Capitalizing on experimental genetic techniques, researchers have demonstrated that temporarily turning off an area of the brain changes patterns of activity across much of the remaining brain. The research suggests that alterations in the functional connectivity of the brain in humans may be used to determine the sites of pathology in complex disorders such as schizophrenia and autism.
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Grayson, D., Bliss-Moreau, E., Machado, C., Bennett, J., Shen, K., Grant, K., Fair, D., & Amaral, D. (2016) The Rhesus Monkey Connectome Predicts Disrupted Functional Networks Resulting from Pharmacogenetic Inactivation of the Amygdala. Neuron, 91(2), 453-466. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.06.005
Cave art, wild fires, new dinosaur with teeny T-rex arms, thirsty trees and a new method to create hydrogen from grass. Here are five of the latest scientific studies published open-access this week.... Read more »
Cooper, J., Samson, A., Nieves, M., Lace, M., Caamaño-Dones, J., Cartwright, C., Kambesis, P., & Frese, L. (2016) ‘The Mona Chronicle’: the archaeology of early religious encounter in the New World. Antiquity, 90(352), 1054-1071. DOI: 10.15184/aqy.2016.103
Apesteguía, S., Smith, N., Juárez Valieri, R., & Makovicky, P. (2016) An Unusual New Theropod with a Didactyl Manus from the Upper Cretaceous of Patagonia, Argentina. PLOS ONE, 11(7). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0157793
Young-Robertson, J., Bolton, W., Bhatt, U., Cristóbal, J., & Thoman, R. (2016) Deciduous trees are a large and overlooked sink for snowmelt water in the boreal forest. Scientific Reports, 29504. DOI: 10.1038/srep29504
Nagra, G., Treble, P., Andersen, M., Fairchild, I., Coleborn, K., & Baker, A. (2016) A post-wildfire response in cave dripwater chemistry. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 20(7), 2745-2758. DOI: 10.5194/hess-20-2745-2016
Caravaca, A., Jones, W., Hardacre, C., & Bowker, M. (2016) H production by the photocatalytic reforming of cellulose and raw biomass using Ni, Pd, Pt and Au on titania . Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Science, 472(2191), 20160054. DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2016.0054
The brain's reward centers in severely obese women continue to respond to food cues even after they've eaten and are no longer hungry, in contrast to their lean counterparts. The study compared attitudes and the brain activity of 15 severely obese women (those with a body mass index greater than 35) and 15 lean women (those with a BMI under 25).
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Puzziferri, N., Zigman, J., Thomas, B., Mihalakos, P., Gallagher, R., Lutter, M., Carmody, T., Lu, H., & Tamminga, C. (2016) Brain imaging demonstrates a reduced neural impact of eating in obesity. Obesity, 24(4), 829-836. DOI: 10.1002/oby.21424
A new Nature paper has earned a lot of media attention, unusually given that it's a fairly technical and 'basic' piece of neuroscience. In the paper, researchers Matthew F. Glasser and colleagues present a new parcellation (or map) of the human cerebral cortex, breaking the cortex down into 180 areas per hemisphere - many more than conventional maps.
But is this, as Nature dubbed it, "the ultimate brain map"?
To generate their map, Glasser et al. first downloaded 210 people's data from... Read more »
Glasser MF, Coalson TS, Robinson EC, Hacker CD, Harwell J, Yacoub E, Ugurbil K, Andersson J, Beckmann CF, Jenkinson M.... (2016) A multi-modal parcellation of human cerebral cortex. Nature. PMID: 27437579
Granted, I am taking a slight departure from the material typically discussed on this blog by introducing the paper by Yan Zhang and colleagues  who reported the findings of a meta-analysis examining "the efficacy of different probiotic types, doses and treatment durations in IBS [irritable bowel syndrome] patients diagnosed by Rome III criteria via a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs)." The results however - "Probiotics are an effective pharmacological t........ Read more »
Zhang Y, Li L, Guo C, Mu D, Feng B, Zuo X, & Li Y. (2016) Effects of probiotic type, dose and treatment duration on irritable bowel syndrome diagnosed by Rome III criteria: a meta-analysis. BMC gastroenterology, 16(1), 62. PMID: 27296254
Ever feel like someone is hiding something? Or maybe you suddenly feel like you can't trust a co-worker. The feeling may seem logical, but is empathy the result of gut intuition or careful reasoning? Research suggests that, contrary to popular belief, the latter may be more the case.
