Post List

  • September 18, 2009
  • 05:00 AM

Making offshore renewable energy good for marine habitat

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

Despite past conflicts between wind power and habitat, scientists make the case that offshore renewable energy might be good for marine more... Read more »

Inger, R., Attrill, M., Bearhop, S., Broderick, A., James Grecian, W., Hodgson, D., Mills, C., Sheehan, E., Votier, S., Witt, M.... (2009) Marine renewable energy: potential benefits to biodiversity? An urgent call for research. Journal of Applied Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2009.01697.x  

  • September 18, 2009
  • 02:30 AM

Entrepreneurial rollercoaster- am happy, have vision; am sad, will focus on task

by sandygautam in The Mouse Trap

There is a recent article by foo et al, that shows , using Experience Sampling method, that entrepreneurs, when in a negative mood (not necessarily sad, but including anger, irritability etc...sorry for misleading headline:-) are more likely to be focusing on the task at hand; while those same entrepreneurs , when they were in a happy or positive mood would be more likely to be spending efforts on tasks that are more future directed. They interpret their finding in terms of the affect-as-inform........ Read more »

  • September 18, 2009
  • 01:35 AM

Friday Weird Science: the malleable prosthesis

by Evil Monkey in Neurotopia

Sci is sick today. She's cuddled up with her tea, and desperately hoping she has a cold rather than the flu. But the weird science CALLS US, precious. No matter how sick. It calls.

Judging from the vast number of commercials out there hawking various pills and diets and whatnot, you'd think that erectile dysfunction (ED) was the scourge of mankind. Whether or not it leaves the species begging for help is certainly a matter of debate, but there is definitely a quality of life issue to be ........ Read more »

  • September 18, 2009
  • 12:24 AM

Rehabilitation at Home Just as Good as Day Hospital Care

by Walter Jessen in Highlight HEALTH

As you or perhaps your parents get older, would you want to be at home when recovering from an illness? Would the choice between home rehabilitation or visits to a day hospital make a difference to your recovery and health? [...]... Read more »

Parker SG, Oliver P, Pennington M, Bond J, Jagger C, Enderby PM, Curless R, Chater T, Vanoli A, Fryer K.... (2009) Rehabilitation of older patients: day hospital compared with rehabilitation at home. A randomised controlled trial. Health technology assessment (Winchester, England), 13(39), 1. PMID: 19712593  

  • September 17, 2009
  • 09:54 PM

Ninja viruses, a (free) radical take on aging and 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 into Every week [see my inaugural 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.Note that... Read more »

Lapointe, J., & Hekimi, S. (2009) When a theory of aging ages badly. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences. DOI: 10.1007/s00018-009-0138-8  

  • September 17, 2009
  • 07:48 PM

Sarcopenia is an Inflammation-Related Issue?

by Reason in Fight Aging!

Sarcopenia is the name (fairly recently) given to age-related muscle loss, a situation that most people find themselves in with advancing age. In past years, researchers have investigated whether this might related to tendencies for diet to change with age, such as reduced protein intake for example. Interestingly, however, there is also solid evidence for the practice of calorie restriction to slow the process of sarcopenia. Back in 2005, one group of scientists painted a fairly convincing argu........ Read more »

  • September 17, 2009
  • 05:56 PM

What motivates the Zooites?

by Emma in we are all in the gutter

Would you let the general public do your work for you? How about just the bits that are fundamentally important but would take you months of repetitive effort to get through on your own? In 2007, the GalaxyZoo team did exactly that and its been a massive success. They had images of a million galaxies [...]... Read more »

M. Jordan Raddick, Georgia Bracey, Pamela L. Gay, Chris J. Lintott, Phil Murray, Kevin Schawinski, Alexander S. Szalay, & Jan Vandenberg. (2009) Galaxy Zoo: Exploring the Motivations of Citizen Science Volunteers. to be published in Astronomy Education Review. arXiv: 0909.2925v1

