Post List

  • June 2, 2010
  • 04:00 PM

Another overhyped acupuncture study misinterpreted

by David Gorski in Science-Based Medicine

Perhaps the most heavily studied of “alternative medicine” modalities is acupuncture. Although it’s hard to be sure as to the reason, I tend to speculate that part of the appeal to trying to do research in this area is because acupuncture is among the most popular of actual “alt-med” modalities, as opposed to science-based medical [...]... Read more »

Goldman, N., Chen, M., Fujita, T., Xu, Q., Peng, W., Liu, W., Jensen, T., Pei, Y., Wang, F., Han, X.... (2010) Adenosine A1 receptors mediate local anti-nociceptive effects of acupuncture. Nature Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2562  

  • June 2, 2010
  • 03:46 PM

Experiments in cultural transmission and human cultural evolution

by Wintz in A Replicated Typo

For those of you familiar with the formal mathematical models of cultural evolution (Cavalli-Sforza & Feldman, 1981; Boyd & Richerson, 1985), you’ll know there is a substantive body of literature behind the process of cultural transmission. It comes as a surprise, then, that experiments in this area are generally lacking. For instance, if we look [...]... Read more »

  • June 2, 2010
  • 02:40 PM

A vaccine to prevent breast cancer? Not just yet

by Cancer Research UK in Cancer Research UK - Science Update

Last week it was viruses, this week it’s vaccines. So, are we really on the verge of a ‘revolutionary vaccine’ that could ‘end breast cancer’ – as some of the media have stated? No. Not yet, anyway. The headlines in question originated from a paper in Nature Medicine, in which US-based researchers described a series [...]... Read more »

Jaini, R., Kesaraju, P., Johnson, J., Altuntas, C., Jane-wit, D., & Tuohy, V. (2010) An autoimmune-mediated strategy for prophylactic breast cancer vaccination. Nature Medicine. DOI: 10.1038/nm.2161  

  • June 2, 2010
  • 01:52 PM

Island-Hopping Ceratopsians Made it to Europe

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Ceratopsians, or the “horned dinosaurs” such as Triceratops and Centrosaurus, were among the most distinctive members of dinosaur communities in North America and eastern Asia during the Cretaceous. Even so, bits and pieces of fossil bone collected by paleontologists over the years have hinted that this famous group of dinosaurs had a much wider range [...]... Read more »

  • June 2, 2010
  • 01:10 PM

Why is running good for you?

by Aaron Berdanier in Biological Posteriors

This weekend I am running in the Kettle Moraine 100, in a 31 mile leg of the 100 mile relay. Given that event, this is my first running science blog post - a slight tangent from ecology...

Where do the health benefits of running come from? Physiologically, people's metabolism changes. Or, more specifically, certain metabolites increase in the body, which trigger cellular responses (for example, fat burning).
... Read more »

Lewis GD, Farrell L, Wood MJ, Martinovic M, Arany Z, Rowe GC, Souza A, Cheng S, McCabe EL, Yang E.... (2010) Metabolic signatures of exercise in human plasma. Science translational medicine, 2(33). PMID: 20505214  

  • June 2, 2010
  • 01:05 PM

Mutation and Selection in a Lung Cancer Genome

by Daniel Koboldt in Massgenomics

A letter to Nature this week presents the whole-genome sequencing of a non-small-cell-lung cancer tumor. Over 500 validated mutations (530 SNVs and 43 structural variants) offer an unprecedented view of genetic variation and selection in solid tumors.

Using arrays of self-assembling DNA nanoballs (DNBs, i.e., the Complete Genomics platform), Lee et al sequenced a primary lung [...]... Read more »

Lee W, Jiang Z, Liu J, Haverty PM, Guan Y, Stinson J, Yue P, Zhang Y, Pant KP, Bhatt D.... (2010) The mutation spectrum revealed by paired genome sequences from a lung cancer patient. Nature, 465(7297), 473-7. PMID: 20505728  

  • June 2, 2010
  • 12:30 PM

Table-Top X-Ray Lasers

by Chad Orzel in Uncertain Principles

I mentioned in a previous post that one of the cool talks I saw at DAMOP had to do with generation of coherent X-Ray beams using ultra-fast lasers. What's particualrly cool about this work is that it doesn't require gigantic accelerators or nuclear explosions to produce a laser-like beam of x-rays-- it's all done with lasers that fit on a normal-size optical table in an ordinary lab room.

