Last night I had this wonderful dream. It was a normal day in just about every way except I had this amazing ability. When I jumped, I was able to leap great distances and almost fly. No wings were involved - it was almost like I was able to levitate, and slowly drift between places. It was a very calm, serene feeling.Perhaps that's how the mice in Dr. Liu's lab felt. Advances in Space Research has published online today an accepted manuscript where researchers levitated mice. And, according to ........ Read more »
Liu, Y., Zhu, D., Strayer, D., & Israelsson, U. (2009) Magnetic levitation of large water droplets and mice. Advances in Space Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2009.08.033
A recent paper on the test / re-test reliability of diagnostic criteria for MDMA abuse and dependence is fascinating. Foremost because the nature of substance abuse is always a fun topic for discussion when you are dealing with a compound which the users argue so strenuously is perfectly benign. Even more so because the advocacy position tends to put a finer point on the argument about just how to draw lines between ordered and disordered behavior within what is very likely a continuous distribu........ Read more »
Cottler, L., Leung, K., & Abdallah, A. (2009) Test-re-test reliability of DSM-IV adopted criteria for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) abuse and dependence: a cross-national study. Addiction, 104(10), 1679-1690. DOI: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02649.x
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Climatologists have long known that aerosol "haze" plays an important role in determining just hot things get on Earth. But figuring out just what the role is has proven frustrating. The tiny, airborne particles that fly out of smokestacks, tailpipes and ordinary biomass fires can either help cool the earth by reflecting sunlight, for example. But they can also settle on snow in the form of soot and absorb heat. Now comes a paper that claims to have calculated the net effect. If the researchers ........ Read more »
Murphy, D., Solomon, S., Portmann, R., Rosenlof, K., Forster, P., & Wong, T. (2009) An observationally based energy balance for the Earth since 1950. Journal of Geophysical Research, 114(D17). DOI: 10.1029/2009JD012105
Let’s say that you’re watching a taped television show in which someone is being interviewed about an alleged theft she may or may not have committed. She offers a detailed explanation as to why she’s innocent, and you as one viewer among many are left to decide if she’s telling the truth.
Now let’s say that instead of watching her on broadcast television, you’re watching her live on closed circuit television. Only you can see her being interviewed about t........ Read more »
Landström, S., & Granhag, P. (2009) In-court versus out-of-court testimonies: Children's experiences and adults' assessments. Applied Cognitive Psychology. DOI: 10.1002/acp.1606
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) for treatment-refractory psychiatric disorders has been gaining in popularity. The procedure involves neurosurgery to implant stimulating electrodes aimed at a target region inside the brain. It works using the same sort of pacemaker-like device used for DBS in Parkinson's disease, which has been remarkably successful at alleviating symptoms. DBS as a treatment for neurological disorders such as Parkinson's, primary generalised dystonia, atypical tremor syndromes, cl........ Read more »
Heinze, H. et al. (2009) Counteracting incentive sensitization in severe alcohol dependence using deep brain stimulation of the Nucleus accumbens: clinical and basic science aspects. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. DOI: 10.3389/neuro.09.022.2009
Rabins, P. et al. (2009) Scientific and Ethical Issues Related to Deep Brain Stimulation for Disorders of Mood, Behavior, and Thought . Archives of General Psychiatry, 66(9), 931-937. info:/
One of the key observations in support of evolutionary theory is that similar lifestyles can lead distantly-related living things to evolve strikingly similar traits. Compare an echidna and a hedgehog, distantly related mammals with very similar lifestyles. This kind of convergence can occur on much smaller scales of time and space, too, as a new paper just released online by Proceedings of the Royal Society shows. Its authors demonstrate that populations of spadefoot toads have independently ev........ Read more »
Pfennig, D., & Frankino, W. (1997) Kin-mediated morphogenesis in facultatively cannibalistic tadpoles. Evolution, 51(6), 1993. DOI: 10.2307/2411019
Rice, A., Leichty, A., & Pfennig, D. (2009) Parallel evolution and ecological selection: replicated character displacement in spadefoot toads. Proc. R. Soc. B. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1337
In 2004, Otto and Nuismer published a theoretical paper on the evolution of sex where they examined a range of stereotyped models (e.g. gene-for-gene) of species interactions (both antagonistic and beneficial) that are often used by theoreticians. Their results indicated that sex and recombination were generally selected against regardless of the model of interaction given the assumptions of the quasi linkage equilibrium (QLE, in this case, weak selection and strong recombination). In their nu........ Read more »
KOUYOS, R., SALATHE, M., OTTO, S., & BONHOEFFER, S. (2009) The role of epistasis on the evolution of recombination in host–parasite coevolution. Theoretical Population Biology, 75(1), 1-13. DOI: 10.1016/j.tpb.2008.09.007
This result came out a few months ago, and I’ve been looking for the time to write about it ever since: in a paper published in the June 5 issue of Science, scientists reported the discovery of the first natural quasicrystal!