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Ma-Kellams, C., & Lerner, J. (2016) Trust Your Gut or Think Carefully? Examining Whether an Intuitive, Versus a Systematic, Mode of Thought Produces Greater Empathic Accuracy. SSRN Electronic Journal. DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.2782596
Most of us don't give much thought to drops of liquid that end up outside our drinking glasses. But physicists care a lot about liquid droplets, and study their whole lifespans—from the first splash or drip to the moment a drop disappears.
Liquids that contain three different substances, though, haven't been studied as much. Detlef Lohse, a physicist at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, and his colleagues took a deep dive into one such liquid: ouzo.
Ouzo is a mixture of wate... Read more »
Tan H, Diddens C, Lv P, Kuerten JG, Zhang X, & Lohse D. (2016) Evaporation-triggered microdroplet nucleation and the four life phases of an evaporating Ouzo drop. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 27418601
People who perform regular altruistic acts like giving blood also tend to have more sex.Viewed through the lens of evolutionary psychology, altruism takes some explaining. In a dog eat dog world, it seems like a risky, indulgent habit. Yet we are only alive today because our distant ancestors were successful at reproducing – and the fact many of us have inherited their altruistic tendencies suggests that being altruistic gave them some kind of survival or reproductive advantage.One idea i........ Read more »
Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common type of kidney cancer and although the majority of cases are sporadic approximately 3% of cases are caused by genetic conditions such as BHD, VHL, HLRCC and TSC (Randall et al., 2014). These inherited forms of RCC have provided great insights into sporadic cancer genetics. BHD patients can develop multiple kidney tumours. In most cases these tumours are small local RCCs that can be surgically removed. However, these treatments are not without risk,........ Read more »
Randall JM, Millard F, & Kurzrock R. (2014) Molecular aberrations, targeted therapy, and renal cell carcinoma: current state-of-the-art. Cancer metastasis reviews, 33(4), 1109-24. PMID: 25365943
I can't profess to be an expert on the techniques called sigmoidectomy and appendicostomy so won't even try and pretend that I am. From what I gather from Dr Google, the latter is a surgical technique generally performed to "help deliver enemas more easily" to relieve constipation, whilst the former involves the surgical removal of some or all of the sigmoid colon. Both are only generally indicated when traditional methods of treating constipation for example, fail.The reason I'm briefly ta........ Read more »
De La Torre L, Cogley K, Calisto J, Nace G, & Correa C. (2016) Primary sigmoidectomy and appendicostomy for chronic idiopathic constipation. Pediatric surgery international. PMID: 27372298
Soft robots do a lot of things well but they're not exactly known for their speed. The artificial muscles that move soft robots, called actuators, tend to rely on hydraulics or pneumatics, which are slow to respond and difficult to store.
