I’m glad I’m not in college. You see, the price of tuition at some U.S. universities has been increasing and my alma mater is one of them.
When I do research on the various college savings funds available for my son, I always run into a few articles that discuss the need to save for retirement ... Read more »
R Dobson. (2008) Life expectancy gap between better and less educated in US widens. BMJ, 336(7654), 1155-1155. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.a125
You inherited your genes from your parents, half from your father and half from your mother. Almost all other animals contend with the same hand-me-down processes, but not the bdelloid rotifers. This intriguing group of small freshwater creatures are not content with their genetic hand-me-downs; they import genes too. A new study shows that their genomes are rife with legions of foreign DNA, transferred from bacteria, fungi and even plants.
The swapping of genetic material is all part of a day........ Read more »
E Gladyshev, M Meselson, & I R Arkhipova. (2008) Massive Horizontal Gene Transfer in Bdelloid Rotifers. Science, 320(5880), 1210-1213. DOI: 10.1126/science.1156407
I was born and bred into a largely tacit knowledge culture and a (native) language that is rich in symbolic contemplation. One of the instances of "deep immersion" that I got familiar with is indeed a highly controversial topic known as precognition or "anomalous cognition" in our modern world. I believe that most serious knowledge workers (including myself) who usually associate themselves with foresight or futures studies discipline would probably reject the reliability and validity of such me........ Read more »
Henshel, R. L. (1982) The Boundary of the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy and the Dilemma of Social Prediction. The British Journal of Sociology, 511-528. info:/
Two years after it first erupted, Lusi is back in the news again, this time because the area around the vent (click through for this month's satellite image) is starting to show signs of subsidence:
The world's fastest-growing mud volcano is collapsing by up to three metres overnight, suggests new research.
As the second anniversary (May 29) of the eruption on the Indonesian island of Java approaches, scientists have found that the volcano - named Lusi - could subside to depths of ........ Read more »
H Abidin, R J Davies, M A Kusuma, H Andreas, & T Deguchi. (2008) Subsidence and uplift of Sidoarjo (East Java) due to the eruption of the Lusi mud volcano (2006–present). Environmental Geology. DOI: 10.1007/s00254-008-1363-4
No surprise autism imposes a heavy burden on families. But would you believe having an autistic child actually lowers your income?That's what researchers from The Children's Institute and University of Rochester conclude in their recent study in the journal Pediatrics. A "substantial loss of household income".Researchers Montes and Halterman pulled data from 11,684 children in kindergarten through eighth grade who participated in the National Household Education Survey. They ........ Read more »
G Montes, & J Halterman. (2008) Association of Childhood Autism Spectrum Disorders and Loss of Family Income. PEDIATRICS, 121(4). DOI: 10.1542/peds.2007-1594
More than half of new mothers experience mild and transient mood changes or depression after the birth of a baby, often called the “baby blues.” New mothers may feel irritable, tearful, anxious, or fatigue, and may experience changes in sleep or appetite. These changes are likely caused by hormonal changes in the first few days ... Read more »
J Paulson. (2006) Individual and Combined Effects of Postpartum Depression in Mothers and Fathers on Parenting Behavior. PEDIATRICS, 118(2), 659-668. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2005-2948
Methylnatrexone has hit the big time with a very timely publication of a industry funded double-blinded RCT in the New England Journal of Medicine. If you have been in palliative care for the past few years, methylnatrexone has been one of the drugs with some 'buzz' around it at conferences and in publications. We have touched on MNTX a few times here at Pallimed before.This new study does not add much to previous knowledge about the medicine, but the study is the largest and most co........ Read more »
J Thomas, S Karver, G Cooney, B Chamberlin, C Watt, N Slatkin, N Stambler, A Kremer, & R Israel. (2008) Methylnaltrexone for Opioid-Induced Constipation in Advanced Illness. New England Journal of Medicine, 358(22), 2232-2343. info:PMID/18509120
Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I have a great deal of interest in the allosteric potential of the PDZ domain, a small protein binding domain that can be found in every branch of the tree of life. In previous posts I've discussed the evidence for allosteric communication within the PDZ domain, as well as evidence for long-range energetic interactions. An upcoming paper emerging from a collaboration of several European groups provides yet another example of the PDZ domain........ Read more »
T Krojer, K Pangerl, J Kurt, J Sawa, C Stingl, K Mechtler, R Huber, M Ehrmann, & T Clausen. (2008) Interplay of PDZ and protease domain of DegP ensures efficient elimination of misfolded proteins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0803392105
The realm of science-fiction has just taken a big stride towards the world of science fact, with the creation of a prosthetic arm that can be moved solely by thought. Two monkeys, using only electrodes implanted in their brains, were able to feed themselves with the robotic arm complete with working joints.
