A mountain lake in Glacier National Park, Montana.
Organic pollutants have been on the decline in most natural areas in recent years, due to stricter regulations and improvements to products including the contaminants, such as certain pesticides. But a new study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology shows that these pollutants are showing a [...]
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Bogdal, C., Schmid, P., Zennegg, M., Anselmetti, F., Scheringer, M., & Hungerbühler, K. (2009) Blast from the Past: Melting Glaciers as a Relevant Source for Persistent Organic Pollutants. Environmental Science , 2147483647. DOI: 10.1021/es901628x
By: Rosemary Stephen, Elements: Environmental Health Intelligence
In Part I we saw that we are in the midst of a global, human displacement crisis. Tension is already building in countries which are facing an increasing number of immigrants. Poverty, population growth and environmental issues such as drought and desertification, are the root causes of why [...]... Read more »
Rosemary Stephen. (2009) Climate Change and Environmental Refugees Part II: Can we Decrease the Number of Environmental Refugees ?. Elements: Environmental Health Intelligence. info:/
Cognitive enhancers, also known as nootropics, are a category of drugs with the ability to increase mental performance. Many rave about such “smart drugs” helping them to study, take tests, or increase work performance. Ginkgo biloba, piracetam, and vinpocetine are some popular cognitive enhancers, all with varying mechanisms of action in the human brain. For [...]... Read more »
Hubel DH, Wiesel TN, & LeVay S. (1977) Plasticity of ocular dominance columns in monkey striate cortex. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 278(961), 377-409. PMID: 19791
Medina AE, Krahe TE, & Ramoa AS. (2006) Restoration of neuronal plasticity by a phosphodiesterase type 1 inhibitor in a model of fetal alcohol exposure. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 26(3), 1057-60. PMID: 16421325
Molnár P, & Gaál L. (1992) Effect of different subtypes of cognition enhancers on long-term potentiation in the rat dentate gyrus in vivo. European journal of pharmacology, 215(1), 17-22. PMID: 1516646
Szatmari SZ, & Whitehouse PJ. (2003) Vinpocetine for cognitive impairment and dementia. Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online). PMID: 12535455
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Marks, J., Haden, G., O’Neill, M., & Pace, C. (2009) Effects of Flow Restoration and Exotic Species Removal on Recovery of Native Fish: Lessons from a Dam Decommissioning. Restoration Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1526-100X.2009.00574.x
So yesterday I detailed the results of the Ipsos Reid based milk advertisement that concluded, surprise, that Canadians should be drinking more milk, but buried in the story is the fact that the survey determined that Canadians were not eating enough of any food group according to Canada's Food Guide.Let me repeat that. According to the survey, Canadians don't eat as much food as the Food Guide recommends.But wait, aren't 65% of Canadians overweight? And they're not eating as much as the Food Guide thinks they should? I wonder what would happen to the remaining 35% if suddenly they did start eating what the Food Guide recommended.I detailed ad nauseum (really, it was nauseating how much I detailed it) how the Food Guide causes weight gain - you can read those pieces by clicking here here, and here, but interestingly this is not the first time I've noticed studies or surveys that reported Canadians don't eat enough according to the Food Guide and that if you did you'd likely gain weight.The first time I posted on a study published out of Nova Scotia whereby the vast majority of overweight and obese children didn't meet the daily recommended number of servings from the Food Guide.Here's the second round of data. I received an email from a loyal blog reader named Dana. She attended a lecture put on by Dr. Lise Dubois who presented data from the Quebec birth cohort showing that showing the odds ratio for overweight was 8.8 for 4.5 year old children who consumed 4 grain servings/day, and 11.4 if they consumed 2 or more servings of meat daily. Yet Canada's Food Guide recommends 4.5 year olds consume 4 servings of grain per day and 2 servings of meat. I emailed Dr. Dubois for comment some time ago, but never heard back from her but it would seem to me that according to her data if your 4.5 year old followed the Food Guide's recommendations to consume 4 servings of grain and 2 servings of meat daily that their risk of obesity would be markedly increased.Great job Health Canada! Here's a thought - maybe Food Guides shouldn't be recommending minimum patterns of consumption in a country where it is now abnormal to have a healthy body weight and where research has shown people don't know what serving sizes are?Just a thought.(BTW, I checked with Ipsos Reid - the way this survey was conducted was that people reported the quantities of food consumed and then dietitians calculated the number of Food Guide servings therefore you can't make the argument that in the survey Canadians just didn't know what a serving size wise, and while I can't claim it with certainty, I'd be very surprised if Dr. Dubois' research was any different in that I'm certain she knows what a Food Guide serving represents)St John M, Durant M, Campagna PD, Rehman LA, Thompson AM, Wadsworth LA, & Murphy RJ (2008). Overweight Nova Scotia children and youth: the roles of household income and adherence to Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating. Canadian journal of public health. Revue canadienne de sante publique, 99 (4), 301-6 PMID: 18767276
