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  • November 16, 2014
  • 08:05 PM
  • 260 views

Canine science catch up: 16-30 September 2014

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Gosh, it's been a busy ride since posting the excellent guest post by research, Cat Reeve, about her interesting detector dog research.  So now it's time to play catch up, starting with the canine science related things that we noticed in the second half of September, captured with the help of Storify - did you miss any of these?[View the story "Do You Believe in Dog? [16 - 30 September 2014]" on Storify]Further reading (some of the abstracts from Canine Science Forum 2014 now available):Westgarth C. & Hayley E. Christian (2014). How can we motivate owners to walk their dogs more?, Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 9 (6) e6-e7. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2014.09.023 Fehringer A. (2014). Stress in shelter dogs and the use of foster care to improve animal welfare, Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 9 (6) e11. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2014.09.038 Horowitz A. & Hecht J. (2014). Categories and consequences of dog-human play: A citizen science approach, Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 9 (6) e15. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2014.09.052Browne C.M., T. Mary Foster & James S. McEwan (2014). Dog training: Reinforcement timing and owner body language, Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 9 (6) e17. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2014.09.059© Do You Believe in Dog? 2014... Read more »

Westgarth Carri, & Hayley E. Christian. (2014) How can we motivate owners to walk their dogs more?. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 9(6). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2014.09.023  

Horowitz Alexandra, & Hecht Julie . (2014) Categories and consequences of dog-human play: A citizen science approach. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 9(6). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2014.09.052  

Browne Clare M., T. Mary Foster, & James S. McEwan. (2014) Dog training: Reinforcement timing and owner body language. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 9(6). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2014.09.059  

  • November 5, 2014
  • 12:34 PM
  • 317 views

What is the most instantly recognisable song?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

Everyone knows a hook when they hear one, but scientists don’t know why. By playing the Hooked on Music game you are exploring the science of songs and helping us to unlock what makes music catchy.

Last weekend the preliminary outcome of the online game was announced in Manchester, UK at the MOSI, answering the question: What is the most instantly recognisable song? Interestingly, numerous media started to report on this. A small media hype?... Read more »

J.A. Burgoyne, D. Bountouridis, J. van Balen, & H. Honing. (2013) Hooked: A Game for Discovering What Makes Music Catchy. Proceedings of the 14th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference , 245-250. info:/

  • October 31, 2014
  • 06:37 AM
  • 286 views

Mind Blowing Brain Cases: The Man With A Hole In His Head

by Elisabeth Buhl Thubron in United Academics

In this series neuroscientist Elisabeth Buhl Thubron takes a closer look at intriguing brain cases that revolutionised the field. Part I: The Man With A Whole In His Head... Read more »

Harlow JM. (1999) Passage of an iron rod through the head. 1848. The Journal of neuropsychiatry and clinical neurosciences, 11(2), 281-3. PMID: 10334003  

Ratiu P, Talos IF, Haker S, Lieberman D, & Everett P. (2004) The tale of Phineas Gage, digitally remastered. Journal of neurotrauma, 21(5), 637-43. PMID: 15165371  

Van Horn JD, Irimia A, Torgerson CM, Chambers MC, Kikinis R, & Toga AW. (2012) Mapping connectivity damage in the case of Phineas Gage. PloS one, 7(5). PMID: 22616011  

  • October 27, 2014
  • 12:30 PM
  • 284 views

Exercise Fights Chronic Stress-Dependent Depression

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

It is known that physical exercise improves the symptoms of depression. Several hypotheses have been formulated to explain how this occurs, but no clear biochemical mechanism had so far been demonstrated.... Read more »

Agudelo LZ, Femenía T, Orhan F, Porsmyr-Palmertz M, Goiny M, Martinez-Redondo V, Correia JC, Izadi M, Bhat M, Schuppe-Koistinen I.... (2014) Skeletal Muscle PGC-1α1 Modulates Kynurenine Metabolism and Mediates Resilience to Stress-Induced Depression. Cell, 159(1), 33-45. PMID: 25259918  

Wrann CD, White JP, Salogiannnis J, Laznik-Bogoslavski D, Wu J, Ma D, Lin JD, Greenberg ME, & Spiegelman BM. (2013) Exercise induces hippocampal BDNF through a PGC-1α/FNDC5 pathway. Cell metabolism, 18(5), 649-59. PMID: 24120943  

  • October 21, 2014
  • 06:22 AM
  • 309 views

An Om A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

by Chiara Civardi in United Academics

Several studies show how meditating positively influences our minds and bodies. Read which medicines could be partially substituted or helped by a regular meditation practice.... Read more »

