Post List

  • May 12, 2010
  • 04:21 PM
  • 916 views

Potential cancer drug DCA tested in early trials

by Cancer Research UK in Cancer Research UK - Science Update

The controversial drug DCA (dichloroacetate) is in the headlines again, after researchers in Canada carried out a small-scale clinical trial of the drug in five patients with advanced brain tumours. Over the past year or two there have been several articles in the news and on the internet about DCA, which was claimed to be [...]... Read more »

P. Kaufmann, K. Engelstad, Y. Wei, S. Jhung, M. C. Sano, D. C. Shungu, W. S. Millar, X. Hong, C. L. Gooch, X. Mao.... (2006) Dichloroacetate causes toxic neuropathy in MELAS . Neurology, 324-330. DOI: http://www.neurology.org/cgi/content/abstract/66/3/324  

  • May 12, 2010
  • 03:21 PM
  • 427 views

Picked Clean

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

'Vulture restaurants' may be excluding smaller scavengers

... Read more »

  • May 12, 2010
  • 03:12 PM
  • 1,663 views

What is it? - 37 million year old fossil primate puzzles paleontologists

by Laelaps in Laelaps



In the Fayum desert of northern Egypt, not too far from the banks of the Nile, the vestiges of ancient forests are preserved in the sand-covered strata. The fossils are ghosts of a vanished oasis in which prehistoric cousins of modern elephants wallowed in lush wetlands and a host of ancient primates scrambled through the trees, and despite being known as one of the world's best fossil sites for over a century paleontologists are continuing to discovery new species from the desert rock. The tr........ Read more »

Seiffert, E., Simons, E., Boyer, D., Perry, J., Ryan, T., & Sallam, H. (2010) A fossil primate of uncertain affinities from the earliest late Eocene of Egypt. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1001393107  

  • May 12, 2010
  • 03:09 PM
  • 1,881 views

Inconstant Constants: "Probing fundamental constant evolution with redshifted conjugate-satellite OH lines"

by Chad Orzel in Uncertain Principles

Via Jennifer Ouellette on Twitter, I ran across a Discovery News story touting a recent arxiv preprint claiming to see variation in the fine-structure constant. It's a basically OK story, but garbles a few details, so I thought it would be worth giving it the ResearchBlogging treatment, in the now-traditional Q&A format.

What did they do? The paper looks at some spectral lines in radio emission from a moderately distant galaxy with the poetic name "PKS1413+135." These lines are produced by ........ Read more »

Nissim Kanekar, Jayaram N. Chengalur, & Tapasi Ghosh. (2010) Probing fundamental constant evolution with redshifted conjugate-satellite OH lines. Astrophysical Journal Letters. arXiv: 1004.5383v1

  • May 12, 2010
  • 02:20 PM
  • 1,268 views

Is dynamics the missing link for understanding enzyme catalysis?

by Nir London in Macromolecular Modeling Blog

How do enzymes catalyze reactions? There are countless answers of course, but one answer that has gained much attention and popularity in recent years is - through intrinsic dynamics. Is that so? PNAS recently published a paper by Arieh Warshel entitled: "Enzyme millisecond conformational dynamics do not catalyze the chemical step". Warshel, an avid assailant of the coupling between dynamics and catalysis was met by Martin Karplus, devoted advocate for catalytic dynamics, to engage in a public d........ Read more »

Pisliakov, A., Cao, J., Kamerlin, S., & Warshel, A. (2009) Enzyme millisecond conformational dynamics do not catalyze the chemical step. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(41), 17359-17364. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0909150106  

Karplus, M. (2010) Role of conformation transitions in adenylate kinase. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(17). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1002180107  

Henzler-Wildman KA, Lei M, Thai V, Kerns SJ, Karplus M, & Kern D. (2007) A hierarchy of timescales in protein dynamics is linked to enzyme catalysis. Nature, 450(7171), 913-6. PMID: 18026087  

Henzler-Wildman KA, Thai V, Lei M, Ott M, Wolf-Watz M, Fenn T, Pozharski E, Wilson MA, Petsko GA, Karplus M.... (2007) Intrinsic motions along an enzymatic reaction trajectory. Nature, 450(7171), 838-44. PMID: 18026086  

Eisenmesser EZ, Bosco DA, Akke M, & Kern D. (2002) Enzyme dynamics during catalysis. Science (New York, N.Y.), 295(5559), 1520-3. PMID: 11859194  

Daniel, R., Dunn, R., Finney, J., & Smith, J. (2003) THE ROLE OF DYNAMICS IN ENZYME ACTIVITY. Annual Review of Biophysics and Biomolecular Structure, 32(1), 69-92. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.biophys.32.110601.142445  