  • September 17, 2009
  • 05:30 PM

Bleed-over: Response to ads depends on context

by Steve Genco in Lucid Thoughts

A clever series of experiments is reported in the Journal of Consumer Research dealing with how people respond to advertising in context.  Researchers Hao Shen, Yuwei Jiang, and Rashmi Adaval had people read pages from a mock magazine that contained articles (movie reviews for a film festival) and an ad (for a watch).  Participants were [...]... Read more »

  • September 17, 2009
  • 05:10 PM

Evolutionary enamel loss linked to molecular decay of enamel-specific gene

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

The evolutionary history of mammals can be reviewed as the evolutionary history of tooth loss. The early mammals had many teeth, and every now and then in evolutionary time, a tooth is lost wiht subsequent species arriving from that n-1 toothed form having that smaller number of teeth. With ver few exceptions, no mammals have added a tooth during the history of mammals. (Excepting maybe the very very earliest period, but probably not.)

Well, the loss of enamel itself is also an evolutionary ........ Read more »

  • September 17, 2009
  • 04:54 PM

A dual-use fluorescent calcium sensor virus

by Mo in Neurophilosophy

A paper by researchers from Princeton University, just published in the open access journal PLoS One, describes a new virus-based technique for probing the connections between neurons while simultaneously monitoring their activity in live animals. Various methods are available for studying the activity of neurons and how they are connected to one another, but examining the co-ordinated activity of multiple nerve cells in neural circuits has, until now, posed a big challenge, because none of them........ Read more »

  • September 17, 2009
  • 04:44 PM

White-Eyes Killing Off Native Birds In Hawaii

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

Introduced and invasive species are a hot topic in ecology. Even when brought in for good reason, introduced species can have unforeseen negative impacts on the environment and the species around them. Take Cane Toads, for example. They were introduced to Australia to control a particular bug, but ended up eating everything they could fit in their mouths, especially native, endangered species. Or look at the mongoose, brought to Hawaii to control rat populations. While it does enjoy the invasive........ Read more »

Leonard A. Freed, & Rebecca L. Cann. (2009) Negative Effects of an Introduced Bird Species on Growth and Survival in a Native Bird Community. Current Biology. info:/

  • September 17, 2009
  • 04:35 PM

What mirror neurons are REALLY doing

by Greg Hickok in Talking Brains

Mirror neurons are cells in monkey frontal area F5 that respond both during the execution of action and during the perception of action. Explaining why these cells respond during action execution is easy and uncontroversial: they are motor cells in a motor area -- they respond during action execution because they are involved in the coding of actions. The perceptual response is more difficult to explain. Think first about "canonical neurons", neighbors of mirror neurons in F5. Like mirror neuro........ Read more »

  • September 17, 2009
  • 04:00 PM

Could physical exercise help in preventing and treating drug abuse?

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

Teens who routinely exercise (especially in organized activities like team sports) are less likely to smoke or abuse drugs or alcohol. This fact alone might make it seem like a no-brainer to include physical activities in substance-abuse prevention and treatment programs, but in fact little research has been done to figure out whether exercising actually causes people to be less interested in drugs and alcohol. It's also possible that potential substance-abusers are just uninterested in exercise........ Read more »

Smith, M., Schmidt, K., Iordanou, J., & Mustroph, M. (2008) Aerobic exercise decreases the positive-reinforcing effects of cocaine. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 98(1-2), 129-135. DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2008.05.006  

  • September 17, 2009
  • 01:22 PM


by ouroboros in Ouroboros: Research in the biology of aging

A prominent scholar of the CLK-1 story has called the coroner on the mitochondrial free radical theory of aging (MFRTA). From Lapointe & Hekimi:

When a theory of aging ages badly
According to the widely acknowledged mitochondrial free radical theory of aging (MFRTA), the macromolecular damage that results from the production of toxic reactive oxygen species [...]... Read more »

Lapointe, J., & Hekimi, S. (2009) When a theory of aging ages badly. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences. DOI: 10.1007/s00018-009-0138-8  

