Post List

  • December 1, 2010
  • 03:18 PM

Tiny tunicate throws structure to the wind

by Hannah Waters in Culturing Science – biology as relevant to us earthly beings

Today I bring you something extra special: A guest post from Lucas Brouwers of the world-famous blog Thoughtomics.  He loves genomes, I love plankton, and you get a great story involving spaceships, genomic party crashers, and, of course, a planktonic … Continue reading →... Read more »

Denoeud F, Henriet S, Mungpakdee S, Aury JM, Da Silva C, Brinkmann H, Mikhaleva J, Olsen LC, Jubin C, Cañestro C.... (2010) Plasticity of Animal Genome Architecture Unmasked by Rapid Evolution of a Pelagic Tunicate. Science (New York, N.Y.). PMID: 21097902  

  • December 1, 2010
  • 03:15 PM

Placebo effect: now we can see it, but should we believe it?

by Lorimer Moseley in BodyInMind

Placebo effects are a great way to start a conversation, particularly if one is at a Clinical Trials Festival. Rather than being fascinated by the possibilities of the brain’s internal capacities to influence its own outputs, some believe placebo effects are a nuisance and something to either ignored or removed. Well, as you will see [...]... Read more »

[1] Benedetti, F, Mayberg H, Wager T, Stohler C, Zubieta J. (2005) Neurobiological Mechanisms of the Placebo Effect. Journal of Neuroscience, 25(45), 10390-10402. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3458-05.2005  

[2] Kienle GS, & Kiene H. (1997) The powerful placebo effect: fact or fiction?. Journal of clinical epidemiology, 50(12), 1311-8. PMID: 9449934  

[3] Wager TD, Rilling JK, Smith EE, Sokolik A, Casey KL, Davidson RJ, Kosslyn SM, Rose RM, & Cohen JD. (2004) Placebo-induced changes in FMRI in the anticipation and experience of pain. Science (New York, N.Y.), 303(5661), 1162-7. PMID: 14976306  

  • December 1, 2010
  • 02:49 PM

HIV in America—where do we go from here?

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

The HIV pandemic in the US has developed a stable appearance over the last few years, and that appearance is notably non-white and non-wealthy.  When the pandemic was discovered nearly thirty years ago, it was—in the US—primarily a disease of gay men.  In Africa, the disease is everyone’s.  Women make up significantly more than half [...]... Read more »

DiClemente RJ, Wingood GM, Harrington KF, Lang DL, Davies SL, Hook EW 3rd, Oh MK, Crosby RA, Hertzberg VS, Gordon AB.... (2004) Efficacy of an HIV prevention intervention for African American adolescent girls: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 292(2), 171-9. PMID: 15249566  

  • December 1, 2010
  • 02:43 PM

Why the obsession with intelligibility in speech processing studies?

by Greg Hickok in Talking Brains

There was a very interesting speech/language session at SfN this year organized by Jonathan Peelle. Talks included presentations Sophie Scott, Jonas Obleser, Sonia Kotz, Matt Davis and others spanning an impressive range of methods and perspectives on auditory language processing. Good stuff and a fun group of people. It felt kind of like a joint lab meeting with lots of discussion. I want to emphasize one of the issues that came up, namely, the brain's response to intelligible speech and wh........ Read more »

  • December 1, 2010
  • 01:09 PM

Coddle me, please: parallel evolution and fishery management in Atlantic cod

by Hannah Waters in Sleeping with the Fishes

Historically, perhaps due to human interest in maximizing fishing activity, we have assumed that there is a great deal of gene flow in marine populations.  This assumption allowed us to maximize fishing efforts without guilt, since a large, ocean-wide population would allow fish from other parts of the world to refill populations that we had reduced by overfishing.  But you know what they say about assumptions: they make an ASS out of U and ME.  Thus marine biologists have taken an interest ........ Read more »

  • December 1, 2010
  • 01:07 PM

Would you eat a brown apple?

by Anastasia Bodnar in Biofortified

Have you ever cut up an apple to take for lunch, or prepared apples for a fresh fruit tray only to have them turn an unappealing shade of brown? You’re not alone. There’s nothing wrong with brown apple slices, but they certainly don’t look nice, which discourages some people from eating as many apples as they should. Apples are a healthy snack and anything that gets people to eat more fruit could be considered Continue reading...... Read more »

Herb Aldwinckle, & Mickael Malnoy. (2009) Plant Regeneration and Transformation in the Rosaceae . Transgenic Plant Journal , 1-39. info:/

Bachem, C., Speckmann, G., van der Linde, P., Verheggen, F., Hunt, M., Steffens, J., & Zabeau, M. (1994) Antisense Expression of Polyphenol Oxidase Genes Inhibits Enzymatic Browning in Potato Tubers. Bio/Technology, 12(11), 1101-1105. DOI: 10.1038/nbt1194-1101  

  • December 1, 2010
  • 12:30 PM

Gratitude: Uniquely Human or Shared with Animals?

