Post List

  • February 19, 2010
  • 01:29 PM
  • 392 views

The Plight of the Great White

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

It's really hard for me to write about sharks. It makes me angry. Unlike with so many species under the threat of extinction, when I try to talk to people about sharks, the message just doesn't get through. Show them a movie about Taji and they get infuriated. Have them look into the eyes of a tiger cub and they are overwhelmed with emotion. Maybe it's that sharks aren't warm and fuzzy enough - maybe if they had hair, people wouldn't be so leery of them. Maybe it's too many childhood memories of........ Read more »

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

  • February 19, 2010
  • 01:25 PM
  • 629 views

The Breakfast of Champions!

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

It is often suggested that breakfast consumption is key facet of a healthful diet, especially when attempting to lose weight. However, while breakfast may be ‘the most important meal of the day’ the composition of that breakfast must not be overlooked.

Particularly, diets high in fiber are known to be associated with better control of body weight as well as glucose homeostasis. For example, a prior meta-analysis suggests that consumption of greater than 14 g/d of dietary fiber for........ Read more »

  • February 19, 2010
  • 01:00 PM
  • 572 views

Obese children are at high risk of death before middle age

by Helen Jaques in In Sickness and In Health

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that children who were obese were almost twice as likely to die before 55 years of age than those who were not obese. Moreover, children whose weight was in the top 25% out of nearly 5,000 kids were 2.3 times more likely to [...]... Read more »

Franks, P., Hanson, R., Knowler, W., Sievers, M., Bennett, P., & Looker, H. (2010) Childhood Obesity, Other Cardiovascular Risk Factors, and Premature Death. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(6), 485-493. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0904130  

  • February 19, 2010
  • 12:03 PM
  • 840 views

Drunk on Alcohol?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

When you drink alcohol and get drunk, are you getting drunk on alcohol?Well, obviously, you might think, and so did I. But it turns out that some people claim that the alcohol (ethanol) in drinks isn't the only thing responsible for their effects - they say that acetaldehyde may be important, perhaps even more so.South Korean researchers Kim et al report that it's acetaldehyde, rather than ethanol, which explains alcohol's immediate effects on cognitive and motor skills. During the metabolism of........ Read more »

  • February 19, 2010
  • 10:20 AM
  • 1,109 views

Worms with the Guts to Play Games of Chance: Stochastic Effects and Binary Output in Gene Expression

by Promega Corporation in Promega Connections


How do you explain the phenomenon of incomplete penetrance, which happens when individuals carrying an allele for a given phenotype don’t always express the phenotype? For instance, individuals carrying the same mutation associated with a genetic disease do not always develop that disease.
Sometimes environment influences gene expression and plays a role, or other genetic differences [...]... Read more »

Raj, A., Rifkin, S., Andersen, E., & van Oudenaarden, A. (2010) Variability in gene expression underlies incomplete penetrance. Nature, 463(7283), 913-918. DOI: 10.1038/nature08781  

Raj A, van den Bogaard P, Rifkin SA, van Oudenaarden A, & Tyagi S. (2008) Imaging individual mRNA molecules using multiple singly labeled probes. Nature methods, 5(10), 877-9. PMID: 18806792  

  • February 19, 2010
  • 09:57 AM
  • 913 views

Large seeds take the advantage in stressful conditions

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

The coconut tree’s large seed is
better adapted to drought and
shade than smaller seeds.

It is generally believed that, when competing for the same resources, large plant seeds beat out small seeds regardless of the growing conditions. But according to researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, large seeds actually have the advantage in stressful conditions—such as [...]

... Read more »

  • February 19, 2010
  • 08:57 AM
  • 495 views

Weekly Dose of Cute: Serval Kitten

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd


See? Cartoon cute.It may be easy to put a kitten up as the weekly dose of cute, but look at him - he may be the cutest kitten ever. Cuter, perhaps, than even that little ocelot kitten, which, until now, has earned the title of cutest kitten ever. I mean, look at him! His eyes are cartoon adorable. I didn't know cat eyes could actually look like Puss N Boots! How could I resist showcasing this unbelievable exhibition of pure cuteness?

Anyhow, this six-week-old cutest kitten competitor was born ........ Read more »

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

  • February 19, 2010
  • 08:30 AM
  • 1,272 views

Parasitic wasps hitchhike on butterflies by smelling for chemical chastity belts

by Ed Yong in Not Exactly Rocket Science

It's not every day that you hear about spy missions that involve a lack of sex, but clearly parasitic wasps don't pay much attention to Hollywood clichés.

These insects merge the thriller, science-fiction and horror genres, They lay their eggs inside other animals, turning them into slaves and living larders that are destined to be eaten inside-out by the developing grubs. To find their victims, they perform feats of espionage worthy of any secret agent, tapping into their mark's communication........ Read more »

  • February 19, 2010
  • 07:00 AM
  • 784 views

You Have a Right to Choose if we Agree

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

My first encounter with informed medical consent came as a young law student. I was assigned to assist a lawyer in the defense of an older man who had refused treatment for leukemia. His daughter objected, and asked the court to appoint her to be his conservator so she could compel him to undergo treatment. When [...]... Read more »

Buchanan, A. (2004) Mental capacity, legal competence and consent to treatment. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 97(9), 415-420. DOI: 10.1258/jrsm.97.9.415  

  • February 19, 2010
  • 06:15 AM
  • 1,057 views

Women Love Men like Concrete...

by Ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

We sometimes forget that guys don't end up being big ugly brutes just because that's what guys like. Sometimes, as Taylor and Quayle (2010) discovered, that's what women like too.... Read more »

