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  • April 29, 2013
  • 09:08 AM
  • 225 views

Twitter Maps the Mood of the UK

by Kate Blanchfield in United Academics

Researchers have mapped the moods of Twitter users from the UK and found that they follow a daily pattern of anger, fear, joy and sadness.

The research paper, posted online last week, was based on approximately 120 million tweets collected during the summer and winter of 2011.

The researchers counted the number of times a tweet expressed anger, fear, joy or sadness and normalised this by the total number of tweets in that hour. This corrected for the inevitably higher use of Twitter during certain times of the day. They then assigned a mood score to the tweets using a standard database of emotionally-charged words.

The research shows a clear morning peak for all four moods—anger, fear, joy and sadness—but the afternoon patterns differ, giving a glimpse into the shift of moods during the day.... Read more »

Vasileios Lampos, Thomas Lansdall-Welfare, Ricardo Araya, & Nello Cristianini. (2013) Analysing Mood Patterns in the United Kingdom through Twitter Content. Social and Information Networks. arXiv: 1304.5507v1

  • April 29, 2013
  • 03:35 AM
  • 258 views

Do Women Really Want Nice Guys?

by Annemarie van Oosten in United Academics

It’s a familiar story: women who say they are looking to date a kind, sensitive and emotionally expressive guy often end up dating a macho man or a jerk. This leaves many ‘nice guys’ feeling they always finish last. For many decades, researchers have tried to get a grip on this so called ‘nice guy paradox’.... Read more »

Urbaniak, G.C., . (2003) Physical Attractiveness and the “Nice Guy Paradox”: Do Nice Guys Really Finish Last? . Sex Roles, 413-426. info:/

  • April 29, 2013
  • 03:29 AM
  • 225 views

Hybrid Chimps in European Zoos

by Gunnar de Winter in United Academics

Our close evolutionary cousin, the common chimpanzee, comes in four subspecies, each one named after its location along an East-West band in Africa. Yet, there are chimps outside of Africa as well. Many European zoos possess a group of chimpanzees, which often plays a part in conservation plans. After all, the populations of our primate brothers are in steep decline. Habitat destruction, bushmeat hunting, pet trade and disease all take their to... Read more »

  • April 26, 2013
  • 10:46 AM
  • 218 views

A Lab-Grown Kidney on Demand

by Pieter Carrière in United Academics

A research team in Massachusetts made a promising start to solve the enormous deficiency of donor kidneys. ... Read more »

Tasnim, F., Deng, R., Hu, M., Liour, S., Li, Y., Ni, M., Ying, J., & Zink, D. (2010) Achievements and challenges in bioartificial kidney development. Fibrogenesis , 3(1), 14. DOI: 10.1186/1755-1536-3-14  

  • April 25, 2013
  • 12:43 AM
  • 351 views

A room with a view: what do dogs want?

