Post List

  • July 31, 2009
  • 01:49 AM

Friday Weird Science: the swimming of the sperm

by Evil Monkey in Neurotopia

Sci will admit that the sperm paper she picked for this week really is an excuse to use this image:


But really, sperm swimming is an important questions in terms of fertility. An ovum is only viable for about 24 hours, and a female only produces one per month. Sperm are viable for a little longer than that, but still, timing is rough. And once you get past the timing, you get into sperm getting lost, sperm swimming in circles, sperm getting stuck in the vaginal mucosa, and sper........ Read more »

Force, A., Grizard, G., Giraud, M., Motta, C., Sion, B., & Boucher, D. (2001) Membrane fluidity and lipid content of human spermatozoa selected by swim-up method. International Journal of Andrology, 24(6), 327-334. DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2605.2001.00309.x  

  • July 31, 2009
  • 12:00 AM

Maybe having kids is a good idea after all

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Who'd ever have thought it could be so difficult to measure happiness? Most large-scale studies rely on so-called "global measures". People are asked to rate how satisfied they are with their life, or something similar. The problems here are obvious: people's answers are likely to be swayed by their current mood, and we probably all interpret labels like "satisfied" in our own way. So along came Nobel prize-winning uber psychologist Daniel Kahneman, with his "day reconstruction method" (DRM). Pa........ Read more »

  • July 30, 2009
  • 10:24 PM

Sperm Generation Paper Retracted!

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

This doesn't happen very often in scientific journals, and when it does, it's always a shock. A paper I wrote about a little while ago, where scientists claimed to have derived sperm from stem cells, has been pulled by the publisher for plagiarism. The editor of the publishing journal, Stem Cells and Development, decided to retract the paper because the authors had basically copied the first two paragraphs of the paper from another paper which was published in Biology of Reproduction in 2006 (bo........ Read more »

Nayernia, K., Lee, J., Lako, M., Armstrong, L., Herbert, M., Li, M., Engel, W., Elliott, D., Stojkovic, M., Parrington, J.... (2009) In Vitro Derivation of Human Sperm from Embryonic Stem Cells. Stem Cells and Development, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1089/scd.2009.0063  

  • July 30, 2009
  • 10:18 PM

The same and not the same: more aggregates in HTS

by The Curious Wavefunction in The Curious Wavefunction

High-throughput screening (HTS) is now a mainstay of drug discovery and usually the starting point for most drug discovery projects. Industry usually has a lot of resources invested in HTS and therefore needs to be aware of false positives and false negatives that could hamper useful results and lead one down an erroneous path.Among the many factors responsible for false positives in HTS, one of the most startling and important factors recently unearthed is the non-specific and potent inhibition........ Read more »

Ferreira, R., Bryant, C., Ang, K., McKerrow, J., Shoichet, B., & Renslo, A. (2009) Divergent Modes of Enzyme Inhibition in a Homologous Structure−Activity Series. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1021/jm9009229  

  • July 30, 2009
  • 07:28 PM

Too Much Methionine Appears to be Bad For Mammals

by Reason in Fight Aging!

I'm sure you all know by now that restricting the amino acid methionine in the diet provides many of the health and longevity benefits of calorie restriction - in mice, at least. This is only the case for methionine, not any of the other essential amino acids that must be obtained through diet, and the resulting changes in biochemistry are not exactly the same as calorie restriction. This suggests that, for example, the loss of visceral fat associated with calorie restriction also plays an impor........ Read more »

  • July 30, 2009
  • 03:29 PM

Another Eye Tracking Study of Female Body Attractiveness

by Wayne Hooke in The Psychology of Beauty

Seda Dural (2008) used eye tracking combined with attractiveness ratings to explore the effect of altering waist-hip ratio and body fat levels in figures generated from 3D modeling software.

The stimuli were presented individually to 50 males and 50 females aged 18-22 (probably Turkish college students) on an LCD screen for viewing and rated for [...]... Read more »

Dural, Seda, Cetinkaya, Hakan, Gulbetekin, Evrim. (2008) The role of waist-to-hip ratio in evaluation of female physical attractiveness: Eye-tracker data. Kadinin fiziksel cekiciliinin deerlendirilmesinde bel-kalca-oraninin rolu: Goz-izleme sistemi verileri. Turk Psikoloji Dergisi, 75-88. info:/

  • July 30, 2009
  • 09:13 AM

Child Abuse is the Primary Cause of Infant Homicides

by Child Psych in Child Psych

Child abuse of any sort is difficult to understand, but the homicide of infants by caretakers is beyond most people's imagination. A new study sheds some light on who commits these acts.