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Duduta, M., Wood, R., & Clarke, D. (2016) Multilayer Dielectric Elastomers for Fast, Programmable Actuation without Prestretch. Advanced Materials. DOI: 10.1002/adma.201601842
Mohi looks up at her mother. Confused. Afraid. Mother had always said that she had to keep her filtration veil on when they left their housedome. But now, here stood her mother, unveiled. The woman gifted an encouraging nod to her young daughter. Mohi removed her veil. Air! Light! The freshness of the breeze and […]... Read more »
Steffen W, Richardson K, Rockström J, Cornell SE, Fetzer I, Bennett EM, Biggs R, Carpenter SR, de Vries W, de Wit CA.... (2015) Sustainability. Planetary boundaries: guiding human development on a changing planet. Science, 347(6223). PMID: 25592418
Newbold T, Hudson LN, Arnell AP, Contu S, De Palma A, Ferrier S, Hill SL, Hoskins AJ, Lysenko I, Phillips HR.... (2016) Has land use pushed terrestrial biodiversity beyond the planetary boundary? A global assessment. Science, 353(6296), 288-91. PMID: 27418509
Look at some of the most high-profile plagiarism scandals, such as Joe Biden's supposed borrowing from Neil Kinnock, novelist Kaavya Viswanathan's "unintentional" plagiarism of Megan McCafferty and Meg Cabot, science writer Jonah Lehrer's lifting words from this blog, and this week, Melania Trump's echoing of phrases used previously by Michelle Obama (though a speech-writer has taken the blame for this).Notice a pattern?In each case, the alleged plagiarists copied others of the same se........ Read more »
Hollins, T., Lange, N., Dennis, I., & Longmore, C. (2015) Social influences on unconscious plagiarism and anti-plagiarism. Memory, 24(7), 884-902. DOI: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1059857
I want to make an initial point about the paper by Corentin Gonthier and colleagues  and their research findings titled: 'Sensory Processing in Low-Functioning Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Distinct Sensory Profiles and Their Relationships with Behavioral Dysfunction', I'm not a great fan of the use of the term 'functioning' when it comes to autism. Yes, I know what message it's trying to convey in terms of 'severity' of autism and/or accompanying learning (intellectual) disabili........ Read more »
Gonthier C, Longuépée L, & Bouvard M. (2016) Sensory Processing in Low-Functioning Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Distinct Sensory Profiles and Their Relationships with Behavioral Dysfunction. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 27364513
Full adoption of open access has not been achieved mainly because researchers are not yet totally convinced that this type of publication will do for their careers the same as the subscription journals. A detailed review article published in eLife shows that open research brings many benefits to researchers and it is associated with increased citations, media attention, potential collaboration and funding and jobs opportunities. … Read More →... Read more »
McKiernan, E., Bourne, P., Brown, C., Buck, S., Kenall, A., Lin, J., McDougall, D., Nosek, B., Ram, K., Soderberg, C.... (2016) How open science helps researchers succeed. eLife. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.16800
Vincent Lariviere, Veronique Kiermer, Catriona J MacCallum, Marcia McNutt, Mark Patterson, Bernd Pulverer, Sowmya Swaminathan, Stuart Taylor, Stephen Curry. (2016) A simple proposal for the publication of journal citation distributions. bioRxiv. DOI: http://dx.org/10.1101/062109
The world around is complex and changing constantly. To put it in order, we devise categories into which we sort new concepts. To do this we apply different strategies. A team of researchers wanted to find out which areas of the brain regulate these strategies. The results of their study using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) show that there are indeed particular brain areas, which become active when a certain strategy of categorisation is applied.
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Lech, R., Güntürkün, O., & Suchan, B. (2016) An interplay of fusiform gyrus and hippocampus enables prototype- and exemplar-based category learning. Behavioural Brain Research, 239-246. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2016.05.049
The behavioural reasons why guide dogs sometimes end their working lives early, and what it means for pet dogs.A study by Geoffrey Caron-Lormier (University of Nottingham) et al looks at twenty years of data from Guide Dogs (UK). During this time, 7,770 working guide dogs, who had worked with blind or partially sighted people, were withdrawn from service. By far the most common reason was retirement, which applied to 6,465 dogs (83%). The authors looked at the reasons why other dogs were withdra........ Read more »
