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  • May 25, 2011
  • 09:28 AM
  • 432 views

Poland’s doctors earn £65million a year for illegal abortions

by James Brooks in Elements Science

Abortion is illegal in Poland and, as a recent report shows, doctors benefit financially from this situation. James Brooks reports.



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  • May 25, 2011
  • 04:55 AM
  • 576 views

Camouflage in the eyes of the beholder

by Jennifer Appleton in Elements Science

An animal’s ability to camouflage itself is a practical defence, but as Jennifer Appleton finds out, their technique isn’t always flawless.... Read more »

Chiao CC, Wickiser JK, Allen JJ, Genter B, & T Hanlon R. (2011) Hyperspectral imaging of cuttlefish camouflage indicates good color match in the eyes of fish predators. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 21576487  

  • May 24, 2011
  • 07:00 PM
  • 1,390 views

Motion, Theme, and a Human Face

by Paige Brown in From The Lab Bench

Lessons for a Science Writer from a New York Times Editor's Field Notes on Nonfiction Writing

I recently picked up Francis Flaherty's The Elements of Story in my campus bookstore, as I was browsing and drinking my third cup of coffee in between experiments. Turns out, I made an excellent choice from among those titles I randomly picked off the "Books about Books" shelf. I'm already an impulsive book buyer.... The quote from Library Journal on the cover, "An essential read for both freelance writers and students of journalism" just sealed the deal.... Read more »

Editorial. (2010) Science scorned. Nature, 467(7312), 133. PMID: 20829750  

  • May 24, 2011
  • 01:27 PM
  • 726 views

The Science of Beauty

by Abi Millar in Elements Science

From parasite resistance to the golden ratio – Abi Millar examines the science behind what is considered ‘beautiful’.



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  • May 24, 2011
  • 04:16 AM
  • 764 views

‘Guilty’ Dog look, all in the owners imagination

by Jennifer Appleton in Elements Science

Jennifer Appleton reports on how even the most innocent of dogs will get the blame for giving a look which is all in the owners mind.



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  • May 23, 2011
  • 02:00 PM
  • 657 views

How to mend a broken heart: nanotechnology offers new hope for heart attack sufferers

by Richard Masters in Elements Science

Scientists have developed a patch that could help those suffering from damaged hearts, reports Richard Masters



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  • May 23, 2011
  • 12:48 PM
  • 674 views

Younger doctors prescribe more heart drugs to no apparent benefit

by James Brooks in Elements Science

James Brooks looks at an Italian study that shows younger medics are less inclined to give lifestyle advice to heart patients than more experienced colleagues



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  • May 23, 2011
  • 08:31 AM
  • 718 views

Earthquake prediction: fact or fiction?

by Michael Jones in Elements Science

Accurate prediction of hazards saves millions of lives and billions of dollars each year, but as Michael Jones reports, this isn’t always easy.



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  • May 23, 2011
  • 02:53 AM
  • 1,438 views

Blue Lights Shown to Give a Brain Boost! But is a Better than Coffee?

by Stuart Farrimond in Dr Stu's Science Blog

It’s 6 am and the alarm sounds. Mornings aren’t a friendly place until you’ve had a coffee. Loathed by some but loved by many more, caffienated drinks are the world’s most popular drug. Effective as a stimulant, a mood-booster and an learning-enhancer, caffeine is an indispensable part of modern-day living for 90% of Westerners. Coffee … Continue reading »... Read more »

Vandewalle, G., Maquet, P., & Dijk, D. (2009) Light as a modulator of cognitive brain function. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 13(10), 429-438. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2009.07.004  

Lehrl, S., Gerstmeyer, K., Jacob, J., Frieling, H., Henkel, A., Meyrer, R., Wiltfang, J., Kornhuber, J., & Bleich, S. (2007) Blue light improves cognitive performance. Journal of Neural Transmission, 114(4), 457-460. DOI: 10.1007/s00702-006-0621-4  

Smith, A. (2002) Effects of caffeine on human behavior. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 40(9), 1243-1255. DOI: 10.1016/S0278-6915(02)00096-0  

  • May 21, 2011
  • 10:13 PM
  • 1,164 views

Life, Death, and Silver Bullets

by Paige Brown in From The Lab Bench

A Science Fiction story about the Age of the Superbug

There was something about her... a pale, reddish complexion, so rare these days... all the other desks in the dull classroom where occupied by students who faded together in their blue and gray hues... who snuck furtive glances at the ruddy newcomer, in her bright blue overalls and frizzy, untamed hair.
... Read more »

