Post List

  • March 16, 2010
  • 05:00 AM

When land managers unintentionally create ecological traps

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

Sometimes the well-intentioned efforts of land managers can have unintended negative consequences for threatened species. In a new case study, researchers from Israel show how efforts by the national forestry agency to improve scrubland habitat in the Negev desert actually created an ecological trap for a highly endangered, endemic lizard...... Read more »

  • March 16, 2010
  • 03:28 AM

Chocolate Against Stress

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD

40 grams of dark chocolate per day reduces the urinary excretion of the stress hormone cortisol and it almost normalizes the stress related differences in energy metabolism and gut microbial activities between participants with low and high anxiety traits.
You are what you eat, it has been described how dietary preferences is associated with metabolic processes [...]

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Martin, F., Rezzi, S., Peré-Trepat, E., Kamlage, B., Collino, S., Leibold, E., Kastler, J., Rein, D., Fay, L., & Kochhar, S. (2009) Metabolic Effects of Dark Chocolate Consumption on Energy, Gut Microbiota, and Stress-Related Metabolism in Free-Living Subjects. Journal of Proteome Research, 8(12), 5568-5579. DOI: 10.1021/pr900607v  

  • March 16, 2010
  • 01:53 AM

Earworms, lyrics, and tunes in the brain

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

Last time I left off quoting Lady GaGa's masterwork "Poker Face". I continue to rag on it because I can't seem to escape it's repetitive and forced impingement on my vulnerable eardrums. Unfortunately, the city doesn't afford much auditory privacy and some people in the subway are really determined to lose their hearing before old age. Whatever happened to iPod etiquette? According to Oliver Sack's book Musicophilia I've got a bad case of the earworm. This is when a piece of music repeats compul........ Read more »

  • March 15, 2010
  • 11:37 PM

A Gene Story: the Negritos’ Early Southern Migration

by bonvito in time travelling

Current Biology’s article, The Human Genetic History of East Asia: Weaving a Complex Tapestry, presents another interesting evidence on the peopling of East Asia using evidences from mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and non-recombining Y chromosomes (NRY) haplogroups.
Stoneking and Delfin’s genetic evidence presented an early southern dispersal that created refugia populations. The authors suggested that Philippine Negritos, [...]... Read more »

  • March 15, 2010
  • 10:08 PM

Yes, the Little Things Matter: Parents' Role in Helping Kids Become Socially Competent

by Amy Webb in The Thoughtful Parent

Parents out there you know how it goes: you play the same game over and over again with your toddler or you help them put together a puzzle. This is the daily "stuff" of parenting and you may feel it doesn't make a difference. Well, turns out, it does make a difference! A recent study from the University of Montreal and the University of Minnesota shows that how parents interact with young children helps them develop crucial cognitive skills. Here's a brief overview of the study:- researchers st........ Read more »

  • March 15, 2010
  • 09:52 PM

Discriminating Cathinone Analogs

by DrugMonkey in DrugMonkey

sourceMy Google news alert for MDMA, Ecstasy and the like has been turning up references to a cathinone analog called variously 4-methylmethcathinone (4-MMC), mephedrone (2-methylamino-1-p-tolylpropan-1-one), Meow-Meow, MMCAT and a few other things. There has been one fatality attributed* to 4-MMC that I can find and a few bits of seized-drug analysis confirming that the stuff is indeed being used. A quick scan over at PubMed finds little reported on the effects of this compound in animal models........ Read more »

  • March 15, 2010
  • 09:03 PM

The Red Queen hypothesis in a glass

by Pablo Astudillo in astu's science blog

What factors predominate in evolution? In daily life, the constant evolution of our lives is influenced by our conditions and by external factors. If I want to build a house with my own hands, I have to consider my abilities, some of which are genetic (I am small, thin and I am not strong, so [...]... Read more »

  • March 15, 2010
  • 08:37 PM

Antennectomizing Ants For Science!