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Putting the woof in tweet! (source)Hi Julie,Wow! Thanks for sharing the amazing fun tweet-week we had posting for @realscientists on Twitter. It was great to engage with so many people about so many areas of dog (and other animal!) behaviour and research. And poo. So many questions about dog poo!  Some things can be relied upon in life; it’s good to know people are always curious about dog poo.If you want to revisit any of those posts or links we exchanged as part of the Real Scientists project, check out the amazing collection of our tweets, compiled via Storify by the fabulous Sarah, genius behind Science for Life . 365. This week, they have an astrophysicist/cosmologist who studies exploding stars and dark energy tweeting – so interesting! He has a beagle named Bagel who has learned to open doors on everything – the house, the fridge, the microwave – he’s keeping himself and everyone following on Twitter entertained!Over recent weeks I have been talking to working dog industry groups and visiting a variety of kennel facilities as part of my ongoing work with the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy. It’s been great being back around the wagging tails and eager faces of working dogs again. Seeing a wide range of kennel facilities has been fantastic and has given me some good motivation to complete my PhD research in the area of kennelled working dogs.(source)Kennel facilities (including shelter, boarding/breeding and working dog kennel contexts) are often built to house as many individuals as they can in the space available and to be easily cleaned (usually via chemical wash down and hosing) in order to maintain a hygienic environment. This has historically resulted in spaces formed in concrete and metal that we (as people) readily perceive as barren and sterile. (source)Modern facilities are often built with different materials, and can seem more pleasing to our eye, but I wonder if they’re actually any different in meeting dogs’ behavioural needs? It’s been interesting while visiting the recent facilities to consider the dogs’ experience of living in them. One point of difference that I noted was that some facilities offer the dog/s a view. Others didn’t. (source)This view might be limited to the dog opposite their kennel run, or fairly open to many other dogs, people, surrounding scenery, traffic, animals, etc. especially in areas where dogs have a choice to be in- or outside. The limited research in this area suggests that in situations where dogs are housed singly and have the opportunity to view other dogs, they take it. I find it interesting that human studies have illustrated positive effects of proximity to windows with a view in hospital and workplace environments: improved recovery times and reduced job stress. A review paper by Taylor and Mills (see below) suggests that sensory overstimulation may occur in kennel environments, so what does that mean when we consider what provision should be made for dogs to see outside of their kennel?Someone thinks it's important, with a fence porthole having been launched for pet dogs a few years ago. So is this marketing to the dogs' needs or the people's perceptions? Dogs certainly seem to actively seek out visual information about the world around them.... Read more »

  • April 23, 2013
  • 06:15 AM
  • 495 views

fMRI lie detection and the Semrau case

by Know Your Images in Know Your Images

Semrau is a psychologist accused of committing fraud to Medicare and Medicaid. The case became mostly famous, because he asked that fMRI lie detection would be a evidence in court. The judge had to decide if fMRI was admissible and after hearing scientists advocating for both sides, he has decided not to admit such evidence. However, the question is: Will it be possible to use fMRI lie detection one day?, because the reason for not admitting it has been based on the error rates and acceptance by scientific community and that can change any day...Image from here So how does fMRI lie detection work at the moment?- A deception task is presented to the volunteers: they have to lie about the object they have taken from a box (or similar, such as a card from envelope).- The volunteer goes inside the scanner and structural MRI is performed and a motor task can also be performed to make the volunteers more familiar with the MRI itself.- The deception task starts and the volunteer is asked questions about the stolen object among other questions. The volunteer has to lie about stealing the object. During this time, EPI (Echo Planar Imaging) images are acquired. - Processing of data starts, which includes reorientation and motion correction. Brain patterns are analyzed to detect lying. Findings have shown that there are specific activated areas (anterior cingulate and the prefrontal cortex) in subjects in the task of deception when a group study is performed. This is a group study, but for fMRI to become a lie detector, it has to stand in individual studies. This has been difficult, because fMRI is a technique with a low signal-to-noise ratio, but some studies have been done. Moreover, deception tasks in these studies are still simple ones, while more complex ones (like the Semrau case) have not been performed.One of the studies which presented results on individual basis (the one referenced here at the bottom) has led that a company has been formed to sell this type of service (CEPHOS). This was the company involved in the Semrau case and the CEO of this company is the scientist advocating for the fMRI lie detection. The two scientists which advocated against the fMRI lie detector were Marc Raichle, PhD (Wash. U. St. Louis, Neuroscience) and Peter Imrey, PhD (Cleveland Clinic, Statistics).Anyway, my personal belief is that fMRI should be on the service of health and not of law...Other Links:http://www.sciencemag.org/content/328/5984/1336.1.fullhttp://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2010/05/fmri-lie-detection-gets-its-day-.htmlhttp://blogs.law.stanford.edu/lawandbiosciences/2012/09/07/hot-news-6th-circuit-affirms-in-us-v-semrau-says-no-to-fmri-lie-detection/Kozel, F., Johnson, K., Mu, Q., Grenesko, E., Laken, S., & George, M. (2005). Detecting Deception Using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Biological Psychiatry, 58 (8), 605-613 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2005.07.040... Read more »