Of course, in order to get excited about this result, one needs to know what [...]... Read more »
Convergent evolution of large functional traits is not uncommon in nature; consider that wings have evolved in several lineages of animals to broaden niches that animals can fill. But more specific convergence, especially in sexual and territorial signals, is rare at best and stirs controversy in the scientific world.
On the surface, it would seem that [...]
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Tobias, J., & Seddon, N. (2009) SIGNAL DESIGN AND PERCEPTION IN ANTBIRDS: EVIDENCE FOR CONVERGENT EVOLUTION VIA SOCIAL SELECTION . Evolution. DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2009.00795.x
We have heard of the Mobius band. A one sided strip, it is a topological peculiarity. Over the decades it has popped up in several places in knowledge-space: the self-induction free Mobius resistor, the Mobius gear, the shape of the trajectory the Solar wind plasma assume in their route to chaos when interacting with the [...]... Read more »
by Jon Voisey in Angry Astronomer
Whether or not we know just how they work, type Ia Supernovae (SNe Ia) are held to be great standard candles for building our cosmic distance ladder. In so many cases where we can check their distance by other, more fundamental means there seems to be a very nice trend we can use.The theory behind these guys is described by the Chandrasekhar limit, that is, the maximum density at which you can compact an object before the gravity overwhelms internal support forces. For white dwarfs (the dead cor........ Read more »
Chen, W., & Li, X. (2009) ON THE PROGENITORS OF SUPER-CHANDRASEKHAR MASS TYPE Ia SUPERNOVAE. The Astrophysical Journal, 702(1), 686-691. DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/702/1/686
In the past, I have written in support of calorie counts being posted on menus in fast-food restaurants. The merits of calories counts on menus can be debated (I personally feel the potential benefits far outweigh the potential costs), but a recent study makes one thing perfectly clear - meals eaten in fast food restaurants contain an absolutely unbelievable number of calories.
The new study, which is available ahead of print on the website of the journal Obesity, was performed by Tamara Dum........ Read more »
Dumanovsky, T., Nonas, C., Huang, C., Silver, L., & Bassett, M. (2009) What People Buy From Fast-food Restaurants: Caloric Content and Menu Item Selection, New York City 2007. Obesity. DOI: 10.1038/oby.2009.90
When is it good to let students fail? Is there something good that happens when students struggle and don’t succeed? These questions are explored by Kapur & Kinzur (2008) in the International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning.
At a high level, they have groups of students randomly assigned to work on physics problems in triads on [...]... Read more »
Lamaze International’s popular series, Research Summaries for Normal Birth, was discontinued in 2008 after four years of quarterly round-ups so that we could move to the blog format and launch Science & Sensibility. In order to bring all of our research resources together in one place, we are adding the Research Summaries archive to Science [...]... Read more »
Hill MJ, McWilliams GD, Garcia-Sur D, Chen B, Munroe M, & Hoeldtke NJ. (2008) The effect of membrane sweeping on prelabor rupture of membranes: a randomized controlled trial. Obstetrics and gynecology, 111(6), 1313-9. PMID: 18515514
Gaudernack LC, Forbord S, & Hole E. (2006) Acupuncture administered after spontaneous rupture of membranes at term significantly reduces the length of birth and use of oxytocin. A randomized controlled trial. Acta obstetricia et gynecologica Scandinavica, 85(11), 1348-53. PMID: 17091416
Kramer MS, Rouleau J, Baskett TF, Joseph KS, & Maternal Health Study Group of the Canadian Perinatal Surveillance System. (2006) Amniotic-fluid embolism and medical induction of labour: a retrospective, population-based cohort study. Lancet, 368(9545), 1444-8. PMID: 17055946
Main EK, Moore D, Farrell B, Schimmel LD, Altman RJ, Abrahams C, Bliss MC, Polivy L, & Sterling J. (2006) Is there a useful cesarean birth measure? Assessment of the nulliparous term singleton vertex cesarean birth rate as a tool for obstetric quality improvement. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, 194(6), 1644. PMID: 16643812
