Post List

  • February 7, 2010
  • 06:35 AM

Beware The Clam of Forgetfulness

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Every day, PubCrawler emails to tell me about the latest papers that match various search terms. It means I never miss a relevant paper, but it also means I get told about an awful lot of irrelevant ones. Sometimes though, the title alone grabs my attention and demands a read. Such as yesterday's Risk assessment of the amnesic shellfish poison, domoic acid, on animals and humans. Shellfish causing amnesia?It turns out that there's a neurotoxin, domoic acid, which can indeed cause brain damage in........ Read more »

Kumar KP, Kumar SP, & Nair GA. (2009) Risk assessment of the amnesic shellfish poison, domoic acid, on animals and humans. Journal of environmental biology / Academy of Environmental Biology, India, 30(3), 319-25. PMID: 20120452  

  • February 7, 2010
  • 06:00 AM

Revisiting 'Autism, Vaccines, and The Oprah Effect'

by Susan Steinhardt in BioData Blogs

In June I commented on the autism - vaccine controversy and the role that Oprah had in promoting it. Seven moths later, I am revisiting this issue. 12 years ago, Andrew Wakefield and his colleagues first published his findings in The Lancet providing ‘evidence’ suggesting they had tracked down a shocking cause of autism – that being the MMR Vaccine. Last week The Lancet published a retraction of Wakefield’s paper stating that “it has become clear that several elements of the 1998 paper........ Read more »

  • February 7, 2010
  • 12:25 AM

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy in the Scanner?

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Arrangement for psychotherapy fMRI studies using the couch of Sigmund Freud.[No not really, although the authors did stretch the implications of their findings in the Discussion...]Whether the proprietors of this blog want to admit it or not, neuropsychoanalysis appears to be a new field of study. What does psychoanalysis do to the brain? In a new Psychotherapy Research paper, Loughead et al. (2010) collected autobiographical relationship narratives from 16 healthy control participants free of a........ Read more »

  • February 6, 2010
  • 09:24 PM

Scientists at India’s NIPGR Create a Longer-Lasting Tomato (Studying The Regulation of Fruit Ripening)

by James in James and the Giant Corn

Author’s note: This would seem to be the week for vegetables I hated as a kid. Yesterday was onion, today tomato, if there’s a story about brinjal/eggplant in the next few days we’ll have hit all the big ones.
I was recently pointed to an early publication paper that went up on the Proceedings [...]... Read more »

Meli, V., Ghosh, S., Prabha, T., Chakraborty, N., Chakraborty, S., & Datta, A. (2010) Enhancement of fruit shelf life by suppressing N-glycan processing enzymes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0909329107  

  • February 6, 2010
  • 07:12 PM

Emergent Conservation Issues

by Uncharted Atolls in Uncharted Atolls

A recent article (Sutherland et al. 2010) from Trends in Ecology and Evolution provides insight on several emerging research areas through a practice called ‘horizon scanning’—really, a sciency way to say that the authors shortlisted environmental issues that they collectively felt were important, merited further discussion, and could effect biodiversity.  The point is made that [...]... Read more »

Sutherland, W., Clout, M., Côté, I., Daszak, P., Depledge, M., Fellman, L., Fleishman, E., Garthwaite, R., Gibbons, D., & De Lurio, J. (2010) A horizon scan of global conservation issues for 2010. Trends in Ecology , 25(1), 1-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2009.10.003  

  • February 6, 2010
  • 05:23 AM

Sternoclavicular Joint Dislocations

by sandnsurf in Life in the Fast Lane

Sternoclavicular dislocation is a relatively uncommon injury that can be easily missed or misdiagnosed. The importance in determining the direction of dislocation is emphasised by the dichotomy of management.... Read more »

Saltzman, M., Mercer, D., Bertelsen, A., Warme, W., & Matsen, III, F. (2009) Bilateral posterior sternoclavicular dislocations. Radiology Case Reports, 4(1). DOI: 10.2484/rcr.v4i1.256  

  • February 6, 2010
  • 04:47 AM

Dancing through life

by Lab Rat in Lab Rat

I'm heading off for a weekend away as soon as my other half wakes up, so no time for a proper paper analysis today, just a quick video of some algae dancing:The organisms shown above are microalgae called Volvox carteri. The large circle is a surrounding membrane which holds within it normal volvox cells (the little white spots) and larger germ line cells (the large white spots) which later hatch to form new Volvox. The reason the three cells above look like they're dancing is because they move ........ Read more »

Drescher K, Leptos KC, Tuval I, Ishikawa T, Pedley TJ, & Goldstein RE. (2009) Dancing volvox: hydrodynamic bound states of swimming algae. Physical review letters, 102(16), 168101. PMID: 19518757  

  • February 5, 2010
  • 06:09 PM

Friday Parasite: Sharing Dangers With Your Host

by Diane Kelly in Science Made Cool

Flies that parasitize crickets are targeted by the same predators.... Read more »

  • February 5, 2010
  • 04:58 PM

Does prayer make you more forgiving... and why?

