The ribosome produces proteins by matching tRNA that has been correctly loaded with an amino acid to a codon (triplet of DNA bases) in the mRNA that contains the gene sequence. The triplet code allows 64 combinations of nucleotide bases, but proteins are made from only 20 amino acids (plus a "stop" signal). This means that most amino acids are coded by multiple codons, and hence have multiple tRNAs. Not all codons are created equal, however; in bacteria some codons are found much less frequently........ Read more »
Zhang, G., Hubalewska, M., & Ignatova, Z. (2009) Transient ribosomal attenuation coordinates protein synthesis and co-translational folding. Nature Structural , 16(3), 274-280. DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.1554
During our little climatic digression in this week's podclast, Chris brought up a study that I hadn't heard about, in which Paul Newman (no, not that one) of NASA's Goddard Centre (who have a nice write-up) and his colleagues play a game of climatic what if: what if the discovery that chloroflourocarbons (CFCs) destroyed stratospheric ozone had been ignored, and were not phased out in the decade following the signing of the Montreal Protocol in 1987? Do our more sophisticated climate models, whi........ Read more »
P. A. Newman, L. D. Oman, A. R. Douglass, E. L. Fleming, S. M. Frith, M. M. Hurwitz, S. R. Kawa, H. Jackman, N. A. Krotkov, E. R. Nash.... (2009) What would have happened to the ozone layer if chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) had not been regulated?. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 2113-2128. DOI: http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/9/2113/2009/acp-9-2113-2009.html
An interesting study released earlier this week attracted the attention of many bloggers and commentators. It's basic premise is that religious patients with advanced cancer are more likely to opt for aggressive end-of-life treatment. In other words, the more religious they are, the more likely it is that they will place less faith in God and more faith in medical treatment and technology. Let's analyse:
Andrea Phelps and colleagues acknowledge that religion and beliefs account for ........ Read more »
Phelps, A., Maciejewski, P., Nilsson, M., Balboni, T., Wright, A., Paulk, M., Trice, E., Schrag, D., Peteet, J., Block, S.... (2009) Religious Coping and Use of Intensive Life-Prolonging Care Near Death in Patients With Advanced Cancer. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 301(11), 1140-1147. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2009.341
Anomalocaris ruled the Cambrian seas but apparently so did a one and half meter cousin. Hurdia victoria, originally described in 1912, was known from just a jumble of crustacean-like pieces. An examination of new fossils, plus a few old ones, suggest a body architecture similar to the anomalocaridids including a segmented body with [...]... Read more »
Daley, A., Budd, G., Caron, J., Edgecombe, G., & Collins, D. (2009) The Burgess Shale Anomalocaridid Hurdia and Its Significance for Early Euarthropod Evolution. Science, 323(5921), 1597-1600. DOI: 10.1126/science.1169514
Cells in higher organisms exist in a dynamic environment, requiring the ability to alternately grasp and disengage from the three-dimensional web of their surroundings. One family of proteins in particular, the integrins, plays a key role in this process by acting as the hands of the cell. Spanning the cell membrane, they link the extracellular matrix to the cell's internal cytoskeleton. Integrins are especially interesting, though, because the cell uses them to uniquely pass signals in both ........ Read more »
Goult, B., Bate, N., Anthis, N., Wegener, K., Gingras, A., Patel, B., Barsukov, I., Campbell, I., Roberts, G., & Critchley, D. (2009) The structure of an interdomain complex which regulates talin activity. Journal of Biological Chemistry. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M900078200
Discusses a computer simulation of vortices behind a bat in flight that won an award in the 2007 Visualization Challenge Winners.... Read more »
Last week I mentioned that Greta had been discussing a study with her class that was related to the fable of the Fox and the Grapes. When most of her students hadn't heard the story, it provided the opportunity for a lengthy aside: our Casual Fridays study about which stories people had and hadn't heard.
