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  • September 30, 2014
  • 05:23 AM
  • 9 views

The Evidence from DNA

by teofilo in Gambler's House

To wrap up my series on tracing the connections between ancient Pueblo sites like Chaco Canyon and the modern Pueblos, I’d like to discuss a type of evidence I haven’t discussed much but that people often ask about: DNA evidence. This is the most direct way to tie one population to another, at least in theory, […]... Read more »

Raghavan, M., DeGiorgio, M., Albrechtsen, A., Moltke, I., Skoglund, P., Korneliussen, T., Gronnow, B., Appelt, M., Gullov, H., Friesen, T.... (2014) The genetic prehistory of the New World Arctic. Science, 345(6200), 1255832-1255832. DOI: 10.1126/science.1255832  

  • September 30, 2014
  • 05:06 AM
  • 11 views

Autoimmune thyroiditis and depressive disorder

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Our study demonstrates a strong association between anti-TPO levels, which are considered to be of diagnostic value for autoimmune thyroiditis... with uni- or bipolar depression.""Beware the bad cat bearing a grudge"So said the study published by Detlef Degner and colleagues [1]. Anti-TPO antibodies by the way, refers to anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies which, as the name suggests, are antibodies against thyroid peroxidase, an important step in the production of thyroid hormones. Said thyroid hormones have some pretty far-reaching effects on our physiology. Anti-TPO antibodies are also diagnostic for autoimmune related conditions affecting the thyroid such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis.The Degner paper looked at a small group of participants diagnosed with depression (n=52) and analysed various thyroid related measures compared with a smaller control group made up of 19 participants diagnosed with schizophrenia. Authors reported a "pathologically increased" frequency of anti-TPO antibodies in those with depression compared with those with schizophrenia (32% vs 5% respectively). With something of a rather large confidence interval (CI) and hence the need for quite a bit more investigation, they also reported "the odds ratio of uni- or bipolar patients with depression for an autoimmune thyroiditis was ten times higher...  when compared with schizophrenia patients".Reiterating again the quite small participant numbers, one needs to be rather careful with this particular study before too many firm conclusions are reached. Added to the fact that there was no asymptomatic control group included for study, I'd like to see quite a bit more done in this area before pinning my colours to any particular mast. That being said, this is certainly not the first time that (a) thyroid function has been correlated with depressive symptoms or depressive disorder [2] and/or (b) elevated levels of anti-TPO antibodies have been linked to depression [3] also crossing different geographies [4]. The paper by Carta and colleagues [5] (open-access) further extends the anti-TPO antibody link to "mood and anxiety disorders". This, complete with some discussion about how a "sub-clinical dysfunction of axis Thyrotropin Releasing Hormone (TRH) – Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) with consequent alteration of circadian rhythms of TSH" might be involved, linking an "aberrancy in the immuno-endocrine system" as a bridge between autoimmunity and psychiatry.Autoimmune conditions have been previously discussed on this blog as potentially being a risk factor for mood disorder (see here). Under this banner, I'm minded to bring in another paper by Carta and colleagues [6] discussing how "Anti-TPO prevalence was significantly higher in celiac patients than in the control group" and further: "A higher frequency of PD [panic disorder] and MDD [major depressive disorder] was found in celiac patients with positive anti-TPO when compared to negative anti-TPO patients". This assumes that there may be some elevated risk of autoimmune issues impacting on the thyroid extending into other autoimmune conditions such as celiac (coeliac) disease as per other work. I could start going on about how this research might impact on other peripheral work e.g gluten exposure and feelings of depression but don't want to get too speculative at this point on any correlation with something like gluten or gut permeability.Suffice to say that outside of just looking at thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels, the Degner results and other research suggest a whole other ballgame of autoimmune involvement affecting thyroid function and potentially impacting on psychiatry...Music to close: I Will Wait by Mumford and Sons.----------[1] Degner D. et al. Association between autoimmune thyroiditis and depressive disorder in psychiatric outpatients. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2014 Sep 6.[2] Demartini B. et al. Depressive Symptoms and Major Depressive Disorder in Patients Affected by Subclinical Hypothyroidism: A Cross-sectional Study. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2014 Aug;202(8):603-7.[3] Pop VJ. et al. Are autoimmune thyroid dysfunction and depression related? J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1998 Sep;83(9):3194-7.[4] Muñoz-Cruzado Poce MJ. et al. Prevalence of thyroid disorders in patients diagnosed with depression. Aten Primaria. 2000 Jul-Aug;26(3):176-9.[5] Carta MG. et al. The link between thyroid autoimmunity (antithyroid peroxidase autoantibodies) with anxiety and mood disorders in the community: a field of interest for public health in the future. BMC Psychiatry. 2004 Aug 18;4:25.[6] Carta MG. et al. Association between panic disorder, major depressive disorder and celiac disease: a possible role of thyroid autoimmunity. J Psychosom Res. 2002 Sep;53(3):789-93.----------Degner D, Haust M, Meller J, Rüther E, & Reulbach U (2014). Association between autoimmune thyroiditis and depressive disorder in psychiatric outpatients. European archives of psychiatry and clinical neuroscience PMID: 25193677... Read more »

