Post List

  • October 21, 2010
  • 06:28 PM

Psycasm - TODO LATER. A story of procrastination and forgiveness.

by Rift in Psycasm

[Wherein our hero puts it off... but later returns and wonder how, and why, it could've been done better]So I'm at the pointy end of the semester. My exams have all been turned in and now I'm left to deal with the rising spectre of exams. It's wierd - you can work as hard as you like all semester and earn up to 50% of your overall grade, but the final exam is the kicke; (read more)

Source: Rift - Discipline: Psychology... Read more »

  • October 21, 2010
  • 05:33 PM

Waves of Mu, Mirror Neurons, and Funny Hats

by Princess Ojiaku in Science with Moxie

Mirror neurons have been a hot topic in neuroscience for the past decade or so, and more evidence has been amassed in recent years of their exciting properties. Mirror neurons are so interesting precisely because they fire or are activated both when an individual performs an action AND when that same individual merely observes another performing an action. This intriguing property has lead researchers to speculate that these neurons could be responsible for empathy and the learning of actions an........ Read more »

Oberman LM, Hubbard EM, McCleery JP, Altschuler EL, Ramachandran VS, & Pineda JA. (2005) EEG evidence for mirror neuron dysfunction in autism spectrum disorders. Brain research. Cognitive brain research, 24(2), 190-8. PMID: 15993757  

Lahav A, Saltzman E, & Schlaug G. (2007) Action representation of sound: audiomotor recognition network while listening to newly acquired actions. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 27(2), 308-14. PMID: 17215391  

  • October 21, 2010
  • 05:30 PM

Shock and Cure - With Magnets

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is the oldest treatment in psychiatry that's still in use today. ECT uses a brief electrical current to induce a generalized seizure. No-one knows why, but in many cases this rapidly alleviates depression - amongst other things.The problem with ECT is that it may cause memory loss. It's hotly debated how serious of a problem this is, and most psychiatrists agree that the risk is justified if the alternative is untreatable illness, but it's fair to say that whether........ Read more »

  • October 21, 2010
  • 04:49 PM

Gamblers Rewarded by Near Misses

by Darcy Cowan in Skepticon

Earlier this year a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience looked at the brains of compulsive gamblers and concluded that when the the gamblers suffered “near-miss” losses their brains reacted as if they had won. Another study published slightly later in the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behaviour also looked at the brains [...]... Read more »

Habib, R. . (2010) Neurobehavioral evidence for the “near-miss” effect in pathological gamblers. JOURNAL OF THE EXPERIMENTAL ANALYSIS OF BEHAVIOR, 93(3), 313-328. info:/10.1901/jeab.2010.93-313

  • October 21, 2010
  • 02:40 PM

Does Ketamine Cause Bladder Damage?

by Dirk Hanson in Addiction Inbox

Special K and Cystitis.

Normally, Addiction Inbox steers clear of alarmist stories about drug use. A lifetime of wildly overstated verbiage about “false drugs,” as the Firesign Theatre comedy group once delightfully phrased it, has left me wary of drug scare stories. Even obvious cases, like Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and crack babies, are more nuanced problems than most coverage has alleged.

For years now, rumors about bladder problems in recreational users of ketamine have periodi........ Read more »

Chu, P., Ma, W., Wong, S., Chu, R., Cheng, C., Wong, S., Tse, J., Lau, F., Yiu, M., & Man, C. (2008) The destruction of the lower urinary tract by ketamine abuse: a new syndrome?. BJU International, 102(11), 1616-1622. DOI: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2008.07920.x  

Mason K, Cottrell AM, Corrigan AG, Gillatt DA, & Mitchelmore AE. (2010) Ketamine-associated lower urinary tract destruction: a new radiological challenge. Clinical radiology, 65(10), 795-800. PMID: 20797465  

  • October 21, 2010
  • 02:38 PM

Why Is Anorexia Nervosa Neglected for Drug Development?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Atypical Antipsychotic OlanzapineEating disorders have been a neglected area for high-quality psychopharmacologic research.  There are probably several reasons for this.  The classic eating disorder anorexia nervosa is relatively rare and identifying 500 to 1000 subjects for a clinical trial would likely be a significant (but not impossible) research challenge.   There are currently no FDA approved drugs indicated for the treatment of anorexia nervosa.One drug in the U.S. has........ Read more »