... Read more »

  • July 30, 2009
  • 09:03 AM

Science 2.0: things that work and things that don’t

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

Open Notebook
What is it? Open Notebook means “no insider information” You lab notebook is on a wiki, out there for everyone to see. Negative results & all.  You share your research process with the world as you go along. There are many shades to this process: you may share some of your data, edit it, [...]... Read more »

M. Mitchell Waldrop. (2008) Science 2.0 -- Is Open Access Science the Future? . Scientific American, 298(5), 68-73. DOI: 18444327  

Sagotsky, J., Zhang, L., Wang, Z., Martin, S., & Deisboeck, T. (2008) Life Sciences and the web: a new era for collaboration. Molecular Systems Biology. DOI: 10.1038/msb.2008.39  

  • July 30, 2009
  • 09:00 AM

Virology pop quiz: Answers

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

A few weeks ago I asked readers to find the errors in the following statement concerning an experimental influenza vaccine produced by Protein Sciences which involves synthesis of the viral HA protein in insect cells.
They warned that the virus could mutate during the southern hemisphere’s flu season before returning north in a more lethal form in [...]... Read more »

  • July 30, 2009
  • 08:14 AM

The New GBS Cochrane Review: A Hot Mess!

by Amy Romano in Science & Sensibility

Advocates for evidence based care feel our ears perk up when we hear about a new Cochrane systematic review. Cochrane Review = Evidence! Right? Indeed, systematic reviews represent the top of the “evidence pyramid” and Cochrane systematic reviews are the gold standard for their rigor and transparency. A Cochrane review can even conclusively settle important [...]... Read more »

  • July 30, 2009
  • 08:02 AM

Science News: Week of July 26, 2009

by Susan Steinhardt in BioData Blogs

Our weekly compilation of science news for the week of July 26, 2009.... Read more »

Orso, G., Pendin, D., Liu, S., Tosetto, J., Moss, T., Faust, J., Micaroni, M., Egorova, A., Martinuzzi, A., McNew, J.... (2009) Homotypic fusion of ER membranes requires the dynamin-like GTPase Atlastin. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature08280  

Page, R., Ambady, S., Holmes, W., Vilner, L., Kole, D., Kashpur, O., Huntress, V., Vojtic, I., Whitton, H., & Dominko, T. (2009) Induction of Stem Cell Gene Expression in Adult Human Fibroblasts without Transgenes. Cloning and Stem Cells, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1089/clo.2009.0015  

Gentleman, E., Swain, R., Evans, N., Boonrungsiman, S., Jell, G., Ball, M., Shean, T., Oyen, M., Porter, A., & Stevens, M. (2009) Comparative materials differences revealed in engineered bone as a function of cell-specific differentiation. Nature Materials. DOI: 10.1038/nmat2505  

  • July 30, 2009
  • 04:59 AM

Child Abuse is the Primary Cause of Infant Homicides

by Catherine Busch in Child Psych

Child abuse of any sort is difficult to understand, but the homicide of infants by caretakers is beyond most people's imagination. A new study sheds some light on who commits these acts.Fujiwara, T., Barber, C., Schaechter, J., & Hemenway, D. (2009). Characteristics of Infant Homicides: Findings From a U.S. Multisite Reporting System PEDIATRICS, 124 (2) DOI: 10.1542/peds.2008-3675The study reports on 72 cases drawn from the National Violent Injury Statistics System. The system was developed to p........ Read more »

  • July 30, 2009
  • 03:53 AM

Organic foods aren't more nutritious

by Bjørn Østman in Pleiotropy

So if you purchase organically grown food (crops and meat) because you think they are more nutritious, then you might be disappointed to learn that there is no evidence that it is.In a huge survey of the literature on organic food from the last 50 years, the overall message is that no difference in nutritional value is to be found between organically and conventionally grown foods. [1] (By the ... Read more »

  • July 30, 2009
  • 01:31 AM


by Jeremy in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

I am painfully aware of the risk we run here at the Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog of becoming single-issue bores. To a hammer, everything is a nail. And if your thing is agrobiodiversity, you’ll naturally be tempted to think that every problem can be solved by the judicious application of an agrobiodiversity thwack. How refreshing [...]... Read more »

  • July 29, 2009
  • 07:29 PM

Complicating Antioxidants Some More

by Reason in Fight Aging!

