Can environmental conditions during early development shape individuals phenotypes so they become more adaptive to the conditions they are likely to encounter later in life? Such phenotypic plasticity could provide organisms with the potential to respond effectively to environmental change. One area where such plasticity would be important would be in an animals sensory capabilities. Animals extract information from the environment using a number of sensory systems, and this information guides t........ Read more »
Chapman, B., Morrell, L., Tosh, C., & Krause, J. (2010) Behavioural consequences of sensory plasticity in guppies. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 277(1686), 1395-1401. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.2055
Even though their preferred range places them in proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, the conquest of marine ecosystems by the cottonmouths has been - as it has with most aquatically inclined reptiles - blockaded. The physiological demands of maintaining adequate hydration in a high-saline environment has constrained the Agkistrodon genus to a landward life. But things could change. ... Read more »
Lillywhite, H., Sheehy, C., & Zaidan, F. (2008) Pitviper Scavenging at the Intertidal Zone: An Evolutionary Scenario for Invasion of the Sea. BioScience, 58(10), 947. DOI: 10.1641/B581008
by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog
Deep sequencing – which identified a viral contaminant of the rotavirus vaccine Rotarix - could have revealed the presence of simian virus 40 (SV40) in the poliovirus vaccine, had the technique been available in the 1950s. Exposure of over 100 million Americans to SV40, and many more worldwide, could have been avoided, as well as the debate [...]... Read more »
López-Ríos F, Illei PB, Rusch V, & Ladanyi M. (2004) Evidence against a role for SV40 infection in human mesotheliomas and high risk of false-positive PCR results owing to presence of SV40 sequences in common laboratory plasmids. Lancet, 364(9440), 1157-66. PMID: 15451223
PEDEN, K. (2008) Recovery of strains of the polyomavirus SV40 from rhesus monkey kidney cells dating from the 1950s to the early 1960s. Virology, 370(1), 63-76. DOI: 10.1016/j.virol.2007.06.045
WILLIAMS Syndrome (WS) is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder caused by the deletion of about 28 genes from the long arm of chromosome 7. It is characterized by mild to moderate mental retardation and "elfin" facial features. Most strikingly, individuals with WS exhibit highly gregarious social behaviour: they approach strangers readily and indiscriminately, behaving as if everybody were their friend. And, according to a study published today in the journal Current Biology, they are the only know........ Read more »
Santos, A., Meyer-Lindenberg, A., & Deruelle, C. (2010) Absence of racial, but not gender, stereotyping in Williams syndrome children. Current Biology, 20(7). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.02.009
It seems like there is no institution that is more criticized in science than that of the peer-review system — an no one that is less mutable. While published paper evaluation metrics are being revised (such as the recently introduced PLoS article level metrics, or the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council abandonment of [...]... Read more »
Friedberg, E. (2010) Peer review of scientific papers—A never-ending conumdrum. DNA Repair. DOI: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2010.03.003
One of the difficulties doctors face when prescribing antidepressants is that they're unpredictable.One person might do well on a certain drug, but the next person might get no benefit from the exact same pills. Finding the right drug for each patient is often a matter of trying different ones until one works.So a genetic test to work out whether a certain drug will help a particular person would be really useful. Not to mention really profitable for whoever patented it. Three recent papers, pub........ Read more »
Binder EB, Owens MJ, Liu W, Deveau TC, Rush AJ, Trivedi MH, Fava M, Bradley B, Ressler KJ, & Nemeroff CB. (2010) Association of polymorphisms in genes regulating the corticotropin-releasing factor system with antidepressant treatment response. Archives of general psychiatry, 67(4), 369-79. PMID: 20368512
Uher, R., Perroud, N., Ng, M., Hauser, J., Henigsberg, N., Maier, W., Mors, O., Placentino, A., Rietschel, M., Souery, D.... (2010) Genome-Wide Pharmacogenetics of Antidepressant Response in the GENDEP Project. American Journal of Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2009.09070932
Garriock, H., Kraft, J., Shyn, S., Peters, E., Yokoyama, J., Jenkins, G., Reinalda, M., Slager, S., McGrath, P., & Hamilton, S. (2010) A Genomewide Association Study of Citalopram Response in Major Depressive Disorder. Biological Psychiatry, 67(2), 133-138. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2009.08.029
