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  • June 13, 2013
  • 09:40 AM

Scientists Discover How to Trigger the Fruit Growth Hormone

by Geetanjali Yadav in United Academics

If someone told you to put your rock hard green McIntosh apple with a banana as that would make it ripe, you sure would scoff a little. But, believe your ears and do that yourself. It’s an easy way to get that red juicy goodness without spending a single penny! It sounds like magic – but it’s pure science. A very recent study by scientists from the Salk institute for Biological Studies have published their finding in the online international journal eLIFE – stating that the plant hormone ethylene alone activates thousand of other genes in a plant.... Read more »

Katherine Noelani Chang, Shan Zhong, Matthew T Weirauch, Gary Hon, Mattia Pelizzola, Hai Li, Shao-shan Carol Huang, Robert J Schmitz, Mark A Urich, Dwight Kuo, Joseph R Nery, Hong Qiao, Ally Yang, Abdullah Jamali, Huaming Chen, Trey Ideker, Bing Ren, Ziv . (2013) Temporal transcriptional response to ethylene gas drives growth hormone cross-regulation in Arabidopsis . eLife. info:/

  • June 13, 2013
  • 07:47 AM

Stress Leaves Its Mark on Dad’s Sperm

by Anouk Vleugels in United Academics

For the first time, researchers have found that stress can leave an epigenetic mark on sperm, which then alters the offspring’s hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, a part of the brain that deals with responding to stress. The study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

The experiment was conducted with preadolescent and adult male mice, in which stress was induced – for example by confronting the mice with predator odor (fox urine) or foreign objects in their cages.

Their offspring, both male and female, turned out to have abnormally low reactivity to stress. Whenever the stress pathway is deregulated – this can be both an extreme high reactivity, as well as a very low activity – this means an organism cannot respond to changes in its environment. In people, this might cause stress-related mental disorders.... Read more »

  • June 12, 2013
  • 11:58 AM

New Method Images Single Molecules and Atoms

by Akshat Rathi in United Academics

The ultimate dream of nanotechnology is to be able to manipulate matter atom by atom. To do that, we first need to know what they look like. In what could be a major step in that direction, researchers have developed a method that can determine the shape of a single molecule and identify its constituent atoms.

The laws of nature limit what can be seen with the help of light alone. Only objects separated by more than half the wavelength of the light that illuminates it can be observed as separate objects. To overcome this limit, in 1928, Edward Hutchinson Synge came up with an idea of imaging things too small for the naked eye. The idea was to shine light on a small particle and study the scattering when reflected back, making the wavelength of incident light irrelevant.... Read more »

Zhang, R., Zhang, Y., Dong, Z., Jiang, S., Zhang, C., Chen, L., Zhang, L., Liao, Y., Aizpurua, J., Luo, Y.... (2013) Chemical mapping of a single molecule by plasmon-enhanced Raman scattering. Nature, 498(7452), 82-86. DOI: 10.1038/nature12151  

  • June 12, 2013
  • 06:16 AM

Social Media Use Linked to Narcissism

by Anouk Vleugels in United Academics

According to a new study published by researchers at the University of Michigan, social media might just be the perfect way to express our narcissistic tendencies. “Among young adult college students, we found that those who scored higher in certain types of narcissism posted more often on Twitter,” said Panek, leading author. ”But among middle-aged adults from the general population, narcissists posted more frequent status updates on Facebook.”

For the first experiment, 496 young college students (average age 19) were asked to answer some questions concerning their social media use. In addition, they took a personality assessment measuring different aspects of narcissism; exhibitionism, exploitativeness, superiority, authority and self-sufficiency.... Read more »

  • June 11, 2013
  • 08:37 AM

Mysterious Underwater Structure Discovered in Israel

by Anouk Vleugels in United Academics

Researchers stumbled upon the cone-shaped monument, that weighs about 60,000 ton, while executing geophysical research in the southern Sea of Galilee.

