An article popped up in my news feed yesterday. The title read: “Skeletal marker of physiological stress might indicate good, rather than poor, health“. The summary of the article stated […]... Read more »
Yaussy SL, DeWitte SN, & Redfern RC. (2016) Frailty and famine: Patterns of mortality and physiological stress among victims of famine in medieval London. American journal of physical anthropology. PMID: 26854255
Vaccines don't cause autism, but because the brain is so complex, we still don't know how much of it works so figuring out the real causes (as in more than one) of autism has been slow going. Well, researchers have identified a brain receptor that appears to initiate adolescent synaptic pruning, a process believed necessary for learning, but in this case it is one that appears to go awry in both autism and schizophrenia.... Read more »
Sonia Afroz, Julie Parato, Hui Shen Sheryl, & Sue Smith. (2016) Synaptic pruning in the female hippocampus is triggered at puberty by extrasynaptic GABAA receptors on dendritic spines . eLife. info:/
Generally seen as antithetical to one another, evolution and religion can hardly fit in a scientific discourse simultaneously. However, in a new article, a biology researcher delves into observations on the influences a few major religions have had on evolutionists and their scientific thinking over the centuries.
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Romero Jr., A. (2016) The influence of religion on science: the case of the idea of predestination in biospeleology. Research Ideas and Outcomes. DOI: 10.3897/rio.2.e9015
Human behavioral scientists argue that extra-pair copulation is adaptive in human females, as through extra-pair copulation, women can acquire good genes from other potential mates. This is suggested because it is found that women experience greater sexual attraction to particular extra-pair men, but not their own partners, during their highest peak of fertility (Gangestad & […]... Read more »
Greeff, J., & Erasmus, J. (2015) Three hundred years of low non-paternity in a human population. Heredity, 115(5), 396-404. DOI: 10.1038/hdy.2015.36
I recently pointed out that the widespread belief that migrants refuse to learn the language of their new country does not stack up against the realities of adult language learning. I summarized the research that shows that adult language learning is complex and difficult and rarely an all-out success; to blame migrants for their failure to learn a new language (well) is adding insult to injury.
The German-language club (“Stammtisch”) in New York founded by G........ Read more »
Azuélos, D. (2008) L'exil dans l'exil Les stratégies linguistiques contradictoires des exilés aux États-Unis (Thomas Mann, Klaus Mann, Hans Sahl, Oskar Maria Graf). Études Germaniques, 252(4), 723. DOI: 10.3917/eger.252.0723
Why does one person who tries cocaine get addicted, while another might use it and then leave it alone? Why do some people who kick a drug habit manage to stay clean, while others relapse? And why do some families seem more prone to addiction than others? According to a new study, the road to answering these questions may have a lot to do with specific genetic factors that vary from individual to individual.
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Flagel, S., Chaudhury, S., Waselus, M., Kelly, R., Sewani, S., Clinton, S., Thompson, R., Watson, S., & Akil, H. (2016) Genetic background and epigenetic modifications in the core of the nucleus accumbens predict addiction-like behavior in a rat model. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201520491. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1520491113
Happiness. It’s something we all strive for, but how do we measure it — as a country? A global community? Not so surprisingly, researchers are turning to social media to answer these questions and more. In a newly published study, computer scientists used two years of Twitter data to measure users’ life satisfaction, a component of happiness.
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Yang, C., & Srinivasan, P. (2016) Life Satisfaction and the Pursuit of Happiness on Twitter. PLOS ONE, 11(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150881
Human sacrifice to preserve inequality Statistically speaking (wait, wait, don’t click away, I know this is not the most enticing opening, but bear with me), you and me, we are not part of the 1%, or the 0.01%, that in most Western societies holds a disproportionate amount of influence and resources. Secretly, though, we want […]... Read more »
Watts J, Sheehan O, Atkinson QD, Bulbulia J, & Gray RD. (2016) Ritual human sacrifice promoted and sustained the evolution of stratified societies. Nature, 532(7598), 228-31. PMID: 27042932
Physical attractiveness influences mate selection across cultures, and youthfulness of women is associated with their future reproductive value and fertility. Men attribute importance to youthful features in females such as large eyes, small nose, higher pitched voice, and full lips and perceive these neotenous features as attractive. More feminine women report more frequently being guarded […]... Read more »
Pazhoohi, F., Jahromi, A., & Doyle, J. (2016) Mate Retention Tactics Decline with Age of Iranian Men. Evolutionary Psychological Science. DOI: 10.1007/s40806-016-0046-8
There is something mysterious about Stonehenge. I have a very distinct memory of visiting Stonehenge as a child, seeing the standing rocks in the distance Perhaps it was the fog and grey […]... Read more »
Willis, C., Marshall, P., McKinley, J., Pitts, M., Pollard, J., Richards, C., Richards, J., Thomas, J., Waldron, T., Welham, K.... (2016) The dead of Stonehenge. Antiquity, 90(350), 337-356. DOI: 10.15184/aqy.2016.26
No one knows Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) quite like veterans. Unfortunately, it is a major cause of mortality and morbidity, often causing lifelong disability for those who survive. There is simply no treatment, jut care, but a new study might change that. Stem cell therapy has recently been receiving attention as a way to promote […]... Read more »
Junling Gao, Raymond J. Grill, Tiffany J. Dunn, Supinder Bedi, Javier Allende Labastida, Robert A. Hetz, Hasen Xue, Jason R. Thonhoff, Douglas S. DeWitt, Donald S. Prough.... (2016) Human Neural Stem Cell Transplantation-Mediated Alteration of Microglial/Macrophage Phenotypes after Traumatic Brain Injury. Cell Transplantation. DOI: 10.3727/096368916X691150
