Post List

  • August 7, 2009
  • 04:45 AM

Kids with invisible friends have superior narrative skills

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

The company of an imaginary friend used to be interpreted as a sign of a child's deficient character. Writing in a 1934, for example, M. Svendsen said of those children in his sample with an imaginary friend that "personality difficulties were present in most", with "timidity being most common".Times have changed. It depends on the precise definition of "imaginary friend", but by some modern estimates, nearly half of all young children have an imaginary companion at some point. Moreover, childre........ Read more »

  • August 7, 2009
  • 01:42 AM

Wild cassava genetics used to document past changes in vegetation

by Jeremy in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

Was southern French Guiana always forested, a refugium for forest species, or was it dominated by more open vegetation during drier, glacial times? A recent paper in Molecular Ecology tries to decide between these competing hypothesis, and the interesting thing for us at the Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog is that it does so through a genetic [...]... Read more »

  • August 6, 2009
  • 10:17 PM

Darwin's theory can handle the landscape

by Bjørn Østman in Pleiotropy

Cue the fitness landscape. A multi-dimensional function for organism fitness (ability to reproduce) as a function of the genotype*. A population moves "uphill" when it can to maximize fitness, akin to physical systems, which always moves to minimize its energy.... Read more »

Weissman DB, Desai MM, Fisher DS, & Feldman MW. (2009) The rate at which asexual populations cross fitness valleys. Theoretical population biology, 75(4), 286-300. PMID: 19285994  

  • August 6, 2009
  • 10:14 PM

Is Red Yeast Rice a Good Alternative to Statin Drugs?

by Scott in Science-Based Pharmacy

In the pharmacy, I’m often asked for “non-drug” solutions to various illnesses. In some cases, a desire to avoid medication can push people to make overdue and important diet or lifestyle changes. But in many cases, consumers simply want to avoid prescription drugs, asking if there’s something they can buy, preferably “natural”, that can help [...]... Read more »

Becker DJ, Gordon RY, Halbert SC, French B, Morris PB, & Rader DJ. (2009) Red yeast rice for dyslipidemia in statin-intolerant patients: a randomized trial. Annals of internal medicine, 150(12), 830-839. DOI: 19528562  

  • August 6, 2009
  • 09:29 PM

Digital age or mass production age?

by Andrew Sun in On The Road

The editorial in the July 24 issue of Science1 informed me with a report by the Nanional Academies of the US, Ensuring the Integrity, Accessibility, and Stewardship of Research Data in the Digital Age. I can obtain full text of the report for free because I’m a reader from developing country. But I only had time to read the summary section.
The report gives several recommendations to different roles in the modern scientific infrastructure. Two main ideas shared by these recommenda........ Read more »

Kleppner, D., & Sharp, P. (2009) Research Data in the Digital Age. Science, 325(5939), 368-368. DOI: 10.1126/science.1178927  

  • August 6, 2009
  • 09:18 PM

Point Mutations in Mitochondrial DNA and Aging

by Reason in Fight Aging!

Hopefully by now most folk here know that mitochondria are the power plants of our cells, toiling in their thousands inside each cell to turn food into ATP, a chemical used as fuel by other cellular processes. Mitochondria contain their own DNA, separate from the DNA in the cell nucleus, a legacy of their symbiotic nature. If some crucial portions of that DNA are damaged, then a mitochondrion will become dysfunctional - and a Rube Goldberg process unfolds from this point, causing age-related deg........ Read more »

Edgar, D., Shabalina, I., Camara, Y., Wredenberg, A., Calvaruso, M., Nijtmans, L., Nedergaard, J., Cannon, B., Larsson, N., & Trifunovic, A. (2009) Random Point Mutations with Major Effects on Protein-Coding Genes Are the Driving Force behind Premature Aging in mtDNA Mutator Mice. Cell Metabolism, 10(2), 131-138. DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2009.06.010  

  • August 6, 2009
  • 05:28 PM

How the brain divides the task of recognizing sounds

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

You may have noticed that Cognitive Daily hasn't exactly been living up to its name recently. During the summer vacation season, we travel quite a bit, so it's difficult to maintain our usual pace of posting. But along the way we've collected some great photos, and we'll try to share a few of them with you when it's relevant. For example, take a look at this picture I took in Maine about a week ago:

It's a lovely section of the Maine coast, readily identifiable by anyone as "shoreline." Earli........ Read more »

