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  • August 9, 2013
  • 07:43 AM
  • 250 views

Empathic Pooches Catch Yawns from Their Owners

by Dyani Lewis in United Academics

In humans, recent theories have suggested that contagious yawning is an indicator of empathy. When we yawn in response to someone else’s yawn, we are communicating that we empathise with them. Being the social creatures that we are, empathy is an important social emotion that can strengthen the bonds between people.

But what about when a dog yawns after seeing a human yawn? Is the dog being empathic, or is there some other explanation?... Read more »

  • August 8, 2013
  • 10:23 AM
  • 288 views

Bacteria Could Shed Light on How Financial Markets Work

by Josephine Lethbridge in United Academics

What do bankers and bacteria have in common? Finite resources, quick decision-making and an appreciation of trade-offs, according to a study in Ecology Letters. So could bacterial modelling ever help us avoid another banking crash?... Read more »

Ram Maharjan1,Susanna Nilsson, Judy Sung, Ken Haynes, Robert E. Beardmore, Laurence D. Hurst, Tom Ferenci, Ivana Gudelj. (2013) The form of a trade-off determines the response to competition. Ecology Letters. DOI: 10.1111/ele.12159  

  • August 7, 2013
  • 02:30 PM
  • 441 views

MicroRNAs reinforce heart disease damage

by Valerie Ashton in The Molecular Scribe

Practically everyone knows friends or family suffering from heart disease. Many sufferers have ischaemic heart disease, the most common type of heart disease worldwide. The World Health Organisation ranked ischaemic heart disease as the leading cause of death in 2004...... Read more »

Arbab-Zadeh A, Nakano M, Virmani R, & Fuster V. (2012) Acute coronary events. Circulation, 125(9), 1147-56. PMID: 22392862  

Chen LJ, Lim SH, Yeh YT, Lien SC, & Chiu JJ. (2012) Roles of microRNAs in atherosclerosis and restenosis. Journal of biomedical science, 19(1), 79. PMID: 22931291  

Madrigal-Matute J, Rotllan N, Aranda JF, & Fernández-Hernando C. (2013) MicroRNAs and atherosclerosis. Current atherosclerosis reports, 15(5), 322. PMID: 23512606  

Raitoharju E, Lyytikäinen LP, Levula M, Oksala N, Mennander A, Tarkka M, Klopp N, Illig T, Kähönen M, Karhunen PJ.... (2011) miR-21, miR-210, miR-34a, and miR-146a/b are up-regulated in human atherosclerotic plaques in the Tampere Vascular Study. Atherosclerosis, 219(1), 211-7. PMID: 21820659  

  • August 6, 2013
  • 10:11 AM
  • 373 views

Biodiversity of Ecosystems Decrease in a High-CO2 Ocean

by Guillaume Cote-Maurais in United Academics

Climate change resulting from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases could also have other consequences.
Scientists are concerned that the absorption of atmospheric CO2 in the oceans could have an impact on marine ecosystems. This would result from absorption of atmospheric CO2, which causes a decrease in seawater pH and carbonate ion concentrations, while increasing CO2 and bicarbonate ion concentrations.... Read more »

Kroeker KJ, Gambi MC and Micheli F. (2013) Community dynamics and ecosystem simplification in a high-CO2 ocean. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1216464110  

  • August 6, 2013
  • 05:51 AM
  • 350 views

Just How Bad Are Rich People, Anyway?

by Patrick Meyer in United Academics

Professor Paul Piff at UC Berkeley recently conducted a study attempting to see if there was some type of correlation between a person’s socio-economic status and the way they conduct themselves morally and ethically. Piff felt compelled to disprove the popular conservative stereotype that people in lower socio-economic positions tend to act out of greed and personal benefit.... Read more »

Piff PK, Stancato DM, Côté S, Mendoza-Denton R, & Keltner D. (2012) Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(11), 4086-91. PMID: 22371585  

  • August 5, 2013
  • 10:27 AM
  • 300 views

Genetic Adam and Eve May Have Walked on Earth at the Same Time

by Akshat Rathi in United Academics

All scientific evidence points to the fact that, if you go far enough back, all life on Earth is related through common ancestry. Turns out that applying the same sort of analysis shows that all humans alive today are descendants of one man and one woman who walked our planet thousands of years ago.

