Post List

  • August 27, 2010
  • 11:08 AM

Neuroscience of Murder and Aggression: Brain Imaging

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

This is the fourth in a series of five posts looking at aspects of murder and antisocial behavior.  The first post provided an overview of the topic.  The second examined relevant epidemiologic research and the third focused on recent genetic research.  This post will look at recent brain imaging research.Brain Tutor Screenshot of Orbitofrontal CortexKey brain areas in violent behavior include the frontal lobe and the amygdala.  The inferior portion of the frontal lobe is vul........ Read more »

  • August 27, 2010
  • 10:28 AM

Please explain the end of kin selection

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

As an evolutionary biologist, I’m very familiar with the idea of kin selection. When I saw a paper titled “The evolution of eusociality” in the table of contents of Nature, and read the abstract saying, “Kin selection? Don’t need it,” I thought to myself, “Ooooh, this is big.”

I’ve read blog posts about it on Plektix and Wired. I listened to first author Martin Novak being interviewed on the Nature podcast.

Novak does a good job of explaining why kin selection is invoke........ Read more »

Nowak, M., Tarnita, C., & Wilson, E. (2010) The evolution of eusociality. Nature, 466(7310), 1057-1062. DOI: 10.1038/nature09205  

  • August 27, 2010
  • 10:22 AM

Bog Versus Biofuel

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Could our growing thirst for biofuels swamp efforts to restore Europe’s wetlands? Not necessarily, finds a complex new analysis of how conservation, energy and farm policies can collide. But exactly how policymakers set the rules may make a big difference to the cost and effectiveness of efforts to protect and expand mires, marshes and bogs. […] Read More »... Read more »

  • August 27, 2010
  • 10:00 AM

Stop Targeting Lasers on My Chromosomes!

by Sara Klink in Promega Connections

The phases of the cell cycle, particularly that of mitosis, were taught in college as part of my studies in biology. The cell cycle is a fundamental process for all organisms and constantly happens within our bodies. While cells generally spend most of the time in interphase, many scientists focus on what happens as the [...]... Read more »

Baker, N., Zeitlin, S., Shi, L., Shah, J., & Berns, M. (2010) Chromosome Tips Damaged in Anaphase Inhibit Cytokinesis. PLoS ONE, 5(8). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012398  

  • August 27, 2010
  • 10:00 AM

Vaccine styles for specific diseases

by James Byrne in Disease Prone

What are the different types of vaccines and how are they made? There are a number of different types of vaccines and each have been developed for different reasons, to prevent different types of disease and to do specific jobs once inside the body. I’ll talk more about the body’s response next week but for now we can just look at the vaccines.... Read more »

  • August 27, 2010
  • 08:55 AM

Blomberg's toad and its omosternum-bearing buddies

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology

Once more, we return to those wonderful, phenomenally successful, charismatic beasts.... the toads. As you'll know if you've read the previous articles in the toads series, it seems that most basal divergences within crown-Bufonidae happened in South America. So far as we can tell right now, crown-toads are ancestrally South American, and all of their early history happened on this continent [Rhaebo blombergi image below from here].

All of the basal toads looked at so far - the relatively s........ Read more »

Van Bocxlaer I, Loader SP, Roelants K, Biju SD, Menegon M, & Bossuyt F. (2010) Gradual adaptation toward a range-expansion phenotype initiated the global radiation of toads. Science (New York, N.Y.), 327(5966), 679-82. PMID: 20133569  

  • August 27, 2010
  • 08:30 AM

The negative stigma of creatine in the media continues

by Colby in

Earlier this week, I caught an article in the New York Times covering a rare occurrence: 24 members of a high school football team in Oregon developed rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown) from an intense workout with limited water in very hot temperatures.  Rhabdomyolysis … Continue reading →... Read more »

Buford TW, Kreider RB, Stout JR, Greenwood M, Campbell B, Spano M, Ziegenfuss T, Lopez H, Landis J, & Antonio J. (2007) International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 6. PMID: 17908288  

  • August 27, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

How Safe is Bariatric Surgery?

