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  • December 31, 2014
  • 01:48 PM
  • 1,056 views

A surprising discovery about fast food portion sizes

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Since the noticeable expansion of most of the worlds waistlines, people have come to lay the blame (amongst other things) almost squarely on fast food and ever increasing portion sizes. While the world and it’s leaders are dealing with this mysterious problem by trying to help push fast food chains in the direction of change, it might be surprising to know that according to new research, fast food portion sizes have changed little since 1996.... Read more »

Urban LE, Roberts SB, Fierstein JL, Gary CE and Lichtenstein AH. (2014) Temporal Trends in Fast-Food Restaurant Energy, Sodium, Saturated Fat and Trans Fat Content in the United States, 1996-2013. Preventing Chronic Disease . info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd11.140202

Urban LE, Roberts SB, Fierstein JL, Gary CE, Lichtenstein AH,. (2014) Sodium, Saturated Fat and Trans Fat Content Per 1,000 Kilocalories: Temporal Trends in Fast-Food Restaurants, United States, 2000-2013. Preventing Chronic Disease . info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd11.140335

  • December 30, 2014
  • 11:00 PM
  • 821 views

Education-Ish Research

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

Veteran education researcher Deborah Ball (along with co-author Francesca Forzani) provide some measure of validation for many educators' frustrations, disappointments, and disaffections with education research. In a paper titled "What Makes Education Research 'Educational'?" published in December 2007, Ball and Forzani point to education research's tendency to focus on "phenomena related to education," rather than "inside educational transactions":... Read more »

  • December 30, 2014
  • 01:07 PM
  • 851 views

Steak raises cancer risk and now we know why

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Some of you may remember a recent study showing why red meat is bad for the heart, while now there is a study showing why steak — or in particular red meats — raise the risk of cancer. To be clear, I am still very much a red meat eater and this is no way intended to change anyones opinions on steak consumption, but it is nice to understand the science behind what we put in our mouths.... Read more »

Samraj, A., Pearce, O., Läubli, H., Crittenden, A., Bergfeld, A., Banda, K., Gregg, C., Bingman, A., Secrest, P., Diaz, S.... (2014) A red meat-derived glycan promotes inflammation and cancer progression. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201417508. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1417508112  

  • December 30, 2014
  • 12:04 PM
  • 834 views

Margaret Oakley Dayhoff, going on #ThatOtherShirt.

by Mary in OpenHelix

I’ve been a fan of Margaret Oakley Dayhoff for a long time. One of the most popular posts on this blog is the one linked in this tweet below. I can tell when students have been assigned a project to read up on her, because suddenly I see an influx of hits to the page. […]... Read more »

  • December 29, 2014
  • 11:00 PM
  • 706 views

Inference Calls in Text

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

Britton and Gülgöz (1991) conducted a study to test whether removing "inference calls" from text would improve retention of the material. Inference calls are locations in text that demand inference from the reader. One simple example from the text used in the study is below:... Read more »

  • December 29, 2014
  • 01:27 PM
  • 449 views

Estrogen worsens allergic reactions

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Are you a woman? Do you find yourself allergic to everything, but water (and sometimes that is up for debate)? Worse, does your husband, boyfriend, or male friend seem to be impervious to any sort of allergy? Well I have good news and bad news, the good news is it isn’t you — or him. The bad news is it’s your hormones.... Read more »

  • December 28, 2014
  • 02:12 PM
  • 675 views

Insights into the scientific gatekeepers: A fight for the status quo?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A new study has found that well respected peer reviewed journals have rejected manuscripts that could discuss outstanding or breakthrough work. The researchers found that some manuscripts rejected by three leading medical journals went on to receive a large number of citations after publication in other journals. The study, which if course was peer reviewed itself, offered insight into the process that the typical researcher might not see.... Read more »

Siler K, Lee K, & Bero L. (2014) Measuring the effectiveness of scientific gatekeeping. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 25535380  

  • December 27, 2014
  • 01:50 PM
  • 562 views

Evolution of whooping cough and the anti-vaccination movement

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

When I was your age, whooping cough wasn’t what it is today. I’m sure we all know the stereotypical grandfather telling stories like that, but — at least in this case — if he started his story off like that then he is actually right. Over the last few years, this once-common childhood illness, has evolved in response to its own vaccine, in other words this isn’t your parents’ pertussis.... Read more »

Pawloski, L., Queenan, A., Cassiday, P., Lynch, A., Harrison, M., Shang, W., Williams, M., Bowden, K., Burgos-Rivera, B., Qin, X.... (2013) Prevalence and Molecular Characterization of Pertactin-Deficient Bordetella pertussis in the United States. Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, 21(2), 119-125. DOI: 10.1128/CVI.00717-13  

  • December 26, 2014
  • 01:47 PM
  • 748 views

Nanoparticles could deliver drugs to the brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Science has already shown that when it comes to strokes, the sooner you treat it the better your outcome. Well now, stroke victims could have more time to seek treatment that could reduce harmful effects on the brain, thanks to tiny blobs of gelatin that could deliver the medication to the brain. The best part, this would be done noninvasively.... Read more »

