Editor’s Picks 4/6/2014

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By Wesley Dodson

Perovskite solar cells can not only emit light, they can also emit up to 70% of absorbed sunlight as lasers.

Critical signaling molecules can be used to convert stem cells to neural progenitor cells, increasing the yield of healthy motor neurons and decreasing the time required to grow them.

Mexican blind cavefish are so close to their sighted kin that they are considered the same species, but they use pressure waves (from opening and closing their mouths) to navigate in the dark.

Electrostatic assembly allows luminescent elements (like Europium) to be embedded in nanodiamonds; these glowing particles “can be used as biomarkers, allowing researchers to track things that are happening inside cells.”

In a rather cruel experiment, researchers tortured male rats by isolating them, depriving them of food and water, clamping their tails, shocking them with electricity, dunking them in cold water, placing them in soiled bedding, and keeping the lights on all night.  Then they cut off and dissected the rats’ testicles to look for signs of stress in their reproductive cells.

On the brighter side of testicular slices, researchers have shown that cancer cells cannot survive a new process for removing and freezing a sample of testicular tissue from boys with cancer.  The process could allow patients to sidestep infertility caused by radiation and chemotherapy by implanting spermatogonial stem cells back into survivors when they reach adulthood.

A newly engineered bacterium can better manufacture pinene, “a hydrocarbon produced by trees that could potentially replace high-energy fuels, such as JP-10, in missiles and other aerospace applications.”

Weather extremes don’t always cause crops to fail; extra rain (as opposed to drought) can boost yields significantly, but it also boosts mosquito populations and the prevalence of mosquito-borne disease.

People with children “experienced less physical pain, felt they had more enjoyment in their lives, earned higher incomes, were better educated, and were healthier” than childless individuals, but still reported lower overall life satisfaction.

Like everyone else, most prisoners feel they are kinder and more moral than the average person; they also feel they are equally law-abiding.

Male wasps mouth the antennae of females during coitus to make them horny (with an oral pheromone), but a second exposure to the pheromone causes a lady wasp to lose interest in “unlocking her genitals” and start looking for fly larvae to deposit her eggs in.

Mafia members, despite their violent lifestyle, are highly social and not likely to be psychopaths.

Using more wood in building construction could reduce CO2 emissions related to the manufacture of steel and concrete while maintaining sustainable forestry practices.

New research replicates a pioneering 19th-century study of blood flow to the brain during cognitive processing.

Some children with autism respond favorably to naltexone, an opiate antagonist, but the drug did not demonstrate an impact on core features of the disorder.

Dogs placed in foster homes—dressed in “Adopt Me” vests and taken to public places—relieve crowding in animal shelters and are more likely to be adopted for the long-term.

Many “hot” foods, like capsaicin, activate the TRPV1 receptor; deceptive showmen apply ginger to the anuses of older horses to make their tails more erect.

Growing soccer players at elite levels of play are more likely to develop cam deformities of the hip.

A patient who lost his hippocampus in a motorcycle accident (and his ability to form new memories) still understands the concepts of past and future, yet he has no regrets, and cannot imagine anyone having regrets (even Richard Nixon).

Hybrid cars get better gas mileage in countries like India and China due to higher levels of traffic congestion.

Among 65,226 UK residents, eating 7 servings of fruits and vegetables per day reduced risk of death from all causes by 42%.

Editor’s Selections: Faking It, Ptolemy, Universal Sound Markers, and Imitation

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By Krystal D'Costa

Krystal D'Costa Krystal D’Costa selects interesting and notable ResearchBlogging.org posts in the social sciences, including anthropology, research, and philosophy. She blogs about the anthropology of urban life at Anthropology in Practice.

  • At Design. Build. Play. Frautech investigates whether you can fake it til you make it. The author reports on the effects of assuming a high power stance versus a low power position, and finds some evidence to suggest that they way you carry yourself may matter.
  • Alun has crafted a fantastic defense of 17th-century astronomy–and Ptolemy. He encourages readers to acknowledge the science of the times, and recognize the great strides that advances truly represented.
  • At Speech and Science, Maria Wolters dissects a study claiming to have identified sounds that may be universally associated with happiness and sadness. She skillfully walks readers through the methodology, pointing out alternatives and possible areas for scrutiny.
  • And finally, Michael Plyer of A Replicated Typo discusses the role of imitation in our evolutionary history.  The post highlights overimitation as a sign of our tendency toward social norms.

I’ll be back next Thursday with more research from the social sciences.

Editor’s Selections: scars, social media, town madness, and IBS

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By Dr. Peter Janiszewski

Each week, Dr. Peter Janiszewski selects several notable posts from Health and Medical Research. He blogs at Obesity Panacea and Science of Blogging.

Here are some of the most fascinating discussions from the previous week:

Check back next week for some more riveting discussions of health and clinical research!

Peter

Editor’s Selections: Aging, Flu, Parkinson’s, Thanksgiving and more!

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By Dr. Peter Janiszewski

Each week, Dr. Peter Janiszewski selects several notable posts from Health and Medical Research. He blogs at Obesity Panacea.