Caron-Lormier, G., Harvey, N., England, G., & Asher, L. (2016) Using the incidence and impact of behavioural conditions in guide dogs to investigate patterns in undesirable behaviour in dogs. Scientific Reports, 23860. DOI: 10.1038/srep23860
A nucleosome is constituted by positively charged histone proteins and negatively charged DNA. Methylation as well as other covalent modifications on DNA and histones ( together also called epigenetic modifications or marks) play important roles in the regulation of chromatin structure and function. TET (Ten-Eleven Translocation) proteins were identified as 5mC oxidases which not only generate new 5mC oxidative derivates (5hmC, 5caC and 5fC) but also initiate active or passive DNA demethylation1........ Read more »
Kong L, Tan L, Lv R, Shi Z, Xiong L, Wu F, Rabidou K, Smith M, He C, Zhang L.... (2016) A primary role of TET proteins in establishment and maintenance of De Novo bivalency at CpG islands. Nucleic acids research. PMID: 27288448
Tahiliani M, Koh KP, Shen Y, Pastor WA, Bandukwala H, Brudno Y, Agarwal S, Iyer LM, Liu DR, Aravind L.... (2009) Conversion of 5-methylcytosine to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in mammalian DNA by MLL partner TET1. Science (New York, N.Y.), 324(5929), 930-5. PMID: 19372391
He YF, Li BZ, Li Z, Liu P, Wang Y, Tang Q, Ding J, Jia Y, Chen Z, Li L.... (2011) Tet-mediated formation of 5-carboxylcytosine and its excision by TDG in mammalian DNA. Science (New York, N.Y.), 333(6047), 1303-7. PMID: 21817016
Ito S, Shen L, Dai Q, Wu SC, Collins LB, Swenberg JA, He C, & Zhang Y. (2011) Tet proteins can convert 5-methylcytosine to 5-formylcytosine and 5-carboxylcytosine. Science (New York, N.Y.), 333(6047), 1300-3. PMID: 21778364
Zhang, H., Zhang, X., Clark, E., Mulcahey, M., Huang, S., & Shi, Y. (2010) TET1 is a DNA-binding protein that modulates DNA methylation and gene transcription via hydroxylation of 5-methylcytosine. Cell Research, 20(12), 1390-1393. DOI: 10.1038/cr.2010.156
Ehrlich M. (2002) DNA methylation in cancer: too much, but also too little. Oncogene, 21(35), 5400-13. PMID: 12154403
Cedar H, & Bergman Y. (2009) Linking DNA methylation and histone modification: patterns and paradigms. Nature reviews. Genetics, 10(5), 295-304. PMID: 19308066
Easwaran H, Johnstone SE, Van Neste L, Ohm J, Mosbruger T, Wang Q, Aryee MJ, Joyce P, Ahuja N, Weisenberger D.... (2012) A DNA hypermethylation module for the stem/progenitor cell signature of cancer. Genome research, 22(5), 837-49. PMID: 22391556
Lian CG, Xu Y, Ceol C, Wu F, Larson A, Dresser K, Xu W, Tan L, Hu Y, Zhan Q.... (2012) Loss of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine is an epigenetic hallmark of melanoma. Cell, 150(6), 1135-46. PMID: 22980977
Tan L, & Shi YG. (2012) Tet family proteins and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in development and disease. Development (Cambridge, England), 139(11), 1895-902. PMID: 22569552
The naked mole rat is quite naked, but a lack of hair does help it move around in its environment. Other mammals that are supposedly hairless aren’t really, even dolphins have a few hairs. Of course, some humans and other mammals can have autoimmune disease mutations that make them completely hairless. For the naked mole rat it was a strange adaptation with strange results – it has become the only cold-blooded (ectothermic) mammal!... Read more »
Kutsukake, N., Inada, M., Sakamoto, S., & Okanoya, K. (2012) A Distinct Role of the Queen in Coordinated Workload and Soil Distribution in Eusocial Naked Mole-Rats. PLoS ONE, 7(9). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044584
It happens to all of us – we're meant to be focused on the page in the book, but our mind is turned inwards thinking about other stuff (Must remember to charge my phone, What time did I say I'd meet Sarah?) Thankfully a new study in Memory and Cognition identifies a straightforward way to reduce how much your mind wanders off topic when you're studying. You just need to ensure the materials you're learning are in your sweet spot – not too easy and not too difficult.For one experiment, Judy X........ Read more »
Xu, J., & Metcalfe, J. (2016) Studying in the region of proximal learning reduces mind wandering. Memory , 44(5), 681-695. DOI: 10.3758/s13421-016-0589-8
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