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  • January 21, 2016
  • 02:27 PM
  • 649 views

Anxious? Chronic stress and anxiety can damage the brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A scientific review paper warns that people need to find ways to reduce chronic stress and anxiety in their lives or they may be at increased risk for developing depression and even dementia. Led by the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences, the review examined brain areas impacted by chronic anxiety, fear and stress in animal and human studies that are already published.... Read more »

Mah, L., Szabuniewicz, C., & Fiocco, A. (2016) Can anxiety damage the brain?. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 29(1), 56-63. DOI: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000223  

  • January 21, 2016
  • 05:52 AM
  • 740 views

Will your paper be more cited if published in Open Access?

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective

Is there any positive relationship between open access and the amount of citations? Last year Academia.edu announced in its website that citations to papers in its repository could raise in percentages much higher than other repositories. Is it truth or exaggeration? … Read More →... Read more »

  • January 20, 2016
  • 02:29 PM
  • 763 views

Overwhelmed and depressed? Well, there may be a connection

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Ever feel overwhelmed when you are depressed, well the good news is it isn't just you, the bad news is it's probably your brain. Regions of the brain that normally work together to process emotion become decoupled in people who experience multiple episodes of depression, neuroscientists report. The findings may help identify which patients will benefit from long term antidepressant treatment to prevent the recurrence of depressive episodes.

... Read more »

Jacobs, R., Barba, A., Gowins, J., Klumpp, H., Jenkins, L., Mickey, B., Ajilore, O., Peciña, M., Sikora, M., Ryan, K.... (2016) Decoupling of the amygdala to other salience network regions in adolescent-onset recurrent major depressive disorder. Psychological Medicine, 1-13. DOI: 10.1017/S0033291715002615  

  • January 19, 2016
  • 02:14 PM
  • 498 views

Can you trust your gut when public speaking?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

There is good news for frequent public speakers. New research shows that individuals have the ability to quickly and accurately identify a crowd's general emotion as focused or distracted, suggesting that we can trust our first impression of a crowd's mood.


... Read more »

  • January 18, 2016
  • 04:07 PM
  • 613 views

Thwarting abnormal neural development with a new mutation

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have discovered how to reverse the abnormal axonal development characteristic of CFEOM3, a congenital disease that affects the muscles that control eye movements. The work shows how creating a specific mutation rescued abnormal axonal growth in the developing mouse brain.

... Read more »

Minoura, I., Takazaki, H., Ayukawa, R., Saruta, C., Hachikubo, Y., Uchimura, S., Hida, T., Kamiguchi, H., Shimogori, T., & Muto, E. (2016) Reversal of axonal growth defects in an extraocular fibrosis model by engineering the kinesin–microtubule interface. Nature Communications, 10058. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms10058  

