Post List

  • September 22, 2015
  • 09:23 PM

Who is a real refugee?

by Agnes Bodis in Language on the Move

The refugee crisis in Europe has caught a lot of global media attention. Countries at the entry points and their official actions, as well civil organizations, get a lot of attention in online media; furthermore, social media comments quite often … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • September 22, 2015
  • 05:02 PM

Genetic analysis supports prediction that spontaneous rare mutations cause half of autism

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A team led by researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has published a new analysis of data on the genetics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). One commonly held theory is that autism results from the chance combinations of commonly occurring gene mutations, which are otherwise harmless. But the authors’ work provides support for a different theory.... Read more »

Ivan Iossifov, Dan Levy, Jeremy Allen, Kenny Ye, Michael Ronemus, Yoon-ha Lee, Boris Yamrom, & Michael Wigler. (2015) Low load for disruptive mutations in autism genes and their biased transmission. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States of America. info:/

  • September 22, 2015
  • 04:02 PM

Taste Mutation Helps Monkeys Enjoy Human Food

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

It's hard to be a primate who lives in northern climes and doesn't wear clothes. Resources are scarce, and you have to seize every advantage you can to stay alive and swinging. That may be why one group of monkeys has evolved an impaired tasting gene. Their worse sense of taste means they can better take advantage of the foods around them—especially the crops their human neighbors grow.

Japanese macaques, or Macaca fuscata, are also called snow monkeys. They live farther north than any........ Read more »

Suzuki-Hashido N, Hayakawa T, Matsui A, Go Y, Ishimaru Y, Misaka T, Abe K, Hirai H, Satta Y, & Imai H. (2015) Rapid Expansion of Phenylthiocarbamide Non-Tasters among Japanese Macaques. PloS one, 10(7). PMID: 26201026  

  • September 22, 2015
  • 08:25 AM

Young children don't categorise mixed-race people the same way adults do

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

When it comes to race, people increasingly self-identify as belonging to several categories rather than one, reflecting our intermingled world – for example, some sources suggest one in ten British children now grow up in mixed-race households. Yet we still like putting people in neat taxonomies, and to understand this tendency, Steven Roberts and Susan Gelman at the University of Michigan looked at how adults and children approach racial categorisation. Their studies, published recently in Ch........ Read more »

  • September 22, 2015
  • 08:21 AM

Time to Rethink the Reconsolidation Theory of Memory?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

An influential theory about the malleability of memory comes under scrutiny in a new paper in the Journal of Neuroscience.

The 'reconsolidation' hypothesis holds that when a memory is recalled, its molecular trace in the brain becomes plastic. On this view, a reactivated memory has to be 'saved' or consolidated all over again in order for it to be stored.

A drug that blocks memory formation ('amnestic') will, therefore, not just block new memories but will also cause reactivated m... Read more »

  • September 22, 2015
  • 06:40 AM

Looking for the brain basis of chimp personality

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Some chimps are more outgoing than others. Some like trying out new foods and games while their friends stick to the tried and tested. In short, chimps have different personalities, just like people do. What's more, psychologists investigating chimp personality have found that their traits tend to coalescence into five main factors, again much like human personality. Three of these factors are actually named the same as their human equivalents: Extraversion, Openness and Agreeableness. The other........ Read more »

  • September 22, 2015
  • 02:50 AM

The ketogenic diet and autism: where are we up to?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Today I'm bringing the paper by Kamila Castro and colleagues [1] to the blogging table and their systematic review of the available peer-reviewed literature on the use of a ketogenic diet (KD) when it comes to real life autism and various mouse models trying to map the label.Drawing on data derived from 8 studies - "three studies with animals and five studies with humans" - that met the relevant inclusion criteria for study, authors concluded that although the evidence looks promising for t........ Read more »

Kamila Castro, Larissa Slongo Faccioli, Diego Baronio, Carmem Gottfried, Ingrid Schweigert Perry, & Rudimar dos Santos Riesgo. (2015) Effect of a ketogenic diet on autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 31-38. info:/10.1016/j.rasd.2015.08.005

  • September 21, 2015
  • 02:18 PM

‘Delayed remembering’: Kids can remember tomorrow what they forgot today

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

For adults, memories tend to fade with time. But a new study has shown that there are circumstances under which the opposite is true for small children: they can remember a piece of information better days later than they can on the day they first learned it. While playing a video game that asked them to remember associations between objects, 4- and 5-year-olds who re-played the game after a two-day delay scored more than 20 percent higher than kids who re-played it later the same day.... Read more »

Kevin Darby. (20115) ‘Delayed remembering’: kids can remember tomorrow what they forgot today. Psychological Science. info:/

  • September 21, 2015
  • 09:05 AM

And even more on motivation

by Mirjam Sophia Glessmer in Adventures in Teaching and Oceanography

Last week we talked about motivation quite a bit: First about why do students engage in academic tasks?, then about how motivation is proportional to the expectation of achieving a goal. Today I want to bring it all together a … Continue reading →... Read more »

Ana T. Torres-Ayala, & Geoffrey L. Herman. (2012) Motivating Learners: A Primer for Engineering Teaching Assistants. American Society for Engineering Education. info:/

  • September 21, 2015
  • 07:02 AM

Predicting who will murder their spouse or  family members

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

This is a fascinating study on how those that kill significant others or family members are different from those who kill strangers. The first author explains how these murderers are different, saying “These murders are usually in the heat of passion and generally involve drugs or alcohol and often are driven by jealousy or revenge […]

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Texas + Wealth + Family Lawsuits = Dysfunction?
You killed your spouse. But who is responsible?
When strangers are better than your Mom,........ Read more »

