If you see me on the street and I am running, there is a good chance you should be running as well, because something dangerous is coming. I don’t run, I hate to run, I loathe running, did I mention I don’t like to run? Maybe it’s all the running I did in the military, or if a new study is correct, it may have to do with my mother. Which is good, because now I can blame someone else for my hatred of running.
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Eclarinal, J., Zhu, S., Baker, M., Piyarathna, D., Coarfa, C., Fiorotto, M., & Waterland, R. (2016) Maternal exercise during pregnancy promotes physical activity in adult offspring. The FASEB Journal. DOI: 10.1096/fj.201500018R
Does ice cream cause drownings? Let's think about this statistically. Consider that, in any given city, daily sales of ice cream are, most likely, positively correlated with daily rates of drownings.
Now, no matter how strong this correlation is, it doesn't really mean that ice cream is dangerous. Rather, the association exists because of a 'confound' variable. In this case it's temperature: on sunny days, people tend to eat more ice cream and they also tend to go swimming more often, thu... Read more »
Westfall J, & Yarkoni T. (2016) Statistically Controlling for Confounding Constructs Is Harder than You Think. PloS one, 11(3). PMID: 27031707
If you’re a transplant recipient you know that transplant organs are a veritable ticking time bomb waiting to be rejected by your well-meaning (but stupid) body. Not only can you do everything right and still have the organs rejected, you have to take a steady stream of expensive pills to inhibit the immune system and stop the body from launching its attack. Don’t throw your pill organizers away just yet, but soon.
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MacDonald, K., Hoeppli, R., Huang, Q., Gillies, J., Luciani, D., Orban, P., Broady, R., & Levings, M. (2016) Alloantigen-specific regulatory T cells generated with a chimeric antigen receptor. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 126(4), 1413-1424. DOI: 10.1172/JCI82771
Currently, neuroscientists think our brain has about enough storage space to hold the entire internet. That’s a lot of space, about a petabyte in fact — if we are to believe this estimate. So, what did you read in the news this day 5 years ago? Don’t worry, I don’t even remember what I had for breakfast this morning and my long-term memory doesn’t fair much better. However, vital information about how the brain erases long-term memories has been uncovered by researchers.
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Migues, P., Liu, L., Archbold, G., Einarsson, E., Wong, J., Bonasia, K., Ko, S., Wang, Y., & Hardt, O. (2016) Blocking Synaptic Removal of GluA2-Containing AMPA Receptors Prevents the Natural Forgetting of Long-Term Memories. Journal of Neuroscience, 36(12), 3481-3494. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3333-15.2016
Recently projects have been developed with the aim to reproduce published research results in psychology, biology and economics to verify their reliability. The results indicate different degrees of reproducibility in each area, however, they served to alert the scientific community about how fragile results considered irrefutable can be and reflect on the role of science in self-correcting. … Read More →... Read more »
Fanelli, D. (2010) “Positive” Results Increase Down the Hierarchy of the Sciences. PLoS ONE, 5(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010068
, . (2015) Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science. Science, 349(6251). DOI: 10.1126/science.aac4716
Baker, M. (2015) First results from psychology’s largest reproducibility test. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature.2015.17433
Baker, M. (2015) Over half of psychology studies fail reproducibility test. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature.2015.18248
Gilbert, D., King, G., Pettigrew, S., & Wilson, T. (2016) Comment on "Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science". Science, 351(6277), 1037-1037. DOI: 10.1126/science.aad7243
Anderson, C., Bahnik, �., Barnett-Cowan, M., Bosco, F., Chandler, J., Chartier, C., Cheung, F., Christopherson, C., Cordes, A., Cremata, E.... (2016) Response to Comment on "Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science". Science, 351(6277), 1037-1037. DOI: 10.1126/science.aad9163
Etz, A., & Vandekerckhove, J. (2016) A Bayesian Perspective on the Reproducibility Project: Psychology. PLOS ONE, 11(2). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149794
Camerer, C., Dreber, A., Forsell, E., Ho, T., Huber, J., Johannesson, M., Kirchler, M., Almenberg, J., Altmejd, A., Chan, T.... (2016) Evaluating replicability of laboratory experiments in economics. Science, 351(6280), 1433-1436. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf0918
Bohannon, J. (2016) About 40% of economics experiments fail replication survey. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf4141
Begley, C., & Ellis, L. (2012) Drug development: Raise standards for preclinical cancer research. Nature, 483(7391), 531-533. DOI: 10.1038/483531a
Prinz, F., Schlange, T., & Asadullah, K. (2011) Believe it or not: how much can we rely on published data on potential drug targets?. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, 10(9), 712-712. DOI: 10.1038/nrd3439-c1
Van Noorden, R. (2015) Sluggish data sharing hampers reproducibility effort. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature.2015.17694
A few months ago, we published a paper that spent four years in peer-review (story behind the paper). Because of this, I feel entitled to an opinion on the pre- vs post-publication review debate.
