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  • April 8, 2013
  • 09:54 AM
  • 283 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
  • 551 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
  • 263 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
  • 339 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
  • 336 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
  • 515 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  

  • April 2, 2013
  • 05:16 AM
  • 348 views

Fairy Circles of the Namib Desert

by Carian Thus in United Academics

A scientist has discovered what animal might be responsibe for these mysterious rings.... Read more »

  • April 2, 2013
  • 04:12 AM
  • 301 views

Storing Greenhouse Carbon, from the Ground up

by Andrew Porterfield in United Academics

When it comes to the sources of carbon in forests, scientists assumed that most of the sources of carbon come from dead leaves and other plant litter. Not so, say a group of Swedish researchers. ... Read more »

Clemmensen, K., Bahr, A., Ovaskainen, O., Dahlberg, A., Ekblad, A., Wallander, H., Stenlid, J., Finlay, R., Wardle, D., & Lindahl, B. (2013) Roots and Associated Fungi Drive Long-Term Carbon Sequestration in Boreal Forest. Science, 339(6127), 1615-1618. DOI: 10.1126/science.1231923  

  • March 31, 2013
  • 01:00 PM
  • 303 views

Video: Want to See an Atom? In 3D?

by Andrew Porterfield in United Academics

A UCLA team has managed to look at the structure of an atom; something we’ve never been able to visualize before. Here’s a close, three-dimensional look at platinum.... Read more »

Chen, C., Zhu, C., White, E., Chiu, C., Scott, M., Regan, B., Marks, L., Huang, Y., & Miao, J. (2013) Three-dimensional imaging of dislocations in a nanoparticle at atomic resolution. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature12009  

  • March 31, 2013
  • 07:45 AM
  • 345 views

How to Catch A Dragon

by Gunnar de Winter in United Academics

How do you catch a dragon? Do you go looking for a brave knight to send forth on a difficult quest? Or a legendary hunter without fear?

No. You use cameras to capture their image.

To be clear, the dragons we’re talking about here are Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis), the largest living lizards, which can be found on some Indonesian islands and can reach a length of 3 meters. Their size, along with the absence of large mammalian carnivores on the islands, makes them apex predators in their habitat.... Read more »

  • March 30, 2013
  • 02:39 PM
  • 244 views

Strong Social Ties Hinder the Spread of Rumors

by Mark Fonseca Rendeiro in United Academics

How often have you accidentally or purposefully spread a rumor through a tweet, status update, or text message? Sometimes you hear or see a piece of information that you’re not totally sure is accurate, but it is so compelling, you pass it on anyway. The epitome of rumor spreading in the 21st century. You would think that with all our followers, friends and all those contacts stored in smart phones, more rumors would get circulated than ever before. That may even be true, but the new discovery in the world of networks and communication is that the stronger the ties you have to the people in your network, the less likely it is that rumors will spread.... Read more »

Márton Karsai, Nicola Perra, & Alessandro Vespignani. (2013) The emergence and role of strong ties in time-varying communication networks. Physics and Society . arXiv: 1303.5966v1

  • March 29, 2013
  • 06:41 PM
  • 405 views

Antibodies stymie rheumatoid arthritis

by Valerie Ashton in The Molecular Scribe

What do comedian Lucille Ball, impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, actress Kathleen Turner, chemist Dorothy Hodgkin and physician Christiaan Barnard share in common? Apart from being famous, they all had rheumatoid arthritis.... Read more »

Scott DL, Wolfe F, & Huizinga TW. (2010) Rheumatoid arthritis. Lancet, 376(9746), 1094-108. PMID: 20870100  

John M. Eisenberg Center for Clinical Decisions and Communications Science. (2012) Drug Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis: Comparative Effectiveness. Agency for Heathcare Research and Quality. PMID: 23285486  

Maini RN, & Taylor PC. (2000) Anti-cytokine therapy for rheumatoid arthritis. Annual review of medicine, 207-29. PMID: 10774461  

Bartelds GM, Krieckaert CL, Nurmohamed MT, van Schouwenburg PA, Lems WF, Twisk JW, Dijkmans BA, Aarden L, & Wolbink GJ. (2011) Development of antidrug antibodies against adalimumab and association with disease activity and treatment failure during long-term follow-up. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 305(14), 1460-8. PMID: 21486979  

