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  • May 30, 2015
  • 02:05 PM
  • 1 view

Health factors influence ex-prisoners’ chances of returning to jail

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Ex-prisoners with a history of risky drug use, mental illness or poverty are more likely to end up back behind bars. Those who are obese, are chronically ill or have attempted suicide are more likely to remain in the community. These are some of the findings from an exploratory study into health-related factors that could be used to predict whether a person released from prison will end up in custody again.... Read more »

  • May 30, 2015
  • 01:41 PM
  • 2 views

The new normal? Addressing gun violence in America

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Mass shootings have a significant impact on our individual and collective psyche, especially when they happen at schools. Despite the fact that children die every day from gun violence, school shootings upset us in ways that are difficult to comprehend. In our minds, schools serve as safe havens for children. When that image is shattered, the unpredictability and randomness of such heinous acts leave us wondering if anywhere is safe anymore. Thus, the shock and horror expressed following these e........ Read more »

McLeigh, J. (2015) The new normal? Addressing gun violence in America. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 85(3), 201-202. DOI: 10.1037/ort0000072  

  • May 30, 2015
  • 03:07 AM
  • 16 views

Autism and altered levels of essential fatty acids

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Brigandi et al. 2015. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 16: 10061-10076.A quote to begin this post is taken from the paper by Sarah Brigandi and colleagues [1] (open-access available here): "Our study demonstrates an alteration in the PUFA [polyunsaturated fatty acids] profile and increased production of a PUFA-derived metabolite in autistic patients, supporting the hypothesis that abnormal lipid metabolism is implicated in autism."The Brigandi results were based on the analysis of blood samples for fatty ........ Read more »

Brigandi SA, Shao H, Qian SY, Shen Y, Wu BL, & Kang JX. (2015) Autistic Children Exhibit Decreased Levels of Essential Fatty Acids in Red Blood Cells. International journal of molecular sciences, 16(5), 10061-10076. PMID: 25946342  

  • May 29, 2015
  • 04:30 PM
  • 23 views

Restricting firearms access for people who misuse alcohol may prevent violence

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Restricting access to firearms for people who misuse alcohol could prevent firearm violence, but policies that more clearly define alcohol misuse should be developed to facilitate enforcement, according to a review of existing research and public policies by the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program.... Read more »

  • May 29, 2015
  • 02:12 PM
  • 23 views

What's a "Species"?

by Andrew White in AndyWhiteAnthropology

The naming of a new species of hominid -- Australopithecus  deyiremeda -- made a lot of news this week.  The purpose of this post is not to worry over the details of the fossils that were used to construct this new taxon, but to ask for some clarification about what is actually meant by the term "species" as paleoanthropologists use it.  I'm going to tell you what I think it means, then I'm going to complain about it a little bit, then I'm going to ask you to tell me what you thin........ Read more »

Haile-Selassie Y, Gibert L, Melillo SM, Ryan TM, Alene M, Deino A, Levin NE, Scott G, & Saylor BZ. (2015) New species from Ethiopia further expands Middle Pliocene hominin diversity. Nature, 521(7553), 483-8. PMID: 26017448  

  • May 29, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 35 views

I bought a house that is simply too  big and now I have to hire a cleaning service… 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Many of us have been taught to self-promote and we may even think others enjoy hearing of our successes. We’ve written about the principle of schadenfreude here before and if you recall those posts you may have already happily predicted that this will be a post about just how annoying those braggarts are to their […]

Related posts:
How big is that potential juror’s house? 
Facial disfigurement is too disturbing, or why I won’t hire you
So. Are you simply a Millennial or are you j........ Read more »

  • May 29, 2015
  • 03:45 AM
  • 47 views

Reduced rumination and aggressive thoughts from a probiotic?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I've taken my time to come to discussing the findings from Laura Steenbergen and colleagues [1] (open-access) providing "the first evidence that the intake of probiotics may help reduce negative thoughts associated with sad mood." It's not that I didn't find such results to be really interesting and having potential for quite a few different areas of psychiatry, but rather that other blogging topics have popped up in the meantime. No mind, we're here now.Based on a growing evidence base sug........ Read more »

