55 posts · 35,181 views
Disease research is something that everyone pays for (taxes), but that not everyone has access to or can easily understand. Try Nerdy wants to change all that, and encourage people to embrace their inner nerds.
Before I go anywhere with this post, is the term “chubby chaser” offensive? If it is, you have my apologies, but I’m from Generation Y, and I think we view “chubby chaser” as something of a technical term for a person of any gender or sexual leaning who romantically prefers individuals with some extra meat on his or her bones. Y’know: thick, bootylicious, more to love, junk in the trunk…don’t act like you’re not familiar with these concepts.
Now that we’re all on the same page, what if I told you that recent research suggests that some chubby chasers (i.e. EVERY RAPPER EVER) might just be stressed out? That is, what if psychological stress leads one to chase the chubby? Let’s explore this hypothesis further in today’s post.... Read more »
Swami V, & Tovée MJ. (2012) The Impact of Psychological Stress on Men's Judgements of Female Body Size. PloS one, 7(8). PMID: 22905153
I want to talk about a shirt. Specifically, I want to talk about this shirt:
It happens to be one of many Awesome ThinkGeek Shirts. If you are reading this post, then A) you’ve probably already heard of ThinkGeek, and B) there’s a good chance you know what the molecule on that shirt is.
If neither A) nor B) applies to you, though – that’s okay! Because I plan to discuss 1) what the molecule represents, 2) which school I think the shirt is poking fun at, and why it’s of personal interest to me, and 3) what the molecule has to do with schooling, anyway.
This will be fun…... Read more »
Koehrer P, Creuzot-Garcher C, & Bron AM. (2011) Methanol poisoning: two case studies of blindness in Indonesia. International ophthalmology, 31(6), 517-24. PMID: 22200859
Rajamani A. (2012) Two cases of toxic methanol ingestion, one leading to brain death: case reports and a brief review. Critical care and resuscitation : journal of the Australasian Academy of Critical Care Medicine, 14(1), 56-9. PMID: 22404063
Cascallana JL, Gordo V, & Montes R. (2012) Severe necrosis of oesophageal and gastric mucosa in fatal methanol poisoning. Forensic science international, 220(1-3). PMID: 22398189
Barry AE, & Goodson P. (2012) Contextual Factors Influencing U.S. College Students' Decisions to Drink Responsibly. Substance use , 47(10), 1172-84. PMID: 22662910
In my last post, I didn’t talk about Ebola. This is primarily because the Ebola virus plushy toy is nowhere near as cute as, say, Chlamydia or Herpes.
I mean, seriously…the Ebola virus just looks like an earthworm of some sort. But despite its unfortunate lack of cute, Ebola is a big deal. A really big deal. In this post, I’ll tell you what the big deal is, and why you just might have to start worrying about it.... Read more »
Kinsman J. (2012) "A time of fear": local, national, and international responses to a large Ebola outbreak in Uganda. Globalization and health, 8(1), 15. PMID: 22695277
So, if you’re STD savvy, you might have realized that all of the plush toys above are named after venereal diseases. These adorable little guys are the Venereals. I want to reiterate that these are cuddly toys that look like the actual infectious agents that give you these diseases. A little weird, maybe? Yes.
But I own them all. Can you imagine a better conversation starter? (“Oh that’s cute, what is that little star-shaped toy?” …”Herpes.” :) ). If you’ve ever wanted nerdy street cred, now is your chance. Just click the link for Venereals and these nasty little cuties can be all yours. Now let me explain myself….... Read more »
Janier M, Libar E, Bonnet A, Meunier P, Tabet M, Mathourais M, Paterour C, & Porcher R. (2012) Treatment of late syphilis with 2.4 million units benzathine penicillin G (BPG): tolerance of single versus divided doses. Sexually transmitted diseases, 39(5), 359-60. PMID: 22504599
De Clercq E. (2012) Human viral diseases: what is next for antiviral drug discovery?. Current opinion in virology. PMID: 22846888
On Wednesdays, I wake up at 4:00 AM. It doesn’t matter why, but suffice it to say that I really want a nap around, say, 3:00 in the afternoon. As I am writing this, it is 5:00 PM on a Wednesday and I haven’t had a nap. And yet I am taking the time to write a blog post. So I’m really sleepy.
