Last year, I wrote about a scientific controversy over the structure of the influenza M2 proton channel, particularly over the protein's binding site for adamantane type anti-flu drugs. The Schnell/Chou model, based on solution NMR, had the drug binding to the outside of the channel, within the membrane (at a 4:1 drug:protein ratio). On the other hand, the Stouffer/DeGrado model had the drug binding inside the channel (1:1 ratio), based on X-ray crystallography studies.
A new study was recently........ Read more »
Cady, S., Schmidt-Rohr, K., Wang, J., Soto, C., DeGrado, W., & Hong, M. (2010) Structure of the amantadine binding site of influenza M2 proton channels in lipid bilayers. Nature, 463(7281), 689-692. DOI: 10.1038/nature08722
In the deliberations over humanity and its perceived uniqueness, a link is frequently made between our ability to support a rich, diverse culture and the origin of complex human behaviour. Yet what is often overlooked in our view of these two, clearly connected phenomena is the thread that weaves them together: the ability to coordinate [...]... Read more »
Chater, N. . (2009) Language Acquisition Meets Language Evolution. Cognitive Science. info:/10.1111/j.1551-6709.2009.01049.x
Laland KN, Odling-Smee J, & Myles S. (2010) How culture shaped the human genome: bringing genetics and the human sciences together. Nature reviews. Genetics, 11(2), 137-48. PMID: 20084086
Lycett, S., & Norton, C. (2010) A demographic model for Palaeolithic technological evolution: The case of East Asia and the Movius Line. Quaternary International, 211(1-2), 55-65. DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2008.12.001
Diabetes drug being tested for addiction.
It’s a mouthful: peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma (PPAR-gamma).
Peroxisomes are specialized subunits inside cells that help metabolize various substances, including fatty acids and certain toxins. A blockbuster member of this drug family—Avandia—is a much disputed but immensely lucrative diabetes medicine that may cause heart failure.
(Partial Agonist Ppar Gamma Cocrystal)--------->
PPAR gamma agonists belong to a class ........ Read more »
Maeda, T., Kiguchi, N., Fukazawa, Y., Yamamoto, A., Ozaki, M., & Kishioka, S. (2006) Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma Activation Relieves Expression of Behavioral Sensitization to Methamphetamine in Mice. Neuropsychopharmacology, 32(5), 1133-1140. DOI: 10.1038/sj.npp.1301213
Just about every article I read on women’s preferences for sexual dimorphism in men points out that the data are consistent with the good genes hypothesis. There are a couple of technical variations of this hypothesis, but they all are based on the reasonably well-established connection between testosterone and impeded immune system functioning. The idea [...]... Read more »
Johnston, V. (2001) Male facial attractiveness: evidence for hormone-mediated adaptive design. Evolution and Human Behavior, 22(4), 251-267. DOI: 10.1016/S1090-5138(01)00066-6
Wilcox, A. (2004) On the frequency of intercourse around ovulation: evidence for biological influences. Human Reproduction, 19(7), 1539-1543. DOI: 10.1093/humrep/deh305
One really cool aspect of using a software program like Recognise, is that you can keep tabs on whether or not patients actually do what we ask them to do. This is an important issue because any treatment that involves home exercises or training depends on people doing it! Historically, clinicians have used a training [...]... Read more »
Moseley GL. (2006) Do training diaries affect and reflect adherence to home programs?. Arthritis and rheumatism, 55(4), 662-4. PMID: 16874790
Today’s guest post is from a pharmacist who blogs under the pseudonym Avicenna, who looks at the evidence supporting the use of Coenzyme Q10 to treat statin-related muscle pain.
My pharmacy stocks plenty of natural health products (NHPs) and ensuring they can be used safely is challenging, given the limited information available on safety, quality, [...]... Read more »
MARCOFF, L., & THOMPSON, P. (2007) The Role of Coenzyme Q10 in Statin-Associated MyopathyA Systematic Review. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 49(23), 2231-2237. DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2007.02.049
CASO, G., KELLY, P., MCNURLAN, M., & LAWSON, W. (2007) Effect of Coenzyme Q10 on Myopathic Symptoms in Patients Treated With Statins. The American Journal of Cardiology, 99(10), 1409-1412. DOI: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2006.12.063
I just came back up from our cellar, where I was looking through a couple of cardboard boxes that I hadn’t opened since we moved from Colorado. The boxes are full of research papers on benthic foraminifera, left over from my days of doing science. I ventured down there because a researcher from Sweden wants to have a reprint of one of my papers, and I don’t have an electronic file of it (I will after this).
