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  • July 27, 2015
  • 02:49 PM
  • 27 views

Some vaccines support evolution of more-virulent viruses

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Scientific experiments with the herpes virus such as the one that causes Marek’s disease in poultry have confirmed, for the first time, the highly controversial theory that some vaccines could allow more-virulent versions of a virus to survive, putting unvaccinated individuals at greater risk of severe illness. The research has important implications for food-chain security and food-chain economics, as well as for other diseases that affect humans and agricultural animals.... Read more »

Andrew F. Read, Susan J. Baigent, Claire Powers, Lydia B. Kgosana, Luke Blackwell, Lorraine P. Smith, David A. Kennedy, Stephen W. Walkden-Brown, & Venugopal K. Nair. (2015) Imperfect Vaccination Can Enhance the Transmission of Highly Virulent Pathogens. PLOS Biology. info:/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002198

  • July 26, 2015
  • 07:39 PM
  • 60 views

Sleep not just protects memories against forgetting, it also makes them more accessible

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Sleeping not only protects memories from being forgotten, it also makes them easier to access, according to new research from the University of Exeter and the Basque Centre for Cognition, Brain and Language. The findings suggest that after sleep we are more likely to recall facts which we could not remember while still awake.... Read more »

Dumay, N. (2015) Sleep not just protects memories against forgetting, it also makes them more accessible. Cortex. info:/http://hdl.handle.net/10871/17864

  • July 26, 2015
  • 03:12 PM
  • 36 views

Cell phone notifications may be driving you to distraction

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Whether you are alerted to an incoming phone call or text by a trendy ringtone, an alarm bell or a quiet vibration, just receiving a notification on your cell phone can cause enough of a distraction to impair your ability to focus on a given task. In fact, the distraction caused by a simple notification — whether it is a sound or a vibration — is comparable to the effects seen when users actively use their cell phones to make calls or send text messages, the researchers found.... Read more »

Stothart, C., Mitchum, A., & Yehnert, C. (2015) The Attentional Cost of Receiving a Cell Phone Notification. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. DOI: 10.1037/xhp0000100  

  • July 25, 2015
  • 01:17 PM
  • 58 views

Spines of boys and girls differ at birth

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Looking at measurements of the vertebrae – the series of small bones that make up the spinal column – in newborn children, investigators at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles found that differences between the sexes are present at birth. Results of the study suggest that this difference is evolutionary, allowing the female spine to adapt to the fetal load during pregnancy.... Read more »

Ponrartana, S., Aggabao, P., Dharmavaram, N., Fisher, C., Friedlich, P., Devaskar, S., & Gilsanz, V. (2015) Sexual Dimorphism in Newborn Vertebrae and Its Potential Implications. The Journal of Pediatrics, 167(2), 416-421. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2015.04.078  

  • July 24, 2015
  • 02:21 PM
  • 89 views

Brain structure reveals ability to regulate emotions

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

We all vary in how often we become happy, sad or angry, and also in how strongly these emotions are expressed. This variability is a part of our personality and can be seen as a positive aspect that increases diversity in society. However, there are people that find it so difficult to regulate their emotions that it has a serious impact on their work, family and social life. These individuals may be given an emotional instability diagnosis such as borderline personality disorder or antisocial pe........ Read more »

Petrovic, P., Ekman, C., Klahr, J., Tigerstrom, L., Ryden, G., Johansson, A., Sellgren, C., Golkar, A., Olsson, A., Ohman, A.... (2015) Significant gray matter changes in a region of the orbitofrontal cortex in healthy participants predicts emotional dysregulation. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsv072  

  • July 23, 2015
  • 02:33 PM
  • 99 views

Body fat can send signals to brain, affecting stress response

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The brain’s effect on other parts of the body has been well established. Now, a group of researchers has found that it’s a two-way street: Body fat can send a signal that affects the way the brain deals with stress and metabolism. While the exact nature of those signals remains a mystery, researchers say simply knowing such a pathway exists and learning more about it could help break a vicious cycle: Stress causes a desire to eat more, which can lead to obesity. And too much extra fat can im........ Read more »

de Kloet, A., Krause, E., Solomon, M., Flak, J., Scott, K., Kim, D., Myers, B., Ulrich-Lai, Y., Woods, S., Seeley, R.... (2015) Adipocyte glucocorticoid receptors mediate fat-to-brain signaling. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 110-119. DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.03.008  

