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  • October 21, 2015
  • 06:42 PM
  • 663 views

Bacteria communicate like neurons in the brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Biologists discovered that bacteria–often viewed as lowly, solitary creatures–are actually quite sophisticated in their social interactions and communicate with one another through similar electrical signaling mechanisms as neurons in the human brain. In the study, scientists detail the manner by which bacteria living in communities communicate with one another electrically through proteins called “ion channels.”... Read more »

  • October 21, 2015
  • 06:00 AM
  • 817 views

Prehistoric Utah Rock Art Does Not Depict a Pterosaur, Study Confirms

by Blake de Pastino in Western Digs

Dealing what they say is a “mortal blow” to the interpretation of some creationists, a team of archaeologists has concluded that a panel of rock art in Utah portrays all manner of fantastic figures, but it does not, in fact, depict a pterosaur.
... Read more »

Le Quellec, J., Bahn, P., & Rowe, M. (2015) The death of a pterodactyl. Antiquity, 89(346), 872-884. DOI: 10.15184/aqy.2015.54  

  • October 21, 2015
  • 05:19 AM
  • 770 views

The Selective Laziness of Reasoning

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

If you could meet yourself, would you always agree with yourself?



You might hope so. But according to a new study, many people will reject their own arguments - if they're tricked into thinking that other people proposed them.



The paper, published in Cognitive Science, is called The Selective Laziness of Reasoning  and it's from cognitive scientists Emmanuel Trouche and colleagues. By "selective laziness", Trouche et al. are referring to our tendency to only bother scrutinizing arg... Read more »

Trouche E, Johansson P, Hall L, & Mercier H. (2015) The Selective Laziness of Reasoning. Cognitive science. PMID: 26452437  

  • October 19, 2015
  • 06:42 PM
  • 590 views

Finding the brain circuitry for gratitude with help from Holocaust survivors’ memories

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Neuroscientists have mapped how the human brain experiences gratitude with help from an unexpected resource: Holocaust survivors’ testimonies. “In the midst of this awful tragedy, there were many acts of bravery and life-saving aid,” said lead author Glenn Fox, a post-doctoral researcher at the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC who led the study. “With […]... Read more »

Fox, G., Kaplan, J., Damasio, H., & Damasio, A. (2015) Neural correlates of gratitude. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01491  

  • October 18, 2015
  • 02:48 PM
  • 556 views

Premature birth appears to weaken brain connections

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Babies born prematurely face an increased risk of neurological and psychiatric problems that may be due to weakened connections in brain networks linked to attention, communication and the processing of emotions, new research shows. Studying brain scans from premature and full-term babies, researchers zeroed in on differences in the brain that may underlie such problems.... Read more »

Rogers C, Herzmann C, Smyser T, Shimony J, Ackerman j, Neil J, & Smyser C. (2015) Impact of preterm birth on structural and functional connectivity in neonates. Society for Neuroscience Annual meeting. info:other/Link

  • October 17, 2015
  • 03:24 PM
  • 548 views

How reward and daytime sleep boost learning

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A new study suggests that receiving rewards as you learn can help cement new facts and skills in your memory, particularly when combined with a daytime nap. The findings from the University of Geneva reveal that memories associated with a reward are preferentially reinforced by sleep. Even a short nap after a period of learning is beneficial.... Read more »

  • October 15, 2015
  • 01:46 PM
  • 632 views

‘Paleo’ style sleep? Think again…

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

It's tempting to believe that people these days aren't getting enough sleep, living as we do in our well-lit houses with TVs blaring, cell phones buzzing, and a well-used coffee maker in every kitchen. But new evidence reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on October 15 shows that three ancient groups of hunter-gatherers--living in different parts of the world without any of those trappings of modern life--don't get any more sleep than we do.... Read more »

Yetish et al. (2015) Natural Sleep and Its Seasonal Variations in Three Pre-industrial Societies. Current Biology. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2015.09.046