Bionic limbs have been fitted to people before but they have always worked by connecting to the nerve endings in the chest. This is the first time that a prosthetic has been placed under dir........ Read more »
Meel Velliste, Sagi Perel, M Spalding, Andrew Whitford, & Andrew Schwartz. (2008) Cortical control of a prosthetic arm for self-feeding. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature06996
The psychology of choice and decision making is an increasingly popular aspect of cognition and personality, as it should be. The decisions we make result in much of our behaviors, so ultimately this process should be studied quite thoroughly, at all possible angles. Here's an interesting study that considers the negative effects of too many choices.We are constantly bombarded with choices. Whether it's surveying a large wardrobe for the outfit of the day, what kind of coffee to order ........ Read more »
Kathleen Vohs, Brandon J Schmeichel, Noelle M Nelson, Roy F Baumeister, Jean M Twenge, & Dianne M Tice. (2008) Making choices impairs subsequent self-control: A limited-resource account of decision making, self-regulation, and active initiative. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94(5), 883-898.
Climatologists have long puzzled over what caused an abrupt drop in global average temperatures in 1945. To explain the anomaly, which, unlike most other similar rapid falls, is not associated with a volcanic eruption, most invoke an increase in airborne industrial activity following the end of the Second World War. The idea is the clouds seeded by the extra aersols reflected more sunlight before it could be trapped in the atmosphere. But that was always a guess, and now it seems there was a sim........ Read more »
David Thompson, John J Kennedy, John M Wallace, & Phil D Jones. (2008) A large discontinuity in the mid-twentieth century in observed global-mean surface temperature. Nature, 453(7195), 646-649. DOI: 10.1038/nature06982
Bisphenol-A (BPA), a plastic compound used in dental sealants and to coat food and drink containers, has been in the news lately, in large part because of concerns over its effects as an endocrine disruptor. Specifically, BPA is thought to cause feminization of male mammals, including humans, through its ability to mimic estrogens and [...]... Read more »
M FURUYA, K ADACHI, S KUWAHARA, K OGAWA, & Y TSUKAMOTO. (2006) Inhibition of male chick phenotypes and spermatogenesis by Bisphenol-A. Life Sciences, 78(15), 1767-1776. DOI/10.1016/j.lfs.2005.08.016
Just a quick one… I just read Leo Peichl’s excellent 2005 review of the diversity of mammalian photoreceptors, and it’s a goldmine of fascinating detail, full of examples and interesting speculation. It summarises his and many other people’s findings over the years, covering classes of photoreceptor, their distribution on the retina, possible evolutionary pathways, and [...]... Read more »
Leo Peichl. (2005) Diversity of mammalian photoreceptor properties: Adaptations to habitat and lifestyle?. The Anatomical Record Part A: Discoveries in Molecular, Cellular, and Evolutionary Biology, 287A(1), 1001-1012. DOI/10.1002/ar.a.20262
I was two thirds of the way to the end of a 45 member circle at a workshop, hating my position in the line-up. The facilitator started an introduction exercise that involved reciting the names of preceding individuals -from the beginning. The room was filled with science types, many commenting on the cognitive process of memory. As the people before me went, I concentrated on the names, faces and associating ideas with them. Dawn had an image of the rising sun behind her dark hair and Robin'........ Read more »
L TALIB, M YASSUDA, B ODINIZ, O FORLENZA, & W GATTAZ. (2008) Cognitive training increases platelet PLA2 activity in healthy elderly subjects. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids. DOI: 10.1016/j.plefa.2008.03.002
Lead What causes some individuals to be more violent than others? Obviously, being male is a risk factor for violence and more broadly for criminal behavior. The behavior of one's parents or other adult caretakers, as one is growing up, has been implicated in some studies as well. Poverty is an indirect factor as it can be associated with more direct risk factors.
