Post List

  • February 2, 2010
  • 03:00 AM

What Enables Termites to Fly in Rain?

by Michael Long in Phased

Gregory Watson (James Cook University, Australia) and coworkers have discovered small-scale architecture on termite wings that imparts remarkable water-repelling properties, while adding only minimal weight to the wings, enabling a species of weak fliers to readily fly in rain. This news feature was written on February 2, 2010.... Read more »

  • February 2, 2010
  • 02:20 AM

Selection Of Medical Students

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD

The government of The Netherlands has decided to abolish the numerous fixus (weighted lottery) for medical education. This meant that only 2850 students were able to go to med school a year. The numerous fixus was mainly based on high grades on high school. Universities are allowed to make there own selection criteria for admittance [...]

Related posts:Good characters make good motivated medical students? Intrinsic motivation occurs when people engage in an activity...
Frequent and influenti........ Read more »

Urlings-Strop, L., Stijnen, T., Themmen, A., & Splinter, T. (2009) Selection of medical students: a controlled experiment. Medical Education, 43(2), 175-183. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2008.03267.x  

  • February 2, 2010
  • 01:22 AM

How to feed the world

by Jeremy in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

There’s a fascinating paper in last week’s Science Express from a heavyweight bunch of scientists and advisers in the UK, on “the challenge of feeding 9 billion people”. It makes some seriously interesting points, raising lots of questions (and far fewer answers, natch). And being as it is both very tightly written and behind [...]... Read more »

Godfray, H., Beddington, J., Crute, I., Haddad, L., Lawrence, D., Muir, J., Pretty, J., Robinson, S., Thomas, S., & Toulmin, C. (2010) Food Security: The Challenge of Feeding 9 Billion People. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1185383  

  • February 2, 2010
  • 12:02 AM

In the news this month: the coolest brown dwarf yet

by Megan in Rigel

An international team, led by astronomers at the University of Hertfordshire have discovered what may be the coolest sub-stellar body ever found outside our own solar system. Using the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) in Hawaii, the , smaller than other stars but larger than gas giant planets such as Jupiter. The object, known as SDSS1416+13B, is only visible in infra-red light and is in a wide orbit around a somewhat brighter and warmer known as SDSS1416+13A. This discovery is "the fo........ Read more »

Ben Burningham, S. K. Leggett, P. W. Lucas, D. J. Pinfield, R. L. Smart, A. C. Day-Jones, H. R. A. Jones, D. Murray, E. Nickson, M. Tamura.... (2010) The discovery of a very cool binary system. MNRAS. arXiv: 1001.4393v1

  • February 1, 2010
  • 11:50 PM

In the news this month: coronal loops imaged around another star

by Megan in Rigel

Most of our knowledge of the processes and morphology of stellar coronae comes from observing our nearest star, the Sun. Coronal loops are associated with sunspot groups which affect the streams of charged particles leaving the Sun as the solar wind, so an understanding of the processes in these loops has implications for space weather predictions which can impact on satellite operations and the safety of astronauts.Studying the same processes in other stars is difficult due to the distances inv........ Read more »

Peterson, W., Mutel, R., Güdel, M., & Goss, W. (2010) A large coronal loop in the Algol system. Nature, 463(7278), 207-209. DOI: 10.1038/nature08643  

  • February 1, 2010
  • 11:18 PM

In the news this month: Chandra tells tails of extragalactic star formation

by Megan in Rigel

Star formation is usually thought of as occurring mainly in the spiral arms of galaxies. In close encounters or collisions between galaxies, the orbits of these stars around the galactic disk can be disrupted, resulting in some stars being thrown out into intergalactic space. But new results from the Chandra X-ray Observatory suggest that, at least in some cases, stars can form outside the normal boundaries of galactic disks.A team led by Ming Sun at the University of Virginia used the orbiting ........ Read more »

Sun, M., Donahue, M., Roediger, E., Nulsen, P., Voit, G., Sarazin, C., Forman, W., & Jones, C. (2010) SPECTACULAR X-RAY TAILS, INTRACLUSTER STAR FORMATION, AND ULXs IN A3627. The Astrophysical Journal, 708(2), 946-964. DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/708/2/946  

  • February 1, 2010
  • 07:11 PM

Metabolic Muddle #004

by sandnsurf in Life in the Fast Lane

You are asked to review a 73 year old lady who is in hospital for treatment of septic arthritis affecting a prosthetic right hip joint inserted 5 years earlier. The joint has been washed out and debrided twice, and she is receiving IV flucloxacillin and meropenem following culture of a methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus. She is on regular paracetamol for pain. Unfortunately, she has continued to deteriorate...