  • December 25, 2014
  • 01:09 PM
  • 603 views

mTOR and the fountain of youth

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The fountain of youth might be just right around the corner, I know here at the labs we’ve reported several different ways to get to that fabled place, but now we have one more. New research shows that seniors received a significant boost to their immune systems when given a drug that targets a genetic signaling pathway linked to aging and immune function.... Read more »

Mannick, J., Del Giudice, G., Lattanzi, M., Valiante, N., Praestgaard, J., Huang, B., Lonetto, M., Maecker, H., Kovarik, J., Carson, S.... (2014) mTOR inhibition improves immune function in the elderly. Science Translational Medicine, 6(268), 268-268. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3009892  

  • December 24, 2014
  • 01:07 PM
  • 564 views

Obesity and a high-fat diet might be hurting your baby

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

We’ve seen it on the news, we’ve probably even read some articles about it, the “western” diet is awful. Yet, despite the warnings, Americans as a whole still eat awfully. Unfortunately, the health effects are very real and a new study shows that it may not just be effecting an expected mothers health, it may be harming the unborn child as well.... Read more »

Kamimae-Lanning, A., Krasnow, S., Goloviznina, N., Zhu, X., Roth-Carter, Q., Levasseur, P., Jeng, S., McWeeney, S., Kurre, P., & Marks, D. (2014) Maternal high-fat diet and obesity compromise fetal hematopoiesis. Molecular Metabolism. DOI: 10.1016/j.molmet.2014.11.001  

  • December 23, 2014
  • 02:15 PM
  • 537 views

The science of dietary restriction and it’s benefits (or what to do after the holidays)

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In a new study, researchers have identified a key molecular mechanism behind the health benefits of dietary restriction — or reduced food intake without malnutrition. Also known as calorie restriction or simply a diet, dietary restriction is best known for its ability to slow aging in laboratory animals. The findings here show that restricting two amino acids, methionine and cysteine, results in increased hydrogen sulfide (H2S) production and protection against ischemia reperfusion injury, or damage to tissue that occurs following the interruption of blood flow as during organ transplantation and stroke. Increased H2S production upon dietary restriction was also associated with lifespan extension in worms, flies, and yeast.... Read more »

Hine, C., Harputlugil, E., Zhang, Y., Ruckenstuhl, C., Lee, B., Brace, L., Longchamp, A., Treviño-Villarreal, J., Mejia, P., Ozaki, C.... (2014) Endogenous Hydrogen Sulfide Production Is Essential for Dietary Restriction Benefits. Cell. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.11.048  

  • December 22, 2014
  • 12:38 PM
  • 475 views

Autism presentation and genetic variance

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

People with autism have a wide range of symptoms, with no two people sharing the exact type and severity of behaviors. This has made finding a cause (or causes) difficult, leaving pseudoscientists to claim vaccines are the cause as if it were that simple (hint: vaccines do not cause autism). Now a large-scale analysis of hundreds of patients and nearly 1000 genes has started to uncover how diversity among traits can be traced to differences in patients’ genetic mutations.... Read more »

Chang, J., Gilman, S., Chiang, A., Sanders, S., & Vitkup, D. (2014) Genotype to phenotype relationships in autism spectrum disorders. Nature Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1038/nn.3907  

  • December 22, 2014
  • 12:35 PM
  • 1,009 views

Mind-Controlled Prosthetics

by Viputheshwar Sitaraman in Draw Science

Researchers at JHU have demonstrated a prosthetic arm that is controlled completely by the user's thoughts. [Infographic]... Read more »

Collinger, J., Wodlinger, B., Downey, J., Wang, W., Tyler-Kabara, E., Weber, D., McMorland, A., Velliste, M., Boninger, M., & Schwartz, A. (2013) High-performance neuroprosthetic control by an individual with tetraplegia. The Lancet, 381(9866), 557-564. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61816-9  

  • December 21, 2014
  • 03:21 PM
  • 746 views

Vaccine against prion disease, not for humans… yet

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Prions, misfolded proteins that wreak havoc on the brain, may have finally met their match. Best known for things like mad cow disease and possibly alzheimer’s disease scientists have had no luck stopping prions, until now. Researchers say that a vaccination they have developed to fight a brain-based, wasting syndrome among deer and other animals may hold promise on two additional fronts: Protecting U.S. livestock from contracting the disease, and preventing similar brain infections in humans.... Read more »

  • December 20, 2014
  • 01:46 PM
  • 542 views

Antidepressants and the effects on your unborn child

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Think you know what causes depression? Well unfortunately scientists don’t have the exact answer, surprised? That’s not the only problem, there is an ever growing concern that we live in an over medicated society and a newly released study doesn’t paint a better picture. About 15 percent of women in the United States suffer from anxiety disorders and depression during their pregnancies, and many are prescribed antidepressants. However little is known about how early exposure to these medications might affect their offspring as they mature into adults.... Read more »

Altieri SC, Yang H, O'Brien HJ, Redwine HM, Senturk D, Hensler JG, & Andrews AM. (2014) Perinatal vs. Genetic Programming of Serotonin States Associated with Anxiety. Neuropsychopharmacology. PMID: 25523893  