Swarming Red Crabs, 11,000-year-old shaman headdress, 'superfast' wing muscles, slowdown of giant airstreams, and sexually transmitted infections in Neanderthals. Here are five of the latest scientific studies published open-access this week, ... Read more »
Pineda, J., Cho, W., Starczak, V., Govindarajan, A., Guzman, H., Girdhar, Y., Holleman, R., Churchill, J., Singh, H., & Ralston, D. (2016) A crab swarm at an ecological hotspot: patchiness and population density from AUV observations at a coastal, tropical seamount. PeerJ. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1770
Little, A., Elliott, B., Conneller, C., Pomstra, D., Evans, A., Fitton, L., Holland, A., Davis, R., Kershaw, R., O’Connor, S.... (2016) Technological Analysis of the World’s Earliest Shamanic Costume: A Multi-Scalar, Experimental Study of a Red Deer Headdress from the Early Holocene Site of Star Carr, North Yorkshire, UK. PLOS ONE, 11(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0152136
Fuxjager, M., Goller, F., Dirkse, A., Sanin, G., & Garcia, S. (2016) Select forelimb muscles have evolved superfast contractile speed to support acrobatic social displays. eLife. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.13544
Stadtherr, L., Coumou, D., Petoukhov, V., Petri, S., & Rahmstorf, S. (2016) Record Balkan floods of 2014 linked to planetary wave resonance. Science Advances, 2(4). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501428
Houldcroft, C., & Underdown, S. (2016) Neanderthal genomics suggests a pleistocene time frame for the first epidemiologic transition. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22985
by Maiju Strommer in Language on the Move
Let me at once introduce you to the main character of this blog post: Kifibin. He is a Ugandan man...... Read more »
Strömmer, M. (2015) Affordances and constraints: Second language learning in cleaning work. Multilingua. DOI: 10.1515/multi-2014-0113
Our understanding of the role of language in social life suffers from a particularly intractable problem: the terms we use...... Read more »
Vathi, Z., Duci, V., & Dhembo, E. (2016) Homeland (dis)integrations: Educational Experience, Children and Return Migration to Albania. International Migration. DOI: 10.1111/imig.12230
Something very personal about me, the thought of suicide is never too far behind. It is to the point that I need to qualify it to my counselor when I am asked if I have thoughts of suicide, I always do. A new study shows that I am far from alone Nearly 14 percent of military veterans reported suicidal thinking at one or both phases of a two-year Veterans Affairs (VA) study.... Read more »
Smith, N., Mota, N., Tsai, J., Monteith, L., Harpaz-Rotem, I., Southwick, S., & Pietrzak, R. (2016) Nature and determinants of suicidal ideation among U.S. veterans: Results from the national health and resilience in veterans study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 66-73. DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2016.02.069
Innovations don’t require heroic geniuses any more than your thoughts hinge on a particular neuron.... Read more »
If Parkinson’s disease wasn’t bad enough for families to have to learn to deal with, about 80% of patients also develop dementia. That’s the problem with the brain; while it has the amazing ability to adapt to just about anything, it can’t fix everything. There are no particularly good solutions to Parkinson’s or dementia, however, early detection of dementia is key to keeping it at bay and a new study may have a way to do just that.
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Bertrand, J., McIntosh, A., Postuma, R., Kovacevic, N., Latreille, V., Panisset, M., Chouinard, S., & Gagnon, J. (2016) Brain Connectivity Alterations Are Associated with the Development of Dementia in Parkinson's Disease. Brain Connectivity, 6(3), 216-224. DOI: 10.1089/brain.2015.0390
If you see me on the street and I am running, there is a good chance you should be running as well, because something dangerous is coming. I don’t run, I hate to run, I loathe running, did I mention I don’t like to run? Maybe it’s all the running I did in the military, or if a new study is correct, it may have to do with my mother. Which is good, because now I can blame someone else for my hatred of running.
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Eclarinal, J., Zhu, S., Baker, M., Piyarathna, D., Coarfa, C., Fiorotto, M., & Waterland, R. (2016) Maternal exercise during pregnancy promotes physical activity in adult offspring. The FASEB Journal. DOI: 10.1096/fj.201500018R
If you’re a transplant recipient you know that transplant organs are a veritable ticking time bomb waiting to be rejected by your well-meaning (but stupid) body. Not only can you do everything right and still have the organs rejected, you have to take a steady stream of expensive pills to inhibit the immune system and stop the body from launching its attack. Don’t throw your pill organizers away just yet, but soon.
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MacDonald, K., Hoeppli, R., Huang, Q., Gillies, J., Luciani, D., Orban, P., Broady, R., & Levings, M. (2016) Alloantigen-specific regulatory T cells generated with a chimeric antigen receptor. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 126(4), 1413-1424. DOI: 10.1172/JCI82771
Food for the worms, a dirt nap, kicking the bucket, maybe there are so many euphemisms for death because it is still a taboo in certain cultures. Not so fun fact, my Uncle committed suicide some years back. I’m not going to go into details, but because suicide is looked down on, was his death still considered a “good death”? Trying to qualitatively and quantitatively define a good death, researchers have published a new paper offering help in defining the idea of a good death and have ulti........ Read more »
Meier, E., Gallegos, J., Thomas, L., Depp, C., Irwin, S., & Jeste, D. (2016) Defining a Good Death (Successful Dying): Literature Review and a Call for Research and Public Dialogue. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 24(4), 261-271. DOI: 10.1016/j.jagp.2016.01.135
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