Post List

  • September 12, 2010
  • 01:48 PM
  • 1,103 views

Bacteria vesicles - SGM series

by Lab Rat in Lab Rat

The SGM autumn conference is now over - thanks to everyone who tweeted it so people like me could catch up on events without actually going. I've just got two more topics of my own little personal blog-conference to go, and this one is going to be on bacterial vesicles rather than secondary metabolism because it suddenly struck me that I don't actually know much about outer membrane vesicles, and this might be a good opportunity to explore them.So this is the penultimate post in my SGM topic ser........ Read more »

  • September 12, 2010
  • 09:33 AM
  • 745 views

You're (Brain Is) So Immature

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

How mature are you? Have you ever wanted to find out, with a 5 minute brain scan? Of course you have. And now you can, thanks to a new Science paper, Prediction of Individual Brain Maturity Using fMRI.This is another clever application of the support vector machine (SVM) method, which I've written about previously, most recently regarding "the brain scan to diagnose autism". An SVM is a machine learning algorithm: give it a bunch of data, and it'll find patterns in it.In this case, the input dat........ Read more »

Dosenbach NU, Nardos B, Cohen AL, Fair DA, Power JD, Church JA, Nelson SM, Wig GS, Vogel AC, Lessov-Schlaggar CN.... (2010) Prediction of individual brain maturity using fMRI. Science (New York, N.Y.), 329(5997), 1358-61. PMID: 20829489  

  • September 12, 2010
  • 08:00 AM
  • 1,400 views

A Little Education Goes a Long Way

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

The burden of type 2 diabetes is staggering. Close to 20 million people in the United States are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and total costs related to diabetes are creeping toward $200 billion annually. Programs to prevent and treat diabetes are numerous, but the effectiveness of various types of programs and modes of education [...]... Read more »

American Diabetes Association. (2008) Economic costs of diabetes in the U.S. In 2007. Diabetes care, 31(3), 596-615. PMID: 18308683  

Deakin TA, Cade JE, Williams R, & Greenwood DC. (2006) Structured patient education: the diabetes X-PERT Programme makes a difference. Diabetic medicine : a journal of the British Diabetic Association, 23(9), 944-54. PMID: 16922700  

Duke SA, Colagiuri S, & Colagiuri R. (2009) Individual patient education for people with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online). PMID: 19160249  

Farmer AJ, Wade AN, French DP, Simon J, Yudkin P, Gray A, Craven A, Goyder L, Holman RR, Mant D.... (2009) Blood glucose self-monitoring in type 2 diabetes: a randomised controlled trial. Health technology assessment (Winchester, England), 13(15). PMID: 19254484  

Urbanski P, Wolf A, & Herman WH. (2008) Cost-effectiveness of diabetes education. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 108(4 Suppl 1). PMID: 18358259  

  • September 12, 2010
  • 06:52 AM
  • 1,573 views

Female Finches Reap the Benefits of Being Unfaithful

by Laura Klappenbach in About Animals / Wildlife

Female Gouldian finches don't always stand by their man. Given the opportunity, they'll indulge in a promiscuous tryst with another male. But this infidelity is not merely cold-hearted cheating. It's an evolutionary ploy that enables the female finches to bolster their offsprings' odds of survival.
The benefits of promiscuity in monogamous animals such as the Gouldian finch are straightforward for males but less clear for females. Promiscuity offers male finches a way to increase the number of o........ Read more »

  • September 12, 2010
  • 06:27 AM
  • 890 views

Why was last winter so cold? And is this a problem for climate change?

by Vivienne in Outdoor Science

The winter of 2009/2010 was unusually cold across most of the Northern Hemisphere, leading to deaths and traffic chaos. Newspapers told lurid tales of planes sliding off icy runways, home-going revellers found frozen to death, and heavy snow and icy roads trapping motorists in their cars all night – and that was just in Britain. Needless [...]... Read more »

Cohen, J., Foster, J., Barlow, M., Saito, K., & Jones, J. (2010) Winter 2009–2010: A case study of an extreme Arctic Oscillation event. Geophysical Research Letters, 37(17). DOI: 10.1029/2010GL044256  

  • September 12, 2010
  • 12:45 AM
  • 578 views

Zero Gains Re-Counting Suicide Deaths

by Ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

Recent moves in Australia to more accurately record the number of actual suicide deaths does not automatically guarantee enhanced understanding of suicide causation.... Read more »