  • January 18, 2016
  • 11:29 AM
  • 712 views

Catch Him If You Can

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

By Caitlin LockardWhen playing Frisbee with your dog, do you ever wonder how they have the ability to catch it so effortlessly? The art of being able to figure out where something like a Frisbee is headed requires some crazy math skills. Ostracods are one kind of animal that puts their wicked math skills to the test while finding a mate.The image above of a female ostracod was provided by Trevor Rivers.You’ve never heard of an ostracod you say? Ostracods are small crustaceans, which basically means they have lots of legs and are covered by a hard shell. Male ostracods can be seen roaming throughout the ocean trying to enchant females with light displays. Typically, just after sunset, males begin their light displays, which consist of two phases. The first phase is the bright phase, which is short. The goal here is to signal to the female that “I’m here, single (except all my buddies that I brought with me of course) and ready to mingle”. The second phase is where males spiral up in a helix while pulsing repeatedly. This phase is much dimmer and is used by females to choose a mate. But exactly how do female ostracods go about catching the moving and light-pulsing man of her dreams? Scientists, Trevor Rivers of the University of Kansas and Jim Morin of Cornell University, set off to explore if female ostracods try to intercept the moving and pulsing males or if they just chase them. In order to conduct this experiment, immature female ostracods were collected off the shore of Southwater Caye in Belize. After catching the ostracods, females were put into tanks and raised to maturity, ensuring that all the females were sexually mature virgins. Rivers and Morin put an LED light behind the different tanks in order to mimic an actual mating display. The LED light looked like a string of Christmas lights pulsing from bottom to top, mimicking the males’ helical light display. In the control group, there was an LED light placed behind the tank, however it was turned off. The duo questioned whether or not the LED light show was able to mimic the display put on by male ostracods. Also, they questioned how females respond to the males’ display by measuring the height at which females intercepted the LED light, how straight of a line the female swam in, if the female swam at an angle, and what direction the female swam in. Check out a video here.The scientists found that the LED light was able to mimic the helical phase that male ostracods put on well enough for the females to respond. Females in the control group merely swam at the same height, as there was no reason for her to waste her energy with no “male” around. However, females in the experimental group had to think on their feet to figure out where their male crush was heading. They swam directly toward but slightly above the “male” than when there was no “mate” around. If the female merely headed to the same spot where her “male” previously was, she would miss him. Instead, she had to anticipate where he was going next and head that direction. What’s the moral of the story here? If you’re a female ostracod, your man will always be on the move, so you better have some gnarly geometry skills in order to track him down.Work Cited: Rivers, T., & Morin, J. (2013). Female ostracods respond to and intercept artificial conspecific male luminescent courtship displays Behavioral Ecology, 24 (4), 877-887 DOI: 10.1093/beheco/art022... Read more »

  • January 17, 2016
  • 02:31 PM
  • 573 views

Nanodevice, build thyself

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

As we continue to shrink electronic components, top-down manufacturing methods begin to approach a physical limit at the nanoscale. Rather than continue to chip away at this limit, one solution of interest involves using the bottom-up self-assembly of molecular building blocks to build nanoscale devices.

... Read more »

  • January 16, 2016
  • 03:12 PM
  • 932 views

‘Space Warps’ and other citizen science projects reap major dividends for astrophysics

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Thanks to the Internet, amateur volunteers known as "citizen scientists" can readily donate their time and effort to science--in fields ranging from medicine to zoology to astrophysics. The astrophysics project Space Warps offers a compelling example of why citizen science has become such a popular tool and how valuable it can be.

... Read more »

Marshall, P., Verma, A., More, A., Davis, C., More, S., Kapadia, A., Parrish, M., Snyder, C., Wilcox, J., Baeten, E.... (2015) SPACE WARPS - I. Crowdsourcing the discovery of gravitational lenses. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 455(2), 1171-1190. DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv2009  

More, A., Verma, A., Marshall, P., More, S., Baeten, E., Wilcox, J., Macmillan, C., Cornen, C., Kapadia, A., Parrish, M.... (2015) SPACE WARPS- II. New gravitational lens candidates from the CFHTLS discovered through citizen science. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 455(2), 1191-1210. DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv1965  

  • January 16, 2016
  • 06:37 AM
  • 710 views

Genetic Testing for Autism as an Existential Question

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A special issue of the journal Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics features perspectives from various people who have experience with genetic testing. Many of the articles look interesting - with titles such as I Had Genetic Testing for Alzheimer's Disease Without My Consent. But my attention was drawn to one piece in particular, called A Sister, a Father and a Son: Autism, Genetic Testing, and Impossible Decisions. The author of the article has chosen to remain anonymous.

The piece recounts how o... Read more »

  • January 15, 2016
  • 02:56 PM
  • 613 views

Autism-linked protein lays groundwork for healthy brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A gene linked to mental disorders helps lays the foundation for a crucial brain structure during prenatal development, according to Salk Institute research. The findings reveal new mechanistic insights into the gene, known as MDGA1, which may bring a better understanding of neurodevelopmental disorders in people.

