Post List

  • June 3, 2009
  • 12:37 PM

How the Brain Takes Shortcuts, and Why

by Michael in dlPFC

Our capacity for intuitive decision-making evolved in a world of high stakes but relatively simple decisions.  Feast or forage; fight or flight.  The gains of recent technological and financial innovation have been great, but they come at the cost of increased complexity.  According to the tenets of rational-choice economics, this can be only a positive [...]... Read more »

  • June 3, 2009
  • 11:25 AM

If We Know We Shouldn't...Why Do We Still Do?

by Jason L. Harris in Evidence Based Rehab

Ihave posted several articles on the overuse of imaging in musculoskeletal care (find them here, here, here, and here). Now we have another study from the Archives of Internal Medicine making not only that statement but going as far as speculating that this is related to financial gain, improved patient satisfaction, and potential for more harm that good.In a news release from Musculoskeletal Report, the study found:Patients were more likely to undergo imaging tests if their primary care physic........ Read more »

Hoangmai H. Pham, Bruce E. Landon, James D. Reschovsky, Beny Wu, & Deborah Schrag. (2009) Rapidity and Modality of Imaging for Acute Low Back Pain in Elderly Patients. Archives of Internal Medicine, 169(10), 972-981. DOI:  

  • June 3, 2009
  • 09:00 AM

Reflections on the Johnson Sea-link: Dr. Cordes

by Peter Etnoyer in Deep Sea News

Dr. Erik Cordes is an Assistant Professor at Temple University specializing in the ecology of cold-seep and deep coral communities. He was Chief Scientist on the MMS sponsored Lophelia II cruise in Gulf of Mexico 2008 aboard the RV Nancy Foster, and he will lead this summer’s expedition with the Jason ROV aboard the NOAA [...]... Read more »

CORDES, E., BERGQUIST, D., PREDMORE, B., JONES, C., DEINES, P., TELESNICKI, G., & FISHER, C. (2006) Alternate unstable states: Convergent paths of succession in hydrocarbon-seep tubeworm-associated communities. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 339(2), 159-176. DOI: 10.1016/j.jembe.2006.07.017  

  • June 3, 2009
  • 08:53 AM

“My Child has Cancer”: Peace of mind, sense of purpose and other existential battles

by Nestor Lopez-Duran PhD in Child-Psych

While working at Henry Ford Hospital many years ago, I completed a clinical rotation in the division of Psychiatric Consultation & Liaison. Our job at C&L was to answer the psychiatric questions and consults originating from the general medical floors of this large urban hospital. Some of these questions involved the assessment of patients in [...]... Read more »

Mack, J., Wolfe, J., Cook, E., Grier, H., Cleary, P., & Weeks, J. (2009) Peace of Mind and Sense of Purpose as Core Existential Issues Among Parents of Children With Cancer. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 163(6), 519-524. DOI: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2009.57  

  • June 3, 2009
  • 08:46 AM

Reflections on Plasticity

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Neuroplasticity is a relatively new concept for researchers. Up until the 1970s, scientists held firm to the belief that once we exit childhood, our neurons are fixed and we are unable to grow any new ones, except for very select areas of the brain such as the hippocampus where memory is processed. Since that time, [...]... Read more »

  • June 3, 2009
  • 08:43 AM

Meet Anoiapithecus, the flat-faced ape

by Laelaps in Laelaps

The face of Anoiapithecus. From Moya-Sola et al. (2009).

One of the most controversial aspects of the whole Darwinius kerfuffle has been the primate's proposed status as "the ancestor of us all." The fossil, named "Ida", has been popularly touted as the "missing link" connecting us to all other mammals, but how can we really know if Darwinius fits this role? The truth is that we can't, and it is nearly impossible to parse direct ancestor-descendant relationships among fossil vertebrates, espec........ Read more »

Moya-Sola, S., Alba, D., Almecija, S., Casanovas-Vilar, I., Kohler, M., De Esteban-Trivigno, S., Robles, J., Galindo, J., & Fortuny, J. (2009) A unique Middle Miocene European hominoid and the origins of the great ape and human clade. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0811730106  