But I digress. You know how, sometimes, right before you fall sleep, you’ll have those weird hallucination-type things, and it’s somewhere in between waking and sleeping and feels surprisingly real? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then this post may not make any sense to you.
For the rest of you, check out this research where people actually studied those hallucinatory moments right before sleep. By the way, being a participant in this study seems like it was equal parts awesome and annoying.... Read more »
Kusse C, Shaffii-LE Bourdiec A, Schrouff J, Matarazzo L, & Maquet P. (2012) Experience-dependent induction of hypnagogic images during daytime naps: a combined behavioural and EEG study. Journal of sleep research, 21(1), 10-20. PMID: 21848802
People frequently complain about that “old person smell.” Mothers often delight in that unique “baby smell.” And sometimes young 20-something guys smell kind of gross (just kidding! Sort of).
But does any of that have a basis in science?
Yes, yes it does. This post will describe the smelly, somewhat weird, yet informative study that proves that your odor might just give away your age (sorry, ladies).... Read more »
Mitro, S., Gordon, A., Olsson, M., & Lundström, J. (2012) The Smell of Age: Perception and Discrimination of Body Odors of Different Ages. PLoS ONE, 7(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038110
I have a soft spot for apes. Probably in no small part because I am one. Like, I could watch the movie Dunston Checks In on repeat all day. The film features the most lovable Pongo (orangutan) managing the cleverest of feats. Seeing this movie should be on everyone’s bucket list. But, I digress.
So, we already know that non-human apes can act in movies. This in itself warrants awe and ponderous reflection. However, if you’re like me, you’ve assumed all your life that apes are intrinsically innocent creatures, who go around grinning, nibbling on bananas, and carrying baby versions of themselves on their backs.
But, even if you’re not like me, you may still be surprised at what the latest science has shown about chimpanzees’ capacity to plan out devious acts ahead of time…. I.e., they’re not just mischievous, they plan ahead and lie in wait to spring their mischief. So maybe Rise of the Planet of the Apes isn’t the most far-fetched movie ever made?... Read more »
Osvath, M., & Karvonen, E. (2012) Spontaneous Innovation for Future Deception in a Male Chimpanzee. PLoS ONE, 7(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036782
Understatement of the century: date rape is not cool. Neither committing it, nor being a victim of it, should ever ever happen. As such, I want to promote awareness of something that could potentially be used as a date rape drug, but that’s also found in practically everyone’s medicine cabinet.
I’ve been conflicted for a long time about blogging about this, because I don’t want to enable those who seek to do bad things, but in the end I’ve decided that knowledge is power. And if you know about a particular danger, you can probably do more to protect yourself from it.
Also, I’m going to talk about these straws that scientists are working on, that might just prevent date rapes. Ahhh, now there’s a refreshing idea!... Read more »
Spiller HA, Rogers J, & Sawyer TS. (2007) Drug facilitated sexual assault using an over-the-counter ocular solution containing tetrahydrozoline (Visine). Legal medicine (Tokyo, Japan), 9(4), 192-5. PMID: 17320456
I don’t do shrooms. I don’t advocate for anyone to do shrooms. I know people who have done shrooms, but that’s about it.
I’m talking about mushrooms (aka “magic mushrooms”) containing psychoactive compounds, that people often ingest for recreational purposes. And so, y’know, over the years as people have regaled me with their shroom-tripping experiences, it’s always something along the lines of “I thought all of the birds were going to attack me!” or “I saw mud people growing out of my living room carpet!”
