It’s been a while since I’ve broken down some studies for you, so I took on a big one.I’m sure you’ve heard of coral bleaching. What is it? Why does it happen? Why does it matter? To start off, you need to know a little bit more about the individuals that make up a head (fan, whip, etc.): the polyp. Coral polyps look like tiny plants but are actually tiny animals (less than ½ an inch in diameter). They produce calcium carbonate to create a protective shell or skeleton that, when thousan........ Read more »
Anthony KR, Kline DI, Diaz-Pulido G, Dove S, & Hoegh-Guldberg O. (2008) Ocean acidification causes bleaching and productivity loss in coral reef builders. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(45), 17442-6. PMID: 18988740
Perry CT, & Morgan KM. (2017) Bleaching drives collapse in reef carbonate budgets and reef growth potential on southern Maldives reefs. Scientific reports, 40581. PMID: 28084450
Knowing a breed of dog may have health problems does not stop people from wanting one, because emotions get in the way. A new Danish study by Peter S Sandøe (University of Copenhagen) et al investigates the reasons why people acquire particular small breeds of dog and how attached the owners feel to their pet. The research helps explain why some breeds are popular despite a high incidence of welfare problems. The study looked at people in Denmark with French Bulldogs, Chihuahuas, Cava........ Read more »
Sandøe P,, Kondrup SV,, Bennett PC,, Forkman B,, Meyer I,, Proschowsky HF,, Serpell, JA,, & Lund, TB. (2017) Why do people buy dogs with potential welfare problems related to extreme conformation and inherited disease? A representative study of Danish owners of four small dog breeds. . PLOSOne. info:/
© Elena E. GiorgiThe concept of a “black hole” — a celestial body so dense and massive that not even light can escape its gravitational field — dates back to the 18th century, with the theoretical work of Pierre-Simon Laplace and John Michell. But it wasn’t until the early 20th century that these mysterious dark objects were first described mathematically by German physicist Karl Schwarzschild. Schwarzschild’s work predicted the existence of a finite distance around the black hole (........ Read more »
Emil Mottola. (2010) New Horizons in Gravity: The Trace Anomaly, Dark Energy and Condensate Stars. Acta Physica Polonica B (2010) Vol.41, iss.9, p.2031-2162. arXiv: 1008.5006v1
Mazur, P., & Mottola, E. (2015) Surface tension and negative pressure interior of a non-singular ‘black hole’. Classical and Quantum Gravity, 32(21), 215024. DOI: 10.1088/0264-9381/32/21/215024
by Piter Kehoma Boll It’s time to give more space for parasites, including human parasites! So today our fellow comes right from the stool of many mammals, including humans. Its name is Balantidium coli, or B. coli for short. B. coli is … Continue reading →... Read more »
"At 9 months of age, infants developing ASD [autism spectrum disorder] were more likely to fail to orient to their names, persisting through 24 months."So said the findings reported by Meghan Miller and colleagues  investigating an often over-looked but typically informative question relevant to childhood autism screening and assessment: the response to name. Anyone who knows a little about instruments such as the ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) will already know ........ Read more »
Miller M, Iosif AM, Hill M, Young GS, Schwichtenberg AJ, & Ozonoff S. (2017) Response to Name in Infants Developing Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Prospective Study. The Journal of pediatrics. PMID: 28162768
"Among adult patients with epilepsy of unknown etiology, a significant minority had detectable serum Abs [autoantibodies] suggesting an autoimmune etiology."So said the findings reported by Divyanshu Dubey and colleagues  continuing a research theme previously discussed on this blog (see here) on how epilepsy / seizure-type disorder(s) for some might have more to do with immune function than many people might think.OK, a brief bit of background: epilepsy is a blanket term cover........ Read more »
Dubey D, Alqallaf A, Hays R, Freeman M, Chen K, Ding K, Agostini M, & Vernino S. (2017) Neurological Autoantibody Prevalence in Epilepsy of Unknown Etiology. JAMA neurology. PMID: 28166327
Running economy barefoot, in minimalist shoes and traditional running shoes... Read more »
Cochrum RG, Connors RT, Coons JM, Fuller DK, Morgan DW, & Caputo JL. (2017) Comparison of Running Economy Values While Wearing No Shoes, Minimal Shoes, and Normal Running Shoes. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 31(3), 595-601. PMID: 28222048
New research casts doubt on an old explanation for the play bow – and suggests it’s all about more play.The play bow is a glorious signal in dogs. The bum goes up and the elbows go down, leaving the rear end sticking up, usually accompanied by a lovely happy face (as pictured above). Not just reserved for other dogs, our canine friends will play bow to us too.Traditionally, it was believed that the play bow serves as a signal to say something like, “I’m just playing, it’s not real!”,........ Read more »
Bekoff, M. (1995) Play Signals as Punctuation: the Structure of Social Play in Canids. Behaviour, 132(5), 419-429. DOI: 10.1163/156853995X00649
Byosiere SE, Espinosa J, & Smuts B. (2016) Investigating the function of play bows in adult pet dogs (Canis lupus familiaris). Behavioural processes, 106-13. PMID: 26923096
