Can life be brought to celestial bodies outside our solar system, which are not permanently inhabitable? A new essay that has been published is trying to deal with this question. Over the last several years, the search for exoplanets has shown that very different types exist leading to new questions and a variety of possible answers.
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Claudius Gros. (2016) Developing Ecospheres on Transiently Habitable Planets: The Genesis Project. Astrophysics and Space Science. arXiv: 1608.06087v2
"Our results support a significantly higher prevalence rate of BD [bipolar disorder] in IBS [irritable bowel syndrome] patients than in controls."So said the results of the meta-analysis and systematic review published by Ping-Tao Tseng and colleagues  (open-access available here) based on the suggestion that "both IBS and BD may, at least partially, share a similar mechanism of pathophysiology" specifically with immune function in mind.Building on previous research sugges........ Read more »
Tseng PT, Zeng BS, Chen YW, Wu MK, Wu CK, & Lin PY. (2016) A meta-analysis and systematic review of the comorbidity between irritable bowel syndrome and bipolar disorder. Medicine, 95(33). PMID: 27537599
At the dinner table, babies do a lot more than play with their sippy cups, new research suggests. Babies pay close attention to what food is being eaten around them - and especially who is eating it. The study adds evidence to a growing body of research suggesting even very young children think in sophisticated ways about subtle social cues.
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Liberman, Z., Woodward, A., Sullivan, K., & Kinzler, K. (2016) Early emerging system for reasoning about the social nature of food. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(34), 9480-9485. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1605456113
Weight loss (bariatric) surgery is likely to become increasingly important to address the obesity epidemic in the U.S. and other nations.There are several types of surgical techniques used for bariatric surgery.One of the most invasive is the Rous-en-Y gastric bypass (RYG) operation. This operation involves bisection of the small intestine and reattachment of the upper section to a position lower down the small intestine. This provides for a shorter distance for food to be absorbed.Less invasive........ Read more »
Maciejewski ML, Arterburn DE, Van Scoyoc L, Smith VA, Yancy WS Jr, Weidenbacher HJ, Livingston EH, & Olsen MK. (2016) Bariatric Surgery and Long-term Durability of Weight Loss. JAMA surgery. PMID: 27579793
What exactly are SETI signals?... Read more »
Carrigan Jr, R. (2006) Do potential SETI signals need to be decontaminated?. Acta Astronautica, 58(2), 112-117. DOI: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2005.05.004
About the factors potentially limiting susceptibility to Blastocystis colonisation/infection.... Read more »
Blessmann, J., Ali, I., Ton Nu, P., Dinh, B., Ngo Viet, T., Le Van, A., Clark, C., & Tannich, E. (2003) Longitudinal Study of Intestinal Entamoeba histolytica Infections in Asymptomatic Adult Carriers. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 41(10), 4745-4750. DOI: 10.1128/JCM.41.10.4745-4750.2003
Scanlan PD, Stensvold CR, Rajilić-Stojanović M, Heilig HG, De Vos WM, O'Toole PW, & Cotter PD. (2014) The microbial eukaryote Blastocystis is a prevalent and diverse member of the healthy human gut microbiota. FEMS microbiology ecology, 90(1), 326-30. PMID: 25077936
The Eatles are chomping on the remains of a red kangaroo. Come learn about some of the anatomical specializations in this fascinating animal.... Read more »
McCarthy, M. (1996) Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus) Dynamics: Effects of Rainfall, Density Dependence, Harvesting and Environmental Stochasticity. The Journal of Applied Ecology, 33(1), 45. DOI: 10.2307/2405014
Sharman, G., Frith, H., & Calaby, J. (1964) Growth of the pouch young, tooth eruption and age determination in the Red Kangaroo, Megaleia rufa. CSIRO Wildlife Research, 9(1), 20. DOI: 10.1071/CWR9640020
Contractile fiber type and mitochondrial function are two key factors of skeletal muscle function. However, the exact mechanism for coupling the two remains unknown. The genes encoding type I myosins Myh7/Myh7b regulate muscle fiber type switching by encoding their intronic miRNAs, miR-208b and miR-499. In a new study, Liu et al., 2016 use transgenic mice to show that miR-499 directly targets the gene encoding folliculin‐interacting protein‐1 (Fnip1), which negatively regulates AMPK. AMPK ........ Read more »
Liu J, Liang X, Zhou D, Lai L, Xiao L, Liu L, Fu T, Kong Y, Zhou Q, Vega RB.... (2016) Coupling of mitochondrial function and skeletal muscle fiber type by a miR-499/Fnip1/AMPK circuit. EMBO molecular medicine. PMID: 27506764
by Piter Kehoma Boll It’s time for our next beetle. Today the fellow I chose is Ontholestes cingulatus or gold-and-brown rove beetle. Rove beetles are the second most numerous family of beetles after weevils. Their more remarkable feature is that their … Continue reading →... Read more »
Alcock, J. (1991) Adaptive mate-guarding by males of Ontholestes cingulatus (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae). Journal of Insect Behavior, 4(6), 763-771. DOI: 10.1007/BF01052230
"The developmental concerns expressed by parents of undiagnosed toddlers were highly consistent with the diagnosis the child later received."So said the findings reported by Megan Richards and colleagues  who continue a research theme suggesting that when it comes to 'developmental concerns' about offspring behaviour, parents are generally pretty good at spotting potential red flags and professionals should perhaps take further note.Based on data derived from "a toddler screening study" some ........ Read more »
Richards M, Mossey J, & Robins DL. (2016) Parents' Concerns as They Relate to Their Child's Development and Later Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP. PMID: 27541581
Some of the most remote caves on Earth will reveal secrets of Greenland’s climate that pre-date the ice sheet. Preliminary results are look exciting.... Read more »
Gina Moseley, R. Lawrence Edwards, Hai Cheng, Yanbin Lu, & Christoph Spoetl. (2016) Northeast Greenland Caves Project: first results from a speleothem-derived record of climate change for the Arctic. Geophysical Research Abstracts EGU General Assembly 2016, held 17-22 April, 2016 in Vienna Austria, p.11152. info:other/2016EGUGA.1811152M
The first ever survey of African Elephants, spanning many nations, just concluded, and it gave forth a dismal picture. We’re losing the war against poachers.... Read more »
Chase, M., Schlossberg, S., Griffin, C., Bouché, P., Djene, S., Elkan, P., Ferreira, S., Grossman, F., Kohi, E., Landen, K.... (2016) Continent-wide survey reveals massive decline in African savannah elephants. PeerJ. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.2354
A paper just published in Science has given rise to some astonishing headlines:
Dogs can understand human speech, scientists discover
Dogs process language like us
Dogs understand both words and intonation of human speech
But is the media's excitement justified, or are they barking up the wrong tree?
