Post List

  • February 23, 2010
  • 01:07 AM

The Flu seasonality

by Atila Iamarino in Influenza A (H1N1) Blog – English

The impression that the flu appears during winter is very common but does it have any real basis?
In a broad way and with many exceptions, infectious diseases may be divided into acute and chronic. The acute infection occurs when the virus quickly infects the host, causes symptoms, is or is not transmitted and the disease [...]... Read more »

Lipsitch, M., & Viboud, C. (2009) Influenza seasonality: Lifting the fog. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(10), 3645-3646. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0900933106  

  • February 23, 2010
  • 12:18 AM

Helping Men Who Batter

by Ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

Article by Campbell, et al. (2010) challenges practice orthodoxy by suggesting what changes might need to occur such that men who abuse their partners can be assisted to stop those violent behaviours. ... Read more »

  • February 22, 2010
  • 11:00 PM

Architecture of a bullet-shaped virus

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

Since electron micrographs first revealed the bullet-shaped morphology of vesicular stomatitis virus (a virus related to rabies virus), understanding the architecture has been elusive. It was known that the RNA genome is wrapped in a helical structure by the viral nucleocapsid (N) protein, but how this structure was encased by the viral matrix (M) protein [...]... Read more »

Ge, P., Tsao, J., Schein, S., Green, T., Luo, M., & Zhou, Z. (2010) Cryo-EM Model of the Bullet-Shaped Vesicular Stomatitis Virus. Science, 327(5966), 689-693. DOI: 10.1126/science.1181766  

  • February 22, 2010
  • 11:00 PM

DNA Methylation, Glucocorticoid Receptors, and Suicide Risk

by Allison in Dormivigilia

Researchers at McGill have elucidated epigenetic contributions to suicidal attempts in individuals who were abused/neglected during childhood. These individuals have hyper DNA methylation, particularly within the hippocampus. These researchers also discovered that this suicide risk is also potentiated by reduced glucocorticoid receptor expression. ... Read more »

McGowan, P., Sasaki, A., D'Alessio, A., Dymov, S., Labonté, B., Szyf, M., Turecki, G., & Meaney, M. (2009) Epigenetic regulation of the glucocorticoid receptor in human brain associates with childhood abuse. Nature Neuroscience, 12(3), 342-348. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2270  

  • February 22, 2010
  • 08:59 PM

Relics fail!

by Julien Riel-Salvatore in A Very Remote Period Indeed

This exchange between William of Baskerville and Adso of Melk, in The Name of the Rose seems pretty timely... “Some time ago, in the Cathedral of Cologne, I saw the skull of John the Baptist at the age of twelve”“Really?” I exclaimed, amazed. Then, seized by doubt, I added, “But the Baptist was executed at a more advanced age!”“The other skull must be in another treasury,” William said, with a grave face.I say timely because last week, a study reporting the results of genetic and........ Read more »

Nilsson, M., Possnert, G., Edlund, H., Budowle, B., Kjellström, A., & Allen, M. (2010) Analysis of the Putative Remains of a European Patron Saint–St. Birgitta. PLoS ONE, 5(2). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008986  

  • February 22, 2010
  • 06:30 PM

How can evolution inform conservation decisions?

by Marc Cadotte in The EEB and flow

First of all, let me apologize for the lack of blog posts over the past 2 weeks, I've been busy visiting the Olympics and reading a couple of hundred blog, judging them for the Research Blogging awards.

The conservation of biological diversity is a major imperative for biologists. International agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and intergovernmental exercises, such as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, call upon scientists to provide evidence on the current state of bi........ Read more »

Hendry, A., Lohmann, L., Conti, E., Cracraft, J., Crandall, K., Faith, D., Häuser, C., Joly, C., Kogure, K., Larigauderie, A.... (2010) EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY IN BIODIVERSITY SCIENCE, CONSERVATION, AND POLICY: A CALL TO ACTION. Evolution. DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2010.00947.x  

  • February 22, 2010
  • 05:34 PM

When We Want Something More Although We Like it Less

by Daniel Hawes in Ingenious Monkey | 20-two-5

Wanting something and liking something are two separate things, and it is not uncommon that people develop strong "wants", or "must haves" for things they don't particularly like.

