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 »
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 »
Van Noorden, R. (2014) Online collaboration: Scientists and the social network. Nature, 512(7513), 126-129. DOI: 10.1038/512126a
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.
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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
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.
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Haberman, J., Lee, P., & Whitney, D. (2015) Mixed emotions: Sensitivity to facial variance in a crowd of faces. Journal of Vision, 15(4), 16. DOI: 10.1167/15.4.16
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.
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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
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 »
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
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.
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Müller, M., Diller, K., Maurer, R., & Reuter, K. (2016) Interfacial charge rearrangement and intermolecular interactions: Density-functional theory study of free-base porphine adsorbed on Ag(111) and Cu(111). The Journal of Chemical Physics, 144(2), 24701. DOI: 10.1063/1.4938259
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.
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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
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 »
Anonymous Two. (2015) A Sister, a Father and a Son: Autism, Genetic Testing, and Impossible Decisions. Narrative inquiry in bioethics, 5(3), 226-228. PMID: 26752577
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.
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Perez-Garcia, C., & O’Leary, D. (2016) Formation of the Cortical Subventricular Zone Requires MDGA1-Mediated Aggregation of Basal Progenitors. Cell Reports. DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.12.066
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 »
Storm, I. (2015) Morality in Context: A Multilevel Analysis of the Relationship between Religion and Values in Europe. Politics and Religion, 1-28. DOI: 10.1017/S1755048315000899
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.
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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
Learn what electrolithoautotrophs are and how the scientists proved that A. ferrooxidans can use electric potential to fuel growth.... Read more »
Ishii, T., Kawaichi, S., Nakagawa, H., Hashimoto, K., & Nakamura, R. (2015) From chemolithoautotrophs to electrolithoautotrophs: CO2 fixation by Fe(II)-oxidizing bacteria coupled with direct uptake of electrons from solid electron sources. Frontiers in Microbiology. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2015.00994
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 »
Li, T., & Yin, Z. (2016) Quantum superposition, entanglement, and state teleportation of a microorganism on an electromechanical oscillator. Science Bulletin. DOI: 10.1007/s11434-015-0990-x
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.
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Fitzpatrick, C., Archambault, I., Janosz, M., & Pagani, L. (2015) Early childhood working memory forecasts high school dropout risk. Intelligence, 160-165. DOI: 10.1016/j.intell.2015.10.002
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 »
Hofer, S. (2015) Studying Gender Bias in Physics Grading: The role of teaching experience and country. International Journal of Science Education, 37(17), 2879-2905. DOI: 10.1080/09500693.2015.1114190
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 »
Molet, J., Heins, K., Zhuo, X., Mei, Y., Regev, L., Baram, T., & Stern, H. (2016) Fragmentation and high entropy of neonatal experience predict adolescent emotional outcome. Translational Psychiatry, 6(1). DOI: 10.1038/tp.2015.200
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 »
Shakhar, K., & Shakhar, G. (2015) Why Do We Feel Sick When Infected—Can Altruism Play a Role?. PLOS Biology, 13(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002276
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 »
Leiva, M., Quintana, J., Ligos, J., & Hidalgo, A. (2016) Haematopoietic ESL-1 enables stem cell proliferation in the bone marrow by limiting TGFβ availability. Nature Communications, 10222. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms10222
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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