  • October 14, 2015
  • 11:57 PM
  • 566 views

What metabolism could reveal about aging and mortality

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Why some people live much longer than others is an enduring mystery. Now, based on a study of a worm, scientists are getting one step closer to understanding longevity. They report that the metabolic profiles of the worms could accurately predict how long they would live and that middle age could be a key turning point.... Read more »

Sarah K. Davies, Jacob G. Bundy, & Armand M. Leroi. (2015) Metabolic Youth in Middle Age: Predicting Aging in Caenorhabditis elegans Using Metabolomics. Journal of proteome research. info:/10.1021/acs.jproteome.5b00442

  • October 14, 2015
  • 11:29 AM
  • 900 views

Why More Firstborn Kids Need Glasses

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



It's bad enough for the first kid when a new baby shows up to steal your thunder. But the injustice is compounded when you have to start wearing glasses while your little sibling stays as cute and non-four-eyed as ever. If this sounds familiar, you're not alone: firstborn kids are more likely to be nearsighted. Part of the reason might be that they get more education.

A study in the United Kingdom and Israel found that myopia—that's nearsightedness, if you're one of those lucky people w........ Read more »

Guggenheim JA, Williams C, & UK Biobank Eye and Vision Consortium. (2015) Role of Educational Exposure in the Association Between Myopia and Birth Order. JAMA ophthalmology, 1-7. PMID: 26448589  

  • October 14, 2015
  • 09:53 AM
  • 1,580 views

Feel Our Pain: Empathy and Moral Behavior

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

"It's empathy that makes us help other people. It's empathy that makes us moral." The economist Paul Zak casually makes this comment in his widely watched TED talk about the hormone oxytocin, which he dubs the "moral molecule". Zak quotes a number of behavioral studies to support his claim that oxytocin increases empathy and trust, which in turn increases moral behavior. If all humans regularly inhaled a few puffs of oxytocin through a nasal spray, we could become m........ Read more »

De Dreu, C., Greer, L., Van Kleef, G., Shalvi, S., & Handgraaf, M. (2011) Oxytocin promotes human ethnocentrism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(4), 1262-1266. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1015316108  

Shalvi S, & De Dreu CK. (2014) Oxytocin promotes group-serving dishonesty. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(15), 5503-7. PMID: 24706799  

Xu X, Zuo X, Wang X, & Han S. (2009) Do you feel my pain? Racial group membership modulates empathic neural responses. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 29(26), 8525-9. PMID: 19571143  

  • October 13, 2015
  • 02:48 PM
  • 607 views

Schizophrenia symptoms linked to features of brain’s anatomy?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Using advanced brain imaging, researchers have matched certain behavioral symptoms of schizophrenia to features of the brain’s anatomy. The findings, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, could be a step toward improving diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia.... Read more »

  • October 13, 2015
  • 09:00 AM
  • 755 views

Family policies and single parent poverty in 18 OECD countries, 1978–2008

by Rense Nieuwenhuis in Curving Normality

Who benefits more from family policies: single-parent families or two-parent families? Laurie C. Maldonado and I answer this question with respect to poverty reduction, in a new publication in Community, Work & Family. We presented this at the 2014 Work and Family Researchers Network (in New York), and our paper was the runner up to the best junior scholar paper award.... Read more »

  • October 11, 2015
  • 02:52 PM
  • 599 views

Immune gene prevents Parkinson’s disease and dementia

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

An estimated seven to ten million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease (PD), which is an incurable and progressive disease of the nervous system affecting movement and cognitive function. More than half of PD patients develop progressive disease showing signs of dementia similar to Alzheimer’s disease.... Read more »

Ejlerskov, P., Hultberg, J., Wang, J., Carlsson, R., Ambjørn, M., Kuss, M., Liu, Y., Porcu, G., Kolkova, K., Friis Rundsten, C.... (2015) Lack of Neuronal IFN-β-IFNAR Causes Lewy Body- and Parkinson’s Disease-like Dementia. Cell, 163(2), 324-339. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.08.069  

