Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi) is typically associated with mammals, but birds too can become infected by black-legged ticks (Ixodes scapularis), the principal vector of the pathogen. Moreover, birds may figure significantly in the range expansion of both the Lyme bacterium and black-legged ticks. So say Jory Brinkerhoff and colleagues of Yale University in a paper [...]
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Brinkerhoff, R., Folsom-O'Keefe, C., Tsao, K., & Diuk-Wasser, M. (2009) Do birds affect Lyme disease risk? Range expansion of the vector-borne pathogen Borrelia burgdorferi. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1890/090062
One of my personal interests is the relationship between sedentary time (e.g. the amount of time that we spend sitting) and chronic disease risk. Several interesting papers have come out in the past few years suggesting that spending too much time sitting down is a risk factor for obesity, chronic disease, and even death, independent of physical activity levels. In other words, no matter how physically active you are, the more time you spend sitting, the greater your risk of death and disease......... Read more »
Dunton, G., Berrigan, D., Ballard-Barbash, R., Graubard, B., & Atienza, A. (2009) Joint associations of physical activity and sedentary behaviors with body mass index: results from a time use survey of US adults. International Journal of Obesity, 33(12), 1427-1436. DOI: 10.1038/ijo.2009.174
Birds are bad at monogamy. There are a number of good evolutionary reasons to cheat on your mate, and it's not clear which one is the most likely explanation. A new study of American crows, however, suggests that, for females, cheating isn't necessarily the best choice [$-a].
Avian infidelity isn't obvious, because many birds are socially monogamous, forming couples for one or more breeding seasons to raise chicks. However, DNA-based paternity testing has overturned this intuition -- a 2002 rev........ Read more »
Arnqvist, G., & Kirkpatrick, M. (2005) The evolution of infidelity in socially monogamous passerines: The strength of direct and indirect selection on extrapair copulation behavior in females. The American Naturalist, 165(s5). DOI: 10.1086/429350
Griffith, S.C., Owens, I.P.F., & Thuman, K.A. (2002) Extrapair paternity in birds: A review of interspecific variation and adaptive function. Molecular Ecology, 2195-212. info:/10.1046/j.1365-294X.2002.01613.x
Townsend, A., Clark, A., & McGowan, K. (2010) Direct benefits and genetic costs of extrapair paternity for female American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos). . The American Naturalist, 175(1). DOI: 10.1086/648553
In science, we don't often get to talk about male repression, but a new discovery gives us just such a chance. It turns out that ovaries can only remain ovaries by constantly suppressing their ability to become male. Silence a single gene, and adult ovaries turn into testes. That adult tissues can be transformed in this way would be surprising enough, but doing so by changing a single gene is truly astonishing.
As embryos, our gonads aren't specific to either gender. Their default course is a f........ Read more »
Uhlenhaut, N., Jakob, S., Anlag, K., Eisenberger, T., Sekido, R., Kress, J., Treier, A., Klugmann, C., Klasen, C., & Holter, N. (2009) Somatic Sex Reprogramming of Adult Ovaries to Testes by FOXL2 Ablation. Cell, 139(6), 1130-1142. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2009.11.021
Many conservation practitioners operate with a common assumption that all ecosystem restoration is good no mater the size of the project area. A new study in the Journal of Applied Ecology contradicts this notion by showing that when it comes to tropical reforestation and the effect on birds, bigger is better and too small may be bad.... Read more »
Morrison, E., Lindell, C., Holl, K., & Zahawi, R. (2009) Patch size effects on avian foraging behaviour: implications for tropical forest restoration design. Journal of Applied Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2009.01743.x
I recently stumbled upon the Psychology Today blog of Roy F Baumeiester and went through some lively blog posts that were exchanged between him and other PT bloggers especially John Bargh on the issue of free will. Thoise exchanges are worth reading by themselves and are highly recommeneded.
