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  • October 31, 2015
  • 03:49 PM

Lack of ZZZZs may zap cell growth, brain activity

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Lack of adequate sleep can do more than just make you tired. It can short-circuit your system and interfere with a fundamental cellular process that drives physical growth, physiological adaptation and even brain activity, according to a new study. Albrecht von Arnim, a molecular biologist based in the Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology, studied plants but said the concepts may well translate to humans.... Read more »

Missra, A., Ernest, B., Lohoff, T., Jia, Q., Satterlee, J., Ke, K., & von Arnim, A. (2015) The Circadian Clock Modulates Global Daily Cycles of mRNA Ribosome Loading. The Plant Cell, 27(9), 2582-2599. DOI: 10.1105/tpc.15.00546  

  • October 29, 2015
  • 08:36 PM

Science (which needs communication) first, careers (which need selectivity) later

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective

Science communication and career advancement via journal publications are too closely intertwined, to the detriment of science. The selectivity of journals slows, hampers, and distorts the communication process. Therefore, the processes of scientific communication and assessment for career advancement should be separated. As a welcome side effect, publishing, particularly publishing with open access, could be very much cheaper than it is currently (and the money saved used for research). …........ Read more »

  • October 29, 2015
  • 04:00 PM

Conceptual Knowledge Is Important

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

Conceptual fraction and proportion knowledge and procedural fraction and proportion knowledge play a major role in understanding individual differences in proportional word problem-solving performance.... Read more »

  • October 29, 2015
  • 01:59 PM

What blocks pro-vaccine beliefs?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Despite rhetoric that pits “anti-vaxxers” versus “pro-vaxxers,” most new parents probably qualify as vaccine-neutral–that is, they passively accept rather than actively demand vaccination. Unless there is an active threat of polio or whooping cough, they have to remind themselves that injecting their crying infant with disease antigens is a good thing.... Read more »

Miton, & Mercier. (2015) Cognitive Obstacles to Pro-Vaccination Beliefs. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. info:/

  • October 28, 2015
  • 08:20 PM

How common is sexting among married couples?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Earlier this year, we looked at a study that suggested sexting can be healthy in a relationship, but that study primarily looked at non-married couples and the average age for the behavior was, as you may expect, young adult. Which may lead you to think that married couples don’t sext. In fact, married couples do report sexting, but it is much less common than in young adult relationships and consists more of intimate talk with their partners than sending nude or nearly nude photos via mobile ........ Read more »

  • October 27, 2015
  • 03:58 PM

Intestinal worms ‘talk’ to gut bacteria to boost immune system

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

When you think parasites you probably don’t think of anything helpful. However, this isn’t the case and certain parasites inadvertently help the host by helping themselves. In fact, researchers have discovered how intestinal worm infections cross-talk with gut bacteria to help the immune system.... Read more »

Zaiss MM,, Rapin A,, Lebon L,, Kumar Dubey L,, Mosconi I,, Sarter L,, Piersigilli A,, Menin L,, Walker AW,, Rougemont J,.... (2015) The intestinal microbiota contributes to the ability of helminths to modulate allergic inflammation. Immunity. info:/

  • October 26, 2015
  • 07:30 PM

Researchers create technology to produce lighter, long-lasting batteries from silicon

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Substantially smaller and longer-lasting batteries for everything from portable electronic devices to electric cars could become a reality thanks to an innovative technology developed by University of Waterloo researchers. Zhongwei Chen, a chemical engineering professor at Waterloo, and a team of graduate students have created a low-cost battery using silicon that boosts the performance and life of lithium-ion batteries.... Read more »

  • October 25, 2015
  • 03:27 PM

Decontaminating infant formula with the bacteriophage

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

When dealing with bacteria, antibiotics are usually the frontrunner, but there are cases where antibiotics are a big no. Take baby formula for instance, we cannot use antibiotics to keep bacteria at bay. This has posed a safety problem in recent years, but researchers have shown that we can use a natural enemy of bacteria to fight back without risk to infants’ health.... Read more »

Lee, J., Bai, J., Shin, H., Kim, Y., Park, B., Heu, S., & Ryu, S. (2015) A Novel Bacteriophage Targeting is a Potential Biocontrol Agent in Foods . Applied and Environmental Microbiology. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.01827-15  

  • October 24, 2015
  • 04:12 PM

The science behind real life zombies

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In the spirit of Halloween we bring you the science fact and fiction behind the undead. Zombies, those brain loving little guys, (and girls) are everywhere. We are all familiar (if you are horror fans, or at least not living on an Amish compound) with the classic zombie. But did you know that we aren’t the only zombie lovers out there? It turns out that nature has its own special types of zombies, but this isn’t a science fiction movie, this is science fact!... Read more »

Lafferty KD. (2006) Can the common brain parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, influence human culture?. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 273(1602), 2749-55. PMID: 17015323  

Vyas A, Kim SK, Giacomini N, Boothroyd JC, & Sapolsky RM. (2007) Behavioral changes induced by Toxoplasma infection of rodents are highly specific to aversion of cat odors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(15), 6442-7. PMID: 17404235  

Thomas, F., Schmidt-Rhaesa, A., Martin, G., Manu, C., Durand, P., & Renaud, F. (2002) Do hairworms (Nematomorpha) manipulate the water seeking behaviour of their terrestrial hosts?. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 15(3), 356-361. DOI: 10.1046/j.1420-9101.2002.00410.x  

W. Wesołowska T. Wesołowski. (2014) Do Leucochloridium sporocysts manipulate the behaviour of their snail hosts?. Journal of Zoology , 292(3), 151-155. info:/10.1111/jzo.12094

