Post List

  • May 29, 2009
  • 01:14 PM

Biological networks: Graph or Hypergraph

by Abhishek Tiwari in Fisheye Perspective

Mathematical representation of biological networks is often referred as graphs, although a more plausible functional definition can be offered by hypergraphs. In a latest PLoS Computational Biology paper Klamt et al. provide an interesting perspective about notion of using hypergraphs instead of graphs as a modeling framework for network biology. Implementing hypergraphs to model different network analysis problems has several advantages over traditional graph models such as a more accurate re........ Read more »

Klamt, S., Haus, U., & Theis, F. (2009) Hypergraphs and Cellular Networks. PLoS Computational Biology, 5(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000385  

  • May 29, 2009
  • 01:12 PM

Extending lifespan while shortening healthspan?

by ouroboros in Ouroboros: Research in the biology of aging

One of the central precepts of biogerontology is that meaningful lifespan extension will be concomitant with extension of the “healthspan”, i.e., the vigorous part of life — life that is, for lack of a better phrase, worth living.

This relationship is borne out both in nature (where longer-lived organisms also have longer healthspans) and in [...]... Read more »

  • May 29, 2009
  • 01:00 PM

SCIENCE PUBLISHING: Fabrication and Falsification are Widespread in Science

by Michael Long in Phased

Daniele Fanelli (University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom)

has probed the extent of nonplagiaristic fraud in the technical

science literature, focusing on bio/medical and clinical research.

This news feature was written on May 29, 2009.... Read more »

  • May 29, 2009
  • 12:46 PM

TRP Channel Variations Determine What's "Too Cold"

by Laura E. Mariani in Neurotypical?

In the fairy tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Goldilocks encounters three bowls of porridge in the bear household. Papa Bear's porridge is too hot; Mama Bear's porridge is too cold; Baby Bear's porridge is just right. Why would Papa Bear and Mama Bear choose to heat their porridge to non-optimal temperatures? A new study by Benjamin Myers et al. published in PLoS ONE suggests that their perception of "just right" depends on their TRP channels. Okay, it's unlikely that three members of an ........ Read more »

  • May 29, 2009
  • 11:38 AM

Selection for Tag-Based Cooperation

by Johnny in Ecographica

Scientists from Harvard, the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Queens University have published an article in PNAS in which game dynamics are used to model the evolution of cooperative behavior in individuals expressing a range of phenotypic variation.... Read more »

Antal, T., Ohtsuki, H., Wakeley, J., Taylor, P., & Nowak, M. (2009) From the Cover: Evolution of cooperation by phenotypic similarity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(21), 8597-8600. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0902528106  

  • May 29, 2009
  • 10:21 AM

Newly Discovered Analog complexity in a Genetic Signal

by AK in AK's Rambling Thoughts

I've written before about the cell's complex analog computing network, both phospho-activating enzymes, and gene activation. In a very recent pre-publication paper we have a specific example of just how complex this type of network can be. One type of protein called signal transducer and activator of transcriptionA1 (STAT) proteins are parts of the network that lie in a short path between extra-cellular signaling and nuclear gene activation primarily involved in the development and function of........ Read more »

  • May 29, 2009
  • 09:06 AM

Lujo virus, a new hemorrhagic fever virus from Southern Africa

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

A new member of the arenavirus family, Lujo virus, has been identified in patients who died during an outbreak of hemorrhagic fever in late 2008. Sequence analysis reveals that Lujo is a new arenavirus, genetically distinct from other members of the family which includes Lassa virus.

A patient with unexplained hemorrhagic fever was identified in Zambia [...]... Read more »

  • May 29, 2009
  • 09:00 AM

Effects of bullying on children with special needs

by Nestor Lopez-Duran PhD in Child-Psych

APS Convention Report #5

This post is part of a series of reports on research presented last weekend at the Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science.

During the past few months I’ve discussed a couple of studies on bullying, including an examination of the relationship between bullying and psychotic symptoms, and a study exploring the [...]... Read more »

Mishna, Faye. (2003) Learning Disabilities and Bullying: Double Jeopardy. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 36(4).

  • May 29, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Island girls: Why Hawaiian female crickets aren’t very choosy

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

The Hawaiian islands are the setting for one of the most fascinating experiments in evolution in real time that I know of. There, the males in a population of crickets have gone from singers to almost entirely silent in just a few years.This species of cricket (Teleogryllus oceanicus) lives across a wide range of Pacific locations, from Australia (where they started) to Hawaii (a much more recent introduction). Male crickets sing to attract females, so there’s selection to keep singing. These........ Read more »

  • May 29, 2009
  • 03:25 AM

Major enhancements to Electroconvulsive therapy

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD


The major recent enhancements to ECT technique are:

Right Unilateral electrode placement. The cognitive side-effects of ECT such as retrograde and anterograde amnesia are significantly less compared to Bilateral electrode placement.

Brief pulse stimulus currents. The characteristics of the electrical stimulus affect the effectiveness and cognitive outcomes of the seizure. Sine wave stimuli have been [...]... Read more »

SACKEIM, H., PRUDIC, J., NOBLER, M., FITZSIMONS, L., LISANBY, S., PAYNE, N., BERMAN, R., BRAKEMEIER, E., PERERA, T., & DEVANAND, D. (2008) Effects of pulse width and electrode placement on the efficacy and cognitive effects of electroconvulsive therapy. Brain Stimulation, 1(2), 71-83. DOI: 10.1016/j.brs.2008.03.001  

  • May 29, 2009
  • 01:27 AM

Leptospira heme oxygenase frees iron from heme

by Microbe Fan in Spirochetes Unwound

I mentioned in a recent post that iron is an essential trace metal that bacteria must acquire from its surroundings. (From that same post you will also recall that the Lyme disease spirochete B. burgdorferi is a rare exception that doesn't need iron.) Much of the iron in our body is trapped within the center of the heme molecule. Heme itself is not readily accessible as it is bound to host proteins such as hemoglobin. Pathogenic bacteria have evolved sophisticated systems to kidnap heme from........ Read more »

  • May 29, 2009
  • 01:15 AM

Friday Weird Science: The man with the purple nostrils

by Evil Monkey in Neurotopia

For a few weeks now, Sci's been wanting to get away from the sex for a bit. Not that I mind having this reputation as being a sex blogger (or whatever), but there's more out there to weird science than sex.

