As the race to discover a new obesity drug continues, it’s important to consider what makes a good obesity drug target. Before you bother putting a team of medicinal chemists on the job of making a small molecule that could be the next big diet pill, what do you need to know about the target [...]... Read more »
Han, Z., Niu, T., Chang, J., Lei, X., Zhao, M., Wang, Q., Cheng, W., Wang, J., Feng, Y., & Chai, J. (2010) Crystal structure of the FTO protein reveals basis for its substrate specificity. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature08921
The joke around some beach communities is that you can never be too thin, too rich, or too blonde. I don’t know about the first two, but a new paper suggests being blonde on a beach may be good, but you can be too blonde – if you’re a mouse.
Animal colours provide some classic cases of adaptation and natural selection. For instance, most people with even a passing familiarity with biology know about peppered moths and industrial melanism. Fur colour in mice isn’t quite as famous as moth........ Read more »
Video credit: University of Michigan / Boston University / Cosmovision
We went looking for a small black hole in our neighborhood, maybe a few hundred light-years away, and instead we found a supermassive black hole nearly 7 billion light-years away. Sometimes astronomy can be that way...
Back in February, my colleagues and I were looking at white dwarfs with the Keck I telescope in Hawaii. Before our second night started, the astronomers at the neighboring teles........ Read more »
J. Vandenbroucke, R. Buehler, M. Ajello, K. Bechtol, A. Bellini, M. Bolte, C. C. Cheung, F. Civano, D. Donato, L. Fuhrmann.... (2010) Discovery of a GeV blazar shining through the Galactic plane. Astrophysical Journal Letters. arXiv: 1004.1413v1
The Institute of Medicine has re-sparked discussions about limiting and further reducing resident duty hours in the United States (IOM's Duty Hours Report from Dec 2008). In response to this, the Brigham and Women's Internal Medicine residency program created an innovative inpatient team model, which was published in this month's New England Journal of Medicine.Study DesignSetting:Faulkner Hospital, an affiliated community hospital with 72 inpatient medicine bedsControl team = General Medical Se........ Read more »
McMahon, G., Katz, J., Thorndike, M., Levy, B., & Loscalzo, J. (2010) Evaluation of a Redesign Initiative in an Internal-Medicine Residency. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(14), 1304-1311. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsa0908136
A new study looks at 52 conservation easements created by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in California rangelands from 1973 - 2006 to see how the approach of this land protection strategy has evolved over time. Specifically, the study focuses on the challenge of incorporating adaptive management into a legal document that sets restrictions on land use in perpetuity...... Read more »
Rissman, A. (2010) Designing Perpetual Conservation Agreements for Land Management. Rangeland Ecology , 63(2), 167-175. DOI: 10.2111/08-251.1
Non-English speakers’ access to emergency services in Australia is in the news again as a Melbourne man has been convicted of the murder of his wife. What makes the case particularly shocking is the fact that the victim, who was originally from Afghanistan, tried to call police a few days before the murder but couldn’t [...]... Read more »
Piller, Ingrid, & Takahashi, Kimie. (2010) Language, Migration, and Human Rights. Wodak, Ruth, Paul Kerswill and Barbara Johnstone. Eds. Handbook of Sociolinguistics. London: Sage. info:/
Brain injuries caused by strokes, tumors or head trauma can, on occasion, result in Unusual Changes in Sexuality, as discussed in an earlier blog post. A new case report by Bianchi-Demicheli et al. (2010) describes a unique paraphilia1 in a married 34 year old man. The authors called it Sleeping Beauty paraphilia:This [man] felt sexually aroused from seeing sleeping women as well as from taking care of their hands and nails while they were asleep.The patient came to the attention of the authors ........ Read more »
Bianchi-Demicheli F, Rollini C, Lovblad K, & Ortigue S. (2010) "Sleeping Beauty paraphilia": deviant desire in the context of bodily self-image disturbance in a patient with a fronto-parietal traumatic brain injury. Medical science monitor : international medical journal of experimental and clinical research, 16(2). PMID: 20110923