Scolnik PA. (2009) mAbs: a business perspective. mAbs, 1(2), 179-84. PMID: 20061824  

  • March 29, 2013
  • 10:29 AM
  • 322 views

Getting Science Right: Did James Watson Just Say That?

by Andrew Porterfield in United Academics

One of the discoverers of DNA’s structure, James Watson was never known for his modesty. Now, 60 years after the discovery that earned him, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins a Nobel Prize, Watson’s at it again; he’s criticizing cancer researchers worldwide for being too lazy, and relying too much on genetic answers. “The now much-touted genome-based personal cancer therapies may turn out to be much less important tools for future medicine than the newspapers of today lead us to hope,” he says in his latest “manifesto” in Open Biology. At a conference in San Diego, he actually touted the benefits of Metformin, a drug commonly used against diabetes.... Read more »

  • March 28, 2013
  • 06:57 PM
  • 537 views

Throw another dog in the (data) pool

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Hello Julie,My, oh my! What an exciting time it was last week, witnessing Dog Spies' migration to the Scientific American Blog Network. Such a great day for dogs, for science and for YOU!  Yah! for this recognition of your fabulous writing achievements, communicating the field of canine science to a broader audience. WELL DONE!As for your question about writing and how I do it, I have to admit I'm 'between systems' currently. By this, I mean that I sometimes map out ideas and plan my writing on paper before hitting the laptop; other times I just let rip straight onto the keyboard. I don't know if I'll ever migrate to a completely paperless system, but I feel that I'm moving in that direction. I still take most of my notes in meetings on paper, which is ridiculous as my handwriting is barely legible, even to me!Thanks also for the link to that piece by Clive Wynne about academic writing - I really enjoyed reading it.META-ANALYSIS You said it. I'm neck-deep in meta-analysis goodness right now and I'd love to tell you more about it. The meta-analysis data set I'm currently involved in compiling is about canine salivary cortisol (that just means cortisol found in dog spit). Cortisol is a hormone (more detail here) regularly used in research concerning animal stress and welfare. I've been interested in canine salivary cortisol  for a while now. That's partly because I collected a lot of it (dog spit, that is) from dogs living in home environments and working dog kennels as part of my PhD research; and partly because its really interesting! But my data alone is just one piece of a bigger puzzle. While it's really valuable information (of course it's valuable, it's part of my PhD!), it only offers insight into around 75 dogs from one population of purpose-bred dogs in one geographic area during one two-year period. How do the results of these dogs in my study compare to 'normal' dogs?Well, you see - that's the thing. What is the normal range for salivary cortisol in dogs? We don't really know.  What is it?Meta-analysis is a way of evaluating and interpreting the results from research about a particular topic. It adds together the data from different studies, then looks at the compiled data pool to see what patterns and relationships might emerge in the larger body of available information created by the many research projects.Throw another dog in the (data) pool! (source)Why use it?The patterns and groups we might look at within a meta-analysis of salivary cortisol (often used as an indicator of stress/welfare in dog research) are things like: Effects of different environments (do all the results from dogs housed in 'unfamiliar kennel environments' or 'familiar home environments' clump together at different or similar points within the range of values as a whole?); Effects of breed/age (is the range for labradors the same as that for german shepherds? Are all the young dogs in the same place as the old dogs?); Methodological aspects (such as what collection media was used: cotton swabs / synthetic rope / swabs with a saliva stimulant, etc. - does this effect where the cortisol results lie within the whole range?) All this information (and much more!) can be investigated and the information will help to provide further context for the existing studies, while also informing the design and interpretation of future studies. ... Read more »

Liberati Alessandro, Altman Douglas G., Tetzlaff Jennifer, Mulrow Cynthia, Gøtzsche Peter C., Ioannidis John P.A., Clarke Mike, Devereaux P.J., Kleijnen Jos, & Moher David. (2009) The PRISMA statement for reporting systematic reviews and meta-analyses of studies that evaluate health care interventions: explanation and elaboration. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 62(10). DOI: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2009.06.006  