Anderson JW, Liu C, & Kryscio RJ. (2008) Blood pressure response to transcendental meditation: a meta-analysis. American journal of hypertension, 21(3), 310-6. PMID: 18311126  

Davidson, R., Kabat-Zinn, J., Schumacher, J., Rosenkranz, M., Muller, D., Santorelli, S., Urbanowski, F., Harrington, A., Bonus, K., & Sheridan, J. (2003) Alterations in Brain and Immune Function Produced by Mindfulness Meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65(4), 564-570. DOI: 10.1097/01.PSY.0000077505.67574.E3  

Delizonna, L., Williams, R., & Langer, E. (2009) The Effect of Mindfulness on Heart Rate Control. Journal of Adult Development, 16(2), 61-65. DOI: 10.1007/s10804-009-9050-6  

Epel E, Daubenmier J, Moskowitz JT, Folkman S, & Blackburn E. (2009) Can meditation slow rate of cellular aging? Cognitive stress, mindfulness, and telomeres. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 34-53. PMID: 19735238  

Gaylord, S., Palsson, O., Garland, E., Faurot, K., Coble, R., Mann, J., Frey, W., Leniek, K., & Whitehead, W. (2011) Mindfulness Training Reduces the Severity of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Women: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial. The American Journal of Gastroenterology, 106(9), 1678-1688. DOI: 10.1038/ajg.2011.184  

  • October 20, 2014
  • 04:50 PM
  • 404 views

A Venusian Mystery Explored Once More

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Venus, the place where women are from... supposedly. To say Venus has a harsh climate would be an understatement, this is one of many reasons why we will never (or maybe not soon) see a "long lasting" Venus rover counterpart to our Mars rover missions. Still, the planet (much like all the other plants) can teach us a lot about not just our own origins, but the origins of the universe. Also like all our neighbor planets Venus is hiding something beneath its brilliant shroud of clouds, a mystery that might be soon solved, all thanks to a new re-analysis of twenty-year-old spacecraft data.... Read more »

Harrington, E. et. Al. (2014) The puzzle of radar-bright highlands on venus: a high-spatial resolution study in Ovda regio. Geological Society of America. info:other/136-4

  • October 20, 2014
  • 12:12 PM
  • 406 views

How a camera and quantum physics could improve phone security

by This Science is Crazy! in This Science Is Crazy!

New study uses mobile phone camera to detect light, using shot noise to generate true random numbers which researchers hope could be used for encryption in the future.... Read more »

Sanguinetti, B., Martin, A., Zbinden, H., & Gisin, N. (2014) Quantum Random Number Generation on a Mobile Phone. Physical Review X, 4(3). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevX.4.031056  

  • October 18, 2014
  • 09:34 AM
  • 414 views

Merit’s Liquidity

by nooffensebut in The Unsilenced Science

The latest SAT and ACT data suggest that America’s cognitive elite have been enjoying new geographic mobility, but difficult economic times push them out of the elite strata, contrary to a prediction of The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray.... Read more »

nooffensebut. (2014) Parents’ Income is a Poor Predictor of SAT Score. Open Differential Psychology, 1-19. info:other/

  • October 15, 2014
  • 02:22 PM
  • 366 views

You can tell [my mood] by the way I walk

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Ever see a guy walking down the street and know he’s depressed? Or how about someone happy, with a little bounce in their step? The way we walk says a lot and by some estimates roughly 90% of what we are telling people isn’t coming out our mouth, it’s all body language. Our walk says a lot about the kind of mood we are in, but in the question of what came first our mood or our walk, researchers have now shown that it works both ways.... Read more »

  • October 15, 2014
  • 08:34 AM
  • 316 views

Biochemical 'Memory' Can Help Bacteria to Grow

by This Science is Crazy! in This Science Is Crazy!