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Widely reported earlier this week was a study on prayer and forgiveness. It's by the same crew that gave us the study last year on prayer and gratitude, and has (broadly speaking) the same methodological concerns (it only recruited students who already pray, and uses measures that are difficult to interpret).But, fair doos, this is an interventional study of the effects of prayer that is basically sound, and the authors deserve kudos for trying to assess this unfashionable area. So what did it s........ Read more »

Lambert, N., Fincham, F., Stillman, T., Graham, S., & Beach, S. (2009) Motivating Change in Relationships: Can Prayer Increase Forgiveness?. Psychological Science, 21(1), 126-132. DOI: 10.1177/0956797609355634  

  • February 5, 2010
  • 03:54 PM

Why migrate?

by Katherine Porter in Galley Proofs

Growing up in New Hampshire, I took the yearly migration of ducks, geese, and (less obviously, but more impressively) Monarch butterflies pretty much for granted. It never really occurred to me to ask why all of these animals migrate. If I had been asked, I probably would have made the (common) anthropomorphic fallacy and said that they migrate because they "want to," or because they "like it better" at their ultimate destination.Think about it: migration--especially very long-distance migration........ Read more »

Gilg, O., & Yoccoz, N. (2010) Explaining Bird Migration. Science, 327(5963), 276-277. DOI: 10.1126/science.1184964  

McKinnon, L., Smith, P., Nol, E., Martin, J., Doyle, F., Abraham, K., Gilchrist, H., Morrison, R., & Bety, J. (2010) Lower Predation Risk for Migratory Birds at High Latitudes. Science, 327(5963), 326-327. DOI: 10.1126/science.1183010  

  • February 5, 2010
  • 03:29 PM

How to measure the progress of science (Rosvall and Bergstrom, PLoS 2010)

by Hannah Waters in Culturing Science – biology as relevant to us earthly beings

No one can deny that the field of science is undergoing explosive growth.  The “technological age” has treated it kindly, giving it both access to new equipment and techniques, as well as creating a larger scientific community with more connections between labs around the world.  We are bombarded with information in general: hundreds of papers [...]... Read more »

Rosvall, M., & Bergstrom, C. (2010) Mapping Change in Large Networks. PLoS ONE, 5(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008694  

  • February 5, 2010
  • 03:03 PM

Egyptian fruit bats point sonar beams on either side of a target, not directly at it

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

According to researchers at the University of Maryland, Egyptian fruit bats, unlike their American relative the big brown bat, locate objects through a series of tongue clicks directed to either side of their target.
Big brown bats locate their fast moving prey—such as mosquitos—by firing sounds from their vocal cords directly at their target. Egyptian bats, [...]

... Read more »

Yossi Yovel, Ben Falk, Cynthia F. Moss, Nachum Ulanovsky. (2010) Optimal Localization by Pointing Off Axis. Science. info:/

  • February 5, 2010
  • 02:56 PM

Scaling further GPCR summits

by The Curious Wavefunction in The Curious Wavefunction

There's a nice review on GPCRs and their continuing challenges in the British Journal of Pharmacology this month. The authors focus on both structural and functional challenges in the characterization of this most important class of signaling proteins. As is well-known, drugs targeting GPCRs generate the highest revenue among all drugs. And given their basic roles in signal transduction, GPCRs are also clearly very important from an academic standpoint. Yet there is a wall of obstacles confronti........ Read more »

  • February 5, 2010
  • 11:30 AM

Empirical Evidence that Men Love Badonkadonks

by Allison in Dormivigilia

Using fMRI, researchers have found that men are most attracted to women with a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.7. Using neuroimaging as a methodology to study human attraction, in my opinion, is a fantastic to establish a new branch of human ual behavior research. ... Read more »

