Post List

  • February 24, 2011
  • 08:13 PM

Tide Pool: Cephalopods, Ash, and Sulphur Are to Blame

by Dr. M in Deep Sea News

An occasional series where we briefly report 3 new studies and tell you why they are cool!

Heightened biodiversity may make an ecosystem more stabile and robust.  One of the reasons for this is that high biodiversity may create redundant species, i.e. species that serve a similar ecological role in the ecosystem.  A loss of one species may not perturb . . . → Read More: Tide Pool: Cephalopods, Ash, and Sulphur Are to Blame... Read more »

  • February 24, 2011
  • 05:36 PM

Synophalos and the Cambrian Conga Lines

by Laelaps in Laelaps

Compared to other creatures of the Cambrian seas, Synophalos xynos seems rather plain. It was not a living pincushion like Wiwaxia, its body did not resemble a walking cactus like Diania, and it wasn’t a five-eyed, schnozzle-faced enigma like Opabinia. Next to these fantastic forms, Synophalos looks like little more than a peeled shrimp, but [...]... Read more »

Hou, X., Siveter, D., Aldridge, R., & Siveter, D. (2008) Collective Behavior in an Early Cambrian Arthropod. Science, 322(5899), 224-224. DOI: 10.1126/science.1162794  

ANDRZEJ RADWAŃSKI, ADRIAN KIN, AND URSZULA RADWAŃSKA. (2009) Queues of blind phacopid trilobites Trimerocephalus: A case of frozen behaviour of Early Famennian age from the Holy Cross Mountains, Central Poland. Acta Geologica Polonica, 59(4), 459-481. info:/

  • February 24, 2011
  • 05:07 PM

It’s not the yard that matters, it’s the view

by Tim De Chant in Per Square Mile

Americans love their privacy. Most aren’t keen on high rises or even attached condos, having been imprinted with a very specific American dream—that of a single-family house on a quarter acre lot. I’m one of them. But as populations in cities and suburbs boom, there’s simply less land to go around. The result of cramming [...]... Read more »

  • February 24, 2011
  • 03:34 PM

Smoking and Adolescent Attention Deficit

by Dirk Hanson in Addiction Inbox

Are young smokers risking cognitive impairment as adults?

 Call it “nicolescence.” It’s that time of life when certain 18-and-unders discover cigarettes. Most adult smokers begin their habit before the age of 19, and a majority of adolescents have tried cigarettes at least once. But for some of them—those who were “born to smoke,” in a sense—early exposure to nicotine may influence adolescent cognitive performance in ways that adult exposure to nicotine does not. Furthermore........ Read more »

Counotte, D., Goriounova, N., Li, K., Loos, M., van der Schors, R., Schetters, D., Schoffelmeer, A., Smit, A., Mansvelder, H., Pattij, T.... (2011) Lasting synaptic changes underlie attention deficits caused by nicotine exposure during adolescence. Nature Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2770  

  • February 24, 2011
  • 01:04 PM

Scientific acupunture

by Bradley Voytek in Oscillatory Thoughts

Have you ever pointed at something with a pin? I mean, really? Because if not, you're probably not a scientist.You see, as a scientist, I do a lot of pointing at things: I point at screens with laser pointers, at whiteboards with my finger, or even at other scientists when I'm laughing at their terrible hypotheses.But that pales in comparison to how often I point with pins. So. Many. Pins. And as a neuroscientist, most of my pinpointing is at the brain:Usually, we're pinpointing where in the bra........ Read more »

  • February 24, 2011
  • 12:08 PM

Hibernation: News from the Bear’s Den

by Jim Ryan in Wild Mammals

True hibernation is particularly well understood in small mammals (i.e. ground squirrels), where core body temperatures drop to near freezing for several days or weeks during profound hibernation. Metabolic activity also declines precipitously during hibernation to roughly 5% of their non-hibernating basal metabolic rate (BMR).

...In contrast, bears hibernate for up to 7 months continuously without eating, drinking or excreting wastes (Figure 1). Unlike smaller mammalian hibernators, core ........ Read more »

Øivind Tøien1, John Blake, Dale M. Edgar, Dennis A. Grahn, H. Craig Heller, & Brian M. Barnes. (2011) Hibernation in Black Bears: Independence of Metabolic Suppression from Body Temperature. Science, 906-909. info:/10.1126/science.1199435

  • February 24, 2011
  • 11:40 AM

Seasick? Look to the Horizon for Help

by APS Daily Observations in Daily Observations

If you have a weak stomach and find yourself in rough seas, this may prove immensely important: Research by Thomas A. Stoffregen of the University of Minnesota published in the ... Read more »

Mayo, A.M., Wade, M.G., & Stoffregen, T.A. (2011) Postural effects of the horizon on land and at sea. Psychological Science, 22(1), 118-24. PMID: 21156861  

