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  • January 22, 2014
  • 09:10 AM
  • 319 views

Shy Women At Risk Of Poor Sex Life

by Flora Brils in United Academics

While it is a taboo to talk about, a lot people face troubles in their sex lives. A new study explored whether female sexual dysfunction is related to certain personality traits and coping strategies. Introvert women seem to be at a greater risk for sexual problems.... Read more »

Crisp, C., Vaccaro, C., Pancholy, A., Kleeman, S., Fellner, A., & Pauls, R. (2013) Is Female Sexual Dysfunction Related to Personality and Coping? An Exploratory Study. Sexual Medicine, 1(2), 69-75. DOI: 10.1002/sm2.16  

  • January 15, 2014
  • 09:52 AM
  • 340 views

Drug Labeling Influences Effects Of Painkillers

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

Researchers discovered surprising placebo effects. For example, properly labeled placebo had a painkilling effect; this observation indicates that the ritual of taking a pill contributes to the treatment’s effect.... Read more »

Kam-Hansen S, Jakubowski M, Kelley JM, Kirsch I, Hoaglin DC, Kaptchuk TJ, & Burstein R. (2014) Altered placebo and drug labeling changes the outcome of episodic migraine attacks. Science translational medicine, 6(218). PMID: 24401940  

Finniss DG, Kaptchuk TJ, Miller F, & Benedetti F. (2010) Biological, clinical, and ethical advances of placebo effects. Lancet, 375(9715), 686-95. PMID: 20171404  

  • December 23, 2013
  • 05:43 AM
  • 467 views

Dr. Kevin Beaver the Apostle

by nooffensebut in The Unsilenced Science

Dr. Kevin Beaver followed my advice and was able to show that black men with MAOA-2R are especially likely to shoot or stab. Self-righteous critics sternly wag their fingers.... Read more »

  • December 8, 2013
  • 10:03 AM
  • 484 views

The Stupid Stupidity Surrounding the Warrior Gene, MAOA, is Stupid

by nooffensebut in The Unsilenced Science

This is a thorough review of everything stupid ever said about the warrior gene, MAOA.... Read more »

  • November 23, 2013
  • 04:24 PM
  • 481 views

Poo Power! Global Challenge

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Hey Julie,it's not every week I get to issue an invitation to the entire world, but that's exactly what I'm doing today! MiaStudents invited to compete in global dog poo competition:Poo Power! Global Challenge launches Monday 25 November 2013Students and classes will be pitched against each other to see who can identify the most and largest dog waste 'hotspots' in their local neighbourhood in the 'Poo Power! Global Challenge'. Participants use a GPS-enabled iPhone to download the free Poo Power! App from the App Store. Their task is to identify and map dog poo 'hotspots' in dog parks and public spaces from their neighbourhood from Monday 25 November 2013.  While the initial competition is being run for students and schools, anyone, anywhere can participate and contribute to this citizen science initiative.Duncan & Diesel from Poo Power!This eyebrow-raising project is a collaboration between dog poo entrepreneur Duncan Chew from Poo Power! and me (!), as a way to say thanks to all the students who voted for me to win I'm a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here! in Australia recently. The collected information will be uploaded onto the Global Poo Map and provides a platform for students to discuss the scientific, social and environmental issues of dog waste. The students are then encouraged to write a letter to their local Government representative of their findings and recommendations. Citizen science at it's finest! Scientific American are currently featuring Poo Power! on their Citizen Science website"From our research only 3% of Australians see uncollected dog waste as an environmental concern," explains Duncan Chew. "When it rains, uncollected dog poo gets washed down drains, effecting water quality and habitat for native animals, as well as making rivers and creeks unpleasant for us to visit."  I just think this is a great way to utilise the prize money from winning the I’m A Scientist – Get Me Out of Here! competition; it raises awareness of new sustainable energy sources, environmental issues and responsible dog ownership, all while increasing student engagement in a citizen science activity.The collated information has the poo-tential to identify sites for biogas-powered lights for parks as proposed by the Melbourne-basedproject, Poo Power!, currently in development. The methane that is released from the dog waste as it breaks down inside a 'biogas generator' can be used as a viable renewable energy source.Photo: Steven PamCompetition prizes and giveaways are up for grabs for students whose submissions are received between 25th November and 9th December 2013. After this initial competition period closes, the project will continue to run, collecting ongoing hotspot data worldwide.... Read more »