  • December 19, 2014
  • 02:06 PM
  • 560 views

Why “fat shaming” makes the problem worse

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Thanks to the internet age we have lost touch with the fact that there is a human out there reading these words. Because of this, the golden rule –treat others the way you want to be treated — went out the window. Making fun of “fat” people now seems to be a internet hobby and that insensitivity can (and does) bleed over into “normal” non-internet life. Now a new study shows that women whose loved ones are critical of their weight tend to put on even more pounds, which is probably no surprise to people who have experienced this behavior.... Read more »

  • December 18, 2014
  • 11:22 PM
  • 756 views

Top 4 of 2014: Your Favourite Canine Science Posts

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

As December rolls into its second half, and the days warm up - or cool down - depending on where you are situated on the globe, we wanted to say thank you for joining us in 2014 - we are continually blown away with the popular and supportive community we have around us at Do You Believe in Dog? here on the blog, on Facebook and also on Twitter. Taking our lead from Companion Animal Psychology, we decided to jump into some statistics (because hey, we are scientists!) to see what you made our most popular posts of 2014.You voted with your clicks all year long and so, without further ado, here are the Top 4 Do You Believe in Dog posts of 2014:# 4 What the pug is going on?After seeing popular opinion of pugs framed as 'cute', Mia put together this review of the health issues facing brachycephalic breeds such as pugs, why it's a welfare concern and what can be done to raise awareness and improve the quality of life in future generations of these dogs.  Read: What the pug is going on?This piece was cross-posted to The Dodo# 3 Dogs Are Like Porn: All Over the Internet and Waiting For YouOutlining all the ways you can actively participate in canine research, even without leaving the comfort of your couch, Julie compile this fantastic list of scientific studies seeking participants. You can be a citizen scientist!    Read: Dogs Are Like Porn: All Over the Internet and Waiting For You # 2 Dog Loses Ear at Dog Park and There Was Nothing We Could Do About It "Dogs are confusing. People are confusing. Put them together in a public space, and it’s like all the circuses came to town on the same day." Julie outlines the issues of dogs and people combining in public spaces and offers many easily accessed resources and opportunities to educate ourselves so we can be proactive in preventing bad experiences for all. Read: Dog Loses Ear at Dog Park and There Was Nothing We Could Do About It # 1 Why do dogs lick people?It started with a question on twitter, and turned out to be our most popular post of 2014.@DoUBelieveInDog why do dogs lick you lots when they like you?— Chanukah Potatolatke (@cpezaro) March 28, 2014With the photo by Chris Sembrot that can not be unseen, this post from Mia looked at what we have learned about why dog lick us - there's no one quick answer and some people were quite surprised at the depth of background, in evolutionary, social and environmental terms, behind what we consider an everyday behaviour. A big part of why we love canine science! Read: Why do dogs lick people?This piece was cross-posted to The DodoWe're looking forward to sharing more great canine science with you in 2015. Have a safe and fun holiday season. ... Read more »

Wong-Parodi Gabrielle, & Strauss Benjamin H. (2014) Team science for science communication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 25225381  

  • December 18, 2014
  • 02:35 PM
  • 421 views

Gene fragments linked to brain development and autism

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

While the anti-vaccine movement enjoys the simple (and very wrong) answer to the cause of autism, there are people who want the actual truth. This drive had lead to a slew of causes (and risk factors) for autism in recent times. Now scientists have found that very small segments of genes called “microexons” influence how proteins interact with each other in the nervous system. In turn, this opens up a new line of research into the cause of autism.... Read more »

Irimia, M., Weatheritt, R., Ellis, J., Parikshak, N., Gonatopoulos-Pournatzis, T., Babor, M., Quesnel-Vallières, M., Tapial, J., Raj, B., O’Hanlon, D.... (2014) A Highly Conserved Program of Neuronal Microexons Is Misregulated in Autistic Brains. Cell, 159(7), 1511-1523. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.11.035  

  • December 17, 2014
  • 02:54 PM
  • 474 views

Epigenetic changes and autism

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Despite what you may think, the supposed “explosion” of children diagnosed with autism can directly attributed to better diagnosing techniques and — more importantly — the change of definition to make Autism spectrum disorders more broad. Thankfully more causes of autism have been found, none of them remotely related to vaccines and now scientists have found that chemical modifications to DNA’s packaging—known as epigenetic changes—can activate or repress genes involved in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and early brain development.... Read more »

Gao, Z., Lee, P., Stafford, J., von Schimmelmann, M., Schaefer, A., & Reinberg, D. (2014) An AUTS2–Polycomb complex activates gene expression in the CNS. Nature, 516(7531), 349-354. DOI: 10.1038/nature13921  

Ntziachristos, P., Tsirigos, A., Welstead, G., Trimarchi, T., Bakogianni, S., Xu, L., Loizou, E., Holmfeldt, L., Strikoudis, A., King, B.... (2014) Contrasting roles of histone 3 lysine 27 demethylases in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Nature, 514(7523), 513-517. DOI: 10.1038/nature13605  

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