  • May 12, 2010
  • 11:53 AM
  • 705 views

Happiness Is Not A Fish You Can Eat

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Wouldn't it be nice if you could improve your mental health just by eating more fish?Well, yes, it would... except for people who hate fish, who would be doomed to misery. But is it true? A new paper from Finnish researchers Suominen-Taipale et al looks at this issue: Fish Consumption and Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Relation to Depressive Episodes: A Cross-Sectional Analysis. The results are complex, but essentially, negative.The authors looked at a large sample (total n=6,500) of Fin........ Read more »

  • May 12, 2010
  • 10:52 AM
  • 644 views

X-Rays Give a New Look at Archaeopteryx

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Scientists have known about the feathered dinosaur Archaeopteryx for over a century and a half, but scientists are using new techniques to get a better look at this creature and its close relatives. Within the past few months alone, paleontologists have described how they have used laboratory techniques to determine what color some feathered dinosaurs [...]... Read more »

Bergmann, U., Morton, R., Manning, P., Sellers, W., Farrar, S., Huntley, K., Wogelius, R., & Larson, P. (2010) Archaeopteryx feathers and bone chemistry fully revealed via synchrotron imaging. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1001569107  

  • May 12, 2010
  • 10:17 AM
  • 3,595 views

Smart drugs, smarter students?

by Wellcome Trust in Wellcome Trust Blog

At a Eureka Live event at Wellcome Collection in February, Professor Barbara Sahakian of the University of Cambridge said that around 16 per cent of university students use cognitive boosting drugs like Ritalin to combat tiredness, and that this practice is spreading widely. It made me realize that cognitive enhancement in students is not just [...]... Read more »

Ilina Singh, Kelly J. Kelleher. (2010) Neuroenhancement in Young People: Proposal for Research, Policy, and Clinical Management . AJOB Neuroscience, 1(1), 3-16. info:/10.1080/21507740903508591

  • May 12, 2010
  • 10:05 AM
  • 961 views

The "Big Four," part I: Natural selection

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

This post is the first in a special series about four fundamental forces in evolution: natural selection, mutation, genetic drift, and migration.

Among non-biologists, the best-known of the Big Four forces of evolution is almost certainly natural selection. We've all heard the catchphrase "survival of the fittest," and that's a pretty good, if reductive, summing up of the principle. In more precise terms, here's how natural selection works:Natural populations of living things vary. Deer vary in........ Read more »

Futuyma, D. (1987) On the role of species in anagenesis. The American Naturalist, 130(3), 465-73. DOI: 10.1086/284724  

Grant, B., & Grant, P. (1989) Natural selection in a population of Darwin's finches. The American Naturalist, 133(3), 377-93. DOI: 10.1086/284924  

Kingsolver, J., Hoekstra, H., Hoekstra, J., Berrigan, D., Vignieri, S., Hill, C., Hoang, A., Gibert, P., & Beerli, P. (2001) The Strength of phenotypic selection in natural populations. The American Naturalist, 157(3), 245-261. DOI: 10.1086/319193  

  • May 12, 2010
  • 09:29 AM
  • 1,370 views

Antidepressant medications and risk for suicide in children and adolescents: all drugs are created equal.

by Nestor Lopez-Duran PhD in Child-Psych

In my clinical work, I often encounter parents who are concerned about putting their kids on psychiatric medications. In the case of anti-depressants, such concerns are grounded on a large literature that has linked anti-depressant use by adolescents with a mild increase in the risk of suicide. Contrary to some common explanations, it is not simply [...]... Read more »

Schneeweiss, S., Patrick, A., Solomon, D., Dormuth, C., Miller, M., Mehta, J., Lee, J., & Wang, P. (2010) Comparative Safety of Antidepressant Agents for Children and Adolescents Regarding Suicidal Acts. PEDIATRICS, 125(5), 876-888. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2009-2317  

  • May 12, 2010
  • 09:15 AM
  • 1,136 views

Tip of the Week: Chromhome, for karyotype level comparative genomics

by Mary in OpenHelix


Usually when we think about comparative genomics data, we are thinking about genomes that are pretty well sequenced, and we want to look at that data with variety of tools and algorithms.  But this past week we saw a question about less-well-sequenced genomes, and we thought it was an interesting inquiry.  The question was: is there a web site that displays comparative karyotype data?  So we went looking. And we found Chromhome.
Chromhome has a very straightforward interface.  You choose a ........ Read more »

