Post List

Other posts

(Modify Search »)

  • 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  

  • May 30, 2013
  • 06:43 AM

Lung Disease Drugs Increase Chances of Heart Failure

by Alvin Lin in United Academics

A bit of medical humor: Ask a cardiologist about the purpose of the body and s/he will tell you it’s to support the function of the heart. Ask a pulmonologist about the purpose of the body and s/he will tell it’s to support the function of the lungs. This reminds of the late Rodney King’s immortal quote, “Can we all get along?”. I mention this because it often comes down to the primary care provider, a family physician or general internist, to help a patient torn between two opposing therapeutic regimens. For instance, beta blockers are often used in those with heart disease but their antithesis, beta agonists, are used in common lung diseases. But patients often have both conditions, which then begs the question, “Which medication should I use, doc?”... Read more »

  • May 29, 2013
  • 04:46 AM

the social organism

by Ignacio Gallo in populations, function and meaning

The Social Organism is a 20-page essay published by Herbert Spencer in 1860. Nowadays Spencer is mainly known for having invented the phrase "survival of the fittest" to describe Charles Darwin's process of Natural Selection, and in particular for applying this concept to social phenomena in his Principles of Sociology. For this reason Spencer is usually [...]... Read more »

  • May 28, 2013
  • 09:36 AM

Sex Hormones vs Body Composition

by Alvin Lin in United Academics

Researchers followed 821 men for close to 5yrs after initial measurements of hormone status and body composition via dual energy xray absorptiometry were performed. Because no change in body composition was noted over this period of time, they concluded that body composition affects hormone levels but not the other way around. In other words, they claim that the chicken laid the egg.... Read more »

  • May 27, 2013
  • 06:13 PM

Tapeworm genomes guide drug design

by Valerie Ashton in The Molecular Scribe

Thoughts of tapeworms conjure up horror stories. Visions of wriggling worms inching through intestines fill the mind.

Although this may be a disturbing reality in many tropical regions of the world, tapeworm infections are rare in temperate climes. Specifically, tapeworm diseases are prevalent in Africa, central Asia, southern South America, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, but are rare in the UK and the US. They are so uncommon that pharmacies in the UK do not stock anti-tapeworm drugs; they need to be ordered in specially on a case-by-case basis. In contrast, in some regions of Spain tapeworm infections of humans and livestock are rife, with the total loss in productively estimated to be $192 million in 2005, according to the World Health Organisation1. The same organisation highlighted tapeworm infections as two of the 17 most neglected tropical diseases.... Read more »

  • May 26, 2013
  • 06:16 AM

How to Best Talk About Sex, Research

by Annemarie van Oosten in United Academics

One of the most important things in sustaining a good relationship, and a sexual relationship for that matter, is good communication. But what exactly is good communication when it comes to sex? How should we talk about sex to our partners?... Read more »

  • May 24, 2013
  • 09:40 AM

Fluke or Trend? ‘Calcium Causes Heart Disease’

by Alvin Lin in United Academics

Snap! Ouch! That’s from my head doing a double take. All these years, I thought the calcium vs heart disease thing was a conspiracy arranged by one researcher and publication. However, 3 months ago, I stumbled upon some corroborating studies by other researchers in other journals. Even the US Preventive Services Task Force recently came out against low dose calcium (less than 1,000mg/d) in post-menopausal women because they could not find conclusive evidence of benefit in the face of a small risk of harm from kidney stone... Read more »

join us!

Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.

If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.

Register Now

Research Blogging is powered by SMG Technology.

To learn more, visit