Studying ancient microbes requires creativity. Contamination and preservation are the primary problems, dealing with limited and degraded tissues. We don’t find corpses in permafrost every day! Most of the time tissue is confined to bones and mummies kept in a wide variety of environments. This post will review some of the major tools I have [...]... Read more »
Drancourt, M., & Raoult, D. (2005) Palaeomicrobiology: current issues and perspectives. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 3(1), 23-35. DOI: 10.1038/nrmicro1063
Last February, an international controversy descended over the landlocked country of Malawi. The cause of this was a new bill about to be put forward that centred on the maintenance of clear air in public places.
Any person who vitiates the atmosphere in any place so as to make it noxious to the public to the health of persons in general dwelling or carrying on business in the neighbourhood or passing along a public way shall be guilty of a misdemeanour... Read more »
Schaffner W, Lefkowitz LB Jr, Goodman JS, & Koenig MG. (1969) Hospital outbreak of infections with group a streptococci traced to an asymptomatic anal carrier. The New England journal of medicine, 280(22), 1224-5. PMID: 4889553
McKee WM, Di Caprio JM, Roberts CE Jr, & Sherris JC. (1966) Anal carriage as the probable source of a streptococcal epidemic. Lancet, 2(7471), 1007-9. PMID: 4162660
Mole crickets (Gryllotalpidae) are cosmopolitan (except the poles), 3.2 – 3.5 cm (average, they can be larger than 5 cm!) relatives of crickets (suborder Ensifera, superfamily Grylloidea), named after the mole, since they are both animals that are highly-dependent on burrowing, and they kind of resemble each other (see drawing of Gryllotalpa hexadactyle to the [...]... Read more »
PERRICHOT, V., NERAUDEAU, D., AZAR, D., MENIER, J., & NEL, A. (2002) A new genus and species of fossil mole cricket in the Lower Cretaceous amber of Charente-Maritime, SW France (Insecta: Orthoptera: Gryllotalpidae). Cretaceous Research, 23(3), 307-314. DOI: 10.1006/cres.2002.1011
Hill, P., Wells, H., & Shadley, J. (2006) Singing from a constructed burrow: why vary the shape of the burrow mouth?. Journal of Orthoptera Research, 15(1), 23-29. DOI: 10.1665/1082-6467(2006)15[23:SFACBW]2.0.CO;2
The excitement (and nervous uncertainty) is tangible on botanical taxonomy e-mail lists with the recent news that the nomenclature section of the International Botanical Congress, the governing body of the rules on how we describe new species and other taxa, voted at this year's Melbourne conference to drop the requirement that all new taxa must be described in print publications. If the rule is adopted by the whole Congress, we'll soon see new taxa being published in online-only peer-........ Read more »
Lowrie, A., & Conran, J.G. (2011) An overview of the Australian Levenhookia (Stylidiaceae) complex, including a new species (L. murfetii) and observations on the triggering methods employed for pollination and outcrossing. Triggerplant Journal, 1(2), 4-29. info:/
A number of years ago I was walking along Lake Michigan with a friend (a fellow medical resident) when she turned to me and said, "are you wheezing? Do you have asthma?" I had always been physically active and assumed my breathlessness while walking down the trail was due to the thirty extra pounds of [...]... Read more »
Wechsler ME, Kelley JM, Boyd IO, Dutile S, Marigowda G, Kirsch I, Israel E, & Kaptchuk TJ. (2011) Active albuterol or placebo, sham acupuncture, or no intervention in asthma. The New England journal of medicine, 365(2), 119-26. PMID: 21751905
If you weren’t yet aware, bees have been kind of a big deal in the science world lately. I’m not making this up: they can learn to recognize human faces, they can monitor air quality, and, oh yeah, they can solve problems faster than supercomputers.
Though this blog has already featured insects more than I would have imagined (i.e. at all), this post is about something I really feel the need to share. Because, every so often, I come across something for which the research is so ov........ Read more »
Li Y, Chen M, Xuan H, & Hu F. (2012) Effects of encapsulated propolis on blood glycemic control, lipid metabolism, and insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes mellitus rats. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 981896. PMID: 21716678
El-Ghazaly MA, Rashed RR, & Khayyal MT. (2011) Anti-ulcerogenic effect of aqueous propolis extract and the influence of radiation exposure. International journal of radiation biology. PMID: 21745002
Pessolato AG, Martins DD, Ambrósio CE, Mançanares CA, & de Carvalho AF. (2011) Propolis and amnion reepithelialise second-degree burns in rats. Burns : journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries. PMID: 21741176
Daleprane JB, da Silva Freitas V, Pacheco A, Rudnicki M, Faine LA, Dörr FA, Ikegaki M, Salazar LA, Ong TP, & Abdalla DS. (2011) Anti-atherogenic and anti-angiogenic activities of polyphenols from propolis. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry. PMID: 21764281
Borges KS, Brassesco MS, Scrideli CA, Soares AE, & Tone LG. (2011) Antiproliferative effects of Tubi-bee propolis in glioblastoma cell lines. Genetics and molecular biology, 34(2), 310-4. PMID: 21734835
In today’s post, I’d like to talk about something that many animals can do, and that humans simply cannot. I’m not referring to flying, breathing through gills, spinning webs, or running at 70 miles an hour across the African Savanna. … Continue reading →... Read more »
Heyers, D., Zapka, M., Hoffmeister, M., Wild, J., & Mouritsen, H. (2010) Magnetic field changes activate the trigeminal brainstem complex in a migratory bird. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(20), 9394-9399. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0907068107
Heyers, D., Manns, M., Luksch, H., Güntürkün, O., & Mouritsen, H. (2007) A Visual Pathway Links Brain Structures Active during Magnetic Compass Orientation in Migratory Birds. PLoS ONE, 2(9). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0000937
In a nice new study, Pierrick Bourrat (at the University of Sydney) and colleagues have shown that people are more likely to judge others severely when they are given even subtle hints of being watched.