Tetsuo Nagano (University of Tokyo) and coworkers have developed an improved detection protocol for acrolein, a possible indicator of stroke and other medical conditions, which will facilitate rapid diagnosis and medical treatment. This news feature was written on April 11, 2010.... Read more »
Togashi, M., Urano, Y., Kojima, H., Terai, T., Hanaoka, K., Igarashi, K., Hirata, Y., & Nagano, T. (2010) Sensitive Detection of Acrolein in Serum Using Time-Resolved Luminescence. Organic Letters, 12(8), 1704-1707. DOI: 10.1021/ol1002219
Paolo Salucci has a bone to pick with the community. The Trieste-based astronomer is fed up with his colleagues’ misconceptions about galaxy rotation curves and has decided to Do Something About It. In his short paper posted to astro-ph last Friday, he describes the experiment he’s set up to convince the world that galaxy rotation [...]... Read more »
Paolo Salucci. (2010) Can Social Networks help the progress of Astrophysics and Cosmology? An experiment in the field of Galaxy Kinematics. Arxiv. arXiv: 1004.1190v1
Peer review is central to how we evaluate science and therefore how journal papers, grants and jobs are awarded. Peer review is done in many different ways, and has dramatically changed in the last 25 years. But the purpose...... Read more »
Kravitz, R., Franks, P., Feldman, M., Gerrity, M., Byrne, C., & Tierney, W. (2010) Editorial Peer Reviewers' Recommendations at a General Medical Journal: Are They Reliable and Do Editors Care?. PLoS ONE, 5(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010072
This study really excites me as it shows how functional morphology and swimming mode can be reflected in the ecology and evolution of animals. It shows how the different swimming modes of jellyfish determines how they forage for prey. ... Read more »
Dabiri, J., Colin, S., Katija, K., & Costello, J. (2010) A wake-based correlate of swimming performance and foraging behavior in seven co-occurring jellyfish species. Journal of Experimental Biology, 213(8), 1217-1225. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.034660
Some rebels have no cause. It turns out that some phosphorylations are pretty causeless too!
Phosphorylation: Because all the Hip Kids are doing it.
Phosphorylation is one of the ways by which cells can change what proteins do after they have been produced. The simple addition of a phosphate to proteins can change where a protein goes, [...]... Read more »
Most early e-readers are designed as dedicated device for personal reading. However, due to their high cost, limited set of functionalities, poor quality screen and short battery life, most early e-readers were deemed to be ill suited for academia (Gorissen, 2009). As a result of these deficiencies with early e-readers, most universities have never seriously considered replacing printed books with e-books. ... Read more »
Gorissen, C. (2009) Towards an educational model of eReaders in education. Report. Open Universiteit Nederland. info:/
Richard Kravitz (University of California Davis, United States) and coworkers illustrate that although reviewers often don't agree on whether to accept or reject a manuscript, editors nevertheless heavily rely on single-statement recommendations in making the final cut, calling into question the fundamental fairness of recommendations in peer review. This news feature was written on April 10, 2010.... Read more »
Kravitz, R. L., Franks, P., Feldman, M. D., Gerrity, M., Byrne, C., & Tierney, W. M. (2010) Editorial Peer Reviewers' Recommendations at a General Medical Journal: Are They Reliable and Do Editors Care?. PLoS ONE, 5(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010072
Since evolution is an inherently aimless process, it often seems fickle and prone to “changing its mind”. Vertebrates came out of the oceans only to return as icthyosaurs, mosasaurs, whales, and seals. Birds took wing only to get grounded as ostriches and auks. And snakes, whose long-ago ancestor (who was also the common ancestor of [...]... Read more »
Vidal, N., Marin, J., Morini, M., Donnellan, S., Branch, W., Thomas, R., Vences, M., Wynn, A., Cruaud, C., & Blair Hedges, S. (2010) Blindsnake evolutionary tree reveals long history on Gondwana. Biology Letters. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.0220
The folks associated with the IEDB (Immune Epitope Database) have published a very nice and useful guide to all the serious contenders in the immune database field. 1 If you have a particular need, this is an excellent starting point for choosing the appropriate starting point. (It’s an open access article, too.)
