Post List

  • June 17, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Hiking quietly benefits birds... and birders

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

... Read more »

  • June 17, 2010
  • 07:52 AM

DSM-IV-TR and the Fallacy of Diagnostic Labels

by Ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

Jacobs and Cohen (2009) worry that the DSM-V-TR pounds individual agency into submission, laying waste to personal stories and replacing them with generic yet unproven diagnostic labels.... Read more »

  • June 17, 2010
  • 07:29 AM

Dendritic cells that don’t prime

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

Dendritic cells in the skin (Langerhans cells) form a dense network of “sentinels” that act as first line of defense of the immune system.1

There’s a lot of interest in using dendritic cells as vaccines these days.  A paper in PLoS One2 offers a cautionary note.
Dendritic cells (DC) are the main cell type that drive T [...]... Read more »

  • June 17, 2010
  • 01:51 AM

Beyond Pelusium

by Michelle Ziegler in Contagions

The origins of the first plague pandemic have always been something of a mystery. The plague is first reported in mid-July 541 at the Egyptian port of Pelusium, a secondary port on the eastern end of the Nile delta. From Pelusium it spread both east to the Levant and west to Alexandria where it hopped [...]... Read more »

  • June 17, 2010
  • 12:38 AM

Ash-2, Another Longevity Gene in Worms

by Reason in Fight Aging!

Researchers have been turning up quite the trove of longevity-influencing genes and processes in nematode worms of late. Here is the latest: Study identifies proteins that modulate life span in worms The gene with the most pronounced effect, Ash-2, makes a protein that functions as a methyltransferase - meaning it works together with other proteins to add a chemical tag called a methyl group to a component of a cell's DNA packaging machinery, which is known as a histone. The presence or absence ........ Read more »

  • June 16, 2010
  • 07:43 PM

The Use of Terms When Discussing Autism, Intelligence, Impairment, and Disability

by KWombles in Countering...

The terms we use, how we define them, are important things. Often times, we use similar terminology interchangeably. We're discussing nebulously defined disorders (autism and intellectual disability) that change over time and depending on the criteria being used.  What do I mean about interchangeability and criteria? The official umbrella in the DSM-IV is not autism spectrum disorders, but is instead pervasive developmental disorders. However, the NIH uses autism spectrum disorders, as do m........ Read more »

  • June 16, 2010
  • 07:36 PM

Even Virtual Attractiveness Changes How People Treat You

by Richard Landers in NeoAcademic

If you're physically attractive, the world simply treats you better. But what about virtual attractiveness? Do people react to the attractiveness of virtual people the same way they react to real people?... Read more »

Banakou, D. . (2010) The effects of avatars' gender and appearance on social behavior in virtual worlds. Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, 2(5). info:other/

  • June 16, 2010
  • 07:00 PM

A Biochemical Assay that May Help Predict Adolescent Suicide Risk

by Michael Long in Phased

Damir Janigro (Cleveland Clinic, United States) and coworkers have developed a biochemical assay that may help predict the risk of suicide among psychotic adolescents, enabling preventive care to be focused on those most in need of early intervention. This news feature was written on June 16, 2010.... Read more »

Falcone, T., Fazio, V., Lee, C., Simon, B., Franco, K., Marchi, N., & Janigro, D. (2010) Serum S100B: A Potential Biomarker for Suicidality in Adolescents?. PLoS ONE, 5(6). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011089  

  • June 16, 2010
  • 06:28 PM

Small Fossil Mammals Reveal Wounds Left by the Last Great Extinction

by Laelaps in Laelaps

A golden-mantled ground squirrel (Spermophilus lateralis), photographed in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. Though abundant at the Samwell Cave Popcorn Dome, California site during the Late Pleistocene, its numbers in the area decline at the beginning of the present Holocene epoch.

"One of the penalties of an ecological education", the naturalist Aldo Leopold once wrote, "is that one lives alone in a world of wounds." Few knew this better than he did. Despite becoming a celebrated advocate ........ Read more »

  • June 16, 2010
  • 05:51 PM

Where you look affects your judgement

by Carl in The motor chauvinist

Our ability to successfully interact with the environment is key to our survival. Much of my work involves figuring out how the brain sends the correct commands to the upper limb that allow us to control it and reach for objects around us. Considering how complex the musculature of the arm is, and how ever-changing the world is around us, this is a non-trivial task. One fundamental question that needs to be solved by the brain’s control system is: How do you know where something is relative to........ Read more »

  • June 16, 2010
  • 04:33 PM

Obesity linked to brain shrinkage and dementia

by Mo in Neurophilosophy

THE dangers of obesity are very well known. Being overweight is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, the two leading causes of death in the Western world. Gout is more common in overweight people, with the risk of developing the condition increasing in parallel with body weight. Obese people are twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as those who are not overweight, and being overweight is also associated with several types of cancer. The list goes on...