Degner D, Haust M, Meller J, Rüther E, & Reulbach U. (2014) Association between autoimmune thyroiditis and depressive disorder in psychiatric outpatients. European archives of psychiatry and clinical neuroscience. PMID: 25193677  

  • September 30, 2014
  • 12:18 AM
  • 13 views

Conscious content

by Janet Kwasniak in Neuro-patch

I have been thinking about some information in a not too recent paper. (see citation below) Panagiotaropoulos and others looked at the location of the content of consciousness in primates. They used binocular flash suppression (BFS) to give two different visual stimulation that compete for a place in the content of consciousness. Here is their […]... Read more »

  • September 29, 2014
  • 08:52 PM
  • 33 views

There's nothing quite like renewables: Modeling indicates natural gas production will not reduce future greenhouse gas emissions as hoped

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Not so fast natural gas! New modeling using 'commitment' accounting to represent social inertia indicates that natural gas may not reduce emissions as hoped.... Read more »

Steven J Davis and Robert H Socolow. (2014) Commitment accounting of CO2 emissions. Environmental Research Letters, 9(084018). info:/

  • September 29, 2014
  • 06:07 PM
  • 36 views

Cat and Dogs: seeking solutions with sniffing canines and science

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Hi Mia and Julie,  First of all, I LOVE your blog! After meeting at SPARCS this past summer (summer for us in North America.. I take it summer is just beginning in Australia!), I’ve followed it closely.  You do amazing things for the promotion of  canine science. Serious love. A bit of background for the readers: I’m currently doing my PhD at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada, under the supervision of Dr. Simon Gadbois. Dr. Gadbois has an amazing amount of knowledge and experience in the science of sniffing (just check out Gadbois & Reeve, 2014 link below!).  He’s trained sniffer dogs for the conservation of ribbon snakes and wood turtles, to track coyotes, and to detect invasive pests in lumber. He and I have taken on a different type of project and are studying the intricacies of biomedical detection dogs, specifically, the very interesting phenomenon of Diabetic Alert Dogs.  Cat Reeve at #SPARCS2014 where she won the 'Best Emerging Researcher' prize I say interesting because there’s anecdotal evidence suggesting that some dogs alert their owners to hypoglycemic events (low blood sugar). In 2008, Deborah Wells published a series of case studies where dogs were reported as signalling (barking, licking, pawing etc. the individual) while their owners were awake, while they were sleeping, and even when their owners were in a different room with the door closed! And this is with no previous training!  Isn’t this fantastic! Severe hypoglycemic events can be extremely dangerous for individuals with diabetes. If not treated, they can lead to seizures, comas, and even death. The fact that dogs may be able to alert an individual before a serious hypoglycemic event means less worry about hypoglycaemia unawareness, and blood sugar dropping over night when individuals are unconscious.Given that dogs are signalling through closed doors, it is assumed that the dogs smell something that alerts them to a change in the physiology of their owner (as opposed to behavioural cues, as is believed to be the case with seizure alert dogs). There are many companies that have taken advantage of this supposed ability, and have trained Diabetic Alert Dogs (DADs) to sell to individuals with diabetes.  In my own searches, I have found no company that publicly provides information as to how they train their dogs. However, according to recent studies (see Gonder-Frederick et al., 2013 and Rooney et al., 2011 below) these trained DADs dogs contribute greatly to the families of individuals’ with diabetes; they signal consistently and, consequently, significantly reduce the number of hypoglycemic events an individual experiences. Now, if it is in fact an olfactory cue that dogs use to identify a drop in blood sugar in their owners, one would expect that if you presented one of these trained DADs with the “scent” of hypoglycemia without the individual present (just like having the owner with diabetes on the other side of a door), the dog would still signal.  Dehlinger and colleagues recently tested three DADs in a lab setting, presenting the dogs with human biological samples that were obtained identically to the way the samples used to train the dogs were obtained. In this study, none of the three dogs could pick out a ... Read more »

