The spirochete Leptospira is the agent of leptospirosis, a zoonosis that primarily burdens tropical regions of the world. Moist conditions promote the survival of the spirochete Leptospira in soil and fresh water. Although Leptospira could survive out in wet environments if they had to, they thrive in the kidneys of rats and other maintenance hosts, where they form dense masses lining the inner surface of the kidney tubules. The spirochetes spill into the urine that forms in the tub........ Read more »
Ganoza, C.A., Matthias, M.A., Saito, M., Cespedes, M., Gotuzzo, E., & Vinetz, J.M. (2010) Asymptomatic renal colonization of humans in the Peruvian Amazon by Leptospira. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 4(2). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0000612
Ganoza, C.A., Matthias, M.A., Collins-Richards, D., Brouwer, K.C., Cunningham, C.B., Segura, E.R., Gilman, R.H., Gotuzzo, E., & Vinetz, J.M. (2006) Determining risk for severe leptospirosis by molecular analysis of environmental surface waters for pathogenic Leptospira. PLoS Medicine, 3(8). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030308
Cougars are getting caught by wolf snares in Canada
... Read more »
Knopff, K.H., Knopff, A.A., & M.S. Boyce. (2010) Scavenging Makes Cougars Susceptible to Snaring at Wolf Bait Stations. Journal of Wildlife Management, 74(4), 644-653. DOI: 10.2193/2009-252
Where is the "phonological store"? Ask the typical cognitive neuroscientist on the street and you will probably be pointed to the left inferior parietal lobe. But this is incorrect. First, the idea that there is a dedicated "phonological store" is probably incorrect. Second, the system that supports the temporary maintenance of phonological information isn't in the parietal lobe, but in the superior temporal region, i.e., the same general region that supports phonological processing during sp........ Read more »
Leff, A., Schofield, T., Crinion, J., Seghier, M., Grogan, A., Green, D., & Price, C. (2009) The left superior temporal gyrus is a shared substrate for auditory short-term memory and speech comprehension: evidence from 210 patients with stroke. Brain, 132(12), 3401-3410. DOI: 10.1093/brain/awp273
Empathy is a complicated emotion, even for mice. On seeing another in pain, a mouse will act as if it itself is also hurting—much more, though, if it knows the first mouse. Capuchin monkeys will help out another monkey, without any reward, but only if they're on friendly terms. People also feel less for those they dislike. But our species adds another layer of complication: We empathize more with people who are "like us" than with "them." This study, published this month, suggests that th........ Read more »
Gutsell, J., & Inzlicht, M. (2010) Empathy constrained: Prejudice predicts reduced mental simulation of actions during observation of outgroups. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2010.03.011
Xu, X., Zuo, X., Wang, X., & Han, S. (2009) Do You Feel My Pain? Racial Group Membership Modulates Empathic Neural Responses. Journal of Neuroscience, 29(26), 8525-8529. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2418-09.2009
Singer, T., Seymour, B., O'Doherty, J., Stephan, K., Dolan, R., & Frith, C. (2006) Empathic neural responses are modulated by the perceived fairness of others. Nature, 439(7075), 466-469. DOI: 10.1038/nature04271
Considering the number of studies published describing habitat fragmentation and edge effects, why has the pattern and framework of these effects on ecosystems not been described? Ries and Sisk proposed a conceptual model in that paper that can account and predict, to some extent, the variability of an organism’s responses to different edges, usually indicated through an increase or decrease abundance at the edge, or no change at all.... Read more »
Ries, L., & Sisk, T. (2010) What is an edge species? The implications of sensitivity to habitat edges. Oikos. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2010.18414.x
A practical example from ophthalmic optics research to convince readers on the importance of expending money in basic research... and more ... Read more »
Tabernero, J., Benito, A., Alcón, E., & Artal, P. (2007) Mechanism of compensation of aberrations in the human eye. Journal of the Optical Society of America A, 24(10), 3274. DOI: 10.1364/JOSAA.24.003274
Nature is colorful. And the family of pigments that is mostly responsible for these colors are carotenoids. Carotenoids make the apples red, the lemons yellow, the pumpkins oranges and, yes carrots, (from which their name is derived), orange.
Carotenoids also make flamingos and salmon pink, and color the puffin’s bill orange. But those animals cannot produce [...]... Read more »
Another result from the analysis of the recently published genome of the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum. Nancy Moran and Tyler Jarvik present a study of the origin of the carotenoid production gene in pea aphid. Animals typically cannot make carotenoids so they sought to discover how this is possible. They find that it [...]... Read more »
MIT brain scanners Fedorenko et al present A new method for fMRI investigations of language: Defining ROIs functionally in individual subjects. Also on the list of authors is Nancy Kanwisher, one of the feared fMRI voodoo correlations posse.The paper describes a technique for mapping out the "language areas" of the brain in individual people, not for their own sake, but as a way of improving other fMRI studies of language. That's important because while everyone's brain is organized roughly th........ Read more »
Fedorenko, E., Hsieh, P., Nieto Castanon, A., Whitfield-Gabrieli, S., & Kanwisher, N. (2010) A new method for fMRI investigations of language: Defining ROIs functionally in individual subjects. Journal of Neurophysiology. DOI: 10.1152/jn.00032.2010
So the other day Sci is chatting with some friends, and mentions how INCREDIBLY AMUSED she always is by romance novels. This is for several reasons.
One (1): They have covers like this:
(Seriously, I crack up just looking at these. LOL!!! Ooooh. My new favorite. Look at that bulging codpiece. *snort* HAHAHAHAHAHA.)