Many studies have reported that socioeconomic status is a predictor of morbidity and mortality. Now, a large-scale, longitudinal study asserts that the association may be more related to health behaviors than socioeconomic status. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), reports that assessment of health behaviors over time lessens the [...]... Read more »
Goldfarb-Rumyantzev, A., Rout, P., Sandhu, G., Khattak, M., Tang, H., & Barenbaum, A. (2010) Association between social adaptability index and survival of patients with chronic kidney disease. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation. DOI: 10.1093/ndt/gfq177
Singh, T., Givertz, M., Semigran, M., DeNofrio, D., Costantino, F., & Gauvreau, K. (2010) Socioeconomic Position, Ethnicity, and Outcomes in Heart Transplant Recipients. The American Journal of Cardiology, 105(7), 1024-1029. DOI: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2009.11.015
Stringhini, S., Sabia, S., Shipley, M., Brunner, E., Nabi, H., Kivimaki, M., & Singh-Manoux, A. (2010) Association of Socioeconomic Position With Health Behaviors and Mortality. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 303(12), 1159-1166. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2010.297
Turrell, G., Kavanagh, A., Draper, G., & Subramanian, S. (2007) Do places affect the probability of death in Australia? A multilevel study of area-level disadvantage, individual-level socioeconomic position and all-cause mortality, 1998-2000. Journal of Epidemiology , 61(1), 13-19. DOI: 10.1136/jech.2006.046094
Warner, E., & Gomez, S. (2010) Impact of Neighborhood Racial Composition and Metropolitan Residential Segregation on Disparities in Breast Cancer Stage at Diagnosis and Survival Between Black and White Women in California. Journal of Community Health. DOI: 10.1007/s10900-010-9265-2
Each week, Research Bloggers Kevin Zelnio, Razib Khan, and I will choose a journal article to discuss in podcast form. We’ll make sure it’s an article that we or someone else has covered on their blog, so ideally, you’ll read the blog post first to get a general understanding of the research, then listen to [...]... Read more »
Malmstrom, H., Linderholm, A., Liden, K., Stora, J., Molnar, P., Holmlund, G., Jakobsson, M., & Gotherstrom, A. (2010) High frequency of lactose intolerance in a prehistoric hunter-gatherer population in northern Europe. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 10(1), 89. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-10-89
While it might sound science fiction or comic book fodder, scientists have actually developed a kind of wearable protective cloth from T-shirts that contains the same ultra-strong material used to armor tanks. Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »
Tao, X., Dong, L., Wang, X., Zhang, W., Nelson, B., & Li, X. (2010) B C-Nanowires/Carbon-Microfiber Hybrid Structures and Composites from Cotton T-shirts . Advanced Materials. DOI: 10.1002/adma.200903071
Everyone knows that all crabs moult. Its no secret. When you wear you skeleton on the outside, its difficult to find the room to grow. Every now and then crabs and other arthropods (as well as a few other phyla) shed their exoskeleton or cuticle, resorbing the Calcium held in it. They secrete a new [...]... Read more »
BERGEY, L., & WEIS, J. (2007) Molting as a mechanism of depuration of metals in the fiddler crab, Uca pugnax. Marine Environmental Research, 64(5), 556-562. DOI: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2007.04.009
Weihrauch, D., Morris, S., & Towle, D.W. (2004) Ammonia excretion in aquatic and terrestrial crabs. Journal of Experimental Biology, 207(26), 4491-4504. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.01308
Seeking the hidden causes of behavior, some scientists work on the scale of brain regions and neurons, searching inside people's heads. Others work on the scale of crowds, neighborhoods and nations, seeking hidden patterns in the way multitudes behave. What's unusual about this paper in PLoS One is that it combines both those perspectives: Mehdi Moussaïd and his co-authors have worked out the physical effects of a psychological motivation. That gave them a new way to predict how people wa........ Read more »
Moussaïd, M., Perozo, N., Garnier, S., Helbing, D., & Theraulaz, G. (2010) The Walking Behaviour of Pedestrian Social Groups and Its Impact on Crowd Dynamics. PLoS ONE, 5(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010047
I'm teaching a junior/senior level elective this term on quantum mechanics. We're using Townsend's A Modern Approach to Quantum Mechanics, which starts with spin-1/2 and develops the whole theory in terms of state vectors and matrices. This is kind of an uneasy fit for me, as I'm very much a swashbuckling experimentalist, and not as comfortable with formal mathematics.