  • September 29, 2014
  • 05:12 PM
  • 27 views

New Protein Implicated in Alzheimer’s

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Alzheimer's prevention has made some strides in recent years. We've even identified some new causes, and in some cases we can do both. In fact, researchers have now shown that low levels of the protein progranulin in the brain can increase the formation of amyloid-beta plaques (a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease). These plaques can cause neuroinflammation, and worsen memory deficits in a mouse model of this condition. Conversely, by using a gene therapy approach to elevate progranulin levels, scientists were able to prevent these abnormalities and block cell death in this model.... Read more »

Minami, S., Min, S., Krabbe, G., Wang, C., Zhou, Y., Asgarov, R., Li, Y., Martens, L., Elia, L., Ward, M.... (2014) Progranulin protects against amyloid β deposition and toxicity in Alzheimer's disease mouse models. Nature Medicine. DOI: 10.1038/nm.3672  

  • September 29, 2014
  • 03:04 PM
  • 29 views

Wind Turbines Kill Bats by Impersonating Trees

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Survival tip: don’t hang around machines that have giant spinning blades. It’s a lesson bats have been slow to learn, judging by the large numbers of their corpses found beneath wind turbines. New video footage suggests some bats are attracted to wind farms because they can’t tell turbines apart from trees. If it’s true, this […]The post Wind Turbines Kill Bats by Impersonating Trees appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »

Paul. M. Cryan, P. Marcos Gorresen, Cris D. Hein, Michael R. Schirmacher, Robert H. Diehl, Manuela M. Huso, David T. S. Hayman, Paul D. Fricker, Frank J. Bonaccorso, Douglas H. Johnson.... (2014) Behavior of bats at wind turbines. PNAS. info:/10.1073/pnas.1406672111

  • September 29, 2014
  • 10:32 AM
  • 37 views

Family Attachment and the Brain Cingulate Cortex

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Healthy family attachment provides a key element for social support and successful interpersonal relationships.Several brain regions as well as hormonal factors appear to modulate positive emotional responses to family members.I have previously reviewed several studies involving the prosocial effects of the hormone oxytocin and the related hormone vasopressin.Nicolas Rusch from the Department of Psychiatry at Ulm University in Germany along with colleagues in Brazil and London recently published a fMRI study of brain regions and family attachment.In this study, 34 healthy adults participated in a brain imaging study involving three types of social scenario fMRI tasks:Affiliative scenarios linked to family members: "You taught your son to ride the bike and he came to thank you with a hug"Non-affiliative scenarios not linked to family members: "You work for a company that made great profits and received a good salary raise"Neutral emotional social scenarios: "You participated in a business meeting and then went back to your office"Subjects rated their perceived family attachment using a four item questionnaire assessing family group affiliation.The key finding from the study involved a brain region known as the subgenual cingulate cortex."Perceiving one's family as a distinct and cohesive group was associated with increased subgenual cortex response to kinship scenarios."The authors noted their study is consistent with other research that has linked the subgenual cingulate cortex activity with:Altruistic decisions such as making a charitable donation Modulation of the prosocial hormones oxytocin and vasopressinViewing pictures of romantic partners or pictures of subjects own infantsThe authors also note the subgenual cortex has been linked to major depression suggesting a link between mood disorders and disturbance of normal prosocial attachment to family members. An additional clinical implication would be the potential disruption of social attachment in patients suffering a stroke or other brain lesion in the subgenual cortex region.The figure in this post is an iPad screen of the cingulate cortex from app 3D Brain. The subgenual cortex is represented in this figure by the lower left portion of the purple-shaded cingulate cortex.Readers with more interest in this research can access the free full-text manuscript by clicking on the PMID link in the citation below.Follow the author on Twitter at WRY999Rüsch N, Bado P, Zahn R, Bramati IE, de Oliveira-Souza R, & Moll J (2014). You and your kin: Neural signatures of family-based group perception in the subgenual cortex. Social neuroscience, 9 (4), 326-31 PMID: 24802255... Read more »