Byosiere SE, Espinosa J, Marshall-Pescini S, Smuts B, & Range F. (2016) Investigating the Function of Play Bows in Dog and Wolf Puppies (Canis lupus familiaris, Canis lupus occidentalis). PloS one, 11(12). PMID: 28033358
Horowitz A. (2009) Attention to attention in domestic dog (Canis familiaris) dyadic play. Animal cognition, 12(1), 107-18. PMID: 18679727
Kristin Walovich holds the newly described species of ghost shark
Photo Credit: Kristin Walovich
Researchers recently announced the discovery of a new species of ghost shark, Hydrolagus erithacus. Ghost sharks - which aren’t actually sharks but instead their closest living relatives - are an extraordinarily rare sighting. Actually, it was just a few months ago, when a ghost shark was filmed... Read more »
Walovich KA, Ebert DA, & Kemper JM. (2017) Hydrolagus erithacus sp. nov. (Chimaeriformes: Chimaeridae), a new species of chimaerid from the southeastern Atlantic and southwestern Indian oceans. Zootaxa, 4226(4). PMID: 28187604
The main objective of SciELO Preprints is to speeding up the availability of research results and will contribute to an organized flow of potentially acceptable preprints by SciELO journals, in line with the advances and growing importance of preprints publication internationally. The cooperative construction of the SciELO Preprints modus operandi will encompass the promotion and debate of the preprints concept, the definition of governance and operations structures and the operational implement........ Read more »
Berg, J., Bhalla, N., Bourne, P., Chalfie, M., Drubin, D., Fraser, J., Greider, C., Hendricks, M., Jones, C., Kiley, R.... (2016) Preprints for the life sciences. Science, 352(6288), 899-901. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf9133
Callaway E. (2017) Heavyweight funders back central site for life-sciences preprints. Nature, 542(7641), 283-284. PMID: 28202994
"History of BD [bipolar disorder] is associated with significantly higher risk of dementia in older adults."So said the systematic review and meta-analysis published by Breno Diniz and colleagues  taking in the accumulated peer-reviewed literature on this topic. Including data for some 3000 individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder and nearly 200,000 controls (without bipolar disorder), authors calculated something of a significantly higher risk of dementia in those with a do........ Read more »
Diniz BS, Teixeira AL, Cao F, Gildengers A, Soares JC, Butters MA, & Reynolds CF 3rd. (2017) History of Bipolar Disorder and the Risk of Dementia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. The American journal of geriatric psychiatry : official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. PMID: 28161155
Are scientists smart when they promote their work on social media? Isn’t this a waste of time, time which could better be spent in the lab running experiments? No. An analysis of all available articles published by PLoS journals suggests otherwise. My own twitter activity might best be thought of as learning about science (in […]... Read more »
Peoples BK, Midway SR, Sackett D, Lynch A, & Cooney PB. (2016) Twitter Predicts Citation Rates of Ecological Research. PloS one, 11(11). PMID: 27835703
Renear AH, & Palmer CL. (2009) Strategic reading, ontologies, and the future of scientific publishing. Science (New York, N.Y.), 325(5942), 828-32. PMID: 19679805
Scientists have sequenced the DNA of two extinct birds: the moa and the elephantbird. Comparison with their living relatives led to some surprising findings.... Read more »
Yonezawa T, Segawa T, Mori H, Campos PF, Hongoh Y, Endo H, Akiyoshi A, Kohno N, Nishida S, Wu J.... (2017) Phylogenomics and Morphology of Extinct Paleognaths Reveal the Origin and Evolution of the Ratites. Current biology : CB, 27(1), 68-77. PMID: 27989673
By Jefferson LeThe blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is the largest mammal on the planet. Image byNMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NOAA) available at Wikimedia Commons.Helloooooo! My name is Bailey and I am a 25 meter long blue whale, the largest living mammal on Earth! My friend Finley, a 21 meter long fin whale comes in second for largest in size. We had an interesting adventure recently where we were followed by humans. While Finley and I were foraging for food, I overheard the huma........ Read more »
Croll DA, Acevedo-Gutiérrez A, Tershy BR, & Urbán-Ramírez J. (2001) The diving behavior of blue and fin whales: is dive duration shorter than expected based on oxygen stores?. Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular , 129(4), 797-809. PMID: 11440866
"Given the modest magnitude of these findings in contrast to the clear public health benefits of the timely administration of vaccines in preventing mortality and morbidity in childhood infectious diseases, we encourage families to maintain vaccination schedules according to CDC guidelines."The quote opening this post comes from the paper published by Douglas Leslie and colleagues  (open-access) and offers not a conclusion from their study looking at the possibility that "the onset of some ne........ Read more »
Leslie DL, Kobre RA, Richmand BJ, Aktan Guloksuz S, & Leckman JF. (2017) Temporal Association of Certain Neuropsychiatric Disorders Following Vaccination of Children and Adolescents: A Pilot Case-Control Study. Frontiers in psychiatry, 3. PMID: 28154539
When the psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach blotted ink onto paper to produce a series of abstract patterns, could he have known that nearly 100 years later, the Rorschach test would be a household name?