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

"Two chimps had been shut out of their shelter by mistake during a cold rain storm. They were standing dejeted, water streaming down their shivering bodies, when Professor Köhler chanced to pass." Upon opening the door for the two chimps, Dr. James Leuba recounts, "instead of scampering in without more ado, as many a child would have done, each of them delayed entering the warm shelter long enough to throw its arms around his benefactor in a frenzy of satisfaction."

"Chimpanzees," primatolog........ Read more »

Krisin E. Bonnie, & Frans B. M. de Waal. (2004) Primate Social Reciprocity and the Origin of Gratitude. in Robert A. Emmons , 213-229. info:/

Fehr, E., & Gächter, S. (2002) Altruistic punishment in humans. Nature, 415(6868), 137-140. DOI: 10.1038/415137a  

  • December 1, 2010
  • 12:10 PM

Wnt/β-Catenin Signaling in T-Cell Immunity and Cancer Immunotherapy

by Sally Church in Pharma Strategy Blog

Recently, at the NY Chemotherapy Foundation symposium, Dr Phil Kantoff from Dana Farber gave a lecture on new therapeutic strategies in prostate cancer. Despite the unsociably early hour (7.30am), the room was almost packed. While waiting for the session to … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • December 1, 2010
  • 12:10 PM

Animal obesity: canary in the coal mine?

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

There are a number of factors, both behavioural and environmental, which are thought to play important roles in the current epidemic of obesity. These range from things like increased soft-drink consumption and decreased physical activity, which are at least nominally under our personal control, to more external factors like viruses, light pollution, and environmental contaminants, over which we have little or no control. How much of a role do these external factors play in the obesity epidemi........ Read more »

Klimentidis, Y., Beasley, T., Lin, H., Murati, G., Glass, G., Guyton, M., Newton, W., Jorgensen, M., Heymsfield, S., Kemnitz, J.... (2010) Canaries in the coal mine: a cross-species analysis of the plurality of obesity epidemics. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2010.1890  

  • December 1, 2010
  • 11:42 AM

The Trouble With Triclosan

by microbialmodus in Microbial Modus

An article was released online Monday in Environmental Health Perspectives which surprised me. For the last five or six years I’ve been enthusiastically extolling the evils of triclosan in the environment, but the connection with human immune dysfunction really caught me by surprise, most likely because I’m a microbiologist (this is probably not news to [...]... Read more »

  • December 1, 2010
  • 11:06 AM

The Couch Potato Effect

by Sanford- Burnham in Beaker

A surprising new model for studying muscle function was unveiled this week: the couch potato mouse. While these mice maintain normal activity and body weight, they don’t have the energy to exercise. In the December 1 issue of the journal Cell Metabolism, Dr. Daniel Kelly, Dr. Christoph Zechner and their colleagues report what happens when [...]... Read more »

  • December 1, 2010
  • 11:00 AM

How to Turn a Tyrannosaur Into a Iguanodont

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Fossilized dinosaur tracks can be exceptionally informative traces of prehistoric life, but figuring out what dinosaur made a particular set of footprints can be tricky. Unless an animal literally dies in its tracks, the best we can do is to match the skeletal anatomy of dinosaur feet with the anatomical clues left in the impressions [...]... Read more »

  • December 1, 2010
  • 09:44 AM

Reducing stress via brain reward circuitry. Stress, meet pie.