Greta didn't bring up the story in class to embarrass her students about their apparent lack of knowledge of children's stories; she mentioned it because it's probably the easiest way to under........ Read more »
Lieberman, M., Ochsner, K., Gilbert, D., & Schacter, D. (2001) Do Amnesics Exhibit Cognitive Dissonance Reduction?: The Role of Explicit Memory and Attention in Attitude Change. Psychological Science, 12(2), 135-140. DOI: 10.1111/1467-9280.00323
Emilio Bruna of the University of Florida wanted to assign students in his graduate seminar on plant -animal interactions something different than a term paper. So he devised a novel plan that would help them learn some crucial concepts while writing concisely: rewriting Wikipedia entries. I caught up with Emilio and student Kristine Callis, who [...]... Read more »
Callis, K., Christ, L., Resasco, J., Armitage, D., Ash, J., Caughlin, T., Clemmensen, S., Copeland, S., Fullman, T., Lynch, R.... (2009) Improving Wikipedia: educational opportunity and professional responsibility. Trends in Ecology . DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2009.01.003
What do our brains have in common with piles of sand, earthquakes, forest fires and avalanches? Each of those is a dynamic system in a self-organized critical state, and according to a new study in PloS Computational Biology, so is the brain.
Systems in a critical state are on the cusp of a transition between ordered and random behavior. Take a pile of sand for example: as grains of sand are added to the pile, they eventually form a slope. At a certain point, the sloping sand reaches a &l........ Read more »
Manfred G. Kitzbichler, Marie L. Smith, Søren R. Christensen, Ed Bullmore. (2009) Broadband Criticality of Human Brain Network Synchronization. PLoS Computational Biology.
E. O. Wilson, referring to the ethical imperative we should apply to the conservation of life, said “The ethical imperative should be, first of all, prudence. We should judge every scrap of biodiversity as priceless while we learn to use it and to come to understand what it means to humanity” (pg. 351, The Diversity of Life). Although, I would argue we should aim to learn biodiversity’s value, both intrinsic and extrinsic, as opposed to what it solely means to humanity, his point is protec........ Read more »
Grantham, H., Wilson, K., Moilanen, A., Rebelo, T., & Possingham, H. (2009) Delaying conservation actions for improved knowledge: how long should we wait?. Ecology Letters, 12(4), 293-301. DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2009.01287.x
By a strange coincidence, after writing about regulating activity levels yesterday, I came across a pre-print editorial in the European Journal of Pain discussing exactly this: avoidance or persistence.
We’ve become quite familiar with the avoidance idea - avoidance leading to deactivation, leading to disability, loss of roles, depression and so on. There have been [...]... Read more »
Some of the species in the genus Pseudo-nitzschia are nasty little diatoms. They produce domoic acid, a neurotoxin typically to blame for all sorts of marine vertebrate deaths. Alfred Hitcocks’s 1963 film “The Birds” dramatizes a bird attack incident blamed on domoic acid. Human consumption of shellfish that has filtered Pseudo-nitzschia leads to amnesic shellfish [...]... Read more »
Sekula-Wood, E., Schnetzer, A., Benitez-Nelson, C., Anderson, C., Berelson, W., Brzezinski, M., Burns, J., Caron, D., Cetinic, I., Ferry, J.... (2009) Rapid downward transport of the neurotoxin domoic acid in coastal waters. Nature Geoscience. DOI: 10.1038/ngeo472
A couple of epidemiologists from University College London have published a meta-analysis* of nearly 60 studies into the relationship between religion and health.Their aim was to give a definitive statement not only whether religious people have better health, but to get some precision on what types of religiousness are important.The figure shows the results from prospective studies (i.e. ones where they measure religiosity, and then some time down the road they measured health) in originally he........ Read more »
With my graduate school circus hopefully about to fold up tent, I will leave you with the abstract for this recent interesting Science paper which challenges a classic sophomore organic chemistry notion; that electron donating groups on benzene direct para and ortho substitution in electrophilic aromatic substitution reactions. By using a clever copper catalyst the authors manage to coax an aryl group to neatly substitute meta to an amido substituent, thus effecting a valuable C-H bond arylation........ Read more »
Phipps, R., & Gaunt, M. (2009) A Meta-Selective Copper-Catalyzed C-H Bond Arylation. Science, 323(5921), 1593-1597. DOI: 10.1126/science.1169975