De Leo, D. (2010) Australia Revises its Mortality Data on Suicide. Crisis (The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention). info:/

  • September 11, 2010
  • 09:29 PM
  • 541 views

Neuro Brain Thermodynamics

by Mike in Brain Stimulant

The brain is a metabolically expensive organ that uses quite a bit of energy. It's no surprise that it also generates a decent amount of heat during this energy usage process. A new paper has come out that poses and answers the question as to whether there is a thermodynamic limit to brain size (evolutionary wise). The author is basically asking how big can a brain get before it becomes too hot to function properly? What sort of constraints does evolution have in constructing a bigger brain,........ Read more »

  • September 11, 2010
  • 04:14 PM
  • 977 views

How much would climate change if we used existing infrastructure to the end of its life?

by Phil Camill in Global Change: Intersection of Nature and Culture


Here’s an interesting thought question:  How much would global temperature warm if we used only the existing energy infrastructure (i.e., power plants, furnaces, motor vehicles) until these machines reached the end of their useful lives?  Once they died, they would be replaced by devices that did not emit CO2.
Steven Davis and colleagues addressed this question [...]... Read more »

  • September 11, 2010
  • 02:36 PM
  • 1,911 views

when bad quantum physics invade military news

by Greg Fish in weird things

As said by Futurama’s mad scientist at large, Professor Farnsworth, quantum mechanics mean that anything can happen for any reason or without one. Of course this was really a swipe at how so many of us tend to see the complex physics of quantum objects, and it’s a very valid one since there’s a seemingly [...]... Read more »

Jin, X., Ren, J., Yang, B., Yi, Z., Zhou, F., Xu, X., Wang, S., Yang, D., Hu, Y., Jiang, S.... (2010) Experimental free-space quantum teleportation. Nature Photonics, 4(6), 376-381. DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2010.87  

  • September 11, 2010
  • 09:56 AM
  • 1,501 views

Why modeling GPCRs is (still) hard

by The Curious Wavefunction in The Curious Wavefunction

Well, it's hard for several reasons which I have discussed in previous posts, but here's one reason demonstrated by a recent paper. In this paper they crystallized the ß2 adrenergic receptor with an antagonist. Previously, in the landmark publication of the ß2 structure in 2007, the protein had been crystallized with an inverse agonist. Recall that an inverse agonist inhibits the basal activity of the GPCR whereas an antagonist stabilizes both active and inactive states but does not affect the........ Read more »

Wacker, D., Fenalti, G., Brown, M., Katritch, V., Abagyan, R., Cherezov, V., & Stevens, R. (2010) Conserved Binding Mode of Human β Adrenergic Receptor Inverse Agonists and Antagonist Revealed by X-ray Crystallography . Journal of the American Chemical Society, 132(33), 11443-11445. DOI: 10.1021/ja105108q  

  • September 11, 2010
  • 09:07 AM
  • 625 views

Why digging up primary sources is important?

by Tommi Himberg in Synchronised Minds

When writing a thesis, a chore that always takes more time than predicted is building the bibliography. Even with good software to manage your citations and references (EndNote, RefWorks, JabRef etc.), peppering your text with references and engaging in discussion with your sources takes time. (I often wonder how it was even possible to do [...]... Read more »

  • September 11, 2010
  • 05:12 AM
  • 932 views

Distressed Soldiers Screaming Inside

by Ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

Hegemonic masculinity takes a heavy toll on men in the general community but as Green et al. (2010) discover, an even heavier toll on men in the military. The prohibitions against such men speaking up and seeking help for their heightened emotional distress are many, and severe. Tis preferable, it would seem, for male soldiers to suffer in silence than dare to name their psychic torpor. Is this further evidence for the necessity of peace? I say yes, for sure.... Read more »

  • September 11, 2010
  • 01:48 AM
  • 847 views

A Representative Example of a Genetic Study of Longevity

by Reason in Fight Aging!

