Post List

  • July 8, 2009
  • 04:33 PM

The Central Nervous System: Meaning and Origin

by AK in AK's Rambling Thoughts

I recently discussed the origin of the nervous system(s), focusing on the earliest neuron:  a cell with an axon that carries an action potential.  Now I want to extend that discussion to the Central Nervous System (CNS), a subject of several recent blog posts (e.g. at Neurophilosophy and NeuroDojo) and a "News Focus" article at Science Magazine.[19]  It may seem a little strange to be combining "meaning" and "origin" in one discussion:  one is a semantic issue, the other a m........ Read more »

Hiroshi Watanabe, Toshitaka Fujisawa, and Thomas W. Holstein. (2009) Cnidarians and the evolutionary origin of the nervous system. Development, Growth , 51(3), 167-183. DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-169X.2009.01103.x  

  • July 8, 2009
  • 03:50 PM

Brooding Angelmakers

by Eric Michael Johnson in The Primate Diaries

Offspring Abandonment in the Ancient and Natural World

In the Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex the great kingdom of Thebes is condemned following a case of mistaken identity (and a little patricide). The sordid tale begins when the infant prince is abandoned by his parents (see right) after learning of a prophecy that his son will one day murder his father, marry his mother and assume the throne. His ankles pierced with a spike, young Oedipus is sent to be abandoned atop mount Cithaeron. Whi........ Read more »

  • July 8, 2009
  • 03:36 PM

Why some countries are more religious than others

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

After nearly two years of blogging on other people's peer-reviewed studies, it's a refreshing change to now be blogging on one of my own! My paper, Is Personal Insecurity a Cause of Cross-National Differences in the Intensity of Religious Belief?, is now out in the Journal of Religious Studies (web, pdf).The paper is a statistical analysis of the causes of religiosity at a national level (in other words, the core characteristics of a country that help to explain how religious its population is)......... Read more »

  • July 8, 2009
  • 01:35 PM

National parks aren’t doing the trick in Kenya

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

Elephants have changed the ecology of Amboseli and other national parks in Kenya. Credit: David Western

Research in PLoS ONE today shows that animals in Kenya’s national parks are declining at the same rate as the same species outside the parks.  This means, potentially, that the protection of animals in safe spaces may not lead [...]... Read more »

  • July 8, 2009
  • 12:00 PM

The Three A’s of Food Security

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

Famine, drought, disease, crop failure, they might afflict any one of us, but in the developing world and on the margins of urbanised regions, the issue of food security is paramount for survival. There are three main factors to consider when one thinks of food security each of which must be addressed to offer a [...]Post from: Sciencebase Science Blog... Read more »

Mieke Faber, Craig Schwabe, & Scott Drimie. (2009) Dietary diversity in relation to other household food security indicators . Int. J. Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health, 2(1), 1-15.

  • July 8, 2009
  • 11:25 AM

Influence of sex on regional fat loss in overweight men and women

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Last week I discussed sex-differences and obesity related metabolic risk among elderly men and women. This week I'd like to stay on the topic of obesity related sex-differences, focusing on a paper by Drs Jen Kuk and Bob Ross (not that Bob Ross) which was published recently in the International Journal of Obesity. In this new study, Drs Kuk and Ross examined the influence of sex on regional fat loss in overweight/obese men and women in response to diet and/or exercise interventions.... Read more »

  • July 8, 2009
  • 10:27 AM

Is less always more?

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

My computer has over 5,000 songs on it -- 16.2 days' worth, according to my music-playing software. So how do I pick what song to listen to? More often than not, I just shuffle the whole list and play whatever album shows up on top. But if I'm in the car listening to the radio, I switch between the 10 or so local stations I've programmed in until I hear a song I like. I seem to be more likely to rely on my own judgment when I have fewer choices.