  • September 17, 2009
  • 12:48 PM

How your emotional state affects how you hear speech

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

I found an interesting study by Wang et. al investigating how the current emotional state that we find ourselves in modulates the auditory response of speech early in the sensory processing stream at the cortical level. Here's their abstract.In order to understand how emotional state influences the listener's physiological response to speech, subjects looked at emotion-evoking pictures while 32-channel EEG evoked responses (ERPs) to an unchanging auditory stimulus (“danny”) were collected. T........ Read more »

Wang J, Nicol T, Skoe E, Sams M, & Kraus N. (2009) Emotion modulates early auditory response to speech. Journal of cognitive neuroscience, 21(11), 2121-8. PMID: 18855553  

  • September 17, 2009
  • 12:07 PM

What they really found in Niger

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

A big buzz over the discovery of a skeleton of an early Sauropod dinosaur in Niger. The finding looks amazing even to my paleontologically-ignorant eyes. It is beautifully intact and well-ordered, as opposed to the mixed jumble of bone fragments that are usually found. It has that lovely aesthetic quality that would cause anyone to [...]... Read more »

  • September 17, 2009
  • 12:05 PM

With or without you? Species interactions and responses to climate change

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Reading a pair of papers recently published in PLoS ONE, you might be forgiven for thinking that ecologists don't know whether or not interactions between species matter. Both examine the effects of climate change on ecological communities -- but where one assumes that species in a community are as interchangeable as bricks in a wall, the other concludes that the presence of competitors is pretty important.

First, Stralberg et al. attempt to predict what will happen to the birds of California u........ Read more »

  • September 17, 2009
  • 11:49 AM

The role of positive interactions in enabling cooperation

by David Basanta in Cancerevo: Cancer evolution

Evolution of coperation is one of my main interests and I think it is a topic that could be very relevant to cancer researchers as I discussed a while ago.

Rand DG, Dreber A, Ellingsen T, Fudenberg D, & Nowak MA (2009). Positive interactions promote public cooperation. Science (New York, N.Y.), 325 (5945), 1272-5 PMID: 19729661
Cooperation in nature occurs mostly between individuals that are closely related from a genetic point of view. In most other instances cooperation happens ........ Read more »

Rand DG, Dreber A, Ellingsen T, Fudenberg D, & Nowak MA. (2009) Positive interactions promote public cooperation. Science (New York, N.Y.), 325(5945), 1272-5. PMID: 19729661  

  • September 17, 2009
  • 11:00 AM

When You Should Eat

by Christie Wilcox in Nutrition Wonderland

More often than not, dieters focus exclusively on what's going into their bodies. They cut out food groups, add food groups, count calories and create meal plans. But research has found out that while what you eat does matter, when you eat has a big impact, too. According to new research from Northwestern University published in the journal Obesity, eating at night can increase weight gain by more than 25%! (Thanks to Zach Sheppard for this photo)... Read more »

Arble, D., Bass, J., Laposky, A., Vitaterna, M., & Turek, F. (2009) Circadian Timing of Food Intake Contributes to Weight Gain. Obesity, 17(11), 2100-2102. DOI: 10.1038/oby.2009.264  

  • September 17, 2009
  • 10:38 AM

Stealth influenza

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

“How to avoid influenza: Gargle Daily”

Every virus that infects a vertebrate, has to be able to deal with the vertebrate immune system. The virus’s ancestors that infected vertebrates must have been able to deal with the vertebrate immune system. Those viruses that couldn’t handle an immune response are extinct.
Some of the ways viruses [...]... Read more »

Szretter, K., Gangappa, S., Belser, J., Zeng, H., Chen, H., Matsuoka, Y., Sambhara, S., Swayne, D., Tumpey, T., & Katz, J. (2009) Early Control of H5N1 Influenza Virus Replication by the Type I Interferon Response in Mice. Journal of Virology, 83(11), 5825-5834. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.02144-08  

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