Post List

  • August 12, 2009
  • 05:35 AM

Take that leg off-It ain't mine

by Varun in Wissenschaft

So I recently read this paper from V.S Ramachandran's group at the Salk Institute and came to realize how weird the field of cognitive neuroscience can really get. The paper is on Apotemnophilia (phew!! saying it is a task in itself), which yours truly had never heard of before. In any case, the disease is characterized by the desire to amputate one's own limb (Now how about that). These patients are otherwise mentally normal.Individuals suffering from apotemnophilia always date the desire for a........ Read more »

McGeoch, P.D., Brang, D., Song, T., Lee, R.R., Huang, M., & Ramachandran, V.S. (2009) Apotemnophilia - the neurological basis of a 'psychological' disorder. Nature Precedings. info:/10101/npre.2009.2954.1

Brang, D., McGeoch, P., & Ramachandran, V. (2008) Apotemnophilia: a neurological disorder. NeuroReport, 19(13), 1305-1306. DOI: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e32830abc4d  

  • August 12, 2009
  • 05:01 AM

‘Death by garbage’ – Improving the effectiveness of antibody treatment

by Cancer Research UK in Cancer Research UK - Science Update

It’s an exciting headline – “Potent cancer drug hopes raised” – but what’s the real story behind it?
This is research from scientists in Manchester, Southampton and Latvia, funded by Cancer Research UK, Leukaemia Research, the AICR, Tenovus, and the ECMC network and published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
In their paper, the researchers have found [...]... Read more »

  • August 11, 2009
  • 10:58 PM

The power of imagination on prejudice

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

Contact theory seems to be the new hot topic when it comes to solving the age old problem of prejudice. The theory simply states that given the right conditions if members of differing groups come in contact with one another, the interaction ultimately leads to more positive intergroup relations.Crisp and Turner decided to pose a fascinating question. What if members of those groups didn't actually meet, but simply imagined the positive social interaction? Would the results still be significant?........ Read more »

  • August 11, 2009
  • 09:42 PM

Whatever she wants - sexual selection

by Atila in Brazillion Thoughts

This post was translated by Igor Santos from the original published by Atila at the Brazilian blog Rainha Vermelha.==================================================================

Sexual selection is not the freshest of news. Darwin's grandfather Erasmus had already commented on it. [1]
But a very pertinent question is why it occurs, or at least, what is selected. After all, why does a female finds a male sexy?Two hypotheses could explain that. Fisher proposed the sexy gene hypothesis. He ........ Read more »

  • August 11, 2009
  • 08:39 PM

A New Integrative Theory for Cortical Pyramidal Neurons

by AK in AK's Rambling Thoughts

A discovery reported in last Friday's Science Magazine offers a new unifying principle for how pyramidal cells perform their function in the neocortex, as well as other cortical areas:  Synaptic Integration in Tuft Dendrites of Layer 5 Pyramidal Neurons:  A New Unifying Principle (by Matthew E. Larkum, Thomas Nevian, Maya Sandler, Alon Polsky, and Jackie Schiller), unfortunately behind a paywall.  What this paper does is demonstrate that a type of neural activity called an NMDA ........ Read more »

  • August 11, 2009
  • 08:01 PM

New Zealand’s walking bats

by hilaryml in Chicken or Egg blog

New Zealand’s lesser short-tailed bat Mystacina tuberculata is slightly odd in the bat world due to its propensity for running about on the ground instead of flying.  Unlike most bats, which catch their prey while in flight, the lesser short-tailed bat spends much of its time foraging on the forest floor.  The elbow joints in [...]... Read more »

Suzanne J Hand, Vera Weisbecker, Robin MD Beck, Michael Archer, Henk Godthelp, Alan JD Tennyson, & Trevor H Worthy. (2009) Bats that walk: a new evolutionary hypothesis for the terrestrial behaviour of New Zealand's endemic mystacinids. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 9(169). info:/10.1186/1471-2148-9-169