by Arya M. Sharma in Dr. Sharma's Obesity Notes

According to some reports, bariatric surgery is now the second most common abdominal surgical procedure performed in the US.
However, despite the well-documented beneficial outcomes, critics continue to question the safety of this treatment option for severe obesity. There is also oft-cited concern about the quality of treatment provided across centres.
These questions were now addressed in [...]... Read more »

Birkmeyer NJ, Dimick JB, Share D, Hawasli A, English WJ, Genaw J, Finks JF, Carlin AM, Birkmeyer JD, & Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative. (2010) Hospital complication rates with bariatric surgery in Michigan. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 304(4), 435-42. PMID: 20664044  

  • August 27, 2010
  • 07:34 AM

Snapshots of magnetic fields

by Joerg Heber in All That Matters

In the absence of GPS, a compass is the best option to find your way around. However, although the earth’s magnetic field is a great way to find your own position, doing the reverse, measuring magnetic fields with a high accuracy — on an atomic scale — remains a challenge. Sure, there are electron microscopes, which are [...]... Read more »

  • August 27, 2010
  • 07:10 AM

A surprising connection between the munchies and obesity

by Becky in It Takes 30

I’m not normally a fan of research that claims to prove that weight gain is anything other than a result of eating too many, and burning too few, calories; it seems too much like wishful thinking.  But I have to say that the story around gut microbiota being involved in obesity has been getting interesting.  [...]... Read more »

Muccioli GG, Naslain D, Bäckhed F, Reigstad CS, Lambert DM, Delzenne NM, & Cani PD. (2010) The endocannabinoid system links gut microbiota to adipogenesis. Molecular systems biology, 392. PMID: 20664638  

  • August 27, 2010
  • 06:48 AM

Coloured hearing in Williams syndrome

by Kevin Mitchell in Wiring the Brain

The idea that our genes can affect many of the traits that define us as individuals, including our personality, intelligence, talents and interests is one that some people find hard to accept. That this is the case is very clearly and dramatically demonstrated, however, by a number of genetic conditions, which have characteristic profiles of psychological traits. Genetic effects include influences on perception, sometimes quite profound, and other times remarkably selective. A recent study su........ Read more »

Thornton-Wells, T., Cannistraci, C., Anderson, A., Kim, C., Eapen, M., Gore, J., Blake, R., & Dykens, E. (2010) Auditory Attraction: Activation of Visual Cortex by Music and Sound in Williams Syndrome. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 115(2), 172. DOI: 10.1352/1944-7588-115.172  

Marenco, S., Siuta, M., Kippenhan, J., Grodofsky, S., Chang, W., Kohn, P., Mervis, C., Morris, C., Weinberger, D., Meyer-Lindenberg, A.... (2007) Genetic contributions to white matter architecture revealed by diffusion tensor imaging in Williams syndrome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(38), 15117-15122. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0704311104  

  • August 27, 2010
  • 06:00 AM

Paucis Verbis card: TIMI risk score

by Michelle Lin in Academic Life In Emergency Medicine

How do you risk-stratify undifferentiated chest pain patients in the Emergency Department? There are a multitude of causes for chest pain. We are always taught to think of the 5 big life-threats: ACS, PE, aortic dissection, tension pneumothorax, and pericardial tamponade.So how do YOU risk-stratify your patients for unstable angina (UA) and non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI)? STEMI's are usually obvious. UA and NSTEMIs -- not so much.Fortunately a 2000 JAMA article and a followup Ac........ Read more »

Antman EM, Cohen M, Bernink PJ, McCabe CH, Horacek T, Papuchis G, Mautner B, Corbalan R, Radley D, & Braunwald E. (2000) The TIMI risk score for unstable angina/non-ST elevation MI: A method for prognostication and therapeutic decision making. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 284(7), 835-42. PMID: 10938172  

  • August 27, 2010
  • 05:49 AM

A step forward in understanding the BRCA2 ‘cancer gene’

by Cancer Research UK in Cancer Research UK - Science Update

Imagine you’ve entered a contest to cook the world’s biggest ball of spaghetti. You have to meet the following criteria: the ball has to be made of a single spaghetti strand; the strand has to be entwined in a very exact way; and you have to be able to pick up the ball without the [...]... Read more »