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St John M, Durant M, Campagna PD, Rehman LA, Thompson AM, Wadsworth LA, & Murphy RJ. (2008) Overweight Nova Scotia children and youth: the roles of household income and adherence to Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating. Canadian journal of public health. Revue canadienne de sante publique, 99(4), 301-6. PMID: 18767276
Young girls are far more prone than boys to getting stuck in the role of bullying victim. That's according to a new investigation by psychologists who studied hundreds of children at 17 primary schools in Hertfordshire and North London.Dieter Wolke and his colleagues interviewed the children when they were aged between six and nine years and then surveyed them again two or four years later once the children had reached year six. The researchers were interested in the individual and situational factors predictive of whether a child would remain or become a bulling victim.Of the 663 children who initially took part, 432 were available at the follow-up session. Among the girls, the 44 who were victims of so-called "direct bullying" (physical and verbal abuse) at baseline, were two and a half times more likely than their classmates to also be a victim of direct bullying at follow up. By contrast, boys who were victims of direct bullying at baseline were no more likely than their classmates to be a victim at follow up. In other words, young girls seem particularly prone to getting stuck in the victim role. The researchers said that girls' "tightly knit" friendship networks could make it difficult for them to "escape the victimisation role". Unsurprisingly perhaps, boys and girls with fewer friends were also at greater risk of direct bullying.Wolke's team also looked at so-called "relational bullying", when children deliberately outcast a class mate. Although rates of relational bullying had increased by the follow up session (probably reflecting the children's growing skills of manipulation), neither boys nor girls who were victims of this kind of bullying at baseline were more likely than their peers to still be a victim at follow up. The researchers said this could be because friendship groups are still in flux at primary school, thus making it possible to escape earlier social exclusion. However, caution is needed here because the children who dropped out of the study, mostly because they had changed schools, were disproportionately likely to have been the victim of relational bullying at baseline, so it's possible their absence skewed the results. Overall, children with emotional problems and children in classes with rigid social hierarchies were at greater risk of relational bullying.Whilst cautioning that their reliance on children's self-report was a weakness of the study, Wolke's team said their findings had important implications for teachers and other professionals. "These findings call for the development and implementation of intervention programmes that tackle victimisation at an early age in primary school," they said._________________________________Wolke, D., Woods, S., & Samara, M. (2009). Who escapes or remains a victim of bullying in primary school? British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 27 (4), 835-851 DOI: 10.1348/026151008X383003
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Wolke, D., Woods, S., & Samara, M. (2009) Who escapes or remains a victim of bullying in primary school?. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 27(4), 835-851. DOI: 10.1348/026151008X383003
Many people claim heel spurs to be an abnormal finding. However, research dating from the early 60’s to late 90’s have reported anywhere from 11-16% of the general population to have some type of heel spur. It’s debatable if heel spurs are strongly correlated to older age, gender and osteoarthritis. However, the debate linking heel spurs and pain has progressed to treatment involving shock wave therapy, surgical incision and even radiation therapy The Debate: Traditionally the pathophysiology of spurs forming was based on what was called the longitudinal traction hypothesis.
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Why the Traction Theory?:
It was thought; the plantar fascia’s insertion
creates traction and thus develops inflammation. Now from this inflammation reactive
ossification is formed in the plantar fascia’s enthesis leading to the
formation of a spur. Studies started to support this theory with the link of
flatfooted people and heel pain. It was believed having a lower longitudinal
arch created tension and thus the pain was created.
Evidence for a Non Traction
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Li, J., & Muehleman, C. (2007) Anatomic relationship of heel spur to surrounding soft tissues: Greater variability than previously reported. Clinical Anatomy, 20(8), 950-955. DOI: 10.1002/ca.20548
Two studies, which are available online as early release articles and will be published in the November edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), detail the characteristics, treatment and outcomes of critically ill patients with H1N1 in Mexico and Canada [1-2].
