Post List

  • October 29, 2010
  • 08:31 AM

What's in a placebo? Mike Adams certainly doesn't know.

by Orac in Respectful Insolence

If there's one thing that confounds advocates of so-called "complementary and alternative medicine" (CAM), it's the placebo effect. That's because, whenever most such remedies are studied using rigorous clinical trial design using properly constituted placebo controls, they almost always end up showing effects no greater than placebo effects. That's the main reason why they frequently suggest that, you know, all those rigorous, carefully constructed randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials ........ Read more »

Golomb BA, Erickson LC, Koperski S, Sack D, Enkin M, & Howick J. (2010) What's in placebos: who knows? Analysis of randomized, controlled trials. Annals of internal medicine, 153(8), 532-5. PMID: 20956710  

  • October 29, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

One in Ten Canadian Adolescents is Abdominally Obese

by Arya M. Sharma in Dr. Sharma's Obesity Notes

Yesterday, at the 3rd Conference on Recent Advances in the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood & Adolescent Obesity, in Hamilton Ontario, I moderated a debate on whether or not advertising to kids should be regulated
The contestants were Dr. Yoni Freedhoff (of Weighty Matters fame), who eloquently supported the call for regulation, and Dr. Laurette Dube (Professor and James McGill [...]... Read more »

Janssen I, Shields M, Craig CL, & Tremblay MS. (2010) Prevalence and secular changes in abdominal obesity in Canadian adolescents and adults, 1981 to 2007-2009. Obesity reviews : an official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity. PMID: 20977603  

  • October 28, 2010
  • 11:50 PM

Brain control

by Michelle Greene in NeurRealism

This week’s Nature has a cool article on the conscious control of medial temporal lobe neurons. In this work, the authors studied twelve patients with intractable epilepsy who have had electrodes implanted in their brains to monitor for seizure activity before neurosurgery. The electrodes were recording from brain areas that have been associated with high-level visual recognition, including place recognition, object recognition and navigation.

In the paper, the researchers identified n........ Read more »

Cerf, M., Thiruvengadam, N., Mormann, F., Kraskov, A., Quiroga, R., Koch, C., & Fried, I. (2010) On-line, voluntary control of human temporal lobe neurons. Nature, 467(7319), 1104-1108. DOI: 10.1038/nature09510  

  • October 28, 2010
  • 07:08 PM

Do Sperm Whales Use Sonar To Stun Giant Squid?

by Danna Staaf in Squid A Day

In 1983, two scientists, one from California and one from Denmark, co-authored a research paper titled "Can odontocetes debilitate prey with sound?" Odontocete is a fancy term for toothed whales (the group that includes sperm whales, orcas, and dolphins) and so the question could be written thus: Can toothed whales stun their prey with loud noises?
read more... Read more »

  • October 28, 2010
  • 05:48 PM

Mentoring Science Teachers

by Jack Hassard in The Art of Teaching Science

Perhaps one of the most important roles that science teachers play, apart from helping their students become excited about and learn science, is being a mentor to an apprentice or beginning teacher.   My own experience in the mentoring process was as a beginning teacher at Weston High School where I was mentored by Irv [...]

Related posts:Using Fear to Attack Teachers and Hold Schools Hostage
Reform From Teachers’ Points of View
NASA’s Role in Inspiring Teachers and Youth
... Read more »

Koballa, T., Kittleson, J., Bradbury, L., & Dias, M. (2010) Teacher thinking associated with science-specific mentor preparation. Science Education, 94(6), 1072-1091. DOI: 10.1002/sce.20400  

  • October 28, 2010
  • 05:36 PM

The Anthrome Era

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Cities are growing – and so too is the study of urban ecosystems. A hefty new review finds that, after decades of disinterest, ecologists are piling up new insights into how urbanization can influence everything from soil bacteria to bird calls. Now, studies of the “anthrome” – the human-dominated, or anthropogenic biome – are poised […] Read More »... Read more »

Pickett, S., Cadenasso, M., Grove, J., Boone, C., Groffman, P., Irwin, E., Kaushal, S., Marshall, V., McGrath, B., & Nilon, C. (2010) Urban ecological systems: Scientific foundations and a decade of progress. Journal of Environmental Management. DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2010.08.022  

