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  • September 6, 2014
  • 12:10 PM
  • 396 views

Women and sexual assault: Unfortunate news…

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

I was debating about this new study. On one hand it’s important to share all sorts of different findings. On the other hand, my faith in humanity was more than just a little shaken, but there is no point on sweeping it under the rug. So disturbing news for women on college campuses, a new study indicates that female college students who are victims of sexual assault are at a much higher risk of becoming victims again. Please hold your disgust till the end…... Read more »

  • September 5, 2014
  • 01:56 PM
  • 641 views

Artificial Cells: They’re alive!!

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Frankenstein’s monster was (in the story) a scientific marvel that could not be matched. Growing up with the story, the idea of creating life where there was none was a feat that I had once thought was going to always be science fiction. Maybe this is why I was so surprised when I found out that scientists, using only a few ingredients, have successfully implemented a minimalistic model of the cell that can change its shape and move on its own.... Read more »

Keber, F., Loiseau, E., Sanchez, T., DeCamp, S., Giomi, L., Bowick, M., Marchetti, M., Dogic, Z., & Bausch, A. (2014) Topology and dynamics of active nematic vesicles. Science, 345(6201), 1135-1139. DOI: 10.1126/science.1254784  

  • September 4, 2014
  • 05:46 PM
  • 913 views

Hole no more: new perovskite solar cell design removes hole conducting layer to improve stability and reduce costs

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

New research in Science shows a clever way to use a TiO2-ZrO2 junction to replace the expensive hole conducting layer in perovskite solar cells and promote charge separation.... Read more »

Mei, A., Li, X., Liu, L., Ku, Z., Liu, T., Rong, Y., Xu, M., Hu, M., Chen, J., Yang, Y.... (2014) A hole-conductor-free, fully printable mesoscopic perovskite solar cell with high stability. Science, 345(6194), 295-298. DOI: 10.1126/science.1254763  

  • September 4, 2014
  • 01:34 PM
  • 426 views

Total Recall: How the Brain Processes Color and Motion

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Despite the barrage of visual information the brain receives almost constantly, it retains a remarkable ability to focus on important and relevant items. This fall, for example, NFL quarterbacks will be rewarded handsomely for how well they can focus their attention on color and motion – being able to quickly judge the jersey colors of teammates and opponents and where they’re headed is a valuable skill. How the brain accomplishes this feat, however, has been poorly understood.... Read more »

Guilhem Ibosemail, & David J. Freedman. (2014) Dynamic Integration of Task-Relevant Visual Features in Posterior Parietal Cortex. Neuron. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2014.08.020

  • September 3, 2014
  • 04:25 PM
  • 414 views

HIV and Dementia

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

With the introduction of combination antiretroviral therapy (or cART) during the mid-90s, the life expectancy of HIV patients has significantly improved. An unfortunate side effect of this is that long-term complications are becoming more relevant: almost every second HIV patient is affected by neurocognitive disorders, which can lead to dementia. It has not as yet been fully understood how these disorders occur, but new research is shining a light on the culprit.... Read more »

  • September 2, 2014
  • 12:52 PM
  • 530 views

Epigenetics: Taking Control of the Music

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

When I try to explain epigenetics to someone, I like to use the musician metaphor. Your genes are the sheet music and how your body reads those genes, that is your body acting like a musician, making those notes it’s own. This is even more evident when you realize that all human cells contain essentially the same DNA sequence. Up until now we've had to be the audience to this genetic symphony, but new research is helping scientists take control of the music.... Read more »

Müller-Ott K, Erdel F, Matveeva A, Mallm JP, Rademacher A, Hahn M, Bauer C, Zhang Q, Kaltofen S, Schotta G.... (2014) Specificity, propagation, and memory of pericentric heterochromatin. Molecular systems biology, 10(8), 746. PMID: 25134515  

  • September 1, 2014
  • 03:12 PM
  • 840 views

The hope behind climate change: adaptation strategies for coastal regions

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Hopeful news on Labor Day! A commentary discusses how IPCC reports have become more optimistic and describes adaptation pathways being used by coastal regions to prepare for climate change.... Read more »

Brown, S., Nicholls, R., Hanson, S., Brundrit, G., Dearing, J., Dickson, M., Gallop, S., Gao, S., Haigh, I., Hinkel, J.... (2014) Shifting perspectives on coastal impacts and adaptation. Nature Climate Change, 4(9), 752-755. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2344  