A) This doesn’t sound fun to me in any way, and B) based on this, I’d assumed that shrooms make people’s brains way too overactive, for them to be experiencing things above and beyond reality.
But, new research says I was wrong about shrooms. Let’s discuss.... Read more »
Carhart-Harris RL, Erritzoe D, Williams T, Stone JM, Reed LJ, Colasanti A, Tyacke RJ, Leech R, Malizia AL, Murphy K.... (2012) Neural correlates of the psychedelic state as determined by fMRI studies with psilocybin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(6), 2138-43. PMID: 22308440
You know what really grinds my gears? The fact that there are people who would tamper with my site, and give it a virus or something. Everything’s fine now, but what gives? Did they get really frustrated when they Googled “great tits” and found a link to my post about the correlations between brain size and sociability? And then instead of just, y’know, closing the tab with my site, they wasted time in their lives (and, ultimately, in mine) to do something purely malicious? “Arg, down with science, RAWR!!!” *Eye roll*
So, for today, I’m going to turn the negative energyaround, and use it as motivation to give you a post all about some different types of biological viruses out there. Because they’re actually incredibly interesting and sci-fi-ish, in that they can take over your cells and use them for their own selfish purposes, even though they’re not technically “alive.” Plus, there’s all sorts of cool new science in the works to outsmart viruses and shut down their operations.
Oh, and one more thing — haters of all kinds (hateful commenters, hateful hackers, and whoever else), well, they may be able to bring down my spirits temporarily, or even bring down my site, but at the end of the day it means I’m awesome enough that somebody got worked up about it. :) ... Read more »
Deu E, Verdoes M, & Bogyo M. (2012) New approaches for dissecting protease functions to improve probe development and drug discovery. Nature structural , 19(1), 9-16. PMID: 22218294
Costantino CM, Gupta A, Yewdall AW, Dale BM, Devi LA, & Chen BK. (2012) Cannabinoid Receptor 2-Mediated Attenuation of CXCR4-Tropic HIV Infection in Primary CD4 T Cells. PloS one, 7(3). PMID: 22448282
Just because something is “for your entertainment,” it doesn’t necessarily mean that this “something” is being ridiculed or mocked.
However, when the subject matter pertains to the devastating mental disorder schizophrenia, it’s important that the makers of the entertainment are conscientious about how the disease is portrayed. There’s already a lot of stigma about schizophrenia in society, including the misguided notion that schizophrenics are running around with uncontrollable, violent alter egos.
Movies like Me, Myself & Irene (promotional photo shown above) don’t do the schizophrenic community any favors. Other movies, like The Soloist, appear to have given much more thought to the complexities of this disease.
In this post, I’ll try to give a simple explanation of what schizophrenia is and how it affects people’s lives, then I’ll do a rundown of movies and books that tried to depict schizophrenia and either failed miserably or made a respectable effort.... Read more »
Large M, Sharma S, Compton MT, Slade T, & Nielssen O. (2011) Cannabis use and earlier onset of psychosis: a systematic meta-analysis. Archives of general psychiatry, 68(6), 555-61. PMID: 21300939
For shame, dear reader — get your mind out of the gutter! Great Tits are adorable songbirds found commonly throughout Europe and Asia. And Christina Ricci (featured at left) is an actress whom I probably falsely assume has a relatively big brain behind her notoriously expansive forehead.
Rest assured, in this post I’ll be explaining how these concepts are related, and what the latest research has to say about why our brains are so much bigger than they need to be.... Read more »
ten Brink M, & Ghazanfar AA. (2012) Social neuroscience: more friends, more problems…more gray matter?. Current biology : CB, 22(3). PMID: 22321306
Kanai R, Bahrami B, Roylance R, & Rees G. (2012) Online social network size is reflected in human brain structure. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 279(1732), 1327-34. PMID: 22012980
You know how, sometimes, you don’t quite know the precise lyrics of a song, but you sing along with your best approximation of the words? Of course you do. Take, for example, the Christmas classic, “We Wish You A Merry Christmas“: it’s a song often sung by people caroling, and the lyrics imply that the carolers have a really intense hankering for some “figgy pudding.” I don’t know anyone who’s ever prepared or eaten figgy pudding, and I’m assuming kids today don’t even know what figs are. So I’m not surprised that a hilarious misconception of these lyrics is “Now bring us some friggin‘ pudding!” (a much more 20th-century adaptation).
