Three fast track articles were recently published on CyberPsychology and Behavior about the treatment of PTSD with virtual reality exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is the most evidence based treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). More than 18 studies have been published on the use of virtual reality exposure treatment for PTSD.
One of [...]
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McLay, R., McBrien, C., Wiederhold, M., & Wiederhold, B. (2009) Exposure Therapy with and without Virtual Reality to Treat PTSD while in the Combat Theater: A Parallel Case Series. CyberPsychology , 2147483647. DOI: 10.1089/cpb.2009.0346
Gamito, P., Oliveira, J., Rosa, P., Morais, D., Duarte, N., Oliveira, S., & Saraiva, T. (2009) PTSD Elderly War Veterans: A Clinical Controlled Pilot Study. CyberPsychology , 2147483647. DOI: 10.1089/cpb.2009.0237
Botella, C., García-Palacios, A., Guillen, V., Baños, R., Quero, S., & Alcaniz, M. (2009) An Adaptive Display for the Treatment of Diverse Trauma PTSD Victims. CyberPsychology , 2147483647. DOI: 10.1089/cpb.2009.0353
In celebration of the holiday season, Sci went looking for something seasonal. But referring constantly to things like how many calories we eat around this time (Sci is no exception) is really a downer. So this season, Sci decided to find out what would happen if you plug the word "christmas" into pubmed.
It turns out there are a lot of people named Christmas.
But Sci ALSO came across this study, which she found to be a really really cool phenomenon of SCIENCE! And so, as her holiday gift to you today, she presents you with this:
Cappelletti et al. "A case of selective impairment of encyclopaedic numerical knowledge or 'when December 25th is no longer Christmas day, but '20 + 5' is still 25'" Cortex, 2006.
One of the things Sci finds interesting about this paper is the idea that the brain distinguishes between two "types" of numbers. Numbers that...are numbers, and numbers that MEAN something. Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »
CAPPELLETTI, M., JANSARI, A., KOPELMAN, M., & BUTTERWORTH, B. (2008) A case of selective impairment of encyclopaedic numerical knowledge or ‘when December 25th is no longer Christmas day, but ‘20 5’ is still 25’. Cortex, 44(3), 325-336. DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2006.07.005
Gardeners, ecologists and naturalists well know the frustration of keeping up with the latest up-to-date scientific names of the organisms they grow, study and appreciate. The plant list in my own research project is over 800 species long. I made sure that all their names were up to date with recent taxonomic revisions before I started my analysis, but now two years later I have found with horror that so many have since been changed!Admirers of Australian orchids are quite likely to be currently experiencing this confusion over the names of their beloved plants. The orchid family, Orchidaceae, holds the record of being the most species-rich flowering plant family, and southern Australia in particular is home to a thriving and diverse assortment of ground dwelling, or terrestrial, orchids. Orchids are popular plants to grow and study; a huge range of orchid-related societies exist, and a great deal of research into orchid systematics, conservation and ecology is conducted around the world. Why so popular? Orchids are simply fascinating plants. Their flowers range from the beautiful to the bizarre. Their ecological strategies are a researcher’s delight, particularly their pollination mechanisms, such as the deception of their insect pollinators by providing false promises of food or sex. Many are also endangered species.A recent paper from the Annals of Botany – ‘Taxomonic Turmoil Down-Under’ – describes the recent changes and debates in the naming of Australian orchids. The genus Caladenia is a particularly interesting case study, also discussed in ‘An Introduction to Caladenia R. Br – Australasia’s jewel among terrestrial orchids’ from the Australian Journal of Botany.Caladenia is a genus of over 250 species of terrestrial orchids. Common names include ‘spider orchid’, ‘pink fingers’ and ‘blue fairy’. Caladenias occur in a range of habitats but are particularly common in dry woodlands and forests. Their flowers are pretty and very conspicuous; one can often easily spot them from a distance on a stroll though a woodland in spring.Sadly, many caladenias are threatened species. This is a particularly important reason why the names of Caladenia species need to be agreed upon. Recent molecular research has clarified the relationships within Caladenia, and has shown that there appear to be six major groupings. However, the point of debate is whether to keep these six groups as subgenera within the genus Caladenia, or elevate these six groups to their own genus. The second option is proposed by David Jones and colleagues from the Australian National Herbarium, whereas the first option is proposed by Stephen Hopper and colleagues from Western Australia and Kew Royal Botanic Gardens.So, the first option would be to keep Caladenia as it is - a large genus of over 250 species, which means mostly keeping their names stable. The second option means that Caladenia will be split into six smaller genera: Caladenia, Arachnorchis, Drakonorchis, Calonema, Petalochilus and Stegostyla. So instead of, for instance, Caladenia congesta, this orchid will become Stegostyla congesta.