McKnight RF, & Park RJ. (2010) Atypical antipsychotics and anorexia nervosa: a review. European eating disorders review : the journal of the Eating Disorders Association, 18(1), 10-21. PMID: 20054875  

  • October 21, 2010
  • 02:15 PM

Bashford Dean: bridging medieval armor and Devonian fish

by Lucas in thoughtomics

The figure below comes from Helmets and Body Armor in Modern Warfare, a book written by the medieval armour expert Bashford Dean (1867 – 1930). The similarities between the evolution of these European war helmets and ‘proper’ biological evolution are striking. At the base we can see the ancestor of this clade of helmets: the [...]... Read more »

  • October 21, 2010
  • 02:03 PM

Einstein's brain

by Daniel in Ego sum Daniel

Einstein's brain was photographed only hours after his death. Ref: Falk (see reference below) Einstein's brain pops up quite often in popular science lore about the relation between brain size and intelligence. The most common myth (based solely on my own experience) is that Einstein's brain was smaller than average ergo brain size has nothing to do with intelligence. In actual fact, the size of Einstein's brain (as measured when retrieved shortly after his death at 76) was completely unremarkab........ Read more »

  • October 21, 2010
  • 12:31 PM

Putting the genetics in optogenetics

by miko in Reaction Norm

Someone will get a Nobel prize for the development of the techniques that now go by the name optogenetics, and my prediction is that it will be soon—maybe even a faster turnaround time than RNAi, the Nobel for which was given in 2006 for a discovery published in 1998.  Here’s the Wikipedia definition: Optogenetics is [...]... Read more »

  • October 21, 2010
  • 12:11 PM

National Research Council of Canada uses LVEM5 to develop a method to produce inexpensive hydrogen fuel

by admin in Delong America Blog

National Research Council of Canada uses LVEM5 to develop a method to produce cheaper hydrogen fuel ... Read more »

  • October 21, 2010
  • 11:29 AM

Need a Break? Depends on Your Concept of Willpower

by APS Daily Observations in Daily Observations

Do you ever find yourself burning the candle at both ends? Friends may tell you to slow down or take a break but new findings, published in Psychological Science, challenge ... Read more »

Job, V., Dweck, C.S., & Walton, G.M. (2010) Ego Depletion--Is It All in Your Head?: Implicit Theories About Willpower Affect Self-Regulation. Psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science/ APS. PMID: 20876879  

  • October 21, 2010
  • 10:00 AM

Open source software pays its way

by David Bradley in Sciencetext

Open source computing was once described as an “anarchistic, caffeinated, hirsute world of hackers”. But, this cliché of beardy nerds fueling themselves on coffee and slaving over a hot desktop till the wee small hours is thoroughly outmoded, if it were ever true. Open source software products are developed and licensed under terms that allow [...]Post from: David Bradley's Sciencetext Tech TalkOpen source software pays its way
... Read more »

Jon Perr, Melissa M. Appleyard, & Patrick Sullivan. (2010) Open for business: emerging business models in open source software. Int. J. Technology Management, 52(3/4), 432-456. info:/

  • October 21, 2010
  • 09:48 AM

Ancient Archosaur Arthritis

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

When we envision prehistoric life, we often picture long-extinct animals in the most healthy state possible. Each restored individual is the acme of its particular species—be it Allosaurus or a woolly mammoth—but we know that things in the natural world are never so clean and neat. Not only do individual animals of any species vary [...]... Read more »

Cisneros, J., Gomes Cabral, U., de Beer, F., Damiani, R., & Costa Fortier, D. (2010) Spondarthritis in the Triassic. PLoS ONE, 5(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013425  

  • October 21, 2010
  • 09:47 AM

A pain drug discovery success story: anti-NGF therapy for osteoarthritis


With all the recent layoffs in Pharma, coupled with the axing of many analgesic drug development programs within these institutions, its nice to finally see a success (albeit of potentially short longevity — more on that later). The treatment is … Continue reading →... Read more »