Although the use of the Rorschach to diagnose mental illness is mostly a thing of the past, research on the test continues. Last week, two new papers were published on the Rorschach blots, including a fractal analysis of the images themselves and a brain scanning study using fMRI.
The ... Read more »
Taylor RP, Martin TP, Montgomery RD, Smith JH, Micolich AP, Boydston C, Scannell BC, Fairbanks MS, & Spehar B. (2017) Seeing shapes in seemingly random spatial patterns: Fractal analysis of Rorschach inkblots. PloS one, 12(2). PMID: 28196082
Giromini L, Viglione DJ Jr, Zennaro A, & Cauda F. (2017) Neural activity during production of rorschach responses: An fMRI study. Psychiatry research, 25-31. PMID: 28208069
"Catatonic symptoms are more prevalent in young people with autism than previously thought" said the article recently published by Breen and Hare . Continuing a research theme of at least one of the authors , the idea that catatonic symptoms - primarily manifesting as stupor, unresponsiveness to light, noise or touch, mutism, etc - might be over-represented when it comes to autism is not a new one by any means.Breen & Hare set about looking for "the presence and nature of such att........ Read more »
Breen J, & Hare DJ. (2017) The nature and prevalence of catatonic symptoms in young people with autism. Journal of intellectual disability research : JIDR. PMID: 28150394
Deep sea creatures come with all kinds of strange features that help them to survive their cold, dark habitat.. Some have eyes the size of a basketball, others come with appendages that blink and glow, deep-sea dwellers have developed some strange features and the "cockeyed" squid Histioteuthis heteropsis has one normal eye and one giant, bulging, yellow eye.
One ... Read more »
Thomas KN, Robison BH, & Johnsen S. (2017) Two eyes for two purposes: in situ evidence for asymmetric vision in the cockeyed squids Histioteuthis heteropsis and Stigmatoteuthis dofleini. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 372(1717). PMID: 28193814
Figure from Gauthier et al. (2005).
Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and other dementias are progressive neurodegenerative conditions that unfold over time. Subtle symptoms such as forgetfulness and word finding problems may progress to mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and then escalate to full-blown dementia. Recent efforts to classify prodromal states have included automated analysis of spontaneous... Read more »
Berisha V, Wang S, LaCross A, & Liss J. (2015) Tracking discourse complexity preceding Alzheimer's disease diagnosis: a case study comparing the press conferences of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 45(3), 959-63. PMID: 25633673
Fraser, K., Meltzer, J., & Rudzicz, F. (2015) Linguistic Features Identify Alzheimer’s Disease in Narrative Speech. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 49(2), 407-422. DOI: 10.3233/JAD-150520
Thomas, C., Keselj, V., Cercone, N., Rockwood, K., . (2005) Automatic detection and rating of dementia of Alzheimer type through lexical analysis of spontaneous speech. IEEE International Conference, 1569-1574. info:/10.1109/ICMA.2005.1626789
Psychology experiments are not generally fodder for this blog when it comes to autism. The main reason being that quite a few appearing in the peer-reviewed literature tend to look at quite abstract features perhaps somewhat removed from the daily lives of autistic people and their significant others. A few also seem to struggle with the idea that grand over-arching psychological theories (that seem to inevitably follow psychological findings in particular) are not required when it comes to auti........ Read more »
Sasson NJ, Faso DJ, Nugent J, Lovell S, Kennedy DP, & Grossman RB. (2017) Neurotypical Peers are Less Willing to Interact with Those with Autism based on Thin Slice Judgments. Scientific reports, 40700. PMID: 28145411
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