Kozel, F., Johnson, K., Mu, Q., Grenesko, E., Laken, S., & George, M. (2005) Detecting Deception Using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Biological Psychiatry, 58(8), 605-613. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2005.07.040  

  • April 23, 2013
  • 05:50 AM
  • 334 views

Why We Love When Losers Win and Heroes Fall | The Paradox Explained

by Carian Thus in United Academics

An unemployed neighbor wins the lottery, a friend who regularly boasts about his good health becomes ill. We are highly sensitive to changing fortunes of others. We want to know who’s doing worse and who’s doing better than before, as these shifts in our social environment may have implications for our own well-being. In particular we are drawn to unexpected changes: underdogs that beat the odds and top dogs that fall from grace. Whether we witness the creation of a hero or the demise of a hero – we love it.... Read more »

Brosnan SF, & De Waal FB. (2003) Monkeys reject unequal pay. Nature, 425(6955), 297-9. PMID: 13679918  

Vandello, J., Goldschmied, N., & Richards, D. (2007) The Appeal of the Underdog. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33(12), 1603-1616. DOI: 10.1177/0146167207307488  

  • April 17, 2013
  • 06:24 AM
  • 269 views

How Can I Avoid Procrastination?

by Esther Ghijssen in United Academics

Procrastination is a common behavior in 95 percent of people ( Ellis & Knaus, 1977) and in 15 to 20 percent of that group it can be considered chronic and problematic (Harriot & Ferrari, 1996). Recent research shows that men are more likely to procrastinate than women, that procrastinators tend to be less educated, and that their marriages are more likely to fall apart.

Considering procrastination has little benefit, why is it such a common way of behaving? One of the possible causes is performance anxiety. Being afraid you will never get that job discourages you from sending out your resume, while worrying about your grades makes you not want to study for that exam. In other cases, perfectionism is the root of the problem: setting standards for yourself that you will never be able to meet – and therefore don’t even bother. And then there are those who are just plain lazy; lacking the discipline to force themselves to take care of their tasks.... Read more »

  • April 17, 2013
  • 05:03 AM
  • 259 views

At the Mercy and Fury of Our Parent Star

by Zach Urbina in United Academics

Nearly every organism that’s ever lived and died (certainly every person you’ve ever met) owes their continued existence to the steady flow of charged, particulate energy that originates from the thermonuclear fusion of our star. It is the most perfectly spherical object ever observed in nature. The Earth, by comparison is lumpy and bulging, not a sphere, but an oblate spheroid (flat at its poles, bulbous around its equatorial regions). Once thought of as average and relatively banal, scientists now know that our star is unique, brighter than 85% of the rest of the those in our Milky Way galaxy. It has become scientifically fashionable, as a clearer picture of the chaotic nature of our star has emerged, to regard the sun as a menace, a looming threat. However, while solar dynamics do occasionally put technology in their proverbial crosshairs, without our star, Earth would be little more than a cold, desolate rock... Read more »

Kuhn, J., Bush, R., Emilio, M., & Scholl, I. (2012) The Precise Solar Shape and Its Variability. Science, 337(6102), 1638-1640. DOI: 10.1126/science.1223231  

Charles J. Lada. (2006) Stellar Multiplicity and the IMF: Most Stars Are Single. Astrophys.J. 640 (2006) L63-L66. arXiv: astro-ph/0601375v2

  • April 16, 2013
  • 01:28 PM
  • 236 views

Don’t Worry about Your Liver!

by Geetanjali Yadav in United Academics

How would you feel if you would have an eternal liver, a liver that lasts forever? Recently, researchers have found gene targets which will boost the regenerative capacity of your liver cells. This means a complete cure for all your liver related problems!... Read more »