Although the death rate in each of the studies is quite different, it nonetheless is as high or higher than that of seasonal flu. Furthermore, although [...]... Read more »
Domínguez-Cherit G, Lapinsky SE, Macias AE, Pinto R, Espinosa-Perez L, de la Torre A, Poblano-Morales M, Baltazar-Torres JA, Bautista E, Martinez A.... (2009) Critically Ill Patients With 2009 Influenza A(H1N1) in Mexico. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association. PMID: 19822626
Kumar A, Zarychanski R, Pinto R, Cook DJ, Marshall J, Lacroix J, Stelfox T, Bagshaw S, Choong K, Lamontagne F.... (2009) Critically Ill Patients With 2009 Influenza A(H1N1) Infection in Canada. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association. PMID: 19822627
Female chimpanzee with her infant requests meat after a successful hunt.
Image: David Bygott / Tree of Life Web Project
Owen Lovejoy's recent paper about Ardipithecus ramidus and human origins (see my detailed critique here) bases its argument on the male provisioning observed in chimpanzees. However, what went unacknowledged in his theory was the inherent gender bias it represented. A perfect example of this was observed in April with the release of the very study on provisioning behavior that Lovejoy used as the basis for his idea.
From the press introductions alone, you would have thought you were in a 19th-century gentleman's club enjoying cigars and brandy. "There's nothing like a prime rib dinner to boost a guy's chances of getting lucky," boasted ScienceNOW as he cleaned his monacle. The Daily Mail agreed with a harrumph, "As every Romeo knows, laying on a delicious dinner for two is one of the best seduction ploys." Chuckling along with a wink and a nudge, MSNBC added, "A savory meat dinner goes a long way, as in all the way." Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »
Gomes, C., & Boesch, C. (2009) Wild Chimpanzees Exchange Meat for Sex on a Long-Term Basis. PLoS ONE, 4(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005116
From adamantine therapeutics failures, interest in developing new drugs against the flu virus had come up. Hence, appeared oseltamivir and zanamivir, neuraminidase inhibitors, the first class of planned drugs against Influenza. Here, the path taken for their production was reverse of that of amantadine. Instead of testing the drug and finding out later how [...]... Read more »
von Itzstein, M., Wu, W., Kok, G., Pegg, M., Dyason, J., Jin, B., Phan, T., Smythe, M., White, H., Oliver, S.... (1993) Rational design of potent sialidase-based inhibitors of influenza virus replication. Nature, 363(6428), 418-423. DOI: 10.1038/363418a0
Hata, K., Koseki, K., Yamaguchi, K., Moriya, S., Suzuki, Y., Yingsakmongkon, S., Hirai, G., Sodeoka, M., von Itzstein, M., & Miyagi, T. (2008) Limited Inhibitory Effects of Oseltamivir and Zanamivir on Human Sialidases. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 52(10), 3484-3491. DOI: 10.1128/AAC.00344-08
De Clercq, E. (2006) Antiviral agents active against influenza A viruses. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, 5(12), 1015-1025. DOI: 10.1038/nrd2175
Collins, P., Haire, L., Lin, Y., Liu, J., Russell, R., Walker, P., Skehel, J., Martin, S., Hay, A., & Gamblin, S. (2008) Crystal structures of oseltamivir-resistant influenza virus neuraminidase mutants. Nature, 453(7199), 1258-1261. DOI: 10.1038/nature06956
Hurt, A., Holien, J., Parker, M., Kelso, A., & Barr, I. (2009) Zanamivir-Resistant Influenza Viruses with a Novel Neuraminidase Mutation. Journal of Virology, 83(20), 10366-10373. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.01200-09
, . (2009) Emergence of a Novel Swine-Origin Influenza A (H1N1) Virus in Humans. New England Journal of Medicine, 360(25), 2605-2615. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0903810
Soundararajan, V., Tharakaraman, K., Raman, R., Raguram, S., Shriver, Z., Sasisekharan, V., & Sasisekharan, R. (2009) Extrapolating from sequence—the 2009 H1N1 'swine' influenza virus. Nature Biotechnology, 27(6), 510-513. DOI: 10.1038/nbt0609-510
We know full well that teachers bring their personal opinions into the classroom even though they’re not really supposed to do that. In some cases, that doesn’t matter. Your beliefs about today’s politics in the Middle East won’t suddenly change the rules of math. However, when it comes to important events in history or disciplines [...]... Read more »
Moore, R., & Cotner, S. (2009) The Creationist Down the Hall: Does It Matter When Teachers Teach Creationism?. BioScience, 59(5), 429-435. DOI: 10.1525/bio.2009.59.5.10
