Forget swinging pocket watches and unedifying stage antics, hypnosis is a genuinely useful tool for studying psychogenic symptoms - that is, neurological symptoms with no identifiable organic cause (known in psychiatry as "conversion disorder", the idea being that emotional problems are "converted" into physical ailments).
Consider hand paralysis, which some patients complain of in the absence of any neurological injury or disease. In a new study led by Martin Pyka at the University of Marburg,........ Read more »
Pyka, M., Burgmer, M., Lenzen, T., Pioch, R., Dannlowski, U., Pfleiderer, B., Ewert, A., Heuft, G., Arolt, V., & Konrad, C. (2011) Brain correlates of hypnotic paralysis—a resting-state fMRI study. NeuroImage, 56(4), 2173-2182. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.03.078
Buffer Found an interesting article on the use of e-readers in medical education, the Kindle. The Kindle was used by medical students during family medicine clerkship and by family medicine clerkship preceptors. The e-reader was loaded with medical textbooks and other relevant material such as guidelines. The hypotheses was that the information demand during education [...]
No related posts.... Read more »
Shurtz, S., & von Isenburg, M. (2011) Exploring e-readers to support clinical medical education: two case studies. Journal of the Medical Library Association : JMLA, 99(2), 110-117. DOI: 10.3163/1536-5050.99.2.002
In this post, the second slide has 6 impressive insect fossil localities pictured. They’ve proven quite popular and I’ve received several e-mails asking for details. At some point, maybe I’ll write dedicated posts similar to this one about them. Anyway, one locality that is missing from there is Eckfeld, so I will introduce it here [...]... Read more »
Lutz, H., & Kaulfuß, U. (2006) A dynamic model for the meromictic lake Eckfeld Maar (Middle Eocene, Germany). Zeitschrift der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften, 157(3), 433-450. DOI: 10.1127/1860-1804/2006/0157-0433
The subject of feathered dinosaurs and the evolution of birds is something that fascinates me and captures my imagination, as I'm sure it does a lot of people. Not only because it changes the way we look at the world around us, specifically birds, but also because there's a lot of cool evolutionary science involved in the study of the early evolution of birds from... well, yes that's the question, isn't it? From what exactly? We know that in any evolutionary sense that matters, birds are dinosau........ Read more »
Xu, X., You, H., Du, K., & Han, F. (2011) An Archaeopteryx-like theropod from China and the origin of Avialae. Nature, 475(7357), 465-470. DOI: 10.1038/nature10288
First off, I want to start with an apology. I have neglected to update this site and for that I apologize. Please expect that in the future, posts will come regularly.Okay, so today I want to shift focus from cardiology to developmental biology. Many people struggle to understand this subject, but in breaking it down this field can make more sense. I will divide it into segments, therefore allowing each post to offer up enough focus without getting overly complicated. &nb........ Read more »
Dickens, B. (2003) Ectopic pregnancy and emergency care: ethical and legal issues. International Journal of Gynecology , 82(1), 121-126. DOI: 10.1016/S0020-7292(03)00175-9
"Of Mankind we may say in general they are fickle, and greedy of gain." --Machiavelli (1532)
In several of the posts on this blog, we have written about the various forms and functions of social hierarchies in society. For instance, we have written about the perils of economic inequality here and here, we have written (here) about how power can corrupt people--unless they are prosocially oriented (read: nice), and we have written (here) about our paradoxical ne........ Read more »
Flynn FJ, Reagans RE, Amanatullah ET, & Ames DR. (2006) Helping one's way to the top: self-monitors achieve status by helping others and knowing who helps whom. Journal of personality and social psychology, 91(6), 1123-37. PMID: 17144769
Is there any brain-based evidence for the theory of multiple intelligences? From my viewpoint, the answer seems clear: Yes….and no. (Germans have a nice colloquialism for this in ‘jein’, pronounced yine.)... Read more »
Miller L. (1986) 'Narrow localizationism' in psychiatric neuropsychology. Psychological medicine, 16(4), 729-34. PMID: 3823292
Satoh M, Nakase T, Nagata K, & Tomimoto H. (2011) Musical anhedonia: Selective loss of emotional experience in listening to music. Neurocase. PMID: 21714738
The last time I wrote about the usefulness of shark puke, I discussed a few of the less obvious uses of diet studies on sharks. As apex predators, sharks can sample a wide variety of potential prey species, and diet studies can provide just as much information on those species as the sharks themselves. That said, the main function and justification for sifting through shark vomit is to figure out what kind of predatory impact the sharks have, which lets us know how these predators fit into the........ Read more »
Bush, A., & Holland, K. (2002) Food limitation in a nursery area: estimates of daily ration in juvenile scalloped hammerheads, Sphyrna lewini (Griffith and Smith, 1834) in Kane’ohe Bay,O’ahu, Hawai’i. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 157-178. info:/
Olson, R., & Mullen, A. (1986) Recent developments for making gastric evacuation and daily ration determinations. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 16(1-3), 183-191. DOI: 10.1007/BF00005170
I'm sure everyone is aware of the kind of effects virus infection and replication has on the health of humans and other animals (just scroll along my last blog posts and you'll see).
