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  • March 22, 2015
  • 12:01 PM

Special microbes make anti-obesity molecule in the gut

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

You’ve probably heard of all sorts of diets, paleo, low-fat, low-carb, atkins, but now microbes may just be the next diet craze. Researchers have programmed bacteria to generate a molecule that, through normal metabolism, becomes a hunger-suppressing lipid (fat). Mice that drank water laced with the programmed bacteria ate less, had lower body fat and staved off diabetes — even when fed a high-fat diet — offering a potential weight-loss strategy for humans.... Read more »

Zhongyi Chen, Lilu Guo, Yongqin Zhang, Rosemary L. Walzem, Julie S. Pendergast, Richard L. Printz, Lindsey C. Morris, Elena Matafonova, Xavier Stien, Li Kang.... (2014) Incorporation of Therapeutic Bacteria into the Gut Microbiome for Treatment of Obesity. The Journal of clinical investigation . info:/10.1172/JCI72517.

  • March 21, 2015
  • 07:31 PM

Squid prolifically edit RNA to enrich their DNA

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

DNA, it’s what makes us, well us! Not that long ago, before we sequenced human DNA we assumed we had one of the largest genomes around. Frankly it wasn’t a bad assumption, but of course we found out this was far from the case and to make ourselves feel better we said size doesn’t matter. But one of the surprising discoveries to emerge from comparative genomics is that drastically different organisms–humans, sea urchins, worms, flies –are endowed with a more or less common set of genes......... Read more »

  • March 20, 2015
  • 09:20 AM

Could grant proposal reviews be made available openly?

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective

Researchers have been discussing what would be the impact of making the review process of grant proposals more open and transparent, in order to support the preparation of better proposals and acknowledge the work of the reviewers. A recently published paper in Nature examines the impact of two articles on the open availability of the review of research proposals and the possibility of changing the assessment after publication of the results. … Read More →... Read more »

  • March 19, 2015
  • 12:50 PM

The impact of military deployment on children

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Being a military family is hard, it’s hard for the person serving (obviously) and if divorce rates are any indication, it is also hard on the spouse. While the added stress of deployment on a family cannot adequately be explained, even as someone who has seen it first hand, those stresses affect even the littlest members of the family. A new study reports that following military parents’ return from combat deployment, their children show increased visits for mental healthcare, physical injur........ Read more »

Hisle-Gorman, E., Harrington, D., Nylund, C., Tercyak, K., Anthony, B., & Gorman, G. (2015) Impact of Parents’ Wartime Military Deployment and Injury on Young Children’s Safety and Mental Health. Journal of the American Academy of Child , 54(4), 294-301. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2014.12.017  

  • March 18, 2015
  • 02:19 PM

Not “just in your head,” brain networks differ among those with severe schizophrenia

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The brain is plastic, it’s how we grow, it’s how we adapt, it is quite literally how we survive. This can unfortunately be to our detriment and new research shows that people with a severe form of schizophrenia have major differences in their brain networks compared to others with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and healthy individuals. So while it may be true, that it is all be in your head, it isn’t how people usually mean it.... Read more »

Anne L. Wheeler, PhD, Michèle Wessa, PhD, Philip R. Szeszko, PhD, George Foussias, MD, MSc, M. Mallar Chakravarty, PhD, Jason P. Lerch, PhD, Pamela DeRosse, PhD, Gary Remington, MD, PhD, Benoit H. Mulsant, MD, Julia Linke, PhD.... (2015) Further Neuroimaging Evidence for the Deficit Subtype of Schizophrenia: A Cortical Connectomics Analysis. JAMA Psychiatry. info:/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.3020

  • March 18, 2015
  • 12:00 PM

CRISPR-Cas9: Targeted Genome Editing

by knowingneurons in Knowing Neurons

~ Infographic by Jooyeun Lee and Kate Fehlhaber. ~ References: Hsu P. & Feng Zhang (2014). Development and Applications of CRISPR-Cas9 for Genome Engineering, Cell, 157 (6) 1262-1278. DOI: Fineran P.C. (2014). Gene regulation by engineered CRISPR-Cas systems, Current Opinion in Microbiology, 18 83-89. DOI: Doudna J.A. (2014). The new frontier of genome engineering … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • March 17, 2015
  • 06:14 PM