Ever since Darwin, we often think of organisms as being in a constant battle against other organisms and local environments. Thus natural selection and the resulting arms race results in organisms highly adapted to local conditions and against local antagonists. At the same time, and especially driven by theoretical advances in the 1990's, researchers began to ask how dispersal -that is, the flow of genetic material from elsewhere, can disrupt local adaptation. On the one hand it may provide genetic variation allowing for novel solutions to new difficulties. On the other hand, dispersal may reduce the prevalence of fitness-increasing genes within local populations.In a simple but elegant experiment, Jill Anderson and Monica Geber performed a reciprocal transplant experiment, moving Elliott's Blueberry plants between two habitats. One population was from highland, dryer habitats and the other from moist lowlands. They further evaluated performance in greenhouse conditions. Their results, published in Evolution, show that these two populations have not specialized to local conditions. Rather, due to asymmetric gene transfer, lowland individuals actually performed better when planted in highlands than compared to their home habitat. Further, in the greenhouse trials, lowland species did not perform better under higher moisture conditions. While genetic or physiological constraints may also limit adaptation, Anderson and Geber present a fairly convincing case that gene flow is the culprit.These results reveal that populations may actually be relatively mal-adapted to local conditions, which has numerous consequences. For example, we need to be cognizant of adaptations to particular conditions when selecting populations for use in habitat restoration and when trying to predict response to altered climatic or land-use conditions. Importantly what does this mean for multi-species coexistence? Dispersal seems to limit the ability to adapt, and thus, better use local resources or maximize fitness, making for a better competitor. At the same time, dispersal can offset high death rates, allowing for the persistence of a population that would otherwise go extinct. Understanding how these two consequences of dispersal shape populations and communities is an interesting question, and work like Anderson and Geber's provides a foundation for future studies.Anderson, J., & Geber, M. (2009). DEMOGRAPHIC SOURCE-SINK DYNAMICS RESTRICT LOCAL ADAPTATION IN ELLIOTT'S BLUEBERRY ( ) Evolution DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2009.00825.x... Read more »
Anderson, J., & Geber, M. (2009) DEMOGRAPHIC SOURCE-SINK DYNAMICS RESTRICT LOCAL ADAPTATION IN ELLIOTT'S BLUEBERRY ( ) . Evolution. DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2009.00825.x
The restored lower jaw of Afradapis. From the Nature paper.
This past May a 47 million year old fossil primate named Darwinius masillae, better known as "Ida", burst onto the public scene. The lemur-like creature was proclaimed to be the "missing link" and the "ancestor of us all", but the actual science behind Ida was drowned by a tide of media sensationalism. Press releases and documentaries proclaimed that Ida would "CHANGE EVERYTHING", but despite such promises the sky remained blue, my cats continued to wake me up at 5:30 AM, and the primate evolutionary tree did not suddenly restructure itself.
So what was Darwinius? According to the descriptive paper published in PLoS One, Darwinius belonged to a group of extinct lemur-like primates known as adapids and may or may not have been related to early anthropoids, the primate group to which monkeys and apes (including us) belong. The public announcements about Ida were far less reserved. A book, a pair of documentaries, and news reports proclaimed that Ida was definitely an ancestor of anthropoids and hence one of our early primate ancestors. (Jorn Hurum, the scientist who had purchased Ida from a fossil dealer for a sum close to $1,000,000 even went as far to say that Darwinius was "the closest thing we can get to a direct ancestor" of humans.) The fact that access to the scientific description of Darwinius was tightly controlled until after the media frenzy was initiated by Atlantic Productions meant that science took a backseat to hype.
Indeed, paleontologists who specialize in the study of early primates were not impressed by Darwinius. The fossil primate bore very little resemblance to the earliest known anthropoids, and critics soon found themselves fighting a battle on two fronts. The initial description of Darwinius, despite being much more reserved than the media hype, did not provide solid support that this primate was closely related to anthropoids. Much of the media coverage, by contrast, simply parroted unsubstantiated claims that Darwinius was one of our ancestors. Both the "strong" and "weak" interpretations of Darwinius had major flaws, and it was tricky responding to both versions of Ida's story.
Yet the public unveiling of Ida was hardly the last word on whether or not we could count her as a close relative. Quite the contrary; with the publication of her description real scientific debate had only just begun. The exchange of ideas which is the lifeblood of science continues today with the description of one of Ida's close relatives recovered from the 37 million year old rock of Egypt. Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »
Seiffert, E., Perry, J., Simons, E., & Boyer, D. (2009) Convergent evolution of anthropoid-like adaptations in Eocene adapiform primates. Nature, 461(7267), 1118-1121. DOI: 10.1038/nature08429
It has long been known that sleep deprivation affects your ability to remember things long term. Yet until now the exact mechanism causing these misplaced memories has been unclear.