This occasionally leads to good things, though, such as Monday's class, on photon polarizations. the book uses some vector arit........ Read more »
Beth, R. (1936) Mechanical Detection and Measurement of the Angular Momentum of Light. Physical Review, 50(2), 115-125. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRev.50.115
It is widely assumed that 5 participants suffice for usability testing. In this study, 60 users were tested and random sets of 5 or more were sampled from the whole, to demonstrate the risks of using only 5 participants and the benefits of using more. Some of the randomly selected sets of 5 participants found 99% of the problems; other sets found only 55%. With 10 users, the lowest percentage of problems re-vealed by any one set was increased to 80%, and with 20 users, to 95%. [Faulkner, 2003]... Read more »
Nielsen, J. (1993) Usability engineering. Book. info:/
Faulkner L. (2003) Beyond the five-user assumption: benefits of increased sample sizes in usability testing. Behavior research methods, instruments, , 35(3), 379-83. PMID: 14587545
When a reef of brightly colored corals suddenly turns white, many people think it is a clear sign that the corals are dying and biodiversity will be lost. That assumption is often wrong and can lead to ineffective or wasteful attempts at coral conservation, according to a pair of coral biologists from the University of Essex.... Read more »
SUGGETT, D., & SMITH, D. (2010) Interpreting the sign of coral bleaching as friend vs. foe. Global Change Biology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.02155.x
Move over, Marilyn Monroe neurons and Halle Berry neurons... The cellular media darlings of action observation and action execution would like to join you in the human hippocampus and surrounding medial temporal lobe (MTL) areas critical for memory."What?" you say. "Direct evidence for the existence of mirror neurons has been obtained from single cell recordings in monkeys in specific brain regions. These include the ventral premotor cortex (area F5) and the inferior parietal lobule (Rizzolatti........ Read more »
Mukamel, R., Ekstrom, A., Kaplan, J., Iacoboni, M., & Fried, I. (2010) Single-Neuron Responses in Humans during Execution and Observation of Actions. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.02.045
Quian Quiroga, R., Kraskov, A., Koch, C., & Fried, I. (2009) Explicit Encoding of Multimodal Percepts by Single Neurons in the Human Brain. Current Biology, 19(15), 1308-1313. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.06.060
Quiroga, R., Reddy, L., Kreiman, G., Koch, C., & Fried, I. (2005) Invariant visual representation by single neurons in the human brain. Nature, 435(7045), 1102-1107. DOI: 10.1038/nature03687
Continuing my trend of reporting on papers about cooperation, I thought I'd comment on a recent paper by Nancy Buchan and co-authors about human cooperation and globalization. I've argued previously about the role of parochialism in punishment and in theories about the evolution of war and cooperation, today, though, the theme is the extent to which more cosmopolitan countries tend to foster individuals who are more willing to cooperate globally. Sounds intuitive, but how does it work experim........ Read more »
Research conducted in the aftermath of a devastating Chinese earthquake has uncovered a paradoxical psychological phenomenon - survivors living in the most devastated regions appear to be the least concerned by the ongoing risks. Shu Li and colleagues dubbed this the 'Psychological Typhoon Eye' in a paper published last year and now they've reported follow-up investigations that suggest the effect was still in evidence a year after the disaster.The 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake registered 8 on the Ri........ Read more »
Li, S., Rao, L., Bai, X., Zheng, R., Ren, X., Li, J., Wang, Z., Liu, H., & Zhang, K. (2010) Progression of the “Psychological Typhoon Eye” and Variations Since the Wenchuan Earthquake. PLoS ONE, 5(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009727
An in depth review requested by the Ecological Society of America reports on the extent of our knowledge on neotropical migratory birds in 2010. The researchers find significant gaps in our current knowledge and outline research needs for the future...... Read more »
Faaborg, J., Holmes, R., Anders, A., Bildstein, K., Dugger, K., Gauthreaux, S., Heglund, P., Hobson, K., Jahn, A., Johnson, D.... (2010) Conserving migratory land birds in the New World: Do we know enough?. Ecological Applications, 20(2), 398-418. DOI: 10.1890/09-0397.1
Also posted over at Paramedicine 101 and at Research Blogging. Go check out the rest of the excellent material at both sites.A recent study looks at The association between emergency medical services staffing patterns (the number of paramedics dispatched on an ambulance) and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival. They make some interesting observations.We tested the hypothesis that two or more paramedics at the scene of OHCA would be correlated with a higher rate of survival to hospital discha........ Read more »
Eschmann, N., Pirrallo, R., Aufderheide, T., & Lerner, E. (2010) The Association between Emergency Medical Services Staffing Patterns and Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Survival. Prehospital Emergency Care, 14(1), 71-77. DOI: 10.3109/10903120903349820
Whenever I read a paper from Karl-Arne Stokkan's lab, and I have read every one of them, no matter how dense the scientese language I always start imagining them running around the cold, dark Arctic, wielding enormous butterfly nets, looking for and catching reindeer (or ptarmigans, whichever animal the paper is about) to do their research.
If I was not so averse to cold, I'd think this would be the best career in science ever!
It is no surprise that their latest paper - A Circadian Cl........ Read more »
Lu, W., Meng, Q., Tyler, N., Stokkan, K., & Loudon, A. (2010) A Circadian Clock Is Not Required in an Arctic Mammal. Current Biology, 20(6), 533-537. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.01.042
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