Indeed, it is possible that certain events increase our want for an object, while simultaneously decreasing how much we actually like the object. According to a recent research report this can happen in particular, when things become seemingly hard to obtain: When something we've been t........ Read more »

  • February 22, 2010
  • 02:28 PM

Clinical Marijuana Research Update

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

Human beings are fundamentally narcissistic, and this narcissism can be antithetical to good science and good medicine. We place far too much confidence in our individual abilities to understand what happens to us, and we place far too much importance on our own experiences, inappropriately generalizing them. That's why science is so important in medicine---to avoid basing life-or-death decisions on something some guy thinks he might have heard once.

In my recent piece on medical marijuana in........ Read more »

Abrams DI, Jay CA, Shade SB, Vizoso H, Reda H, Press S, Kelly ME, Rowbotham MC, & Petersen KL. (2007) Cannabis in painful HIV-associated sensory neuropathy: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Neurology, 68(7), 515-21. PMID: 17296917  

Ellis, R., Toperoff, W., Vaida, F., van den Brande, G., Gonzales, J., Gouaux, B., Bentley, H., & Atkinson, J. (2008) Smoked Medicinal Cannabis for Neuropathic Pain in HIV: A Randomized, Crossover Clinical Trial. Neuropsychopharmacology, 34(3), 672-680. DOI: 10.1038/npp.2008.120  

  • February 22, 2010
  • 01:47 PM

Exploring Oahu: Makapu'u

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

On the easternmost end of Oahu there is a fun, 2-mile hike to the top of Makapu'u point, where there sits a cool little lighthouse that was built in the 1900s. The way is steep at times, but it's nicely paved, and it's an excursion just about anyone can enjoy. Once at the top, you get a stunning view of the windward side of the island. The first time I hiked it, the day was almost perfect. It was stunningly sunny and clear, and the views were truly breathtaking:

But there were two things wrong........ Read more »

Price, T., Hurst, G., & Wedell, N. (2010) Polyandry Prevents Extinction. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.01.050  

  • February 22, 2010
  • 01:36 PM

Bridging the self-management gap

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

Recently I ran an online survey on this blog asking the question ‘Should self management include:’ and then I listed a number of options such as ‘injection therapy’, ‘medications’, ‘intermittent hands-on therapy’, ‘intermittent hands-off therapy’ and so on. My thoughts were that while the term ’self-management’ is bandied about a lot, there isn’t really [...]... Read more »

  • February 22, 2010
  • 01:00 PM


by Lab Rat in Lab Rat

'Omics' words tend to get a large amount of bad press in biology. Starting fairly sensibly with genomics, the group expanded to include such things as proteomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics and then when a bit crazy, with seemingly every branch of biology (and possibly even a couple of physicists) wanting to find an 'omics' to work on. The 'Tree of Life' blog even started giving out awards to some of the more hilarious ones.Omics words are like the cool silent kids in black leather jackets wi........ Read more »

  • February 22, 2010
  • 11:57 AM

Butt Liposuction Gives You Bigger Breasts?

by (Peter Janiszewski, PhD (Cand.), MSc) in Obesity Panacea

That's right - its like a 2 for 1 combo: you can slim your hips, thighs, and abdomen while simultaneously getting larger breasts.

Last time we discussed liposuction, or the surgical removal of subcutaneous (under the skin) fat, we looked at a study that suggested the loss of fat in this manner does not result in the metabolic benefits one gets when losing that same amount of fat tissue via dieting and exercise. Thus in that post, I argued that liposuction does not make you healthy.