  • October 28, 2010
  • 05:29 PM

Psycasm - The Science of Mind-Reading

by Rift in Psycasm

[Wherein our here looks at mind-reading and, well, you probably know the rest... But seriously, here's the science] I consider myself a skeptic, and I've often wondered how I can tie my skeptical bent with my interest in Psychology, while remaining true to the format of this blog. I don't like to sit here and write essays, nor do I like to sit here and push a particular age; (read more)

Source: Rift - Discipline: Agriculture... Read more »

Leder D. (2005) "Spooky actions at a distance": physics, psi, and distant healing. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.), 11(5), 923-30. PMID: 16296928  

Realo, A. (2003) Mind-reading ability: Beliefs and performance. Journal of Research in Personality, 37(5), 420-445. DOI: 10.1016/S0092-6566(03)00021-7  

Moulton ST, & Kosslyn SM. (2008) Using neuroimaging to resolve the psi debate. Journal of cognitive neuroscience, 20(1), 182-92. PMID: 18095790  

  • October 28, 2010
  • 05:24 PM

Toy stories: lessons to be learned

by Jan Husdal in

How the toy industry handles supply chain risk is applicable to many other industries as well. While few of the risks faced by toy makers are unique to the industry, the combination of risks is daunting. ... Read more »

M Eric Johnson. (2001) Learning From Toys: Lessons in Managing Supply Chain Risk from the Toy Industry. California Management Review, 43(3), 106-124. info:/

  • October 28, 2010
  • 04:48 PM

Publishing Open Access is Good for Your Academic Reputation

by Hadas Shema in Information Culture

In the academic world, reputation is the currency of choice. "Reputation," of course, is a very loose term and can include anything from publishing in high-impact journals to being a good advisor to your students. How does OA contribute to your academic reputation?The first significant scholarly repository,, was started by high-energy physicists, but quickly expanded to include other scientific disciplines. Today, archiving in is practically a necessity for physicists. Archiv........ Read more »

  • October 28, 2010
  • 04:43 PM

Do Not Cut Funding for Mosquito Surveillance

by Michael Long in Phased

Gonzalo Vazquez-Prokopec (Emory University, United States) and coworkers show that reducing the budget of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vector-borne disease research and surveillance will cost far more money than it saves.... Read more »

Vazquez-Prokopec, G., Chaves, L., Ritchie, S., Davis, J., & Kitron, U. (2010) Unforeseen Costs of Cutting Mosquito Surveillance Budgets. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 4(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0000858  

  • October 28, 2010
  • 02:45 PM

Rods (and low light) set circadian rhythm, too

by Casey Rentz in Natural Selections

I always get a little groggy when flying cross-country. My circadian clock gets knocked off it's firm pedestal and starts jumping rope inside my head and doing handsprings through my body. To begin with, light set this clock. And I smash it by leaving California at 10AM and chasing the darkness until I arrive on the east coast 4 hours later at night.
Ugh. My rods and cones hurt.
Until recently, the color-seeing, bright-light-active cone structure in the eye was the main gateway for programming ........ Read more »

Altimus CM, Güler AD, Alam NM, Arman AC, Prusky GT, Sampath AP, & Hattar S. (2010) Rod photoreceptors drive circadian photoentrainment across a wide range of light intensities. Nature neuroscience, 13(9), 1107-12. PMID: 20711184  

  • October 28, 2010
  • 01:24 PM

Teaching new tricks to insulators

by Joerg Heber in All That Matters

    Insulators might seem pretty boring materials for an electronic device such as a computer memory, because by the very nature of their definition, they don’t conduct any electrical current. But some insulators show some pretty intriguing properties. Amongst them are the so-called ferroelectrics. A ferroelectric is a material where positive and negative electrical [...]... Read more »

  • October 28, 2010
  • 10:28 AM

Of Fossil Ghosts and Hippos Past

by Laelaps in Laelaps

To call hippos “charming” may seem a bit of a stretch, but they are most certainly among the classic charismatic megafauna of the African continent. In the wake of the end-Pleistocene ecological catastrophe – during which waves of extinction denuded the planet of many strange, large-bodied mammals from woolly mammoths to wombats the size of [...]... Read more »

  • October 28, 2010
  • 10:25 AM

Who's Your Momma? The cosmopolitan maternal heritage of the Thoroughbred racehorse breed shows a significant contribution from British and Irish native mares

by GrrlScientist in GrrlScientist

This newly published study finds that thoroughbred racehorses, which originated in Europe, descended from a number of British and Irish native breed foundation mares... Read more »