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

Where last we left our heroes of the Tunisian salt pans, we found that desert ants (Cataglyphis fortis) represent direction by using the sun as a compass in combination with a mental clock to correct for the changing position of the sun. Ants represent distance by counting its steps in 3D space, in [...]... Read more »

  • March 15, 2010
  • 08:11 PM

Picky Octopuses Don't Settle For Less Than The Best HDTV

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

Octopuses* and their cephalopod relatives are some of the smartest animals on the planet. Accordingly, many scientists want to understand how their mind works. To gain insights into the complex minds of cephalopods, researchers have been studying behavior in individual animals for years by presenting different animals with various visual stimuli. But many of the methods have downsides - for example, if you want to see how an octopus reacts to another octopus, you can add an octopus to the tank, ........ Read more »

Pronk, R., Wilson, D., & Harcourt, R. (2010) Video playback demonstrates episodic personality in the gloomy octopus. Journal of Experimental Biology, 213(7), 1035-1041. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.040675  

  • March 15, 2010
  • 07:59 PM

Regeneration in Mice Through a Single Gene Deletion

by Reason in Fight Aging!

You might recall the accidental discovery of unusually potent regeneration in MRL mice by Ellen Heber-Katz's team some years ago: Our laboratory has determined that the MRL mouse strain is unique in its capacity for regenerative wound healing, as shown by the closure of ear punches with normal tissue architecture and cartilage replacement reminiscent of amphibian regeneration as opposed to scarring. One line of research into regenerative medicine is based on understanding and then recreating in ........ Read more »

Khamilia Bedelbaeva, Andrew Snyder, Dmitri Gourevitch, Lise Clark, Xiang-Ming Zhang, John Leferovich, James M. Cheverud, Paul Lieberman, & Ellen Heber-Katz. (2010) Lack of p21 expression links cell cycle control and appendage regeneration in mice. PNAS. info:/10.1073/pnas.1000830107

  • March 15, 2010
  • 07:40 PM

Krill v. Salps in the Southern Ocean

by Sam in Oceanographer's Choice

Last week, writing about copepods, I mentioned that they make up what is probably the most massive group of animals on earth. I also mentioned the likely runner up: krill. In particular, the Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba.

The Euphausiids are a major group of small, shrimp-like crustaceans found worldwide in the marine plankton. [...]... Read more »

V Loeb, V Siegel, O Holm-Hansen, R Hewitt, W Fraser, W Trivelpiece, S Trivelpiece. (1997) Effects of sea-ice extent and krill or salp dominance on the Antarctic food web. Nature, 897-900. info:/

  • March 15, 2010
  • 07:03 PM

Vaccinate the kids to protect the “herd”

by geekheartsscience in geek!

Vaccinating young children and adolescents against influenza protects unvaccinated individuals in the wider community (the herd immunity), show results from a clinical trial conducted in rural communities in Canada and published free in the journal JAMA. “Our findings … support selective influenza immunisation of school aged children with inactivated influenza vaccine to interrupt influenza transmission,” [...]... Read more »

Loeb, M., Russell, M., Moss, L., Fonseca, K., Fox, J., Earn, D., Aoki, F., Horsman, G., Van Caeseele, P., Chokani, K.... (2010) Effect of Influenza Vaccination of Children on Infection Rates in Hutterite Communities: A Randomized Trial. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 303(10), 943-950. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2010.250  

  • March 15, 2010
  • 06:29 PM

Seducing Scientists into Science Communication

by Darcy Cowan in Skepticon

When it comes to science communication I (and I assume many of the bloggers I am aware of though I’d rather not put words in their mouths) do so because of a perceived lack in the mainstream media (MSM). Along with this is a frustration with the amount of unscientific thinking among the general public, [...]... Read more »

Van Eperen, L., Marincola, F., & Strohm, J. (2010) Bridging the divide between science and journalism. Journal of Translational Medicine, 8(1), 25. DOI: 10.1186/1479-5876-8-25  