In any case, I recently found myself in a position of song lyric uncertainty that ended up being extremely enlightening. Last year, the song “Like A G6” by the group Far East Movement was a huge hit in clubs. Since my classmates and I love to dance (hey, grad school can be fun!), I ended up singing along with this song, like, all the time…especially since one could interpret a “G6″ to be a private jet or a sixth-year grad student with strong hopes of finishing her Ph.D. Anyway, when it came time for me to exuberantly proclaim that I was “Sippin’ sizzurp in my ride!” I would just sing along and give a self-deprecating laugh because, obviously, “sizzurp” couldn’t be a real word, but we were all just yelling and having fun, so what was a missed lyric here or there?
But (to make a long story short), I found out that sizzurp is real, kids. I wasn’t mistaken about those lyrics. Sizzurp is an actual concoction that people drink as a recreational drug to have a good time… but it’s surprisingly dangerous, so I’m going to do a quick breakdown of sizzurp aka “purple drank” in this post.
As for what it means when this song talks about “gettin’ slizzard,” that’s anybody’s best guess, so leave a comment if you think you know.... Read more »
Karamatic R, Croese J, & Roche E. (2011) Serious morbidity associated with misuse of over-the-counter codeine-ibuprofen analgesics. The Medical journal of Australia, 195(9), 516. PMID: 22060082
Page CB, Duffull SB, Whyte IM, & Isbister GK. (2009) Promethazine overdose: clinical effects, predicting delirium and the effect of charcoal. QJM : monthly journal of the Association of Physicians, 102(2), 123-31. PMID: 19042969
Peters R Jr, Yacoubian GS Jr, Rhodes W, Forsythe KJ, Bowers KS, Eulian VM, Mangum CA, O'Neal JD, Martin Q, & Essien EJ. (2007) Beliefs and social norms about codeine and promethazine hydrochloride cough syrup (CPHCS) use and addiction among multi-ethnic college students. Journal of psychoactive drugs, 39(3), 277-82. PMID: 18159781
Okay, okay, first things first — no one reading this should run out and grab the Smirnoff in the name of hematologic health. (If you’re of legal drinking age and want to do shots responsibly for some other reason, that’s your business.)
But it is worth noting the recent discovery that fruit flies like to get their buzz on (pun alert) to protect themselves against parasites trying to take up residence in their blood. While there’s quite a bit of difference between us and fruit flies, it’s definitely worth considering whether we or other organisms could derive similar benefits from alcohol consumption in the fight against certain blood-borne diseases.
Besides, if you get a little crazy on Thirsty Thursday and you have to explain your splitting headache to your boss on Friday, this post might give you a new excuse to try.... Read more »
Milan NF, Kacsoh BZ, & Schlenke TA. (2012) Alcohol Consumption as Self-Medication against Blood-Borne Parasites in the Fruit Fly. Current biology : CB, 22(6), 488-93. PMID: 22342747
Being a woman is extremely unfortunate, but thankfully there are products on the market that can help female-kind to outsmart and fight back against their terrible, terrible bodies.
… Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like I’m seeing more and more ads that are promoting this idea that our bodies are some foreign or outdated entities that can and should be forced into submission by product A or product B. I’ll agree that we’re more than just our bodies, but I won’t agree that our bodies are sneaking around with hidden agendas that need to be found out and dismantled.
