Post List

  • March 18, 2010
  • 05:05 PM

Parkinsonian emotion recognition impairment better accounted for by sleep deprivation

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

The New York Times recently covered a paper by Grey and Tickle-Degnen, published in the journal Neuropsychology, finding that people with Parkinson's Disease (PD) are not able to recognize facial and vocal emotions very well. The article states that it's not clear why this seems to be the case. I briefly reviewed the original meta-analytic paper (the pdf can be found here) and saw that the research team accounted for 1) the emotion recognition tasks used, 2) the medication the participants were ........ Read more »

  • March 18, 2010
  • 04:25 PM

Death by human stampede

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Over the past 30 years, stampedes have killed at least 7,000 people and injured another 14,000. That's the conclusion that Edbert Hsu (Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions) and colleagues reached after a painstaking trawl of news reports in the world's English-language media.The real toll is probably even higher, of course, but the data were enough to allow Hsu to work out the characteristics of the most lethal stampedes. They found reports on 215 stampedes, of which 49 occurred at sporting events........ Read more »

Hsieh, Y., Ngai, K., Burkle, F., & Hsu, E. (2009) Epidemiological Characteristics of Human Stampedes. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 3(4), 217-223. DOI: 10.1097/DMP.0b013e3181c5b4ba  

  • March 18, 2010
  • 03:54 PM

Unique Fossils Record the Dining Habits of Ancient Sharks

by Laelaps in Laelaps

A photograph and line drawing (left side) of the fossil dolphin Astadelphis gastaldii. The crescent-shaped line in the line drawing represents the bite of a large shark, with the red portions representing damage done directly to the bone. From Bianucci et al, 2010.

Shark attacks are events of speed and violence. When they have locked on to a prey item sharks seem to come out of nowhere, and though they can be quite gentle with their jaws (as on occasions when they are unsure about whether ........ Read more »


BIANUCCI, G., SORCE, B., STORAI, T., & LANDINI, W. (2010) Killing in the Pliocene: shark attack on a dolphin from Italy. Palaeontology, 53(2), 457-470. DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4983.2010.00945.x  

  • March 18, 2010
  • 02:12 PM

“Skunk bear” snowfall ecology (a.k.a what wolverines want)

by DeLene Beeland in Wild Muse

Recently, the only known wolverine in Michigan passed away. Unlike the life and death of most wild animals, which unfold without human fanfare, her life and death were noticed. Scrutinized even. Rare species catch our attention. Rare species persisting outside their normal range even more so. Wolverines are often characterized as solitary creatures, thinly distributed [...]... Read more »

Copeland, J., McKelvey, K., Aubry, K., Landa, A., Persson, J., Inman, R., Krebs, J., Lofroth, E., Golden, H., Squires, J.... (2010) The bioclimatic envelope of the wolverine (Gulo gulo): do climatic constraints limit its geographic distribution?. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 88(3), 233-246. DOI: 10.1139/Z09-136  

  • March 18, 2010
  • 01:51 PM

On the Origins of Polar bears

by TwoYaks in Gene Flow

From PNAS  March 16, 2010   vol. 107  no. 11  5053-5057 "Complete mitochondrial genome of a Pleistocene jawbone unveils the origin of polar bear" Lindqvist et al. 2010.
The polar bear has become the flagship species in the climate-change discussion. However, little is known about how past climate impacted its evolution and persistence, given an extremely poor fossil record. Although it is ... Read more »

Lindqvist, C., Schuster, S., Sun, Y., Talbot, S., Qi, J., Ratan, A., Tomsho, L., Kasson, L., Zeyl, E., Aars, J.... (2010) Complete mitochondrial genome of a Pleistocene jawbone unveils the origin of polar bear. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(11), 5053-5057. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0914266107  

  • March 18, 2010
  • 01:48 PM

LRR proteins help neurons find a partner

by Kevin Mitchell in Wiring the Brain

Matching 100 billion neurons with their appropriate partners is a daunting task, especially when each neuron can make synaptic contact with about 1,000 other cells. Nevertheless, the developing brain accomplishes this feat with remarkable specificity – neurons from each area of the brain send out axons which follow a stereotyped pathway to find their appropriate targets, guided by signpost proteins along the way. Once in the right general area they have to select specific cell types with whi........ Read more »