  • May 29, 2015
  • 12:05 AM
  • 31 views

Non-Thermal Ultrasound Could Help Keep Your Reflexes from Inhibiting Your Rehab

by Jane McDevitt in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

Quadriceps spinal-reflexive excitability was greater 20 minutes following non-thermal therapeutic ultrasound compared with a sham treatment among individuals with a history of knee injury and quadriceps dysfunction.... Read more »

  • May 28, 2015
  • 05:01 PM
  • 57 views

Why does humanity get smarter and smarter?

by Richard Kunert in Brain's Idea

Intelligence tests have to be adjusted all the time because people score higher and higher. If the average human of today went 105 years back in time, s/he would score 130, be considered as gifted, and join clubs for highly intelligent people. How can that be? The IQ growth The picture above shows the development […]... Read more »

Pietschnig J, & Voracek M. (2015) One Century of Global IQ Gains: A Formal Meta-Analysis of the Flynn Effect (1909-2013). Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, 10(3), 282-306. PMID: 25987509  

  • May 28, 2015
  • 11:31 AM
  • 48 views

Butterflies Have an Extra Stomach Attached to Their Vaginas

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



One thing you won't find in the story of the Very Hungry Caterpillar is the part where after transforming into a butterfly, he mates with a female who has a Very Hungry Reproductive Tract waiting to devour his sperm. She has a special digestive organ just for this purpose. It's so powerful that it could even compete with the gut that let the caterpillar, in his more innocent days, chew through those five oranges.

This sperm-hungry organ is called the bursa copulatrix. In female butterflie... Read more »

Plakke, M., Deutsch, A., Meslin, C., Clark, N., & Morehouse, N. (2015) Dynamic digestive physiology of a female reproductive organ in a polyandrous butterfly. Journal of Experimental Biology, 218(10), 1548-1555. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.118323  

  • May 28, 2015
  • 09:33 AM
  • 66 views

Live in a religious country? Your work ethic might be different.

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

One of the seminal pieces of research on religion and society was done in the early 20th century by a guy named Max Weber, who concluded that what he called the ‘Protestant Work Ethic’ helped explain why the countries of Northern Europe and America were so prosperous. It’s a provocative conclusion that later research has shown was [Read More...]... Read more »

  • May 28, 2015
  • 08:47 AM
  • 46 views

From Herb Garden To Medicine Cabinet: Developing A New Drug for Malaria

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

A new study has identified how the herb Dichroa febrifuga treats malaria, which is helping in the design of better therapies.... Read more »

Herman JD, Pepper LR, Cortese JF, Estiu G, Galinsky K, Zuzarte-Luis V, Derbyshire ER, Ribacke U, Lukens AK, Santos SA.... (2015) The cytoplasmic prolyl-tRNA synthetase of the malaria parasite is a dual-stage target of febrifugine and its analogs. Science translational medicine, 7(288). PMID: 25995223  

  • May 28, 2015
  • 05:10 AM
  • 63 views

Our jumpiness at nighttime is not just because it's dark

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

When something goes bump in the night, most of us are little jumpier than we would be in the day. But is that just because it's dark, or is it more to do with our bodies and brains switching to a vigilant nocturnal mode?Yadan Li and her colleagues have attempted to disentangle the influences of darkness and nighttime. They recruited 120 young women to complete a computer task in a windowless cubicle, which involved them looking at neutral pictures (e.g. nature scenes), scary pictures (e.g. spide........ Read more »

Li, Y., Ma, W., Kang, Q., Qiao, L., Tang, D., Qiu, J., Zhang, Q., & Li, H. (2015) Night or darkness, which intensifies the feeling of fear?. International Journal of Psychophysiology. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.04.021  

  • May 28, 2015
  • 04:44 AM
  • 55 views

How The Bird Got Its Beak

by Abzhanov in the Node

Nature’s most interesting secrets can sometimes be found in our own backyards. One such secret is related to all birds, those pigeons, thrushes and sparrows that we see everyday. This familiarity means that we do not think too much of birds passing them by on our way to work or school. However, if the birds […]... Read more »

Bhullar, B., Marugán-Lobón, J., Racimo, F., Bever, G., Rowe, T., Norell, M., & Abzhanov, A. (2012) Birds have paedomorphic dinosaur skulls. Nature, 487(7406), 223-226. DOI: 10.1038/nature11146  