Here are some of the most fascinating discussions from the previous week:

  • We’ve know for a while that exercise and a low calorie diet can reduce the effects of aging and extend lifespan in rodents. In a fascinating post, Scicurious of Neurotic Physiology discusses how this might happen.
  • Flu season is upon us. But what is one to do to prevent catching it? Is simply washing your hands often good enough precaution? MC at Begin to Dig blog discusses.
  • According to a new post on Nou Stuff, walking while listening to music can be a useful tool for gait training in Parkinson’s disease.
  • We Canadians have already had our Thanksgiving, and most of us have by now worked off the excess consumed. Our friends in the US are about to have their Thanksgiving weekend. Colby of Nutritional Blogma discusses the association of Thanksgiving and weight gain.
  • And finally, if you are currently blogging about science, or would like to start communicating science online, head over to our new venture, Science of Blogging and see what all the fuss is about.

Check back next week for some more riveting discussions of health and clinical research!

Peter

Editor’s Selections: Napping, Education and Autopsies

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By Dr. Peter Janiszewski

Each week, Dr. Peter Janiszewski selects several notable posts from Health and Clinical Research. He blogs at Obesity Panacea.

Here are some of the most fascinating discussions from the previous week:

Check back next week for some more riveting discussions of health and clinical research!

Peter

New Research Blogging topics are live!

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By Dave Munger

Based on your comments here and here, as well as responses on Twitter and input from the Research Blogging editors, we’ve now revised the list of major topics and secondary tags available to bloggers.

When bloggers register for the site, they may pick one major tag (in bold) and are urged to select just one secondary tag (in regular type). These are the default tags selected when bloggers create citations, but bloggers are free to override these defaults and select as many tags as they like for individual posts.

Here are the major changes:

  • Secondary Astronomy tags revised to match the arXiv
  • A new major tag, Ecology / Conservation, with several secondary tags
  • The major tag, Clinical Research, has been renamed to Medicine, and some secondary tags from Health have been moved to this tag
  • Computer Science and Engineering were merged into a single major tag
  • Several new secondary tags were added to the Psychology tag

An important note: There are currently no posts under Ecology / Conservation because this is a new topic. If you would like to have an older post listed under this topic, you’ll need to regenerate the citation or edit the tags in the existing citation for that post, then rescan it.

Posts that were previously listed under Clinical Research are automatically now re-tagged as Medicine, and posts that were previously listed under Computer Science are new re-tagged as Computer Science / Engineering. However, Engineering tags were not affected (this affects only a small number of posts).

Secondary tags are not affected at all by the changes; the changes only affect the suggested tags when you create a new citation.

If these revised topics affect you, you may want to log in and change your default tags for your blog — this is done by clicking on your blog name, then “edit blog settings,” and scrolling to the bottom of the dialog there.

Below is the full list of new tags.

Read the rest of this entry »

Editor’s Selections: Sexual dysfunction, BPA exposure, antidepressants, coffee and cigarettes.

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By Dr. Peter Janiszewski

Each week, Dr. Peter Janiszewski selects several notable posts from Health and Clinical Research. He blogs at Obesity Panacea.

This week was full of fantastic posts, making my job that much tougher. Here are some of the absolute best discussions:

That is some good readin’! Check back next week for some more riveting discussions of health and clinical research!

Peter

Editor’s Selections: Ice cream overload, sketchy blood pressure, aspertame and weight, gluten intolerance, and smoking bans

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By Dr. Peter Janiszewski

Each week, Dr. Peter Janiszewski selects several notable posts from Health and Clinical Research. He blogs at Obesity Panacea.

Here are some of the past week’s most intriguing discussions:

    Check back next week for some more riveting discussions of health and clinical research!

    Peter

    Editor’s Selections: Breast feeding, weight bias, ghostwriters, fMRIs, and more

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    By Dr. Peter Janiszewski

    Each week, Dr. Peter Janiszewski selects several notable posts from Health and Clinical Research. He blogs at Obesity Panacea.

    Here are some of the past week’s most intriguing discussions:

    Check back next week for some more riveting discussions of health and clinical research!

    Peter

    Editor’s Selections:Mahjong epilepsy, creatine stigma, bariatric surgery safety, exercise and appetite, high protein diets and bone health

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    By Dr. Peter Janiszewski

    Each week, Dr. Peter Janiszewski selects several notable posts from Health and Clinical Research. He blogs at Obesity Panacea.

    Here are some of the past week’s most intriguing discussions:

    • Mahjong epilepsy? Kevin Zelnio gives everyone a good reason to take it easy when playing mahjong. If you fail to heed Kevin’s advice, you just may end up having a seizure.
    • Creatine has been used as an ergogenic supplement by athletes for many years. Despite much evidence to the contrary, the supplement retains a heavy stigma in the popular press. Colby Vorland of Nutritional Blogma discusses the discrepancy between scientific evidence and naive hysteria.
    • Apparently, bariatric surgery is the second most common abdominal surgery in the US. Dr. Arya Sharma breaks down a recent JAMA study looking at the safety of this popular procedure.
    • Need another reason to go to the gym? Check out Greg Laden’s discussion of new evidence pointing to neuroendocrine mechanics by which exercise attenuates appetite, and how inactivity may increase it.
    • Low-carb/high protein diets; bad for your bones? Steve Parker of Diabetic Mediterranean Diet blog speaks on a new study which suggests the answer is a resounding “Nah!”

    Check back next week for some more riveting discussions of health and clinical research!

    Peter

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