  • March 18, 2010
  • 01:43 PM

Birth Control: Desire on Schedule

by agoldstein in WiSci

Oral contraceptives can actually change a woman's mate preference...with detrimental consequences.... Read more »

Wedekind C, Seebeck T, Bettens F, & Paepke AJ. (1995) MHC-dependent mate preferences in humans. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 260(1359), 245-9. PMID: 7630893  

Roberts, S., Gosling, L., Carter, V., & Petrie, M. (2008) MHC-correlated odour preferences in humans and the use of oral contraceptives. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 275(1652), 2715-2722. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2008.0825  

  • March 18, 2010
  • 01:00 PM

And The Winner Is…

by Moselio Schaechter in Small Things Considered

by Elio The transposases! The contest, in case you wonder, was for the most abundant set of genes in the known universe, or at least in the genomic data banks available on Earth. Aziz, Breitbart, and Edwards examined some 10 million genes from 2137 sequenced genomes (47 archaeal, 725 bacterial, 29 eukaryotic and 1336 viral) plus 187 metagenomes, in search...... Read more »

  • March 18, 2010
  • 12:00 PM

Qualitative exercise adherence studies - participants with back pain and knee pain

by PhD Blogger in Exercise Psychology

Slade et al. (2009) is a qualitative study on people with non-specific chronic low back pain and examines their exercise adherence.  It examines their experiences of exercise past and present and also how they felt during the research study programme.  Many of the findings are in line with expectations from people who have been unsuccessful at establishing long term exercise behaviour, low exercise self efficacy and feelings of fear and helplessness.  The participants also reporte........ Read more »

  • March 18, 2010
  • 11:32 AM

Antibiotics Can Cause Gut Related Diseases

by Michael Ash in Nutri-Link Ltd - Clinical Education

Michael Ash BSc (Hons), DO, ND FDipION reviews the current understanding of the role of antibiotics in the initiation of gut associated inflammation and local and systemic health problems, and briefly explores some strategies to prevent and manage this.... Read more »

Hooper LV. (2009) Do symbiotic bacteria subvert host immunity?. Nature reviews. Microbiology, 7(5), 367-74. PMID: 19369952  

Johansson ME, Phillipson M, Petersson J, Velcich A, Holm L, & Hansson GC. (2008) The inner of the two Muc2 mucin-dependent mucus layers in colon is devoid of bacteria. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(39), 15064-9. PMID: 18806221  

Brandl K, Plitas G, Mihu CN, Ubeda C, Jia T, Fleisher M, Schnabl B, DeMatteo RP, & Pamer EG. (2008) Vancomycin-resistant enterococci exploit antibiotic-induced innate immune deficits. Nature, 455(7214), 804-7. PMID: 18724361  

  • March 18, 2010
  • 11:30 AM

Tasmanian devil colony shows immunity against cancer

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

In the tragic battle against devil facial tumor disease (DFTD), scientists may have found the first “glimmer of hope” near Cradle Mountain in northwestern Tasmania. At least that is what Katherine Belov of the University of Sydney and colleagues are saying about this unique colony that has resisted the disease. The results are paradoxical.... Read more »

  • March 18, 2010
  • 11:19 AM

When population booms in poor nations

by Dave in The Daily Monthly

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, population isn’t growing evenly across the world. While some areas are growing quickly, other places are stagnating. In nearly every case, population growth is slowest in rich countries and faster in poor countries. These two maps from the UN Population Division perhaps show the trend most dramatically:

As you can [...]... Read more »

Nikos Alexandratos. (2005) Countries with Rapid Population Growth and Resource Constraints: Issues of Food, Agriculture, and Development. Population and Development Review, 31(2), 237-258. info:other/

  • March 18, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Quality vs. quantity in protecting habitat for birds

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

A new study from South Africa touches on an interesting conservation question about whether we should place greater importance on quality or quantity when it comes to protecting habitat to conserve biodiversity...... Read more »

  • March 18, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Are big brains better for long trips?

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

For many birds, migration is a major component of life. You'd expect think that migration would have a whole cascade of effects on those birds, including the nervous system. But which way?