  • September 29, 2014
  • 10:02 AM
  • 43 views

Eye contact makes us more aware of our own bodies

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

If you've ever felt acutely self conscious upon making eye contact with another person, a new study may help you understand why. Matias Baltazar and his colleagues have found that making eye contact activates people's awareness of their own bodies. That feeling of self consciousness induced by mutual gaze might be based in part on the fact that your brain is suddenly more attuned to your body.The researchers presented 32 participants with a series of positive and negative images on a computer screen, and after each they asked them to rate the intensity of their emotional reaction. Crucially, each image was preceded either by a fixation cross or a photograph of a man or woman's face. These faces were either looking right at the participants, as if making eye contact, or they had their gaze averted. The participants' were also wired up to a skin conductance machine that measured the sweatiness of their fingers. This provided an objective measure of the participants' emotional reactions to the images, to be compared against their subjective assessments of their reactions.The participants' accuracy at judging their own physiological reactions was more accurate for those images that followed a photograph that appeared to be making eye contact. "Our results support the view that human adults' bodily awareness becomes more acute when they are subjected to another's gaze," the researchers said.A problem with this methodology is that greater bodily arousal is known to enhance performance in psychological tests, so perhaps eye contact was simply exerting its effects this way. But the researchers checked, and the boost to self awareness of eye contact wasn't merely a side-effect of increased arousal - the participants' physiological reactivity (an indicator of arousal) was no greater after eye contact photos than after gaze averted photos. The performance-enhancing effect of eye contact was also specific to bodily awareness. The researchers checked this by confronting participants with occasional memory tests through the experiment, for words that had appeared on-screen. Participant performance was no better after looking at faces that made eye contact, compared with the averted gaze faces.Baltazar and his team said the fact that eye contact enhances our awareness of our own bodies could have therapeutic implications. For example, they said it could "stimulate interoceptive awareness in people whose condition is associated with interoceptive hyposensitivity, [such as] anorexia nervosa and major depression disorder." _________________________________ Baltazar M, Hazem N, Vilarem E, Beaucousin V, Picq JL, & Conty L (2014). Eye contact elicits bodily self-awareness in human adults. Cognition, 133 (1), 120-7 PMID: 25014360 Post written by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.

... Read more »

Baltazar M, Hazem N, Vilarem E, Beaucousin V, Picq JL, & Conty L. (2014) Eye contact elicits bodily self-awareness in human adults. Cognition, 133(1), 120-7. PMID: 25014360  

  • September 29, 2014
  • 04:35 AM
  • 45 views

Term vs. preterm birth and the presentation of autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Katherine Bowers and colleagues [1] continues the interest in the concept of 'the autisms' with their observations on the presentation of autism (and its comorbidities) when looking at those "born preterm versus those born at term".We'd better get back, 'cause it'll be dark soon, and they mostly come at night... mostlyBased on an analysis of quite a healthy participant number heading up to 900 "males and females with autism spectrum disorder", authors reported on several phenotypic differences between the 13% born preterm compared to the majority born following a full-term pregnancy. These differences, also influenced by gender, were in core areas such as language skills and the presence of comorbidities such as sleep apnea and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The authors conclude that their results "may have implications for understanding the underpinnings of a subset of individuals with autism spectrum disorder and contribute to the development of focused treatments for autism spectrum disorder among children born preterm".Whilst one should always be a little cautious about making too much of any specific link with something like preterm birth (see here to illustrate the many and varied outcomes following this variable) I was interested in the Bowers' results. I think back to similar research into autism subgroups from Unwin and colleagues [2] (talked about in a previous post) describing how low birth weight was "associated with greater sleep disturbances".Although many variables can affect foetal growth measures, preterm birth can adversely impact on birth weight and with that, one might see a possible common feature appearing in relation to issues at birth. That being said, the strength of any association between preterm birth and something like the comorbid presence of ADHD in cases of autism is likely to be a complex issue as per the findings from Harris and colleagues [3] who concluded that in the general population: "former late preterm infants have similar rates of LD [learning disabilities] and ADHD as term infants".Bowers et al also took into account a role for gender in their results, reporting that there may be more to see here. Although quite an obvious variable to look at when it comes to autism (see here), there is perhaps not as much appreciation of how sex might link into autism phenotypes as one might imagine. Recently, Reinhardt and colleagues [4] did venture into this area, concluding that whilst they did not see any "significant effects of sex or a diagnostic group by sex interaction" when it came to autism presentation, further research is indicated in this area. I might add that such investigations might also wish to look further at comorbidity too, or autism plus [5] if you like.Music to close and Bulletproof by La Roux.----------[1] Bowers K. et al. Phenotypic differences in individuals with autism spectrum disorder born preterm and at term gestation. Autism. 2014 Sep 5. pii: 1362361314547366.[2] Unwin LM. et al. A "bottom-up" approach to aetiological research in autism spectrum disorders. Front Hum Neurosci. 2013 Sep 19;7:606.[3] Harris MN. et al. ADHD and learning disabilities in former late preterm infants: a population-based birth cohort. Pediatrics. 2013 Sep;132(3):e630-6.[4] Reinhardt VP. et al. Examination of Sex Differences in a Large Sample of Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Typical Development. J Autism Dev Disord. 2014 Sep 5.[5] Gillberg C. & Fernell E. Autism Plus Versus Autism Pure. J Autism Dev Disord. 2014 Jun 24.----------Bowers K, Wink LK, Pottenger A, McDougle CJ, & Erickson C (2014). Phenotypic differences in individuals with autism spectrum disorder born preterm and at term gestation. Autism : the international journal of research and practice PMID: 25192860... Read more »