This post meanwhile is not about whether free will exists or not [...]Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Related posts:Moral Reasoning: two competing processes for intention and outcome ide........ Read more »
Baumeister, R., Masicampo, E., & DeWall, C. (2009) Prosocial Benefits of Feeling Free: Disbelief in Free Will Increases Aggression and Reduces Helpfulness. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin_id, 35(2), 260-268. http://psp.sagepub.com/cgi/doi/10.1177/0146167208327217
Vohs, K., & Schooler, J. (2008) The Value of Believing in Free Will: Encouraging a Belief in Determinism Increases Cheating. Psychological Science, 19(1), 49-54. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02045.x
The relationship between personality and political preferences is not the simple relation between conservatism and negative personality traits on the one hand and liberalism and positive personality traits on the other hand. Personality is understood as the combination of innate dispositions and personal experiences that guides behavior in a stable and predictive manner. Behavior is [...]
Related posts:Maturation of Personality in Adolescence Haven’t written about adolescence for some ........ Read more »
Verhulst, B., Hatemi, P., & Martin, N. (2009) The nature of the relationship between personality traits and political attitudes. Personality and Individual Differences. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2009.11.013
A new study in Estonia finds that reductions in power plant emissions can allow degraded bogs to naturally self-restore. Since the 1950s power plants in northeast Estonia have emitted thousands of tons of calcium-rich fly ash along with other atmospheric pollutants. These emissions have caused substantial pH increases in bogs and the addition of various chemicals leading to a widespread disappearance of Sphagnum mosses in favor of other plants adapted to neutral or alkaline soil conditions.... Read more »
Paal, J., Vellak, K., Liira, J., & Karofeld, E. (2009) Bog Recovery in Northeastern Estonia after the Reduction of Atmospheric Pollutant Input. Restoration Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1526-100X.2009.00608.x
No more pain (no more pain)No more pain (no more pain)No drama (no more drama in my life, no ones gonna make me hurt again)No more in my lifeNo More Drama-----Mary J. BligeWomen who are victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), cognitive impairments (Twamley et al., 2009), and alterations in brain activity when anticipating aversive or threatening events (Simmons et al., 2008).In a neuroimaging study, 15 women with IPV-related PTSD were co........ Read more »
SIMMONS, A., PAULUS, M., THORP, S., MATTHEWS, S., NORMAN, S., & STEIN, M. (2008) Functional Activation and Neural Networks in Women with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Related to Intimate Partner Violence. Biological Psychiatry, 64(8), 681-690. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2008.05.027
TWAMLEY, E., ALLARD, C., THORP, S., NORMAN, S., HAMI CISSELL, S., HUGHES BERARDI, K., GRIMES, E., & STEIN, M. (2009) Cognitive impairment and functioning in PTSD related to intimate partner violence. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 15(06), 879. DOI: 10.1017/S135561770999049X
Last week I gave a talk to some students at the School of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), at the University of Leeds. I've been an honorary Visiting Research Fellow with POLIS since April 2006, and it's a rare occasion when I'm actually on-site. In fact, this was only the second time, the first being a talk I gave in late 2007. Then, I was still a serving staff officer with NATO, and my talk was about a book I'd just published. This time, I was speaking as an acad........ Read more »
Eckl, J. (2008) "Responsible Scholarship After Leaving the Veranda: Normative Issues Faced by Field Researchers-and Armchair Scientists." . International Political Sociology, 2(3), 185-203. DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-5687.2008.00044.x
There’s a variety of things insects do that could rightly be considered tool use. Some ants will drop liquid in sand and carry the sand to the nest. Others will use their larvae to construct their leaf-houses…they essentially use their children as oversized glue-guns. If you live in Iowa, those big black wasps which you see flitting around on flowers (Sphecid wasps of the genus Sphex, which are understandably confused with Pompillids) will actually close their nests by pounding them........ Read more »
Singer MS, Mace KC, & Bernays EA. (2009) Self-medication as adaptive plasticity: increased ingestion of plant toxins by parasitized caterpillars. PloS one, 4(3). PMID: 19274098
Is the research community doing as much as it might to extract value from the diversity in life span amongst mammals? Certainly there are those scientist who would like to be engaged in a great deal more sequencing and biochemical deciphering of long-lived animals. But on the whole, I think that less is taking place in this area of study than might be. See this paper from a noted gerontologist, for example: As impressive as the accomplishments of modern molecular biologists have been in finding ........ Read more »
Austad SN. (2009) Methusaleh's Zoo: How Nature provides us with Clues for Extending Human Health Span. Journal of comparative pathology. PMID: 19962715_id
Does high-throughput synthetic practices have failed the drug discovery efforts by steering them toward greater unsaturation leading to more flat aromatic compounds those may not be better complement to the target proteins? Yes at least that's what Frank Lovering and others are suggesting. In a recent article published in Journal of Medicinal Chemistry Lovering et. al highlight lack of molecular complexity as key limitation of high-throughput parallel synthesis driven drug discovery efforts. I........ Read more »
Lovering, F., Bikker, J., & Humblet, C. (2009) Escape from Flatland: Increasing Saturation as an Approach to Improving Clinical Success. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 52(21), 6752-6756. DOI: 10.1021/jm901241e
Protected areas tend to be located on less vulnerable land
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Joppa, L., & Pfaff, A. (2009) High and Far: Biases in the Location of Protected Areas. PLoS ONE, 4(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008273
MEMORY is one of the biggest enduring mysteries of modern neuroscience, and has perhaps been researchered more intensively than any other aspect of brain function. The past few decades have yielded a great deal of knowledge about the cellular and molecular mechanisms of memory, and it is now widely believed that memories are formed as a result of biochemical changes which ultimately lead to the strengthening of connections between nerve cells.