  • July 22, 2015
  • 09:36 PM
  • 71 views

Using low-dose irradiation, researchers can now edit human genes

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

For the first time, researchers have employed a gene-editing technique involving low-dose irradiation to repair patient cells. This method, developed by researchers in the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute, is 10 times more effective than techniques currently in use.... Read more »

Hatada, S., Subramanian, A., Mandefro, B., Ren, S., Kim, H., Tang, J., Funari, V., Baloh, R., Sareen, D., Arumugaswami, V.... (2015) Low-Dose Irradiation Enhances Gene Targeting in Human Pluripotent Stem Cells. Stem Cells Translational Medicine. DOI: 10.5966/sctm.2015-0050  

  • July 22, 2015
  • 12:33 PM
  • 68 views

Static synapses on a moving structure: Mind the gap!

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In biology, stability is important. From body temperature to blood pressure and sugar levels, our body ensures that these remain within reasonable limits and do not reach potentially damaging extremes. Neurons in the brain are no different and, in fact, have developed a number of ways to stabilise their electrical activity so as to avoid becoming either overexcitable, potentially leading to epilepsy, or not excitable enough, leading to non functional neurons.... Read more »

  • July 21, 2015
  • 03:43 PM
  • 71 views

Drawing a line between quantum and classical world

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Quantum theory is one of the great achievements of 20th century science, yet physicists have struggled to find a clear boundary between our everyday world and what Albert Einstein called the “spooky” features of the quantum world, including cats that could be both alive and dead, and photons that can communicate with each other across space instantaneously.... Read more »

  • July 21, 2015
  • 01:24 PM
  • 60 views

Watch Out for the Experienced Study Participant

by amikulak in Daily Observations

When conducting psychology studies online or in the lab, researchers might not think about participants’ past experiences as a research subject. But research published in Psychological Science suggests that these […]... Read more »

Chandler, J., Paolacci, G., Peer, E., Mueller, P., & Ratliff, K. (2015) Using Nonnaive Participants Can Reduce Effect Sizes. Psychological Science, 26(7), 1131-1139. DOI: 10.1177/0956797615585115  

  • July 20, 2015
  • 12:48 PM
  • 80 views

Research investigates whether solar events could trigger birth defects on Earth

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Studies find airplane crews at high altitude are exposed to potentially harmful levels of radiation from cosmic rays. But could these cosmic rays pose hazards even at sea level? In recent years, research has suggested congenital birth defects down on Earth’s surface could be caused by these “solar particle events” — spikes in cosmic rays from the sun that touch off the northern lights and sometimes hamper communications or the electric power grid.... Read more »

  • July 19, 2015
  • 12:44 PM
  • 84 views

Dead galaxies in Coma Cluster may be packed with dark matter

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Galaxies in a cluster roughly 300 million light years from Earth could contain as much as 100 times more dark matter than visible matter, according to an Australian study. The research, published today, used powerful computer simulations to study galaxies that have fallen into the Coma Cluster, one of the largest structures in the Universe in which thousands of galaxies are bound together by gravity.... Read more »

Cameron Yozin et al. (2015) The quenching and survival of ultra-diffuse galaxies in the Coma cluster. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. info:/10.1093/mnras/stv1073

  • July 18, 2015
  • 12:43 PM
  • 100 views

Study finds metal foams capable of shielding X-rays, gamma rays, neutron radiation

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Research from North Carolina State University shows that lightweight composite metal foams are effective at blocking X-rays, gamma rays and neutron radiation, and are capable of absorbing the energy of high impact collisions. The finding means the metal foams hold promise for use in nuclear safety, space exploration and medical technology applications.... Read more »

  • July 17, 2015
  • 01:46 PM
  • 111 views

Cholesterol metabolism in immune cells linked to HIV progression, may lead to new therapy