González J, & McLennan CT. (2009) Hemispheric differences in the recognition of environmental sounds. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 20(7), 887-94. PMID: 19515117  

  • August 6, 2009
  • 05:18 PM

Nerve Growth Factor: an interesting new treatment approach for glaucoma

by Sally Church in Pharma Strategy Blog

A recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by scientists from the University of Rome has shown that the administration of nerve growth factor (NGF) stabilizes or reduces the damage to the optic nerve caused...... Read more »

Lambiase, A., Aloe, L., Centofanti, M., Parisi, V., Mantelli, F., Colafrancesco, V., Manni, G., Bucci, M., Bonini, S., & Levi-Montalcini, R. (2009) Experimental and clinical evidence of neuroprotection by nerve growth factor eye drops: Implications for glaucoma. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0906678106  

Sofroniew MV, Howe CL, & Mobley WC. (2001) Nerve growth factor signaling, neuroprotection, and neural repair. Annual review of neuroscience, 1217-81. PMID: 11520933  

  • August 6, 2009
  • 04:58 PM

Those clever corvids

by Mo in Neurophilosophy

NOT so long ago, the idea that birds might possess some form of what we call intelligence seemed quite ridiculous.Yet in recent years, this view has changed dramatically, with numerous studies showing that some bird species are capable of complex cognition. Members of one family of birds in particular - the Corvidae, which includes crows, rooks and ravens - have an ability to make and use tools which is at least as sophisticated as that of chimpanzees.

Two new studies, published this week, prov........ Read more »

  • August 6, 2009
  • 04:06 PM

When Attractive Isn’t Beautiful

by Wayne Hooke in The Psychology of Beauty

I was thinking about beauty research recently, and was struck by the thought that there seems to be a reduced range of attractiveness ratings in the stimulus sets used in contemporary studies of female body attractiveness. As a tentative check for what might be selective memory on my part, I did a quick and dirty [...]... Read more »

  • August 6, 2009
  • 12:51 PM

Why don’t researchers know what causes pancreatic cancer?

by Cancer Research UK in Cancer Research UK - Science Update

Pancreatic cancer is notoriously difficult to treat and, in many cases, therapy only extends life for a short time, rather than curing it.
We’re also a long way from properly understanding how our lifestyle and our genes interact to cause the disease – in contrast to many other forms of cancer, where the picture is less [...]... Read more »

Wolpin, B., & Stampfer, M. (2009) Defining Determinants of Pancreatic Cancer Risk: Are We Making Progress?. JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 101(14), 972-973. DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djp182  

Jiao, L., Mitrou, P., Reedy, J., Graubard, B., Hollenbeck, A., Schatzkin, A., & Stolzenberg-Solomon, R. (2009) A Combined Healthy Lifestyle Score and Risk of Pancreatic Cancer in a Large Cohort Study. Archives of Internal Medicine, 169(8), 764-770. DOI: 10.1001/archinternmed.2009.46  

  • August 6, 2009
  • 10:57 AM

Teacher’s Pet

by Andrew Lyons in The Psych Student

Students in England found teachers were more likely to express favoritism than students in any other country in Europe. The post looks at this and some reactions among teachers and the press about the research, due to be published next year.... Read more »

  • August 6, 2009
  • 10:27 AM

Second Cancer Genome in New England Journal

by Daniel Koboldt in Massgenomics

Today our group published the second cancer genome, AML2, in the New England Journal of Medicine. In this study, we sequenced the complete genomes of tumor cells and matched normal (skin) cells from a patient with cytogenetically normal de novo FAB M1 AML.  This is an exciting publication for many reasons, the foremost of which [...]... Read more »

Mardis, E., Ding, L., Dooling, D., Larson, D., McLellan, M., Chen, K., Koboldt, D., Fulton, R., Delehaunty, K., McGrath, S.... (2009) Recurring Mutations Found by Sequencing an Acute Myeloid Leukemia Genome. New England Journal of Medicine. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0903840  

  • August 6, 2009
  • 09:00 AM

The Psychobiology and Psychoanalysis of Dreams

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Have you ever experienced waking up in the night, sweating and gasping for breath because some strange dream is mystifying you? Most people have experienced dreams of being chased by some alien in the night or missing a train to some unknown destination or falling freely from the height. What causes such dreams in our [...]... Read more »

  • August 6, 2009
  • 06:56 AM

Science News: Week of August 2, 2009

by Susan Steinhardt in BioData Blogs

Our weekly compilation of science news for the week of August 2, 2009.... Read more »