Background on preprints and their effect on peer-review
If you have been living under a rock, or if you are not on Twitter, you may not have noticed that preprints are becoming more widely accepted in biology—supported by initiatives such as Haldane’s Sieve and bioRxiv. This is particularly tr........ Read more »
Tan G, Muffato M, Ledergerber C, Herrero J, Goldman N, Gil M, & Dessimoz C. (2015) Current Methods for Automated Filtering of Multiple Sequence Alignments Frequently Worsen Single-Gene Phylogenetic Inference. Systematic biology, 64(5), 778-91. PMID: 26031838
Food for the worms, a dirt nap, kicking the bucket, maybe there are so many euphemisms for death because it is still a taboo in certain cultures. Not so fun fact, my Uncle committed suicide some years back. I’m not going to go into details, but because suicide is looked down on, was his death still considered a “good death”? Trying to qualitatively and quantitatively define a good death, researchers have published a new paper offering help in defining the idea of a good death and have ulti........ Read more »
Meier, E., Gallegos, J., Thomas, L., Depp, C., Irwin, S., & Jeste, D. (2016) Defining a Good Death (Successful Dying): Literature Review and a Call for Research and Public Dialogue. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 24(4), 261-271. DOI: 10.1016/j.jagp.2016.01.135
So if you are one of the bodybuilders, powerlifters, marathon runners, or just people who like to binge-eat every now and then — no judgment all you can eat pizza day is a thing I’m told telling myself — there is some bad news. If you like to preload carbs like they are the magic bullet to your workout woes, you may want to rethink it because according to a new study, it can have an acute and detrimental effect on heart function.
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Arora, P., Wu, C., Hamid, T., Arora, G., Agha, O., Allen, K., Tainsh, R., Hu, D., Ryan, R., Domian, I.... (2016) Acute Metabolic Influences on the Natriuretic Peptide System in Humans. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 67(7), 804-812. DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2015.11.049
A group of Indian psychiatrists have raised concern over suspicious similarities between three papers published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine (IJPM). Their allegations have just been published, also in the same journal.
The authors, Girish Banwari and colleagues, focus on a 2015 paper about the use of the drug modafinil in treating schizophrenia. Banwari et al. say that this article
Contains no data at all and that only one reference was cited in the bibliography. A l... Read more »
Banwari G, Karia S, Avudaiappan S, Tharayil HM, & Andrade C. (2016) Modafinil Augmentation of Atypical Antipsychotic Agents: Duplicate Publication, Self-plagiarism, Salami Publication, and Other Matters. Indian journal of psychological medicine, 38(1), 86-7. PMID: 27011415
This view has been challenged by the University of Southampton researchers Constantine Sedikides and Tim Wildschut, who have spent the past decade studying the benefits of nostalgia. Not only do they disavow its disease status, they have conducted numerous studies which suggest that nostalgia can make us more creative, open-minded and charitable. The definition of nostalgia used by Sedikides and Wildschut as a "sentimental longing for one's past" is based on the contemporary usage........ Read more »
van Tilburg, W., Sedikides, C., & Wildschut, T. (2015) The mnemonic muse: Nostalgia fosters creativity through openness to experience. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 1-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2015.02.002
Why is the quest for fairness in science still relevant today?... Read more »
Holtz, B., & Harold, C. (2010) Interpersonal Justice and Deviance: The Moderating Effects of Interpersonal Justice Values and Justice Orientation. Journal of Management, 39(2), 339-365. DOI: 10.1177/0149206310390049
Tardigrades, they are cute and cuddly — okay maybe not cuddly — but they have earned their nicknames, such as as moss piglets or water bears. Mostly because they look like, well bears (although I don’t see a piglet personally). These guys are eight-legged microscopic animals that have long fascinated scientists for their ability to survive extremes of temperature, pressure, lack of oxygen, and even radiation exposure. Talk about a thrill seeker they can even survive in space, without a sui........ Read more »
Georgios Koutsovoulosa, Sujai Kumara, Dominik R. Laetsch, Lewis Stevens, Jennifer Daub Claire Conlon, Habib Maroon, Fran Thomasa, Aziz A. Aboobakerc, and Mark Blaxter. (2016) No evidence for extensive horizontal gene transfer in the genome of the tardigrade Hypsibius dujardini. PNAS. DOI: 10.1101/033464
When most of us think maggots, we probably don’t think anything good, but maybe we should start. In a proof-of-concept study, researchers have shown that genetically engineered green bottle fly (Lucilia sericata) larvae can produce and secrete a human growth factor – a molecule that helps promote cell growth and wound healing.