We'll start off today's post with a quick refresher on the present state of knowledge regarding antioxidants and life span in laboratory animals. Antioxidants are compounds that neutralize oxidants, such as the reactive oxygen species produced by your mitochondria that are implicated in the damage of aging. In theory, neutralizing those damaging oxidants before they can cause harm to your cellular machinery will lead to a lesser accumulation of cellular and tissue damage over time, and thus a sl........ Read more »

Jang, Y., Perez, V., Song, W., Lustgarten, M., Salmon, A., Mele, J., Qi, W., Liu, Y., Liang, H., Chaudhuri, A.... (2009) Overexpression of Mn Superoxide Dismutase Does Not Increase Life Span in Mice. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glp100  

  • July 29, 2009
  • 04:07 PM

Everything You Know About Counterinsurgency History Is (possibly) Wrong!

by Randy Borum in Science of Global Security & Armed Conflict

Everything You Know About Counterinsurgency History Is (possibly) Wrong!I find it refreshing to hear an historian analyze ideas about counterinsurgency (COIN), if only to break the monotony of listening to COIN practitioners and doctrineers analyzing history. A new article by Professor Jonathan Gumz from USMA West Point makes the point.Gumz begins by noting that a flood of new scholarship on COIN has emerged - particularly in military journals - over the past six years. Articles typically inc........ Read more »

  • July 29, 2009
  • 03:12 PM

A "lie detector" test -- and how to cheat it

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

Implicit attitudes and associations can tell us a lot about a person. It's a way to find out if they might have a racial or gender bias, and recently there has even been some work suggesting that an implicit association test can tell us whether someone is lying -- it's called the autobiographical Implicit Association Test (aIAT). Here's how it works:

Suppose you're an American soldier and you want to know if an Afghan you've captured is really a member of the Taliban, despite his assurances tha........ Read more »

  • July 29, 2009
  • 02:11 PM

Seeing is Believing

by Kristopher Hite in Tom Paine's Ghost

And in science this can be the biggest barrier to moving forward. If we can't show an event happening how do we know it is happening at all? Since the 1950's a large gap between what we can see under microscopes and what we can see when we crystallize things (i.e. DNA) has existed. The gap has historically been in the range of tens to hundreds of nanometers leaving many macromolecular events taking place inside every living cell on earth in a black box; inaccessible to the human eye and ther........ Read more »

Lee, J., Hong, B., Kim, W., Min, S., Kim, Y., Jouravlev, M., Bose, R., Kim, K., Hwang, I., Kaufman, L.... (2009) Near-field focusing and magnification through self-assembled nanoscale spherical lenses. Nature, 460(7254), 498-501. DOI: 10.1038/nature08173  

  • July 29, 2009
  • 01:08 PM

Survival at extreme temperatures: what is it good for?

by Aydin Örstan in Snail's Tales

JOHAN MERTENS, LYNDA BELADJAL, ANGELICA ALCANTARA, LIESJE FOUGNIES, DOMINIQUE VAN DER STRAETEN and JAMES S. CLEGG (2008). Survival of dried eukaryotes (anhydrobiotes) after exposure to very high temperatures Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 93, 15-22 pdfEver since Antonie van Leeuwenhoek demonstrated the appearance of animalcules* in cultures made with previously dry dust more than 300 years ago, biologists have been getting kicks out of pushing the limits of the survivability o........ Read more »

JOHAN MERTENS, LYNDA BELADJAL, ANGELICA ALCANTARA, LIESJE FOUGNIES, DOMINIQUE VAN DER STRAETEN and JAMES S. CLEGG. (2008) Survival of dried eukaryotes (anhydrobiotes) after exposure to very high temperatures. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 15-22. DOI:  

  • July 29, 2009
  • 12:58 PM

The implicit power of packaging

by Steve Genco in Lucid Thoughts

I came across an interesting post in ScienceDaily – Consumer Behavior yesterday about how people draw inferences from seemingly neutral packaging features.  The referenced article is by two Canadian researchers:

David Hammond and Carla Parkinson (2009). The impact of cigarette package design on perceptions of risk J Public Health (July 27, 2009)
The ScienceDaily post describes the [...]... Read more »

Hammond D, & Parkinson C. (2009) The impact of cigarette package design on perceptions of risk. Journal of public health (Oxford, England). PMID: 19636066  

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