And so, the word of the day is: rhinotrichtillomania. Say that three times fast. rhinotrichtillomania, rhinotrichtillomania, rhinotrichit...crap.

Fontenelle et al. "The man with the purple nostrils: a case of rhinotrichtillomania secondary to body dysmorphic disorder" Acta Psyciatric S........ Read more »

  • May 29, 2009
  • 12:15 AM

The diagnostic value of the history and physical examination for COPD

by Robert Badgett in ClinDx

Fam Pract. 2009 PMID: 19423699
I do not find this systematic review helpful. This review cautiously concludes "There is insufficient evidence to assess the value of history taking and physical examination for diagnosing COPD". This contrasts with the tangible conclusions of the Rational Clinical Examination. Juxtaposing these two reviews demonstrates how arbitrary evidence-based medicine can be in its acceptance of evidence.... Read more »

  • May 29, 2009
  • 12:05 AM

Supply chain risk management – a complete literature review?

by Jan Husdal in

Is it possible to summarize seven years of supply chain risk management research and find a common theme or definition of what supply chain risk is all about? Apparently not. In Supply chain risk management: literature review and future research, Vanany, Zailani and Pujawan, three scholars from Indonesia and Malaysia, review and classify 82 articles in what is the most complete review that I have seen to date. But…is it a helpful review?... Read more »

Vanany, Iwan, Zailani, Suhaiza, & Pujawan, Nyoman. (2009) Supply chain risk management: literature review and future research. International Journal of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management, 2(1), 16-33. DOI:  

  • May 29, 2009
  • 12:00 AM

Simulating déjà vu in the lab

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Déjà vu is that creepy feeling that you're living through a moment for the second time, as if retreading the path of an earlier existence. Now Alan Brown and Elizabeth Marsh believe they've found a way to simulate the déjà vu sensation in the laboratory - a finding that could help us understand why the phenomenon occurs.Twenty-four participants were presented with dozens of symbols that had been carefully chosen, with the help of a pilot study, to be either entirely novel, rarely encountered........ Read more »

  • May 28, 2009
  • 11:57 PM

Water on a sub-freezing Mars

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

NASA researchers is now reporting in the May 21st issue of Nature that water could remain liquid at sub-freezing temperatures if made stable against freezing by containing dissolved minerals. From the abstract:

Many features of the Martian landscape are thought to have been formed by liquid water flow, and water-related mineralogies on the surface of Mars are widespread and abundant. Several lines of evidence, however, suggest that Mars has been cold with mean global temperatures well below th........ Read more »

Fairén, A., Davila, A., Gago-Duport, L., Amils, R., & McKay, C. (2009) Stability against freezing of aqueous solutions on early Mars. Nature, 459(7245), 401-404. DOI: 10.1038/nature07978  

  • May 28, 2009
  • 06:27 PM

How long does it take for an ecosystem to recover?

by Marc Cadotte in The EEB and flow

Numerous human activities, such as logging, fishing, pollution and the introduction of exotic species negatively impact ecosystems around the world. These negative impacts mean ecosystems lose species diversity, biomass production, carbon storage, and nutrient uptake. An important question is, how long does it take for ecosystems to recover from perturbations. The answer to this question can inform conservation policy and strategies and could help focus management resources.In a recent PLoS ONE ........ Read more »

  • May 28, 2009
  • 04:53 PM

Can we tell who's speaking based only on body movements? Depends on their emotion

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

Take a look at this video. Your job: decide which person speaks first:

Click to view Video 1 (QuickTime required)

Let's make this a poll:

Which person in Video 1 speaks first?(web poll)

Now, try another one. Once again, decide which person speaks first:

Click to view Video 2 (QuickTime required)

Make your response here:

Which person in Video 2 speaks first?(opinion polls)

David Rose and Tanya Clark showed videos like this to 17 student volunteers, and asked the same question: who spoke f........ Read more »

  • May 28, 2009
  • 04:16 PM

Vaccines and parental knowledge

by Euan in Dr Euan Lawson| Doctor Writer

Borras, E., Dominguez, A., Fuentes, M., Batalla, J., Cardenosa, N., & Plasencia, A. (2009). Parental knowledge of paediatric vaccination. BMC Public Health, 9 (1) DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-9-154


This study in Spain was a retrospective cross-sectional survey in Catalonia. They called up the parents of 630 children to ask them about vaccine coverage and to assess their knowledge about [...]... Read more »

Borras, E., Dominguez, A., Fuentes, M., Batalla, J., Cardenosa, N., & Plasencia, A. (2009) Parental knowledge of paediatric vaccination. BMC Public Health, 9(1), 154. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-9-154  

  • May 28, 2009
  • 03:34 PM

Synchrony and the binding problem

by Brandon Goodell in Bored Lunatic

What's more fun than plugging electrodes into a monkey brain?This paper does that!  It plugs some electrodes into a monkey brain to test the binding by synchrony (BBS) hypothesis, and comes back with tentative evidence against binding by synchrony.  Cool stuff!The primary visual cortex works in a really cool way: mathematically, it performs a wavelet decomposition on the image incident upon your retina.  Your retina functions like a pixel representation of the image you are looking at, becaus........ Read more »

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