On the one hand, migration might be correlated with large brains to handle the the complex navigation tasks. On the other hand, migration might be correlated with small brains that are energetically efficient.

Sol and colleagues compared over six hundred species of birds (measuring over 4,000 skulls). Speci........ Read more »

Sol, D., Garcia, N., Iwaniuk, A., Davis, K., Meade, A., Boyle, W., & Székely, T. (2010) Evolutionary Divergence in Brain Size between Migratory and Resident Birds. PLoS ONE, 5(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009617  

  • March 18, 2010
  • 07:26 AM

A heads-up about head-up displays

by Daniel Simons in The Invisible Gorilla

A new GM design that effectively turns the windshield of your car into a monitor, augmenting reality and aiding driving in poor conditions. But that can cause problems too.... Read more »

Wickens C.D., & Alexander, A. L. (2009) Attentional tunneling and task management in synthetic vision displays. International Journal of Aviation Psychology, 182-199. info:/

  • March 18, 2010
  • 06:14 AM

Measles week, part IV: Some of the answers

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

Various workers affected by measles punish a god of measles, while a doctor and drugstore keeper try to protect the god from them. (1862

Well, here we are already at Part IV of Measles Week.  Doesn’t time fly? Remember how young we all were, back at Part I, when I raised the question I’m trying [...]... Read more »

  • March 18, 2010
  • 03:43 AM

rethinking quantum states and computers

by Greg Fish in weird things

By now, it’s well known that atoms and molecules can be in more than one state at the same time and do very odd things depending on their quantum states. However, somewhere along the line, this odd behavior has to stop, otherwise our world would be a very strange one. Objects would change temperatures and [...]... Read more »

O’Connell, A., Hofheinz, M., Ansmann, M., Bialczak, R., Lenander, M., Lucero, E., Neeley, M., Sank, D., Wang, H., Weides, M.... (2010) Quantum ground state and single-phonon control of a mechanical resonator. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature08967  

  • March 18, 2010
  • 03:00 AM

Terminator™ Exonuclease helps unravel the mysteries of the Helicobacter pylori transcriptome

by epibio in EpiCentral

Helicobacter pylori infects about 50% of the human population, and is implicated in inflammation, ulcers, and gastric cancer. Sharma et al.* used a novel approach--differential RNA-Seq (dRNA-Seq)--that selects for the 5’ ends of primary transcripts to construct a genome-wide map of transcriptional start sites (TSS) and operons.... Read more »

  • March 18, 2010
  • 12:19 AM

Palliative Care in Cancer Centers - Horses of many different colors

by Christian Sinclair, MD in Pallimed: a Hospice & Palliative Medicine Blog

The third Palliative Care related article released for St. Patrick's (Palladius) day is a article that speaks to what many of us in the field know already:

Palliative Care is a chameleon: it looks different depending on the background of the institution.
But as the editor-in-chief of the Lancet has said: "It is not true, until it is published." Well JAMA has published a little bit of truth with the article: "Availability and Integration of Palliative Care at US Cancer Centers."  We have a........ Read more »

David Hui, MD, MSc, Ahmed Elsayem, MD, Maxine De La Cruz, MD, Ann Berger, MD, Donna S. Zhukovsky, MD, Shana Palla, MS, Avery Evans, Nada Fadul, MD, & J. Lynn Palmer, PhD; Eduardo Bruera, MD. (2010) Availability and Integration of Palliative Care at US Cancer Centers. JAMA, 303(11), 1054-1061. info:/

  • March 17, 2010
  • 11:52 PM

Cancer Reporting in the Media - Guess what they report on?

by Christian Sinclair, MD in Pallimed: a Hospice & Palliative Medicine Blog

Image via WikipediaSt. Patrick's day is good for celebrating your Irish heritage or fondness for food coloring, but it may have a new tradition, the release of major Palliative Care articles. Three major articles came out this week. Today JAMA published "Availability and Integration of Palliative Care at US Cancer Centers", yesterday the Archives of Internal Medicine released "Cancer and the Media: How Does the News Report on Treatment and Outcomes?" and on the 15th CMAJ released "Why do patie........ Read more »

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