells onto flexible surfaces using miniscule light-sensitive materials known as colloidal quantum dots (CQDs)—a major step toward making spray-on solar cells easy and cheap to manufacture.... Read more »
Kramer, I., Moreno-Bautista, G., Minor, J., Kopilovic, D., & Sargent, E. (2014) Colloidal quantum dot solar cells on curved and flexible substrates. Applied Physics Letters, 105(16), 163902. DOI: 10.1063/1.4898635
Carey GH, Kramer IJ, Kanjanaboos P, Moreno-Bautista G, Voznyy O, Rollny L, Tang JA, Hoogland S, & Sargent EH. (2014) Electronically active impurities in colloidal quantum dot solids. ACS nano, 8(11), 11763-9. PMID: 25376698
Kramer, I., Minor, J., Moreno-Bautista, G., Rollny, L., Kanjanaboos, P., Kopilovic, D., Thon, S., Carey, G., Chou, K., Zhitomirsky, D.... (2014) Efficient Spray-Coated Colloidal Quantum Dot Solar Cells. Advanced Materials. DOI: 10.1002/adma.201403281
A 52 year old woman suffered from a strange problem: she saw dragons wherever she looked.
Here's the medical case report in The Lancet: Prosopometamorphopsia and facial hallucinations from a team of researchers including the famous Oliver Sacks.
In July, 2011, a 52-year-old woman presented to our psychiatric outpatient clinic with a life-long history of seeing people’s faces change into dragon-like faces and hallucinating similar faces many times a day.
What does a dragon look like? A... Read more »
Summary of the article by Susie Andretta about a programme to educate Information Literacy educators, and of the discussion of the article at the UCL Department of Information Studies MA Library and Information Studies Journal Club meeting.... Read more »
Andretta, S. (2011) Evaluating information literacy educators’ practices before and after the course facilitating information literacy education: from tutor to learner-centred. Health Information , 28(3), 171-178. DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-1842.2011.00946.x
Total brain volume decreases as we age. Image modified from brainpowerrelease. Why is the aging process accompanied by progressive cognitive decline such as impaired memory, decreased focus, and slowed reaction time? Although we don’t fully know what causes it, researchers have found that aging visibly affects the brain, most strikingly as a decrease in total […]... Read more »
Sinadinos Christopher, Laura Boulan, Estel Solsona, Maria F. Tevy, Mercedes Marquez, Jordi Duran, Carmen Lopez-Iglesias, Joaquim Calbó, Marco Milan, & Joan J. Guinovart. (2014) Neuronal glycogen synthesis contributes to physiological aging. Aging Cell. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/acel.12254
Cavanagh J.B. (1999) Corpora-amylacea and the family of polyglucosan diseases. Brain Research Reviews, 29(2-3), 265-295. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0165-0173(99)00003-x
There is a paper (citation below) that takes a different look at language. It attempts to examine what happens in the brain when we read a story. There is the act of reading, the processing of the language, and the engagement in the story, all going on at the same time. “One of the main […]... Read more »
Wehbe, L., Murphy, B., Talukdar, P., Fyshe, A., Ramdas, A., & Mitchell, T. (2014) Simultaneously Uncovering the Patterns of Brain Regions Involved in Different Story Reading Subprocesses. PLoS ONE, 9(11). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112575
The Western diet places our bodies and environment under untenable pressure. By 2050, scientists predict, this lifestyle will not only constitute two thirds of overall diseases, but it also lays an untenable pressure on our environment.... Read more »
Tilman D, & Clark M. (2014) Global diets link environmental sustainability and human health. Nature, 515(7528), 518-22. PMID: 25383533
Probiotics again on this blog?OK, consider this a micropost if you will, as I draw your attention to the paper by Duar and colleagues  and their study results suggested to provide: "a basis for the selection of Lactobacillus strains for probiotic applications aimed to reduce epitope-containing gluten peptides before reaching the epithelium of the small intestine of celiac patients." What the Duar findings translate into is a possible gluten peptide degrading role for certain strains of probio........ Read more »
Duar RM, Clark K, Patil PB, Hernández C, Brüning S, Burkey TE, Madayiputhiya N, Taylor SL, & Walter J. (2014) Identification and characterization of intestinal lactobacilli strains capable of degrading immunotoxic peptides present in gluten. Journal of applied microbiology. PMID: 25376327
Image source: www.abdada.com With the holidays rolling around, you’re probably worrying just a bit about your waistline. When it comes to dieting, we all know that...... Read more »
Chaix A, Zarrinpar A, Miu P, & Panda S. (2014) Time-Restricted Feeding Is a Preventative and Therapeutic Intervention against Diverse Nutritional Challenges. Cell metabolism, 20(6), 991-1005. PMID: 25470547
Hatori M, Vollmers C, Zarrinpar A, DiTacchio L, Bushong EA, Gill S, Leblanc M, Chaix A, Joens M, Fitzpatrick JA.... (2012) Time-restricted feeding without reducing caloric intake prevents metabolic diseases in mice fed a high-fat diet. Cell metabolism, 15(6), 848-60. PMID: 22608008
A modern cause of Alzheimer’s disease may lie in the ancient poisons of arsenic, lead, and cadmium. Indian researchers recently reported that young rats exposed to water contaminated with these toxic metals developed symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, a form of … Continue reading →... Read more »
Ashok A, Rai NK, Tripathi S, & Bandyopadhyay S. (2014) Exposure to As-, Cd-, and Pb-Mixture Induces Aβ, Amyloidogenic APP Processing and Cognitive Impairments via Oxidative Stress-Dependent Neuroinflammation in Young Rats. Toxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology. PMID: 25288670
Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus)A non-echolocating speciesCredit: MnolfContrary to what most people think, bats are not blind. The truth is that all one-thousand something bat species can see. Most people also think that since bats are blind they rely on their echolocation to get around. Again a mistake, since many bats don't possess echolocation.For example, most species of Megabats [Suborder: Megachiroptera] have to rely exclusively on their vision. Or that's what we thought up ........ Read more »
Boonman, A., Bumrungsri, S., & Yovel, Y. (2014) Nonecholocating Fruit Bats Produce Biosonar Clicks with Their Wings. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.10.077
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