Steven M. Platek, Devendra Singh. (2010) Optimal Waist-to-Hip Ratios in Women Activate Neural Reward Centers in Men. PLOS One, 5(2). info:/

  • February 5, 2010
  • 11:28 AM

The Dangers of Exergaming

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

The whole world of exergaming (using video games as a means to get exercise) really came to the forefront when the Nintendo Wii first came out, complete with remotes that you actually had to move in space rather than just pushing a button or two. In time they also added a balance board as part of the Wii Fit game series which involved your whole body and not just your hands. More recently, EA sports created a new series of active games for the Nintendo Wii (Wii Active) which uses a legstrap for ........ Read more »

Eley, K. (2010) A Wii Fracture. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(5), 473-474. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc0909544  

  • February 5, 2010
  • 10:36 AM

Yasuní: An Ecological Paradise That Exceeds All Superlatives

by Promega Corporation in Promega Connections

Traveling to the rain forests on the eastern side of Ecuador from the capital Quito is an adventure to be savored.  Even on a good day the entire journey takes a few hours to complete. En route one experiences a notable shift in climate from the cool temperatures of the Andean cordillera to the humid and [...]... Read more »

Bass MS, Finer M, Jenkins CN, Kreft H, Cisneros-Heredia DF, McCracken SF, Pitman NC, English PH, Swing K, Villa G.... (2010) Global conservation significance of Ecuador's Yasuní National Park. PloS one, 5(1). PMID: 20098736  

  • February 5, 2010
  • 10:30 AM

How Science Suppresses the Sex Lives of Republicans

by Johnny in Ecographica

According to Utah State Representative Mike Noel, global climate change is a conspiracy theory. He insists that the whole idea of shifting climates was put together by the world’s biologists, climatologists and other scientists as an elaborate effort to control his sex life.Speaking to climate change, Republican Mike Noel (at left) explained recently that, “This is absolutely, in my mind, in fact a conspiracy to limit population not only in this country but across the globe."Being both a Rep........ Read more »

Sovacool, B., & Brown, M. (2009) Scaling the policy response to climate change. Policy and Society, 27(4), 317-328. DOI: 10.1016/j.polsoc.2009.01.003  

  • February 5, 2010
  • 10:15 AM

How Science Suppresses the Sex Lives of Republicans

by Johnny in Ecographica

According to Utah State Representative Mike Noel, global climate change is a conspiracy theory. He insists that the whole idea of shifting climates was put together by the world’s biologists, climatologists and other scientists as an elaborate effort to control his sex life.
... Read more »

Sovacool, B., & Brown, M. (2009) Scaling the policy response to climate change. Policy and Society, 27(4), 317-328. DOI: 10.1016/j.polsoc.2009.01.003  

  • February 5, 2010
  • 10:10 AM

Fossil Feather Colors Really ARE Written In Stone

by GrrlScientist in Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

tags: evolutionary biology, paleontology, taphonomy, plumage color, feathers, color, melanin, eumelanin, phaeomelanin, dinosaurs, theropod, paravian, avialae, fossils, Anchiornis huxleyi, ornithology, birds,,peer-reviewed research, peer-reviewed paper

New research reveals that recently-described 155-million-year-old Anchiornis huxleyi,
a woodpecker-like dinosaur the size of a modern-day domesticated chicken,
had black-and-white spangled wings and a rusty red crown.

Image:........ Read more »

Li, Q., Gao, K., Vinther, J., Shawkey, M., Clarke, J., D'Alba, L., Meng, Q., Briggs, D., Miao, L., & Prum, R. (2010) Plumage Color Patterns of an Extinct Dinosaur. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1186290  

Vinther, J., Briggs, D., Clarke, J., Mayr, G., & Prum, R. (2009) Structural coloration in a fossil feather. Biology Letters, 6(1), 128-131. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.0524  

  • February 5, 2010
  • 09:28 AM

On the magic bullet virus

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), like the related rabies virus, is a bullet-shaped virus.  Hong Zhou has just added VSV to his collection of cryo-electron microscopy virion structures,1 and as always with viruses, it’s just gorgeous.

“Architecture of the VSV virion. … A montage model of the tip and the cryo-EM map of the [...]... Read more »

Peng Ge, Jun Tsao, Stan Schein, Todd J. Green, Ming Luo, & Hong Zhou. (2010) Cryo-EM Model of the Bullet-Shaped Vesicular Stomatitis Virus. Science, 327(5966), 689-693. info:/10.1126/science.1181766

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