Post List

  • May 4, 2010
  • 03:39 PM

May will be a month of illusions

by Dave in The Daily Monthly

For the next month, I’m going to be blogging about illusions and the people who create them. So let’s get started. Take a look at the following short movie, following the on-screen instructions. Just watch it once!

This one is based on an illusion by Stuart Anstis, who in turn based it on a very popular [...]... Read more »

Thompson, P., Anstis, S., Rhodes, G., Jeffery, L., & Valentine, T. (2009) Thompson’s 1980 paper. Perception, 38(6), 921-932. DOI: 10.1068/pmktho  

  • May 4, 2010
  • 01:31 PM

No Free Lunch

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Bald eagles may prey on threatened species

... Read more »

  • May 4, 2010
  • 12:35 PM

Where are all the males? - ancient DNA raises questions about extinct moa populations

by Laelaps in Laelaps

The skeletons of female (larger, background) and male (smaller, foreground) Dinornis robustus, with a pigeon skeleton for comparison. From Allentoft et al 2010.

A little more than 700 years ago, multiple species of the gigantic, flightless birds called moas were still running around New Zealand. They ranged over almost the entirety of the North and South Islands, from the coast to the mountain forests, but when the Maori people arrived in the late 13th century the birds were quickly driven........ Read more »

  • May 4, 2010
  • 12:03 PM

Does Couple Therapy Work?

by eHarmony Labs in eHarmony Labs Blog

Just released are the 5-year results from the largest-ever experimental study of therapies for unhappy couples. Discover whether the effects of couple's therapy actually last.... Read more »

  • May 4, 2010
  • 11:52 AM

GWAS and the Genetics of Human Disease

by Daniel Koboldt in Massgenomics

An essay published last week in Cell dismissed the findings of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and questioned their value to the study of human disease. In their article Genetic Heterogeneity in Human Disease, McLellan and King argue that because common diseases exhibit a high deegree of allelic, locus, and phenotypic heterogeneity, their causality “can almost [...]... Read more »

McClellan J, & King MC. (2010) Genetic heterogeneity in human disease. Cell, 141(2), 210-7. PMID: 20403315  

  • May 4, 2010
  • 10:58 AM

Bilingualism as a Preadaptation for Language

by Sean Roberts in The Adventures of Auck

A comparative approach to bilingualism. Bilingualism is difficult to define, but by asking whether there is evidence for this capacity in non-human species, it's hoped that this question is made clearer.... Read more »

D. Demolin. (2010) Prosody and recursion in primate vocalisation. Proceed- ings of the JAIST International Seminar on the Emergence and Evolution of Linguistic Communication, Kyoto, Japan. info:/

Doupe AJ, & Kuhl PK. (1999) Birdsong and human speech: common themes and mechanisms. Annual review of neuroscience, 567-631. PMID: 10202549  

Fitch, W. T. (2005) The evolution of language: A comparative review. Biology and Philosophy, 20(2-3), 193-203. info:/10.1007/s10539-005-5597-1

Kaminski J, Call J, & Fischer J. (2004) Word learning in a domestic dog: evidence for "fast mapping". Science (New York, N.Y.), 304(5677), 1682-3. PMID: 15192233  

Oda, R. and Masataka, N. (1996) Interspecific responses of ring-tailed lemurs to playback of antipredator alarm calls given by Verreaux's sifakas. Ethology, 441-453. info:/10.1159/000021651

SCOTT-PHILLIPS, T. (2008) Defining biological communication. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 21(2), 387-395. DOI: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2007.01497.x  

Zuberbühler, K. (2000) Interspecies semantic communication in two forest primates. Proceedings: Biological Sciences, 267(1444), 713-718. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2000.1061  

  • May 4, 2010
  • 09:12 AM

Simple Counting: an innate ability of humans to know what the chances are

by Vahid Motlagh in Ideas for a deeper sense of life

A couple of days ago Steven Strogatz, the chaos and complexity theorist, wrote a lucid article in the New York Times about the daunting task of teaching probability theory. In particular he dealt with the cerebrally demanding topic of formalizing and analyzing “conditional probability”. What he suggests is quite reasonable, "comporting with human intuition instead of confounding it."Strogatz recommends skipping the mathematical formalism and avoid using Bayes’s theorem, much as his student........ Read more »

Teglas, E., Girotto, V., Gonzalez, M., & Bonatti, L. (2007) Intuitions of probabilities shape expectations about the future at 12 months and beyond. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(48), 19156-19159. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0700271104  

  • May 4, 2010
  • 08:31 AM

Sex Addiction as a Masculine Ideal

by Ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

Only briefly (at p.269) does Levine (2010) get close to why it is we can live in an era when hyper-sexuality in men is at once constructed as a terrible addiction and a masculine ideal. The great relief is that most men are not really sexually 'sick' at all.... Read more »

Levine SB. (2010) What is sexual addiction?. Journal of sex , 36(3), 261-75. PMID: 20432125  

  • May 4, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Winston Churchill once defined a pessimist as one who sees the difficulty in every opportunity, but an optimist as one who sees the opportunity in every difficulty. New research shows that optimists, who already enjoy better goal attainment, more resilience, and better overall well-being compared to pessimists, also enjoy a healthier immune system. The new [...]... Read more »

Avitsur, R., Powell, N., Padgett, D., & Sheridan, J. (2009) Social Interactions, Stress, and Immunity. Immunology and Allergy Clinics of North America, 29(2), 285-293. DOI: 10.1016/j.iac.2009.02.006  

Segerstrom, S. (2007) Stress, Energy, and Immunity: An Ecological View. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16(6), 326-330. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8721.2007.00522.x  