Okoroigwe E.C., Ibeto C.N., & Okpara C.G. (2010) Comparative Study of the Potential of Dog Waste for Biogas Production. Trends in Applied Sciences Research, 5(1), 71-77. DOI: 10.3923/tasr.2010.71.77  

Nemiroff Leah. (2007) Design, Testing and Implementation of a Large-Scale Urban Dog Waste Composting Program. Compost Science , 15(4), 237-242. info:other/http://montrealndgdogrun.org/image/downloads/compost studies.pdf

  • November 22, 2013
  • 05:15 AM
  • 372 views

Humpback Whales Share Songs Over Lunch

by Dyani Lewis in United Academics

Whales learn new tunes at shared Antarctic feeding grounds.... Read more »

  • November 14, 2013
  • 08:46 AM
  • 478 views

God’s Existence Theorem Is Correct

by Simone Munao in United Academics

“If God is possible, then he exists necessarily. But God is possible, therefore he exists”. This is the extreme synthesis of Gödel’s most famous result. Two researchers -Christoph Benzmuller and Bruno Woltzenlogel Paleo- just confirmed the result thanks to the help of a computer-assisted proof.... Read more »

Christoph Benzmüller and Bruno Woltzenlogel Paleo. (2013) Formalization, Mechanization and Automation of Godel’s Proof of God’s Existence. preprint arxive . info:/

  • November 11, 2013
  • 09:53 AM
  • 456 views

You Use Nanoparticles Everyday: 4 Examples

by Chiara Civardi in United Academics

Whatever our opinion on nanotechnology may be, what we don’t realise is that we are exposed to nanoparticles in our everyday life, not only through pollution, but by means of the products we use daily. So, here’s a short list of some of these hidden engineered nanoparticles.... Read more »

Blasco C., Picó Y. (2013) Nanoparticles in Foods, Determination of. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a9285  

Cristina Buzea, Ivan I. Pacheco, & Kevin Robbie. (2008) Nanomaterials and nanoparticles: Sources and toxicity. Published in Biointerphases Vol. 2, issue 4 (2007) pages MR17 - MR71. arXiv: 0801.3280v1

Mueller M., Nowack B. (2008) Exposure modelling of engineered nanoparticles in the environment. Environmental Science . info:/

Nohynek GJ, Lademann J, Ribaud C, & Roberts MS. (2007) Grey goo on the skin? Nanotechnology, cosmetic and sunscreen safety. Critical reviews in toxicology, 37(3), 251-77. PMID: 17453934  

Peters R, Kramer E, Oomen AG, Rivera ZE, Oegema G, Tromp PC, Fokkink R, Rietveld A, Marvin HJ, Weigel S.... (2012) Presence of nano-sized silica during in vitro digestion of foods containing silica as a food additive. ACS nano, 6(3), 2441-51. PMID: 22364219  

  • November 11, 2013
  • 07:34 AM
  • 442 views

Biology of Love: are we made to live happily ever after?

by Koko Beers in United Academics

While we learn from songs, movies and fairy tales that life is all about finding the perfect partner, about romance, soul mates and lifelong relationships; biology tells us otherwise.

Neuroscientists and neurobiologists have looked at the neuronal correlates of love, using brain imaging techniques and animal models. Reviewing various studies, Dutch researchers explain the evolution and neurobiological factors of our romantic love. Learn what evolution, biological substances and the course of relationships tell us about human relationships. Is romance and monogamy nothing but a myth?... Read more »

  • November 4, 2013
  • 06:31 AM
  • 384 views

How To End HIV in Africa

by Patrícia Fonseca Pedro in United Academics

South Africa is known to have a major burden of HIV infection cases. As Pieter Fourie put it in 2006: “AIDS is killing South Africans at a rate equivalent to one September 11th attack every three days”. The situation still is as serious as this: life expectancy should have reached 64 years by now, but with the HIV pandemic it has regressed to about 47 years.... Read more »