Some researchers have found similar effects with ........ Read more »

Shah AM, & Wolford G. (2007) Buying behavior as a function of parametric variation of number of choices. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 18(5), 369-70. info:pmid/17576272

  • July 8, 2009
  • 10:15 AM

Monstrous effort to map a transcriptional network

by Gustav Nilsonne in Evolving Ideas

The FANTOM consortium report in the latest issue of Nature Genetics that they have measured what happens with the entire, total, gene expression during the specific differentiation of a cell line called THP-1. Not the expression of just the 20 000 most important genes, all of them. At the same time.... Read more »

Suzuki, H., Forrest, A., van Nimwegen, E., Daub, C., Balwierz, P., Irvine, K., Lassmann, T., Ravasi, T., Hasegawa, Y., de Hoon, M.... (2009) The transcriptional network that controls growth arrest and differentiation in a human myeloid leukemia cell line. Nature Genetics, 41(5), 553-562. DOI: 10.1038/ng.375  

  • July 8, 2009
  • 10:00 AM

A Romantic, Maybe too Romantic, Scientist

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

In the Hatena story about symbiosis, I posted the following picture drawn by Ernst Haeckel:

Beautiful!  In this day and age of imaging, high resolution photography, and molecular graphics, we forget that scientific drawing was a skill as necessary to life scientists  as microscopic imaging, or molecular graphics is today.  Indeed, biology was very much a [...]... Read more »

RICHARDSON, M., & KEUCK, G. (2002) Haeckel's ABC of evolution and development. Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 77(4), 495-528. DOI: 10.1017/S1464793102005948  

  • July 8, 2009
  • 02:51 AM

A crazy idea everybody’s having: using Wikipedia for health information (eng)

by ---a in

Laurent, M., & Vickers, T. (2009). Seeking Health Information Online: Does Wikipedia Matter? Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 16 (4), 471-479 DOI: 10.1197/jamia.M3059

Back in the day, patients used to show up at doctors’ practices with a set of symptoms. Since the advent of the Internet, though, they show up with a set of [...]... Read more »

Laurent, M., & Vickers, T. (2009) Seeking Health Information Online: Does Wikipedia Matter?. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 16(4), 471-479. DOI: 10.1197/jamia.M3059  

  • July 8, 2009
  • 02:37 AM

Hot News in The Genetics of Schizophrenia

by Kevin Mitchell in Wiring the Brain

Schizophrenia is a common and devastating disorder, involving stable impairments in a wide range of cognitive, sensory and motor domains, as well as fluctuating episodes of psychosis, characterised by disordered thoughts, hallucinations and delusions. Though it tends to emerge as a full-blown disorder in late adolescence or early adulthood, a wealth of evidence supports the model that it is caused by disturbances in neural development at much earlier time-points, including prenatally. Recent n........ Read more »

Purcell, S., Wray, N., Stone, J., Visscher, P., O'Donovan, M., Sullivan, P., Sklar, P., Purcell (Leader), S., Stone, J., Sullivan, P.... (2009) Common polygenic variation contributes to risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature08185  

Shi, J., Levinson, D., Duan, J., Sanders, A., Zheng, Y., Pe’er, I., Dudbridge, F., Holmans, P., Whittemore, A., Mowry, B.... (2009) Common variants on chromosome 6p22.1 are associated with schizophrenia. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature08192  

Stefansson, H., Ophoff, R., Steinberg, S., Andreassen, O., Cichon, S., Rujescu, D., Werge, T., Pietiläinen, O., Mors, O., Mortensen, P.... (2009) Common variants conferring risk of schizophrenia. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature08186  

  • July 8, 2009
  • 12:00 AM

Detecting consciousness in a totally locked-in patient

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Alert to your surroundings but helpless to respond. It's difficult to imagine a worse situation, but this is the terrifying reality for a minority of brain damaged patients with total locked-in syndrome. Fortunately, researchers are developing ways to reveal consciousness trapped inside a lifeless body. Such techniques will hopefully prevent conscious, yet utterly paralysed, patients from being misdiagnosed as comatose.In this new study, Caroline Schnakers used bed-side electroencephalography (E........ Read more »

Schnakers, C., Perrin, F., Schabus, M., Hustinx, R., Majerus, S., Moonen, G., Boly, M., Vanhaudenhuyse, A., Bruno, M., & Laureys, S. (2009) Detecting consciousness in a total locked-in syndrome: An active event-related paradigm. Neurocase, 15(4), 271-277. DOI: 10.1080/13554790902724904  

  • July 7, 2009
  • 10:43 PM

Consumers of Drugs of Abuse

by Reason in Fight Aging!