The specific talk I saw was by Margaret Murnane of JILA, who co-leads their ultra-fast laser group, and dea........ Read more »

  • June 2, 2010
  • 11:41 AM

Biological Bullets for Wayward Cells

by avi_wener in American Biotechnologist

Transfecting cells can be a difficult task for even the most seasoned of cell biologists. Sure there are easy-to-transfect cell lines such as A10 Smooth Muscle Cells, COS Cells or p19 cells, but what about those pesky, hard to isolate primary cells? Or better yet, what about cells embedded in living tissue on animals or [...]... Read more »

  • June 2, 2010
  • 11:41 AM

New Publication: Big Breasts, An Indicator of Dangerous Fat Deposition?

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

In June of last year, I discussed the results of a large epidemiological study in women that showed that women with larger breasts have an increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

As soon as Travis and I read this study, we knew we had to do a follow-up study of our own to see if this finding was simply spurious or if there was actually something to large breasts that indicated health risk - beyond that explained by obesity per se.

The project that Travis and I began over a year ago has ........ Read more »

  • June 2, 2010
  • 11:26 AM

One Ebola Virus Vaccine Offers Protection for Three Viral Species

by Sara Klink in Promega Connections

When I was a graduate student studying HIV-1 encapsidation, I encountered an unusually enthusiastic virologist-to-be. As a prospective graduate researcher in my lab, he described his fascination with the Ebola virus, how he wanted to do research on it, how it affected human beings, and how he desired to be part of a team that [...]... Read more »

Hensley LE, Mulangu S, Asiedu C, Johnson J, Honko AN, Stanley D, Fabozzi G, Nichol ST, Ksiazek TG, Rollin PE.... (2010) Demonstration of cross-protective vaccine immunity against an emerging pathogenic Ebolavirus Species. PLoS pathogens, 6(5). PMID: 20502688  

  • June 2, 2010
  • 11:11 AM

Butyrate Improves Bowel Transit

by Michael Ash in Nutri-Link Ltd - Clinical Education

Problems such as poor transit or constipation are common, and can produce significant misery for the individual compromised in this manner. Butyrate is a short chain fatty acid, manufactured in the gut by the anaerobic fermentation of dietary fibres by resident microbiota. It is proposed that apart from its already well understood properties that it has another remarkable effect – the ability to increase the neuronal concentration of the Enteric Nervous System.... Read more »

  • June 2, 2010
  • 10:05 AM

Freeloading cuckoos force their hosts to diversify

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Ashy-throated parrotbills have a problem every time breeding season rolls around: how do they know whether the eggs in their nests are their own, or those of the common cuckoo? A study recently released in PLoS ONE suggests that one population of parrotbills fights this brood parasitism by laying eggs of different colors.

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Krüger, O., Sorenson, M., & Davies, N. (2009) Does coevolution promote species richness in parasitic cuckoos?. Proc. Royal Soc. B, 276(1674), 3871-9. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1142  

Lahti, D. (2005) Evolution of bird eggs in the absence of cuckoo parasitism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 102(50), 18057-62. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0508930102  

Yang, C., Liang, W., Cai, Y., Shi, S., Takasu, F., Møller, A., Antonov, A., Fossøy, F., Moksnes, A., Røskaft, E.... (2010) Coevolution in action: Disruptive selection on egg colour in an avian brood parasite and its host. PLoS ONE, 5(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010816  

  • June 2, 2010
  • 09:15 AM

Tip of the Week: Database of mouse databases

by Mary in OpenHelix

We are acutely aware of the thousands of bioinformatics resources out there, and we are often asked for guidance on finding a particular type of tool for some function or other.  There are some excellent lists out there which attempt to catalog the various tools–the NAR Database Issue and corresponding list, the Resource Collection at the Univ. of Pittsburg, and others.  But recently we saw one developed with a specific focus, which claims to bring together over 200 resources for the mo........ Read more »

Zouberakis, M., Chandras, C., Swertz, M., Smedley, D., Gruenberger, M., Bard, J., Schughart, K., Rosenthal, N., Hancock, J., Schofield, P.... (2010) Mouse Resource Browser--a database of mouse databases. Database. DOI: 10.1093/database/baq010  

