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  • March 15, 2016
  • 10:37 AM
  • 735 views

mtDNA sucks for inferring hominin relationships

by zacharoo in Lawn Chair Anthropology

Ancient DNA studies keep on delivering awesome findings about human evolution. Continuing this trend, Matthias Meyer and colleagues report today in Nature nuclear DNA (nDNA) sequenced from ~430,000 year old humans from the Sima de los Huesos (SH) site in Spain. SH is badass not only because the name translates as “pit of bones,” but also because […]... Read more »

Krause, J., Fu, Q., Good, J., Viola, B., Shunkov, M., Derevianko, A., & Pääbo, S. (2010) The complete mitochondrial DNA genome of an unknown hominin from southern Siberia. Nature, 464(7290), 894-897. DOI: 10.1038/nature08976  

Meyer, M., Fu, Q., Aximu-Petri, A., Glocke, I., Nickel, B., Arsuaga, J., Martínez, I., Gracia, A., de Castro, J., Carbonell, E.... (2013) A mitochondrial genome sequence of a hominin from Sima de los Huesos. Nature, 505(7483), 403-406. DOI: 10.1038/nature12788  

Meyer, M., Arsuaga, J., de Filippo, C., Nagel, S., Aximu-Petri, A., Nickel, B., Martínez, I., Gracia, A., de Castro, J., Carbonell, E.... (2016) Nuclear DNA sequences from the Middle Pleistocene Sima de los Huesos hominins. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature17405  

Reich, D., Green, R., Kircher, M., Krause, J., Patterson, N., Durand, E., Viola, B., Briggs, A., Stenzel, U., Johnson, P.... (2010) Genetic history of an archaic hominin group from Denisova Cave in Siberia. Nature, 468(7327), 1053-1060. DOI: 10.1038/nature09710  

  • March 14, 2016
  • 07:10 PM
  • 1,100 views

Crucial communication: language management in Australian asylum interviews

by Laura Smith-Khan in Language on the Move

Asylum seekers in Australia face a few very public hurdles. Successive governments have used increasingly restrictive refugee policies to gain...... Read more »

  • March 14, 2016
  • 03:19 PM
  • 643 views

Decrypting a collagen’s role in schizophrenia

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

What would be worse than having bad joints? How about schizophrenia and bad joints? To be fair that isn’t what is suggested, but they may, in fact, be linked. A small peptide generated from a collagen protein may protect the brain from schizophrenia by promoting the formation of neuronal synapses and study may lead to new approaches to treating the mental disorder.

... Read more »

Su, J., Chen, J., Lippold, K., Monavarfeshani, A., Carrillo, G., Jenkins, R., & Fox, M. (2016) Collagen-derived matricryptins promote inhibitory nerve terminal formation in the developing neocortex. The Journal of Cell Biology, 212(6), 721-736. DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201509085  

  • March 14, 2016
  • 03:19 PM
  • 587 views

Decrypting a collagen’s role in schizophrenia

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

What would be worse than having bad joints? How about schizophrenia and bad joints? To be fair that isn’t what is suggested, but they may, in fact, be linked.  A small peptide generated from a collagen protein may protect the brain from schizophrenia by promoting the formation of neuronal synapses and study may lead to […]... Read more »

Su, J., Chen, J., Lippold, K., Monavarfeshani, A., Carrillo, G., Jenkins, R., & Fox, M. (2016) Collagen-derived matricryptins promote inhibitory nerve terminal formation in the developing neocortex. The Journal of Cell Biology, 212(6), 721-736. DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201509085  

  • March 13, 2016
  • 04:40 PM
  • 724 views

New learning procedure for neural networks

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Rustling leaves, a creaking branch: To a mouse, these sensory impressions may, at first, seem harmless — but not if a cat suddenly bursts out of the bush. If so, they were clues of impending life-threatening danger. Researcher Robert Gütig has now found how the brain can link sensory perceptions to events occurring after a delay.

... Read more »

  • March 12, 2016
  • 04:08 PM
  • 756 views

People with anxiety show fundamental differences in perception

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

People suffering from anxiety perceive the world in a fundamentally different way than others, according to a new study. The research may help explain why certain people are more prone to anxiety. The study shows that people diagnosed with anxiety are less able to distinguish between a neutral, “safe” stimulus (in this case, the sound of a tone) and one that had earlier been associated with gaining or losing money.

... Read more »

  • March 10, 2016
  • 03:50 PM
  • 881 views

Alzheimer’s on and now Alzheimer’s off?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Alzheimer's disease, is anything more frustrating than seeing someone -- who otherwise looks healthy -- start to forget who you are? Worse than that, we don't know exactly what causes Alzheimer's disease, or how to stop it. Well actually that might be changing. Don't get too excited, because we've had false starts before, but an international group of scientists have succeeded in sorting out the mechanism of Alzheimer's disease development and possibly distinguished its key trigger.

... Read more »

  • March 9, 2016
  • 03:36 PM
  • 785 views

Want a younger brain? Stay in school — and take the stairs

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Taking the stairs is normally associated with keeping your body strong and healthy. But new research shows that it improves your brain’s health too — and that education also has a positive effect. Researchers found that the more flights of stairs a person climbs, and the more years of school a person completes, the “younger” their brain physically appears.