While lipo........ Read more »

  • February 22, 2010
  • 11:45 AM

Mother’s Love

by Moselio Schaechter in Small Things Considered

by Elio Binary fission is a most impressive invention. In one fell swoop, it ensures that progeny cells are born alike and endowed with the same potential for growth and survival. Simple as it sounds, it must have taken considerable evolutionary contortions to make it function so well throughout the living world. But there are cells that have adopted an...... Read more »

  • February 22, 2010
  • 10:24 AM

A Fishfinder for the “Junk DNA” Seas

by Rob Mitchum in ScienceLife

In a way, the Human Genome Project had it easy. Sure, mapping the roughly 23,000 genes active in humans was one of the most important scientific achievements of all time, but those genes are only part of the story. In fact, the protein-coding sequences only occupy about 1.5% of the roughly 3 billion base pairs [...]... Read more »

Narlikar, L., Sakabe, N., Blanski, A., Arimura, F., Westlund, J., Nobrega, M., & Ovcharenko, I. (2010) Genome-wide discovery of human heart enhancers. Genome Research. DOI: 10.1101/gr.098657.109  

  • February 22, 2010
  • 10:19 AM

In the (Blue) Zone

by Promega Corporation in Promega Connections

Call me kooky, but, even at the relatively tender age of 33, I sometimes fantasize about the kind of old lady I’m going to be, or at least the kind I’d like to be. I want my Mom’s silvery hair. I want to almost exclusively wear jeans. I want my body and bones to be [...]... Read more »

  • February 22, 2010
  • 10:05 AM

A not so modest proposal for pathogens: evolutionary diversification

by Devin Drown in Coevolvers

Due to a ground swell of interest, we recently read Robert Ricklefs inaugural article (Ricklefs 2010) in to the National Academy of Sciences (of the United States of America) in which he proposes a new mechanistic role for parasites and pathogens to generate diversity within the tree of life. In this paper, Ricklefs (2010) distinguishes between two compartments of the ecological niche of a species: 1) the individual niche space and 2) the population niche space. He contrasts these two concepts o........ Read more »

  • February 22, 2010
  • 09:49 AM

Preventing Overweight and Obesity in Scotland - A Route Map Towards Healthy Weight

by PhD Blogger in Exercise Psychology

The Scottish Government has published a paper called Preventing Overweight and Obesity in Scotland - A Route Map Towards Healthy Weight ', Published 22nd Feb2010. Give it a read! We don't do much well. But we certainly known how to do obesity!

Scottish Government (2010). Preventing Overweight and Obesity in Scotland - A Route Map Towards Healthy Weight Government Publication

... Read more »

Scottish Government. (2010) Preventing Overweight and Obesity in Scotland - A Route Map Towards Healthy Weight. Government Publication. info:/

  • February 22, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Study links mercury contamination with changes in birdsongs

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

A new study in the journal Auk finds evidence that mercury contamination can modify the singing behavior of birds.

Kelly Hallinger and fellow researchers from William and Mary's Cristol Lab recorded and analyzed bird songs from four species at sites along the mercury-contaminated South River in Virginia. They also studied birds of the same species at nearby uncontaminated sites.... Read more »

Hallinger, K., Zabransky, D., Kazmer, K., & Cristol, D. (2010) Birdsong Differs between Mercury-polluted and Reference Sites. The Auk, 127(1), 156-161. DOI: 10.1525/auk.2009.09058  

  • February 22, 2010
  • 07:49 AM

Ancient shark was a shell-crushing giant

by Laelaps in Laelaps

An outline of the upper jaw of Ptychodus mortoni showing the position of the new fragment, and a comparison of the size of the shark next to an adult human. (From Shimada et al., 2010)

The study of prehistoric sharks is no easy task. Specialists in other branches of vertebrate paleontology at least have the reasonable hope of discovering complete skeletons of their subjects; except in instances of exceptional preservation the scientists who study sharks typically only have teeth and a few ........ Read more »

  • February 22, 2010
  • 06:15 AM

Rabbits, virulence, history, and connections

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

Man chasing rabbit
(From “Fliegende Blätter”, Munich, 1889)

Everyone knows about rabbits in Australia. Introduced in the mid-1800s, they multiplied ridiculously and are their way across the country, leaving barren devastation behind them.
Myxomavirus, a poxvirus that originated in South America, was introduced in the early 1950s and temporarily controlled the rabbit population, cutting their numbers [...]... Read more »

Kerr, P., Kitchen, A., & Holmes, E. (2009) Origin and Phylodynamics of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus. Journal of Virology, 83(23), 12129-12138. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.01523-09  

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