Related posts:Metabolic Muddle #003
Metabolic Muddle #001
Metabolic Muddle ........ Read more »

Dempsey GA, Lyall HJ, Corke CF, & Scheinkestel CD. (2000) Pyroglutamic acidemia: a cause of high anion gap metabolic acidosis. Critical care medicine, 28(6), 1803-7. PMID: 10890623  

Peter JV, Rogers N, Murty S, Gerace R, Mackay R, & Peake SL. (2006) An unusual cause of severe metabolic acidosis. The Medical journal of Australia, 185(4), 223-5. PMID: 16922670  

  • February 1, 2010
  • 05:56 PM

Neanderthal toothpicking - 100,000 year-old evidence from Poland

by Julien Riel-Salvatore in A Very Remote Period Indeed

There's an interesting newsreport that summarizes a recent paper on the discovery, context and characteristics of three Neanderthal teeth recovered from Stajnia Cave, in southern Poland. Urbanowski et al. (2010) suggest that, on the basis of the associated fauna, which comprises mostly reindeer as well as some red deer, horses and ibex, as well as some cut-marked cave bear bones, the most likely age for these remains falls towards the end of Oxygen Isotope Stage 5, somewhere between 80-100,000BP........ Read more »

Urbanowski, M., Socha, P., Dąbrowski, P., Nowaczewska, W., Sadakierska-Chudy, A., Dobosz, T., Stefaniak, K., & Nadachowski, A. (2010) The first Neanderthal tooth found North of the Carpathian Mountains. Naturwissenschaften. DOI: 10.1007/s00114-010-0646-2  

  • February 1, 2010
  • 04:27 PM

grumpiness is best?

by alison in bioblog

Today's Herald carried a story from the UK's Telegraph, which looked at some research into the social behaviour of chimpanzees & bonobos ('pigmy' chimanzees). And - as usual - extrapolated from this to people... Grumpiness, it told is, was a sign of...... Read more »

V.Wobber, R.Wrangham . (2010) Bonobos exhibit delayed development of social behaivour and cognition relative to chimpanzees. current biology. info:/10/1016/j.cub.2009.11.070

  • February 1, 2010
  • 04:11 PM

Addiction Behavior in One Protein

by Rob Mitchum in ScienceLife

Addiction is a hard disease to define. We all understand in a general sense what addiction to drugs or sex or food means or looks like, but when it comes to an explicit definition, even the experts struggle. In the DSM-IV, the manual for psychiatric disease, addiction is bifurcated into “substance abuse” and “substance dependence,” [...]... Read more »

  • February 1, 2010
  • 03:01 PM

Success in the fight against childhood diarrhea

by Peter Lipson in Science-Based Medicine

Rotavirus is the world’s most common cause of severe childhood diarrhea.  In the U.S. alone, rotavirus disease leads to around 70,000 hospitalizations, 3/4 million ER visits, and nearly half-a-million doctor office visits yearly.  But it rarely causes death.
The same is not true for the developing world.  Rotavirus disease is estimated to kill around a half-million [...]... Read more »

Madhi, S., Cunliffe, N., Steele, D., Witte, D., Kirsten, M., Louw, C., Ngwira, B., Victor, J., Gillard, P., Cheuvart, B.... (2010) Effect of Human Rotavirus Vaccine on Severe Diarrhea in African Infants. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(4), 289-298. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0904797  

Richardson, V., Hernandez-Pichardo, J., Quintanar-Solares, M., Esparza-Aguilar, M., Johnson, B., Gomez-Altamirano, C., Parashar, U., & Patel, M. (2010) Effect of Rotavirus Vaccination on Death from Childhood Diarrhea in Mexico. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(4), 299-305. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0905211  

Patel, N., Hertel, P., Estes, M., de la Morena, M., Petru, A., Noroski, L., Revell, P., Hanson, I., Paul, M., Rosenblatt, H.... (2010) Vaccine-Acquired Rotavirus in Infants with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(4), 314-319. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0904485  

  • February 1, 2010
  • 01:25 PM

Simulations long enough to...put you to sleep

by The Curious Wavefunction in The Curious Wavefunction

For something as widely used for as long as general anesthetics (GAs), one would think that their molecular mechanism of action would have been fairly understood. Far from it. From Linus Pauling's theory of gases like xenon acting at high concentrations by forming clathrates to more recent theories of GA action on lipids and now on proteins, tantalizing clues have emerged, but speculation remains rife. In a recent Acc. Chem. Res. review, a group of researchers explains some recent studies on GA ........ Read more »

  • February 1, 2010
  • 01:19 PM

Fetid Fish Revise Understanding of Fossil Formation

by GrrlScientist in Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

tags: evolutionary biology, paleontology, fossils, fossilization, fossil forensics, Taphonomy, taxonomy, zoology, deep time, paleoceanography, amphioxus, Branchiostoma lanceolatum, lamprey, Lampetra fluviatilis, chordates,,peer-reviewed research, peer-reviewed paper

Three rotting Amphioxus heads.
A sequence of images showing how the characteristic features of the body of amphioxus, a close living relative of vertebrates, change during decay. Colours are caused by interferen........ Read more »

  • February 1, 2010
  • 12:20 PM

Sharing Among Children - The Effect of "Currency"

by Daniel Hawes in Ingenious Monkey | 20-two-5

Here's how children play the Dictator Game when given stickers of different "value"...... Read more »