Dorey Nicole R., Udell Monique A.R., & Wynne Clive D.L. (2009) Breed differences in dogs sensitivity to human points: A meta-analysis. Behavioural Processes, 81(3), 409-415. DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2009.03.011  

Fratkin Jamie L, Sinn David L, Patall Erika A, & Gosling Samuel D. (2013) Personality consistency in dogs: a meta-analysis. PloS one. PMID: 23372787  

Nimer Janelle, & Lundahl Brad. (2007) Animal-Assisted Therapy: A Meta-Analysis. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People , 20(3), 225-238. DOI: 10.2752/089279307X224773  

  • March 26, 2013
  • 10:02 AM
  • 297 views

Get to Know Yourself with Mindfulness (Apps)

by Carian Thus in United Academics

Mindfulness is a technique that encourages people to become more aware of the present moment by paying attention to current sensations, thoughts and feelings in a non-judgemental way. Previous research already demonstrated that mindfulness-based meditation can enhance multitasking behavior, improve skin conditions, and sooth pain. Now a new study shows that it also improves self-knowledge.... Read more »

  • March 26, 2013
  • 06:15 AM
  • 493 views

Crazy in Love or Just Crazy?

by Carian Thus in United Academics

Insomnia, euphoria, anxiety and obsession; modern science shows us that these symptoms are just as likely to be found in someone who is deeply in love as someone who is having mental problems. Should these people be once again diagnosed as having “lovesickness”, as they would have been in the past? Or do we now have a better way to approach the connection between these conditions?... Read more »

Brand, S., Luethi, M., von Planta, A., Hatzinger, M., & Holsboer-Trachsler, E. (2007) Romantic Love, Hypomania, and Sleep Pattern in Adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 41(1), 69-76. DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2007.01.012  

MARAZZITI, D., AKISKAL, H., ROSSI, A., & CASSANO, G. (1999) Alteration of the platelet serotonin transporter in romantic love. Psychological Medicine, 29(3), 741-745. DOI: 10.1017/S0033291798007946  

Reynaud, M., Karila, L., Blecha, L., & Benyamina, A. (2010) Is Love Passion an Addictive Disorder?. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 36(5), 261-267. DOI: 10.3109/00952990.2010.495183  

  • March 25, 2013
  • 01:11 PM
  • 363 views

How Eating Monkey Meat Leads to Less Fruit

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

In Africa people eat monkey meat for the protein it contains. You can guess this is bad news for the monkey population, but it actually has far bigger consequences for the whole forrest and eventually for humans themselves. It could lead to less fruits and nuts, typically those that men also eat, like mango’s.... Read more »

Effiom EO, Nuñez-Iturri G, Smith HG, Ottosson U, & Olsson O. (2013) Bushmeat hunting changes regeneration of African rainforests. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 280(1759), 20130246. PMID: 23516245  

  • March 25, 2013
  • 12:26 PM
  • 295 views

Fiddler Crabs’ Large Claw Is Attractive and Effective

by Andrew Porterfield in United Academics

Male fiddler crabs face two major challenges to their dominance; attracting females, and fending off other males competing for those females. The crabs rely on an extra-large claw to achieve both these goals. However, most scientists studying these crabs have assumed that as the male crab evolved, it was forced to make a tradeoff between an attractive, long claw, and a shorter one that’s more effective in combat.... Read more »

  • March 25, 2013
  • 06:33 AM
  • 347 views

Study of Great Tits: Prettier Birds Have Healthier Babies

by Carian Thus in United Academics

Researchers have discovered that the look of a female great tits (Parus major) signals reproductive success. ... Read more »

Remeš, V., & Matysioková, B. (2013) More ornamented females produce higher-quality offspring in a socially monogamous bird: an experimental study in the great tit (Parus major). Frontiers in Zoology, 10(14). info:/

  • March 22, 2013
  • 12:09 PM
  • 321 views

Getting Science Right: Recognizing Emotions in Dogs

by Carian Thus in United Academics

Bad science reporting happens on a daily basis and is perpetuated by both the media as well as the scientists themselves. UA Magazine checks whether science related media are doing justice to the research papers they mention. ... Read more »

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