Post List

  • December 16, 2009
  • 12:00 PM

Birds may expand the range of Lyme disease and its vector tick

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

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 [...]

... Read more »

  • December 16, 2009
  • 11:40 AM

Too Much TV Reduces the Benefits of Physical Activity

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

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 »

  • December 16, 2009
  • 10:05 AM

Cuckholding crows don't necessarily have fitter chicks

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

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 »

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

  • December 16, 2009
  • 09:30 AM

One gene stops ovaries from turning into testes

by Ed Yong in Not Exactly Rocket Science

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  

  • December 16, 2009
  • 08:45 AM

Can restoration be too small? Negative effects on avian behavior...

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

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 »

  • December 16, 2009
  • 06:54 AM

Why belief in free will is important: its pro-social and moral implications

by sandygautam in The Mouse Trap

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 »

  • December 16, 2009
  • 05:35 AM

Personality Traits and Political Attitude

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD

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 »

  • December 16, 2009
  • 05:00 AM

Bogs self-restore after reduction in power plant emissions

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

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 »

  • December 16, 2009
  • 02:40 AM

No More Drama

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

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 »

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  

  • December 16, 2009
  • 12:46 AM

The View From the Veranda

by Michael A. Innes in The Complex Terrain Laboratory

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 »

  • December 15, 2009
  • 09:20 PM

Insects use tools, but do they self-medicate?

by Cheshire in Cheshire

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 »

  • December 15, 2009
  • 08:52 PM

Methuselah's Zoo

by Reason in Fight Aging!

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 »

  • December 15, 2009
  • 07:45 PM

Steering drug discovery efforts away from the flatland

by Abhishek Tiwari in Fisheye Perspective

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 »

  • December 15, 2009
  • 06:49 PM

Low-Danger Zone

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Protected areas tend to be located on less vulnerable land

... Read more »

  • December 15, 2009
  • 06:05 PM

Glimpsing memory traces in real time

by Mo in Neurophilosophy

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 »

  • December 15, 2009
  • 05:38 PM

Time Traveller

by Brian Koberlein in Upon Reflection

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 »

  • December 15, 2009
  • 04:48 PM

Stress Now, Mental Illness Later

by Neuropsych15 in The MacGuffin

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 »

  • December 15, 2009
  • 01:05 PM

I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts’ shells

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

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 »

  • December 15, 2009
  • 11:29 AM

Perceived age as a bio-marker of ageing

by sandygautam in The Mouse Trap

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  

  • December 15, 2009
  • 09:04 AM

An Imminent Creationist Feeding Frenzy, Courtesy of Nature

by Johnny in Ecographica

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 »

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