Expected is that the structure was built 6000 years ago. According to Prof. Shmulik Marco, who took part in the research, this is an impressive accomplishment since the stones had to be carried more than a mile – and be arranged according to a specific plan.... Read more »

Paz, Y., Moshe, R., Zvi, B., Shmuel, M., Tibor, G., & Nadel, D. (2013) A Submerged Monumental Structure in the Sea of Galilee, Israel. International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 42(1), 189-193. DOI: 10.1111/1095-9270.12005  

  • June 10, 2013
  • 09:04 AM

Blood Test Sets Therapy for Advanced Cancer Patient

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

A recent paper published in Nature reports the employment of blood tests for cancer patients to capture circulating tumor DNA that is subsequently sequenced and analyzed, the goal being to identify mutations and characterize the tumor genomic profile.... Read more »

Murtaza, M., Dawson, S., Tsui, D., Gale, D., Forshew, T., Piskorz, A., Parkinson, C., Chin, S., Kingsbury, Z., Wong, A.... (2013) Non-invasive analysis of acquired resistance to cancer therapy by sequencing of plasma DNA. Nature, 497(7447), 108-112. DOI: 10.1038/nature12065  

Forshew, T., Murtaza, M., Parkinson, C., Gale, D., Tsui, D., Kaper, F., Dawson, S., Piskorz, A., Jimenez-Linan, M., Bentley, D.... (2012) Noninvasive Identification and Monitoring of Cancer Mutations by Targeted Deep Sequencing of Plasma DNA. Science Translational Medicine, 4(136), 136-136. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3003726  

Leary, R., Sausen, M., Kinde, I., Papadopoulos, N., Carpten, J., Craig, D., O'Shaughnessy, J., Kinzler, K., Parmigiani, G., Vogelstein, B.... (2012) Detection of Chromosomal Alterations in the Circulation of Cancer Patients with Whole-Genome Sequencing. Science Translational Medicine, 4(162), 162-162. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3004742  

  • June 10, 2013
  • 03:57 AM

The SAT-ACT Score Map

by nooffensebut in The Unsilenced Science

Using multiple regression, I animate state college entrance exam scores controlled for state participation levels and test preference. Then, I review a study on “noncognitive predictors” of college outcomes, which might eventually replace the SAT and ACT.... Read more »

  • June 9, 2013
  • 01:32 AM

The touching things about dogs

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Hi Julie,(source: The Blue Dog)WOW! May was a seriously jam-packed month for dogs! I'm just as amazed as you are that it's already June. I think I'm in denial, although June means lots of fun things happening, like the SPARCS conference, so maybe it's actually OK that it's here.I loved your last post. So much great information - thank you for sharing! You mentioned how you avoid touching dogs if they don't want to interact and that got me thinking about a sense I haven't written about yet. We've covered views, smells, music and now, I'm going to touch on, well... touch. Not the bitey kind of touch, but the soothing, calm, stroking kind. The outside of a dog is good for our insides...It's true. Patting a dog is something we enjoy. The tactile experience of touching something soft and warm is inherently pleasing. Research has shown that human oxytocin (=happy/social/feel good/"love" hormone) levels rise when we interact with our dogs. Our blood pressure and heart rates lower when we pat dogs, as do our cortisol (=stress hormone) levels.(source)These are just some of the reasons there is so much interest in researching further benefits of human-animal interactions and animal-assisted therapies....and we can be good for a dog's insides too!(source)Interestingly, other studies have shown that dogs' heart rate, cortisol levels and blood pressure can lower when we groom and pat them. Of course, this is not universal. Dogs are individuals and their preferences will vary. Not all pats are equalResearch suggests that dogs prefer to be patted in a soothing way. Not really surprising - think of how we like to be touched and compare a back slap with a gentle stroke. I know which would be more likely to lower my heart rate and relax me!A study that examined the reinforcing value of physical contact by grooming to dogs showed that length of grooming (longer=better) was more important than location of grooming in reducing heart rate. What are you doing this week? I'm off to Sydney for a few days to meet with loads of different working dog groups to talk Action Plan. I'll be sure to tell you all about it next time.  Right now, I'm going to go give my dogs a nice long pat! Mia... Read more »