  • February 24, 2011
  • 10:11 AM

Curing Cancer with Dwarfism, Down syndrome, and Vegetables

by A. Goldstein in WiSci

With the world abuzz about dwarfism preventing cancer, we wondered: what other sorts of genetic tinkering can, unexpectedly, prevent or cure cancer? Dwarfism Laron syndrome is a genetic disorder that causes dwarfism. Individuals with Laron syndrome possess a mutation on the GHR gene, rendering the gene defective and body insensitive to human growth hormone—hence stunted [...]... Read more »

Guevara-Aguirre, J., Balasubramanian, P., Guevara-Aguirre, M., Wei, M., Madia, F., Cheng, C., Hwang, D., Martin-Montalvo, A., Saavedra, J., Ingles, S.... (2011) Growth Hormone Receptor Deficiency Is Associated with a Major Reduction in Pro-Aging Signaling, Cancer, and Diabetes in Humans. Science Translational Medicine, 3(70), 70-70. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3001845  

Baek, K., Zaslavsky, A., Lynch, R., Britt, C., Okada, Y., Siarey, R., Lensch, M., Park, I., Yoon, S., Minami, T.... (2009) Down's syndrome suppression of tumour growth and the role of the calcineurin inhibitor DSCR1. Nature, 459(7250), 1126-1130. DOI: 10.1038/nature08062  

Wang, X., Di Pasqua, A., Govind, S., McCracken, E., Hong, C., Mi, L., Mao, Y., Wu, J., Tomita, Y., Woodrick, J.... (2011) Selective Depletion of Mutant p53 by Cancer Chemopreventive Isothiocyanates and Their Structure−Activity Relationships. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 54(3), 809-816. DOI: 10.1021/jm101199t  

  • February 24, 2011
  • 09:55 AM

Hadrosaurus Was Real, After All

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Described in 1858, the partial skeleton of Hadrosaurus foulkii was one of the most important dinosaur discoveries ever made. At that time, the few known dinosaurs were represented by a collection of scraps—paltry fragments that allowed paleontologists to reconstruct them first as giant lizards, and then as strange quadrupedal beasts. The elements of Hadrosaurus caused [...]... Read more »

Albert Prieto-Márquez. (2011) Revised diagnoses of Hadrosaurus foulkii Leidy, 1858 (the type genus and species of Hadrosauridae Cope, 1869) and Claosaurus agilis Marsh, 1872 (Dinosauria: Ornithopoda) from the Late Cretaceous of North America. Zootaxa, 61-68. info:/

  • February 24, 2011
  • 09:30 AM

PsychBytes: First Names, Vegetables, and Baseball

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

PsychBytes is an experiment: three recent findings in psychology, each explained in three paragraphs or less. Generally, these are papers that I wouldn't have otherwise covered in this blog. Please share your thoughts on this model in the comments. What works, and what doesn't? Would you like more PsychBytes in the future?

What's In A Name?
People who settle down and build a life in the frontier tend to be more individualistic, even if they started out with more interdependent values. Some feat........ Read more »

Varnum ME, & Kitayama S. (2011) What's in a Name?: Popular Names Are Less Common on Frontiers. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 22(2), 176-83. PMID: 21196534  

Cooke LJ, Chambers LC, Añez EV, Croker HA, Boniface D, Yeomans MR, & Wardle J. (2011) Eating for Pleasure or Profit: The Effect of Incentives on Children's Enjoyment of Vegetables. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 22(2), 190-6. PMID: 21191095  

Pope D, & Simonsohn U. (2011) Round numbers as goals: evidence from baseball, SAT takers, and the lab. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 22(1), 71-9. PMID: 21148460  

  • February 24, 2011
  • 08:32 AM

Dr. Oz, you’re not helping diabetics

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

Dr. Mehmet Oz is one of America’s most influential doctors.  Just ask him.  He has a TV show and everything.  And in the past, much of his advice had been practical and mundane, the same advice you might hear from your own (perhaps less charismatic) physician.  But lately, he’s been giving out frankly bizarre medical [...]... Read more »

Salazar-Martinez E, Willett WC, Ascherio A, Manson JE, Leitzmann MF, Stampfer MJ, & Hu FB. (2004) Coffee consumption and risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus. Annals of internal medicine, 140(1), 1-8. PMID: 14706966  

  • February 24, 2011
  • 08:00 AM

Treatment Options For Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

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

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is by far the most common endocrine problem in women and may be present in about one in five women who fail to get pregnant.
Although the exact etiology of PCOS remains unclear, it is commonly associated with overweight and obesity, with patients often (but not always!) presenting with signs of increased [...]... Read more »

Badawy A, & Elnashar A. (2011) Treatment options for polycystic ovary syndrome. International journal of women's health, 25-35. PMID: 21339935  

  • February 24, 2011
  • 07:43 AM

Sacred Values as Heuristics

by Psychothalamus in Psychothalamus

Can being faced with a decision involving morals be a good thing? Research has shown in the past that morally-laden decisions are perceived as difficult and unpleasant. Therefore, conventional wisdom suggests that people would react characteristically when faced with decision-making with moral considerations, such as avoiding being placed in a position to make moral decisions, or spending more time contemplating over difficult moral decisions.However, perhaps there's more to it than meets t........ Read more »