Paaijmans, K., Read, A., & Thomas, M. (2009) Understanding the link between malaria risk and climate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0903423106  

Plantier, J., Leoz, M., Dickerson, J., De Oliveira, F., Cordonnier, F., Lemée, V., Damond, F., Robertson, D., & Simon, F. (2009) A new human immunodeficiency virus derived from gorillas. Nature Medicine. DOI: 10.1038/nm.2016  

Xu, Z., Gong, Q., Xia, B., Groves, B., Zimmermann, M., Mugler, C., Mu, D., Matsumoto, B., Seaman, M., & Ma, D. (2009) A role of histone H3 lysine 4 methyltransferase components in endosomal trafficking. The Journal of Cell Biology. DOI: 10.1083/jcb.200902146  

Gregory, T., Andrews, C., McGuire, J., & Witt, C. (2009) The smallest avian genomes are found in hummingbirds. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1004  

  • August 5, 2009
  • 10:00 PM

Mesodynamics, field cycling, and SARS: an explanation

by Michael Clarkson in Conformational Flux

Part of the motivation for my previous post about the spectral density was the recent appearance online (and upcoming appearance in print) of my paper in the Journal of Biomolecular NMR, which is open access, so you can open it up from home and read along as I tell you about it. The obscure-sounding title "Mesodynamics in the SARS nucleocapsid measured by NMR field cycling" means that we were able to characterize an interesting fluctuation in a protein from the SARS coronavirus, and that we used........ Read more »

Clarkson, M., Lei, M., Eisenmesser, E., Labeikovsky, W., Redfield, A., & Kern, D. (2009) Mesodynamics in the SARS nucleocapsid measured by NMR field cycling. Journal of Biomolecular NMR. DOI: 10.1007/s10858-009-9347-6  

  • August 5, 2009
  • 06:44 PM

Melatonin and SIRT1

by Reason in Fight Aging!

Let me open by saying that I rarely talk about supplements except to trash them. This is because (a) there are already plenty of people out there talking about nothing but supplements, and (b) there's no scientific evidence that demonstrates the sort of heavy-duty supplement packages advocated today to produce health and longevity benefits in any way comparable to those attained by exercise and calorie restriction. If you're fat and sedentary and you're feeling virtuous because you're taking exp........ Read more »

  • August 5, 2009
  • 11:22 AM

How many human cancers are caused by viruses?

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

We know that viruses cause a significant minority of human cancers, but we don’t know quite how many, or which, cancers are viral. It’s not as easy as you might think to tell.
The link between viruses and cancer was one of the major breakthroughs in cancer biology, but you could also make a case that [...]... Read more »

Shuda, M., Feng, H., Kwun, H., Rosen, S., Gjoerup, O., Moore, P., & Chang, Y. (2008) T antigen mutations are a human tumor-specific signature for Merkel cell polyomavirus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(42), 16272-16277. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0806526105  

  • August 5, 2009
  • 10:54 AM

Depression in preschool - Not a transient developmental phase.

by Nestor Lopez-Duran PhD in Child-Psych

In the current issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, Joan Luby and her team at Washington University in St. Louis presented the findings of a powerful longitudinal study of depression in early childhood. In this new article, Dr. Luby examined the continuity and stability of early childhood depression. Specifically, her team wanted to explore whether [...]... Read more »

Luby, J., Si, X., Belden, A., Tandon, M., & Spitznagel, E. (2009) Preschool Depression: Homotypic Continuity and Course Over 24 Months. Archives of General Psychiatry, 66(8), 897-905. DOI: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2009.97  

  • August 5, 2009
  • 09:00 AM

Marburg virus in Egyptian fruit bats

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

Marburg virus has been isolated from Egyptian fruit bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus) living in Kitaka Cave, Uganda, demonstrating that bats are a natural reservoir of the virus.
Marburg virus, the founding member of the Filoviridae, is an enveloped virus with a negative-strand RNA genome. Other members of the filovirus family are the five species of ebolavirus. Filoviruses are [...]... Read more »

Towner, J., Amman, B., Sealy, T., Carroll, S., Comer, J., Kemp, A., Swanepoel, R., Paddock, C., Balinandi, S., Khristova, M.... (2009) Isolation of Genetically Diverse Marburg Viruses from Egyptian Fruit Bats. PLoS Pathogens, 5(7). DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1000536  

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