I feel like there’s a disturbing trend in society right now to “medicalize” things that are probably normal, but that might be inconvenient (e.g. there has to be at least one kid out there with an ADHD diagnosis who just needs to cut back on Froot Loops). And I’m probably biased, but it seems like many of the silliest messages from advertisers are specifically targeting women’s insecurities.
Because it’s ridiculous to think that you could wear white, flirt with a boy, or generally have fun while you’re on your period.... Read more »
Cole LA. (2009) New discoveries on the biology and detection of human chorionic gonadotropin. Reproductive biology and endocrinology : RB, 8. PMID: 19171054
As I sit here trying to blow away the thick layer of dust that has accumulated on Try Nerdy‘s URL, I can’t help but think that you, dear reader, have every right to hate me. Or at least to never read my blog again.
If you leave your job for three months without explanation, you’ll probably get fired. If you leave school for three months without a really detailed doctor’s note, you’ll probably get kicked out. If you leave your children unattended for three months, even with a good excuse, they’ll probably hate you, and CPS might take them away.
So, if you used to read my blog, but no longer feel that you can trust me as a webmaster, that’s well within your rights. I could go on and on about my hiatus with all the lab meetings and the presentations and the hours spent slaving away over tubes of clear liquids — but that’s not actually so interesting. You know what is?
What’s interesting is that I’m alive and relatively healthy despite my abominable (to some) diet and lack of exercise choices. Please read on for a heartbreakingly honest confession of my wicked health ways, with photographic examples of the devastation I’ve wreaked on myself, and sometimes on loved ones.... Read more »
Lambrechts DA, Wielders LH, Aldenkamp AP, Kessels FG, de Kinderen RJ, & Majoie MJ. (2012) The ketogenic diet as a treatment option in adults with chronic refractory epilepsy: Efficacy and tolerability in clinical practice. Epilepsy . PMID: 22366051
Seyfried TN, Marsh J, Shelton LM, Huysentruyt LC, & Mukherjee P. (2011) Is the restricted ketogenic diet a viable alternative to the standard of care for managing malignant brain cancer?. Epilepsy research. PMID: 21885251
Veggiotti P, Teutonico F, Alfei E, Nardocci N, Zorzi G, Tagliabue A, De Giorgis V, & Balottin U. (2010) Glucose transporter type 1 deficiency: ketogenic diet in three patients with atypical phenotype. Brain , 32(5), 404-8. PMID: 19515520
Thaler JP, Yi CX, Schur EA, Guyenet SJ, Hwang BH, Dietrich MO, Zhao X, Sarruf DA, Izgur V, Maravilla KR.... (2012) Obesity is associated with hypothalamic injury in rodents and humans. The Journal of clinical investigation, 122(1), 153-62. PMID: 22201683
I’ve grown up with video games my entire life, but my taste in games has remained fairly constant: I want to run around and collect coins or some such thing, without having to feel stressed. However, for many others who started out playing Super Mario, their preferences have evolved to include games that are much more realistic and, oftentimes, much more violent.
I’ll be honest, I gave a violent video game a try once…but when I found myself sobbing ten minutes into a Resident Evil game for Xbox 360 because a swarm of undead were viciously attacking me from all sides, I decided that whole style of game wasn’t for me. But with video games being an industry that pulls in over $10 billion, and with 40% of games being rated “teen” or “mature,” there are obviously a lot of gamers enjoying violent games.
Many of the gamers enjoying this genre are undoubtedly young males, so it was fascinating to see what Indiana University researchers discovered in the brains of 18-29 year old guys after just one week of playing violent video games.... Read more »
Kalnin AJ, Edwards CR, Wang Y, Kronenberger WG, Hummer TA, Mosier KM, Dunn DW, & Mathews VP. (2011) The interacting role of media violence exposure and aggressive-disruptive behavior in adolescent brain activation during an emotional Stroop task. Psychiatry research, 192(1), 12-9. PMID: 21376543
It’s 3PM and you’re at your desk fighting determinedly to keep your eyes open. You think maybe some candy or soda could give you the sugar rush you need to get through the last few hours of the work day, so you head to the vending to get some — STOP! Wait a minute. You might want to read this post first before you snag those M&M’s; new research shows that protein might do a better job of keeping you awake, and burning your calories, too.
