Post List

Biology posts

(Modify Search »)

  • May 12, 2017
  • 10:43 AM
  • 133 views

A Cuttlefish Clash: The Strongest, Stripeyist Guy Gets the Girl

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

I know what you’re thinking: “Why hasn’t she written about cuttlefish mating systems?” I understand, cuttlefish are ridiculously cool and you just need to know more about them. You are in luck as a brand new study has been published online about just that topic!Cuttlefish are cephalopods, which are all predatory marine animals that have at least eight arms, a siphon for jet-propulsion, and highly developed nervous and sensory systems (specifically the most sophisticated eye of all invert........ Read more »

Allen, J., Akkaynak, D., Schnell, A., & Hanlon, R. (2017) Dramatic Fighting by Male Cuttlefish for a Female Mate. The American Naturalist. DOI: 10.1086/692009  

  • May 12, 2017
  • 08:30 AM
  • 155 views

Could Parasites Be Causing Prostate Cancer?

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

New study shows that a common parasite called Toxoplasma gondii forms tissue cysts and causes inflammation in mouse prostates. ... Read more »

  • May 12, 2017
  • 07:00 AM
  • 137 views

Friday Fellow: Spreading Earthmoss

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll If you still think mosses are uninteresting lifeforms, perhaps you will change your mind after knowing the spreading earthmoss, Physcomitrella patens. Found in temperate regions of the world, except for South America, but more commonly recorded in … Continue reading →... Read more »

Cove, D. (2005) The Moss Physcomitrella patens. Annual Review of Genetics, 39(1), 339-358. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.genet.39.073003.110214  

  • May 12, 2017
  • 03:02 AM
  • 156 views

Physical exercise as a nootropic of choice

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Nootropic, defined as a 'smart drug' or cognitive enhancer, is generally taken to mean a substance/compound/medicine that has some positive effect(s) on aspects of cognition. I've talked about the possibility that various compounds might fit this bill on this blog (see here for example) but today I'm discussing another quite important potential nootropic: exercise.It was the paper by Joseph Michael Northery and colleagues [1] (open-access) that added exercise to the nootropic categoris........ Read more »

  • May 11, 2017
  • 09:26 AM
  • 150 views

Land snails on islands: fascinating diversity, worrying vulnerability

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll The class Gastropoda, which includes snails and slugs, is only beaten by the insects in number of species worldwide, having currently about 80 thousand described species. Among those, about 24 thousand live on land, where they are … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • May 11, 2017
  • 03:08 AM
  • 159 views

Could an "ill-state" associated with anorexia nervosa mimic the symptoms of autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The question posed in the title of this post 'Could an "ill-state" associated with anorexia nervosa mimic the symptoms of autism?' stems from the findings reported by Heather Westwood and colleagues [1] (open-access).They continued a research theme looking at the potential 'overlap' when it comes to autism and eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa (AN) (see here). Notably, researchers questioned whether the finding that some 50% of their cohort "scored above the clinical cut-off on the ........ Read more »

  • May 10, 2017
  • 04:56 AM
  • 142 views

Sustainable hunting regulations take the speed of trophy growth into account

by sschindler in sschindlerblog

Hunting regulations aim to keep trophy hunting sustainable. Yet most regulations fall short of this aim and trophy size is becoming shorter over time in most hunted populations, such as Bighorn sheep, Impala, Mouflon, and Sable antelope. This might be due to ignoring the speed of trophy growth when deciding on hunting regulations. more Schindler, […]... Read more »

Schindler, S., Festa-Bianchet, M., Hogg, J., & Pelletier, F. (2017) Hunting, age structure, and horn size distribution in bighorn sheep. The Journal of Wildlife Management. DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.21259  

  • May 10, 2017
  • 02:35 AM
  • 156 views

Conviction for violence and autism: comorbidity counts

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I tread carefully when discussing the results published by Ragini Heeramun and colleagues [1] on the topic of "whether autism is associated with convictions for violent crimes" and "the associated risk and protective factors." Carefully because, as I've indicated on other occasions (see here), people commit crimes not labels, and sweeping generalisations about labels, specific types of crime and/or the concept of 'dangerousness' tend to do very little to help anyone in the long term.St........ Read more »