  • October 31, 2013
  • 02:30 AM
  • 605 views

Give Your Halloween Candy a Flavor Boost with Psychological Science

by amikulak in Daily Observations

Late on Halloween night, with candy strewn across the dining room table, millions of children across the United States will enjoy the hard-earned fruits of their trick-or-treating labors. After picking […]... Read more »

Vohs, K.D., Wang, Y., Gino, F., & Norton, M.I. (2013) Rituals Enhance Consumption. Psychological Science, 24(9), 1714-1721. DOI: 10.1177/0956797613478949  

Cole, G.G., & Wilkins, A.J. (2013) Fear of Holes. Psychological Science, 24(10), 1980-1985. DOI: 10.1177/0956797613484937  

  • October 27, 2013
  • 06:56 AM
  • 515 views

When equipment fails: paws and assess

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Photo: Steven PamThere is an industry in Australia that relies on an integral piece of equipment, but the system behind product development process is flawed, and lives are at stake. From farm dogs to military explosive detection dogs, guide dogs to greyhounds, Australia’s working and sporting dog industry claims a 50-70% fail rate as normal. The welfare of these dogs is intimately linked to their working performance. It can be an emotive topic, so let’s take the emotion out of it and objectively consider current practice.A diverse industry, with four sectors operating in different domains, is dependent on one key piece of equipment. A tool that can vary in price from free to $40,000, can be purchased new or second hand, but is unequivocally required to get the job done. Hundreds of thousands of units are currently used daily throughout Australia in government, human health, sporting and private operations.SourcePractitioners invest resources in this equipment, only to find that the tool doesn't work. It’s unsuitable. It operates at the wrong speed. It breaks. It just doesn't do the work it was meant to - at least half of the time! In some industry sectors, the equipment fail rate is estimated as high as eighty percent. Waste units are disposed of and new ones sourced. Perhaps from a large scale manufacturer, perhaps from a private artisan, or some people go ahead and take a crack at making their own. Recycling within the industry is extremely low, at less than ten percent. The production of this equipment is currently inefficient; the industry has no validated minimum standards in place and the product lacks quality assurance. From an industry business and performance perspective, what should be done? A review of the purpose and production life-cycle analysis for this tool seems indicated? Absolutely. A review of how the equipment is being employed, handled, maintained and stored by practitioners? Yes. Perhaps a review of the training courses and educational materials available to the practitioners and the people who train them? For sure.SourceWithout objective review and subsequent improvement, this industry is leaving itself open to scrutiny by the media and risks losing public support. Review of this kind is common. In industrial design and quality management fields, validation of product integrity, ongoing review and updating of evidence-based best practice are standard. Re-purposing of surplus or malfunctioning stock into other areas rather than directly to landfill may require additional resources. However, this extra spend is important as tolerance for unnecessary waste in the 21st century is limited. Indeed, the sustainability and economic viability of this industry into the future relies on improved accountability, higher transparency and demonstrated responsibility.We owe this commitment to review and refine the production, management and education surrounding this device to the industry, the people involved and the tasks they achieve. It’s sound business practice. And we owe it to the dogs.Hi Julie,I wrote this because I wanted to consider if there was a good case to be made for improving the welfare of working dogs, without the emotion or emotive slant often inherent in animal welfare discussions. This came about after recent conversations with people who have suggested my work towards improved working dog welfare is based on me 'loving dogs' or having bleeding-heart, idealistic expectations about the way dogs should be cared for. I hope I have been able to demonstrate that this is a) not about me, and b) that a good argument for objective review and assessment of how working dogs are produced can be made, even before adding consideration for the fact these are sentient animals with capacity to thrive or suffer as a result of how we manage their lives.I'm looking forward to continuing these conversations at the Working Dog Conference 2013 next week.Wish you were here,... Read more »

  • October 24, 2013
  • 08:00 AM
  • 466 views

To Call a Player’s Poker Hand, Look to the Arms

by amikulak in Daily Observations

Professional poker players rely on the ability to divorce their facial expressions from their emotional state – no matter how good, or how bad, their hand is, they have to maintain an inscrutable “poker face.” But new research suggests that they may do well to focus on another body part: The arms. The research, published in Psychological Science, suggests that homing in on only the player’s arms may be the most reliable way to call a bluff.... Read more »