However, it is also clear that memories are not enco........ Read more »
Chen, G., Wang, L., & Tsien, J. (2009) Neural Population-Level Memory Traces in the Mouse Hippocampus. PLoS ONE, 4(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008256
Figure 1: Ron Mallett. (Source: UConn Advance) Ron Mallett wants to build a time machine. He's wanted to build one for a long time, ever since his father died of a heart attack when Mallett was 10 years old. Since...... Read more »
Mallett, Ronald L. (2003) The Gravitational Field of a Circulating Light Beam. Foundations of Physics, 33(9), 1307-1314. DOI: 10.1023/A:1025689110828
Routinely, I enjoy crapping on the common biological explanations of various mental illnesses (e.g., monoamine hypothesis). However, this does not mean that I do not believe in the importance biology plays in the development of mental illness.To say that a specific mental illness is the result of a "chemical imbalance" or one "bad gene" is ridiculous. The problem with biological explanations of mental illness is that they neglect the psycho/social aspects of illness development (they are also po........ Read more »
Lupien, S., McEwen, B., Gunnar, M., & Heim, C. (2009) Effects of stress throughout the lifespan on the brain, behaviour and cognition. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 10(6), 434-445. DOI: 10.1038/nrn2639
Octopuses using coconut shells has been all over the web the last couple of days due to the publication today of a new paper by Finn and colleagues. The title is helping generate the attention: tool use.
This is a cool finding, but it is not as path-breaking as one might think.
First, the authors do note that there have been possible cases of tool use in invertebrates besides octopuses, but argue that other cases are too context-specific to be “real” tool use.
Second, this is not........ Read more »
Mather, J. (1994) ‘Home’ choice and modification by juvenile Octopus vulgaris (Mollusca: Cephalopoda): specialized intelligence and tool use?. Journal of Zoology, 233(3), 359-368. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.1994.tb05270.x
Do you look younger than your age? If so you have reasons to cheer! According to a new study as per Kaare et al, the perceived age is directly related to the actual ageing and inversely related to your telomere length.
It is well established that telomere length is a good indicator of ageing and also plays a crucial role in [...]Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Related posts:IQ variations across time and space : the why and wherefore? Mind Hacks has two posts on IQ: one........ Read more »
Christensen, K., Thinggaard, M., McGue, M., Rexbye, H., Hjelmborg, J., Aviv, A., Gunn, D., van der Ouderaa, F., & Vaupel, J. (2009) Perceived age as clinically useful biomarker of ageing: cohort study. BMJ, 339(dec11 2). DOI: 10.1136/bmj.b5262
An article just published to Nature has turned the world of evolutionary biology topsy-turvy!Or, so they’d like us to believe…The paper’s authors Chris Venditti, Andrew Meade and Mark Pagel have devised a new model that shows that evolution is not driven by natural selection or through the accumulative effects of random genetic drift. Rather than incremental and gradual change, their study suggests that the vast bulk of speciation results from rare stochastic events. They call this new the........ Read more »
Venditti, C., Meade, A., & Pagel, M. (2009) Phylogenies reveal new interpretation of speciation and the Red Queen. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature08630
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