  • October 28, 2010
  • 09:58 AM

Preschool Policy: A New Early-Education Agenda

by APS Daily Observations in Daily Observations

Two children enroll in publicly funded preschools that are within a mile of each other, but they may have vastly different experiences at the two schools. One child may attend ... Read more »

Pianta,R.C., Barnett, W.S., Burchinal, M., & Thornburg, K.R. (2009) The Effects of Preschool Education: What We Know, How Public Policy Is or Is Not Aligned With the Evidence Base, and What We Need to Know. Psychological Science in the Public Interest. info:/10.1177/1529100610381908

  • October 28, 2010
  • 09:50 AM

Righties and Lefties: Does Hand Preference Influence Self-Perception of the Body?

by Psychology 379 bloggers in Cognition & the Arts

When we grow as people, we often gravitate toward learning to use our right hand or left-hand for motor activity, whether for throwing a football or writing our names in grade school. While this is often taken for granted as a part of normal physical development and even comes to represent a small portion of who we are as individuals, have you ever wondered how “handedness” develops? How does our handedness affect our self-perceptions and the way we perceive the world around us? A st........ Read more »

Linkenauger SA, Witt JK, Bakdash JZ, Stefanucci JK, & Proffitt DR. (2009) Asymmetrical body perception: a possible role for neural body representations. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 20(11), 1373-80. PMID: 19788528  

  • October 28, 2010
  • 08:33 AM

Warning! Climate change is a fire hazard

by Vivienne in Outdoor Science

Here’s some bad news. Wildfires triggered by heat waves – like those that swept through Russia this summer – could dominate the coming century. Research by NASA’s Dr Olga Pechony and Dr Drew Shindell suggests hotter weather could take over from people as the controlling force behind the world’s blazes. Firefighters and governments may need [...]... Read more »

Pechony O, & Shindell DT. (2010) Driving forces of global wildfires over the past millennium and the forthcoming century. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 20974914  

  • October 28, 2010
  • 08:32 AM

Bacterial cell division and membrane potential

by Lab Rat in Lab Rat

Bacterial cell division is usually quite a regular business. As I mentioned previously, not all bacteria use the regular FtsZ ring method of dividing, but for those that do division is mostly a matter of lining the right proteins along the middle of the bacteria, and then contracting a little ring of protein (FtsZ) around the centre of the bacteria to split the one cell into two cells.Many of the more critical proteins in the process are membrane-bound, in particular the Min proteins, which in E........ Read more »

Strahl H, & Hamoen LW. (2010) Membrane potential is important for bacterial cell division. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(27), 12281-6. PMID: 20566861  

  • October 28, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Maternal Diet Programs Metabolism in Offspring

by Arya M. Sharma in Dr. Sharma's Obesity Notes

Regular readers will recall the many posts on the issue of intra-uterine epigenetic programming, that is now believed by many to be one of the key drivers of the childhood obesity epidemic.
As more and more human and experimental evidence for this hypothesis accumulates, it is becoming increasingly evident that the intra-uterine environment may play a [...]... Read more »

  • October 28, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Introducing DAMIEN – the brain’s default mode network

by Lorimer Moseley in BodyInMind

Numerous studies involving functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the brain, tell us that chronic back pain (CBP) alters brain function well beyond the feeling of pain and can cause impairments like depression, impaired decision-making and sleep disturbance [1,2]. It was Baliki’s group in 2008 which confirmed for the first time that CBP disrupts the [...]... Read more »

[1] Apkarian AV, Sosa Y, Krauss BR, Thomas PS, Fredrickson BE, Levy RE, Harden RN, & Chialvo DR. (2004) Chronic pain patients are impaired on an emotional decision-making task. Pain, 108(1-2), 129-36. PMID: 15109516  

[2] Baliki MN, Geha PY, Apkarian AV, & Chialvo DR. (2008) Beyond feeling: chronic pain hurts the brain, disrupting the default-mode network dynamics. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 28(6), 1398-403. PMID: 18256259  

[3] Beckmann, C., DeLuca, M., Devlin, J., & Smith, S. (2005) Investigations into resting-state connectivity using independent component analysis. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 360(1457), 1001-1013. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2005.1634  

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