... Read more »

  • March 9, 2016
  • 11:54 AM
  • 829 views

Restoring Lost Narratives: Early Medieval Muslim Graves in France

by Katy Meyers Emery in Bones Don't Lie

When people ask me why archaeology is important, or why I’ve chosen to study human remains and funerary practices, I often cite the importance of bringing individual stories back into […]... Read more »

  • March 8, 2016
  • 10:22 PM
  • 1,088 views

Temples helping heritage language maintenance in Australia

by Niru Perera in Language on the Move

Do you know which non-Christian religion has grown the fastest in Australia since the new millennium? You might be surprised...... Read more »

Perera, N. (2016) Tamil in the temples – Language and religious maintenance beyond the first generation. Multilingua. info:/10.1515/multi-2015-0059

  • March 7, 2016
  • 05:15 PM
  • 756 views

Preemies’ gut bacteria reveal vast scope of antibiotic resistance

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Yesterday we blogged about the emergent and increasing antibiotic resistance problem, which was good -- or bad timing -- depending on how you look at it. A new study of gut bacteria in premature infants reveals the vast scope of the problem of antibiotic resistance and gives new insight into the extreme vulnerability of these young patients, according to researchers.

... Read more »

Gibson, M., Wang, B., Ahmadi, S., Burnham, C., Tarr, P., Warner, B., & Dantas, G. (2016) Developmental dynamics of the preterm infant gut microbiota and antibiotic resistome. Nature Microbiology, 16024. DOI: 10.1038/nmicrobiol.2016.24  

  • March 6, 2016
  • 07:10 PM
  • 951 views

Antibiotic resistance, evolution, and our future

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Without the discovery of antibiotics we could not — and most certainly would not — be living in the world we do today. It was a discovery that would save countless lives, while simultaneously compromising our future. From the use (and unfortunate misuse) of antibiotics, we gave rise to more virulent bacteria that have become resistant to more and more types of antibiotics.

... Read more »

  • March 6, 2016
  • 06:54 PM
  • 917 views

Testing the evolution of resistance by experiment

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

When the first antibiotics became available 70 years ago, they were often described as miracles of human ingenuity, rather like plastics or bright permanent dyes, which were discovered at roughly the same time. Packaged in vials or pills, they seemed like our inventions rather a chance gift of evolution and one that evolution might also rescind.

... Read more »

  • March 4, 2016
  • 04:00 PM
  • 999 views

Zika virus infects human neural stem cells, but…

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The Zika virus infects a type of neural stem cell that gives rise to the brain’s cerebral cortex, Johns Hopkins and Florida State researchers have found. On laboratory dishes, these stem cells were found to be havens for viral reproduction, resulting in cell death and/or disruption of cell growth. While this study does not prove the direct link between Zika and microcephaly, it does pinpoint where the virus may be doing the most damage.

... Read more »

Tang, Hammack, Ogden, Wen, and Qian et al. (2016) Zika Virus Infects Human Cortical Neural Precursors and Attenuates Their Growth". Cell Stem Cell. info:/dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.stem.2016.02.016

  • March 4, 2016
  • 10:30 AM
  • 641 views

Refugees in Europe: A Crisis?

by Eva Alisic in Trauma Recovery

Over 1 million people arrived in Europe by sea in 2015. And since the conflict in Syria continues, this influx will not halt.

It is the biggest refugee crisis since World War II according to the UNHCR. The journey by sea is dangerous, the circumstances in refugee camps and asylum seeker centers are far from ideal – to say the least – and tensions between host countries make it difficult to find constructive solutions.
... Read more »

  • March 3, 2016
  • 10:01 PM
  • 1,298 views

Herder: an explainer for linguists

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Some contemporary sociolinguists love to hate an 18th century educator, philosopher, theologian, translator and general polymath by the name of...... Read more »

  • March 1, 2016
  • 05:14 PM
  • 891 views

Using Teeth to Interpret Social Status and Childhood Health in Historic Japan

by Katy Meyers Emery in Bones Don't Lie

Our bones are pretty amazing- they keep a record of what has happened to us throughout our lifetime. Bones show the trauma and disease we faced, how well we healed […]... Read more »

  • March 1, 2016
  • 12:10 PM
  • 1,394 views

Shame on You, Shame on Me: Shame as an Evolutionary Adaptation

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

Can shame be good for you? We often think of shame as a shackling emotion which thwarts our individuality and creativity. A sense of shame could prevent us from choosing a partner we truly love, speaking out against societal traditions which propagate injustice or pursuing a profession that is deemed unworthy by our peers. But if shame is so detrimental, why did we evolve with this emotion? A team of researchers led by Daniel Sznycer from the Center for Evolutionary Psychology at the University ........ Read more »

Sznycer D, Tooby J, Cosmides L, Porat R, Shalvi S, & Halperin E. (2016) Shame closely tracks the threat of devaluation by others, even across cultures. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 26903649  

  • February 26, 2016
  • 03:11 PM
  • 729 views

Why people oppose same-sex marriage

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Marriage is legal (here in the US anyway), now I’m not gay, but that is exciting to me. So the question remains, has society fallen apart? Are cats hanging out with dogs and toast falling butter side up? Of course not, so then why do opponents of same-sex marriage really oppose it? A UCLA psychology study concludes that many people believe gay men and women are more sexually promiscuous than heterosexuals, which they may fear could threaten their own marriages and their way of life.

... Read more »

Pinsof, D., & Haselton, M.G. (2016) The moral divide over same-sex marriage: reproductive strategies in conflict?. Psychological Science. info:/

  • February 23, 2016
  • 04:37 PM
  • 612 views

Does your immune system play a larger role in Alzheimer’s disease than thought?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Immune cells that normally help us fight off bacterial and viral infections may play a far greater role in Alzheimer’s disease than originally thought, according to University of California, Irvine neurobiologists with the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center and the Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders.

... Read more »

Marsh, S., Abud, E., Lakatos, A., Karimzadeh, A., Yeung, S., Davtyan, H., Fote, G., Lau, L., Weinger, J., Lane, T.... (2016) The adaptive immune system restrains Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis by modulating microglial function. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201525466. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1525466113  

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