(just an aside; can anyone work out what Arachnorchis translates as?)One of the main arguments for keeping Caladenia as it is, and not splitting it into multiple genera, is to “maximise nomenclatural stability”.There is actually an international set of rules which governs the naming of plants, called the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature. It makes sense that there is such a code, to ensure that each species has its own unique name and to keep the naming of newly discovered plants, and the renaming of known plants, under some sort of control. The preamble to the Code clearly states that a key aim is to provide stability in naming plants:1. Botany requires a precise and simple system of nomenclature used by botanists in all countries, dealing on the one hand with the terms which denote the ranks of taxonomic groups or units, and on the other hand with the scientific names which are applied to the individual taxonomic groups of plants. The purpose of giving a name to a taxonomic group is not to indicate its characters or history, but to supply a means of referring to it and to indicate its taxonomic rank. This Code aims at the provision of a stable method of naming taxonomic groups, avoiding and rejecting the use of names which may cause error or ambiguity or throw science into confusion. Next in importance is the avoidance of the useless creation of names. Other considerations, such as absolute grammatical correctness, regularity or euphony of names, more or less prevailing custom, regard for persons, etc., notwithstanding their undeniable importance, are relatively accessory.These articles cited below suggest that because of these guidelines, it is likely that the Caladenia genus will remain as it is, rather than being split into six groups. Particularly because of the popularity of orchids, it is certainly likely that the renaming could cause confusion.Keeping up with the latest names can be hard work. But consistent and accurate naming and delineation of taxonomic groups, particularly species and genera, is critical for conservation biology to ensure that we are all talking about the same thing.A diagram from both papers illustrating the two different systems for classifying the Caladenias. System 1 keeps the groups as subgenera, System 2 elevates them to their own genus.PapersDixon, K., & Hopper, S. (2009). An introduction to R.Br. – Australasia's jewel among terrestrial orchids Australian Journal of Botany, 57 (4) DOI: 10.1071/BT09999... Read more »
Dixon, K., & Hopper, S. (2009) An introduction to R.Br. – Australasia's jewel among terrestrial orchids . Australian Journal of Botany, 57(4). DOI: 10.1071/BT09999
Hopper, S. (2009) Taxonomic turmoil down-under: recent developments in Australian orchid systematics. Annals of Botany, 104(3), 447-455. DOI: 10.1093/aob/mcp090
I’ve decided to blog this a little earlier than I would usually simply because the COP15 is still fresh in everyone’s minds and the paper is now online as an ‘Accepted Article’, so it is fully citable.
The paper published in Conservation Letters by Strassburg and colleagues is entitled Global congruence of carbon storage and biodiversity [...]... Read more »
Strassburg, B., Kelly, A., Balmford, A., Davies, R., Gibbs, H., Lovett, A., Miles, L., Orme, C., Price, J., Turner, R.... (2009) Global congruence of carbon storage and biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems. Conservation Letters. DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2009.00092.x
Some of you may know that I’ve just had surgery, and I’m gently recovering from the comfort of my own home over the next few weeks. Posts on here will be intermittent but I find myself considering aspects of pain management from a ‘patient’s’ perspective today as it’s about 5 days since surgery and my [...]... Read more »
Leegaard, M., Nåden, D., & Fagermoen, M. (2008) Postoperative pain and self-management: women’s experiences after cardiac surgery. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 63(5), 476-485. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2008.04727.x
One year and a half ago I spent lot of times reading those foundational papers about Web Information Retrieval where first analysis of usage on search engines (main information retrieval systems for Web) were performed.