  • October 10, 2015
  • 07:34 AM
  • 696 views

Can Google Books Really Tell Us About Cultural Evolution?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

In 2009, Google made available Google Books (also known as the Ngram corpus), a database that now includes over 8 million books from libraries around the world. The books comprise a collection of words (over 500 billion English words) and phrases and this dataset is freely available for research use. The Books corpus allows researchers to examine changes in the frequency of word use in books over time, dating back to 1800.



This has led a lot of striking findings. So for instance, it has b... Read more »

  • October 9, 2015
  • 05:31 AM
  • 648 views

The Poor, Unhappy, Chain-smoking Brain

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A thought-provoking new paper from Oxford neuroscientists Stephen Smith and colleagues reports a correlation between a certain pattern of brain activity and, well, a great many things.

The researchers took 461 resting state fMRI scans from the open Human Connectome Project (HCP) database. Associated with each scan is a set of 'meta-data' about the volunteer who had the scan. These 158 variables (listed here) cover everything from age and gender, to mental health status, income, and 'times use... Read more »

Smith SM, Nichols TE, Vidaurre D, Winkler AM, Behrens TE, Glasser MF, Ugurbil K, Barch DM, Van Essen DC, & Miller KL. (2015) A positive-negative mode of population covariation links brain connectivity, demographics and behavior. Nature Neuroscience. PMID: 26414616  

  • October 8, 2015
  • 01:21 PM
  • 686 views

Sex change hormonal treatments alter brain chemistry

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Hormonal treatments administered as part of the procedures for sex reassignment have well-known and well-documented effects on the secondary sexual characteristics of the adult body, shifting a recipient’s physical appearance to that of the opposite sex. New research indicates that these hormonal treatments also alter brain chemistry.... Read more »

Kranz, G., Wadsak, W., Kaufmann, U., Savli, M., Baldinger, P., Gryglewski, G., Haeusler, D., Spies, M., Mitterhauser, M., Kasper, S.... (2015) High-Dose Testosterone Treatment Increases Serotonin Transporter Binding in Transgender People. Biological Psychiatry, 78(8), 525-533. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.09.010  

  • October 7, 2015
  • 11:30 PM
  • 853 views

Social Class Differences in Mental Health: Do Parenting Style and Friendship Play a Role?

by Mark Rubin in Mark Rubin's Social Psychology Research Blog

It is now well-established that social class is positively related to mental health. However, researchers remain unclear about the specific processes that underlie the relation between social class and depression. In some recent research, we investigated the potential roles of parenting style and friendship in explaining the relationship between social class and mental health.... Read more »

  • October 7, 2015
  • 06:19 PM
  • 712 views

Parents influence children’s play of violent video games

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Parents who are more anxious and emotional can impact the amount of violent video games their children play, according to new consumer research from Iowa State University. Russell Laczniak, a professor of marketing and the John and Connie Stafford Professor in Business, says given the harmful effects of violent video games, he and his colleagues wanted to better understand how parents influence children’s behavior.... Read more »

  • October 7, 2015
  • 12:50 PM
  • 1,019 views

In a just world, how you act depends on who you think delivers justice

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Many years ago I worked a couple of seasons as a porter on the now-defunct hovercraft service across the English Channel. One of the old hands used to tell me regularly that “what you lose on the swings, you make up on the roundabouts” – a phrase that’s stuck with me ever since. What he [Read More...]... Read more »

  • October 7, 2015
  • 12:28 AM
  • 1,071 views

Children as language brokers

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Some of the most striking images from the refugees who have been trekking across Europe are of families and children. Beyond the immediate perils of their journeys, migration inevitably changes families. As children are usually much quicker to learn new … Continue reading →... Read more »

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