Post List

  • February 20, 2010
  • 11:32 AM

Risk Analysis of Critical Infrastructures

by Jan Husdal in

The vulnerability of critical infrastructures is a recurring theme on this blog, and today’s article has been on my mind for a while. What I like about Critical infrastructures at risk: A need for a new conceptual approach and extended analytical tool by Wolfgang Kröger is how it couples critical infrastructures, showing how one is [ ... ]... Read more »

  • February 20, 2010
  • 06:58 AM

Exercise Adherence among Older Adults: Challenges and Strategies

by PhD Blogger in Exercise Psychology

This short paper gives a good review of the challenges facing researchers in the area of exercise adherence. Researchers aim to encourage people to exercise or take part in physical activity at a level sufficient to enable them to enjoy the associated health benefits. However as Dishman (1994) reports within six months of starting an exercise program the drop-out rate can be as high as 50%. My current research project involves an intervention which attempts to utilize Social Comparison Theory to........ Read more »

  • February 19, 2010
  • 11:25 PM

The Latest on Mitochondrial Uncoupling

by Reason in Fight Aging!

I have written on the topic of mitochondrial uncoupling in the past, so back into the archives we go for a quick summary: Mitochondria are the power plants of your cells: they toil to turn food into ATP, used as fuel by the cell. In recent years, the eye of the research community has turned towards the process of mitochondrial uncoupling, whereby the processing of food is uncoupled from the generation of ATP. The result is less ATP and more energy in the form of heat - this is a part of the temp........ Read more »

  • February 19, 2010
  • 10:57 PM

Risperidone Placebo Mash-Up

by Ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

The atypical use of powerful antipsychotic agents like risperidone should, according to Rattehalli et al. (2010), invoke much needed research. According to the authors, we still have so much to learn about cause and effect, when it comes to risperidone and drugs of a similar ilk. ... Read more »

Rattehalli RD, Jayaram MB, & Smith M. (2010) Risperidone versus placebo for schizophrenia. Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online). PMID: 20091611  

Rattehalli, RD, Jayaram, MB, & Smith, M. (2010) Risperidone versus placebo for schizophrenia. The Cochrane Library. info:/10.1002/14651858.CD006918.pub2

  • February 19, 2010
  • 05:19 PM

Island biogeography: State and case of spider diversity in Macaronesia

by Jeremy in Voltage Gate

Some of the first organisms found on a newly risen or recently destroyed island are spiders. On mainlands, spiderlings of smaller species weave a tiny drag chute, perched atop the highest point in their immediate area – the leaf of an herb or the very tip of a blooming meadow grass – and let the breeze, even the slightest one, carry them away. Most only travel short distances, remaining in the ecosystem in which they were born, but some are spun upwards in varying winds, and swept into jet s........ Read more »

  • February 19, 2010
  • 02:14 PM

Blame Mom for High School Beer Binges: The Power of a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

by Polly Palumbo in Momma Data

Do you think your teenager will drink alcohol? On a scale from 1 to 10, how likely do you think it your child will drink alcohol regularly as a teenager?Moms who underestimate the chances may actually prevent kids from drinking.  That's good news, believing your kid won't drink can discourage your teen from drinking.  But the opposite is also true... Moms who overestimate their kid's risk can end up promoting more drinking. We're talking self-fulfilling prophecy here. That's fancy talk........ Read more »

  • February 19, 2010
  • 01:29 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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