Heeramun, R., Magnusson, C., Gumpert, C., Granath, S., Lundberg, M., Dalman, C., & Rai, D. (2017) Autism and Convictions for Violent Crimes: Population-Based Cohort Study in Sweden. Journal of the American Academy of Child . DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2017.03.011  

  • May 9, 2017
  • 04:24 AM
  • 165 views

"Medical Conditions in the First Years of Life Associated with Future Diagnosis of ASD"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I rank the paper by Stacey Alexeeff and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) as being in the 'pretty important' category when it comes to hierarchy in autism research. Not only because of their use of data derived from Kaiser Permanente (KP) (quite a large US healthcare provider that has some autism research history) including some "3911 ASD [autism spectrum disorder] cases and 38,609 controls" but also because some of the findings reiterate what is already 'known' abo........ Read more »

Alexeeff SE, Yau V, Qian Y, Davignon M, Lynch F, Crawford P, Davis R, & Croen LA. (2017) Medical Conditions in the First Years of Life Associated with Future Diagnosis of ASD in Children. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 28434058  

  • May 8, 2017
  • 01:08 PM
  • 162 views

Neuropeptides and Peer Review Failure

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A new paper in the prestigious journal PNAS contains a rather glaring blooper.

The paper, from Oxford University researchers Eiluned Pearce et al., is about the relationship between genes and social behaviour. The blooper is right there in the abstract, which states that "three neuropeptides (β-endorphin, oxytocin, and dopamine) play particularly important roles" in human sociality. But dopamine is not a neuropeptide.



Neither are serotonin or testosterone, but throughout the paper, Pea... Read more »

  • May 8, 2017
  • 03:04 AM
  • 143 views

Vitamin D genes and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Vitamin D deficiency is a putative environmental risk factor for autism spectrum disorder (ASD)."And..."We provide straightforward genetic evidences for the first time that VDRGs [vitamin D-related genes] with a strong degree of DNM [de novo mutations] burden in ASD and DNMs of VDRGs could be involved in the mechanism underlying in ASD pathogenesis."That was the research bottom line reported on by Jinchen Li and colleagues [1] examining an important part of the whole 'vitami........ Read more »

Li J, Wang L, Yu P, Shi L, Zhang K, Sun ZS, & Xia K. (2017) Vitamin D-related genes are subjected to significant de novo mutation burdens in autism spectrum disorder. American journal of medical genetics. Part B, Neuropsychiatric genetics : the official publication of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics. PMID: 28407358  

  • May 8, 2017
  • 12:56 AM
  • 130 views

Finding real rewards in a virtual world

by adam phillips in It Ain't Magic

A new study shows that mice who learn to find goals in virtual reality use their hippocampus the same was as in the real world.... Read more »

  • May 6, 2017
  • 05:03 AM
  • 158 views

Congenital heart disease and autism and ADHD: Taiwan wades in

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The incidence rates of perinatal comorbidities, EDD [early developmental disorders], ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder], and ASD [autism spectrum disorder] were higher in the CHD [congenital heart disease] group than in the control group."So said the findings reported by Pei-Chen Tsao and colleagues [1] investigating an issue that has cropped up more than once on this blog in relation to the developmental/behavioural correlates possibly associated with........ Read more »

  • May 5, 2017
  • 07:00 AM
  • 81 views

Friday Fellow: Toxo

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll If I had to bet on a parasite that you who are reading this probably have in your body, I’d go for today’s fellow, the protist Toxoplasma gondii, sometimes simply called toxo. Found worldwide, the toxo is … Continue reading →... Read more »

Tenter, A., Heckeroth, A., & Weiss, L. (2000) Toxoplasma gondii: from animals to humans. International Journal for Parasitology, 30(12-13), 1217-1258. DOI: 10.1016/S0020-7519(00)00124-7  