For several decades, there has been debate about when these ancestors, popularly known as Y-chromosomal Adam and mitochondrial Eve, existed. Two studies published this week find that there is a good chance Adam and Eve may have existed about the same time, evolutionarily speaking.... Read more »

  • August 2, 2013
  • 05:50 AM
  • 368 views

Sensors for Rapid Detection of Proteins Developed

by Geetanjali Yadav in United Academics

Could you ever imagine that one day testing a protein in your tiny sample would be so easy, just like performing a pregnancy strip test at home. Yes, this is made possible by a group of chemists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). They have developed a new method for multiple protein analysis that is, in principle, capable of identifying hundreds or even thousands of different proteins.... Read more »

Rosman C, Prasad J, Neiser A, Henkel A, Edgar J, & Sönnichsen C. (2013) Multiplexed Plasmon Sensor for Rapid Label-Free Analyte Detection. Nano letters. PMID: 23789876  

  • August 1, 2013
  • 01:44 PM
  • 334 views

Model Scale Parameterization for MCMC Efficiency

by Michael Lindon in Lindon's Log

I recently came across a very interesting paper by Y. Yu and X. Meng[1] who present an interweaving strategy between different model parameterizations to improve mixing. It is well known that different model parameterizations can perform better than others under certain conditions. Papaspiliopoulos, Roberts and Sköld [2] present a general framework for how to parameterize […]The post Model Scale Parameterization for MCMC Efficiency appeared first on Lindons Log.... Read more »

  • July 31, 2013
  • 10:29 AM
  • 303 views

Lightest Material on Earth Invented

by Simone Munao in United Academics

In China the lightest material on Earth has recently been invented. Its weight makes it so light that it can be sustained by a blade of grass or a stalk of a flower. It’s an aerogel that has the form of a paper sheet and has the width of a carbon atom. Thanks to its characteristic shape, the material can take on many forms and dimensions. Also, it has the remarkable capability of absorbing liquid substances up to 900 times its weight.... Read more »

  • July 31, 2013
  • 04:23 AM
  • 220 views

The Forgotten Life of Plants

by Sedeer El Showk in United Academics

In Lewis Caroll’s Through the Looking Glass, Alice wanders into a garden with flowers that can talk — the “garden of Live Flowers”. Of course, all plants are alive, but here the flowers are called “live” because they can talk. One of the greatest examples of human arrogance might be our attitude towards plants. We treat plants as objects, as part of the background, as mere things without any agency. We tend to forget that they’re dynamic, complex living creatures that react and respond to their environment — just in unfamiliar ways and on a different timescale.... Read more »

  • July 30, 2013
  • 06:45 AM
  • 278 views

Why Mammals Prefer to Have Just One Sexual Partner

by Christopher Opie in United Academics

While people cheating on their partners is frowned upon in modern society, monogamy among mammals is something of an evolutionary puzzle. Some stick to one sexual partner for a lifetime. That is why the evolution of monogamy among mammals is hotly debated. Two studies published this week, including one I worked on, weigh in on the debate.

Evolution dictates that genes have the final say. And if there is one thing genes want, it is to spread as far and wide as possible. That is why monogamy is rare among mammals.

Females have to wait for a long gestation period to have a child, where as males could go and inseminate many other females in that time. Most male mammals behave in this manner, but some don’t, and are monogamous.... Read more »

Christopher Opiea, Quentin D. Atkinson, Robin I. M. Dunbarc, and Susanne Shultzd. (2013) Male infanticide leads to social monogamy in primates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America PNAS, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1307903110  

  • July 30, 2013
  • 05:35 AM
  • 301 views

Modifying the Human Genome with Ease

by Q Dragon in United Academics

Genetics is becoming a bigger and bigger part of modern medicine as our knowledge increases. From diagnostics, to research, and even potential treatments, advanced biotechnologies are becoming more common.

Each of these medical fields requires precise analysis and often manipulation of human DNA. Diagnostics may require mutating certain genes to see what the effect is, in the hopes of identifying disease risk. For research and drug testing scientists need to have cell cultures that mimic the genetic characteristics of various diseases. And for many conditions with a genetic component, gene therapy is being researched as a potential cure. The issue was that scientists didn’t have a standard tool for manipulating DNA in this way, until now.... Read more »

  • July 29, 2013
  • 07:59 AM
  • 242 views

The Worm that Died in a Blaze of Blue Glory

by Luc Henry in United Academics

Never has “feeling blue” carried such a sense of finality. A new study has revealed the simple worm (Caenorhabditis elegans) meets its death in a flash of azure. And, according to researchers, the blue light shows that dying may be a coordinated process that could probably be delayed.

Scientists have known for many years that cells can die in two ways. Necrosis occurs when either the cell’s machinery breaks down with age, or exposure to trauma damages the cell beyond repair. Apoptosis is a programmed process triggered on demand, by which even healthy cells can undergo a series of changes resulting in an orderly death.... Read more »

  • July 29, 2013
  • 05:00 AM
  • 355 views

The Future Will Bring Hurricanes to Europe

by Reindert Haarsma. in United Academics

Damaging hurricanes are familiar along the US east coast, with the recent hurricane Sandy a dramatic example. In Europe we are unused to such dramatic weather and the widespread destruction that hurricanes can, and do, cause. However, our new research suggests that this is likely to change as Earth’s climate warms over the next century.