Patterson, J. (2010) Rising plague. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 120(3), 649-649. DOI: 10.1172/JCI42104  

  • May 20, 2011
  • 11:12 PM
  • 1,428 views

You're just a number: introduction to the h-index

by Hadas Shema in Information Culture

Measuring a single scientist's output has always been problematic. Why? First, in order for the statistics to be reliable, the scientist has to produce a considerable publication output and get cited. That takes time. Second, measures like research productivity, number of publications and citations don't always correlates. Measuring the output of journals and universities has been far more reliable than measuring that of one person. Suggested by physicist Jorge Hirsch, h-index (2005) offers an attractive way of quantifying one's scientific output as a single number. The index is defined as:“A scientist has index h if h of his or her Np papers have at least h citations each and the other (Np − h) papers have ≤ h citations each” (Hirsch, 2005).So, if a scientist published at least ten papers, which each were cited at least ten times, her h-index is ten. A zero h-index, on the other hand, says that the scientist perhaps published papers, but is yet to have an actual impact.The h-index is attractive because it takes into account both the number of publications and the number of citations. It isn't phased by "one hit wonders", but favors a body of work that each of its components has at least a certain impact (citations).Problems and disadvantagesWhich database to use? Different databases cover different journals, conferences, etc. Web of Science, for example, has better coverage of STEM than of the humanities, which tend to publish books rather than papers. Using Google Scholar will likely inflate the h-index.You aren't a number! (Or at least, not just *one* number). Reducing scientists to a single number ignores other factors, such as their teaching skills and ability to collaborate. Can an entire career really be described as a single number?Source: PhD ComicsThe age factor: The older the scientist gets, the longer she had to publish and get cited. Younger scientists are at disadvantage with the h-index.Relevance: Since the h-index doesn't decrease, it can't tell whether a scientist is still active and/or where her work is still relevant for others in her field.Since the h-index is a single number, scientists with the same h-index can have very different numbers of papers and citations. In the following table, scientist A and scientists B have the same h-index, but scientist A has far more citations in the overall raw calculation. ... Read more »

  • May 20, 2011
  • 03:28 PM
  • 768 views

The 9,000-year-old La Jolla Fisherman and -woman

by Kristina Killgrove in Powered By Osteons

Who owns the past, and who should have a say in the disposition of Palaeoindian skeletons?... Read more »

Dalton R. (2008) No burial for 10,000-year-old bones. Nature, 455(7217), 1156-7. PMID: 18971985  

Dalton R. (2009) Scientists in bone battle. Nature, 458(7236), 265. PMID: 19295571  

Schoeninger MJ, Bada JL, Masters PM, Bettinger RL, & White TD. (2011) Unexamined bodies of evidence. Science (New York, N.Y.), 332(6032), 916. PMID: 21596975  

  • May 20, 2011
  • 06:00 AM
  • 814 views

Paucis Verbis: International Registry on Aortic Dissection (IRAD)

by Michelle Lin in Academic Life In Emergency Medicine

What do these three people have in common? Lucille Ball (comedienne)Jonathan Larson (wrote the musical "Rent")John Ritter (comedian)They all died from an aortic dissection. We commonly consider this diagnosis for Emergency Department patients presenting with severe chest pain. There is an International Registry on Aortic Dissection which published a retrospective, descriptive study of 464 patients with aortic dissections.I find this list helpful, because it illustrates the fact that the classic signs and symptoms aren't actually very common. Here are some scary examples:A pulse deficit in the carotid, brachial, and femoral arteries is only present 15% of the time. A tearing or ripping quality of pain is present in only 50% of patients.Not all patients have a widened mediastinum or abnormal aortic contour (only 78.7%).[MS Word] [PDF]See other Paucis Verbis cards.ReferenceHagan P et al. The International Registry of Acute Aortic Dissection (IRAD): New Insights Into an Old Disease JAMA. 2000; 283(7), 897-903. DOI: 10.1001/jama.283.7.897Free PDF article for download... Read more »

  • May 20, 2011
  • 06:00 AM
  • 826 views

Paucis Verbis: International Registry on Aortic Dissection (IRAD)

by Michelle Lin in Academic Life In Emergency Medicine

What do these three people have in common? Lucille Ball (comedienne)Jonathan Larson (wrote the musical "Rent")John Ritter (comedian)They all died from an aortic dissection. We commonly consider this diagnosis for Emergency Department patients presenting with severe chest pain. There is an International Registry on Aortic Dissection which published a retrospective, descriptive study of 464 patients with aortic dissections.I find this list helpful, because it illustrates the fact that the classic signs and symptoms aren't actually very common. Here are some scary examples:A pulse deficit in the carotid, brachial, and femoral arteries is only present 15% of the time. A tearing or ripping quality of pain is present in only 50% of patients.Not all patients have a widened mediastinum or abnormal aortic contour (only 78.7%).[MS Word] [PDF]See other Paucis Verbis cards.ReferenceHagan P et al. The International Registry of Acute Aortic Dissection (IRAD): New Insights Into an Old Disease JAMA. 2000; 283(7), 897-903. DOI: 10.1001/jama.283.7.897Free PDF article for download... Read more »