Unintentional poetry can sometimes be found amidst the drudgery of translating literature from one language to another. Spanish to English gifts us with "consumers of drugs of abuse," which serves as the point of attraction to here consider the relationship between aging and damaging ourselves, both proactively and through neglect. The full PDF is also freely available in both Spanish and English, lined up in parallel. The aging or senescence process that follows maturation is characterized by t........ Read more »

  • July 7, 2009
  • 07:31 PM

Does Self-Help Harm?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

I love the BBC, but their online science and health articles have an unfortunate tendency to be, well, rubbish. At least, the headlines do. A while back I wrote about their proclamation that "Homeopathy 'eases cancer therapy'". The problem with that one was that the only treatments which worked turned out to not actually be homeopathic.So when I saw the headline "Self-help 'makes you feel worse'", I suspected that whatever research they were reporting on might not have been about self-help at al........ Read more »

  • July 7, 2009
  • 07:00 PM

Ask Podblack - Could Sex Sell Science?

by Kylie Sturgess in Podblack Blog

“How true is the comment ‘the days of this sexual marketing are really quite limited’ in promoting science?”... Read more »

  • July 7, 2009
  • 06:56 PM

News flash: beetles are not the same as women

by bug_girl in Bug Girl's Blog

Amazing. Under this headline:

“Science still cannot explain why women sleep around”

“A study published today in Science details a series of careful experiments Swedish researchers conducted on mating seed beetles (pictured). They want to find out what the benefits were to females who mated with multiple males….”

Now, as a normal person, you are probably thinking: [...]... Read more »

  • July 7, 2009
  • 05:48 PM

Coelenterates, Cnidarians, and Larvae

by AK in AK's Rambling Thoughts

The Cnidarians are a major, basally-branching, clade within the Eumetazoans, with strong similarities among themselves as well as differences.  They have two archetypal body forms, the polyp and the medusa, and most lineages show an "alternation of generations", with medusae reproducing sexually to produce eggs that develop into polyps, which in turn bud off a succession of immature medusae, a form of asexual "reproduction".  One of the shared features among them are cnidocytes (also........ Read more »

  • July 7, 2009
  • 04:51 PM

Cyclosa mulmeinensis: a spider that builds copies of itself

by Jacob Aron in Just A Theory

A common trope in science fiction: the hero is presented with two people of identical appearance, one a loyal ally and the other a dastardly villain. “Shoot him!” they both cry, “I’m the real one!”

It seems that this scenario is also played out in the natural world. A species of orb spider called Cyclosa [...]... Read more »

  • July 7, 2009
  • 02:31 PM

Selection Mosaics or environmental interactions

by Devin Drown in Coevolvers

Vale and Little (2009) published recent work on parasite infection variation across a temperature gradient. Specific parasite infections are often the result of genetic interactions of both the host and parasite, sometimes referred to as genotype by genotype interactions (GxG). The authors of this paper used an ideal interaction between Daphnia magna and a bacterial parasite, Pasteuria ramose. The experiment was such that they could test multiple levels on interactions. They isolated multipl........ Read more »

  • July 7, 2009
  • 01:25 PM

Ancestral Population Genomics: The Coalescent Hidden Markov Model Approach

by Thomas Mailund in Mailund on the Internet

We just got a new paper out - in "Advanced Access" at least - on coalescent hidden Markov models:

Ancestral population genomics: the coalescent hidden Markov approach

J. Dutheil et al.



With incomplete lineage sorting (ILS), the genealogy of closely related species differs along their genomes. The amount of ILS depends on population parameters such as the ancestral [...]... Read more »

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