I’ve always been a big fan of Michael Shermer’s Skeptic column in Scientific American, but this month I have to say I’m disappointed. In his piece (which is not yet online), titled “Can You Hear Me Now? Physics shows that cell phones cannot cause cancer,” Shermer argues that it is “virtually impossible” for cell phones to cause cancer because they “do not emit enough energy to break the molecular bonds inside cells.” While this latter stateme........ Read more »
Belyaev IY, Markovà E, Hillert L, Malmgren LO, & Persson BR. (2009) Microwaves from UMTS/GSM mobile phones induce long-lasting inhibition of 53BP1/gamma-H2AX DNA repair foci in human lymphocytes. Bioelectromagnetics, 30(2), 129-41. PMID: 18839414
Belyaev, I., Hillert, L., Protopopova, M., Tamm, C., Malmgren, L., Persson, B., Selivanova, G., & Harms-Ringdahl, M. (2005) 915 MHz microwaves and 50 Hz magnetic field affect chromatin conformation and 53BP1 foci in human lymphocytes from hypersensitive and healthy persons. Bioelectromagnetics, 26(3), 173-184. DOI: 10.1002/bem.20103
LAI, H. (1996) Single-and double-strand DNA breaks in rat brain cells after acute exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation. International Journal of Radiation Biology, 69(4), 513-521. DOI: 10.1080/095530096145814
An easy task: from the two parrots above, pick the one that you think is the most beautiful.
Made your pick? If you are like most people, you will prefer the Blue-and-yellow macaw on the left over the Red-bellied macaw on the right. This might seem like a trivial question of judging [...]... Read more »
Frynta D, Lisková S, Bültmann S, & Burda H. (2010) Being attractive brings advantages: the case of parrot species in captivity. PloS one, 5(9). PMID: 20830206
At this time of year, as the weather turns colder and the nights become longer, one can't help but be thankful for our home. Some people never leave home, and some miss it terribly so. In contrast some don't, and do not care about their home, why is this? Today's article is concerned with the home, the importance of owning a home, and characteristics, even animal characteristics, that can be given to homeowners in order to understand what kind of home they might build and where. A........ Read more »
O.S. Fowler. (1818) Inhabitiveness: Its Definition, Location, and Adaptation, Together with the Importance of the having a Home. American Phrenological Journal and Miscellany, 55-61. info:/
Fossilised feathers from a giant, extinct penguin reveal this species' unusual coloration and offer clues to how modern penguin feathers evolved... Read more »
Clarke, J., Ksepka, D., Salas-Gismondi, R., Altamirano, A., Shawkey, M., D'Alba, L., Vinther, J., DeVries, T., & Baby, P. (2010) Fossil Evidence for Evolution of the Shape and Color of Penguin Feathers. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1193604
This week marks my last week working for Chris Doe, before leaving for the foreign, zebrafish-filled waters of Judith Eisen's lab. So, I recently gave an hour-long talk (scheduled for 15minutes) on my short (5-week) rotation through the Doe lab, which was fairly productive. I'll try to recreate the general feeling of my presentation here. (below the fold). Introduction:Cajal's illustration of the neuronal diversity in the chick cerebellumOne of the biggest questions asked in ........ Read more »
Capelson, M., Liang, Y., Schulte, R., Mair, W., Wagner, U., & Hetzer, M. (2010) Chromatin-Bound Nuclear Pore Components Regulate Gene Expression in Higher Eukaryotes. Cell, 140(3), 372-383. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2009.12.054
Grosskortenhaus, R., Pearson, B., Marusich, A., & Doe, C. (2005) Regulation of Temporal Identity Transitions in Drosophila Neuroblasts. Developmental Cell, 8(2), 193-202. DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2004.11.019
Isshiki T, Pearson B, Holbrook S, & Doe CQ. (2001) Drosophila neuroblasts sequentially express transcription factors which specify the temporal identity of their neuronal progeny. Cell, 106(4), 511-21. PMID: 11525736
Meister, P., Towbin, B., Pike, B., Ponti, A., & Gasser, S. (2010) The spatial dynamics of tissue-specific promoters during C. elegans development. Genes , 24(8), 766-782. DOI: 10.1101/gad.559610
Pearson, B., & Doe, C. (2004) SPECIFICATION OF TEMPORAL IDENTITY IN THE DEVELOPING NERVOUS SYSTEM. Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology, 20(1), 619-647. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.cellbio.19.111301.115142
Reddy, K., Zullo, J., Bertolino, E., & Singh, H. (2008) Transcriptional repression mediated by repositioning of genes to the nuclear lamina. Nature, 452(7184), 243-247. DOI: 10.1038/nature06727