  • September 29, 2014
  • 12:05 AM
  • 37 views

Parents, Where are You Getting Your Concussion Information?

by Jane McDevitt in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

Parents of young athletes (5 to 15 year olds) lack of knowledge regarding concussion definition, signs and symptoms, and mechanisms. We need to implement more concussion education programs for parents of young athletes.... Read more »

  • September 28, 2014
  • 03:37 PM
  • 60 views

The Genetic Evolutionary Arms Race

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Genes are tricky little buggers, the stuff that makes us up has fought the test of time to make it to where we are today. It is thought that our genes changed in an attempt to outpace other life, albeit random changes.That might only be half right however, new findings suggest that there is an evolutionary arms race going on within the genome against, of all things, itself. This inherent competition of primates drove the evolution of complex regulatory networks that orchestrate the activity of genes in every cell of our bodies... Read more »

Jacobs, Greenberg, Nguyen, Haeussler, Ewing, Katzman, Paten, Salama . (2014) An evolutionary arms race betweenKRAB zinc-finger genes ZNF91/93 and SVA/L1 retrotransposons. Nature. info:/10.1038/nature13760

  • September 28, 2014
  • 12:00 PM
  • 62 views

Numbers on a scale: How bad did you say your pain was?

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

Have you ever been asked to give your pain rating on a scale of 0 – 10 (where 0 = no pain at all and 10 = most extreme pain you can imagine)? Have you ever tried to work out whether today’s pain is worse than yesterdays? What does a pain rating tell us?... Read more »