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Linger, R., Belikoff, E., Yan, Y., Li, F., Wantuch, H., Fitzsimons, H., & Scott, M. (2016) Towards next generation maggot debridement therapy: transgenic Lucilia sericata larvae that produce and secrete a human growth factor. BMC Biotechnology, 16(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12896-016-0263-z
Last month, we spoke of our vision of the future of humanity here at the lab. It makes sense that humanity would one-day step away from the static, non-living computer constructs we have designed. Moving us instead towards an organic alternative, one that can be readily repaired, replaced, or changed. While we cannot pretend to know what the future may hold, a new discovery helps bolster the stance we presented.
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Lampa-Pastirk, S., Veazey, J., Walsh, K., Feliciano, G., Steidl, R., Tessmer, S., & Reguera, G. (2016) Thermally activated charge transport in microbial protein nanowires. Scientific Reports, 23517. DOI: 10.1038/srep23517
In today’s lexicon, the term mental illness is used pretty widely. It can be used to describe someone suffering from depression, to PTSD, to even someone suicidal. In fact, today it is sort of a catch all term for anyone who is involved in a mass shooting here in the US. We are getting off […]... Read more »
Elkington, K., Teplin, L., Abram, K., Jakubowski, J., Dulcan, M., & Welty, L. (2015) Psychiatric Disorders and Violence: A Study of Delinquent Youth After Detention. Journal of the American Academy of Child , 54(4), 302-31200000. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2015.01.002
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
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
Dowell, N., Cooper, E., Tibble, J., Voon, V., Critchley, H., Cercignani, M., & Harrison, N. (2016) Acute Changes in Striatal Microstructure Predict the Development of Interferon-Alpha Induced Fatigue. Biological Psychiatry, 79(4), 320-328. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.05.015
Li, W., Lai, T., Bohon, C., Loo, S., McCurdy, D., Strober, M., Bookheimer, S., & Feusner, J. (2015) Anorexia nervosa and body dysmorphic disorder are associated with abnormalities in processing visual information. Psychological Medicine, 1-12. DOI: 10.1017/S0033291715000045
Vita, A., De Peri, L., Deste, G., Barlati, S., & Sacchetti, E. (2015) The Effect of Antipsychotic Treatment on Cortical Gray Matter Changes in Schizophrenia: Does the Class Matter? A Meta-analysis and Meta-regression of Longitudinal Magnetic Resonance Imaging Studies. Biological Psychiatry, 78(6), 403-412. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.02.008
Viruses that infect bacteria are among the most abundant life forms on Earth. Indeed, our oceans, soils and potentially even our bodies would be overrun with bacteria were it not for bacteria-eating viruses, called bacteriophages, that keep the microbial balance of ecological niches in check. Now, a new study suggests that bacteriophages made of RNA — a close chemical cousin of DNA — likely play a much larger role in shaping the bacterial makeup of worldwide habitats than previously ........ Read more »
It was a clear case of a false alarm, toxoplasmosis, a parasite that infects mice and cats was thought to have an effect on humans. However, after a thorough review of the data it was off the hook, or so we thought. Individuals with a psychiatric disorder involving recurrent bouts of extreme, impulsive anger--road rage, for example--are more than twice as likely to have been exposed to a common parasite than healthy individuals with no psychiatric diagnosis.
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Coccaro, E., Lee, R., Groer, M., Can, A., Coussons-Read, M., & Postolache, T. (2016) Toxoplasma gondii Infection: Relationship With Aggression in Psychiatric Subjects. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 334-341. DOI: 10.4088/JCP.14m09621
Think your DNA is all human? Think again. And a new discovery suggests it’s even less human than scientists previously thought. Nineteen new pieces of non-human DNA — left by viruses that first infected our ancestors hundreds of thousands of years ago — have just been found, lurking between our own genes.
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Wildschutte, J., Williams, Z., Montesion, M., Subramanian, R., Kidd, J., & Coffin, J. (2016) Discovery of unfixed endogenous retrovirus insertions in diverse human populations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201602336. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1602336113
Changes and developments in the way things are done are sometimes seen as threatening, as dangers. That is a natural, instinctive reaction, perhaps, but sometimes, the danger lies not so much in the development itself as in the things that the development in question prevents. There are two developments in science publishing and science communication that are seen as dangerous by many. Both developments are seen as threatening from opposite sides of the fence, so to speak. … Read More U........ Read more »
Pinfield, S., Salter, J., & Bath, P. (2015) The “total cost of publication” in a hybrid open-access environment: Institutional approaches to funding journal article-processing charges in combination with subscriptions. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. DOI: 10.1002/asi.23446
Why humans and other animals sleep is one of the remaining deep mysteries of physiology. One prominent theory in neuroscience is that sleep is when the brain replays memories "offline" to better encode them ("memory consolidation"). A prominent and competing theory is that sleep is important for rebalancing activity in brain networks that have been perturbed during learning while awake.
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Hengen, K., Torrado Pacheco, A., McGregor, J., Van Hooser, S., & Turrigiano, G. (2016) Neuronal Firing Rate Homeostasis Is Inhibited by Sleep and Promoted by Wake. Cell. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.01.046
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