Plants and other photosynthetic organisms live in a catch-22 situation. “Plants produce oxygen but are also poisoned by oxygen,” says Roberto Bassi, an Italian plant physiologist who has been passionate about photosynthesis since his graduate degree at the Padua University Botanical Garden. Bassi’s research group at Verona University played a pivotal role in understanding the dual function of carotenoid pigments in absorbing light energy and protecting the photosynthetic machinery against ........ Read more »
Dall'Osto L., Piques M., Ronzani M., Molesini B., Alboresi A., Cazzaniga S., & Bassi R. (2013) The Arabidopsis nox Mutant Lacking Carotene Hydroxylase Activity Reveals a Critical Role for Xanthophylls in Photosystem I Biogenesis. The Plant Cell, 25(2), 591-608. DOI: 10.1105/tpc.112.108621
How do organisms evolve into individuals that are distinguished from others by their own personal brain structure and behaviour? Scientists in Dresden, Berlin, Münster, and Saarbrücken have now taken a decisive step towards clarifying this question. Using mice as an animal model, they were able to show that individual experiences influence the development of new neurons, leading to measurable changes in the brain. The results of this study are published in Science on May 10th. The DFG-........ Read more »
Britta Grigull. (2013) Experience leads to the growth of new brain cells. Max Planck Institute for Human Development. info:/
As part of our objective and subjective rationality model, we want a focal agent to learn the probability that others will cooperate given that the focal agent cooperates () or defects (). In a previous post we saw how to derive point estimates for and (and learnt that they are the maximum likelihood estimates): , […]... Read more »
Suicide rates have fallen among farmers
Among the various risk factors for suicide, psychologists have recognised for some time that a person's occupation plays an important part. Suicide rates have tended to be unusually high in professions that provide ready access to guns, drugs, or open water, such as in farming, medicine, dentistry and maritime careers.
A new analysis has examined whether this still holds true. Stephen Roberts and his colleagues accessed the UK suicide rates for dozens ........ Read more »
Take Home Message: The balance error scoring system (BESS) test is more effective in assessing high school age students’ concussions compared to the Balance Accelerometer Measure (BAM) assessment. The tandem leg stances on firm and foam surface of the BESS test are the most sensitive and specific positions for the detection of a concussion.
Assessing balance after a concussion provides useful information not only for diagnosis and prognosis but also during the athlete’s return to ........ Read more »
Furman GR, Lin CC, Bellanca JL, Marchetti GF, Collins MW, & Whitney SL. (2013) Comparison of the Balance Accelerometer Measure and Balance Error Scoring System in Adolescent Concussions in Sports. The American Journal of Sports Medicine. PMID: 23585486
Escape from Camp 14 is deeply disturbing, and I highly recommend it. Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine HardenEscape from Camp 14 is a chilling tale of Shin Dong-hyuk's escape from a North Korean prison camp. What is so interesting about Shin Dong-hyuk's story as written by Blaine Harden is that he was born inside this North Korean prison camp. Apparently they allow breeding between prisoners as a reward for 'good behavior.'Escape from Camp 14 reveals the obscene violations of human rights that occur........ Read more »
Lee YM, Shin OJ, & Lim MH. (2012) The psychological problems of north korean adolescent refugees living in South Korea. Psychiatry investigation, 9(3), 217-22. PMID: 22993519
This Mother’s Day leads me to not only reflect on the fortunes of my own family, but also the misfortunes of other mothers. ... Read more »
Fairley, J., Bisanzio, D., King, C., Kitron, U., Mungai, P., Muchiri, E., King, C., & Malhotra, I. (2012) Birthweight in Offspring of Mothers with High Prevalence of Helminth and Malaria Infection in Coastal Kenya. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 88(1), 48-53. DOI: 10.4269/ajtmh.2012.12-0371
Seydel LS, Petelski A, van Dam GJ, van der Kleij D, Kruize-Hoeksma YC, Luty AJ, Yazdanbakhsh M, & Kremsner PG. (2012) Association of in utero sensitization to Schistosoma haematobium with enhanced cord blood IgE and increased frequencies of CD5- B cells in African newborns. The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene, 86(4), 613-9. PMID: 22492145
Originally published on the Scientific American guest blog. Geoscientists can’t say if diamonds are forever, but they can say that some are already billions of years old. They form in a place we’ll never reach: the deep earth, hundreds of … Continue reading →... Read more »
Shirey, S., Cartigny, P., Frost, D., Keshav, S., Nestola, F., Nimis, P., Pearson, D., Sobolev, N., & Walter, M. (2013) Diamonds and the Geology of Mantle Carbon. Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, 75(1), 355-421. DOI: 10.2138/rmg.2013.75.12
Schulze, D., Harte, B., , ., Page, F., Valley, J., Channer, D., & Jaques, A. (2013) Anticorrelation between low 13C of eclogitic diamonds and high 18O of their coesite and garnet inclusions requires a subduction origin. Geology, 41(4), 455-458. DOI: 10.1130/G33839.1
A new class of tiny, injectable LEDs is illuminating the deep mysteries of the brain.
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Washington University in St. Louis developed ultrathin, flexible optoelectronic devices – including LEDs the size of individual neurons – that are lighting the way for neuroscientists in the field of optogenetics and beyond.... Read more »
Liz Ahlberg. (2013) A bright idea: Tiny injectable LEDs help neuroscientists study the brain. University of Illinois News Bureau. info:/
Kim, T., McCall, J., Jung, Y., Huang, X., Siuda, E., Li, Y., Song, J., Song, Y., Pao, H., Kim, R.... (2013) Injectable, Cellular-Scale Optoelectronics with Applications for Wireless Optogenetics. Science, 340(6129), 211-216. DOI: 10.1126/science.1232437
Electromicrobiology is one of the rising subjects in the field of science. It combines the technology with biology.