Two (2): They are so predictable, particularly the period ones. Sci could write one RIGHT NOW:
"Cerise Everett Longwood, the lovely and rebellious daughter of t........ Read more »
Schober JM, Meyer-Bahlburg HF, & Dolezal C. (2009) Self-ratings of genital anatomy, sexual sensitivity and function in men using the 'Self-Assessment of Genital Anatomy and Sexual Function, Male' questionnaire. BJU international, 103(8), 1096-103. PMID: 19245445
The authors (Rhodes et al. (2010)) describe the dilemmas posed for men who like to have sex with men (MSM) but who go no further than that.... Read more »
Rhodes, S., Hergenrather, K., Vissman, A., Stowers, J., Davis, A., Hannah, A., Alonzo, J., & Marsiglia, F. (2010) Boys Must Be Men, and Men Must Have Sex With Women: A Qualitative CBPR Study to Explore Sexual Risk Among African American, Latino, and White Gay Men and MSM. American Journal of Men's Health. DOI: 10.1177/1557988310366298
by Mary in OpenHelix
So this morning I was listening to NPR as I usually do while waking up. And then I had to actually pay attention. They were doing personal genomics. But not just theoretical personal genomics. They were talking with Steve Quake, who has his personal genome in hand. The story is here: Genomes May One Day Be Medical Crystal Balls
And Steve had his sequence analyzed for medically deleterious mutations. He took this to an MD friend, and together they went over the data. It’s a pret........ Read more »
Dr Euan A Ashley, Atul J Butte, Matthew T Wheeler, Rong Chen, Teri E Klein, Frederick E Dewey MD, Joel T Dudley, Kelly E Ormond, Aleksandra Pavlovic, Alexander A Morgan.... (2010) Clinical assessment incorporating a personal genome. The Lancet, 375(9725), 1525-1535. info:/
MIRROR movements are involuntary movements that mimic, and occur simultaneously with, voluntary movements on the opposite side of the body. The movements are known to occur because of a failure in communication between the two sides of the nervous system. They are thought to be normal during infancy and early childhood, but usually diminish with age and disappear altogether by the age of 10, following maturation of the corpus callosum, the massive bundle of nerve fibres connecting the left and r........ Read more »
Srour, M., Riviere, J., Pham, J., Dube, M., Girard, S., Morin, S., Dion, P., Asselin, G., Rochefort, D., Hince, P.... (2010) Mutations in DCC Cause Congenital Mirror Movements. Science, 328(5978), 592-592. DOI: 10.1126/science.1186463
One of the most common assertions is that home environments including parenting styles are a major determinant of obesity risk in kids. This issue was now examined by Jerica Berge and colleagues from the University of Minnesota in a paper published in the latest issue of OBESITY.... Read more »
Berge JM, Wall M, Bauer KW, & Neumark-Sztainer D. (2010) Parenting characteristics in the home environment and adolescent overweight: a latent class analysis. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 18(4), 818-25. PMID: 19816417
... Read more »
Guttilla, D., & Stapp, P. (2010) Effects of sterilization on movements of feral cats at a wildland–urban interface. Journal of Mammalogy, 91(2), 482-489. DOI: 10.1644/09-MAMM-A-111.1
A few months ago I blogged a paper in PLoS Biology which suggested that a common Y chromosomal haplogroup, in fact the most common in Europe and at modal frequency along the Atlantic fringe, is not pre-Neolithic. Rather their analysis of the data implied that the European variants were derived from an Anatolian variant. The [...]... Read more »
Morelli L, Contu D, Santoni F, Whalen MB, & Francalacci P. (2010) A Comparison of Y-Chromosome Variation in Sardinia and Anatolia Is More Consistent with Cultural Rather than Demic Diffusion of Agriculture. PLoS ONE. info:/10.1371/journal.pone.0010419
Daniel Cohen is giving a talk in Cambridge today on The Social Life of Digital Libraries, abstract below: The digitization of libraries had a clear initial goal: to permit anyone to read the contents of collections anywhere and anytime. But universal access is only the beginning of what may happen to libraries and researchers in [...]... Read more »
Hull, D., Pettifer, S., & Kell, D. (2008) Defrosting the Digital Library: Bibliographic Tools for the Next Generation Web. PLoS Computational Biology, 4(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000204
Carotenoids are integral components of animal biochemistry. These organic compounds, characterized by long hydrocarbon chains and loops, are used in photoreception, antioxidation, the immune system, and for ornamental coloration. There are over 800 known carotenoid compounds found in nature. They absorb varying wavelengths of blue and green light, causing tissue containing large quantities of carotenoids [...]... Read more »
A few years ago, a bonnethead shark made the news because one had given birth. Giving birth is not unusual for sharks... except that the female in question had grown up in isolation. Good evidence for parthenogenesis.
Shortly after that, another shark species (blacktip) was autopsied and found to have an embryo that was genetically identical to the mother. Clearly, parthenogenesis in sharks was not happenstance. But in both cases, the parthenogenetic offspring didn’t live long. Are the off........ Read more »
Feldheim, K., Chapman, D., Sweet, D., Fitzpatrick, S., Prodohl, P., Shivji, M., & Snowden, B. (2010) Shark Virgin Birth Produces Multiple, Viable Offspring. Journal of Heredity, 101(3), 374-377. DOI: 10.1093/jhered/esp129
If the immune system is chronically stressed, such as by organ transplants or HIV infection, then it ages noticeably faster - in effect the immune system wears down with overuse like a burdened machine. You might look on this sort of outcome as a much faster burn through the normal process of immune system use and degeneration with age, and it has consequences in terms of health and life expectancy. For example: Study links liver transplantation to accelerated cellular aging The University of Ca........ Read more »
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