Wuestefeld, T., Pesic, M., Rudalska, R., Dauch, D., Longerich, T., Kang, T., Yevsa,T.,, Heinzmann, F., Hoenicke, L., Hohmeyer,A., Potapova,A., Rittelmeier, I., Jarek,M., Geffers,R.,, Scharfe, M., Klawonn, F., Schirmacher, P., Malek, N., Ott, M., Nordheim, A., Vogel, A.,, & Manns, M. . (2013) A Direct In Vivo RNAi Screen Identifies MKK4 as a Key Regulator of Liver Regeneration. Cell, 153(2). info:/

  • April 16, 2013
  • 08:39 AM
  • 283 views

5 Ways You’re Wrong About Surviving Disasters

by Anouk Vleugels in United Academics

Everybody remembers the kind captain in Titanic, drowning in his own guilt when he realises he has comprised safety regulations for fame, and his decision to go down with the ship. Before meeting his demise, he first makes sure the women and children make it off the ship. Surely this is the proper thing to do in such situations – women and children first- right? Research suggests otherwise.... Read more »

Bruno S. Frey, David A. Savage, and Benno Torgler. (2010) Behavior under Extreme Conditions: The Titanic Disaster. Journal of Economic Perspective. info:/

  • April 15, 2013
  • 06:53 AM
  • 241 views

Understanding Continuous High Shear Wet Granulation in Pharmaceutical Production

by Ashish Kumar in Pharmaceutical Solid State Research Cluster (PSSRC)

Continuous processing is a promising approach for solid dosage manufacturing. High-shear wet granulation is performed in continuous mode using twin screw granulators (TSG), characterized by a modular screw profile including a sequence of different screw elements with various shapes, orientation and functions. For process engineers it is a challenge to come up with prediction models to establish the relationship between equipment and material attributes, process data and the end-product testing results. If a reliable model is available which is able to predict the quality of the product, it can be inverted to obtain the design space, corresponding to that set of operating conditions required for achieving the target product quality. Such a modelling framework combined with in-process measurements, can provide a good mechanistic insight into the important parameters of continuous... Read more »

Fonteyne, M., Vercruysse, J., Díaz, D., Gildemyn, D., Vervaet, C., Remon, J., & Beer, T. (2013) Real-time assessment of critical quality attributes of a continuous granulation process. Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, 18(1), 85-97. DOI: 10.3109/10837450.2011.627869  

Vercruysse, J., Córdoba Díaz, D., Peeters, E., Fonteyne, M., Delaet, U., Van Assche, I., De Beer, T., Remon, J., & Vervaet, C. (2012) Continuous twin screw granulation: Influence of process variables on granule and tablet quality. European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, 82(1), 205-211. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpb.2012.05.010  

  • April 12, 2013
  • 09:27 PM
  • 340 views

Real Scientists Tweet

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Hi Julie,I hope you have an awesome time at Science Online Teen tomorrow! I hope you get asked lots of questions about your presentation, Dogs: Science in Your Living Room. It's so true that dogs make for a sensational gateway to scientific enquiry - and they're right there, in front of us!If anyone happens to ask you "What's it like being a scientific canine behavioural researcher?", be sure to tell them to tune in to the @realscientists Twitter project from Sunday (or Saturday evening, USA time).  They can follow you and I for a whole week as we tweet from the @realscientists account, giving insight into our every day activities as canine scientists. Will our tweets sound like woofs? (source)If anyone out there isn't already on Twitter and/or hasn't been following @realscientists, you really should! It's a super fun insight into the world of science, science communication, writers, clinicians and more. Each week features a different flavour of scientific endeavour and I like to think we'll be bringing the real lab science into the spotlight!  So far, I've seen wild jaguars while canoeing down a river in the Amazon with Phil Torres; learned about mosquito-borne disease management from Cameron Webb and whisked along for the ride of a week in the life of futurist, with Kristin Alford.  Hypnotised by the eyes (source)It's so much fun and really important, because some people genuinely believe that scientists look like this and that conducting science looks like this.  Scary stuff!  I'm hoping that while we might not be in particularly exotic locations, we can make up for that with our enthusiasm for all things dog and science. Plus, between the two of us, being here in Australia and there New York, we're always here.  The-blog-that-never-sleeps can now be be the scientists-who-always-tweet! If anyone out there wants to know how to find out how we spend our week, you can:Follow our introductions at the Real Scientists blog hereKeep track of our tweets on Twitter hereParticipate in our live TweetUp session, being held for one hour from 10.30am Thu 18 April Melbourne time / 8.30pm Wed 17 April New York time (... Read more »