A new study explores ‘memory’ in E. coli to see how it impacts on their ability to grow in environments with fluctuating food sources. Recent exposure to a food source can reduce and even practically eliminate the 'lag' phase of growth when the food is reintroduced.... Read more »

  • October 15, 2014
  • 04:38 AM
  • 286 views

How You Feel About People is Related to How You Feel About Cities

by Mark Rubin in Mark Rubin's Social Psychology Research Blog

There are numerous structural factors that influence people’s attitudes towards cities. However, these factors may be constituents of broader sociocultural “questions” that people ask about their cities.  For example, residents’ concern about the transport and entertainment venues of a city might form part of a broader social psychological concern about the potential for the city to accommodate their need to meet friends and socialize with others. Alternatively, people might focus on a city’s economy and job opportunities because they are concerned about the ability of the city to meet their needs for personal income and wealth.Hong Kong - Why Would You Want to Live There?In some recently published research, Dr Tessa Morrison and I predicted that individual differences in individualism and collectivism operate as important predictors of people's city needs and goals. Individualism and collectivism are sociocultural orientations towards treating the self and others as individuals or group members respectively: Individualists see themselves and others as being self-reliant, autonomous, and independent, whereas collectivists are more interdependent and concerned about their social groups, including their family, friends, and community. We predicted that these dispositional orientations towards the self and others might also influence how people feel about cities.To test our predictions, we asked 148 psychology undergraduate students to take virtual guided tours around one of four Utopian historical cities - cities that had never been built and were unfamiliar to our participants. YouTube videos of the four guided tours can be viewed here: Christianopolis, City of the Sun, New Harmony, and Victoria, and the picture below shows a scene from one of the tours. Participants then evaluated the cities’ liveability and environmental quality and completed measures of individualism and collectivism.Consistent with our predictions, people with a strong sense of self-responsibility (a form of individualism) tended to evaluate the virtual cities in terms of their potential to meet the goal of acquiring resources, income, and wealth, whereas people with a strong sense of collectivism tended to evaluate the cities in terms of their potential to provide community and a sense of connection with others.Scene from a virtual tour around the Utopian city of VictoriaTo paraphrase Calvino (1978), city evaluation may be based on the answers that cities provide to our questions. However, our research suggests that different types of people have different types of questions. Individualists appear to ask: “can this city enhance my personal wealth?” whereas collectivists appear to ask: “can this city enhance my group’s community?”These findings are important because they can help us to understand why some people choose to move into certain cities and others choose to leave. However, a key limitation of our work is that it lacked ecological validity because it involved nonresidents evaluating novel, historical, virtual, and unpopulated cities. In our future research, we intend to measure residents’ evaluations of more familiar, modern, real-world, populated cities.For further information, please see the following journal article:Rubin, M., & Morrison, T. (2014). Individual Differences in Individualism and Collectivism Predict Ratings of Virtual Cities’ Liveability and Environmental Quality The Journal of General Psychology, 141 (4), 348-372 DOI: 10.1080/00221309.2014.938721  A self-archived version of this journal article is available here.... Read more »

  • October 14, 2014
  • 10:09 PM
  • 219 views

Weight Bias and Physical Activity

by Abena Edugyan in Your Active Edge

Does seeing an overweight person being active reduce weight bias? ... Read more »

  • October 13, 2014
  • 10:18 AM
  • 306 views

Guiding light to boost algae biofuel production

by This Science is Crazy! in This Science Is Crazy!

New study uses waveguides dotted with SU-8 pillars to scatter light in a tank of algae. By varying the spacing of the pillars, light intensity across the tank was approximately uniform and increased algae growth by 'at least 40%' compared to scheme with uniformly-distributed pillars... Read more »

  • October 6, 2014
  • 07:23 PM
  • 298 views

Centrifuging people to see if gravity affects perception

by This Science is Crazy! in This Science Is Crazy!

New study looks places test subjects in a centrifuge to see the effect of different levels of simulated gravity on the 'perceptual upright'... Read more »

  • October 6, 2014
  • 06:48 PM
  • 281 views

Can our brains process words while we sleep?

by This Science is Crazy! in This Science Is Crazy!

New study investigates whether the human brain can respond to words while in a state of sleep... Read more »

Kouider, S., Andrillon, T., Barbosa, L., Goupil, L., & Bekinschtein, T. (2014) Inducing Task-Relevant Responses to Speech in the Sleeping Brain. Current Biology, 24(18), 2208-2214. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.08.016  

  • October 6, 2014
  • 03:55 PM
  • 396 views

Orange Corn Aims to Fight Vitamin A Deficiency

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

GMO food is still a hot button topic, honestly for no other reason than fear. Sure Monsanto is a big evil corporation, but the science is only as bad as what you do with it. In the modern fortified world we don’t think about vitamin deficiency or the horrible things that come with it, however vitamin A deficiency is a huge problem in developing countries. To combat this researchers have identified a set of genes that can be used to naturally boost the provitamin A content of corn kernels, a finding that could help combat vitamin A deficiency and macular degeneration in the elderly.... Read more »