  • May 4, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Leptin and the New Biology of Obesity

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

Yesterday, I co-chaired and spoke at a session on obesity management at the 25th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Hypertension in New York.
Later in the afternoon, Jeff Friedman, who played a prominent role in the discovery of leptin, thereby hearkening in the modern era of adipocyte and appetite physiology, presented an update [...]... Read more »

Hedbacker K, Birsoy K, Wysocki RW, Asilmaz E, Ahima RS, Farooqi IS, & Friedman JM. (2010) Antidiabetic effects of IGFBP2, a leptin-regulated gene. Cell metabolism, 11(1), 11-22. PMID: 20074524  

  • May 4, 2010
  • 07:00 AM

Social Science to the Rescue

by Bluegrass Blue Crab in Southern Fried Science

The cultural driver of shark killing - from

Can social science save the sharks? A recent article in Progress in Oceanography by Peter Jacques seems to think so, calling for a “social oceanography”. In other circles, this could be known as the human dimensions of a marine ecosystem or the social side of [...]... Read more »

  • May 4, 2010
  • 06:46 AM

Does immune evasion allow rapid HIV progression?

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

I was getting a little concerned and distressed by the lack of evidence for any function of viral MHC class I immune evasion. It’s kind of a relief to see articles demonstrating function coming out.
MHC class I is the target for cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL), which are generally believed to be pretty important in [...]... Read more »

Stevenson, P., May, J., Smith, X., Marques, S., Adler, H., Koszinowski, U., Simas, J., & Efstathiou, S. (2002) K3-mediated evasion of CD8 T cells aids amplification of a latent γ-herpesvirus. Nature Immunology. DOI: 10.1038/ni818  

Hansen, S., Powers, C., Richards, R., Ventura, A., Ford, J., Siess, D., Axthelm, M., Nelson, J., Jarvis, M., Picker, L.... (2010) Evasion of CD8 T Cells Is Critical for Superinfection by Cytomegalovirus. Science, 328(5974), 102-106. DOI: 10.1126/science.1185350  

  • May 4, 2010
  • 06:00 AM

Does statewide land conservation correlate with ecological values?

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

Organizations working to protect land have largely similar missions – to conserve natural resources, broadly defined, and provide public benefits. However when numerous organizations are working across the same geographic area on their own land protection projects, the question arises whether their cumulative efforts are achieving a successful outcome for conservation...... Read more »

  • May 4, 2010
  • 04:34 AM

The cure for procrastination? Forgive yourself!

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

There are so many things you'd rather be doing than what you ought to be doing and what happens is that you delay doing what you ought. All the evidence shows that this procrastination is bad for you, for your productivity, your school grades, for your health. But still we keep putting things off. Until. Tomorrow. Now Michael Wohl and colleagues have proposed a rather surprising cure - self-forgiveness. That's right, forgive yourself for you have procrastinated, move on, get over it and you'll b........ Read more »

  • May 4, 2010
  • 02:27 AM

TMS for medication resistant depression

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD

It’s been a while since my last post on this blog about transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
Myself ‘m not impressed by it’s efficacy for treatment resistant depression. Especially in treatment resistant depression, whatever that may be, rTMS is probably best avoided for more evidence based form of treatments with proven efficacy.
The reason for this post about [...]

Related posts:rTMS Targeted with MRI Based Neuro-Navigation in Treatment-Resistant Depression
Again Open ........ Read more »

  • May 4, 2010
  • 12:38 AM

Personal Genomics, clinical assessment and online resources

by Trey in OpenHelix

The Lancet paper, Clinical assessment incorporating a personal genome, has held my fascination this weekend (yes, I read it at the beach). Mary posted Friday and again Saturday on the paper and related NPR segment. It feels to me to be a seminal paper, though I do agree with Daniel at Genetic Future, there are a lot there we still don’t know. A large portion of the variation is in non-coding regions, and thus predictions and propensities are hard to come by with the available analysis. In ........ Read more »

Ashley, E., Butte, A., Wheeler, M., Chen, R., Klein, T., Dewey, F., Dudley, J., Ormond, K., Pavlovic, A., & Morgan, A. (2010) Clinical assessment incorporating a personal genome. The Lancet, 375(9725), 1525-1535. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)60452-7  

  • May 3, 2010
  • 10:00 PM

The Neuroscience of Love

by Allison in Dormivigilia

Love for someone is associated with a cascade of activation of a variety of neuromodulatory and hormonal brain systems and with further elucidation on the neurobiology of love, we may possibly facilitate a black market of love drug abuse, though these drugs, I wonder, may help individuals who are asexual and/or autistic.... Read more »

  • May 3, 2010
  • 04:42 PM

It's truly the entropy that binds us together

by The Curious Wavefunction in The Curious Wavefunction

Fragment-based Drug Design (FBDD) has emerged as one of the key strategies in drug design during the past two decades. FBDD hinges on the fact that fragments, as opposed to complete ligands, are easier to optimize and study since they possess lesser molecular complexity and have fewer binding interactions.When fragments are optimized to bind to parts of a protein's active site, they can gain powerful binding affinity by being linked together. Usually fragments are relatively weak binders, and co........ Read more »

  • May 3, 2010
  • 04:33 PM

ResearchBlogCast #5: A mathematical model for ecological impact

by Dave Munger in News

There’s no denying that global warming will impose massive changes on the environment. But a recent paper suggests that the models ecologists typically use to assess the effects of environmental changes may be neglecting a key factor: The ability of organisms to adapt to the environment. What are the implications of incorporating the capacity for [...]... Read more »

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