  • August 11, 2009
  • 05:56 PM

Simple Summer Recipes for Dead Seafloor Carrion

by Dr. M in Deep Sea News

The 285  macrourid fishes, the rattails, whiptails, and grenadiers, are one of, if not the, most abundant fish in the deep.  You cannot throw…well anything…without hitting one.  What do all these fish eat?  In one scenario, macrourids feed on organisms living on the seafloor, that in turn originally feed on detritus, i.e. marine snow, raining [...]... Read more »

  • August 11, 2009
  • 05:01 PM

Ready for Action

by Wayne Hooke in The Psychology of Beauty

Action figures have gotten bigger and more muscular over the last 25 years. In a straightforward bit of research, Baghurst (2006) measured changes in the relative sizes of action figures that have been in production for more than 25 years (G.I. Joe, Batman, Hulk, Spiderman, and Superman). Their data are summarized in the table [...]... Read more »

  • August 11, 2009
  • 03:35 PM

The Small Network Argument

by Varun in Wissenschaft

Not long ago, the problem of consciousness was thought to be scientifically non-tractable. But with a lot more psychophysical and brain mapping data coming in from studies being done on normal subjects and people with brain disorders, the field has opened up. In the last decade, a variety of brain processes were proposed to account for consciousness and several more keep coming in but as of today, no concrete model exists. Typical examples include recurrent computation (Grossberg (1999) and La........ Read more »

HERZOG, M., ESFELD, M., & GERSTNER, W. (2007) Consciousness . Neural Networks, 20(9), 1054-1056. DOI: 10.1016/j.neunet.2007.09.001  

  • August 11, 2009
  • 03:21 PM

Even non-musicians can express musical intentions with just one note

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

Last year Nora and I went on a hike in the remote Pasayten Wilderness in northern Washington state. Parts of the hike were extremely grueling, while other parts were quite easy and fun. I made this short video to try to capture the differences:

The music was added as an afterthought, but in the end I think it's what makes the video so charming: without it, it would just be an ordinary walk in the woods. For each section of the trail, I chose a music clip that I thought expressed our feelings ........ Read more »

Baraldi, F., Poli, G., & Rodà, A. (2006) Communicating expressive intentions with a single piano note. Journal of New Music Research, 35(3), 197-210. DOI: 10.1080/09298210601045575  

  • August 11, 2009
  • 03:04 PM

Oh no, say it ain’t so! Umami bombs might be bad for me?

by Jennifer in OpenHelix

Some of you who found this blog way back may remember Trey’s post on our OpenHelix taste strip experiment. Around that same time (probably because I was primed for noticing ’stuff related to the genetics of taste’) I saw a couple of different articles on umami – our fifth taste – including this one from [...]... Read more »

He, K., Zhao, L., Daviglus, M., Dyer, A., Van Horn, L., Garside, D., Zhu, L., Guo, D., Wu, Y., Zhou, B.... (2008) Association of Monosodium Glutamate Intake With Overweight in Chinese Adults: The INTERMAP Study. Obesity, 16(8), 1875-1880. DOI: 10.1038/oby.2008.274  

  • August 11, 2009
  • 01:55 PM

The Metacommunity Mannerisms of Foraging Frogs

by Johnny in Ecographica

...set of distinct ecological communities that are biologically entangled through the spatial dispersion of commonly hosted, interacting species is one way of defining the term “metacommunity.” Essentially, a metacommunity is an order of ecological organization above the community level. So, moving backwards through the hierarchy, a metacommunity is a set of distinct communities...... Read more »

  • August 11, 2009
  • 12:12 PM

Adaptive immunity

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

This is your monkeypox infection with
an adaptive immune response:
This is your monkeypox infection without
an adaptive immune response:

Any questions?
Osorio, J., Iams, K., Meteyer, C., & Rocke, T. (2009). Comparison of Monkeypox Viruses Pathogenesis in Mice by In Vivo Imaging PLoS ONE, 4 (8) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006592. 
Wild-type (immune-competent) mice (left) or SCID mice (no B or T cell [...]... Read more »

  • August 11, 2009
  • 05:00 AM

How do you decide when to stop doing something?