  • June 2, 2010
  • 09:00 AM

Why You Should Record All Species and Bird Outside Hotspots

by John Beetham in A DC Birding Blog

Accurate species distribution data is necessary to address biodiversity challenges. To save endangered species, conservationists need to know which species populations are contracting or expanding. Restoring an ecosystem requires an accurate picture of how the ecosystem existed historically. Unfortunately, existing global data collections such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility and IUCN Red List underrepresent some geographic areas, especially in the tropics, and may not show accura........ Read more »

  • June 2, 2010
  • 08:30 AM

How strong is the HDL-cardiovascular disease hypothesis?

by Colby in

A lot of nutritional studies, especially epidemiological, rely on certain biomarkers to assess disease risk upon interventions.  Many of these biomarkers are accepted with little challenge, and thus become very common to examine.  Historically, jumping too quickly to conclusions from associations has confined our nation to a nutritional nut-house; people are confused because of mixed [...]... Read more »

  • June 2, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Obesity May Cost US Boomer Babies $1 Trillion in Lifetime Earnings

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

Born between 1982 and 1993, the kids of the Baby Boomers are sometimes also referred to as the Millennial generation, Generation Y, Net Generation, or Echo-Boomers.
This generation has fully embraced social networking (e.g. Facebook) and file sharing (e.g. Napster) and spends an average of 3.5 hours a day online. They have also been noted to [...]... Read more »

Barkin SL, Heerman WJ, Warren MD, & Rennhoff C. (2010) Millennials and the World of Work: The Impact of Obesity on Health and Productivity. Journal of business and psychology, 25(2), 239-245. PMID: 20502510  

  • June 2, 2010
  • 06:44 AM

Could an RSV vaccine reduce childhood pneumonia in Africa?

by Wellcome Trust in Wellcome Trust Blog

Pneumonia is the leading cause of childhood death in sub-Saharan Africa and while it is well known that many pneumonias are caused by bacteria such as Streptococcus pneumonia – for which vaccines are available – we know less about those caused by viruses. A new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association [...]... Read more »

Berkley, J., Munywoki, P., Ngama, M., Kazungu, S., Abwao, J., Bett, A., Lassauniere, R., Kresfelder, T., Cane, P., Venter, M.... (2010) Viral Etiology of Severe Pneumonia Among Kenyan Infants and Children. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 303(20), 2051-2057. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2010.675  

  • June 2, 2010
  • 06:38 AM

Testing the flotation dynamics and swimming abilities of giraffes by way of computational analysis

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology

One of the most significant papers ever published in the annals of science appeared recently; it deals, for the first time ever, with one of the biggest scientific questions ever faced by the scientific community, and uses cutting-edge technology and awesome powers of deductive reasoning and logic to reach shocking, paradigm-shifting conclusions. I refer, of course, to Don Henderson and Darren Naish's Journal of Theoretical Biology article 'Predicting the buoyancy, equilibrium and potential ........ Read more »

  • June 2, 2010
  • 04:30 AM

The homeless man and his audio cave

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

We're defined in part by where we are, the places we go and what we do there. We adorn our homes with paraphernalia caught in the net of life - the photos, the books and pictures. But what happens when you're homeless? How do you define your space and identity when your home is a public place? To find out, Darrin Hodgetts and colleagues have conducted an unusual 'ethnographic' case study with 'Brett', a 44-year-old homeless man in Auckland.The researchers gave Brett a camera, asked him to take p........ Read more »

  • June 2, 2010
  • 01:57 AM

Bulimia and the Vaso-Vagal Reflex

by Evil Monkey in Neurotopia

This is another post in Sci's investigation into the current studies being performed on eating disorders, particularly binge eating and bulimia. Usually I try to focus on the dysregulation of reward-related systems in these disorders, but this paper will be a little different.

Faris et al. "De-Stabilization of the Positive Vago-Vagal Reflex in Bulimia Nervosa" Physiology and Behavior, 2008.

It's kind of in the nature of an eating disorder that there aren't any really funny pictures or someth........ Read more »

FARIS, P., HOFBAUER, R., DAUGHTERS, R., VANDENLANGENBERG, E., IVERSEN, L., GOODALE, R., MAXWELL, R., ECKERT, E., & HARTMAN, B. (2008) De-stabilization of the positive vago-vagal reflex in bulimia nervosa. Physiology , 94(1), 136-153. DOI: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2007.11.036  

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