Brossard Dominique, & Scheufele Dietram A. (2012) Social science. Science, new media, and the public. Science (New York, N.Y.), 339(6115), 40-41. PMID: 23288529  

  • April 11, 2013
  • 10:32 AM
  • 248 views

From One Heart Attack to Another Heart Attack: Can We Break the Vicious Cycle?

by Piet Carriere in United Academics

“If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.” This quote from Albert Einstein reflects how this article approaches the underlying problem of reoccurring heart attacks, which affects millions of people. This is illustrated by statistics from the US, where around 935’000 (first and subsequent) heart attacks occur every year. The death rate after the first attack is approximately 10%, yet reoccurring heart attacks are probably even more fatal. And what is more, multiple studies have shown that a follow-up attacks are quite common within the first year (up to 54%). Why do heart attacks reoccur?... Read more »

Dutta, P., Courties, G., Wei, Y., Leuschner, F., Gorbatov, R., Robbins, C., Iwamoto, Y., Thompson, B., Carlson, A., Heidt, T.... (2012) Myocardial infarction accelerates atherosclerosis. Nature, 487(7407), 325-329. DOI: 10.1038/nature11260  

Leuschner, F., Rauch, P., Ueno, T., Gorbatov, R., Marinelli, B., Lee, W., Dutta, P., Wei, Y., Robbins, C., Iwamoto, Y.... (2012) Rapid monocyte kinetics in acute myocardial infarction are sustained by extramedullary monocytopoiesis. Journal of Experimental Medicine, 209(1), 123-137. DOI: 10.1084/jem.20111009  

Tabas, I. (2012) Cardiology: Bad matters made worse. Nature, 487(7407), 306-308. DOI: 10.1038/487306a  

  • April 8, 2013
  • 09:54 AM
  • 227 views

Getting Science Right: “Male of the Species Is Heading for Extinction”

by Anouk Vleugels in United Academics

Today: “The end of men? Expert predicts males will be extinct in five million years… and the process has already started!” by Daily Mail. Last week, Daily Mail published a story on research conducted by Dr. Jenny Graves, Distinguished Professor of Molecular Science at La Trobe University, Melbourne. According to the story’s headline and taglines, males are basically living on borrowed time. “Professor Graves, one of Australia’s most influential scientists, believes that women will win the battle of the sexes – and in the most definitive way possible.”... Read more »

Graves, J.A.M. (2006) SEX CHROMOSOMES DYNAMICS AND Y CHROMOSOME DEGENERATION. CELL, 901-914. info:/

  • April 5, 2013
  • 11:25 AM
  • 436 views

The Curious Case of Zoomosexuality

by Anouk Vleugels in United Academics

When observing homosexual behavior in animals, are biologists too quick to explain the gay away?