  • May 19, 2011
  • 12:00 PM
  • 1,437 views

Full Text And Details For Nature Letter “Data Archiving Is A Good Investment”

by Heather Piwowar in Research Remix

We hope publishing the argument in this high-visibility venue will inspire hallway conversations amongst scientists and influence how they view long-term data archive funding. Particularly those scientists who also wear hats in funding agencies!... Read more »

Piwowar, HA, Vision, TJ, & Whitlock, MC. (2011) Data archiving is a good investment. Nature, 473(7347), 285-285. DOI: 10.1038/473285a  

Piwowar HA, Vision TJ, & Whitlock MC. (2011) Data from: Data archiving is a good investment. Dryad Digital Repository. info:/10.5061/dryad.j1fd7

  • May 19, 2011
  • 09:32 AM
  • 1,081 views

Cultural Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny

by Samuel Arbesman in arbesman.net

In evolutionary biology, there is a now-discredited idea that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.” In other words, the development of an organism follows its evolutionary history. Human embryos look like they have gills because people evolved from fish, we have tails in utero because of the same origins, and so forth. In a recent paper in PLoS [...]... Read more »

  • May 17, 2011
  • 05:51 PM
  • 1,331 views

Are Wind Turbines Ugly? New Research gives Answers…

by Stuart Farrimond in Dr Stu's Science Blog

For many of us, Wind Turbines symbolise hope. The image of a slowly rotating wind turbine on a blue sky represents a rose-tinted future where energy is abundant and free; global warming has been conquered (and bunnies leap gaily around fields). But who would really want to live near a wind farm? We long for … Continue reading »... Read more »

Frantál, B., & Kunc, J. (2011) Wind turbines in tourism landscapes. Annals of Tourism Research, 38(2), 499-519. DOI: 10.1016/j.annals.2010.10.007  

  • May 17, 2011
  • 01:59 AM
  • 1,429 views

Empathy or Etiquette

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD


We have discussed the term empathy several times.
The most clarifying definition of empathy is based on viewing it as a process. This process of empathy consists of the following stages.

The patient expresses feelings by way of verbal and non-verbal communication. Patients are not always aware of these expressions.
The doctor also notices these emotions in himself [...]


No related posts.... Read more »

  • May 16, 2011
  • 01:27 AM
  • 1,045 views

We Want More Science, said the American Public

by Paige Brown in From The Lab Bench

Counter to trends of cutbacks for science coverage in newspapers and newsrooms over the last few years (examples include the Boston Globe and CNN), and to the excitement of science journalists nationwide, there DOES remain a high public interest in science. What’s more, not only does this interest remain… it seems to be growing. But if our nation’s ‘Big League’ newspapers are cutting back on science coverage and freelance budgets, where do the American public turn to in order to satiate their hunger for reliable scientific information and news on public health and medical breakthroughs? ... Read more »

Woolley, M. (2005) Public Attitudes and Perceptions About Health-Related Research. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 294(11), 1380-1384. DOI: 10.1001/jama.294.11.1380  

  • May 11, 2011
  • 11:41 PM
  • 1,195 views

Modern Day Alchemy: Turning Silver to Gold

by Paige Brown in From The Lab Bench

The Xia lab group members at Washington University in St. Louis are modern day alchemists, daily converting very small cubes of silver into hollow, porous boxes of gold, termed gold nanocages. Beyond conquering the age-old quest to turn base metals into precious gold, these scientists are going a step further, using gold nanocages as 'magic bullets' in the war against cancer.... Read more »

Xia Y, Li W, Cobley CM, Chen J, Xia X, Zhang Q, Yang M, Cho EC, & Brown PK. (2011) Gold Nanocages: From Synthesis to Theranostic Applications. Accounts of chemical research. PMID: 21528889  

Chen J, Glaus C, Laforest R, Zhang Q, Yang M, Gidding M, Welch MJ, & Xia Y. (2010) Gold nanocages as photothermal transducers for cancer treatment. Small (Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Germany), 6(7), 811-7. PMID: 20225187  

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