Thakar, R., Gordon, G., & Csink, A. (2006) Dynamics and anchoring of heterochromatic loci during development. Journal of Cell Science, 119(20), 4165-4175. DOI: 10.1242/jcs.03183
Tran, K., & Doe, C. (2008) Pdm and Castor close successive temporal identity windows in the NB3-1 lineage. Development, 135(21), 3491-3499. DOI: 10.1242/dev.024349
by thomastu in Disease Prone
Continuing on with our series of vaccine-preventable disease, this week I was honoured to get an E-mail interview with Emeritus Professor Christopher Burrell. Chris has a CV longer than my arm: Officer of the Order of Australia, Head of the Infectious Disesase Laboratories at the IMVS, Professor of Virology at the University of Adelaide, co-founder [...]... Read more »
Marmion BP, Burrell CJ, Tonkin RW, & Dickson J. (1982) Dialysis-associated hepatitis in Edinburgh; 1969-1978. Reviews of infectious diseases, 4(3), 619-37. PMID: 6812192
Scott Sinnett (University of Hawaii, United States) and Alan Kingstone (University of British Columbia, Canada) have scientifically tested whether or not a controversial tennis practice is distracting to the opponent. This news feature was written on October 1, 2010.... Read more »
Sinnett, S., & Kingstone, A. (2010) A Preliminary Investigation Regarding the Effect of Tennis Grunting: Does White Noise During a Tennis Shot Have a Negative Impact on Shot Perception?. PLoS ONE, 5(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013148
Your religious beliefs, like many aspects of personality, tend to crystallise in your late teens and early adulthood. It's a period of tremendous change but, once set, few people undergo and radical changes.
Even so, some kids change, while others do not. It's interesting to speculate on why that might be. What separates the changers from those who stay the same? Is it genetics, or is it environment?
A recent study has looked at this using data from two twin studies in Colorado, USA. The basic........ Read more »
Button TM, Stallings MC, Rhee SH, Corley RP, & Hewitt JK. (2010) The Etiology of Stability and Change in Religious Values and Religious Attendance. Behavior genetics. PMID: 20711848
Anindita Das, Rakesh Kukreja (Virginia Commonwealth University, United States) and coworkers have shown that Viagra enhances the efficacy of doxorubicin against prostate cancer, minimizes the damage done to healthy cells, and reduces the heart damage caused by doxorubicin, findings very likely to find their way into real-world clinical settings in the short-term. This news feature was written on October 1, 2010.... Read more »
Das, A., Durrant, D., Mitchell, C., Mayton, E., Hoke, N. N., Salloum, F. N., Park, M. A., Qureshi, I., Lee, R., Dent, P.... (2010) Sildenafil increases chemotherapeutic efficacy of doxorubicin in prostate cancer and ameliorates cardiac dysfunction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1006965107
The best defense against pathogens is to never let them gain access to our delicious, gooey insides. Our skin is pretty good for this purpose: it’s pretty tough and mostly impermeable, and the only way most of our surface tissues can get infected is if that skin barrier is broken. But we can’t have skin [...]... Read more »
Winter, S., Thiennimitr, P., Winter, M., Butler, B., Huseby, D., Crawford, R., Russell, J., Bevins, C., Adams, L., Tsolis, R.... (2010) Gut inflammation provides a respiratory electron acceptor for Salmonella. Nature, 467(7314), 426-429. DOI: 10.1038/nature09415
Remember the hype around the serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)? Effexor and Cymbalta impact both serotonin and norepinephrine, so they should be more effective than SSRI’s in treating depression? Mind you, that’s not a high bar to clear - it’s not like SSRI’s are much better than placebo. So get the hell outta the way, Prozac and Paxil, because Cymbalta and Effexor will unleash their incredible efficacy onto the world of psychiatry. Doubt me? Read this 2009 articl........ Read more »
Schueler, Y., Koesters, M., Wieseler, B., Grouven, U., Kromp, M., Kerekes, M., Kreis, J., Kaiser, T., Becker, T., & Weinmann, S. (2010) A systematic review of duloxetine and venlafaxine in major depression, including unpublished data. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2010.01599.x
Every year, the crew behind the Annals of Improbable Research honor research that "first makes people laugh, then makes them think." These awards, known as the Ig Nobels, honor some of the most entertaining research published in the past year. The competition is fierce, and the prizes highly coveted. But without further ado! This year, the winners are... Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »
Acevedo-Whitehouse, K., Rocha-Gosselin, A., & Gendron, D. (2010) A novel non-invasive tool for disease surveillance of free-ranging whales and its relevance to conservation programs. Animal Conservation, 13(2), 217-225. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2009.00326.x
RIETVELD, S., & VANBEEST, I. (2007) Rollercoaster asthma: When positive emotional stress interferes with dyspnea perception☆. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45(5), 977-987. DOI: 10.1016/j.brat.2006.07.009
Tero, A., Takagi, S., Saigusa, T., Ito, K., Bebber, D., Fricker, M., Yumiki, K., Kobayashi, R., & Nakagaki, T. (2010) Rules for Biologically Inspired Adaptive Network Design. Science, 327(5964), 439-442. DOI: 10.1126/science.1177894
Lianne Parkin, Sheila M Williams, Patricia Priest. (2009) Preventing winter falls: a randomised controlled trial of a novel intervention . Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 122(1298). info:/
Pluchino, A., Rapisarda, A., & Garofalo, C. (2010) The Peter principle revisited: A computational study. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 389(3), 467-472. DOI: 10.1016/j.physa.2009.09.045
The latest stop in the #PDEx tour is being hosted at Psychology Today by Sex at Dawn:There is no greater mystery in human evolution than the origins of our sexuality. Following the trail of clues available researchers have independently concluded that humans evolved through systems of monogamy, polygyny, as well as polyamory. However only one can be the culprit and, like a detective interrogating multiple suspects, the solution ultimately depends on which account you're willing to believe. Last ........ Read more »
Hammer, M., Mendez, F., Cox, M., Woerner, A., & Wall, J. (2008) Sex-Biased Evolutionary Forces Shape Genomic Patterns of Human Diversity. PLoS Genetics, 4(9). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000202
Vivian Cheung and colleagues have published a landmark study on polymorphic cis- and trans-regulation of human gene expression that combines genetic association and transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) to identify 1,000 polymorphic cis- and trans-regulators of gene expression.
Two key features distinguish this from other recent studies on genetics of gene expression (GOGE) in humans: first, linkage mapping [...]... Read more »
Cheung VG, Nayak RR, Wang IX, Elwyn S, Cousins SM, Morley M, & Spielman RS. (2010) Polymorphic cis- and trans-regulation of human gene expression. PLoS biology, 8(9). PMID: 20856902
Image via Wikipedia I have written previously about CNV’s and how de novo CNV’s have been recently shown to correlate with disorders like autism and schizophrenia. I have also been militantly proposing that autism and psychosis are diametrically opposed disorders and have been gladdened to find that recent CNV data support that hypothesis. I reportedRating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)... Read more »
Williams, N., Zaharieva, I., Martin, A., Langley, K., Mantripragada, K., Fossdal, R., Stefansson, H., Stefansson, K., Magnusson, P., & Gudmundsson, O. (2010) Rare chromosomal deletions and duplications in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: a genome-wide analysis. The Lancet. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)61109-9
Synopsis: Last time I discussed the existence of several very long palindromes on the Y chromosome. Why would they be there in the first place? Rozen et al. (2003) argue that the Y chromosome basically recombines with itself through gene conversion! But what’s the evidence for such a possibly game-changing assertion? Skaletsky et al. (2003) [...]... Read more »
Rozen, S., Skaletsky, H., Marszalek, J., Minx, P., Cordum, H., Waterston, R., Wilson, R., & Page, D. (2003) Abundant gene conversion between arms of palindromes in human and ape Y chromosomes. Nature, 423(6942), 873-876. DOI: 10.1038/nature01723
Skaletsky, H., Kuroda-Kawaguchi, T., Minx, P., Cordum, H., Hillier, L., Brown, L., Repping, S., Pyntikova, T., Ali, J., Bieri, T.... (2003) The male-specific region of the human Y chromosome is a mosaic of discrete sequence classes. Nature, 423(6942), 825-837. DOI: 10.1038/nature01722
Desert foxes and desert rats, leave a few sips for the desert bats. A study in Israel’s Negev Desert finds that even small temporary ponds may be critical to the survival of bats living in arid regions. The liquid insight highlights the importance of conserving desert ponds of all sizes, the authors say.