Fok WY, Chan LY, Tsui MH, Leung TN, Lau TK, & Chung TK. (2006) When to induce labor for post-term? A study of induction at 41 weeks versus 42 weeks. European journal of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology, 125(2), 206-10. PMID: 16139416
Luthy DA, Malmgren JA, & Zingheim RW. (2004) Cesarean delivery after elective induction in nulliparous women: the physician effect. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, 191(5), 1511-5. PMID: 15547518
Ngwenya S, & Lindow SW. (2004) 24 hour rhythm in the timing of pre-labour spontaneous rupture of membranes at term. European journal of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology, 112(2), 151-3. PMID: 14746949
Magann EF, Doherty DA, Field K, Chauhan SP, Muffley PE, & Morrison JC. (2004) Biophysical profile with amniotic fluid volume assessments. Obstetrics and gynecology, 104(1), 5-10. PMID: 15228994
Daniel-Spiegel E, Weiner Z, Ben-Shlomo I, & Shalev E. (2004) For how long should oxytocin be continued during induction of labour?. BJOG : an international journal of obstetrics and gynaecology, 111(4), 331-4. PMID: 15008768
What happens to fat left over from a liposuction procedure? Brad Pitt might choose to turn it in to soap, but scientists at Stanford University have figured out a surprising alternative: stem cells. Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells are highly sought after because of their ability to transform in to many other types of cells [...]... Read more »
Sun, N., Panetta, N., Gupta, D., Wilson, K., Lee, A., Jia, F., Hu, S., Cherry, A., Robbins, R., Longaker, M.... (2009) Feeder-free derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells from adult human adipose stem cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0908450106
In the sports nutrition industry, there is a gradual shift to using hydrolyzed proteins for their increased speed of absorption and inducing hyperleucemia and hyperinsulinemia, conditions that may promote a faster and greater response to recovery and skeletal muscle growth. A recent paper by Deglaire et al. confirms this is the case for casein protein, [...]... Read more »
Deglaire A, Fromentin C, Fouillet H, Airinei G, Gaudichon C, Boutry C, Benamouzig R, Moughan PJ, Tomé D, & Bos C. (2009) Hydrolyzed dietary casein as compared with the intact protein reduces postprandial peripheral, but not whole-body, uptake of nitrogen in humans. The American journal of clinical nutrition. PMID: 19692493
At Cancer Research UK we pride ourselves on funding world-leading research, so it’s always satisfying when our scientists win prestigious awards. One recent winner was Dr Grant Stewart from the Cancer Research UK Institute for Cancer Studies in Birmingham, who has been awarded the annual Lister Institute Research Prize.
Dr Stewart recently had a [...]... Read more »
Stewart, G., Panier, S., Townsend, K., Al-Hakim, A., Kolas, N., Miller, E., Nakada, S., Ylanko, J., Olivarius, S., & Mendez, M. (2009) The RIDDLE Syndrome Protein Mediates a Ubiquitin-Dependent Signaling Cascade at Sites of DNA Damage. Cell, 136(3), 420-434. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2008.12.042
The best cartoon shows – like Rocky and Bullwinkle, ReBoot, or Avatar: The Last Airbender – work on two levels. There’s one layer of meaning that kids pick up on, and another layer that their parents watching beside them pick up on. The same signal has different meanings to different audiences. This new paper by Moosman and colleagues investigates how one signal might do double duty in the animal kingdom.Fireflies (which in this case are beetles rather than flies) light up to attract mates........ Read more »
Moosman, Jr, P., Cratsley, C., Lehto, S., & Thomas, H. (2009) Do courtship flashes of fireflies (Coleoptera: Lampyridae) serve as aposematic signals to insectivorous bats?. Animal Behaviour. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.07.028
If you're an empathic person, able to tune into other people's feelings, then the chances are you've also got a keen sense of what other people smell like! We've known for some time that the brain areas involved in empathy and recognising facial emotions partially overlap with the brain areas associated with smell. Wen Zhou's and Denise Chen's new finding shows that this overlap extends to behavioural performance.
Forty-four female university students were twice t........ Read more »
Zhou W, & Chen D. (2009) Sociochemosensory and emotional functions: behavioral evidence for shared mechanisms. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 20(9), 1118-24. PMID: 19686296
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