Post List

  • December 7, 2009
  • 11:30 AM

Mixed Greens

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Rising carbon dioxide could slow down plant biodiversity losses

... Read more »

  • December 7, 2009
  • 11:12 AM

Black Holes, Brownian Motion

by Brian Koberlein in Upon Reflection

If you've ever watched dust-motes dancing in a sunbeam then you've observed Brownian motion. It is the jerky, fluttering motion of particles in fluids such as air or water. The botanist Robert Brown first described the motion in detail. He...... Read more »

Merritt, D., Berczik, P., & Laun, F. (2007) Brownian Motion of Black Holes in Dense Nuclei. The Astronomical Journal, 133(2), 553-563. DOI: 10.1086/510294  

  • December 7, 2009
  • 11:04 AM

Harvard: Computers in Hospitals Do Not Reduce Administrative or Overall Costs

by schnell in The Medium is the Message

Harvard researchers recently released the study Hospital Computing and the Costs and Quality of Care: A National Study, which examined computerization’s cost and quality impacts at 4,000 hospitals in the U.S over a four-year period.The researchers concluded that the immense cost of installing and running hospital IT systems is greater than any expected cost savings. Much of the software being written for use in clinics is aimed at administrators, not doctors, nurses and lab workers. Additional........ Read more »

  • December 7, 2009
  • 11:00 AM

Low Carb Diets: Doing More Harm Than Good?

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

An intriguing editorial published recently in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine suggests that low-carb diets may not be all they’re cut out to be, and in fact may be more dangerous than the “deadly” Western diet.

Given that I grew up in a Polish household (albeit not always in Poland), I know a little bit about having a high-carbohydrate diet. In fact, in most eastern European homes, it is not uncommon to have sliced bread (buttered, of course) with every meal ........ Read more »

Smith SR. (2009) A look at the low-carbohydrate diet. The New England journal of medicine, 361(23), 2286-8. PMID: 19955530  

  • December 7, 2009
  • 10:07 AM

"Moving through mucus", "quick death-tagging" and more, in my picks of the week from RB

by Alejandro Montenegro-Montero in MolBio Research Highlights

Another week has gone by and some very interesting molbio blog posts have been aggregated to Every week [see my opening post on the matter], I'll select some blog posts I consider particularly interesting in the field of molecular biology [see here to get a sense of the criteria that will be used], briefly describe them and list them here for you to check out.Note that I'm ... Read more »

Celli, J., Turner, B., Afdhal, N., Keates, S., Ghiran, I., Kelly, C., Ewoldt, R., McKinley, G., So, P., Erramilli, S.... (2009) Helicobacter pylori moves through mucus by reducing mucin viscoelasticity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(34), 14321-14326. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0903438106  

  • December 7, 2009
  • 09:55 AM

People who chew gum report feeling less stressed

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

It's not so pleasing when it glues your shoe to the pavement but a new study suggests chewing gum could be a great stress-reliever, with consequent health benefits. Perhaps the finding could help explain why Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson - an incessant gum chewer - has coped for so long with the stress of top-flight football?Andrew Smith at Cardiff University surveyed over 2,000 workers and found that the 39 per cent of respondents who reported never chewing gum were twice as likel........ Read more »

Smith, A. (2009) Chewing gum, stress and health. Stress and Health, 25(5), 445-451. DOI: 10.1002/smi.1272  

  • December 7, 2009
  • 08:30 AM

Sharp loss of mahogany in South America, study finds

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

Scientists estimate that 66% of the historic range of mahogany in South America has been lost to commercial logging and forest conversion. Furthermore, the remaining stock is extremely low density and located in remote areas indicating that the best commercial stands have been thoroughly logged. ... Read more »

Grogan, J., Blundell, A., Landis, R., Youatt, A., Gullison, R., Martinez, M., Kómetter, R., Lentini, M., & Rice, R. (2009) Over-harvesting driven by consumer demand leads to population decline: big-leaf mahogany in South America. Conservation Letters. DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2009.00082.x  

  • December 7, 2009
  • 06:30 AM

Influenza before 1918

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

The huge 1918 influenza pandemic, caused by the great-grandfather of today’s swine-origin pandemic H1N1, wasn’t the first time influenza was seen in people — not by a couple of thousand years. 1 Seasonal flu was around before it, just as it has been since; and epidemics and pandemics regularly swept through the world before 1918.
The charts [...]... Read more »

Warren T. Vaughn. (1921) Influenza: An Epidemiologic Study. The American Journal of Hygiene Monographic Series. info:/

  • December 7, 2009
  • 06:23 AM

Sunday Protist - Paramyxids: Nested parasites and introverted multicellularity

by Psi Wavefunction in Skeptic Wonder

A while ago we peered into the lidded jar-like spores of Haplosporidia, memorable by their peculiar habbit of building up pressure and popping open the lid upon germination, much like a jack-in-the-box. But nastier, if you're an oyster. While digging around in obscure haplosporidian literature, we came across their lesser known close relatives, the Paramyxids, characterised by their pechant for sporulating 'inward' several times, in a strange genre of parasitism reminiscent of matryoshka dolls*......... Read more »

LARSSON IR, & KØIE M. (2005) Ultrastructual Study and Description of Paramyxoides nephtys gen. n., sp. n. a Parasite of Nephtyscaeca(Fabricius, 1780) (Polychaeta: Nephtyidae). Acta Protozoologica, 44(2), 175-187. info:/

  • December 7, 2009
  • 01:00 AM

A Photo is Worth a Thousand Ways to Change Your Memory

by David DiSslvo in Neuronarrative

Most of us realize that memory is fallible. We forget things all the time–car keys, passwords, whether we turned off the oven, etc. But how many of us would admit that our memory is susceptible to change from the outside? That’s different from simply forgetting–something everyone does on their own–because someone else changing our memory requires “getting in our heads” so to speak, right?