Turns out the paper wasn’t in either of the two boxes, but in ........ Read more »
Tuck, I. (1995) Unidentified burrow surface trace from the clyde sea area. Netherlands Journal of Sea Research, 34(4), 331-335. DOI: 10.1016/0077-7579(95)90042-X
Many neuroscientists think of the thalamus – a compact structure lying right in the centre of the brain – simply as a relay station, where sensory information from the periphery converges and is then passed on to the cortex. The cortex is thought to be the site of perception and cognition, with different cortical areas specialized to subserve different functions. Communication between cortical areas can be mediated by axonal tracts running in the white matter of the cortex. This leads ........ Read more »
Theyel, B., Llano, D., & Sherman, S. (2009) The corticothalamocortical circuit drives higher-order cortex in the mouse. Nature Neuroscience, 13(1), 84-88. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2449
For a couple of years now, the focus of researchers on factors that identify ‘high risk’ of ongoing disability has turned from patients and onto providers. I’ve written before that health provider’s own beliefs about pain, particularly pain-related anxiety and avoidance, can change the advice they give. This can lead to less ‘reassurance’ about [...]... Read more »
Shaw WS, Pransky G, Winters T, Tveito TH, Larson SM, & Roter DL. (2009) Does the presence of psychosocial "yellow flags" alter patient-provider communication for work-related, acute low back pain?. Journal of occupational and environmental medicine / American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 51(9), 1032-40. PMID: 19687758
Photo by D Sharon Pruitt
There's more evidence that many children have a mental health disorder and not enough get help. The first representative survey of children in the United States found that 13% of children ages 8 to 15 had at least one psychiatric disorders during one year. The data comes from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a collaboration between the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers f........ Read more »
Merikangas, K., He, J., Brody, D., Fisher, P., Bourdon, K., & Koretz, D. (2009) Prevalence and Treatment of Mental Disorders Among US Children in the 2001-2004 NHANES. PEDIATRICS, 125(1), 75-81. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2008-2598
It appears that we humans had taken oceans for granted for too long. A widely known fact is that most of what we discard makes its way to oceans. Oceans are sinks for all things including 1/3 of the carbon dioxide that has been released in the last 200 years. This has resulted in the acidification of the oceans. The science behind is that carbonic acid is formed when carbon dioxide dissolves in sea water. This raises the hydrogen ion concentration and bicarbonate ions, but limits carbonate ions......... Read more »
Shi D, Xu Y, Hopkinson BM, & Morel FM. (2010) Effect of ocean acidification on iron availability to marine phytoplankton. Science (New York, N.Y.), 327(5966), 676-9. PMID: 20075213
Fabry, V. (2008) OCEAN SCIENCE: Marine Calcifiers in a High-CO2 Ocean. Science, 320(5879), 1020-1022. DOI: 10.1126/science.1157130
Babyak (2000) examined the use of physical activity as a treatment for depression. Participants classified as clinically depressed were given, aerobic exercise, drugs or both as treatment. The exercise only group recovered as well as the other groups but had a lower relapse rate, perhaps caused by the participants feeling that they had a more active role in their treatment. The exercise group also a side effect of the participants getting fitter! There are many other studies associating par........ Read more »
Babyak M, Blumenthal JA, Herman S, Khatri P, Doraiswamy M, Moore K, Craighead WE, Baldewicz TT, & Krishnan KR. (2000) Exercise treatment for major depression: maintenance of therapeutic benefit at 10 months. Psychosomatic medicine, 62(5), 633-8. PMID: 11020092
A review of Thursday's Guze Symposium on disentangling the genetics of alcoholism, sponsored by the Washington University of St. Louis School of Medicine in honor of Samuel Guze, a pioneer in the field of alcohol abuse and alcoholism.... Read more »
Crabbe, J., Phillips, T., Harris, R., Arends, M., & Koob, G. (2006) Alcohol-related genes: contributions from studies with genetically engineered mice. Addiction Biology, 11(3-4), 195-269. DOI: 10.1111/j.1369-1600.2006.00038.x
February 21-27 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. I have a history of some pretty disordered eating which landed me in the hospital a few years back, but it’s not something that I’m extremely comfortable talking about. In the spirit of “awareness,” I’ve decided that it’s something I should talk about more. In my personal [...]... Read more »