Here's the paper, from Hungarian neuroscientists Atilla Andics and colleagues. It was a canine fMRI study: dogs were trained to lie still in the MRI scanner and were played voice reco... Read more »
The children of traumatized people have long been known to be at increased risk for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and mood and anxiety disorders. However, there are very few opportunities to examine biologic alterations in the context of a watershed trauma in exposed people and their adult children born after the event.
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Yehuda, R., Daskalakis, N., Bierer, L., Bader, H., Klengel, T., Holsboer, F., & Binder, E. (2016) Holocaust Exposure Induced Intergenerational Effects on FKBP5 Methylation. Biological Psychiatry, 80(5), 372-380. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.08.005
Don't look now, but this spineless sea creature may be able to count better than your toddler.
Cuttlefish need to be savvy if they want to eat. They're always on the lookout for shrimp, fish or crabs. When a cuttlefish spots a potential victim, it shoots out two specialized, sucker-bearing tentacles and nabs it. Since these hunters have to make constant judgments about which prey are worth targeting, it would make sense for them to have advanced cognitive skills—say, the ability to cou........ Read more »
Yang TI, & Chiao CC. (2016) Number sense and state-dependent valuation in cuttlefish. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 283(1837). PMID: 27559063
March of the mammoths Improvements in our genetic tinkering capabilities have led several people to suggest potential uses for our newfound powers. Although we ought to add some nuance and note that those powers are still in development. In any case, one of those powers is quite impressive. De-extinction, or the process of bringing back […]... Read more »
Seddon PJ, Griffiths CJ, Soorae PS, & Armstrong DP. (2014) Reversing defaunation: restoring species in a changing world. Science, 345(6195), 406-12. PMID: 25061203
McCauley, D., Hardesty-Moore, M., Halpern, B., & Young, H. (2016) A mammoth undertaking: harnessing insight from functional ecology to shape de-extinction priority setting. Functional Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.12728
Roger Tsien died a few days ago, at the relatively young age of 64. He was a UCSD scientist, a Nobel laureate and he was one of the first to see the significance and usefulness of GFP. I’ve never met him. … Continue reading →... Read more »
Heim, R., Prasher, D., & Tsien, R. (1994) Wavelength mutations and posttranslational autoxidation of green fluorescent protein. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 91(26), 12501-12504. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.91.26.12501
The journal Brain has a new review on the history of converting the electroencephalogram (EEG) into sound (Lutters & Koehler, 2016). The translation of data into sound, known as sonification, has been applied to brain waves since the 1930s. In addition to early scientific and medical applications, sonification of the EEG has been used in the field of experimental music.In 1965, physicist Edmond Dewan and composer Alvin Lucier collaborated on Music for the Solo Performer:Sitting on a cha........ Read more »
Lutters, B., & Koehler, P. (2016) Brainwaves in concert: the 20th century sonification of the electroencephalogram. Brain. DOI: 10.1093/brain/aww207
"Overall, OO [optimal outcome] individuals are not showing BAP [broader autism phenotype] characteristics, but may be subject to other mild ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder]-like characteristics."So said the findings reported by Joyce Suh and colleagues  who continue a research voyage based on the examination of a group of children who were very much once on the autism spectrum but no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for the label: those with so-........ Read more »
Suh J, Orinstein A, Barton M, Chen CM, Eigsti IM, Ramirez-Esparza N, & Fein D. (2016) Ratings of Broader Autism Phenotype and Personality Traits in Optimal Outcomes from Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 27538964
Ever think it's silly that people don't recognize Clark Kent is actually Superman? Well as it turns out, glasses are actually a fairly good way to disguise yourself. In fact, researchers have shown that small alterations to a person's appearance, such as wearing glasses, can significantly hinder positive facial identification.
... Read more »
Kramer, R., & Ritchie, K. (2016) Disguising Superman: How Glasses Affect Unfamiliar Face Matching. Applied Cognitive Psychology. DOI: 10.1002/acp.3261
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