Those papers showed that the average user on the web search for information in a very different way, hardly describing their goals, visiting few alternatives and spending not much time.
Some months ago I was thinking about the quality and quantity of information that a search engine shows to the user in order to accomplish their goals and then a discussion with a colleague of mine about twitter made me think that a study focusing on how and why people uses twitter would be very interesting.
Obviously you cannot figure out the reasons because every single user is twitting, but we cannot figure out the real motivations behind every single query submitted to a search engine and we are still trying to have a better understanding.
My first thought was to apply Broder’s taxonomy to tweets, but it’s clear that Broder’s Taxonomy can only be applied to Information Retrieval actions, not Information Creation actions (such as a tweet). An equivalent taxonomy should be found and that path led too far from current interests.
Last days I was thinking again about the information exposed by a search engine and Dani recommended me:
Why We Twitter: Understanding Microblogging Usage and Communities by Java et al. (Akshay Java, Xiaodan Song, Tim Finin and Belle Tseng) http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1348549.1348556
In this paper the authors perform an analysis over a dataset from twitter collected by the authors during a period of two months focusing on the network properties, geographic distribution of the users and user intention.
According to user intention the authors implement the HITS algorithm in order to find authorities (users with a high number of followers) and hubs (users who follows lot of authorities). This way they identify 3 kind of users:
Those who share information.
Those who seek information.
Those who want to be connected with friends.
A user can overlap in these categories. For example, I have an account in Twitter because I want to stay in touch with my friends and I want to receive information about my interests.
Categories 1 and 2 can be solved with HITS algorithm but category 3 demands a community analysis which is also performed in this paper, showing some examples of overlapping comunities.
A term trends (in fact this was the related part to my research right now) study was also performed, using a log-likelihood measure to find descriptive term for a day.
I think this is a very interesting paper and I’m quite sure that we’re going to see some other studies about twitter and other microblogging communities.
Akshay Java, Xiaodan Song, Tim Finin, & Belle Tseng (2007). Why we twitter: understanding microblogging usage and communities Proceedings of the 9th WebKDD and 1st SNA-KDD 2007 workshop on Web mining and social network analysis, 56-65 : 10.1145/1348549.1348556... Read more »
Akshay Java, Xiaodan Song, Tim Finin, & Belle Tseng. (2007) Why we twitter: understanding microblogging usage and communities. Proceedings of the 9th WebKDD and 1st SNA-KDD 2007 workshop on Web mining and social network analysis, 56-65. info:/10.1145/1348549.1348556
Superheroes, virtual worlds and hindu gods: a visual genealogy of James Cameron's Avatar - based on my article "Les Avatars Bleus" (Communications, 2005). For those who don't speak French. Also, for those who simply can't be bothered to go through 30 pages of socio-babbling ;) ... Read more »
Antonio A. Casilli. (2005) [Blue Avatars, about three strategies of cultural borrowing at the heart of computer culture] Les avatars bleus, Autour de trois stratégies d’emprunt culturel au cœur de la cyberculture. Communications, 77(1), 183-209. info:/
Two papers and an editorial in the latest issue of Archives of Internal Medicine examine the cancer risks associated with the use of computed tomography (CT) examinations.... Read more »
Smith-Bindman, R., Lipson, J., Marcus, R., Kim, K., Mahesh, M., Gould, R., Berrington de Gonzalez, A., & Miglioretti, D. (2009) Radiation Dose Associated With Common Computed Tomography Examinations and the Associated Lifetime Attributable Risk of Cancer. Archives of Internal Medicine, 169(22), 2078-2086. DOI: 10.1001/archinternmed.2009.427
Berrington de Gonzalez, A., Mahesh, M., Kim, K., Bhargavan, M., Lewis, R., Mettler, F., & Land, C. (2009) Projected Cancer Risks From Computed Tomographic Scans Performed in the United States in 2007. Archives of Internal Medicine, 169(22), 2071-2077. DOI: 10.1001/archinternmed.2009.440