Bergamasco Luciana, Osella Maria Cristina, Savarino Paolo, Larosa Giuseppe, Ozella Laura, Manassero Monica, Badino Paola, Odore Rosangela, Barbero Raffaella, & Re Giovanni. (2010) Heart rate variability and saliva cortisol assessment in shelter dog: Human–animal interaction effects. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 125(1-2), 56-68. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2010.03.002  

O'Haire Marguerite. (2010) Companion animals and human health: Benefits, challenges, and the road ahead. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 5(5), 226-234. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2010.02.002  

  • June 6, 2013
  • 07:34 PM

Thule on My Mind: Deep Water Port and Air Force Base

by Andreas Muenchow in Icy Seas

I am an air force brat. My father and my father-in-law enlisted in the German and US Air Forces, respectively. They served during the Cold War when I was born in 1961 a few month after the Berlin Wall went … Continue reading →... Read more »

Elwood, N.J. and J.W. Gaithwaite. (2007) Perpetuating a Pier. Civil Engineering, 77(5), 62-67. info:/

  • June 6, 2013
  • 09:40 AM

A Possible Cure for Multiple Sclerosis

by Pieter Carriere in United Academics

It is better to travel well, than to arrive. This quote that arguably comes from Buddha partly explains why we focus on cell migration in Multiple Sclerosis (MS). MS is an incurable disease that affects 2,5 million people worldwide (As reviewed by Ransohoff, 2012). The onset usually presents in young adulthood and it is mostly diagnosed in women. What causes this devastating disease?... Read more »

Odoardi F., Sie C., Streyl K., Ulaganathan V.K., Schlaeger C., Lodygin D., Heckelsmiller K., Nietfeld W., Ellwart J., Klinkert W.E.F., Lottaz C., Nosov M., Brinkmann V., Spang R. Lehrach H. Vingron M., Wekerle H. Fluegel-Koch C. . (2012) T cells become licenced in the lung to enter the central nervous system. . Nature, 675-682. info:/

Ransohoff, R. (2012) Immunology: Licensed in the lungs. Nature, 488(7413), 595-596. DOI: 10.1038/488595a  

  • June 5, 2013
  • 09:22 AM

Darwin’s Theory Inadequate? Evolution by Subtraction

by Simone Munao in United Academics

So far we have always thought that evolution proceeds by addition, but nobody has ever proven that, at least in some cases, it may evolve by subtraction. In nature, in determinate phases of evolution, complicated organs may be formed, due to certain genetic assets. Sometimes the complexity of the formed tissue can be so high that prevents it from working in an optimal way. Evolution then would do its course by eliminating what is superfluous.

This is the content of the research conducted by the scientists D. McShea and W. Hordijk, recently published on Evolutionary Biology. The authors have proposed a model of evolution called “evolution by subtraction”: some species adapt themselves to the environment evolving form being roughly complex to becoming efficiently simple.... Read more »

McShea, D., & Hordijk, W. (2013) Complexity by Subtraction. Evolutionary Biology. DOI: 10.1007/s11692-013-9227-6  

  • June 5, 2013
  • 05:10 AM

Extinct Frog Not Extinct, But “Living Fossil” Instead

by Anouk Vleugels in United Academics

The Hula painted frog was the first amphibian to be declared officially extinct in 1996. In 2011, however, the frog reappeared in Israel. Now it turns out the species is actually an unique “living fossil,” without close relatives among other living frogs.

A recent study published in Nature Communications offers an in-depth genetic analysis of the amphibian. The results show that the Hula painted frog is not related to any living frog species, yet the sole representative of an prehistoric clade of frogs (a group with a single common ancestor) that has been considered extinct for a million years, named Latonia.... Read more »

Biton, R., Geffen, E., Vences, M., Cohen, O., Bailon, S., Rabinovich, R., Malka, Y., Oron, T., Boistel, R., Brumfeld, V.... (2013) The rediscovered Hula painted frog is a living fossil. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2959  

  • June 5, 2013
  • 03:47 AM

Does Brain Stimulation Make You Better at Maths?

by Tom Stafford in United Academics

Researchers led by Roi Cohen Kadosh at the University of Oxford trained people on two kinds of maths skills, rote learning simple arithmetic problems and practicing more varied calculations.