  • September 28, 2014
  • 04:54 AM
  • 66 views

Andinobates Geminisae: New Fingernail Sized Poison Dart Frog from Panama

by beredim in Strange Animals

This is the hololotype specimen that the researchers used to describe the newly discovered Andinobates geminisaeCredit: Cesar Jaramillo, STRIA team of scientists from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, the Universidad Autónoma de Chiriquí in Panama, and the Universidad de los Andes in Colombia recently announced the discovery of a new bright orange poison dart frog. The new species is so small that it can fit on a fingernail and was found in a rain forest near the Caribbean coast, Donoso, Panama. The species was scientifically described as Andinobates geminisae after Geminis Vargas, "the beloved wife of Marcos Ponce [co-author], for her unconditional support of his studies of Panamanian herpetology."The holotype [a single type specimen upon which the description and name of a new species is based] was collected in February 21, 2011, in the headwaters of the Rio Caño, in the district of Donoso, Colón Province, Panama, by Samuel Valdés, who was then the MWH Global Inc. environment office director, and his field assistant, Carlos de la Cruz. Additional specimens were collected between the Rio Coclé del Norte and the Rio Belen by biologists Marcos Ponce and Abel Batista, then a student at the Universidad Autónoma de Chiriquí."Abel Batista and Marcos Ponce were the first to note the presence of this species. They've known it was there for several years. However, they were not sure if it was only a variety of another poison dart frog species, Oophaga pumilio, which exhibits tremendous color variation. Based on morphological characteristics of the adult and the tadpole, I thought it might be a new species of Andinobates." said Cesar Jaramillo, Smithsonian herpetologist.Andrew Crawford, professor at Universidad de Los Andes and former STRI postdoctoral fellow, sequenced the DNA of the newly found frog and confirmed that it indeed belonged to a new Andinobates species.Because Andinobates geminisae appears to occur in a limited area, the researchers have expressed fears that habitat loss and collection for the pet trade may pose a major threat to its survival and have recommended the formulation of special conservation plans. "Andinobates geminisae occurs in Caribbean versant rainforest on the westernmost edge of the known distribution of A. minutus, and represents the fourth species within this genus in Panama. This is vulnerable to habitat loss and excessive harvesting and requires immediate conservation plans to preserve this species with a restricted geographic range." wrote the authors."It is important we save some of this frog’s tiny habitat to be able to study this unusual species more." said co-author Crawford to National Geographic.Brief DescriptionAdults have an electric-orange color and a length of about 12.5 mm (~0.5 in). The new species looks nothing like its closest genetic relatives found in the region, by having a uniformly orange smooth skin and a distinctive male advertisement call. Furthermore, its much smaller than the area's other poison dart frogs.Instead, Andinobates geminisae superficially looks much more like the strawberry poison dart frog(Oophaga pumilio)."Perhaps A. geminisae had been observed previously but was confused with Oophaga." said Crawford to National Geographic. The two frogs may also share the same orange warning signal to predators, an evolutionary trait known as Müllerian mimicry. Müllerian mimicry is a natural phenomenon in which two or more poisonous species, that may or may not be closely related and share one or more common predators, have come to mimic each other's warning signals. But Crawford says this is just a theory.All in all, the species is a mystery and not much is known about it, including its behavioral and reproductive patterns. The discovery of an adult with a tadpole stuck to its back gives some clues, suggesting that it cares for its young. In other poison dart frogs of the same genus, the tadpoles hatch, adults piggyback them one by one to small pools of water, where they develop into froglets. The authors suspect that A. geminisae may also carry its youngs to water trapped in tree hollows or leaves.TaxonomyKingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ChordataClass: AmphibiaOrder: AnuraFamily: DendrobatidaeSubfamily: DendrobatinaeGenus: AndinobatesSpecies: Andinobates geminisaeYou may also likePaedophryne amauensis: Meet the world's smallest frog, barely 7 mm long!Indian Purple Frog: A bizarre frog with a plump, round body, a pointed, pig-like snout and a very strange call.Turtle Frog: An odd looking frog with a turtle-shaped body.Notes- The specimens were deposited in the Museo de Vertebrados at the University of Panama, the Museo Herpetólogico de Chiriquí at the Universidad Autónoma de Chiriquí and in the Círculo Herpetólogico de Panamá. - Genetic information about the species is available in the Barcode of Life Data System and in GenBank- Andinobates geminisae is now included in the captive breeding program of the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation project, a consortium of six zoos and research institutions dedicated to saving amphibians from the chytrid fungal disease, which is decimating amphibians worldwide, and habitat loss.References- BATISTA, A., JARAMILLO, C., PONCE, M., & CRAWFORD, A. (2014). A new species of Andinobates (Amphibia: Anura: Dendrobatidae) from west central Panama Zootaxa, 3866 (3) DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3866.3.2- http://www.stri.si.edu/- Owen, James. "Mysterious New Poison Dart Frog Found; Is Size of Fingernail." National Geographic. N.p., Sept.-Oct. 2014. Web.... Read more »

  • September 27, 2014
  • 08:03 PM
  • 68 views

How to Look for Pine Marten

by Denise O'Meara in Denise O'Meara

The pine marten (Martes martes) is one of Ireland’s most beautiful but elusive mammals. It is notoriously difficult to see as it tends to be mostly nocturnal, and is a naturally shy animal. It is about the size of a cat, and in Irish it is actually called the tree cat (cat crainn). The species historically suffered massive population declines due to forest removal in the 16th Century and pine marten were also trapped and killed for their fur, which was worn by the nobility across Europe. In the 20th Century, the use of strychnine as a poison to kill pests resulted in the widespread decline of the pine marten due to direct and indirect poisoning, but since its ban in 1991, and the introduction of legislative protection in the 1970’s, the pine marten has started to recover across Ireland, with populations now present throughout much of the country. Today, the pine marten is also protected by EU law and is listed as Annex V species, indicating its need for strict environmental protection.... Read more »