  • September 29, 2014
  • 06:07 PM
  • 332 views

Cat and Dogs: seeking solutions with sniffing canines and science

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Hi Mia and Julie,  First of all, I LOVE your blog! After meeting at SPARCS this past summer (summer for us in North America.. I take it summer is just beginning in Australia!), I’ve followed it closely.  You do amazing things for the promotion of  canine science. Serious love. A bit of background for the readers: I’m currently doing my PhD at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada, under the supervision of Dr. Simon Gadbois. Dr. Gadbois has an amazing amount of knowledge and experience in the science of sniffing (just check out Gadbois & Reeve, 2014 link below!).  He’s trained sniffer dogs for the conservation of ribbon snakes and wood turtles, to track coyotes, and to detect invasive pests in lumber. He and I have taken on a different type of project and are studying the intricacies of biomedical detection dogs, specifically, the very interesting phenomenon of Diabetic Alert Dogs.  Cat Reeve at #SPARCS2014 where she won the 'Best Emerging Researcher' prize I say interesting because there’s anecdotal evidence suggesting that some dogs alert their owners to hypoglycemic events (low blood sugar). In 2008, Deborah Wells published a series of case studies where dogs were reported as signalling (barking, licking, pawing etc. the individual) while their owners were awake, while they were sleeping, and even when their owners were in a different room with the door closed! And this is with no previous training!  Isn’t this fantastic! Severe hypoglycemic events can be extremely dangerous for individuals with diabetes. If not treated, they can lead to seizures, comas, and even death. The fact that dogs may be able to alert an individual before a serious hypoglycemic event means less worry about hypoglycaemia unawareness, and blood sugar dropping over night when individuals are unconscious.Given that dogs are signalling through closed doors, it is assumed that the dogs smell something that alerts them to a change in the physiology of their owner (as opposed to behavioural cues, as is believed to be the case with seizure alert dogs). There are many companies that have taken advantage of this supposed ability, and have trained Diabetic Alert Dogs (DADs) to sell to individuals with diabetes.  In my own searches, I have found no company that publicly provides information as to how they train their dogs. However, according to recent studies (see Gonder-Frederick et al., 2013 and Rooney et al., 2011 below) these trained DADs dogs contribute greatly to the families of individuals’ with diabetes; they signal consistently and, consequently, significantly reduce the number of hypoglycemic events an individual experiences. Now, if it is in fact an olfactory cue that dogs use to identify a drop in blood sugar in their owners, one would expect that if you presented one of these trained DADs with the “scent” of hypoglycemia without the individual present (just like having the owner with diabetes on the other side of a door), the dog would still signal.  Dehlinger and colleagues recently tested three DADs in a lab setting, presenting the dogs with human biological samples that were obtained identically to the way the samples used to train the dogs were obtained. In this study, none of the three dogs could pick out a ... Read more »

  • September 28, 2014
  • 03:37 PM
  • 313 views

The Genetic Evolutionary Arms Race

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Genes are tricky little buggers, the stuff that makes us up has fought the test of time to make it to where we are today. It is thought that our genes changed in an attempt to outpace other life, albeit random changes.That might only be half right however, new findings suggest that there is an evolutionary arms race going on within the genome against, of all things, itself. This inherent competition of primates drove the evolution of complex regulatory networks that orchestrate the activity of genes in every cell of our bodies... Read more »

Jacobs, Greenberg, Nguyen, Haeussler, Ewing, Katzman, Paten, Salama . (2014) An evolutionary arms race betweenKRAB zinc-finger genes ZNF91/93 and SVA/L1 retrotransposons. Nature. info:/10.1038/nature13760

  • September 26, 2014
  • 02:15 PM
  • 405 views

“GMO” Foods (Once Again) Proven Safe

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

GMO, I shudder every time I hear someone talk about the “dangers”. It’s one of the new buzzwords that doesn’t actually mean anything, but still manages to scare people. Well a new scientific review reports that the performance and health of food-producing animals consuming genetically engineered feed, first introduced 18 years ago, has been comparable to that of animals consuming non-GE feed. Not that this will stop people from spreading fear, but it’s a start.... Read more »

  • September 17, 2014
  • 04:36 AM
  • 267 views

A talking powered smartphone? The chin strap that makes electricity from chewing

by Stuart Farrimond in Guru: Science Blog

Mouths – where would we be without them? We use our jaws for so many essential tasks: eating food, chewing gum, yawning when we are tired from a hard day’s work and, oh let’s not forget, talking. Most of us […]The post A talking powered smartphone? The chin strap that makes electricity from chewing appeared first on Guru Magazine.... Read more »

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