  • May 12, 2010
  • 08:28 AM
  • 1,076 views

The post-Columbian panmictic “natural experiment”

by Razib Khan in Gene Expression

Economists in the last few years have been shifting toward testing their theoretical models, whether through the experiments of behavioral economics, or, “natural experiments.” The reason economists have had issues with testing their models is that experimentation on humans has some natural constraints. Macroeconomists have an even greater problem, as experimentation on whole societies not [...]... Read more »

  • May 12, 2010
  • 08:10 AM
  • 1,128 views

CASES OF INJURY OF THE HEAD, ACCOMPANIED BY LOSS OF BRAIN (oozing from the skull)

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

"Head-wound Hank", from Geek Orthodox.The 19th century archive of The Lancet1 is filled with simply delightful case reports. Who can resist the allure of early plastic surgery failures, such as RHINOPLASTIC OPERATION, PERFORMED BY M. LISFRANC, FOLLOWED BY DEATH? Or how about a Case of Local Tubercular Deposit on the Surface of the Brain, presented by Robert Dunn, Esq.? Finally, the tragic History of a Case of Hydrophobia, treated at the Hotel Dieu at Paris, by an injection of water into the ve........ Read more »

  • May 12, 2010
  • 08:00 AM
  • 2,729 views

Self-Medicating Depression With Chocolate

by Arya M. Sharma in Dr. Sharma's Obesity Notes

Chocolate, prepared from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree, contain alkaloids such as theobromine and phenethylamine, which have physiological effects on the body that include elevating serotonin levels in the brain.
Low levels of serotonin are linked to mood disorders and one of the primary action of antidepressants is to raise brain serotonin levels, [...]... Read more »

  • May 12, 2010
  • 08:00 AM
  • 1,131 views

Fish tanks as vectors for accidental introduction of exotic species

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

... Read more »

  • May 12, 2010
  • 08:00 AM
  • 1,113 views

The beginnings of bone

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

Bones have probably given us more evidence for evolution than almost anything else. But could bones also pose a problem for evolutionary biology?

The Times – not the New York Times, the original, singular Times – interviews frequent quotation workhorse for Texas young Earth creationists, dentist and outgoing State Board of Education member, Don McLeroy.

McLeroy is saying the same things he usually does, but this time, he actually said something a little more interesting if only because it........ Read more »

  • May 12, 2010
  • 05:51 AM
  • 560 views

Contaminated Vaccines

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



Although H1N1 is circulating around us at least a little bit before 1918, we passed almost 20 years free of it. In 1957, a line of influenza virus received three genes of an avian virus, among them new HA and NA, and started to be called H2N2. With these new proteins, it did not meet [...]... Read more »

  • May 12, 2010
  • 05:30 AM
  • 890 views

Pepsi Refresh adapts Big Tobacco marketing playbook for the 21st century.

by Yoni Freedhoff in Weighty Matters

Have you heard about Pepsi Refresh? If not, I promise you will, probably from your friends.Pepsi Refresh is Pepsi's latest brilliant marketing campaign.The premise is simple. Each month for a year consumers will be asked to submit and vote for Pepsi funded grants ranging from $5,000 to $250,000 in one of six areas: Health, arts and culture, food and shelter, the planet, neighborhoods and education. 1,000 applications are accepted monthly and applicants use their own social networks to rally for ........ Read more »

  • May 12, 2010
  • 05:07 AM
  • 1,918 views

Sunday Protist -- Tachyblaston: A suctorian parasite of suctorians

by Psi Wavefunction in Skeptic Wonder

[it's totally still Sunday in someone's mind somewhere...right?]Reading old protistology books can be quite a frustrating exercise: image you come across a really cool-looking organism, try to follow up on what happened to it since, and discover it's only been written up once in the distant past and neglected ever since. This happens to a very annoying percentage of organisms described in those older books (newer books tend to forget the phantom and near-phantom species). Now this organism in pa........ Read more »

Martin, CH. (1909) Some Observations on Acinetaria: Part I.—The " Tinctin-kbrper " of Acinetaria and the Conjugation of Acineta papillifera. Quarterly journal of microscopical science, 53(2), 351-389. info:/

  • May 12, 2010
  • 05:00 AM
  • 1,095 views

Measuring the "naturalness" of landscapes: a look at the U.S.

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

A new study in the journal Landscape Ecology presents an approach for measuring the level of naturalness across a region. Colorado State University researcher David Theobold tests this approach on the lower 48 states of the U.S. to determine the naturalness of the nation and how it is projected to change over the next 20 years.... Read more »

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