  • September 1, 2014
  • 02:12 PM
  • 499 views

Assemblages: 50 Years Later, We Know Nothing About Them

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

You would think we learn about every part of a cell in biology, but we really don't. Case in point, about 50 years ago, electron microscopy revealed the presence of tiny blob-like structures that form inside cells, move around and disappear. The reason you probably haven't heard of these structures is because scientists really don't know what they do even 50 years later. Although they do have an idea about them, these shifting cloud-like collections of proteins are believed to be crucial to the life of a cell, and will ideally offer a new approach to disease treatment.... Read more »

  • August 31, 2014
  • 11:31 PM
  • 709 views

August lives up to its definition: respected and impressive

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

The things we noticed in and around canine science over the past two weeks, Storified in one neat location for your convenience:[View the story "Do You Believe in Dog? [16-31 August 2014]" on Storify] Further reading:Feuerbacher E.N. (2014). Shut up and pet me! Domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) prefer petting to vocal praise in concurrent and single-alternative choice procedures, Behavioural Processes, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2014.08.019 Gygax L. (2014). The A to Z of statistics for testing cognitive judgement bias, Animal Behaviour, 95 59-69. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2014.06.013 Arnott E.R., Claire M. Wade & Paul D. McGreevy (2014). Environmental Factors Associated with Success Rates of Australian Stock Herding Dogs, PLoS ONE, 9 (8) e104457. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0104457 © Do You Believe in Dog? 2014© Do You Believe in Dog? 2014... Read more »

  • August 31, 2014
  • 02:38 PM
  • 641 views

New Synthetic Amino Acid for a New Class of Drugs

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Creating new drug molecules is challenging, developing drugs that are highly effective against a target, but with minimal (or no) toxicity and side-effects to the patient can be an exercise in futility. These drug properties are directly conferred by the 3D structure of the drug molecule. So ideally, the drug should have a shape that is perfectly complementary to a disease-causing target, so that it binds it with high specificity.With that, scientists have developed a synthetic amino acid that can impact the 3D structure of bioactive peptides and enhance their potency.... Read more »

Chen S. Gopalakrishnan R, Schaer T, Marger F, Hovius R, Bertrand D, Pojer F, Heinis C. (2014) Di-thiol amino acids can structurally shape and enhance the ligand-binding properties of polypeptides. Nature Chemistry. info:/10.1038/nchem.2043

  • August 29, 2014
  • 05:00 PM
  • 366 views

Visualizing the evolution of a scientific conference with altmetrics

by Peter Kraker in Science and the Web

From September 3 to 5, I will be attending STI 2014, the 19th International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators. There, I will present a paper entitled “Altmetrics-based Visualizations Depicting the Evolution of a Knowledge Domain” that I co-authored with Philipp Weißensteiner and Peter Brusilovsky (download the PDF here). In this work-in-progress paper, we present an approach to visualizing the topical evolution of a scientific conference over time.... Read more »

Kraker, P., Weißensteiner, P., & Brusilovsky, P. (2014) Altmetrics-based Visualizations Depicting the Evolution of a Knowledge Domain. 19th International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators (STI 2014), 330-333. info:/

  • August 29, 2014
  • 03:10 PM
  • 505 views

The Ever Mutating Ebola Virus

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Ebola has a nasty reputation for the way it damages the body. It's rightfully earned when you look at the death rate. But when you look at the actual details of an Ebola infection, a surprising fact surfaces: The virus isn't what ends up killing you, it's your own immune system. Sure they are trying different ways to outsmart the virus, but it's mutating... quickly. In fact, scientists have rapidly sequenced and analyzed more than 99 Ebola virus genomes. The hope it to better understand the enemy and possibly outsmart it.... Read more »

Gire, S., Goba, A., Andersen, K., Sealfon, R., Park, D., Kanneh, L., Jalloh, S., Momoh, M., Fullah, M., Dudas, G.... (2014) Genomic surveillance elucidates Ebola virus origin and transmission during the 2014 outbreak. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1259657  

  • August 29, 2014
  • 12:00 PM
  • 461 views

Replication and reputation: Whose career matters?

by Dorothy Bishop in bishopblog

This post is a commentary on a piece by Matthew Lieberman in Edge, in which he expresses concerns about the way in which researchers are undertaking replication studies. He argues that some people are making careers out of trying to disprove others, and in so doing are damaging science.
I argue that we need to develop a more mature understanding that the move towards more replication is not about making or breaking careers: it is about providing an opportunity to move science forward, improve our methodology and establish which results are reliable. Unless we do that, we damage the careers of the junior scientists who come after us, who may spend years trying to build on a finding that proves to be an illusion. ... Read more »