  • September 27, 2014
  • 02:18 PM
  • 76 views

Sometimes choices are not thought out

by Janet Kwasniak in Neuro-patch

In some competitive situations animals can produce random behavior rather than behavior based on prior experience. The anterior cingulate cortex is where strategies based on models of reality and history are generated; switching to random behavior is done by inputs to this part of the brain from the locus coeruleus. This was reported in a […]... Read more »

  • September 27, 2014
  • 01:29 PM
  • 79 views

Are Black Holes just in Our Imagination?!

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Black holes, physicists have been fighting over them forever, heck there is even a book entitled the black hole war! (which I do recommend for anyone interested) It’s no real surprise since they are the ultimate unknown – the blackest and most dense objects in the universe that do not even let light escape. And as if they weren't bizarre enough to begin with, now add this to the mix: they don’t exist.... Read more »

Laura Mersini-Houghton, Harald P. Pfeiffer. (2014) Back-reaction of the Hawking radiation flux on a gravitationally collapsing star II: Fireworks instead of firewalls . Physics Letters B. info:/arXiv:1409.1837

  • September 27, 2014
  • 08:37 AM
  • 98 views

The Memory Fades, The Emotion Remains

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

People with Alzheimer’s disease can experience severe memory impairments.However, according to a new study, the emotions associated with events can persist long after the events themselves have been forgotten: Feelings Without Memory in Alzheimer Disease In their paper, the researchers, University of Iowa neurologists Edmarie Guzman-Velez and colleagues, showed volunteers a series of emotional video […]The post The Memory Fades, The Emotion Remains appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Guzmán-Vélez E, Feinstein JS, & Tranel D. (2014) Feelings without memory in Alzheimer disease. Cognitive and behavioral neurology : official journal of the Society for Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology, 27(3), 117-29. PMID: 25237742  

  • September 27, 2014
  • 03:50 AM
  • 77 views

Yes, people with autism do have headaches

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I don't mean to be haughty but a sentence included in the paper by Victorio [1] led to the title of today's very quick post. Based on a chart review of patients diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) attending a neurology clinic, the author concluded that "ASD patients, despite being known to have indifference to pain, can experience headaches".Pain is something which has cropped up quite a bit in the autism research arena and has appeared more than once on this blog (see here and see here). The suggestion of an 'indifference' to pain being potentially over-represented in relation to autism I think stretches back to some older work which I have to say, has been pretty widely disputed in more recent years [2].The focus on migraine as "the most frequent headache type" reported by Victorio might also be quite interesting in light of other research linking migraine headaches to some of the sensory issues reported in cases of autism [3]. Moving migraine away from just the head was also a suggestion put forward by another author [4] which opens up a whole new world of possibilities...----------[1] Victorio M. Headaches in patients with autism spectrum disorder. The Journal of Headache and Pain 2014, 15(Suppl 1):B37.[2] Nader R. et al. Expression of pain in children with autism. Clin J Pain. 2004 Mar-Apr;20(2):88-97.[3] Sullivan JC. et al. The presence of migraines and its association with sensory hyperreactivity and anxiety symptomatology in children with autism spectrum disorder. Autism. 2013 Sep 26;18(6):743-747.[4] Casanova MF. The minicolumnopathy of autism: A link between migraine and gastrointestinal symptoms. Med Hypotheses. 2008;70(1):73-80.----------Victorio, M. (2014). EHMTI-0290. Headaches in patients with autism spectrum disorder The Journal of Headache and Pain, 15 (Suppl 1) DOI: 10.1186/1129-2377-15-S1-B37... Read more »

  • September 26, 2014
  • 02:15 PM
  • 97 views

“GMO” Foods (Once Again) Proven Safe

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

GMO, I shudder every time I hear someone talk about the “dangers”. It’s one of the new buzzwords that doesn’t actually mean anything, but still manages to scare people. Well a new scientific review reports that the performance and health of food-producing animals consuming genetically engineered feed, first introduced 18 years ago, has been comparable to that of animals consuming non-GE feed. Not that this will stop people from spreading fear, but it’s a start.... Read more »

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