Peter R. Blake; David G. Randbc. (2009) Currency value moderates equity preference among young children. Evolution and Human Behavior. info:/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2009.06.012

  • February 1, 2010
  • 12:01 PM

Elongator: Insights into Neurological Disorders

by Rick Scavetta in DNA Dude

A striking discovery in medical genetics is that some apparently disparate diseases may have similar underlying genetic dysfunctions.
Take for example, familial dysautonomia (FD), described in Slaugenhaupt et al. (2001):
The loss of neuronal function in FD has many repercussions, with patients displaying gastrointestinal dysfunction, abnormal respiratory responses to hypoxic and hypercarbic states, scoliosis, gastroesophageal reflux, vomiting [...]... Read more »

Nguyen, L., Humbert, S., Saudou, F., & Chariot, A. (2010) Elongator – an emerging role in neurological disorders. Trends in Molecular Medicine, 16(1), 1-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.molmed.2009.11.002  

Slaugenhaupt SA, Blumenfeld A, Gill SP, Leyne M, Mull J, Cuajungco MP, Liebert CB, Chadwick B, Idelson M, Reznik L.... (2001) Tissue-specific expression of a splicing mutation in the IKBKAP gene causes familial dysautonomia. American journal of human genetics, 68(3), 598-605. PMID: 11179008  

  • February 1, 2010
  • 10:53 AM

Authoritarianism, Totalitarianism, and Anti-Capitalism: Strange Bedfellows?

by Randy Borum in Science of Global Security & Armed Conflict

While much of the world is just now coming to grips with the demise of the old "superpower" system, a confluence of emerging ideologies and population-influence tactics are waiting eagerly in the wings.Last year, the folks from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Radio Free Asia published a report titled "Undermining Democracy: 21st Century Authoritarians," which looked at new ways that totalitarian-like leaders are squelching political freedoms throughout the world through strategic use of medi........ Read more »

  • February 1, 2010
  • 09:08 AM

Objective Diagnosis Of PTSD Using Magnetoencephalography

by j7uy5 in The Corpus Callosum

Objective diagnosis is in some
ways the holy grail of medicine.  It has been maddeningly elusive
in psychiatry.  Now comes a paper in which the authors suggest
that they may have found this treasure.

The paper details a method of using magnetoencephalography to assess
human brain function.  They claim that, in a select population, it
can correctly identify patients with PTSD with 90% accuracy. 

synchronous neural interactions test as a functional neuromarker for
post-t........ Read more »

  • February 1, 2010
  • 08:18 AM

GWAS under attack?, historical evolutionary constraints, and a lot more, in my picks of the week from RB

by Alejandro Montenegro-Montero in MolBio Research Highlights

Another week has gone by and some very interesting molbio blog posts have been aggregated to Every week [see my opening post on the matter], I'll select some blog posts I consider particularly interesting in the field of molecular biology [see here to get a sense of the criteria that will be used], briefly describe them and list them here for you to check out.This week's ... Read more »

Durrant, J., Amaro, R., Xie, L., Urbaniak, M., Ferguson, M., Haapalainen, A., Chen, Z., Di Guilmi, A., Wunder, F., Bourne, P.... (2010) A Multidimensional Strategy to Detect Polypharmacological Targets in the Absence of Structural and Sequence Homology. PLoS Computational Biology, 6(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000648  

KEELING, P., BURGER, G., DURNFORD, D., LANG, B., LEE, R., PEARLMAN, R., ROGER, A., & GRAY, M. (2005) The tree of eukaryotes. Trends in Ecology , 20(12), 670-676. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2005.09.005  

Milinkovitch, M., Helaers, R., & Tzika, A. (2009) Historical Constraints on Vertebrate Genome Evolution. Genome Biology and Evolution, 13-18. DOI: 10.1093/gbe/evp052  

Dickson, S., Wang, K., Krantz, I., Hakonarson, H., & Goldstein, D. (2010) Rare Variants Create Synthetic Genome-Wide Associations. PLoS Biology, 8(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000294  

  • February 1, 2010
  • 07:34 AM

Virus discovery by jigsaw puzzle

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

Every so often — not often enough — I run across a paper that’s so ridiculously ingenious that it just makes me laugh with pleasure.
Ladies and gentlemen, a round of applause, please, to Shou-Wei Ding, of the Center for Plant Cell Biology at UC Riverside, for his Rube Goldberg-esque brilliant technique for identifying new viruses. [...]... Read more »

  • February 1, 2010
  • 07:00 AM

How do frogs respond to forest disturbance? Follow the gene flow...

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

A new study published in the journal Biological Conservation illustrates how landscape genetics can be used to discover how wildlife populations respond over time to anthropogenic and natural forest disturbances.

Stephen Spear and Andrew Storfer from Washington State University conducted genetic sampling of Rocky Mountain tailed frogs (Ascaphus montanus) across north-central Idaho at sites that were either subject to timber harvesting or historic wildfires and found that the responses to the ........ Read more »

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