The set-up was simple. The subjects (recruited from the Campus Universitaire de Jussieu in Paris) had to read a tale of a minor misdeed - finding a wallet in the street and keeping the cash, or falsifying a resume - and then judge how morally wrong it was.
The twist was that half the subjects h........ Read more »
Bourra P, Baumard N, & McKay R. (2011) Surveillance Cues Enhance Moral Condemnation. Evolutionary Psychology, 9(2), 192-199. info:/
In 2003, the US kidney allocation system was loosened to eliminate HLA-B similarity. (Improvement in anti-rejection meds made this possible) During the first six years after the change, total number of deceased donor transplants rose 23% in comparison to the six years prior to the change, including 40% increase for minorities. There appeared to be no adverse effect on graft survival after two years. And that part nags at me a bit. They tracked for six years, and only looked at the two year graf........ Read more »
Ashby VB, Port FK, Wolfe RA, Wynn JJ, Williams WW, Roberts JP, & Leichtman AB. (2011) Transplanting Kidneys Without Points for HLA-B Matching: Consequences of the Policy Change. American journal of transplantation : official journal of the American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons. PMID: 21672159
If the measure of a story’s importance is whether it makes it into the New York Times, then a new biofuels study in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment deserves our attention.
The study looks at the impending transition of the U.S. biofuel industry from one based on corn to one using ‘second-generation’ feedstocks. Specifically, the study presents a hypothetical scenario in which all corn-based ethanol is replaced with switchgrass and miscanthus, two promising perennial c........ Read more »
Davis, S., Parton, W., Del Grosso, S., Keough, C., Marx, E., Adler, P., & DeLucia, E. (2011) Impact of second-generation biofuel agriculture on greenhouse-gas emissions in the corn-growing regions of the US. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1890/110003
On February 23rd 1987, the journey of some light that had been travelling for 168,000 years came to an end. Astronomer Ian Shelton at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile was observing the night sky as usual when he saw something out of the ordinary.... Read more »
Matsuura M, Dwek E, Meixner M, Otsuka M, Babler B, Barlow MJ, Roman-Duval J, Engelbracht C, Sandstrom K, Lakicevic M.... (2011) Herschel Detects a Massive Dust Reservoir in Supernova 1987A. Science (New York, N.Y.). PMID: 21737700
College was a busy time for me and by extension a trying period for my roommate Vanessa. Unlike the average 19 year old, Vanessa had assumed such adult-like habits as washing dishes directly after eating a meal, making regular trips to take out the trash, and refusing to live with scum and filth in general (God forbid). These healthy habits were by no means my own. I was just learning how to balance the demands of my two priorities: a heavy workload at NYU and a debaucherous social life........ Read more »
It’s easy to forget amidst the concern over sprawl that agriculture is still the dominant human impact on the land. Perhaps that’s because it’s easy to rationalize the consequences of agriculture’s land use—it feeds us, after all. But that shouldn’t dissuade us from finding ways to improve farm efficiency. Global population growth shows no signs of [...]... Read more »
A recently published article in the Journal of Quaternary Science by Strasser and colleagues suggests new dates for stone tools discovered on the island of Crete. Namely, the artifacts are associated with geological strata that date to the late Middle Pleistocene or early Late Pleistocene, meaning a terminus ante quem of 125,000 years ago.
