For today's edition of weird sports injuries, dunking a basketball is not without its risks... Read more »
Hsieh CH, & Lin GT. (2006) Thumb amputation resulting from an attempted basketball slam-dunk. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 16(3), 274-5. PMID: 16778552
Eco-friendly behaviors, such as recycling coffee pods, are associated with a sense of pride.... Read more »
Bissing-Olson, M., Fielding, K., & Iyer, A. (2016) Experiences of pride, not guilt, predict pro-environmental behavior when pro-environmental descriptive norms are more positive. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 145-153. DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2016.01.001
Most of us massively overestimate our understanding of everyday objects, like the vacuum cleaner"True wisdom is knowing what you don't know" Socrates.When we're asked how much we understand the workings of everyday things like vacuum cleaners or computer printers, most of us massively overestimate our own knowledge. This overconfidence extends beyond objects to more abstract matters, such as our comprehension of political policies, and collectively the phenomenon is known as "the illusion of exp........ Read more »
Johnson, D., Murphy, M., & Messer, R. (2016) Reflecting on Explanatory Ability: A Mechanism for Detecting Gaps in Causal Knowledge. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. DOI: 10.1037/xge0000161
Our latest paper, “Standardized Benchmarking in the Quest for Orthologs”, just came out in Nature Methods. This is a brief overview and story behind the paper.
Orthology, which formalises the concept of “same” genes in different species, is a foundation of genomics. Last year alone, more than 13,000 scientific papers were published with keyword “ortholog”. To satisfy this enormous demand, many methods and resources for ortholog inference have ........ Read more »
Altenhoff, A., Boeckmann, B., Capella-Gutierrez, S., Dalquen, D., DeLuca, T., Forslund, K., Huerta-Cepas, J., Linard, B., Pereira, C., Pryszcz, L.... (2016) Standardized benchmarking in the quest for orthologs. Nature Methods. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.3830
Altenhoff, A., & Dessimoz, C. (2009) Phylogenetic and Functional Assessment of Orthologs Inference Projects and Methods. PLoS Computational Biology, 5(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000262
Dessimoz, C., Gabaldon, T., Roos, D., Sonnhammer, E., Herrero, J., & Quest for Orthologs Consortium. (2012) Toward community standards in the quest for orthologs. Bioinformatics, 28(6), 900-904. DOI: 10.1093/bioinformatics/bts050
Sonnhammer, E., Gabaldon, T., Sousa da Silva, A., Martin, M., Robinson-Rechavi, M., Boeckmann, B., Thomas, P., Dessimoz, C., & , . (2014) Big data and other challenges in the quest for orthologs. Bioinformatics, 30(21), 2993-2998. DOI: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btu492
"This study suggests that FRAAs [folate receptor α (FRα) autoantibodies] are associated with specific physiological and behavioral characteristics in children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and provides support for the notion that these biomarkers may be useful for subgrouping children with ASD, especially with respect to targeted treatments."So said the study findings published by Richard Frye and colleagues  (open-access) who continued a research theme looking at ........ Read more »
Frye, R., Delhey, L., Slattery, J., Tippett, M., Wynne, R., Rose, S., Kahler, S., Bennuri, S., Melnyk, S., Sequeira, J.... (2016) Blocking and Binding Folate Receptor Alpha Autoantibodies Identify Novel Autism Spectrum Disorder Subgroups. Frontiers in Neuroscience. DOI: 10.3389/fnins.2016.00080
I discuss the unique courtship and nesting behaviors of the ostrich and how these behaviors relate to ostrich farming.... Read more »
Bonato, M., Cherry, M., & Cloete, S. (2015) Mate choice, maternal investment and implications for ostrich welfare in a farming environment. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 1-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2015.08.010
I wrote about the start of the ALPS (Amiodarone, Lidocaine, Placebo Study) in 2012 and the results are now in.
