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  • May 6, 2016
  • 02:35 PM
  • 17 views

Smartphones uncover how the world sleeps

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A pioneering study of worldwide sleep patterns combines math modeling, mobile apps and big data to parse the roles society and biology each play in setting sleep schedules. The study used a free smartphone app that reduces jetlag to gather robust sleep data from thousands of people in 100 nations. The researchers examined how age, gender, amount of light and home country affect the amount of shut-eye people around the globe get, when they go to bed, and when they wake up.

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Olivia J. Walch, Amy Cochran, & Daniel B. Forger. (2016) A global quantification of “normal” sleep schedules using smartphone data . Science Advances. info:/10.1126/sciadv.1501705

  • May 2, 2016
  • 02:45 PM
  • 121 views

Origin of synaptic pruning process linked to learning, autism and schizophrenia identified

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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:/

  • May 1, 2016
  • 02:17 PM
  • 113 views

Influence of religion and predestination on evolution and scientific thinking

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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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  • May 1, 2016
  • 11:00 AM
  • 105 views

Being Explicit About Symmetry

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

Working to orient oneself to the symmetries available in mathematical situations seems like one appropriate remedy to what I've called "left-to-rightism," or "cinemathematics"—a syndrome that makes us teach concepts like the equals sign (unwittingly) in a left-to-right way, such that students take away (unwittingly) the misconception that the equals sign indicates that some answer is to follow, rather than that two expressions are equal. Some recent research points........ Read more »

  • April 29, 2016
  • 04:10 PM
  • 119 views

Don’t retweet if you want to remember

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The whole of human intelligence, right at your fingertips. Sure it might not make the layman an engineer or physicist, but if we want to learn about a particular topic the internet can give us that information. But you better hold on tight before you lose it. New research finds retweeting or otherwise sharing information creates a “cognitive overload” that interferes with learning and retaining what you’ve just seen.

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  • April 29, 2016
  • 11:02 AM
  • 133 views

Bringing ‘Dirty’ Mice Into Labs Opens A World Of Possibilities

by Rita dos Santos Silva in United Academics

Treating immune disorders might have gotten easier with a new mouse model.... Read more »

  • April 27, 2016
  • 04:55 PM
  • 212 views

Addiction, it’s in your genes… maybe

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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  

  • April 27, 2016
  • 04:42 PM
  • 138 views

Measuring happiness on social media

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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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  • April 26, 2016
  • 10:42 AM
  • 94 views

You Scratch My Back

by AG McCluskey in Zongo's Cancer Diaries

Where does the idea of a scientist as a crazed loner come from. Let's work together!... Read more »

Brown, R., Deletic, A., & Wong, T. (2015) Interdisciplinarity: How to catalyse collaboration. Nature, 525(7569), 315-317. DOI: 10.1038/525315a  

AG McCluskey. (2016) You Scratch My Back.. Zongo's Cancer Diaries. info:/

  • April 25, 2016
  • 06:39 AM
  • 135 views

Yet more evidence for questionable research practices in original studies of Reproducibility Project: Psychology

by Richard Kunert in Brain's Idea

The replicability of psychological research is surprisingly low. Why? In this blog post I present new evidence showing that questionable research practices are at the heart of failures to replicate psychological effects. Quick recap. A recent publication in Science claims that only around 40% of psychological findings are replicable, based on 100 replication attempts in […]... Read more »

Asendorpf, J., Conner, M., De Fruyt, F., De Houwer, J., Denissen, J., Fiedler, K., Fiedler, S., Funder, D., Kliegl, R., Nosek, B.... (2013) Recommendations for Increasing Replicability in Psychology. European Journal of Personality, 27(2), 108-119. DOI: 10.1002/per.1919  

Gerber, A., Malhotra, N., Dowling, C., & Doherty, D. (2010) Publication Bias in Two Political Behavior Literatures. American Politics Research, 38(4), 591-613. DOI: 10.1177/1532673X09350979  

Head ML, Holman L, Lanfear R, Kahn AT, & Jennions MD. (2015) The extent and consequences of p-hacking in science. PLoS biology, 13(3). PMID: 25768323  

  • April 23, 2016
  • 07:53 AM
  • 173 views

More on Publication Bias in Money Priming

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover



Does the thought of money make people more selfish? Last year, I blogged about the theory of 'money priming', the idea that mere reminders of money can influence people’s attitudes and behaviors. The occasion for that post was a study showing no evidence of the claimed money priming phenomenon, published by psychologists Rohrer, Pashler, and Harris. Rohrer et al.'s paper was accompanied by a rebuttal from Kathleen Vohs, who argued that 10 years of research and 165 studies establish that mone........ Read more »

  • April 19, 2016
  • 07:05 PM
  • 46 views

Neural stem cell transplants aid traumatic brain injury recovery

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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  

  • April 18, 2016
  • 03:32 PM
  • 160 views

Are Territory Disputes Between Male Butterflies Influenced by Motivation?