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know I’m about to tell you that no........ Read more »

  • December 6, 2009
  • 10:50 PM

I sprained my ankle months ago and it still hurts?

by Sport Injuries and Wellness Ottawa in Sport Injuries and Wellness

A sprained ankle is the most common sports injury. However, it usually is easy to diagnose and will eventually always heal. Sprained ankles are expected to be back to 90% recovery within 6 weeks (This may vary depending on the degree of sprain and other associated factors).  However, what if it doesn't get better? What if your symptoms have not resided by that time? Believe it or not, a simple sprained ankle can often lead to long term problems. 1) Osteochondral Lesions/Osteocondritis Disse........ Read more »

  • December 6, 2009
  • 06:01 PM

Supply Chain Confidence

by Jan Husdal in

Did a 2001 white paper turn into a 2004 academic journal article just like that? In Mitigating supply chain risk through improved confidence, Martin Christopher and Hau Lee explore the impact confidence has on supply chain performance. Interestingly this 2004 article also appears as a 2001 white paper on supply chain confidence published by the Stanford Global Supply Chain Management Forum. Is the journal article just a re-published white paper?... Read more »

Christopher, M., & Lee, H. (2004) Mitigating supply chain risk through improved confidence. International Journal of Physical Distribution , 34(5), 388-396. DOI: 10.1108/09600030410545436  

  • December 6, 2009
  • 01:55 PM

Darwin’s Dilemma, Creationist Propaganda and Corrupt Christians

by Johnny in Ecographica

Earlier this week the Trinity Broadcasting Network aired the Discovery Institute’s film ‘Darwin’s Dilemma: the mystery of the Cambrian fossil record.’ The feature length, allegedly-documentary movie has been promoted as an exploration “of the Cambrian explosion and the scientific controversy that still surrounds it.” Because of the evolutionary and science-based subject matter dealt with by the film, I thought that a private screening was in order, so when Saturday afternoon rolled a........ Read more »

Morris, S. (1998) The evolution of diversity in ancient ecosystems: a review. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 353(1366), 327-345. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.1998.0213  

  • December 6, 2009
  • 11:09 AM

Alternate structures and catalysis in cyclophilin

by Nir London in Macromolecular Modeling Blog

A beautiful post by Michael Clarkson on a beautiful work by himself and friends, published in Nature. It's always nice when a fellow blogger get's to present his own work. Post is re-blogged as is from "Discount Thoughts".

... Read more »

Fraser, J., Clarkson, M., Degnan, S., Erion, R., Kern, D., & Alber, T. (2009) Hidden alternative structures of proline isomerase essential for catalysis. Nature, 462(7273), 669-673. DOI: 10.1038/nature08615  

  • December 6, 2009
  • 08:08 AM

Crying of newborn babies: A sign of inborn musical skill?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

Even the crying of newborn babies seems to be more musical than we think. This can be concluded from an interesting study that was published last month in Current Biology. German researchers were able to show that newborns don’t just cry randomly, but - when studying the audio signal of their crying - one can distinguish between French and German babies. The German babies - only three days old - cry in a downward fashion, their French contemporaries showed an increasing swelling of the cry and........ Read more »

Mampe, B., Friederici, A., Christophe, A., & Wermke, K. (2009) Newborns' Cry Melody Is Shaped by Their Native Language. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.09.064  

  • December 6, 2009
  • 05:25 AM

I sprained my ankle months ago and it still hurts?

by Dr. Wayne Button in Sport Injuries and Wellness

Complications after a minor ankle sprain.... Read more »

  • December 6, 2009
  • 05:00 AM

People think that money affects happiness more than it really does

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

With dogged determination we lie, rob, borrow, gamble and sometimes work too, in the hope of boosting our income. So zealous is our pursuit of money, it's as if we think it will somehow make us happier. Strangely enough, whilst psychologists and economists have conducted numerous studies showing that the relationship between income and happiness is weak, only one prior study has asked what lay people really believe about money and happiness (and this was focused on middle-income, working women)......... Read more »

  • December 5, 2009
  • 10:50 PM

Fiat Lux

by Brian Koberlein in Upon Reflection

Nature, and Nature's Laws lay hid in Night. God said "Let Newton be!" and all was Light.— Alexander Pope In 1671, Isaac Newton submitted a letter to the the Royal Society outlining a new theory of light and color. While...... Read more »

  • December 5, 2009
  • 06:08 PM

Impaired Cognitive Empathy in Bipolar Disorder and in Patients with Ventromedial Prefrontal Lesions

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Cognitive empathy, or the ability to take another person's perspective, is closely related to (or even synonymous with) theory of mind,...the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one's own.On the other hand, emotional or affective empathy is "emotional contagion" - the ability to mirror an emotional response observed in another........ Read more »

  • December 5, 2009
  • 05:50 PM

How Helicobacter Gets Around

by Tim Sampson in The Times Microbial

Helicobacter pylori is the only bacterium (that I know of) that is capable of colonizing the rather intimidating environment of the human stomach. A very low pH, and a thick viscous and elastic mucus, make for a difficult niche to inhabit. But for a bacterium, the payoffs are huge: a constant supply for nutrients, no other prokaryotic competition, and little interaction with the immune system.It is well described that to survive the low pH, Helicobacter utilizes a urease system. Taking in urea ........ Read more »

Celli, J., Turner, B., Afdhal, N., Keates, S., Ghiran, I., Kelly, C., Ewoldt, R., McKinley, G., So, P., Erramilli, S.... (2009) Helicobacter pylori moves through mucus by reducing mucin viscoelasticity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(34), 14321-14326. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0903438106  

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