It's really not good.
And, in most cases we don't have much to prevent or cure it: maybe a vaccine here, some antivirals there yet what we really would like is something that would act against ALL kinds of viruses, from influenzas to smallpox to ebola and even HIV. Most vaccines and antivirals target a very li........ Read more »
This week a plug for my new book that just came out: Musical Cognition: A Science of Listening (Read fragments of it online at Google Books; currently available with more than 30% discount on the hardcover at Amazon and Barnes & Noble).From the cover:"Musical Cognition suggests that music is a game (or, in other words, 'benificial play'). In music, our cognitive functions such as perception, memory, attention, and expectation are challenged; yet as listeners we often do not realize that the ........ Read more »
It is of course a cliche to state that eukaryotic cells (i.e., cells that are not bacteria) are complex. In the case of an animal, tens of thousands of proteins engage in fantastically elaborate interactions that somehow coax a single cell into generating a unique and magnificent organism. These interactions are often protrayed as exquisitely precise, using metaphorical images such as 'lock-and-key' and employing diagrams that resemble subway maps.
Many of these interacting proteins are en........ Read more »
Won, A., Garbarino, J., & Lim, W. (2011) Recruitment interactions can override catalytic interactions in determining the functional identity of a protein kinase. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(24), 9809-9814. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1016337108
Scientists can be utter bastards some of the time. Not content with letting us unwashed masses revel in our ignorance, they systematically poke and prod the world around us, looking for answers to questions best left unanswered.... Read more »
Juliane Kaminski, Martina Neumanna, Juliane Bräuera, Josep Calla, & Michael Tomaselloa. (2011) Dogs, Canis familiaris, communicate with humans to request but not to inform. Animal Behaviour. DOI: http://dx.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.06.015
What is the ultimate test of human control over the world as we know it, if it is not the manipulation and patterning of the fundamental units of matter: the atoms? Back in 1959, Caltech professor and physics great Richard Feynman said, “… I am not afraid to consider the final question as to whether, ultimately – in the great future – we can arrange the atoms the way we want; the very atoms, all the way down!” ... Read more »
STROSCIO, J., & EIGLER, D. (1991) Atomic and Molecular Manipulation with the Scanning Tunneling Microscope. Science, 254(5036), 1319-1326. DOI: 10.1126/science.254.5036.1319
I generally have very little good to say about the grant application process, but it does force me to catch up on my reading. I just finished several papers by Amy Perfors, who I think does some of the more interesting computational models of language out there.*
A strange sociological fact about language research is that people generally come in two camps: a) those who don't (really) believe language is properly characterized by hierarchical phrase structure and also don't believe in much inna........ Read more »
Perfors A, Tenenbaum JB, & Regier T. (2010) The learnability of abstract syntactic principles. Cognition. PMID: 21186021
Maurits, L., Perfors, A., & Navarro, D. (2009) Joint acquisition of word order and word reference. Proceedings o the 31st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 1728-1733. info:/
In a previous post, I considered a proof of the Church-Turing Thesis that Dershowitz and Gurevich published in the Bulletin of Symbolic Logic in 2008. It is safe to say that the proof is controversial — not because it is … Continue reading →... Read more »
Nachum Dershowitz, & Evgenia Falkovich. (2011) A Formalization and Proof of the Extended Church-Turing Thesis. International Workshop on the Development of Computational Models. info:/