In this subject, initially scientists found the transmission of electrical signals between the microbes. On a further note, in this subject, we study about the complex interaction between the microorganisms and technological devices while considering the novel electrical properties of the microorganisms i.e. accepting or donating the electrons from electrodes wi........ Read more »
Weight loss is hard for most people. And there many different factors involved in weight gain. One of the things that differs in people is the ability to taste bitterness. The post Weight loss: does food give some people an “eaters high?” appeared first on WODMasters Stiff Competition.... Read more »
Tomassini Barbarossa I, Carta G, Murru E, Melis M, Zonza A, Vacca C, Muroni P, Di Marzo V, & Banni S. (2013) Taste sensitivity to 6-n-propylthiouracil is associated with endocannabinoid plasma levels in normal-weight individuals. Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.), 29(3), 531-6. PMID: 23398921
A group of researchers from the University of Western Australia reported a new type of unknown mechanism by which some plants communicate.... Read more »
Gagliano, M., & Renton, M. (2013) Love thy neighbour: facilitation through an alternative signalling modality in plants. BMC Ecology, 13(1), 19. DOI: 10.1186/1472-6785-13-19
Nodding syndrome.Ever heard of it? Well, up until a few days ago I hadn't. That is before coming across articles on the topic by Richard Idro and colleagues* (open-access) and Angelina Kakooza-Mwesige and colleagues** (open-access). Whilst not specifically my line of expertise or interest, I was intrigued to read about how nodding and other symptoms of the epileptic variety, at least in some cases, seemed to be precipitated by food and showed a potential nutritional angle.Curving spacetime&........ Read more »
Herbert, M., & Buckley, J. (2013) Autism and Dietary Therapy: Case Report and Review of the Literature. Journal of Child Neurology. DOI: 10.1177/0883073813488668
Most people recognise that we don’t speak in “sentences”. Still, speech is analysed and described using the concepts of sentence grammars, even when these writing-based systems must be bent and stretched, or vice versa – isn’t it cheating to “clean up” naturally occurring speech so it fits into a sentence grammar? In a previous post […]... Read more »
Last year, I blogged about a new and very pretty way of displaying the data about the human ‘connectome’ – the wiring between different parts of the brain. But there are many beautiful ways of visualizing the brain’s connections, as neuroscientists Daniel Margulies and colleagues of Leipzig discuss in a colourful paper showcasing these techniques. Here, [...]... Read more »
Jean Jacques Hublin has a commentary  in the current issue of Nature, about making fossils available for scanning, digital replication, and ultimately hopefully open dissemination. As Hublin points out, it's a bit ridiculous that a fossil is a rare enough thing as it is, but even after their discovery, fossils "can become unreachable relics once they are in storage." Fortunately, Hublin goes on to point to online collections that are available to anyone interested. Somewhat ironically, t........ Read more »
Hublin, J. (2013) Palaeontology: Free digital scans of human fossils. Nature, 497(7448), 183-183. DOI: 10.1038/497183a
Skinner MM, Kivell TL, Potze S, & Hublin JJ. (2013) Microtomographic archive of fossil hominin specimens from Kromdraai B, South Africa. Journal of human evolution, 64(5), 434-47. PMID: 23541384
Cooperation is a puzzle because it is not obvious why cooperation, which is good for the group, is so common, despite the fact that defection is often best for the individual. Though we tend to view this issue through the lens of the prisoner’s dilemma, Artem recently pointed me to a paper by Joanna Masel, […]... Read more »
A new kind of cosmic flash may reveal something never seen before: the birth of a black hole.... Read more »
Marcus Woo. (2013) Birth of a Black Hole. Caltech news . info:/
One of the most valuable ponds in Alabama, if you ask me
was a drive from Auburn University to a conference in the Florida panhandle
that allowed us a short detour to visit one of the most storied wetlands in
Alabama herpetological history. But, I didn’t realize that at the time.
wouldn’t know it by looking at them now, but there are a... Read more »
Willson, J., Winne, C., Dorcas, M., & Gibbons, J. (2006) Post-drought responses of semi-aquatic snakes inhabiting an isolated wetland: Insights on different strategies for persistence in a dynamic habitat. Wetlands, 26(4), 1071-1078. DOI: 10.1672/0277-5212(2006)26[1071:PROSSI]2.0.CO;2
Winne, C., Dorcas, M., & Poppy, S. (2005) Population Structure, Body Size, and Seasonal Activity of Black Swamp Snakes (Seminatrix pygaea). Southeastern Naturalist, 4(1), 1-14. DOI: 10.1656/1528-7092(2005)004[0001:PSBSAS]2.0.CO;2
Dodd Jr., C.K. (1993) Population structure, body mass, activity, and orientation of an aquatic snake during a drought. . Canadian Journal of Zoology, 71(7), 1281-1288. DOI: 10.1139/z93-177
No, I'm not looking for people with lithe limbs to be photographed for money. Much more sexily, I'm referring to a recent paper (Pietak et al., 2013) that's found that the relative length of the segments of human limbs can be modeled with a log-periodic function:Figure 2 from Pietak et al. 2013. Human within-limb proportions are such that the length of each segment (e.g., H1-6) of a limb, from fingertip to shoulder (A) and to to hip (B), can be predicted by a logarithmic periodic function&........ Read more »
Pietak A, Ma S, Beck CW, & Stringer MD. (2013) Fundamental ratios and logarithmic periodicity in human limb bones. Journal of anatomy, 222(5), 526-37. PMID: 23521756
Schultz, A. (1944) Age changes and variability in gibbons. A Morphological study on a population sample of a man-like ape. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 2(1), 1-129. DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.1330020102
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