  • May 5, 2017
  • 02:55 AM
  • 172 views

Trends in ADHD medication use in the US and Europe: is this a bad thing?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I don't want to dwell too much on the findings reported by Christian Bachmann and colleagues [1] observing that in five Western countries - Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) - ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) medication use between 2005/2006-2012 was on the increase. But I do think it is important to mention some of the implications from such figures and some of the positives and negatives associated with such generated........ Read more »

Bachmann CJ, Wijlaars LP, Kalverdijk LJ, Burcu M, Glaeske G, Schuiling-Veninga CC, Hoffmann F, Aagaard L, & Zito JM. (2017) Trends in ADHD medication use in children and adolescents in five western countries, 2005-2012. European neuropsychopharmacology : the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology. PMID: 28336088  

  • May 4, 2017
  • 03:15 AM
  • 195 views

Self-reported sexual attraction and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The findings reported by Tamara May and colleagues [1] are discussed today, looking at self-reported sexual attraction and past sexual relationships among adolescents diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with not-autism controls.Asking 14-15 year olds who took part in The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (94 diagnosed with autism and some 3400 controls) some rather personal questions, researchers reported that: "ASD males reported fewer prior boyfriends/gi........ Read more »

  • May 3, 2017
  • 05:30 PM
  • 163 views

Gimme Your Lunch Money!: Feeding Behaviors in Hummingbirds

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

Ubatuba, São Paulo, Brazil; 9 October 2014 © Almir Cândido de AlmeidaI just put out my hummingbird feeder this season. It didn’t take those little guys long to find it either. Now I’ve got their cute little bodies whizzing about all over the place. They need Yackety Sax to play as their soundtrack. But it got me to thinking about hummingbirds and to looking through recent papers for a good study. I came across one in Zoologia about the feeding behavior of hummingbirds in artificial f........ Read more »

  • May 3, 2017
  • 02:42 PM
  • 142 views

How Can We Measure Human Oxytocin Levels?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Is oxytocin really the love and trust chemical? Or is it just the hype hormone? A new paper suggests that many studies of the relationship between oxytocin and behaviors such as trust have been flawed.





The paper is a meta-analysis just published by Norwegian researchers Mathias Valstad and colleagues. Valstad et al. found that the level of oxytocin in human blood, often used as a proxy measure of brain oxytocin, has no relation to central nervous system oxytocin levels under normal co... Read more »

Valstad M, Alvares GA, Egknud M, Matziorinis AM, Andreassen OA, Westlye LT, & Quintana DS. (2017) The correlation between central and peripheral oxytocin concentrations: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews. PMID: 28442403  

  • May 3, 2017
  • 02:53 AM
  • 184 views

ADHD and suicide

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"There is a positive association between ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] and suicidality in both sexes and in all age groups."So said the results of the systematic review published by Balazs & Kereszteny [1] (open-access available here) who surveyed the recent peer-reviewed literature on the topic between 2011 and 2015. Reporting results based on findings included in 26 papers, authors concluded that suicidality - ideation, behavior, attempts, and suicide ........ Read more »

  • May 2, 2017
  • 03:00 AM
  • 199 views

Mitochondrial mutations are not common in chronic fatigue syndrome but...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"We report the complete mtDNA [mitochondrial DNA] sequence of 93 CFS [chronic fatigue syndrome] patients from the UK and RSA, without finding evidence of clinically proven mtDNA mutations."So said the results reported by Elizna Schoeman and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) who drew on other research previously covered on this blog (see here) suggesting that "symptoms of mitochondrial diseases and CFS frequently overlap and can easily be mistaken" to look-see whether iss........ Read more »

Schoeman EM, Van Der Westhuizen FH, Erasmus E, van Dyk E, Knowles CV, Al-Ali S, Ng WF, Taylor RW, Newton JL, & Elson JL. (2017) Clinically proven mtDNA mutations are not common in those with chronic fatigue syndrome. BMC medical genetics, 18(1), 29. PMID: 28302057  

join us!

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.

Register Now

Research Blogging is powered by SRI Technology.

To learn more, visit http://selfregulationinstitute.org/.