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  • January 24, 2016
  • 01:52 PM
  • 564 views

60 genetic disorders affect skin and nervous system

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

One of the most common genetic disorders is a condition called neurofibromatosis, which causes brown spots on the skin and benign tumors on the brain, spinal cord and other parts of the nervous system. Neurofibromatosis is one of at least 60 genetic diseases called neurocutaneous disorders that involve the skin, central nervous system, and/or peripheral nervous system.

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Figueiredo, A., Mata-Machado, N., McCoyd, M., & Biller, J. (2016) Neurocutaneous Disorders for the Practicing Neurologist: a Focused Review. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports, 16(2). DOI: 10.1007/s11910-015-0612-7  

  • January 23, 2016
  • 02:26 PM
  • 616 views

When the music stops: Intensive instrument playing can lead to movement disorders

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A musician takes up his/her violin and starts to play, but rather than gripping the strings, the fingers seize up--and this happens every time he/she takes up the instrument. Such a movement disorder--the so-called focal dystonia-- is a dramatic disease for those affected, which has thus far barely been studied.

... Read more »

Rozanski VE, Rehfuess E, Bötzel K, Nowak D. (2015) Task-specific dystonia in professional musicians—a systematic review of the importance of intensive playing as a risk factor. Dtsch Arztebl Int. info:/10.3238/arztebl.2015.0871

  • January 22, 2016
  • 02:50 PM
  • 587 views

Neurons in your gut help the immune system keep inflammation in check

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The immune system exercises constant vigilance to protect the body from external threats–including what we eat and drink. A careful balancing act plays out as digested food travels through the intestine. Immune cells must remain alert to protect against harmful pathogens like Salmonella, but their activity also needs to be tempered since an overreaction can lead to too much inflammation and permanent tissue damage.

... Read more »

  • January 21, 2016
  • 02:27 PM
  • 678 views

Anxious? Chronic stress and anxiety can damage the brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A scientific review paper warns that people need to find ways to reduce chronic stress and anxiety in their lives or they may be at increased risk for developing depression and even dementia. Led by the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences, the review examined brain areas impacted by chronic anxiety, fear and stress in animal and human studies that are already published.... Read more »

Mah, L., Szabuniewicz, C., & Fiocco, A. (2016) Can anxiety damage the brain?. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 29(1), 56-63. DOI: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000223  

  • January 20, 2016
  • 02:29 PM
  • 788 views

Overwhelmed and depressed? Well, there may be a connection

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Ever feel overwhelmed when you are depressed, well the good news is it isn't just you, the bad news is it's probably your brain. Regions of the brain that normally work together to process emotion become decoupled in people who experience multiple episodes of depression, neuroscientists report. The findings may help identify which patients will benefit from long term antidepressant treatment to prevent the recurrence of depressive episodes.

... Read more »

Jacobs, R., Barba, A., Gowins, J., Klumpp, H., Jenkins, L., Mickey, B., Ajilore, O., Peciña, M., Sikora, M., Ryan, K.... (2016) Decoupling of the amygdala to other salience network regions in adolescent-onset recurrent major depressive disorder. Psychological Medicine, 1-13. DOI: 10.1017/S0033291715002615  

  • January 19, 2016
  • 11:45 PM
  • 909 views

A year in books: Neanderthals to the National Cancer Act to now

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

A tradition I started a couple of years ago is to read at least one non-fiction book per month and then to share my thoughts on the reading at the start of the following year. Last year, my dozen books were mostly on philosophy, psychology, and political economy. My brief comments on them ended up […]... Read more »

Monge, J., Kricun, M., Radovčić, J., Radovčić, D., Mann, A., & Frayer, D. (2013) Fibrous Dysplasia in a 120,000 Year Old Neandertal from Krapina, Croatia. PLoS ONE, 8(6). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0064539  

  • January 19, 2016
  • 02:14 PM
  • 515 views

Can you trust your gut when public speaking?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

There is good news for frequent public speakers. New research shows that individuals have the ability to quickly and accurately identify a crowd's general emotion as focused or distracted, suggesting that we can trust our first impression of a crowd's mood.


... Read more »

  • January 19, 2016
  • 12:20 PM
  • 616 views

What Is Citizen Science Good For? Birds, Butterflies, Big Data

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



No matter how unhip you feel wearing waders or hauling a butterfly net, citizen science is cool. That's obvious from the boom in online projects that let you count penguins, hunt planets, or identify animals in the Serengeti, as well as the scientific papers using these data. Now researchers in Sweden have looked into the science of citizen science itself. How much of this volunteer research is really happening, they asked—and what is it producing?

Christopher Kullenberg and Dick Kaspe........ Read more »

  • January 18, 2016
  • 11:29 AM
  • 755 views

Catch Him If You Can

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

By Caitlin LockardWhen playing Frisbee with your dog, do you ever wonder how they have the ability to catch it so effortlessly? The art of being able to figure out where something like a Frisbee is headed requires some crazy math skills. Ostracods are one kind of animal that puts their wicked math skills to the test while finding a mate.The image above of a female ostracod was provided by Trevor Rivers.You’ve never heard of an ostracod you say? Ostracods are small crustaceans, which basicall........ Read more »

  • January 17, 2016
  • 08:58 PM
  • 771 views

Spreading climate misinformation like butter

by dominicwhite in Two Degrees or Under

A new study in PNAS concludes that echo chambers and confirmation bias spread misinformation. The authors “readable summary”: The wide availability of user-provided content in online social media facilitates the aggregation of people around common interests, worldviews, and narratives. However,...... Read more »