An archaeological survey in the Plakias area of Crete between 2008-09 uncovered nine sites and over 400 artifacts. The stone tools discovered wer........ Read more »
T. Strasser, E. Panagopoulou, C. Runnels, P. Murray, N. Thompson, P. Karkanas, F. McCoy, & K. Wegmann. (2010) Stone Age seafaring in the Mediterranean: Evidence from the Plakias region for Lower Palaeolithic and Mesolithic habitation of Crete. Hesperia, 79(2), 145-190. info:/
T. Strasser, C. Runnels, K. Wegmann, E. Panagopoulou, F. McCoy, C. Digregorio, P. Karkanas, & N. Thompson. (2011) Dating Palaeolithic sites in southwestern Crete, Greece. Journal of Quaternary Science, 26(5), 553-560. info:/10.1002/jqs.1482
It’s not what you know, but who you know. It is something of a cliché, but in a world where the social context of knowledge is becoming increasingly important. Think Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, Mendeley etc. The data, the information, seems only relevant if we have some kind of peer review, the “+1″, “like”, or “thumbs-up” [...]It’s not what you know… is a post from: Sciencebase Science Blog
... Read more »
Eoin Whelan. (2011) It’s who you know not what you know: a social network analysis approach to talent management. European J. International Management, 5(5), 484-500. info:/
Coffee rust (Hemileia vastarix) is fungus that is one of the most devastating coffee diseases in the world. Native to Africa, it is now present in every coffee-growing nation. Infected [...]
... Read more »
Avelino, J., Willocquet, L., & Savary, S. (2004) Effects of crop management patterns on coffee rust epidemics. Plant Pathology, 53(5), 541-547. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3059.2004.01067.x
Vandermeer, J., Perfecto, I., & Liere, H. (2009) Evidence for hyperparasitism of coffee rust(Hemileia vastatrix) by the entomogenous fungus, Lecanicillium lecanii, through a complex ecological web . Plant Pathology, 58(4), 636-641. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3059.2009.02067.x
Vandermeer, J., Perfecto, I., & Philpott, S. (2010) Ecological Complexity and Pest Control in Organic Coffee Production: Uncovering an Autonomous Ecosystem Service. BioScience, 60(7), 527-537. DOI: 10.1525/bio.2010.60.7.8
In emergency situations involving children, it’s tempting for doctors to do everything possible to get information, especially when anxious parents are at hand. Unfortunately, that can mean a lot of unnecessary imaging and radiation exposure, and sometimes fruitless exploratory surgery.
This has spurred a search for biomarkers that can reliably make or rule out a diagnosis, as in appendicitis, and the creation of decision rules about the need for imaging, as in minor head trauma and blu........ Read more »
Neuman MI, Graham D, & Bachur R. (2011) Variation in the use of chest radiography for pneumonia in pediatric emergency departments. Pediatric Emergency Care, 27(7), 606-10. PMID: 21712748
Neuman MI, Scully KJ, Kim D, Shah S, & Bachur RG. (2010) Physician assessment of the likelihood of pneumonia in a pediatric emergency department. Pediatric Emergency Care, 26(11), 817-22. PMID: 20944506
Neuman MI, Monuteaux MC, Scully KJ, & Bachur RG. (2011) Prediction of Pneumonia in a Pediatric Emergency Department. Pediatrics. PMID: 21746723
There has been recent interest in the issue of migraine and work impairment related to Michele Bachmann, a candidate for the Republican Party in the 2012 presidential election. Bachmann has acknowledged that she suffers from migraine headaches. The attending physician to Congress released a letter stating representative Bachmann's migraine headaches are infrequent, related to known triggers and managed on as needed medications including sumatriptan and ondansetron.This issue prompts ........ Read more »
Bigal, M., & Lipton, R. (2009) The Epidemiology, Burden, and Comorbidities of Migraine. Neurologic Clinics, 27(2), 321-334. DOI: 10.1016/j.ncl.2008.11.011
Buse, D., Rupnow, M., & Lipton, R. (2009) Assessing and Managing All Aspects of Migraine: Migraine Attacks, Migraine-Related Functional Impairment, Common Comorbidities, and Quality of Life. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 84(5), 422-435. DOI: 10.4065/84.5.422
Illnesses have a tendency to clump together. An attack of the flu can bring on bacterial lung infections; in the USA almost half of all cases of bacterial sepsis occur following viral infections in the lungs. This is a problem at the best of times as it means that patients spend longer in hospitals, but in times of a viral pandemic it becomes incredibly deadly.... Read more »
Beadling, C., & Slifka, M. (2004) How do viral infections predispose patients to bacterial infections?. Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases, 17(3), 185-191. DOI: 10.1097/00001432-200406000-00003
Kim YG, Park JH, Reimer T, Baker DP, Kawai T, Kumar H, Akira S, Wobus C, & Núñez G. (2011) Viral infection augments nod1/2 signaling to potentiate lethality associated with secondary bacterial infections. Cell host , 9(6), 496-507. PMID: 21669398
Brundage, J. (2006) Interactions between influenza and bacterial respiratory pathogens: implications for pandemic preparedness. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 6(5), 303-312. DOI: 10.1016/S1473-3099(06)70466-2
Daniel Nettle's model of linguistic diversity which showed that linguistic variation tends to decline even with a small amount of migration between communities. I wondered if statistics about population movement would correlate with linguistic diversity. I found that number of traffic fatalities are a pretty good predictor. What's going on?... Read more »
Atkinson QD. (2011) Phonemic diversity supports a serial founder effect model of language expansion from Africa. Science (New York, N.Y.), 332(6027), 346-9. PMID: 21493858
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