Lane, N., Schnitzer, T., Birbara, C., Mokhtarani, M., Shelton, D., Smith, M., & Brown, M. (2010) Tanezumab for the Treatment of Pain from Osteoarthritis of the Knee. New England Journal of Medicine, 363(16), 1521-1531. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0901510  

  • October 21, 2010
  • 09:30 AM

Vision and Motor Response: When Our Senses Fail Us

by Psychology 379 bloggers in Cognition & the Arts

It’s 6:45 AM and your alarm goes off. Barely awake, you open your eyes, reach across to feel around your bedside table and slam your hand into the snooze button before dozing off again. From this first rousing moment, your body and brain are working in sync. As you reach for the alarm clock, your [...]... Read more »

  • October 21, 2010
  • 08:30 AM

Evidence for paternal programming from obesity?

by Colby in

It is well understood that the diet and health status of mothers can affect offspring by epigenetic mechanisms (see this recent review for example).  This is often called “fetal programming.” A recent study (published yesterday) suggests there may be a … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • October 21, 2010
  • 08:13 AM

With The Touch of One’s Own Hand

by Lorimer Moseley in BodyInMind

If you knock your hand arm on something sharp, what is the first thing you do? I bet most of you say ‘rub it better’.  We take that automatic response for granted but some very clever people in London, which is in England, have taken a very elegant (LJ take note of the use of [...]... Read more »

[1] Melzack, R., & Wall, P. (1965) Pain Mechanisms: A New Theory. Science, 150(3699), 971-978. DOI: 10.1126/science.150.3699.971  

[2] Weiskrantz L, Elliott J, & Darlington C. (1971) Preliminary observations on tickling oneself. Nature, 230(5296), 598-9. PMID: 4928671  

[3] Shergill, S., Bays, P.M, Frith, C.D., & Wolpert, D,M. (2003) Two Eyes for an Eye: The Neuroscience of Force Escalation. Science, 301(5630), 187-187. DOI: 10.1126/science.1085327  

[5] Flor, H., Nikolajsen, L., & Staehelin Jensen, T. (2006) Phantom limb pain: a case of maladaptive CNS plasticity?. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 7(11), 873-881. DOI: 10.1038/nrn1991  

[6] Ramachandran VS, & Rogers-Ramachandran D. (1996) Synaesthesia in phantom limbs induced with mirrors. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 263(1369), 377-86. PMID: 8637922  

[9] Head, H., & Holmes, G. (1911) Sensory disturbances from cerebral lesions. Brain, 34(2-3), 102-254. DOI: 10.1093/brain/34.2-3.102  

  • October 21, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Wait, stop – we have an Avatar tree too!

by Bluegrass Blue Crab in Southern Fried Science

Remember how that Na'avi needed their tree of souls? Well, it might not be as obvious to us, but we depend on our forests too.
Dependence on natural resources is often relegated to a characteristic of the rural poor, a reason for development aid to swoop in and provide other economic opportunities. However, a recent article [...]... Read more »

  • October 21, 2010
  • 07:39 AM

Hearing shapes

by Janet Kwasniak in Thoughts on thoughts

Perception of shapes is possible by touch and by sight. Kim and Zatorre have been using a coding of shape information into sound information to examine the nature of shape perception. They use boards with 2D drawings on them have textured surfaces giving visual and tactile targets. These are coded to give matching ’soundscapes’ where [...]... Read more »

Kim, J., & Zatorre, R. (2010) Can you hear shapes you touch?. Experimental Brain Research, 202(4), 747-754. DOI: 10.1007/s00221-010-2178-6  

  • October 21, 2010
  • 07:28 AM

To clot or not: the trigger for coagulation

by Becky in It Takes 30

Following up on the papers from the Alber lab I wrote about a few weeks ago, John Higgins pointed out this paper (Panteleev et al. 2010.  Task-oriented modular decomposition of biological networks: trigger mechanism in blood coagulation.  Biophys. J. 98 1751-1761), which also aims to use modeling to probe the mechanisms of clot formation.  There’s [...]... Read more »

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