During this learning process they applied small and continually varying electrical currents to the scalp, above the temples. A control group wore the electrodes but didn’t receive any current. Compared to the controls, the people who practiced with the current turned on performed faster on the maths problems.

Even more amazing, when a subset of the participants were brought back six months later, those who had received the electrical treatment were still significantly faster, albeit only for the harder, more varied, calculations.... Read more »

Snowball, A., Tachtsidis, I., Popescu, T., Thompson, J., Delazer, M., Zamarian, L., Zhu, T., & Cohen Kadosh, R. (2013) Long-Term Enhancement of Brain Function and Cognition Using Cognitive Training and Brain Stimulation. Current Biology, 23(11), 987-992. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.04.045  

  • June 4, 2013
  • 08:56 AM

Are You Racist? Maybe Change Your Avatar

by Michael Kasumovic in United Academics

A new study in Consciousness and Cognition demonstrates technology may be able to offer part of the solution: donning the skin of a dark-skinned avatar significantly decreased an individual’s racial biases.... Read more »

  • June 3, 2013
  • 11:46 AM

Are Women Better Babysitters?

by Mark Fonseca Rendeiro in United Academics

Whenever you talk about babysitting and who to hire to do such a job, you rarely hear of anyone wanting to hire a man. Statistics from some of the biggest babysitting agencies in the US indicate that around 90% of their caregivers are female. In the wake of many horrifying abuse scandals involving men in places like daycare centers, churches, and private homes, trust is lower than ever when it comes to having a man take care of your child.... Read more »

KELLI K.GARCÍA. (2012) The Gender Bind: Men as Inauthentic Caregivers. DUKE JOURNAL OF GENDER LAW . info:/

  • June 3, 2013
  • 09:22 AM

Dark Characters Are Attractive

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

Are we attracted to people we like? Not necessarily. Good character isn’t always sexually appealing. It may even be the undesirable personality traits that make potential mates desirable, scientists say.... Read more »

  • May 31, 2013
  • 11:34 AM

Germ-Less Kissing Using This 1920s Device

by Anouk Vleugels in United Academics

A 2009 study suggest that the act of kissing might be important because it helps us build up our immune system – specifically women during pregnancy benefit from this strategy. The study was published in the journal Medical Hypotheses.

Back in the 1920s, however, scientists were not aware of this – on the contrary. To avoid the spreading of unwanted germs during kising, they invented the ‘kissing screen’ – a net on a stick which can be placed between both mouths.... Read more »

  • May 31, 2013
  • 05:27 AM

Male Friendships Promote Healthy Sex Life Among Heterosexual Men

by Anouk Vleugels in United Academics

Research suggests that sexual prob­lems in middle-aged and older aged men may be linked to the relationship between their best friends and their partner.... Read more »

  • May 30, 2013
  • 04:18 PM

Tick-borne encephalitis milk

by Andrew Shaw in Virus Musings

catching a Tick borne virus, by drinking milk.... Read more »

Hudopisk, N., Korva, M., Janet, E., Simetinger, M., Grgič-Vitek, M., Gubenšek, J., Natek, V., Kraigher, A., Strle, F., & Avšič-Županc, T. (2013) Tick-borne Encephalitis Associated with Consumption of Raw Goat Milk, Slovenia, 2012. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 19(5). DOI: 10.3201/eid1905.121442  

  • May 30, 2013
  • 09:13 AM

Probiotics in Food Affect Brain Functions

by Geetanjali Yadav in United Academics

A research was conducted on 36 healthy women in the age group of 18 to 55 having no past gastrointestinal or psychiatric symptoms. These women were divided into the group of three: one group consumed a specific yogurt containing a mix of several probiotics which were bacteria thought to have a positive effect on the intestines, twice a day for four weeks; another group consumed a dairy product that looked and tasted like the yogurt but contained no probiotics; and a third group ate no product at all. ... Read more »

Tillisch, K., Labus, J., Kilpatrick, L., Jiang, Z., Stains, J., Ebrat, B., Guyonnet, D., Legrain-Raspaud, S., Trotin, B., Naliboff, B.... (2013) Consumption of Fermented Milk Product with Probiotic Modulates Brain Activity. Gastroenterology. DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2013.02.043  

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