As the tools of genetic analysis improve by leaps and bounds, the cost falling with each advance, more and more research is taking place into genetic influences on human longevity. This is an enormously complex area of study, and has little to no relevance to any repair-based methodology for lengthening human life. Outside the field of regenerative medicine, most aging researchers do not work on repair strategies such as SENS, however. Meanwhile there is plenty of funding for genetic studies of ........ Read more »

  • September 10, 2010
  • 09:58 PM
  • 469 views

How vaccines work Pt.1

by James Byrne in Disease Prone

The goal of every vaccine is to induce lifelong protection for the patient from the specific nasty of interest. But in order to understand how one would receive ‘lifelong protection’ following the injection of a dead or weakened nasty, or even just the bits of one, we need to go backwards a bit and have a look at how we develop an immune response.... Read more »

Bonilla FA, & Oettgen HC. (2010) Adaptive immunity. The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, 125(2 Suppl 2). PMID: 20061006  

  • September 10, 2010
  • 09:52 PM
  • 483 views

How do vaccines work Pt. 1

by James Byrne in Disease Prone

Continuing with my sub-series on vaccines this week I am going to have a bit of a look at the theory behind how vaccines do their jobs inside us. Next week I’ll look at how they work at a community level. First it’s worth defining what it is that a vaccine is supposed to achieve [...]... Read more »

Bonilla FA, & Oettgen HC. (2010) Adaptive immunity. The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, 125(2 Suppl 2). PMID: 20061006  

  • September 10, 2010
  • 05:40 PM
  • 1,913 views

Spontaneous fermentation: the role of microorganisms in beer

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, was once quoted as saying: “In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is Freedom, in water there is bacteria.” While there is certainly some truth to this quote, especially considering water quality in the 1700s, it should be noted that beer’s long history is also fraught with microorganisms—both helpful and harmful in the eyes of the brewer.

... Read more »

  • September 10, 2010
  • 05:30 PM
  • 1,497 views

Seeing the big picture

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Are you a big-picture person, or do you tune into the detail? Surprisingly, the culture in which you were raised - including your religion (or lack of it) can shape this fundamental aspect of your personality.

A decade ago, researchers found that while westerners were relatively faster at picking out the component parts of a picture, Asians were relatively quicker to see the global, holistic components. They reckoned this was an effect of cultural differences - the individualistic Westerners ve........ Read more »

Colzato LS, Beest I, van den Wildenberg WP, Scorolli C, Dorchin S, Meiran N, Borghi AM, & Hommel B. (2010) God: Do I have your attention?. Cognition, 117(1), 87-94. PMID: 20674890  

Lorenza S. Colzato, Bernhard Hommel, Wery Van Den Wildenberg, & Shulan Hsieh. (2010) Buddha as an eye opener: A link between prosocial attitude and attentional control. Frontiers in Cognition. info:/10.3389/fpsyg.2010.00156

  • September 10, 2010
  • 05:16 PM
  • 1,200 views

fMRI, BOLD and the Beautiful

by amiya in Physiology physics woven fine

When we want to examine the brain of a person noninvasively by Computed Tomography (CT) or MRI, we get a ‘snapshot’ of the anatomy (or pathology, if any) of the subject’s brain. We are however clueless as to its functional aspect. fMRI or Functional Magnetic Resonant Imaging allows us to do just that. The difference is not unlike a ‘still picture’ versus a ‘video of a moving train’. PET scans, previously described, also can asses the functional state of the brain.Whenever we do a t........ Read more »

  • September 10, 2010
  • 04:09 PM
  • 1,540 views

Making one-shots better – what the research says (Peer Reviewed Monday, part 2)

by Anne-Marie Deitering in info-fetishist

And now, on to Peer-Reviewed Monday, part two but still not Monday. Mesmer-Magnus, J., & Viswesvaran, C. (2010). The role of pre-training interventions in learning: A meta-analysis and integrative review☆ Human Resource Management Review, 20 (4), 261-282 DOI: 10.1016/j.hrmr.2010.05.001 As I said earlier this week, this was started by a link to this article, a [...]... Read more »

  • September 10, 2010
  • 02:50 PM
  • 583 views

A leg up, and a neck up, on the competition

by Herman in monofilia.org

Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) at the the Cincinnati ZooOK, let’s face it giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) are just plain cool. Tall and lanky Manute Bols of the animal world covered in spots. In addition to being high on the list of must-see animals on an African safari, giraffes have served as poster children for evolution. Long before Darwin, that other evolutionist, the French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, speculated that the long-necked giraffe was descended from shorter-necked........ Read more »

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