  • October 23, 2015
  • 10:33 PM

Depression too often reduced to a checklist of symptoms

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

How can you tell if someone is depressed? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) – the ‘bible’ of psychiatry – diagnoses depression when patients tick off a certain number of symptoms on the DSM checklist. A large-scale quantitative study coordinated at KU Leuven, Belgium, now shows that some symptoms play a much bigger role than others in driving depression, and that the symptoms listed in DSM may not be the most useful ones.... Read more »

  • October 23, 2015
  • 03:29 PM

Taking open access one step further: The role of SciELO in the global publication landscape [originally published in Editage Insights]

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective

In this conversation, Abel Packer traces SciELO Program’s growth and talks about the gap in publication standards and processes between developed and developing countries. He also emphasizes the importance of establishing sustainable open access publication models. [Available only in English] … Read More →... Read more »

Abel Packer. (2009) The SciELO Open Access: A Gold Way from the South. Canadian Journal of Higher Education. info:/

  • October 22, 2015
  • 09:26 PM

Sympathetic Practitioner, the Secret Weapon of Homeopathy and Other Alt-Med Modalities

by Kausik Datta in In Scientio Veritas

Last month, PLOS One published a study which held significant interest for me; as a long time sufferer from acid reflux (which is currently reasonably controlled by regular use of a PPI - Proton-pump inhibitor - class of prescription antacid), I was curious to dive into this Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) study from Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston, in which the investigators observed that Patient-Provider Interactions Affect Symptoms in Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) as well as dyspep........ Read more »

  • October 22, 2015
  • 02:47 PM

Gene therapy treats all muscles in the body in muscular dystrophy dogs

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Muscular dystrophy, which affects approximately 250,000 people in the U.S., occurs when damaged muscle tissue is replaced with fibrous, fatty or bony tissue and loses function. For years, scientists have searched for a way to successfully treat the most common form of the disease, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), which primarily affects boys. Now, a team of University of Missouri researchers have successfully treated dogs with DMD and say that human clinical trials are being planned in the nex........ Read more »

Yue, Y., Pan, X., Hakim, C., Kodippili, K., Zhang, K., Shin, J., Yang, H., McDonald, T., & Duan, D. (2015) Safe and bodywide muscle transduction in young adult Duchenne muscular dystrophy dogs with adeno-associated virus. Human Molecular Genetics, 24(20), 5880-5890. DOI: 10.1093/hmg/ddv310  

  • October 21, 2015
  • 06:42 PM

Bacteria communicate like neurons in the brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Biologists discovered that bacteria–often viewed as lowly, solitary creatures–are actually quite sophisticated in their social interactions and communicate with one another through similar electrical signaling mechanisms as neurons in the human brain. In the study, scientists detail the manner by which bacteria living in communities communicate with one another electrically through proteins called “ion channels.”... Read more »

  • October 20, 2015
  • 02:30 PM

You too can learn to farm on Mars!

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Scientists at Washington State University and the University of Idaho are helping students figure out how to farm on Mars, much like astronaut Mark Watney, played by Matt Damon, attempts in the critically acclaimed movie “The Martian.” Washington State University physicist Michael Allen and University of Idaho food scientist Helen Joyner teamed up to explore the […]... Read more »

Helen S. Joyner et al. (2015) Farming In Space? Developing a Sustainable Food Supply on Mars. National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science. info:other/Link

  • October 19, 2015
  • 06:42 PM

Finding the brain circuitry for gratitude with help from Holocaust survivors’ memories

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Neuroscientists have mapped how the human brain experiences gratitude with help from an unexpected resource: Holocaust survivors’ testimonies. “In the midst of this awful tragedy, there were many acts of bravery and life-saving aid,” said lead author Glenn Fox, a post-doctoral researcher at the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC who led the study. “With […]... Read more »

Fox, G., Kaplan, J., Damasio, H., & Damasio, A. (2015) Neural correlates of gratitude. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01491  

  • October 18, 2015
  • 02:48 PM

Premature birth appears to weaken brain connections

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Babies born prematurely face an increased risk of neurological and psychiatric problems that may be due to weakened connections in brain networks linked to attention, communication and the processing of emotions, new research shows. Studying brain scans from premature and full-term babies, researchers zeroed in on differences in the brain that may underlie such problems.... Read more »

Rogers C, Herzmann C, Smyser T, Shimony J, Ackerman j, Neil J, & Smyser C. (2015) Impact of preterm birth on structural and functional connectivity in neonates. Society for Neuroscience Annual meeting. info:other/Link

  • October 17, 2015
  • 03:24 PM

How reward and daytime sleep boost learning

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A new study suggests that receiving rewards as you learn can help cement new facts and skills in your memory, particularly when combined with a daytime nap. The findings from the University of Geneva reveal that memories associated with a reward are preferentially reinforced by sleep. Even a short nap after a period of learning is beneficial.... Read more »

  • October 16, 2015
  • 08:50 PM

How plants turn into zombies

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

It begins as a fairy tale which later turns into a horror story: Lusciously flowering plants, surrounded by a large number of insects. Usually, both sides profit from the encounter: Feasting on the plant juice and pollen, the insects pollinate the flowers and thus secure the survival of the plants. However, sometimes the insects – in this case a certain species of leafhoppers – can bring disaster to the plants, which they are not able to overcome.... Read more »

  • October 15, 2015
  • 01:46 PM

‘Paleo’ style sleep? Think again…

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

It's tempting to believe that people these days aren't getting enough sleep, living as we do in our well-lit houses with TVs blaring, cell phones buzzing, and a well-used coffee maker in every kitchen. But new evidence reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on October 15 shows that three ancient groups of hunter-gatherers--living in different parts of the world without any of those trappings of modern life--don't get any more sleep than we do.... Read more »

Yetish et al. (2015) Natural Sleep and Its Seasonal Variations in Three Pre-industrial Societies. Current Biology. info:/

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