  • March 15, 2010
  • 06:02 PM

Altruism has 3 degrees of separation

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

One of the mysteries of human behaviour is why we sometimes act with completely selfless altruism. When asked to play totally anonymous games in which we can cheat without anyone else ever finding out, very often we don't.Instead, we play the game fairly, which results in a cost to ourselves (compared with what we could've had) and a benefit to the stranger. That's a mystery because a evolution says that organisms which don't act to maximise benefit to themselves - whatever the cost to others -........ Read more »

Fowler, J., & Christakis, N. (2010) Cooperative behavior cascades in human social networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0913149107  

  • March 15, 2010
  • 05:16 PM

a marauding star vs. our solar system

by Greg Fish in weird things

Imagine a speeding star plowing through the Oort Cloud surrounding our solar system and sending a stream of comets towards the Sun, a number of them smashing into Jupiter or diverted by the Jovian gravity into the inner solar system where the Earth could easily careen into them. The impacts could easily cause the kind [...]... Read more »

Bobylev, V. (2010) Searching for Stars Closely Encountering with the Solar System. Astronomy Letters, 2010 Vol. 36, No. 3. arXiv: 1003.2160v1

  • March 15, 2010
  • 05:00 PM

The Drosophila Circadian Clock

by Allison in Dormivigilia

Today, we had a guest seminar speaker, Dr. Bridget Lear, who presented us with the molecular regulation of circadian locomotor activity in the Drosophila. By deleting several of specific genes and interfering with the kinetics of specific ion channels, Bridget is able to modify, and in most cases, eradicate organized circadian locomotor activity... Read more »

  • March 15, 2010
  • 01:04 PM

Dyslexia and Brain Connectivity: Insights from Periventricular Nodular Heterotopia

by Livia in Reading and Word Recognition Research

Accessibility Level:  Intermediate

One theory of dyslexia is that it stems from abnormal brain connectivity -- that faulty connections between different language areas result in reading difficulty. Now, some evidence from another condition offers some support for this theory.

Periventricular nodular heterotopia (PNH) is a neurological condition in which neurons don’t migrate to the correct

... Read more »

Chang, B., Katzir, T., Liu, T., Corriveau, K., Barzillai, M., Apse, K., Bodell, A., Hackney, D., Alsop, D., Wong, S.... (2007) A structural basis for reading fluency: White matter defects in a genetic brain malformation. Neurology, 69(23), 2146-2154. DOI: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000286365.41070.54  

  • March 15, 2010
  • 01:04 PM

Dry Spell

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Study contradicts idea that drought caused Amazon 'greening'

... Read more »

  • March 15, 2010
  • 01:01 PM

Hitting cancer’s Achilles’ heel

by Cancer Research UK in Cancer Research UK - Science Update

Like the mythical Greek hero Achilles, whose heel was his only vulnerable spot, we now know that cancer cells have certain weaknesses that we can exploit. The difficulty is finding them.
Today, new research from Professor Alan Ashworth and his team at The Institute of Cancer Research, who have already been involved in the exploitation of [...]... Read more »

Sarah A. Martin, Nuala McCabe, Michelle Mullarkey, Robert Cummins, Darren J. Burgess, Yusaku Nakabeppu, Sugako Oka, Elaine Kay, Christopher J. Lord, & Alan Ashworth. (2010) DNA Polymerases as Potential Therapeutic Targets for Cancers Deficient in the DNA Mismatch Repair Proteins MSH2 or MLH1. Cancer Cell. info:/10.1016/j.ccr.2009.12.046

  • March 15, 2010
  • 12:42 PM

Is Weight Loss Associated with Increased Risk of Early Mortality?

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

The current recommendations from major health organizations stipulate that if an individual has a BMI in the obese range (30 kg/m2), they should be counseled to lose at least 5-10% of their body weight. This advice appears to make some sense given that increasing body weight is generally associated with heightened risk of various diseases, and that reduction of body weight usually improves levels of risk factors for disease (e.g blood pressure, triglycerides, etc). However, the literature has be........ Read more »

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