... Read more »
Kudenchuk, P., Brown, S., Daya, M., Rea, T., Nichol, G., Morrison, L., Leroux, B., Vaillancourt, C., Wittwer, L., Callaway, C.... (2016) Amiodarone, Lidocaine, or Placebo in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest. New England Journal of Medicine. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1514204
Hungry? Well, let’s face it, that pizza looks much better than the salad. Don’t deny it salad lovers, we all know behind closed doors you look at plenty of food porn to satiate your desires. Understanding the motivations that drive us to eat is important when we talk about weight loss and how we attempt to structure diets. Now a new study shows that for overweight individuals, the brain responses differently to desirable foods., but hold that thought, because there is hope.
... Read more »
Farr, O., Sofopoulos, M., Tsoukas, M., Dincer, F., Thakkar, B., Sahin-Efe, A., Filippaios, A., Bowers, J., Srnka, A., Gavrieli, A.... (2016) GLP-1 receptors exist in the parietal cortex, hypothalamus and medulla of human brains and the GLP-1 analogue liraglutide alters brain activity related to highly desirable food cues in individuals with diabetes: a crossover, randomised, placebo-controlled. Diabetologia. DOI: 10.1007/s00125-016-3874-y
The hottest buzz-word in biology today is CRISPR: an adaptive immune system in bacteria and archea. At its basis is a nuclease, named Cas9, which is targeted to DNA by a short single-guide RNA (sgRNA). This turned out to be … Continue reading →... Read more »
Deng W, Shi X, Tjian R, Lionnet T, & Singer RH. (2015) CASFISH: CRISPR/Cas9-mediated in situ labeling of genomic loci in fixed cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(38), 11870-5. PMID: 26324940
Nelles DA, Fang MY, O'Connell MR, Xu JL, Markmiller SJ, Doudna JA, & Yeo GW. (2016) Programmable RNA Tracking in Live Cells with CRISPR/Cas9. Cell, 1-9. PMID: 26997482
To prepare our children to meet the goals of a complex world, we should pull them out of their managed world and plop them in the mermaid’s court. That’s the verdict of a randomised control trial published recently in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology that found American pre-schoolers who engaged in fantastical pretend play showed improvements to their executive function – the suite of cognitive abilities that organises thought and actions to achieve goals.The study involved dai........ Read more »
Thibodeau, R., Gilpin, A., Brown, M., & Meyer, B. (2016) The effects of fantastical pretend-play on the development of executive functions: An intervention study. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 120-138. DOI: 10.1016/j.jecp.2016.01.001
"ADHD children may just be immature, research suggests".So went the recent BBC headline with reference to the findings reported by Mu-Hong Chen and colleagues  (open-access) and the idea that: "Relative age, as an indicator of neurocognitive maturity, is crucial in the risk of being diagnosed with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] and receiving ADHD medication among children and adolescents."Chen et al are not unfamiliar names discussed on this blog (see here........ Read more »
Chen, M., Lan, W., Bai, Y., Huang, K., Su, T., Tsai, S., Li, C., Lin, W., Chang, W., Pan, T.... (2016) Influence of Relative Age on Diagnosis and Treatment of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Taiwanese Children. The Journal of Pediatrics. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.02.012
Microbiology, and especially microbial ecology, has become increasingly dependent on advanced DNA and RNA sequencing technologies. This is most evident with the increasing popularity of the human microbiome and its various impacts on human health...... Read more »
Schirmer, M., Ijaz, U., D'Amore, R., Hall, N., Sloan, W., & Quince, C. (2015) Insight into biases and sequencing errors for amplicon sequencing with the Illumina MiSeq platform. Nucleic Acids Research, 43(6). DOI: 10.1093/nar/gku1341
Schirmer, M., D’Amore, R., Ijaz, U., Hall, N., & Quince, C. (2016) Illumina error profiles: resolving fine-scale variation in metagenomic sequencing data. BMC Bioinformatics, 17(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12859-016-0976-y
Innovations don’t require heroic geniuses any more than your thoughts hinge on a particular neuron.... Read more »
If Parkinson’s disease wasn’t bad enough for families to have to learn to deal with, about 80% of patients also develop dementia. That’s the problem with the brain; while it has the amazing ability to adapt to just about anything, it can’t fix everything. There are no particularly good solutions to Parkinson’s or dementia, however, early detection of dementia is key to keeping it at bay and a new study may have a way to do just that.