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

There are plenty of times when it’s easy to give up on doing something – just ask me to do the vacuum cleaning or do a workout at the gym! On the other hand, there are plenty of times when someone close to me sighs and asks ‘How long are you going to be?’ [...]... Read more »

  • August 11, 2009
  • 04:32 AM

The surprising links between anger and time perception

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

The way we think about abstract concepts like time is grounded in physical metaphors. For example, we talk about re-arranged events being moved from one day to another, as if through space. Similarly, there is a metaphorical, embodied aspect to our emotions - fear is associated with physical withdrawal, for example, whilst anger is associated with approach and confrontation. An intriguing new study shows that this shared way of thinking about time and emotion can lead to some surprising effects......... Read more »

  • August 11, 2009
  • 03:06 AM

The Neuroanatomy of Psychopathy

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD

Lombroso believed that 40% of criminals were ‘born criminals’ who could be distinguished by physical features including relatively long arms, prehensile feet with mobile big toes, low and narrow forehead, large ears, thick skull, large jaw, etc. The main objection to his hypotheses were his campaign on the basis of his theory for a preventive [...]... Read more »

Benning, T. (2003) Neuroimaging psychopathy: lessons from Lombroso. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 183(6), 563-564. DOI: 10.1192/bjp.183.6.563  

Blair, R. (2003) Neurobiological basis of psychopathy. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 182(1), 5-7. DOI: 10.1192/bjp.182.1.5  

Craig, M., Catani, M., Deeley, Q., Latham, R., Daly, E., Kanaan, R., Picchioni, M., McGuire, P., Fahy, T., & Murphy, D. (2009) Altered connections on the road to psychopathy. Molecular Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1038/mp.2009.40  

Yang, Y., Raine, A., Colletti, P., Toga, A., & Narr, K. (2009) Abnormal temporal and prefrontal cortical gray matter thinning in psychopaths. Molecular Psychiatry, 14(6), 561-562. DOI: 10.1038/mp.2009.12  

  • August 11, 2009
  • 12:06 AM

A New Clitoral Homunculus?

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Homunculus image from Reinhard Blutner.OK kids, let's start today's lesson by viewing the G-Rated [i.e., genital-less] flash explanation of homunculus.The neuroanatomical definition of homunculus is a "distorted" representation of the sensorimotor body map (and its respective parts) overlaid upon primary somatosensory and primary motor cortices. The above figure illustrates the sensory homunculus, where each body part is placed onto the region of cortex that represents it, and the size of the bo........ Read more »

  • August 10, 2009
  • 08:00 PM

First human genome sequenced using single-molecule sequencing

by dgmacarthur in Genetic Future

Pushkarev, D., Neff, N., & Quake, S. (2009). Single-molecule sequencing of an individual human genome Nature Biotechnology DOI: 10.1038/nbt.1561Yes, it's yet another "complete" individual genome sequence, following on the heels of Craig Venter, James Watson, an anonymous African male (twice, and not without controversy), a female cancer patient, a Chinese man, and two Koreans. There is a new twist, though: this is the first genome to be sequenced using single molecule sequencing te........ Read more »

  • August 10, 2009
  • 04:19 PM

Research is gray without industrial stories

by Andrew Sun in On The Road

Polymer science is more unique in its physics rather than chemistry. All reactions in various polymerization known today are not unconceivable in the scheme of organic synthesis. There is no new concept in reaction mechanisms. In contrast, the unique properties of polymer materials mainly stem from chain topology rather than detailed chemical structures, which have led the polymer physics research from Flory’s mean-field theory, in a statistical physical scheme, to de Gennes’........ Read more »

  • August 10, 2009
  • 02:00 PM

Women eat less when dining with men

by Jacob Aron in Just A Theory

A woman’s choice of food is influenced by the gender of her dining companions, according to a study published in the journal Appetite. Meredith Young, a psychologist at McMaster University in Canada, lead a team observing 469 students as they ate in university cafes. She found that the more men a woman dined with, the [...]... Read more »

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