  • February 19, 2010
  • 06:00 AM
  • 3,225 views

A method for evaluating the potential ecological impact of invasive species

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

Researchers have developed and tested a new method for evaluating the potential ecological impact of the invasive species at a site. Their approach, called the Index of Alien Impact - is innovative for a couple of reasons...... Read more »

  • February 19, 2010
  • 05:15 AM
  • 808 views

Your left brain has a bigger ego than your right brain

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

Psychologists have used an inventive combination of techniques to show that the left half of the brain has more self-esteem than the right half. The finding is consistent with earlier research showing that the left hemisphere is associated more with positive, approach-related emotions, whereas the right hemisphere is associated more with negative emotions. Ryan McKay and colleagues used a version of the self-esteem 'implicit association test' (IAT). This compares how readily participants associa........ Read more »

  • February 19, 2010
  • 04:11 AM
  • 836 views

Noisy genes and the limits of genetic determinism

by Kevin Mitchell in Wiring the Brain

Why are genetically identical monozygotic twins not phenotypically identical?  They are obviously much more similar than people who do not share all their DNA, but even in outward physical appearance are not really identical.  And when it comes to psychological traits or psychiatric disorders, they can be quite divergent (concordance between monozygotic twins for schizophrenia for example is only around 50%).  What is the source of this phenotypic variance?  Why are the effects of a mutation........ Read more »

  • February 19, 2010
  • 03:47 AM
  • 825 views

An Upper Limit On Not Knowing What the F*** They're Doing

by The Astronomist in The Astronomist.

First, I should say that the Supernova Cosmology Group and others using Type Ia supernova as standard candles are very precise in their work and I don't seriously doubt their results as they have been very consistent with other observations. There is though the one dark shadow looming over all their results and that is systematic error. Cosmologists use Type Ia supernova as a lighthouse in the dark because we can assume that all lighthouses have the same intrinsic luminosity and therefore any di........ Read more »

Marat Gilfanov, & Akos Bogdan. (2010) An upper limit on the contribution of accreting white dwarfs to the type Ia supernova rate. Nature, 18 February 2010, Vol.463, p.924. arXiv: 1002.3359v1

  • February 19, 2010
  • 12:36 AM
  • 709 views

Friday Weird Science: Sex Therapists and the Expectations

by Evil Monkey in Neurotopia

We hereby take a break from the female reproductive cycle to ask:

How's your sex life?

How do you FEEL about your sex life?


(If Sci were a psychiatrist, she would have to have this as her computer background.)

More importantly, how does your SEX THERAPIST feel about your sex life?

Corty EW, Guardiani JM. "Canadian and American sex therapists' perceptions of normal and abnormal ejaculatory latencies: how long should intercourse last?" Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2008.




Read the rest of........ Read more »

  • February 19, 2010
  • 12:05 AM
  • 854 views

An Upper Limit On Not Knowing What the F*** They're Doing

by The Astronomist in The Astronomist.

First, I should say that the Supernova Cosmology Group and others using Type Ia supernova as standard candles are very precise in their work and I don't seriously doubt their results as they have been very consistent with other observations. There is though the one dark shadow looming over all their results and that is systematic error.... Read more »

Marat Gilfanov, & Akos Bogdan. (2010) An upper limit on the contribution of accreting white dwarfs to the type Ia supernova rate. Nature, 18 February 2010, Vol.463, p.924. arXiv: 1002.3359v1

  • February 19, 2010
  • 12:00 AM
  • 855 views

At Your Service… Part III

by Elements Team in Elements

By: Rosemary Stephen PMed, (cert) EOH, IPM, Elements: Environmental Health Intelligence

When I was doing research for this blog, I was not sure what information I would find; aside from lab animals like mice and rats are there instances where animals and insects are used to protect people from hazardous tasks? Everyone has heard [...]... Read more »

Rosemary Stephen PMed, (cert) EOH, IPM. (2010) At Your Service.. Part III. Elements: Environmental Health Intelligence. info:/

  • February 18, 2010
  • 11:23 PM
  • 861 views

Case studies can produce theoretical advances: here’s an example

by Christopher Leo in Christopher Leo

Case studies have unjustifiably acquired a reputation for being semi-anecdotal investigations of the small details of individual circumstances, research that is incapable of generating significant empirical or theoretical advances in knowledge. It is argued that the case study is, at … Continue reading →... Read more »

Leo, C. (2006) Deep Federalism: Respecting Community Difference in National Policy. Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique, 39(03). DOI: 10.1017/S0008423906060240  

  • February 18, 2010
  • 06:34 PM
  • 803 views

Exercise does not feel the same when you are overweight

by PhD Blogger in Exercise Psychology

This paper from 2006 is useful for several reasons. Adherence rates for those who are overweight or obese are lower than those of the general population. This paper argues that exercise does not feel the same when you are overweight. The study had female participants run on a treadmill at two speeds, a self selected speed and that speed plus 10%, referred to as the 'imposed' speed. The authors reported that 'the overweight women showed higher oxygen uptake and perceived exertion t........ Read more »

  • February 18, 2010
  • 05:59 PM
  • 999 views

An antiviral for enveloped viruses

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

Broad spectrum antibiotics are available that act against a wide range of bacteria, including both gram-positive and gram-negative species. In contrast, our antiviral arsenal is exceedingly specific. Nearly all the known antivirals block infection with one or two different viruses. The discovery of a compound that blocks infection with many different enveloped viruses may change [...]... Read more »

Wolf, M., Freiberg, A., Zhang, T., Akyol-Ataman, Z., Grock, A., Hong, P., Li, J., Watson, N., Fang, A., Aguilar, H.... (2010) A broad-spectrum antiviral targeting entry of enveloped viruses. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(7), 3157-3162. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0909587107  

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