Is diet soda making you fat?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The diet soda controversy is still raging on, study after study has been coming in saying that it helps weight loss, it hurts weight loss, and frankly it can all be a little confusing. Well this probably won’t help matters any, a new study shows that increasing diet soda intake is directly linked to greater abdominal obesity in adults 65 years of age and older. These findings raise concerns about the safety of chronic diet soda consumption, which may increase belly fat and contribute to greate........ Read more »

  • March 17, 2015
  • 08:31 AM

Gender equality in science: it takes a village

by GrrlScientist in Maniraptora

SUMMARY: Late last year, a metastudy was published showing that, since 2000, things are improving for women working in most STEM-based fields, although there are some notable exceptions... Read more »

  • March 16, 2015
  • 11:45 PM

Pairing tools and problems: a lesson from the methods of mathematics and the Entscheidungsproblem

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

Three weeks ago it was my lot to present at the weekly integrated mathematical oncology department meeting. Given the informal setting, I decided to grab one gimmick and run with it. I titled my talk: ‘2’. It was an overview of two recent projects that I’ve been working on: double public goods for acid mediated […]... Read more »

  • March 16, 2015
  • 01:57 PM

Does watching porn affect your performance in bed?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Pornography, it’s why google and other search engines have safesearch. It’s all around us and if sales are any indication, it is not going away. There have been lots of claims regarding it, but does a predilection for porn mean bad news in bed? That’s the conclusion of many clinicians and the upshot of anecdotal reports claiming a man’s habit of viewing sex films can lead to problems getting or sustaining an erection, but what does science say?... Read more »

  • March 15, 2015
  • 02:52 PM

Folic acid supplementation cuts stroke risk in adults with high blood pressure

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

When we think hypertension (high blood pressure) you might not think stroke risk. However, high blood pressure can damage arteries, which often leads to an increased risk for a stroke. But if you suffer from hypertension, you might not need an expensive drug to lower your risk. A new study that included more than 20,000 adults in China with high blood pressure but without a history of stroke or heart attack, the combined use of the hypertension medication enalapril and folic acid, compared with ........ Read more »

Yong Huo, MD, Jianping Li, MD, PhD, Xianhui Qin, PhD, Yining Huang, MD, Xiaobin Wang, MD, ScD, Rebecca F. Gottesman, MD, PhD, Genfu Tang, MD, Binyan Wang, MD, PhD, Dafang Chen, PhD, Mingli He, MD.... (2015) Efficacy of Folic Acid Therapy in Primary Prevention of Stroke Among Adults With Hypertension in China. Journal of the American Medical Association . info:/10.1001/jama.2015.2274

  • March 14, 2015
  • 02:27 PM

Antibody therapy offers possible cure for psoriasis

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Sure it’s not sexy, you probably won’t be asked for donations towards a cure, or to run/walk/dive for awareness, and it probably won’t kill you. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, but chances are you are not familiar with it. It causes red, scale-like patches, sometimes covering a majority of the body. It’s itchy, painful, and embarrassing (to put it nicely). I know first hand as I suffer from it albeit mildly. I say mildly since I am lucky the patches are fairly small, but not so lucky........ Read more »

  • March 14, 2015
  • 07:34 AM

From Consciousness to Synthetic Consciousness: From One Unknown to Another Unknown with David Chalmers

by Waseem Akhtar in Bridging the Gaps,

What is consciousness? In this podcast David Chalmers starts addressing this question by saying that “being conscious is when there is something it is like to be that being”. This argument was initially presented by an American philosopher Thomas Nagel in an influential paper “what is it like to be a bat”. This paper was first published in the Philosophical Review in 1974.... Read more »

Chalmers, David. (2010) The Singularity: A Philosophical Analysis. Journal of Consciousness Studies, , 7-65. info:/

Chalmers, D. (1995) The Puzzle of Conscious Experience. Scientific American, 273(6), 80-86. DOI: 10.1038/scientificamerican1295-80  

Nagel, Thomas. (1974) What is it Like to Be a Bat. Philosophical Review. DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781107341050.014  