Redberg, R. (2009) Cancer Risks and Radiation Exposure From Computed Tomographic Scans: How Can We Be Sure That the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?. Archives of Internal Medicine, 169(22), 2049-2050. DOI: 10.1001/archinternmed.2009.453
...lineage of Iva frutescens specifically, proximity to tidally influenced waters has selected achenes with a tolerance for saltwater and a proven ability to stay afloat while in a non-dormant condition. In fact, research published just this year has shown that the achenes of Iva frutescens can stay ... Read more »
Elsey-Quirk, T., Middleton, B., & Proffitt, C. (2009) Seed flotation and germination of salt marsh plants. Aquatic Botany, 91(1), 40-46. DOI: 10.1016/j.aquabot.2009.02.001
Regular readers of this blog will be aware of my fascination with Carol Dweck and her entity versus incremental theory of intelligence/ability that I have blogged about extensively in the past. To recap, people (children usually in her studies) can have a fixed entity view of intelligence that it is a stable trait whihc can/does not [...]Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
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... Read more »
Dweck, C., Chiu, C., & Hong, Y. (1995) Implicit Theories and Their Role in Judgments and Reactions: A Word From Two Perspectives. Psychological Inquiry, 6(4), 267-285. DOI: 10.1207/s15327965pli0604_1
Carol, Dweck S; Daniel, Molden C. (2008) Self-Theories: The Construction of Free Will. Are We free, 44-65. info:/
A discussion of Abraham Lincoln's illness at Gettysburg. ... Read more »
Science this week has an article (Stone 2009) on the perils associated with Lake Sarez in the Pamirs. Sarez is a huge lake (56 km long and with a volume of 17 billion cubic metres of water) that was formed by a landslide triggered by the 1911 earthquake in Tajikistan (see image below).Google Earth image of Lake Sarez. The landslide dam is to west (left).Google Earth image of the landslide dam at Usoi. The source of the landslide was to the north of the current deposit.The landslide dam (see image above) stands 567 metres tall. To put that in perspective, the image below shows Taipei 101, until recently the world's tallest building. It is 501 metres tall:Taipei 101 (source Wikipedia)Since its creation Lake Sarez has been steadily filling, which has long been a concern. There are an estimated 5.5 million people living downstream of the dam in the Amu Darya river valley, which flows through Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. There are really three key concerns with this dam:The dam could fail through seepage - a few years ago water started to seep through the landslide deposit, the concern is that this will erode out the core of the landslide;The dam could fail in an earthquake - this is a seismically-active zone, but the threat is considered to be quite low as the dam is considered to be quite stable;The dam could fail as a result of another landslide going into the lake, creating a displacement wave (similar to the Vaiont landslide) that causes the dam to overtop. Of course this is most likely to be triggered by an earthquake landslide.The article points out that the third of these is the most likely, such that the site has a sizable warning system just in case.The article points out that given the number of people downstream the risks are now considered to be too high. The dam itself cannot be stabilised, so there is a need to draw down the level of the lake by at least 50 m. However, there can be little doubt that this falls in the "easier said than done" category.The key component of the article is highlighting that there are a range of views as to the level of danger at this site, both in terms of the possibility of another landslide and of the stability of the dam itself. The article quotes a number of notable landslide experts:Jorg Hanisch is quoted as saying that "the probability is 1 in a million,"of the dam being overtopped by a wave created by a landslide. He also rules out any possibility of the dame being eroded by seepage.Jean Schneider from BOKU in Vienna is quoted as saying that "The risk of even a partial outbreak is exaggerated...the dam will only possibly be overtopped in the far future."On the other hand, Kadam Maskaev (deputy director of the emergency situations committee in Tajikistan) views the seepage in a different way: "The filtration regime of the dam is changing, and that makes me nervous."Kyoji Sassa, the chair of the International Consortium on Landslides, has a different view again. The article claims that he argues that the threat from a further landslide is significant. The suggested optimum mitigation approach is a diversion tunnel that would be used to generate hydroelectric power, with the water also being made available to downstream communities. However, the costs are high ($500 million) and such a project is not without risks. In the sort term it appears that there will be a research campaign that will culminate in a conference in 2011, the 100th anniversary of the dam. That would be an interesting meeting to attend!ReferenceStone, R. (2009). Peril in the Pamirs Science, 326 (5960), 1614-1617 DOI: 10.1126/science.326.5960.1614... Read more »