Alberch,P., Gould,S.J., Oster,G.F., & Wake,D.B. (1979) Size and shape in ontogeny and phylogeny. Paleobiology , 296-317. info:/

Hodges, S., & Arnold, M. (1995) Spurring Plant Diversification: Are Floral Nectar Spurs a Key Innovation?. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 262(1365), 343-348. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.1995.0215  

  • May 28, 2015
  • 03:28 AM
  • 63 views

The autisms, case reports and two 'intervention' options

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm looking at two papers today which I'd like to think cover the title of this post pretty well dealing with the plurality of autism - the autisms - and the idea that intervention or management-wise, there is no 'one size fits all' when it comes to the autisms.First up are the findings reported by Ziats and colleagues [1] who presented results for a child - "A 4-year-old male with autism and two episodes of neurodevelopmental regression" - who was also found to have a "mutation in the TMLHE gen........ Read more »

  • May 27, 2015
  • 08:47 PM
  • 51 views

Evolution of Darwin’s finches and their beaks revealed by genome sequencing

by Andrea Vucicevic in genome ecology evolution etc

Introduction Darwin’s finches from Galapagos and Cocos Island are classic example of young adaptive radiation, entirely intact because none of the species having become extinct as a result of human activity. They have diversified in beak sizes and shapes, feeding … Continue reading →... Read more »

Lamichhaney, S., Berglund, J., Almén, M., Maqbool, K., Grabherr, M., Martinez-Barrio, A., Promerová, M., Rubin, C., Wang, C., Zamani, N.... (2015) Evolution of Darwin’s finches and their beaks revealed by genome sequencing. Nature, 518(7539), 371-375. DOI: 10.1038/nature14181  

  • May 27, 2015
  • 03:52 PM
  • 65 views

Expanding the code of life with new ‘letters’

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The DNA encoding all life on Earth is made of four building blocks called nucleotides, commonly known as “letters,” that line up in pairs and twist into a double helix. Now, two groups of scientists are reporting for the first time that two new nucleotides can do the same thing — raising the possibility that entirely new proteins could be created for medical uses.... Read more »

Georgiadis, M., Singh, I., Kellett, W., Hoshika, S., Benner, S., & Richards, N. (2015) Structural Basis for a Six Nucleotide Genetic Alphabet. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b03482  

Zhang, L., Yang, Z., Sefah, K., Bradley, K., Hoshika, S., Kim, M., Kim, H., Zhu, G., Jiménez, E., Cansiz, S.... (2015) Evolution of Functional Six-Nucleotide DNA. Journal of the American Chemical Society. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b02251  

  • May 27, 2015
  • 03:13 PM
  • 56 views

On dialects, similects, and the -lishes

by Ray Carey in ELFA project

One of the major lines of English as a lingua franca (ELF) research is how to describe the features of English in interaction between second-language users. With the multitude of accents and variable usage of English you find in the world today, the most obvious quality of ELF talk is its diversity (some say it’s […]... Read more »

Mauranen, Anna. (2012) Exploring ELF: Academic English shaped by non-native speakers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. info:/

  • May 27, 2015
  • 01:25 PM
  • 57 views

Human Evolution and the Stone Tool "Problem"

by Andrew White in AndyWhiteAnthropology

The recent announcement of the discovery in stone tools in Kenya dating to 3.3 million years ago (MYA) has been greeted with a lot of fanfare.  I first heard the story at some point earlier in the academic year, and I know there was a lot of buzz about it at the SAAs and Paleoanthropology meetings in San Francisco in April.  The publication of a formal paper in Nature last week (“3.3-Million-Year-Old Stone [...] ... Read more »

Harmand S, Lewis JE, Feibel CS, Lepre CJ, Prat S, Lenoble A, Boës X, Quinn RL, Brenet M, Arroyo A.... (2015) 3.3-million-year-old stone tools from Lomekwi 3, West Turkana, Kenya. Nature, 521(7552), 310-5. PMID: 25993961  

  • May 27, 2015
  • 10:37 AM
  • 65 views

Evidence of Violence from a Late Black Death Cemetery

by Katy Meyers Emery in Bones Don't Lie

When we study history, we tend to focus on the big events. This is especially true for medieval England where history is defined by wars, plagues, famines, and major changes […]... Read more »

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