The word magnetoreception conjures super-human mutant powers from X-Men comics, but it refers to the subtle ability of birds (and other animals, including sea turtles, salmon, and fruit flies) to perceive magnetic fields...... Read more »
Edmonds, D. (1996) A Sensitive Optically Detected Magnetic Compass for Animals. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 263(1368), 295-298. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.1996.0045
Foley, L., Gegear, R., & Reppert, S. (2011) Human cryptochrome exhibits light-dependent magnetosensitivity. Nature Communications, 356. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1364
Gauger, E., Rieper, E., Morton, J., Benjamin, S., & Vedral, V. (2011) Sustained Quantum Coherence and Entanglement in the Avian Compass. Physical Review Letters, 106(4). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.106.040503
Gegear, R., Foley, L., Casselman, A., & Reppert, S. (2010) Animal cryptochromes mediate magnetoreception by an unconventional photochemical mechanism. Nature, 463(7282), 804-807. DOI: 10.1038/nature08719
RITZ, T. (2000) A Model for Photoreceptor-Based Magnetoreception in Birds. Biophysical Journal, 78(2), 707-718. DOI: 10.1016/S0006-3495(00)76629-X
Solov’yov, I., Chandler, D., & Schulten, K. (2007) Magnetic Field Effects in Arabidopsis thaliana Cryptochrome-1. Biophysical Journal, 92(8), 2711-2726. DOI: 10.1529/biophysj.106.097139
In Ars Poetica (“The Art of Poetry”), the great Roman lyricist Horace counsels against using gods to resolve thorny plots. The deus ex machina is simply too tidy and unbelievable. When gods swoop in to save the day, the mundane becomes sacred. Metaphysics to the rescue.
I was reminded of Horace’s enduring wisdom by two recent [...]... Read more »
Delton AW, Krasnow MM, Cosmides L, & Tooby J. (2011) Evolution of direct reciprocity under uncertainty can explain human generosity in one-shot encounters. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 21788489
Mathew S, & Boyd R. (2011) Punishment sustains large-scale cooperation in prestate warfare. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(28), 11375-80. PMID: 21670285
This week, I was thrilled to write a guest post for Jason Goldman at The Thoughtful Animal, a blog about animal cognition, animal behavior, and the human-animal relationship hosted on the new Scientific American blog network. The post went up … Continue reading →... Read more »
McConnell, A.R., Brown, C.M., Shoda, T.M., Stayton, L.E., & Martin, C.E. (2011) Friends with benefits: On the positive consequences of pet ownership. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. PMID: 21728449
Epley, N., Akalis, S., Waytz, A., & Cacioppo, J. (2008) Creating Social Connection Through Inferential Reproduction: Loneliness and Perceived Agency in Gadgets, Gods, and Greyhounds. Psychological Science, 19(2), 114-120. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02056.x
The topic of today’s post is an oldie, but a real goodie. In short, I’m going to describe how you can isolate your own DNA, with stuff you most likely have right now in your kitchen. If you’re wondering, “Why on earth would I want to isolate my DNA?” then you may need to step up your nerdy game. Looking at your own DNA is just so cool, like, “Oh, look, it’s that stuff that encodes everything that I am!” Not only that, your DNA would make a great la........ Read more »
Every so often, it’s good to see something clearly illustrating that it’s not all about us, that evolution doesn’t simply progress its way up a ladder, climbing ever higher until it reaches humans on the top rung. Genetic comparisons offer … Continue reading →... Read more »
Bakewell, M., Shi, P., & Zhang, J. (2007) More genes underwent positive selection in chimpanzee evolution than in human evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(18), 7489-7494. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0701705104
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