As someone who’s happiest with meat at every meal, I say: pass me the jerky.... Read more »
Burdakov D, Gerasimenko O, & Verkhratsky A. (2005) Physiological changes in glucose differentially modulate the excitability of hypothalamic melanin-concentrating hormone and orexin neurons in situ. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 25(9), 2429-33. PMID: 15745970
Karnani MM, Apergis-Schoute J, Adamantidis A, Jensen LT, de Lecea L, Fugger L, & Burdakov D. (2011) Activation of central orexin/hypocretin neurons by dietary amino acids. Neuron, 72(4), 616-29. PMID: 22099463
You know what? Sometimes, after I meet a person for the first time and have some trivial conversation about hometowns and local weather, I walk away with a gut feeling that the person isn’t that nice. It’s always a mystery to me when this happens, because I’ll talk to this person for five minutes about mundane things, but for reasons I can’t put my finger on, I leave with a subtly negative opinion of the individual.
Sure, it could be that the person made poor eye contact or sighed one too many times…or maybe there’s a single gene that allows people to judge how nice you are within 20 seconds, depending on which version of the gene you have.
Yeah, that must be it.... Read more »
Lukas M, Toth I, Reber SO, Slattery DA, Veenema AH, & Neumann ID. (2011) The neuropeptide oxytocin facilitates pro-social behavior and prevents social avoidance in rats and mice. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 36(11), 2159-68. PMID: 21677650
Kogan A, Saslow LR, Impett EA, Oveis C, Keltner D, & Rodrigues Saturn S. (2011) Thin-slicing study of the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene and the evaluation and expression of the prosocial disposition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 22084107
Saphire-Bernstein S, Way BM, Kim HS, Sherman DK, & Taylor SE. (2011) Oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) is related to psychological resources. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(37), 15118-22. PMID: 21896752
At least a couple of times a month, I thank my lucky stars that I’m 5’11″ inches tall. For me, wearing high heels is overkill at best, and painful at worst. Sure, I’ll wear them on occasion (I’m not immune to fashion), but it’s always with a heavy heart, and after much deliberation. In my perfect world, high-heeled shoes would not exist.
Turns out, Jessica Simpson and I have differing opinions on this issue (and on many others, I presume; to be fair, the woman is 5’3″):
“I think when my mom had me I came out wearing high heels – I even go to the beach in them!”
She also provided this gem:
“I’d rather have a great pair of high heels than a hug.”
I know you can’t see me slowly shaking my head in pity right now, but maybe when you read this post you’ll give second thoughts to artificial height enhancement.... Read more »
Dufour AB, Broe KE, Nguyen US, Gagnon DR, Hillstrom HJ, Walker AH, Kivell E, & Hannan MT. (2009) Foot pain: is current or past shoewear a factor?. Arthritis and rheumatism, 61(10), 1352-8. PMID: 19790125
Mika A, Oleksy Ł, Mikołajczyk E, Marchewka A, & Mika P. (2011) Changes of bioelectrical activity in cervical paraspinal muscle during gait in low and high heel shoes. Acta of bioengineering and biomechanics / Wroclaw University of Technology, 13(1), 27-33. PMID: 21500761
Simonsen EB, Svendsen MB, Norreslet A, Baldvinsson HK, Heilskov-Hansen T, Larsen PK, Alkjær T, & Henriksen M. (2011) Walking on High Heels Changes Muscle Activity and the Dynamics of Human Walking Significantly. Journal of applied biomechanics. PMID: 21908897
Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use ResearchBlogging.org to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.
If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.
Research Blogging is powered by SMG Technology.
To learn more, visit seedmediagroup.com.