Less than 2% of genomic DNA codes for protein. The remaining noncoding portions have been dismissively referred to as junk. Junk implies that because the DNA doesn’t code for proteins, it isn’t functional. In recent years, researchers showed that so-called junk DNA contains regulatory regions, promoters and enhancers that regulate gene expression. Identifying and cloning a gene is one thing, but knowing when and where it’s expressed is crucial to understand how organisms develop and functi........ Read more »
Visel, A., Blow, M., Li, Z., Zhang, T., Akiyama, J., Holt, A., Plajzer-Frick, I., Shoukry, M., Wright, C., Chen, F.... (2009) ChIP-seq accurately predicts tissue-specific activity of enhancers. Nature, 457(7231), 854-858. DOI: 10.1038/nature07730
This week I will be writing a series of micro reviews of recent treatment studies. Some of these articles are controversial for different reasons, for example below I discuss issues with single-case reports and later this week I will discuss issues regarding conflict of interest in the publication process. The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders just published a case report on the... Read more »
Reichow, B., Barton, E., Good, L., & Wolery, M. (2009) Brief Report: Effects of Pressure Vest Usage on Engagement and Problem Behaviors of a Young Child with Developmental Delays. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-009-0726-3
Has it really been that long?
More than two years ago, I wrote a post entitled Death by Alternative Medicine: Who's to Blame? The topic of the post was a case report that I had heard while visiting the tumor board of an affiliate of my former cancer center describing a young woman who had rejected conventional therapy for an eminently treatable breast cancer and then returned two or three years later with a large, nasty tumor that was much more difficult to treat and possibly metastatic to the........ Read more »
H. J. G. Bloom,, W. W. Richardson, & E. J. Harries. (1962) Natural History of Untreated Breast Cancer (1805-1933). British Medical Journal, 213-221. DOI: PMC1925646
Chang, E., Glissmeyer, M., Tonnes, S., Hudson, T., & Johnson, N. (2006) Outcomes of breast cancer in patients who use alternative therapies as primary treatment. The American Journal of Surgery, 192(4), 471-473. DOI: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2006.05.013
Verkooijen, H., Fioretta, G., Rapiti, E., Bonnefoi, H., Vlastos, G., Kurtz, J., Schaefer, P., Sappino, A., Schubert, H., & Bouchardy, C. (2005) Patients' Refusal of Surgery Strongly Impairs Breast Cancer Survival. Annals of Surgery, 242(2), 276-280. DOI: 10.1097/01.sla.0000171305.31703.84
A lot has already been written in the blogosphre regarding this study that found the brain regions that are involved in first impression formation. I view the study from a slightly different angle , but first let me introduce the study and its main findings.
The study was focused on finding the brain regions that are involved in the impression formation of a new social entity. We all know that we form automatic and consistent first impressions of strangers we meet based on things like their fac........ Read more »
The medicalization of many social facets of our lives, multitasking pharmaceuticals and disease mongering are problems we should face head one.
The overlap between business ethics and medical ethics represent a moral minefield. Nowhere more so than in the domain of newly recognised and previously untreated disorders, syndromes and diseases, among them social anxiety disorder, non-physiological [...]Post from: Sciencebase Science Blog... Read more »
Poitras, G. (2009) Business ethics, medical ethics and economic medicalization. International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics, 4(4), 372. DOI: 10.1504/IJBGE.2009.023789
The other day I talked about about resurrecting the antiviral response in HIV patients. 1 Antiviral T cells in HIV (and other chronic immune responses) become exhausted: After long exposure to antigen, the cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) become dysfunctional, incapable of mounting a potent response to the virus. This exhausted state is correlated [...]... Read more »
Yuan, J., Gnjatic, S., Li, H., Powel, S., Gallardo, H., Ritter, E., Ku, G., Jungbluth, A., Segal, N., Rasalan, T.... (2008) CTLA-4 blockade enhances polyfunctional NY-ESO-1 specific T cell responses in metastatic melanoma patients with clinical benefit. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(51), 20410-20415. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0810114105
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