  • October 24, 2013
  • 04:16 AM
  • 617 views

Black Suits, Gowns, & Skin: SAT Scores by Income, Education, & Race

by nooffensebut in The Unsilenced Science

The latest SAT and ACT data show record declines for men, whites, and Native Americans. Analysis of state SAT data suggests that family income does not significantly affect scores when controlled for parents’ education and race.... Read more »

Anonymous. (2008) Why Family Income Differences Don't Explain the Racial Gap in SAT Scores. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, 10-12. info:/

  • October 19, 2013
  • 06:29 AM
  • 695 views

The Selective Clearance of Senescent Cells – a Promising Target for Ageing

by Robert Seymour in NeuroFractal

When cells are put under stress (e.g. UV light, ionising radiation, reactive oxygen species) they undergo a process known as cellular senescence in which cell division (mitosis) is arrested. This is thought to contribute to ageing. In their 2013 paper Naylor and colleagues outline a strategy to selectively remove in vivo senescent cells expressing p16Ink4A .... Read more »

  • October 16, 2013
  • 09:37 AM
  • 361 views

Open Access Journals: Overgrowth and Erosion of Quality?

by Nura Rutten in United Academics

Last week, Science published an article that exposed the shortcomings of open-access journals. Author John Bohannon, a science journalist, created fake papers to evaluate the quality of peer review and to find out whether they would be submitted.... Read more »

  • October 12, 2013
  • 11:09 AM
  • 374 views

Researchers Discover Link Obesity And Liver Cancer

by Pieter Carrière in United Academics

Is life worth living? It all depends on the liver, postulated ‘Father of American psychology’ William James (1842-1910). His famous quote underlines the central role the liver plays in detoxification, digestion of lipids, storage of nutrients to maintain homeostasis and so on.

Sadly, liver cancer is one the most common cancers worldwide, with 750.000 new patients each year and presumably causing almost 700.000 deaths annually. These figures reveal that liver cancer is extremely lethal and we need to understand more about its etiology.... Read more »

Yoshimoto S, Loo TM, Atarashi K, Kanda H, Sato S, Oyadomari S, Iwakura Y, Oshima K, Morita H, Hattori M.... (2013) Obesity-induced gut microbial metabolite promotes liver cancer through senescence secretome. Nature, 499(7456), 97-101. PMID: 23803760  

Stephenson G.D. and Rose D.P. (2003) Breast cancer and obesity: an update. Nutrition and cancer. DOI: 10.2741/S253  

Ridaura VK, Faith JJ, Rey FE, Cheng J, Duncan AE, Kau AL, Griffin NW, Lombard V, Henrissat B, Bain JR.... (2013) Gut microbiota from twins discordant for obesity modulate metabolism in mice. Science (New York, N.Y.), 341(6150), 1241214. PMID: 24009397  

Swartz MA, Iida N, Roberts EW, Sangaletti S, Wong MH, Yull FE, Coussens LM, & DeClerck YA. (2012) Tumor microenvironment complexity: emerging roles in cancer therapy. Cancer research, 72(10), 2473-80. PMID: 22414581  

Williams S.C.P. (2013) Link between obesity and cancer. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. info:/

  • October 8, 2013
  • 11:08 AM
  • 594 views

The Scientific Publishing Sting: a Missed Opportunity? | @GrrlScientist

by GrrlScientist in GrrlScientist

The Science of Science's Open Access Sting: don't shoot the messenger, or you might shoot yourself in the foot... Read more »

Bohannon J. (2013) Who's Afraid of Peer Review?. Science, 342(6154), 60-65. DOI: 10.1126/science.342.6154.60  