Pascaline Le Gouar (CNRS, France) and coworkers predict that recent Ebola outbreaks are not a long-term threat to the survival of Western lowland gorillas, as long as enough gorillas remain after the initial high mortality event, and the population has a chance to rebound. This news feature was written on December 19, 2009.... Read more »
Le Gouar, P. J., Vallet, D., David, L., Bermejo, M., Gatti, S., Levréro, F., Petit, E. J., & Ménard, N. (2009) How Ebola Impacts Genetics of Western Lowland Gorilla Populations. PLoS ONE, 4(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008375
This week’s Lancet features an article entitled, “Variant CJD in an individual heterozygous for PRNP codon 129” by Kaski and colleagues. The authors report the first case of probable variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in an individual who is heterozygous at codon 129 of the prion protein gene (PRNP). To date, all symptomatic cases have occurred in individuals who are homozygous for methionine at codon 129. As we know from other studies (Brown P, 1994), the incubation period of acquired prion disease varies by the polymorphism at codon 129. Typically, methionine homozygotes have the shortest incubation period and heterozygotes have the longest. Thus one concern that prion researchers have had is whether we would see other incidence peaks of vCJD for other genotypes (Val-Val and Met-Val). Hence, this report is concerning from a public health standpoint in that it occurred in a novel genotype. The case was diagnosed as vCJD due to the young age at onset (30-years-old), clinical presentation (pain sensations and psychiatric symptoms), the presence of the pulvinar sign on brain MRI (Zeidler M, 2000), lack of periodic sharp wave complexes on electroencephalogram, and prolonged survival time (approximately 19 months). An autopsy was not performed, so this is not a definite case of vCJD. Technorati Tags: CJD,Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease,variant CJD,vCJD,prion Kaski, D., Mead, S., Hyare, H., Cooper, S., Jampana, R., Overell, J., Knight, R., Collinge, J., & Rudge, P. (2010). Variant CJD in an individual heterozygous for PRNP codon 129 The Lancet, 374 (9707), 2128-2128 DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61568-3 ... Read more »
Kaski, D., Mead, S., Hyare, H., Cooper, S., Jampana, R., Overell, J., Knight, R., Collinge, J., & Rudge, P. (2010) Variant CJD in an individual heterozygous for PRNP codon 129. The Lancet, 374(9707), 2128-2128. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61568-3
While in field last week, I encountered a species of fungus with a rather unique set of morphological and ecological characteristics. The aptly named ‘stinkhorn’ fungus (Clathrus columnatus) belongs to the Phallaceae Family of fungi and produces a distinctive gelatinous spore mass that gives off a lovely perfume. Well, lovely to insects anyway, to me it reeked of rotting meat and dung. The stinkhorn’s ‘aroma’ serves as an attractant for flies and other insects vital to the fungus’s lifecycle. In the process of munching on the glebra (spore mass) insects gather the fungus’s reproductive spores on their bodies and in their digestive tracts, these spores are then transported and dispersed once the insects have gotten their fill and part ways. Although my nose took offense to ... Read more »
Tuno, N. (1998) Spore dispersal of Dictyophora fungi (Phallaceae) by flies. Ecological Research, 13(1), 7-15. DOI: 10.1046/j.1440-1703.1998.00241.x
The basic model of a black hole can be summed up as follows: gravity wins. The root cause of all black holes—be they tiny primordial black holes, solar mass black holes, or supermassive galactic black holes—is gravity. Squeeze enough mass...... Read more »
Mbonye, M., & Kazanas, D. (2005) Nonsingular black hole model as a possible end product of gravitational collapse. Physical Review D, 72(2). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.72.024016