... Read more »

  • January 15, 2016
  • 01:30 AM
  • 729 views

Our obsession with bullshit science of morals

by Syed Ather in Heuristic

Explaining morals, religion, governance, and similar concepts using science seems like an attractive proposition at first, but the scientific inquiry will never give complete answers to questions reserved for philosophy, history, literature, or other fields of the humanities. And when we believe such ridiculous things, we only have ourselves to blame.... Read more »

  • January 14, 2016
  • 02:53 PM
  • 687 views

Pay attention! Attention neuron type identified

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers have identified for the first time a cell type in the brain of mice that is integral to attention. Moreover, by manipulating the activity of this cell type, the scientists were able to enhance attention in mice. The results add to the understanding of how the brain's frontal lobes work and control behaviour.
... Read more »

Hoseok Kim, Sofie hedlund-Richter, Xinming Wang, Karl Deisseroth, Marie Carlén. (2016) Prefrontal Parvalbumin Neurons in Control of Attention. Cell . DOI: http://dx.org/10.1016/j.cell.2015.11.038  

  • January 13, 2016
  • 07:00 PM
  • 613 views

Electrolithoautotrophs

by adam phillips in It Ain't Magic

Learn what electrolithoautotrophs are and how the scientists proved that A. ferrooxidans can use electric potential to fuel growth.... Read more »

  • January 13, 2016
  • 03:44 PM
  • 884 views

Beam me up! Teleporting the memory of an organism

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In "Star Trek", a transporter can teleport a person from one location to a remote location without actually making the journey along the way. Such a transporter has fascinated many people. Quantum teleportation shares several features of the transporter and is one of the most important protocols in quantum information.... Read more »

  • January 12, 2016
  • 03:08 PM
  • 622 views

Improving your toddler’s memory skills has long-term benefits

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

If your toddler is a Forgetful Jones, you might want to help boost his or her brainpower sooner rather than later. New research shows that preschoolers who score lower on a memory task are likely to score higher on a dropout risk scale at the age of 12.
... Read more »

  • January 11, 2016
  • 03:23 PM
  • 680 views

Stereotype means girls should expect poorer physics grades

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Imagine that you are a female student and give the exact same answer to a physics exam question as one of your male classmates, but you receive a significantly poorer grade. This is precisely what happens on a regular basis, as concluded in a study by Sarah Hofer, a researcher in the group led by ETH professor Elsbeth Stern.... Read more »

  • January 10, 2016
  • 02:37 PM
  • 587 views

Put the cellphone away! Fragmented baby care can affect brain development

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Mothers, put down your smartphones when caring for your babies! That's the message from University of California, Irvine researchers, who have found that fragmented and chaotic maternal care can disrupt proper brain development, which can lead to emotional disorders later in life.... Read more »

  • January 9, 2016
  • 02:36 PM
  • 692 views

Feeling sick? It’s evolution’s way of telling you to stay home

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

When you have a fever, your nose is stuffed and your headache is spreading to your toes, your body is telling you to stay home in bed. Feeling sick is an evolutionary adaptation according to a hypothesis put forward by Prof. Guy Shakhar of the Weizmann Institute’s Immunology Department and Dr. Keren Shakhar of the Psychology Department of the College of Management Academic Studies.... Read more »

  • January 8, 2016
  • 03:04 PM
  • 556 views

Stem cells regulate their own proliferation and their microenvironment

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A study by researchers at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III (CNIC) has identified a new mechanism through which hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) control both their own proliferation and the characteristics of the niche that houses them. This control is exercised by the protein E-Selectin Ligand-1 (ESL-1).... Read more »

  • January 7, 2016
  • 01:45 PM
  • 749 views

Are you multicellular? Thank a random mutation that created a new protein

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

All it took was one mutation more than 600 million years ago. With that random act, a new protein function was born that helped our single-celled ancestor transition into an organized multicellular organism. That’s the scenario — done with some molecular time travel — that emerged from basic research in the lab of University of Oregon biochemist Ken Prehoda.... Read more »

Anderson, D., Whitney, D., Hanson-Smith, V., Woznica, A., Campodonico-Burnett, W., Volkman, B., King, N., Prehoda, K., & Thornton, J. (2016) Evolution of an ancient protein function involved in organized multicellularity in animals. eLife. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.10147  

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