A new study in PLoS looks specifically at one of several possible environmental factors linked to arrest patterns in g........ Read more »
John Wright, Kim N Dietrich, M Douglas Ris, Richard W Hornung, Stephanie D Wessel, Bruce P Lanphear, Mona Ho, Mary N Rae, & John Balmes. (2008) Association of Prenatal and Childhood Blood Lead Concentrations with Criminal Arrests in Early Adulthood. PLoS Medicine, 5(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050101
Parents should avoid harsh, combative ways of disciplining their aggressive children. That's according to psychologists whose new research shows that harsh parenting makes children more aggressive in the long run.Michael Sheehan and Malcolm Watson followed 440 children and their mothers for five years. On four occasions during that time, the mothers answered questions about their own style of parenting and their children's behaviour. At the start of the study, the children's avera........ Read more »
Michael Sheehan, & Malcolm W Watson. (2008) Reciprocal influences between maternal discipline techniques and aggression in children and adolescents. Aggressive Behavior, 34(3), 245-255. DOI: 10.1002/ab.20241
Discussion of Allen (2008) essay in Nature about Earth surface processes research directions.... Read more »
In the US, we’re often concerned about invasive and range-extending species entering ecosystems through waterways (zebra mussels, hydrilla), across our southern border (fire ants, nine-banded armadillos), or as escapees from gardens and yards (Chinese tallow, Nandina). However, one owl species-the Barred Owl, Strix varia-has expanded its range over the last 50 years eastward through ... Read more »
Heather Ishak, John P Dumbacher, Nancy L Anderson, John J Keane, Gediminas Valkiūnas, Susan M Haig, Lisa A Tell, Ravinder N Sehgal, & Matthew Baylis. (2008) Blood Parasites in Owls with Conservation Implications for the Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis). PLoS ONE, 3(5). DOI/10.1371/journal.pone.0002304
A very large Azhdarchid shown with a human for scale. Azhdarchids were pterosaurs (flying reptile-like creatures) of the Cretaceous. These included some gigantic critters with up to a 10 meter wing span, but also some little ones (2.5 meters or so). Most reconstructions of these flying animals have them skim-feeding across the surface of bodies of water, grabbing near-surface animals with their beaks.
A new paper in PLoS criticizes this view suggesting that there is very little evidence i........ Read more »
Mark Witton, & Darren Naish. (2008) A Reappraisal of Azhdarchid Pterosaur Functional Morphology and aleoecology. PLoS ONE, 3(5).
One of the more common questions I get is why they haven't found any drugs to treat Alzheimer's disease. (But they have, haven't they? What about cholinesterase inhibitors like Aricept? Ed. Those drugs mask the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, but they do not change the clinical course.) Drug companies are particularly gifted at finding molecules to inhibit all the enzymes in our bodies. We know the enzymes involved in the etiology of Alzheimer's (as I will explain ........ Read more »
L Rajendran, A Schneider, G Schlechtingen, S Weidlich, J Ries, T Braxmeier, P Schwille, J Schulz, C Schroeder, M Simons.... (2008) Efficient Inhibition of the Alzheimer's Disease -Secretase by Membrane Targeting. Science, 320(5875), 520-523. DOI: 10.1126/science.1156609
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