Sherman, Haidt & Coan (2009) have found evidence that exposure to cute stimuli improves fine motor performance. In brief, subjects were exposed to images of cats/dogs or puppies/kittens and then they played the children’s game, Operation. Both studies reported in this paper found that exposure to cuteness increased subjects’ ability to successfully play Operation. Sherman [...]... Read more »
Sherman, G., Haidt, J., & Coan, J. (2009) Viewing cute images increases behavioral carefulness. Emotion, 9(2), 282-286. DOI: 10.1037/a0014904
The present H1N1 influenza virus (nvH1N1, nv=new variant) behaves very differently from other influenza strains. The majority of nvH1N1 infections are mild and self-limiting in nature, but a small percentage of the patients require hospitalization and sometimes emergency care. Unlike the seasonal flu virus, the people who seem to suffer serious complications from this [...]... Read more »
Bermejo-Martin, J., Ortiz de Lejarazu, R., Pumarola, T., Rello, J., Almansa, R., Ramirez, P., Martin-Loeches, I., Varillas, D., Gallegos, M., Seron, C.... (2009) Th1 and Th17 hypercytokinemia as early host response signature in severe pandemic influenza. Critical Care, 13(6). DOI: 10.1186/cc8208
Park, H., Li, Z., Yang, X., Chang, S., Nurieva, R., Wang, Y., Wang, Y., Hood, L., Zhu, Z., Tian, Q.... (2005) A distinct lineage of CD4 T cells regulates tissue inflammation by producing interleukin 17. Nature Immunology, 6(11), 1133-1141. DOI: 10.1038/ni1261
Compelling empirical evidence for the use of learning styles in education and training simply does not exist.... Read more »
From a recent PLOSOne study, some interesting findings on malaria pathogenesis. What we know is that getting cerebral malaria is both very bad and very unpredictable, so that it's very difficult to decide which patient will require closer monitoring than others. Management is non-specific and supportive, and we still don't exactly know why it happens. There are a lot of theories out there, many of which center around the sludging of blood in the cerebral vessels, causing decreased brain blood flow and the symptoms we see. This has always been suspect, since there are a great deal of inconsistencies with this hypothesis, so investigation has continued.Adding to some prior work that they've done, these investigators looked at a population in India where malaria is endemic. From screening the serum of patients with both severe malaria and cerebral malaria, they found some interesting differences. Notably, the patients with cerebral malaria had a specific cytokine response that seemed to induce a reaction to a series of brain-specific proteins in the form of antibody production. What the effect of this auto-antibody production is on the symptoms seen in cerebral malaria remains unclear, especially since their concentration wasn't related to disease severity. Determining whether these antibodies contribute to disease, or serve as simply a marker for disease progression or existence, still has to be sussed out. Interestingly, however, the strongest signal was to a different brain protein compared with their prior study in African patients, suggesting a variant host response, although there was some overlap in this data.Getting more people into this study would have powered their results a bit more, and perhaps helped pinpoint the brain protein a bit better, but nevertheless, it's an interesting theory that deserves some more study, since it has sizable implications, both for therapeutic and for prognostic purposes. Given that we are making only slow progress in the battle against this disease, the more information and research on the topic, the better.Bansal, D., Herbert, F., Lim, P., Deshpande, P., Bécavin, C., Guiyedi, V., de Maria, I., Rousselle, J., Namane, A., Jain, R., Cazenave, P., Mishra, G., Ferlini, C., Fesel, C., Benecke, A., & Pied, S. (2009). IgG Autoantibody to Brain Beta Tubulin III Associated with Cytokine Cluster-II Discriminate Cerebral Malaria in Central India PLoS ONE, 4 (12) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008245... Read more »
Bansal, D., Herbert, F., Lim, P., Deshpande, P., Bécavin, C., Guiyedi, V., de Maria, I., Rousselle, J., Namane, A., Jain, R.... (2009) IgG Autoantibody to Brain Beta Tubulin III Associated with Cytokine Cluster-II Discriminate Cerebral Malaria in Central India. PLoS ONE, 4(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008245
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