Two years ago, public outcry occurred when the zookeepers at Toronto Zoo separated Buddy and Pedro, a ‘gay’ penguin couple. The African penguins had been together for years, but were split up in the hope that they would find a female mate and produce some offspring. A necessary evil, the zookeepers explained, as the African penguin is an endangered species.... Read more »

Bailey, N., & Zuk, M. (2009) Same-sex sexual behavior and evolution. Trends in Ecology , 24(8), 439-446. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2009.03.014  

Preston-Mafham, K. (2006) Post-mounting courtship and the neutralizing of male competitors through “homosexual” mountings in the fly Hydromyza livens F. (Diptera : Scatophagidea). Journal of Natural History. info:/

  • April 4, 2013
  • 09:32 AM
  • 213 views

We Can Get Pretty Stupid, Research Says

by Andrew Porterfield in United Academics

A lot of people study intelligence, or at least take it for granted. We speak, listen (sometimes—more on that in a bit), form social groups that other animals don’t. Pretty smart, eh? But humans also do some colossally dumb things—engage in unnecessary stereotyping, stick our tongues to a frozen pole, or trigger a worldwide financial crisis.... Read more »

Crabtree, G. (2013) Our fragile intellect. Part I. Trends in Genetics, 29(1), 1-3. DOI: 10.1016/j.tig.2012.10.002  

Alvesson, M., & Spicer, A. (2012) A Stupidity-Based Theory of Organizations. Journal of Management Studies, 49(7), 1194-1220. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6486.2012.01072.x  

Schwartz, M. (2008) The importance of stupidity in scientific research. Journal of Cell Science, 121(11), 1771-1771. DOI: 10.1242/jcs.033340  

  • April 3, 2013
  • 10:59 AM
  • 271 views

Getting Science Right: Arsenic-Based Life

by Andrew Porterfield in United Academics

What happened?
The paper was a bombshell. Felisa Wolfe-Simon, a microbiologist at the US Geological Survey and NASA, found very strange bacteria in a very strange lake that energized itself in a very strange way. The bacteria lived in Mono Lake, California, and used the usually toxic chemical arsenic to sustain life, whilst most other living things used the chemically similar phosphorus.... Read more »

Wolfe-Simon F, Switzer Blum J, Kulp TR, Gordon GW, Hoeft SE, Pett-Ridge J, Stolz JF, Webb SM, Weber PK, Davies PC.... (2011) A bacterium that can grow by using arsenic instead of phosphorus. Science (New York, N.Y.), 332(6034), 1163-6. PMID: 21127214  

  • April 3, 2013
  • 10:25 AM
  • 260 views

Is It Okay For A Psychotherapist To Cry?

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

I guess you would be pretty surprised if you went to a psychotherapist and he or she started crying. But it sounds weirder than it actually is. In a survey among 684 American psychologists and trainees it turned out that most of them shed tears during therapy. And this wasn’t a women’s issue.... Read more »

  • April 2, 2013
  • 11:28 AM
  • 395 views

Film preparations for oral drug delivery

by Maren Preis in Pharmaceutical Solid State Research Cluster (PSSRC)

Oral films have gained interest in the last couple of years. Films for oral application offer an interesting new approach for drug administration. Active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) can be implemented in thin-sheeted polymer film matrices. These dosage forms are intended to be placed in mouth to dissolve in the saliva without the need of additional liquid and without swallowing of a solid dosage form.... Read more »

Hoffmann EM, Breitenbach A, & Breitkreutz J. (2011) Advances in orodispersible films for drug delivery. Expert opinion on drug delivery, 8(3), 299-316. PMID: 21284577  

Janßen E.M., Schliephacke R,, Breitenbach A,, & Breitkreutz J. (2013) Drug-printing by flexographic printing technology—A new manufacturing process for orodispersible films. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 441(1-2), 818-825. info:/10.1016/j.ijpharm.2012.12.023

Garsuch V, & Breitkreutz J. (2009) Novel analytical methods for the characterization of oral wafers. European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, 73(1), 195-201. PMID: 19482082  

Woertz K, Tissen C, Kleinebudde P, & Breitkreutz J. (2011) Taste sensing systems (electronic tongues) for pharmaceutical applications. International journal of pharmaceutics, 417(1-2), 256-71. PMID: 21094230  

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