Hurricanes are powered by warm sea water and characterised by heavy rainfall. The energy that is released during this rainfall is the thriving force of hurricanes. They originate during late summer in the western part of the tropical Atlantic where the sea water is sufficiently warm.... Read more »

Reindert J. Haarsma, Wilco Hazeleger, Camiel Severijns, Hylke de Vries, Andreas Sterl, Richard Bintanja, Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, Henk W. van den Brink. (2013) More hurricanes to hit western Europe due to global warming. Geophysical Research Letters. DOI: 10.1002/grl.50360  

  • July 27, 2013
  • 11:00 AM
  • 243 views

Fake Memory Implanted in Mice with a Beam of Light

by Jonathan Webb in United Academics

Researchers have been able to consistently create a “false memory”.... Read more »

Steve Ramirez, Xu Liu, Pei-Ann Lin, Junghyup Suh, Michele Pignatelli, Roger L. Redondo, Tomás J. Ryan, Susumu Tonegawa,. (2013) Creating a False Memory in the Hippocampus. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1239073  

  • July 26, 2013
  • 09:19 AM
  • 385 views

Study Links Social Status to How We Comprehend Meaning

by Alexia Attwood in United Academics

A speaker’s social status can affect how we interpret their words, a study has found.

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, involved researchers showing the study’s 18 German participants videotapes of a powerful politician (the German Federal Minister of Finance at the time of the experiment), and an unknown person, making both true and false statements.

Examples of true statements shown to the German participants included “Michael Jackson is a pop singer”, and “The chancellor advocates a later entry of the Ukraine into the NATO alliance.”... Read more »

  • July 26, 2013
  • 07:51 AM
  • 396 views

Cloud cover could protect the Great Barrier Reef from sea surface temperature rises

by Dyani Lewis in United Academics

An overcast sky is rarely a welcome sight for snorkelers on the Great Barrier Reef. But a generous cover of clouds could be exactly what’s needed for the future survival of the magnificent corals that make the reef the biodiversity wonder that it is.

The Great Barrier Reef hugs the north eastern coastline of Australia across more than 2600 kilometres, earning it the distinction of being the world’s largest coral reef system. A considerable portion of the nearly 3000 individual reefs and 900 islands lies within the protected waters of a marine park, yet human impact is still keenly felt.

Global warming has seen consistently higher sea surface temperatures over the past 45 years. These higher temperatures are the source of one of the greatest threats to reef survival – coral bleaching. Corals are made up of colonies of millions upon millions of tiny marine invertebrates that cement themselves together by secreting a calcium carbonate exoskeleton.... Read more »

  • July 26, 2013
  • 05:42 AM
  • 348 views

4 Reasons Why You Should Take Cold Showers

by Patrick Meyer in United Academics

Most people might think of a shower as a daily ritual that is equal parts hygiene and relaxation: as soap bubbles and cascades down both body and drain, the warm water eases both muscle and mind in its heated caress. However, a small amount of scientific and medical research has hinted that cold water showers have several health and environmental benefits.... Read more »

Siems WG, Brenke R, Sommerburg O, & Grune T. (1999) Improved antioxidative protection in winter swimmers. QJM : monthly journal of the Association of Physicians, 92(4), 193-8. PMID: 10396606  

  • July 25, 2013
  • 09:44 AM
  • 283 views

Male Kangaroos Woo Mates with Bulging Biceps

by Ellen Adamcewicz. in United Academics

A male kangaroo’s forearm size could be a sexually selected trait and help them find a mate, a new study has found.

In fact, male kangaroos frequently adopt poses to show off their muscly arms to females, the authors have said.

The study, conducted by researchers from Murdoch University and Curtin University and published in Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, centred on data gained from dissecting 13 grey kangaroo males and 15 females.

Each forelimb was dissected and the weight relationships between the individual muscle mass and body mass were examined.... Read more »

  • July 25, 2013
  • 07:20 AM
  • 517 views

Google celebrates Rosalind Franklin, British biophysicist and X-ray crystallographer

by GrrlScientist in GrrlScientist

Today's Google Doodle honours pioneering British biophysicist and x-ray crystallographer, Rosalind Franklin... Read more »

Bernal John Desmond. (1958) Dr. Rosalind E. Franklin. Nature, 182(4629), 154-154. DOI: 10.1038/182154a0  

Glynn J. (2008) Rosalind Franklin: 50 years on. Notes and Records of the Royal Society, 62(2), 253-255. DOI: 10.1098/rsnr.2007.0052  

Finch J. T., & Klug A. (1959) Structure of Poliomyelitis Virus. Nature, 183(4677), 1709-1714. DOI: 10.1038/1831709a0  

Creager Angela N. H., & Morgan Gregory J. (2008) After the Double Helix. Isis, 99(2), 239-272. DOI: 10.1086/588626  

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