Del Vicario, M., Bessi, A., Zollo, F., Petroni, F., Scala, A., Caldarelli, G., Stanley, H., & Quattrociocchi, W. (2016) The spreading of misinformation online. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201517441. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1517441113  

  • January 16, 2016
  • 11:30 PM
  • 842 views

Perplexity Is Not Required for Learning

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

Post moved: http://guzintamath.com/blog/2016/01/perplexity-not-required-for-learning/

Taken at face value, the relative lack of effect of such conflicts across a broad range of studies falsifies the cognitive conflict hypothesis: The difficulty of conceptual change must reside elsewhere than in conflict, or rather the lack thereof, between misconceptions and normatively correct subject matter.... Read more »

Ramsburg, J., & Ohlsson, S. (2016) Category change in the absence of cognitive conflict. Journal of Educational Psychology, 108(1), 98-113. DOI: 10.1037/edu0000050  

  • January 16, 2016
  • 03:12 PM
  • 958 views

‘Space Warps’ and other citizen science projects reap major dividends for astrophysics

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Thanks to the Internet, amateur volunteers known as "citizen scientists" can readily donate their time and effort to science--in fields ranging from medicine to zoology to astrophysics. The astrophysics project Space Warps offers a compelling example of why citizen science has become such a popular tool and how valuable it can be.

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Marshall, P., Verma, A., More, A., Davis, C., More, S., Kapadia, A., Parrish, M., Snyder, C., Wilcox, J., Baeten, E.... (2015) SPACE WARPS - I. Crowdsourcing the discovery of gravitational lenses. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 455(2), 1171-1190. DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv2009  

More, A., Verma, A., Marshall, P., More, S., Baeten, E., Wilcox, J., Macmillan, C., Cornen, C., Kapadia, A., Parrish, M.... (2015) SPACE WARPS- II. New gravitational lens candidates from the CFHTLS discovered through citizen science. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 455(2), 1191-1210. DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv1965  

  • January 16, 2016
  • 11:27 AM
  • 588 views

A student can learn better while standing

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

Attention, thinking, and learning ability of students increase with standing position.

Published in:

International Journal of Environmental and Public Health

Study Further:

Researchers worked with about 300 children in second through fourth grade. They found that giving students standing desks can help them in paying more attention in class as compared to seated students. Researchers determined the engagement level by on-task behaviors such as participating in active d........ Read more »

Dornhecker, M., Blake, J., Benden, M., Zhao, H., & Wendel, M. (2015) The effect of stand-biased desks on academic engagement: an exploratory study. International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, 53(5), 271-280. DOI: 10.1080/14635240.2015.1029641  

  • January 15, 2016
  • 02:56 PM
  • 640 views

Autism-linked protein lays groundwork for healthy brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A gene linked to mental disorders helps lays the foundation for a crucial brain structure during prenatal development, according to Salk Institute research. The findings reveal new mechanistic insights into the gene, known as MDGA1, which may bring a better understanding of neurodevelopmental disorders in people.

... Read more »

  • January 15, 2016
  • 01:30 AM
  • 754 views

Our obsession with bullshit science of morals

by Syed Ather in Heuristic

Explaining morals, religion, governance, and similar concepts using science seems like an attractive proposition at first, but the scientific inquiry will never give complete answers to questions reserved for philosophy, history, literature, or other fields of the humanities. And when we believe such ridiculous things, we only have ourselves to blame.... Read more »

  • January 14, 2016
  • 02:53 PM
  • 710 views

Pay attention! Attention neuron type identified

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers have identified for the first time a cell type in the brain of mice that is integral to attention. Moreover, by manipulating the activity of this cell type, the scientists were able to enhance attention in mice. The results add to the understanding of how the brain's frontal lobes work and control behaviour.
... Read more »

Hoseok Kim, Sofie hedlund-Richter, Xinming Wang, Karl Deisseroth, Marie Carlén. (2016) Prefrontal Parvalbumin Neurons in Control of Attention. Cell . DOI: http://dx.org/10.1016/j.cell.2015.11.038  

  • January 12, 2016
  • 11:39 PM
  • 703 views

We Don't Trust People Who Withhold Personal Information

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



You're creating a profile for an online dating site when you come to a question you're not sure you want to answer—say, "Do you smoke?" You might be more comfortable leaving it blank than sharing the truth with all your potential dates. But a series of experiments says that we tend to judge people harshly when they withhold personal information. Even someone who shares an unpleasant truth is more appealing, trustworthy, and hirable than someone who'd rather not say.

Harvard Business ........ Read more »

John, L., Barasz, K., & Norton, M. (2016) Hiding personal information reveals the worst. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201516868. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1516868113  

  • January 12, 2016
  • 03:08 PM
  • 647 views

Improving your toddler’s memory skills has long-term benefits

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

If your toddler is a Forgetful Jones, you might want to help boost his or her brainpower sooner rather than later. New research shows that preschoolers who score lower on a memory task are likely to score higher on a dropout risk scale at the age of 12.
... Read more »

  • January 11, 2016
  • 03:23 PM
  • 704 views

Stereotype means girls should expect poorer physics grades

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Imagine that you are a female student and give the exact same answer to a physics exam question as one of your male classmates, but you receive a significantly poorer grade. This is precisely what happens on a regular basis, as concluded in a study by Sarah Hofer, a researcher in the group led by ETH professor Elsbeth Stern.... Read more »

  • January 10, 2016
  • 02:37 PM
  • 603 views

Put the cellphone away! Fragmented baby care can affect brain development

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Mothers, put down your smartphones when caring for your babies! That's the message from University of California, Irvine researchers, who have found that fragmented and chaotic maternal care can disrupt proper brain development, which can lead to emotional disorders later in life.... Read more »

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