They’ve obviously looked [...]... Read more »
Salimi, N., Fleri, W., Peters, B., & Sette, A. (2010) Design and utilization of epitope-based databases and predictive tools. Immunogenetics, 62(4), 185-196. DOI: 10.1007/s00251-010-0435-2
Hearn, A., York, I., & Rock, K. (2009) The Specificity of Trimming of MHC Class I-Presented Peptides in the Endoplasmic Reticulum. The Journal of Immunology, 183(9), 5526-5536. DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.0803663
Schatz MM, Peters B, Akkad N, Ullrich N, Martinez AN, Carroll O, Bulik S, Rammensee HG, van Endert P, Holzhütter HG.... (2008) Characterizing the N-terminal processing motif of MHC class I ligands. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), 180(5), 3210-7. PMID: 18292545
April 8th is Cushing’s Awareness Day. This day has been chosen as a day of awareness as it is the birthday of Dr. Harvey Cushing, a neurosurgeon, who discovered this illness.
Cushing’s disease is a rare hormone disease caused by prolonged exposure to high levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood, whereas Addison’s disease [...]... Read more »
Tiemensma J, Kokshoorn NE, Biermasz NR, Keijser BJ, Wassenaar MJ, Middelkoop HA, Pereira AM, & Romijn JA. (2010) Subtle Cognitive Impairments in Patients with Long-Term Cure of Cushing's Disease. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism. PMID: 20371667
Patil CG, Lad SP, Katznelson L, & Laws ER Jr. (2007) Brain atrophy and cognitive deficits in Cushing's disease. Neurosurgical focus, 23(3). PMID: 17961025
In global health, operational research is an idea increasingly used by donors and policy makers. It involves analytical methods to help improve public health interventions and treatment of diseases in real-life situations. It is thus different from randomized clinical trials that determines efficacy of an intervention in a strictly controlled environment with inclusion and exclusion [...]... Read more »
Zachariah R, Harries AD, Ishikawa N, Rieder HL, Bissell K, Laserson K, Massaquoi M, Van Herp M, & Reid T. (2009) Operational research in low-income countries: what, why, and how?. The Lancet infectious diseases, 9(11), 711-7. PMID: 19850229
Jerene D, Naess A, & Lindtjørn B. (2006) Antiretroviral therapy at a district hospital in Ethiopia prevents death and tuberculosis in a cohort of HIV patients. AIDS research and therapy, 10. PMID: 16600050
Datiko, D., & Lindtjørn, B. (2010) Cost and Cost-Effectiveness of Treating Smear-Positive Tuberculosis by Health Extension Workers in Ethiopia: An Ancillary Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Community Randomized Trial. PLoS ONE, 5(2). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009158
Earlier I mentioned recent research suggesting that the heartland of Mesoamerican agriculture was in western Mexico, which has important implications for the place of that region in Mesoamerica as a whole and in areas, like the Southwest, subject to Mesoamerican influence in prehistory. The main research I was talking about is contained in two papers [...]... Read more »
Piperno, D., Ranere, A., Holst, I., Iriarte, J., & Dickau, R. (2009) Starch grain and phytolith evidence for early ninth millennium B.P. maize from the Central Balsas River Valley, Mexico. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(13), 5019-5024. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0812525106
Ranere, A., Piperno, D., Holst, I., Dickau, R., & Iriarte, J. (2009) The cultural and chronological context of early Holocene maize and squash domestication in the Central Balsas River Valley, Mexico. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(13), 5014-5018. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0812590106
Zizumbo-Villarreal, D., & Colunga-GarcíaMarín, P. (2010) Origin of agriculture and plant domestication in West Mesoamerica. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution. DOI: 10.1007/s10722-009-9521-4
Pinkhasov et al. (2010) discuss why it is that in developed countries around the world, life expectancy for men is several years less than for women. Their attention to actual disease states such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and cancer, excludes a broader, sociocultural approach to the problem. I should think that if you want to reduce the 'gender disparity', as the authors call it, between the life expectancy of men and women, you first need to understand how gen........ Read more »
Pinkhasov, R., Shteynshlyuger, A., Hakimian, P., Lindsay, G., Samadi, D., & Shabsigh, R. (2010) Are men shortchanged on health? Perspective on life expectancy, morbidity, and mortality in men and women in the United States. International Journal of Clinical Practice, 64(4), 465-474. DOI: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2009.02289.x
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