Frank, G. (2000) CSF oxytocin and vasopressin levels after recovery from bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa, bulimic subtype. Biological Psychiatry, 48(4), 315-318. DOI: 10.1016/S0006-3223(00)00243-2
Recently I came across a very interesting article on the website of the German magazine Der Spiegel, which informed me that the current way of storing highly radioactive waste was unsuitable, and the reason for this is chemical. Says there:
Now a US-German research group, in an Article in Angewandte Chemie, raises doubts about the basic [...]... Read more »
Wang, S., Alekseev, E., Ling, J., Skanthakumar, S., Soderholm, L., Depmeier, W., & Albrecht-Schmitt, T. (2010) Neptunium Diverges Sharply from Uranium and Plutonium in Crystalline Borate Matrixes: Insights into the Complex Behavior of the Early Actinides Relevant to Nuclear Waste Storage. Angewandte Chemie, 122(7), 1285-1288. DOI: 10.1002/ange.200906127
House Finches at a Feeder Like humans, birds can be infected by various diseases, some of which can be quite contagious. Among feeder birds, House Finches are particularly susceptible to Mycoplasmal conjunctivitis. Avian conjunctivitis causes very noticeable changes to a bird's appearance and behavior. Infected birds appear to have swollen or crusty eyes. Becoming lethargic, they succumb more easily to starvation or predation.A new study examines behaviors that may encourage the spread of ........ Read more »
Bouwman, K., & Hawley, D. (2010) Sickness behaviour acting as an evolutionary trap? Male house finches preferentially feed near diseased conspecifics. Biology Letters. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.0020
English-speaking countries have a poor track record when it comes to language learning. Educators in Australia, the UK and the USA regularly bemoan that fact and call for a change in language policy to strengthen the learning of languages other than English. One of their key arguments is economic: language learning is good for the [...]... Read more »
Lo Bianco, Joe, & Slaughter, Yvette. (2009) Second Languages and Australian Schooling. Australian Council for Educational Research. info:/
This article from 2006 reviews the effectiveness of interventions to prevent obesity. The authors reported a 'generally consistent finding that total physical activity decreases the risk of overweight and obesity'. Whilst, not unsurprising, it is at least reassuring to see that in print. The article is quite short at four pages but gives a good review of the available evidence. A useful companion is the UK report Tackling Obesities: Future Choices – Project report which offers a........ Read more »
Whilst facilitated communication has been thoroughly debunked, it's still clearly still got ghosts that haunt the public perception. ... Read more »
Cardinal DN, Hanson D, & Wakeham J. (1996) Investigation of authorship in facilitated communication. Mental retardation, 34(4), 231-42. PMID: 8828342
Tuzzi, A., Cemin, M., & Castagna, M. (2004) “Moved deeply I am” Autistic language in texts produced with Facilitated Communication. Journees internationals d’Analyse statistique des Donnees Textuelles. info:/
Schnakers, C., Vanhaudenhuyse, A., Giacino, J., Ventura, M., Boly, M., Majerus, S., Moonen, G., & Laureys, S. (2009) Diagnostic accuracy of the vegetative and minimally conscious state: Clinical consensus versus standardized neurobehavioral assessment. BMC Neurology, 9(1), 35. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2377-9-35
This week, I’m featuring the MolBio Picks of the Week, which are normally brought to you by Alejandro over at MolBio Research Highlights. MolBio Picks of the Week brings you the best biology posts from researchblogging.org. I’ll give a brief description of all selected post and urge you to check out the posts yourselves, and [...]... Read more »
Flores, E., & Herrero, A. (2009) Compartmentalized function through cell differentiation in filamentous cyanobacteria. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 8(1), 39-50. DOI: 10.1038/nrmicro2242
Neumann, H., Wang, K., Davis, L., Garcia-Alai, M., & Chin, J. (2010) Encoding multiple unnatural amino acids via evolution of a quadruplet-decoding ribosome. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature08817
Shi, D., Xu, Y., Hopkinson, B., & Morel, F. (2010) Effect of Ocean Acidification on Iron Availability to Marine Phytoplankton. Science, 327(5966), 676-679. DOI: 10.1126/science.1183517
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