  • March 13, 2015
  • 07:56 PM

How gene expression is kept in check and the implications for cancer

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Cancers are alive in a sense, they are similar to a parasite and they fight to stay alive when we just want them gone. Cancers have access to complex ways of avoiding elimination and because we cannot easily do anything to treat it short of surgery or chemotherapy, we regularly lose to some of the more cunning types. Now researchers have learned how living beings can keep gene expression in check — this might partly explain the uncontrolled gene expression found in many forms of cancer.... Read more »

Chong Han Ng, Akhi Akhter, Nathan Yurko, Justin M. Burgener, Emanuel Rosonina, & James L. Manley. (2015) Sumoylation controls the timing of ​Tup1-mediated transcriptional deactivation. Nature Communications. info:/10.1038/ncomms7610

  • March 13, 2015
  • 04:05 PM

Classical Music modulates genes responsible for brain functions

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Although listening to music is common in all societies, the biological determinants of listening to music are largely unknown. According to a latest study, listening to classical music enhanced the activity of genes involved in dopamine secretion and transport, synaptic neurotransmission, learning and memory, and down-regulated the genes mediating neurodegeneration. Several of the up-regulated genes were known to be responsible for song learning and singing in songbirds, suggesting a common evol........ Read more »

Kanduri, C., Raijas, P., Ahvenainen, M., Philips, A., Ukkola-Vuoti, L., Lähdesmäki, H., & Järvelä, I. (2015) The effect of listening to music on human transcriptome. PeerJ. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.830  

  • March 13, 2015
  • 03:00 PM

Study analyzes the use of social networks in the assessment of scientific impact

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective

The use of social networks in science communication has been increasing on a large scale, and specific platforms have been created for interaction and information sharing among researchers. A study by researchers at the University of St. Gallen, in Switzerland evaluated whether and how scientific impact can be measured by social media data analysis, and how this approach correlates to traditional metrics. … Read More →... Read more »

HOFFMANN, C.P., LUTZ, C., & MECKEL, M. (2014) Impact Factor 2.0: Applying Social Network Analysis to Scientific Impact Assessment. 47th Hawaii International Conference on System Science, Hilton Waikoloa Village. DOI: 10.1109/HICSS.2014.202  

boyd, D., & Ellison, N. (2007) Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), 210-230. DOI: 10.1111/j.1083-6101.2007.00393.x  

Priem, J. (2013) Scholarship: Beyond the paper. Nature, 495(7442), 437-440. DOI: 10.1038/495437a  

  • March 13, 2015
  • 02:05 PM

To Apply Or Not To Apply For That Grant?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

When should scientists apply for grants? Does spending more time writing applications pay off in the long run? A paper published in PLoS ONE this week examined the eternal question: To apply or not to apply?

The authors, Ted and Courtney von Hippel, start out by noting that most major grant awards are highly competitive - with success rates of just 20% in the case of US federal NIH and NSF awards. What's more, although decisions are made by a panel of expert judges, the evidence is th... Read more »

  • March 12, 2015
  • 09:31 PM

Depressed parents cause anxiety and bad behavior in toddlers

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Being a new parent can be stressful, new mothers can suffer from postpartum depression and even new fathers can find the changes stressful enough to cause depression. Unfortunately– and if that wasn’t bad enough– a new study shows that a father’s depression during the first years of parenting – as well as a mother’s – can put their toddler at risk of developing troubling behaviors such as hitting, lying, anxiety and sadness during a critical time of development.... Read more »

  • March 12, 2015
  • 01:16 PM

Study shows modest reductions in ER visits from the ACA implementation

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

It’s future might still be in the air to those of us not on the supreme court, but two patient groups created by the Affordable Care Act (or ACA, also known as “Obama care”) – Medicare patients enrolled in federally designated patient-centered medical homes and people under age 26 who are allowed to remain on their parents’ health insurance – had slightly fewer emergency department visits than they had before health care reform. However, there was no change in the rate of the most ex........ Read more »

  • March 12, 2015
  • 02:54 AM

Science, climate change and controversy

by GrrlScientist in Maniraptora

SUMMARY: It’s inevitable: as science progresses, controversy happens. But sometimes, the public sees controversy where none exists. How to remedy that? ... Read more »

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