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Enhanced cholesterol metabolism in certain immune cells may help some people infected with HIV naturally control disease progression, according to new research. The findings provide a basis for potential development of new approaches to control HIV infection by regulating cellular cholesterol metabolism.... Read more »

Rappocciolo, G., Jais, M., Piazza, P., Reinhart, T., Berendam, S., Garcia-Exposito, L., Gupta, P., & Rinaldo, C. (2014) Alterations in Cholesterol Metabolism Restrict HIV-1 Trans Infection in Nonprogressors. mBio, 5(3). DOI: 10.1128/mBio.01031-13  

  • July 16, 2015
  • 06:24 PM
  • 94 views

Hydraulic fracturing and hospitalization: a tentative link

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

There is little hard data bout how fracking affects health outcomes, but a new study provides a first glimpse at a correlation between increased well-drilling and inpatient rates. Read more here!... Read more »

Jemielita, T., Gerton, G., Neidell, M., Chillrud, S., Yan, B., Stute, M., Howarth, M., Saberi, P., Fausti, N., Penning, T.... (2015) Unconventional Gas and Oil Drilling Is Associated with Increased Hospital Utilization Rates. PLOS ONE, 10(7). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0131093  

  • July 16, 2015
  • 04:58 PM
  • 99 views

Women and fragrances: Scents and sensitivity

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers have sniffed out an unspoken rule among women when it comes to fragrances: Women don’t buy perfume for other women, and they certainly don’t share them. Like boyfriends, current fragrance choices are hands off, forbidden–neither touch, nor smell. You can look, but that’s all, says BYU industrial design professor and study coauthor Bryan Howell.... Read more »

  • July 15, 2015
  • 02:53 PM
  • 116 views

What’s that!? Brain network that controls, redirects attention identified

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) have found that key parts of the human brain network that give us the power to control and redirect our attention–a core cognitive ability–may be unique to humans. The research suggests that the network may have evolved in response to increasingly complex social cues.... Read more »

Patel, G., Yang, D., Jamerson, E., Snyder, L., Corbetta, M., & Ferrera, V. (2015) Functional evolution of new and expanded attention networks in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201420395. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1420395112  

  • July 15, 2015
  • 02:16 PM
  • 88 views

Vaginal douches may expose women to harmful phthalate chemicals

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Women who use feminine care products called douches may increase their exposure to harmful chemicals called phthalates–and black women may be at particularly high risk due to frequent use. Public health officials advise against the use of douching products, which can hide vaginal infections and lead to other serious health problems. Despite that, douching products are still a popular item on the drug store shelf, and are disproportionately used by black women.... Read more »

Francesca Branch et al. (2015) Vaginal douching and racial/ethnic disparities in phthalate exposures among reproductive-aged women: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2004. Environmental Health. info:/10.1186/s12940-015-0043-6

  • July 14, 2015
  • 03:18 PM
  • 121 views

Intellectual pursuits may buffer the brain against addiction

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Challenging the idea that addiction is hardwired in the brain, a new study suggests that even a short time spent in a stimulating learning environment can rewire the brain’s reward system and buffer it against drug dependence. Scientists tracked cocaine cravings in more than 70 adult male mice and found that those rodents whose daily drill included exploration, learning and finding hidden tasty morsels were less likely than their enrichment-deprived counterparts to seek solace in a chamber whe........ Read more »

  • July 13, 2015
  • 02:48 PM
  • 91 views

Baby’s first stool can alert doctors to future cognitive issues

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A newborn’s first stool can signal the child may struggle with persistent cognitive problems, according to Case Western Reserve University Project Newborn researchers. In particular, high levels of fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE) found in the meconium (a newborn’s first stool) from a mother’s alcohol use during pregnancy can alert doctors that a child is at risk for problems with intelligence and reasoning.... Read more »

Min MO, Singer LT, Minnes S, Wu M, & Bearer CF. (2015) Association of fatty acid ethyl esters in meconium and cognitive development during childhood and adolescence. Journal of Pediatrics . info:/10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.12.008

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