Martin Hanselmann, & Carmen Tanner. (2008) Taboos and conflicts in decision making: Sacred values, decision difficulty, and emotions. Judgment and Decision Making, 3(1). info:/

  • February 24, 2011
  • 07:43 AM

Does smoking hurt as well as harm? (or, as if you needed another reason)

by Lorimer Moseley in BodyInMind

TweetI have a couple of mates who are veritable smoke-stacks. They love smoking but sort of hate being a smoker. I must confess that, at least within my community, smoking is now officially uncool and my mates are sick of people telling them good reasons to give up.  Well, as if they needed another reason, [...]... Read more »

Pisinger C, Aadahl M, Toft U, Birke H, Zytphen-Adeler J, & Jørgensen T. (2011) The association between active and passive smoking and frequent pain in a general population. European journal of pain (London, England), 15(1), 77-83. PMID: 20627783  

  • February 24, 2011
  • 07:15 AM

The ‘interactome’ of a host/pathogen triad

by Connor Bamford in The Rule of 6ix

In order to survive and replicate within their hosts, viruses must manipulate those pathways and systems in which their host relies upon for its own survival. However, this model gets more complicated with those viruses successfully infecting multiple host species. For example, Dengue virus (DENV) – an emerging pathogen which causes over 50 million cases a year of a mild to deadly disease – infects both humans and mosquito species of the Aedes genus. Thus to accomplish survival, DENV must i........ Read more »

  • February 24, 2011
  • 07:00 AM

February 24, 2011

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

Don’t assume that two identical-looking cells are the same…they may both be rounded and cute, but there is a lot of exciting stuff brewing inside. A recent paper describes the use of a clever microscopy technique to look at how subtle differences in a transcription factor’s kinetics can predict early patterning in the mouse embryo.There has always been debate and discussion about when the differences that lead to lineage patterning first appear in the cells of very early embryos. Althoug........ Read more »

Plachta, N., Bollenbach, T., Pease, S., Fraser, S., & Pantazis, P. (2011) Oct4 kinetics predict cell lineage patterning in the early mammalian embryo. Nature Cell Biology, 13(2), 117-123. DOI: 10.1038/ncb2154  

  • February 24, 2011
  • 05:54 AM

How well can we communicate emotions purely through touch?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Romantic couples outperformed pairs of strangers
Whether it's a raised eyebrow or curl of the lip, we usually think of emotions as conveyed through facial expressions and body language. Science too has focused on these forms of emotional communication, finding that there's a high degree of consistency across cultures. It's only in the last few years that psychologists have looked at whether and how the emotions can be communicated purely through touch.

A 2006 study by Matthew Hertenstein demo........ Read more »

  • February 24, 2011
  • 04:49 AM

Neanderthals and ornaments, birds of a feather?

by Julien Riel-Salvatore in A Very Remote Period Indeed

© Mauro Cutrona.
M. Peresani and colleagues (2011) report on the discovery of cut-marked bird bones from the latest Mousterian levels at Grotta di Fumane, located in the Veneto region of NE Italy. They interpret the fact that these cutmarks are almost exclusively found on wing bones of only a subset of the 22 species of birds found at Fumane as evidence that Neanderthals there specifically ... Read more »

Zilhao, J., Angelucci, D., Badal-Garcia, E., d'Errico, F., Daniel, F., Dayet, L., Douka, K., Higham, T., Martinez-Sanchez, M., Montes-Bernardez, R.... (2010) Symbolic use of marine shells and mineral pigments by Iberian Neandertals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(3), 1023-1028. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0914088107  

  • February 24, 2011
  • 03:51 AM

Cell Phones Are Somehow Related To The Brain

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

The BBC saysMobile phones 'affect the brain'The paper's from Nora Volkow and colleagues from NIDA in the USA. Volkow's best known for her work on addiction.47 people got 18FDG Positron Emission Tomography. This method measures brain glucose use as a proxy for how hard cells are working. They say that this makes it better than other kinds of PET which merely measure regional blood flow. I bet they really wanted to do this study with fMRI, because PET scans cost loads, but of course you can't take........ Read more »

Volkow, N., Tomasi, D., Wang, G., Vaska, P., Fowler, J., Telang, F., Alexoff, D., Logan, J., & Wong, C. (2011) Effects of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Signal Exposure on Brain Glucose Metabolism. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 305(8), 808-813. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2011.186  

  • February 24, 2011
  • 12:52 AM

The scientist-journalist divide: what can we learn from each other?

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

Last week, the journal Nature published two research papers on the effects of human-caused global warming on extreme precipitation events. I’m working on a post on the papers, and they’ve already received quite a bit of attention in the media. … Continue reading →... Read more »

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