The problem had been that the relationship between sleep deprivation and the brain is multi-faceted; it was hard to see the wood from the cerebral trees. [...]... Read more »
Vecsey, C., Baillie, G., Jaganath, D., Havekes, R., Daniels, A., Wimmer, M., Huang, T., Brown, K., Li, X., Descalzi, G.... (2009) Sleep deprivation impairs cAMP signalling in the hippocampus. Nature, 461(7267), 1122-1125. DOI: 10.1038/nature08488
After writing about teams and models and the distinct possibility of talking past each other, I had a very quick search for a paper on teamwork and models this morning, and came across this one by a group of Canadian researchers. It is, like many of these pieces of research into the messy [...]... Read more »
Loisel, P., Falardeau, M., Baril, R., José-Durand, M., Langley, A., Sauvé, S., & Gervais, J. (2005) The values underlying team decision-making in work rehabilitation for musculoskeletal disorders. Disability , 27(10), 561-569. DOI: 10.1080/09638280400018502
If the wife of FBI boss Robert Mueller has allegedly warned him not to use online banking because his incompetence on the computer could leave them open to online fraud, then is there any hope for protection for the rest of us. This is especially true given the recent news that usernames and passwords for [...]Post from: David Bradley's Sciencetext Tech TalkFirst Online Banking…then what?
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Susan Sproule, & Norm Archer. (2010) Measuring identity theft and identity fraud. Int. J. Business Governance and Ethics, 5(1/2), 51-63. info:/
Northwest forest growth could rise under climate change
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Latta, G., Temesgen, H., Adams, D., & Barrett, T. (2009) Analysis of potential impacts of climate change on forests of the United States Pacific Northwest. Forest Ecology and Management. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2009.09.003
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body, and most of it is found in our bones and teeth. Without this element to form the hard structures of our bodies, life as we know it as mammals would be in peril. We need it for our nerves and muscles to function properly, too. Many people in the United States are deficient in calcium, upwards of 44%, and in the developing world, these numbers are sadly much, much higher. And as we age, we lose more and more calcium from our bones, leading to osteoporosis. Women are particularly at risk for this disease once they go through menopause.
What can we do? Pills don't work very well, many vegetables high in calcium don't let us absorb it well, and breeding for calcium content is complicated and uncertain. How about engineering your lettuce to express more of a calcium transporter protein to boost the levels of calcium?
OK so it works, but does the lettuce taste good?... Read more »
I just returned from a week-long scientific mission in China sponsored by the Australian Academy of Science, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. I was invited to attend a special symposium on Marine and Deltaic Systems where research synergies between Australian and Chinese scientists were to be [...]... Read more »
Liu, D., Keesing, J., Xing, Q., & Shi, P. (2009) World’s largest macroalgal bloom caused by expansion of seaweed aquaculture in China. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 58(6), 888-895. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2009.01.013
The World Health Organization recently convened a meeting of 100 clinicians, scientists, and public health professionals to discuss the clinical features of pandemic influenza. They concluded that the vast majority of infections with the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus were uncomplicated and are followed by full recovery within 7 days. However, some patients, including children, develop severe, progressive fatal pneumonia. Should we be worried about this pattern of infection?... Read more »
Itoh Y, Shinya K, Kiso M, Watanabe T, Sakoda Y, Hatta M, Muramoto Y, Tamura D, Sakai-Tagawa Y, Noda T.... (2009) In vitro and in vivo characterization of new swine-origin H1N1 influenza viruses. Nature, 460(7258), 1021-5. PMID: 19672242
Maines TR, Jayaraman A, Belser JA, Wadford DA, Pappas C, Zeng H, Gustin KM, Pearce MB, Viswanathan K, Shriver ZH.... (2009) Transmission and pathogenesis of swine-origin 2009 A(H1N1) influenza viruses in ferrets and mice. Science (New York, N.Y.), 325(5939), 484-7. PMID: 19574347
Munster VJ, de Wit E, van den Brand JM, Herfst S, Schrauwen EJ, Bestebroer TM, van de Vijver D, Boucher CA, Koopmans M, Rimmelzwaan GF.... (2009) Pathogenesis and transmission of swine-origin 2009 A(H1N1) influenza virus in ferrets. Science (New York, N.Y.), 325(5939), 481-3. PMID: 19574348
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