  • June 3, 2009
  • 08:15 AM

Global warming trees = regional cooling?

by James Hrynyshyn in Class M

This morning, for the first time this year, the experts who monitor air pollution in these parts issued an "orange" alert. Folks who might have trouble breathing should minimize outdoor activity. As we live in a rural area near the leeward side of the Great Smoky Mountains, this is always a reminder of just how bad the smog from the coal-fired plants upwind of us in Tennessee and Kentucky can be. To make matters worse, a few hours after hearing that news, I came across a recently published paper........ Read more »

Barnett, A. (2009) Secondary sources. Nature Reports Climate Change, 67-67. DOI: 10.1038/climate.2009.50  

  • June 3, 2009
  • 03:49 AM

Ethical Guidelines for Deep Brain Stimulation

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) should only be used when there is a high change that the lives of patients will be improved by its use and when all other possible interventions have been tried

Patients must be fully informed and informed consent must be obtained

The whole procedure should be done by teams of appropriate specialists like [...]... Read more »

Kringelbach, M., & Aziz, T. (2009) Deep Brain Stimulation: Avoiding the Errors of Psychosurgery. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 301(16), 1705-1707. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2009.551  

  • June 2, 2009
  • 11:21 PM

Is there a rape switch?

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

This question is shorthand for a larger and more nuanced set of questions that has emerged over the last 24 hours here and here as people engage in this very interesting and important discussion about rape, especially wartime rape and related post-apocalyptic rape cultures.

"The switch" is a term I first heard from Victoria Brandon, who wrote a term paper for me on this in 1993. The basic idea of a switch would be supported if more or less randomly (though age biased, likely) selected men, p........ Read more »

  • June 2, 2009
  • 11:09 PM

why you should go easy on the soda pop

by Greg Fish in weird things

Do you drink more than two liters of soft drinks a day? While that might sound like a lot, it’s actually a big gulp sized drink and a few cans here and there for a total of 67.6 fluid oz. And if you keep drinking that much cola or more long enough, you may increase [...]... Read more »

  • June 2, 2009
  • 09:09 PM

Post-Traumatic Embitterment Disorder: The Newest Mental Illness?

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

tags: Post-Traumatic Embitterment Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Adaptation disorder, stress reaction, Adjustment disorder, Negative life events, psychology, behavior, psychiatry, peer-reviewed paper

[larger view]

In this economy, nearly everyone has experienced unemployment, bankrupture, foreclosure, divorce, or some combination thereof. But roughly 1-2% of these people become so stressed out by these losses that "they can barely function other than to ruminate about their circumsta........ Read more »

Linden, M. (2003) Posttraumatic Embitterment Disorder. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 72(4), 195-202. DOI: 10.1159/000070783  

  • June 2, 2009
  • 07:59 PM

Miocene Ape: Anoiapithecus brevirostris

by zinjanthropus in A Primate of Modern Aspect

Salvador Moyà-Solà and his colleagues describe a new Miocene Hominoid in this week’s PNAS.  They’ve dubbed it Anoiapithecus brevirostris, and it hails from what is now Spain.  Like many other Miocene apes, it’s a mix of the primitive and the derived, the unique and the shared.  It’s commonly said that apes were as diverse in [...]... Read more »

Moya-Sola, S., Alba, D., Almecija, S., Casanovas-Vilar, I., Kohler, M., De Esteban-Trivigno, S., Robles, J., Galindo, J., & Fortuny, J. (2009) A unique Middle Miocene European hominoid and the origins of the great ape and human clade. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0811730106  

  • June 2, 2009
  • 06:25 PM

Towards Slowing the Spread of HIV with Green Tea

by Michael Long in Phased

Ilona Hauber (Heinrich-Pette-Institute for Experimental

Virology and Immunology, Germany) and coworkers have discovered

that a molecule in green tea hinders the ability of a protein

aggregate to facilitate HIV transmission.