  • October 3, 2013
  • 06:34 PM
  • 561 views

Take a walk on the wild side: Dingo science

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Image: Bradley SmithHi Mia and Julie,As one of the few in the world exploring the ‘mind’ of the dingo, the highly controversial wild dog of Australia, I consider myself quite a rare ‘breed’ of scientist. So I thought I would let you know about some of the recent work I have done with dingoes, including a few world first discoveries. It seems dingoes are becoming just as famous for solving problems as they are for causing them!I find the differences between the way wild and domestic dogs think and behave fascinating.  The dingo just happens to be a great model for investigating the influence that domestication has on the canine mind because they are considered by many to be a ‘proto dog’. That is, they are thought to be one of the earliest forms of the domestic dog. Not a domestic dog as we know today, but one representing an early transition from the more-wolf-like common ancestor, to dog. What makes dingoes really interesting and unique is that they are wild living and genetically, behaviourally and physically more wolf-like than dog-like, yet are able to communicate with humans (see my paper on their ability to follow human social cues) and in the right environments, can be successful pets - whereas wolves cannot.Dr Bradley Smith (and dingo pup friend!)Domestic dogs are what we call ‘socially’ intelligent , which means they are highly adept at communicating with people. For example, they can read our behaviours, and express to us what they want. This has a lot to do with why we love them so much, why we can create such a close bond, and why they are such successful companions. But this social intelligence may have come at a cost. When faced with a problem that they cannot solve, dogs will often ‘look’ towards their owners for help instead of trying to solve it on their own. The dog’s wild counterparts - wolves and dingoes - however, have to solve problems on their own.  In problem solving situations where a human is present, wild canids rarely look back to a human for assistance, and choose to keep trying to solve the task or simply give up (for more information see my experiment on looking back behaviour).   It seems to me that humans have become tools in the dog’s problem solving ‘bag of tricks’, and the selection pressure for independent problem solving has been relaxed. It's not that dogs are lazy or dumb - they know exactly what they want, and how to get it! Image: Bradley SmithWhen talking about 'intelligence' in animals it is important to distinguish between different kinds of behaviour and the thinking that goes on behind them. Dogs performing fancy tricks, although impressive and fun to show your guests at parties, are learnt through operant or classical conditioning and therefore not really abilities we would consider higher-order. Perhaps the best example is tool use, which has only been reported in a select group of species. Tool-using animals are those that establish the effective orientation of an object to alter some condition and attain an incentive. This has not been reported in any canid (wild or domestic), although there are many anecdotal accounts floating around the You Tube. So to my surprise, when I began working with dingoes at the Dingo Discovery Centre in Melbourne, Australia, and I came across a dingo that had learned to use tools! Sterling, a sub-adult male had discovered that by manipulating things in his environment, he could get up to all sorts of mischief. In one instance Sterling dragged a plastic table from one end of his enclosure to the other. By jumping on the repositioned table he was able to reach a parcel of food that was placed high on the mesh of his enclosure. Take a look:On another occasion, I captured Sterling moving around his portable plastic kennel. He would use the kennel as a lookout to see his neighbours over the 1m high opaque wall of his enclosure. His manipulation of objects instantly remind me of Wolfgang Kohlers observations of chimpanzees stacking crates in order to reach bananas that were hanging out of reach.Another relatively recent phenomena, considered unique to higher order creatures, are the reactions of animals to the death of conspecifics. Originally thought to only be evident in primates, it has now been documented in a variety of species such as elephants and dolphins. Similar behaviour had yet to be reported in any domestic or wild canid until an ecologist friend of mine Rob Appleby (a PhD candidate from Griffith University) spotted a dingo mother and four littermates respond rather remarkably to the death of a pup on Fraser Island (Queensland, Australia). Over multiple days, the mother transported the pup on at least four instances around the islan... Read more »

  • September 29, 2013
  • 06:54 PM
  • 682 views

Coaxed yeast secrete omega-3

by Valerie Ashton in The Molecular Scribe

A team of researchers at DuPont have engineered novel yeast that produce omega-3 fatty acids at levels much higher than previously achievable...... Read more »

Xue Z, Sharpe PL, Hong SP, Yadav NS, Xie D, Short DR, Damude HG, Rupert RA, Seip JE, Wang J.... (2013) Production of omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid by metabolic engineering of Yarrowia lipolytica. Nature biotechnology, 31(8), 734-40. PMID: 23873085  

Wynn JP. (2013) Taking the fish out of fish oil. Nature biotechnology, 31(8), 716-7. PMID: 23929348  

Kromhout D, Giltay EJ, Geleijnse JM, & Alpha Omega Trial Group. (2010) n-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular events after myocardial infarction. The New England journal of medicine, 363(21), 2015-26. PMID: 20929341  

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