  • August 27, 2010
  • 05:00 AM

GCSE success determined by the neighborhood in which pupils live

by SAGE Insight in SAGE Insight

Classifying pupils by where they live: how well does this predict variations in their GCSE results? From Urban Studies In the UK, this year’s record GCSE results may offer many young British students a great reason to celebrate, but for others who faced disappointing news there may be some frustration at what is viewed by [...]... Read more »

  • August 27, 2010
  • 04:48 AM

Chosen genes of the Chosen People

by Razib Khan in Gene Expression

Last spring two very thorough papers came out which surveyed the genetic landscape of the Jewish people (my posts, Genetics & the Jews it’s still complicated, Genetics & the Jews). The novelty of the results was due to the fact that the research groups actually looked across the very diverse populations of the Diaspora, from [...]... Read more »

Steven M. Bray, Jennifer G. Mulle, Anne F. Dodd, Ann E. Pulver, Stephen Wooding, & Stephen T. Warren. (2010) Signatures of founder effects, admixture, and selection in the Ashkenazi Jewish population. PNAS . info:/10.1073/pnas.1004381107

  • August 27, 2010
  • 04:48 AM

Feeling clean makes us harsher moral judges

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

As the dirt and germs are wiped away, we're left feeling not just bodily but also morally cleansed - a kind of metaphorical virtuosity that leads us to judge others more harshly. That's according to Chen-Bo Zhong's team, who invited 58 undergrads to a lab filled with spotless new equipment. Half the students were asked to clean their hands with an antiseptic wipe so as not to soil the shiny surfaces. Afterwards all the students rated the morality of six societal issues including pornography and ........ Read more »

Zhong, C., Strejcek, B., & Sivanathan, N. (2010) A clean self can render harsh moral judgment. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46(5), 859-862. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2010.04.003  

  • August 27, 2010
  • 02:55 AM

Effect of climate change on human morbidity and mortality and sea levels

by Sarah Stephen in An ecological oratorio

Climate change has been resulting in quite a many detrimental manifestations which tend to have a domino effect: fluctuations in temperature and precipitation (resulting in climate variability), as well as extreme manifestations such as drought, storms, rise in sea levels, and frequent severe weather events.Consider the research by Grinsted et al (2009) who used a ‘physically plausible four parameter linear response equation’ to relate nearly 2,000 years of global temperatures and sea level......... Read more »

Patz, J., Campbell-Lendrum, D., Holloway, T., & Foley, J. (2005) Impact of regional climate change on human health. Nature, 438(7066), 310-317. DOI: 10.1038/nature04188  

  • August 27, 2010
  • 12:45 AM


by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

Yup, you knew it! Let’s go back to basics. Let’s talk about ERECTIONS. Deng et al. “Real-time three-dimensional ultrasound visualization of erection and artificial coitus” International Journal of Andrology, 2006. I would have loved to see the advertisements for this study: “Men needed between ages 18-65 for study of erection and coitus. Must have no [...]... Read more »

DENG, J., HALL-CRAGGS, M., PELLERIN, D., LINNEY, A., LEES, W., RODECK, C., & TODD-POKROPEK, A. (2006) Real-time three-dimensional ultrasound visualization of erection and artificial coitus. International Journal of Andrology, 29(2), 374-379. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2605.2005.00617.x  

  • August 26, 2010
  • 11:22 PM

Bad faith migration programs

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

In the past couple of years, I have been a passenger in Sydney taxis driven, inter alia, by an agricultural engineer from India, a civil engineer from Somalia, a surgeon from Vietnam, an MBA graduate from Pakistan, an architect from … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • August 26, 2010
  • 10:59 PM

Lose the ears, but keep the neurons

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

Bigger. Better.

When thinking about the evolution of nervous systems, there is sometimes a tendency to think of a sort of manifest destiny of nervous systems. It’s part of a larger tendency to see everything in evolution as part of a “march of progress,” but somehow, I think there’s a greater tendency to think about neural evolution as a tale of ever increasing complexity.

Examples of simplification are nice examples of exceptions. Vestigial organs have always been seen as powerful exa........ Read more »

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