This news feature was written on June 2, 2009.... Read more »

  • June 2, 2009
  • 06:25 PM

Risk in supply networks – a tale of principals and agents

by Jan Husdal in

Sometimes the most interesting articles are found outside the mainstream journals of ones field, and so it is with Cheng and Kam (2008) A conceptual framework for analyzing risk in supply networks, found in the Journal of Enterprise Information Management, a very unlikely journal for finding a paper on supply chain risk. It is not [...]... Read more »

Cheng, S., & Kam, B. (2008) A conceptual framework for analysing risk in supply networks. Journal of Enterprise Information Management, 21(4), 345-360. DOI: 10.1108/17410390810888642  

  • June 2, 2009
  • 05:56 PM

Religious schools result in more abortions, but absence of religion lowers abortion rate

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

A new analysis of data from the US National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health has revealed no relationship between how religious a woman is and whether her first pregnancy ends in an abortion.But the study did find that women who went to private religious schools were more likely to have had an abortion.The effect of schools was really dramatic. A woman who had gone to a religious school was 5 times more likely to have had an extra-marital abortion than a woman who went to a state school.O........ Read more »

Amy Adamczyk. (2009) Understanding the Effects of Personal and School Religiosity on the Decision to Abort a Premarital Pregnancy. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 50(2), 180-195.

  • June 2, 2009
  • 05:24 PM

On speed dating

by Richard Grant in Confessions of a (former) Lab Rat

Does a 7% change mean anything?... Read more »

Finkel, E. J. . (2009) Role reversal undermines speed-dating theories. Psychol. Sci.

  • June 2, 2009
  • 04:58 PM

Plagiarism... what can be done? simply suffer it?

by Pablo Artal in Optics confidential

Some comments on the impact of plagiarism on science. How affect scientists; what can we do as scientists and more... (ah! and some recommendations on restaurants too).... Read more »

P.Artal, S. Marcos, R. Navarro, D. R. Williams. (1995) Odd aberrations and double-pass measurements of retinal image quality. J. Opt. Soc. Am. A, 195.

  • June 2, 2009
  • 04:37 PM

Border ownership! (1 of ??)

by Brandon Goodell in Bored Lunatic

There are quite a few hypotheses on how the brain groups neural inputs into coherent groups - the binding problem. Among them are the binding by synchrony hypothesis - that the brain takes neurons that are firing synchronously, and says "these two neurons are looking at the same object." In the visual arena, another hypothesis is border ownership - that the brain organizes neurons into groups according to whether they are all contained within a coherent, continuous border. The paper I'm looki........ Read more »

Craft, E., Schutze, H., Niebur, E., & von der Heydt, R. (2007) A Neural Model of Figure-Ground Organization. Journal of Neurophysiology, 97(6), 4310-4326. DOI: 10.1152/jn.00203.2007  

  • June 2, 2009
  • 03:29 PM

Found in (mis)translation: A novel role for protein synthesis fidelity in aging

by ouroboros in Ouroboros: Research in the biology of aging

The idea that translation fidelity might play a role in aging dates back at least as far as 1963, when Leslie Orgel proposed the “error catastrophe” theory of aging: in this model, mistranslation of the translational machinery creates a feedback loop that leads to further translation errors, ultimately causing loss of cell viability. From the [...]... Read more »

Silva, R., Duarte, I., Paredes, J., Lima-Costa, T., Perrot, M., Boucherie, H., Goodfellow, B., Gomes, A., Mateus, D., Moura, G.... (2009) The Yeast PNC1 Longevity Gene Is Up-Regulated by mRNA Mistranslation. PLoS ONE, 4(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005212  

  • June 2, 2009
  • 01:48 PM

Can fMRI adaptation demonstrate (or refute) the existence of mirror neurons?

by Greg Hickok in Talking Brains

A recent fMRI study published by Caramazza and colleagues in PNAS used an adaptation paradigm and found no evidence for the existence of mirror neurons in humans. Basically, in brain regions that are thought to house mirror neurons, executing the same action twice in a row resulted in an attenuation of the fMRI response (the so-called adaptation effect) whereas executing and then observing the same action did not result in adaptation. The latter finding was taken to indicate that cells in thes........ Read more »

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