... Read more »
Bertrand, J., McIntosh, A., Postuma, R., Kovacevic, N., Latreille, V., Panisset, M., Chouinard, S., & Gagnon, J. (2016) Brain Connectivity Alterations Are Associated with the Development of Dementia in Parkinson's Disease. Brain Connectivity, 6(3), 216-224. DOI: 10.1089/brain.2015.0390
If you see me on the street and I am running, there is a good chance you should be running as well, because something dangerous is coming. I don’t run, I hate to run, I loathe running, did I mention I don’t like to run? Maybe it’s all the running I did in the military, or if a new study is correct, it may have to do with my mother. Which is good, because now I can blame someone else for my hatred of running.
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Eclarinal, J., Zhu, S., Baker, M., Piyarathna, D., Coarfa, C., Fiorotto, M., & Waterland, R. (2016) Maternal exercise during pregnancy promotes physical activity in adult offspring. The FASEB Journal. DOI: 10.1096/fj.201500018R
Does ice cream cause drownings? Let's think about this statistically. Consider that, in any given city, daily sales of ice cream are, most likely, positively correlated with daily rates of drownings.
Now, no matter how strong this correlation is, it doesn't really mean that ice cream is dangerous. Rather, the association exists because of a 'confound' variable. In this case it's temperature: on sunny days, people tend to eat more ice cream and they also tend to go swimming more often, thu... Read more »
Westfall J, & Yarkoni T. (2016) Statistically Controlling for Confounding Constructs Is Harder than You Think. PloS one, 11(3). PMID: 27031707
Today (April 2nd) is World Autism Awareness Day. The theme this year is on inclusion and as the United Nations note: "Mainstreaming disability" insofar as recognising that: "Autism and other forms of disability are part of the human experience that contributes to human diversity." A noble cause indeed; not forgetting that for many on the autism spectrum, long-term outcome remains poor (see here) and awareness about human diversity really needs to go hand-in-hand with real action to change prospe........ Read more »
Murza KA, Schwartz JB, Hahs-Vaughn DL, & Nye C. (2016) Joint attention interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis. International journal of language . PMID: 26952136
At least once per year, and more is likely better, laughter is the best medicine. On April Fool's Day, everybody from school-age kids to technology companies tries to trick people into believing into jokes. Yet, as Sigmund Freud suggested, jokes often expose unconscious desires. Perhaps the technologies listed below, too, have a grain of our desires wrapped in a smile?
Here are a few announcements made on April 1 2016.... Read more »
[No authors listed]. (2000) April Fool's Day and the Medicinal Value of Humor. The virtual mentor : VM, 2(4). PMID: 23270623
If you’re a transplant recipient you know that transplant organs are a veritable ticking time bomb waiting to be rejected by your well-meaning (but stupid) body. Not only can you do everything right and still have the organs rejected, you have to take a steady stream of expensive pills to inhibit the immune system and stop the body from launching its attack. Don’t throw your pill organizers away just yet, but soon.
... Read more »
MacDonald, K., Hoeppli, R., Huang, Q., Gillies, J., Luciani, D., Orban, P., Broady, R., & Levings, M. (2016) Alloantigen-specific regulatory T cells generated with a chimeric antigen receptor. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 126(4), 1413-1424. DOI: 10.1172/JCI82771
It may sound superficial, but you can judge a lot about an animal from its schnoz. Plant-eaters have evolved the perfect snout shapes to nibble, chomp, or tear up the foods they love. And by decoding those shapes, scientists hope they can learn more about plant-eaters that are more mysterious—namely, dinosaurs.
"When you see cows in a field, their faces almost look like they're glued to the ground as they nibble away," says Jon Tennant, a PhD student at Imperial College London. Cows are ........ Read more »
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