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

Yesterday I was out with my running group, and chatting with an acquaintance.  She was saying that someone at her office had accused her of “eating her feelings” when she was stressed. Her: She accused me of eating my feelings!  I’m kind of upset she would say that…so I had a cookie, and then a [...]... Read more »

Ulrich-Lai YM, Christiansen AM, Ostrander MM, Jones AA, Jones KR, Choi DC, Krause EG, Evanson NK, Furay AR, Davis JF.... (2010) Pleasurable behaviors reduce stress via brain reward pathways. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(47), 20529-34. PMID: 21059919  

  • December 1, 2010
  • 08:08 AM

Can you trust a science blog?

by Peter Janiszewski, Ph.D. in Science of Blogging

I recently came across a new editorial in Analytics Chemistry by Royce Murray entitled, Science Blogs and Caveat Emptor. The main thesis of the editorial is that you can trust peer-reviewed literature, you can trust mainstream science news, but when it comes to science blogs – caveat emptor. Murray states the following: “I firmly believe... Read more »

Royce Murray. (2010) Science Blogs and Caveat Emptor. Analytical Chemistry, 82(21), 8755-8755. DOI: 10.1021/ac102628p  

  • December 1, 2010
  • 08:07 AM

Pollyanna’s are good lie detectors and other new deception findings

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

You know Pollyanna. It’s come to be a label we assign to describe people with optimistic outlooks. But it’s not just optimism. We also often assume gullibility and naïveté. New research from Canadian researchers shows us our stereotypes and assumptions may be quite in error. It turns out the those who tend toward the Pollyanna end [...]

Related posts:Deception Detection: The latest on what we know
Quick trial tips: Blinking, babies and on the left!
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!
... Read more »

Carter, N.L., & Weber, J.M. (2010) Not Pollyanna’s: Higher generalized trust predicts lie detection ability. . Social Psychological and Personality Science. info:/

  • December 1, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

How Lack of Sleep Makes You Gain Weight

by Arya M. Sharma in Dr. Sharma's Obesity Notes

Regular readers of these pages will recall numerous posts on the profound effect of sleep deprivation on appetite and metabolism - a factor, believed by many, to be a major driver of the obesity epidemic (and not just in kids!).
Although epidemiological studies on sleep leave much to be desired both in quality and representativeness, current [...]... Read more »

Van Cauter E, & Ehrmann DA. (2010) Preface. Best practice , 24(5). PMID: 21112018  

  • December 1, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

One fish, two fish... Can fish count?

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

Quick! How many dots?

You can do that fast, right? You don’t even have to count.

In comparison, as fast as you can, how many dots?

That’s much trickier, isn’t it? Slower. You have to count.

The first, “at a glance” way of determining the number of things is called subitizing.

A new paper by Bisazza and colleagues takes a look at these abilities in guppies. Guppies, like many other fish, have a behaviour that is sensitive to numbers of things: joining a school of other fish. Bisa........ Read more »

Bisazza A, Piffer L, Serena G, & Agrillo C. (2010) Ontogeny of numerical abilities in fish. PLoS ONE, 5(11). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015516  

  • December 1, 2010
  • 07:43 AM

2D / 3D / 4D Baby Ultrasounds

by westius in Mr Science Show

Being able to see your unborn child is truly an amazing experience. Ultrasound (diagnostic sonography) is a common diagnostic tool for, among other things, imaging the foetus to determine its age, look for abnormalities and observe blood flow in the umbilical cord. But possibly its most memorable effect is seeing your baby's heart beat - and in 3D/4D ultrasounds, seeing your baby's face.

The term "ultrasound" applies to acoustic energy (sound) with a frequency above the audible range of human h........ Read more »

Kurjak, A., Miskovic, B., Andonotopo, W., Stanojevic, M., Azumendi, G., & Vrcic, H. (2007) How useful is 3D and 4D ultrasound in perinatal medicine?. Journal of Perinatal Medicine, 35(1), 10-27. DOI: 10.1515/JPM.2007.002  

  • December 1, 2010
  • 07:23 AM

A new angle on diving in whale sharks

by Alistair Dove in Deep Type Flow

Recently I featured a piece about how turtle hatchlings change their movement strategy several times in just the first few hours of life in order to suit their changing needs as they move across different types of sand.  Well, to go from the sublime to the ridiculous (or rather, just from the really small to the truly gargantuan) there’s a new paper out that shows that whale sharks, too, adjust the way they move according to their needs.  This new work follow........ Read more »

  • December 1, 2010
  • 05:40 AM

Which is worse: your partner having a heterosexual or homosexual affair?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Assuming you're in a heterosexual relationship, which is worse: for your partner to be unfaithful with a person of the opposite or the same sex? According to a pair of US psychologists, the answer depends on whether you're a man or woman. Men, they've found, are less likely to continue a relationship with an unfaithful partner who's had a heterosexual affair, as opposed to a homosexual affair. For women, it's the other way around - they're more troubled by their male partner going off with anoth........ Read more »

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