Dozens of […] Read More »... Read more »
Razgour, O., Korine, C., & Saltz, D. (2010) Pond characteristics as determinants of species diversity and community composition in desert bats. Animal Conservation, 13(5), 505-513. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2010.00371.x
A plankton bloom in the Baltic sea. Credit: ESA Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are scary things. The occur when populations of algae explode in coastal environments. The algae suck up the oxygen and release neurotoxins into the water, and even the local air. Fisheries and beaches have to be shut down. People have been killed. HABs aren't predictable, but its clear that they more damaging and more common than they were in the past due to nutrient pollution ........ Read more »
HEISLER, J., GLIBERT, P., BURKHOLDER, J., ANDERSON, D., COCHLAN, W., DENNISON, W., DORTCH, Q., GOBLER, C., HEIL, C., & HUMPHRIES, E. (2008) Eutrophication and harmful algal blooms: A scientific consensus. Harmful Algae, 8(1), 3-13. DOI: 10.1016/j.hal.2008.08.006
Miller, M., Kudela, R., Mekebri, A., Crane, D., Oates, S., Tinker, M., Staedler, M., Miller, W., Toy-Choutka, S., Dominik, C.... (2010) Evidence for a Novel Marine Harmful Algal Bloom: Cyanotoxin (Microcystin) Transfer from Land to Sea Otters. PLoS ONE, 5(9). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012576
Bauman, A., Burt, J., Feary, D., Marquis, E., & Usseglio, P. (2010) Tropical harmful algal blooms: An emerging threat to coral reef communities?. Marine Pollution Bulletin. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2010.08.015
Brock, W., & Carpenter, S. (2010) Interacting regime shifts in ecosystems: implication for early warnings. Ecological Monographs, 80(3), 353-367. DOI: 10.1890/09-1824.1
The final part of a 4-part series examining what happens when science is used for marketing (using brain-training software as the central example). ... Read more »
McCabe DP, & Castel AD. (2008) Seeing is believing: the effect of brain images on judgments of scientific reasoning. Cognition, 107(1), 343-352. PMID: 17803985
Edwards JD, Delahunt PB, & Mahncke HW. (2009) Cognitive speed of processing training delays driving cessation. The journal of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences, 64(12), 1262-1267. PMID: 19726665
Roenker DL, Cissell GM, Ball KK, Wadley VG, & Edwards JD. (2003) Speed-of-processing and driving simulator training result in improved driving performance. Human factors, 45(2), 218-233. PMID: 14529195
Critics call them “frankenfish.” Advocates call them delicious. Either way, a genetically engineered salmon may be served up on your plate sooner than you think. In the United States, over 90% of corn, cotton, soybeans, and sugar beets we grow and consume are already genetically modified (GM). Therefore, the absence of GM animals may seem [...]... Read more »
Devlin, R. (2004) Population effects of growth hormone transgenic coho salmon depend on food availability and genotype by environment interactions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 101(25), 9303-9308. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0400023101
Howard, R. (2004) Transgenic male mating advantage provides opportunity for Trojan gene effect in a fish. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 101(9), 2934-2938. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0306285101
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