  • September 21, 2015
  • 03:15 AM

Autism manifests across a range of genetic and metabolic syndromes

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) phenomenology is reported to be more common in individuals with some genetic syndromes than in the general population."That was the starting point for the systematic review and meta-analysis published by Caroline Richards and colleagues [1] who set about 'synthesising' the various peer-reviewed data "to provide accurate estimates about ASD phenomenology in genetic and metabolic syndromes." A scan of the cumulative literature in this area ("168 papers reportin........ Read more »

Caroline Richards, Christopher Jones, Laura Groves, Jo Moss, & Chris Oliver. (2015) Prevalence of autism spectrum disorder phenomenology in genetic disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Psychiatry. info:/

  • September 20, 2015
  • 06:47 PM

Novel mouse alleles allow for sequential mutagenesis using the dual recombinase technology

by dkirsch in the Node

Genetically engineered mouse models have been used extensively to study a wide variety of biological processes in vivo, and innovations in genetic engineering have made it possible to dissect more intricate biological questions. For example, the first mice that showed successful germline transmission of foreign DNA were created in the 1980s, and this allowed the[...]

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The post Novel mouse alleles allow for sequential mutagenesis using the dual recombinase technology appeared first on ........ Read more »

  • September 20, 2015
  • 03:01 PM

A barrier against brain stem cell aging

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Neural stem cells generate new neurons throughout life in the mammalian brain. However, with advancing age the potential for regeneration in the brain dramatically declines. Scientists now identified a novel mechanism of how neural stem cells stay relatively free of aging-induced damage. A diffusion barrier regulates the sorting of damaged proteins during cell division.... Read more »

Moore, D., Pilz, G., Arauzo-Bravo, M., Barral, Y., & Jessberger, S. (2015) A mechanism for the segregation of age in mammalian neural stem cells. Science, 349(6254), 1334-1338. DOI: 10.1126/science.aac9868  

  • September 19, 2015
  • 05:55 PM

The effect of ‘energy boost’ footwear on running economy

by Craig Payne in Running Research Junkie

The effect of ‘energy boost’ footwear on running economy... Read more »

  • September 19, 2015
  • 02:49 PM

Schizophrenia: Repairing the brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Research led by scientists from Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore (Duke-NUS) has linked the abnormal behaviour of two genes (BDNF and DTNBP1) to the underlying cause of schizophrenia. These findings have provided a new target for schizophrenia treatment.... Read more »

  • September 19, 2015
  • 04:01 AM

Gluten free diet adherence reduces depression in coeliac disease

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was really quite interested in the paper by Seref Simsek and colleagues [1] looking at how adherence to a gluten-free diet (GFD) in cases of paediatric coeliac disease might also confer psychological benefits too. To quote: "[a] Significant decrease was observed in the depression scores... of celiac patients who were able to actually adhere to the GFD compared with nonadherent patients."So: "The aim of this study was to investigate the level of depression and quality of life in child........ Read more »

Simsek S, Baysoy G, Gencoglan S, & Uluca U. (2015) Effects of Gluten-Free Diet on Quality of Life and Depression in Children With Celiac Disease. Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition, 61(3), 303-306. PMID: 26322559  

  • September 18, 2015
  • 03:14 PM

Types of athletic training affect how brain communicates with muscles

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Using endurance training or strength and resistance training not only prepares an athlete for different types of sports, they can also change the way the brain and muscles communicate with each other.... Read more »

  • September 18, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

Regulatory Variation Predicts Gene Dosage Sensitivity

by Daniel Koboldt in Massgenomics

A significant fraction of the functional variation in humans lies outside of known protein-coding regions. We all know that. Yet every individual’s genome harbors millions of noncoding variants, most of which are likely neutral with respect to phenotypes. Identifying the subset of noncoding variants that are functional remains notoriously difficult, and represents a considerable scientific challenge we face as […]... Read more »

Petrovski S, Gussow AB, Wang Q, Halvorsen M, Han Y, Weir WH, Allen AS, & Goldstein DB. (2015) The Intolerance of Regulatory Sequence to Genetic Variation Predicts Gene Dosage Sensitivity. PLoS genetics, 11(9). PMID: 26332131  

  • September 18, 2015
  • 07:02 AM

“Gaydar”: Real or plain and simple stereotyping? 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

A study a while back showed ‘above chance’ guessing of sexual orientation based on photographs of faces alone. The results were explained as proof of gaydar. Now, a new study says gaydar is not real and is a way to stereotype others that is seen as more “socially and personally acceptable”. They point to a […]

Related posts:
The Danger of Stereotyping: Does Gay + Black = Likable?
The Libertarian Orientation Scale: Who’s the (real) Libertarian?
Real-life Sopranos: It’s isn’........ Read more »

  • September 18, 2015
  • 05:34 AM

What Do Bats and Plants Have in Common? High-pitched Screaming!

by Chiara Civardi in United Academics

Polyglot like a pitcher plant or cryptolectic like a sperm whale?

A: “Pitcher Tower, this is Bat K hardwickii, established ILS 16. Do you copy me?”
B: “Bat K hardwickii, clear to land. Please confirm: are you ready to discharge the cargo?”
A: “Roger. Affirmative.”

This is how I imagined a conversation between the tropical carnivorous pitcher plant Nepenthes hemsleyana and the bat Kerivoula hardwickii would go. No, I am not on drugs; bats and plants can........ Read more »

Cantor M, Shoemaker LG, Cabral RB, Flores CO, Varga M, & Whitehead H. (2015) Multilevel animal societies can emerge from cultural transmission. Nature communications, 8091. PMID: 26348688  

Schöner MG, Schöner CR, Simon R, Grafe TU, Puechmaille SJ, Ji LL, & Kerth G. (2015) Bats Are Acoustically Attracted to Mutualistic Carnivorous Plants. Current biology : CB, 25(14), 1911-6. PMID: 26166777  

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