  • August 28, 2014
  • 04:53 PM
  • 728 views

This is your Brain. This is your Brain on Drugs

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Drugs are bad for the brain. That is (excuse the horrible pun) a no-brainer, but while scientists have seen the after effect drugs have on the brain, we have never seen how they affect the blood flow to the brain. That is of course, until now. A new method for measuring and imaging how quickly blood flows in the brain could help doctors and researchers better understand how drug abuse affects the brain and they are currently testing this new method as we speak.... Read more »

  • August 28, 2014
  • 12:52 PM
  • 549 views

The Things Living on your Toothbrush…

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Did you remember to brush? I hope you did, but you may be throwing away your toothbrush soon. Get ready for your daily amount of gross, because have I got a scientific discovery that will make you rethink your dental hygiene. Researchers have found that “solid-head” power toothbrushes have up to 3,000 times less bacteria when compared to “hollow-head” toothbrushes.[…]... Read more »

Morris DW, Goldschmidt M, Keene H, & Cron SG. (2014) Microbial contamination of power toothbrushes: a comparison of solid-head versus hollow-head designs. Journal of dental hygiene : JDH / American Dental Hygienists' Association, 88(4), 237-42. PMID: 25134956  

  • August 27, 2014
  • 05:39 PM
  • 694 views

Climate change research roundup: hiding heat in the Atlantic and the Arctic carbon cycle

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

A quick roundup of new climate change research in Science: the Atlantic Ocean may be hiding the missing heat to explain the global warming hiatus, and photochemical processes in the Arctic are releasing more CO2 than previously thought.... Read more »

  • August 27, 2014
  • 03:23 PM
  • 592 views

The Learning Brain Unravelled

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

As an engineer you would think math would come easy to me, it didn’t. Funny thing though, science in general and biology in particular came very easy to me. The big question is why? Why would math, something I need to know how to do for my work and my degree, be so hard to learn? Thankfully science has stepped in to answer the question, at least partially, about why somethings can come so easy to a person and other things (like me and math) take so much longer to pick up.[…]... Read more »

Patrick T. Sadtler,, Kristin M. Quick,, Matthew D. Golub,, Steven M. Chase,, Stephen I. Ryu,, Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara,, Byron M. Yu,, & Aaron P. Batista. (2014) Neural constraints on learning. Nature. info:/10.1038/nature13665

  • August 26, 2014
  • 01:27 PM
  • 934 views

The Holographic Universe [we might Live in!]

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Are you feeling a little… flat? Well that might be because you are only in 2 dimensions. I know what you’re thinking, insane! Well first check the name of the business and second, check out the science. In fact, it may seem like a joke, but the math suggests that it could very well be true and with it could come a deeper understanding of the universe. Testing this hypothesis (which was first made in the late 90’s) has been harder to do than you might think, but that has now changed. We are officially checking to see if our universe is a hologram![…]... Read more »

  • August 26, 2014
  • 04:39 AM
  • 1,055 views

Brian Hooker's Hooked Hoax: Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) Vaccination and Autism Spectrum Disorder

by Alexis Delanoir in How to Paint Your Panda

10 years after the initial study by DeStefano et al. (2004) was conducted, famous anti-vaccine alarmist Brian Hooker, along with Andrew Wakefield, are talking about a "whistleblower" in the CDC claiming that the original data was fraudulent, and was masking a 336% increased risk in ASD in African American boys receiving the MMR vaccine "on time." Did Hooker prove anything in his new study, however? Only that he doesn't understand epidemiology or statistics.... Read more »

  • August 25, 2014
  • 07:13 PM
  • 408 views

Zombie Ant Fungi knows it’s prey

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

So awhile back I was bored and to kill some time wisely I wrote this little bit on real life (sometime potential) zombies. It featured a special section on a particular group of fungi that created some really crazy zombie ants. Ants, which would do the bidding of the fungus, would eventually latch itself in a “death bite” and sprout the parasite from its head. Yeah I know, not a pleasant death. In any case new research is showing just how cool — and evidently smart — these fungi really are.[…]... Read more »

de Bekker C, Quevillon LE, Smith PB, Fleming KR, Ghosh D, Patterson AD, & Hughes DP. (2014) Species-specific ant brain manipulation by a specialized fungal parasite. BMC evolutionary biology, 14(1), 166. PMID: 25085339  

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