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

By Nick Gremban Male speckled wood butterflies will “perch” on leavesand ends of twigs to look out over their territory for females. However, they have been known to be quite aggressivewith any intruding males! Photo by Alvesgaspar atWikimedia Commons, modified by Nick Gremban.Think about any territorial animal. Now think about its aggressiveness while it is defending its territory. Was your animal a butterfly? No? You mean the colorful wings and the natural association with flowers d........ Read more »

Bergman, M., Olofsson, M., & Wiklund, C. (2010) Contest outcome in a territorial butterfly: the role of motivation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 277(1696), 3027-3033. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2010.0646  

  • April 14, 2016
  • 07:52 AM
  • 190 views

10 things I learned while working for the Dutch science funding council (NWO)

by Richard Kunert in Brain's Idea

  The way science is currently funded is very controversial. During the last 6 months I was on a break from my PhD and worked for the organisation funding science in the Netherlands (NWO). These are 10 insights I gained. 1) Belangenverstrengeling This is the first word I learned when arriving in The Hague. There is […]... Read more »

  • April 12, 2016
  • 07:18 PM
  • 211 views

The scientific brain: How the brain repurposes itself to learn scientific concepts

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The human brain was initially used for basic survival tasks, such as staying safe and hunting and gathering. Yet, 200,000 years later, the same human brain is able to learn abstract concepts, like momentum, energy, and gravity, which have only been formally defined in the last few centuries. New research has now uncovered how the brain is able to acquire brand new types of ideas.
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Robert A. Mason, & Marcel Adam Just. (2016) Neural Representations of Physics Concepts . Psychological Science. info:other/Pre-print

  • April 10, 2016
  • 06:30 PM
  • 170 views

Spaced Practice

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

Spaced practice, also called distributed practice, refers to the practice—after initial learning—of leaving gaps in time between sessions devoted to reviewing previously learned material. This stands in contrast to its much less effective counterpart, massed practice, which "crams" all of the review together in time.... Read more »

  • April 7, 2016
  • 05:19 PM
  • 190 views

Manufacturing human tissue from textiles

by Dr.Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Until we can figure out our lack of regenerating our bodies, or can convince more people to donate organs, we are at mercy of either luck or technology. Bio 3-D printing offers hope that we can print personalized organs as need and rejection free. But the technology relies almost solely with tissue engineers, there job is to find processes using novel bio-materials seeded with stem cells to grow and replace missing tissues.

... Read more »

  • April 7, 2016
  • 12:22 PM
  • 207 views

From the NY Times: Biologists went rogue and publish directly on the Internet

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective

The ASAP Bio conference held in February at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, US, brought together biomedicine researchers to discuss new ways to communicate research results using preprints and post-publication peer review. Renowned scientists, including several Nobel Prize winners started to deposit their articles in open access preprint repositories before proceeding with the formal publication in journals. The topic received last week the attention of the New York Times. … Read More........ Read more »

  • April 6, 2016
  • 05:02 PM
  • 213 views

Uncovering the genetic elements that drive regeneration

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Lose a hand or a leg? It will grow back… oh wait, it won’t, but why not? Trace our evolution — long before the shedding of gills or the development of opposable thumbs — and you will likely find a common ancestor with the amazing ability to regenerate lost body parts. There is theoretically no reason why we shouldn’t be able to regenerate, not quite like in the movie Deadpool, but come on, would you really complain at that point?

... Read more »

Kang, J., Hu, J., Karra, R., Dickson, A., Tornini, V., Nachtrab, G., Gemberling, M., Goldman, J., Black, B., & Poss, K. (2016) Modulation of tissue repair by regeneration enhancer elements. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature17644  

  • April 5, 2016
  • 05:17 PM
  • 206 views

Suicidal thinking and US veterans

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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 »

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