L........ Read more »

Debette, S., Beiser, A., Hoffmann, U., DeCarli, C., O'Donnell, C., Massaro, J., Au, R., Himali, J., Wolf, P., Fox, C.... (2010) Visceral fat is associated with lower brain volume in healthy middle-aged adults. Annals of Neurology. DOI: 10.1002/ana.22062  

  • June 16, 2010
  • 03:13 PM

The Evolution of Hip Hop (by Natural Selection)

by Eric Michael Johnson in The Primate Diaries

When most people think of evolutionary biology the first thing that comes to mind probably isn't lyrical poetry. However one of the earliest proponents of evolution, none other than Charles Darwin's grandfather Erasmus, presented his vision for the origin of life in the form of an epic poem in 1803. In his critically acclaimed work The Temple of Nature Darwin mused on the natural history of human beings:

Imperious man, who rules the bestial crowd,
Of language, reason, and reflection proud,
........ Read more »

Craze, P. (2010) The hip-hop Richard Dawkins?. Trends in Ecology , 25(7), 385-386. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2010.04.008  

  • June 16, 2010
  • 02:36 PM

Pooping for the Planet

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Sperm whale feces triggers carbon removal from atmosphere

... Read more »

Lavery, T.J. et al. (2010) Iron defecation by sperm whales stimulates carbon export in the Southern Ocean. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. info:/10.1098/rspb.2010.0863

  • June 16, 2010
  • 12:49 PM

Is your best friend’s relationship advice/decision really the best for you?

by Psychothalamus in Psychothalamus

When you have a relationship decision to make and you are at a loss as to which is your best available option, are your friends the ones you turn to? If your answer is yes, the following article may make you think twice in the future.In the article Risk-Taking in Relationships: Difference in deciding for Oneself Versus for a Friend, the authors explored the idea that people tend to make riskier decisions or give riskier advice for their friends as opposed to when they are making one for themselv........ Read more »

  • June 16, 2010
  • 12:37 PM

Sorry, what's your name again? - How stress impairs our social memory.

by Psychothalamus in Psychothalamus

Ever felt that someone hasn't been paying attention to what you were saying in previous conversations because he/she forgets biographic information about you that you had mentioned countless times? Well, it turns out that it might just be that they're stressed out by something else.In their paper, Stress Impairs Retrieval of Socially Relevant Information, Merz, Wolf & Hennig (2010) investigated the hypothesis that parts of our social memory (memory about names, birth dates, parts o........ Read more »

Merz, C., Wolf, O., & Hennig, J. (2010) Stress impairs retrieval of socially relevant information. Behavioral Neuroscience, 124(2), 288-293. DOI: 10.1037/a0018942  

  • June 16, 2010
  • 10:57 AM

The intimate coupling of hydrologic and geomorphic evolution of basalt landscapes

by Anne Jefferson in Highly Allochthonous

How does a landscape go from looking like this...

~1500 year old basaltic lava landscape with no surface drainage

to looking like this?

2 Million year old landscape on basaltic lava. Note steep slopes and incised valleys

Find out in my new paper in Earth Surface Processes and Landforms.

Hint: Using a chronosequence of watersheds in the Oregon Cascades, we argue that the rates and processes of landscape evolution are driven by whether the water sinks into the lava flows ........ Read more »

  • June 16, 2010
  • 10:44 AM

Sleep Markers Support New Animal Model of Depression

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

By Hannah Dunbar(Hannah Dunbar is an Oral Roberts University student providing a guest post reviewing a study of a mouse model of depression.) Sleep disturbances are one of the most common clinical features in major depression. Patients commonly report problems with insomnia and daytime fatigue and sleepiness. These sleep symptoms have been the source of study in sleep laboratories. Several comparison studies between healthy subjects and major depression document abnormalities in the sleep........ Read more »

  • June 16, 2010
  • 10:25 AM

Snowball the Dancing Cockatoo, YouTube and Scientific Discovery

by Isobel Maciver in Promega Connections

This is probably old news for neuroscientists and YouTube regulars, but it was news to me. I thought I would write a post about it, in case, like me, you are not one of the 4 million or so who have already seen the video of Snowball, the dancing Cockatoo, or heard about how he [...]... Read more »

  • June 16, 2010
  • 10:17 AM

Once More into the Breach of Autism and Intellectual Disability (tweaked)

by KWombles in Countering...

Written before the important Nature study by Pinto et al. (2010), this post takes several posts I've done in the past on autism and intellectual disability, as well as responses to an individual who is positing an 80% rate of ID in autistic disorder, and synthesizes them into one large post while hopefully streamlining it some slight bit.Citing Berkel et al. (2010) as proof that ID is present in autistic disorder 80% of the time is not an accurate use of the research by bloggers. Researcher........ Read more »

Dawson, M., Soulieres, I., Ann Gernsbacher, M., & Mottron, L. (2007) The Level and Nature of Autistic Intelligence. Psychological Science, 18(8), 657-662. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01954.x  

Yeargin-Allsopp, M. (2003) Prevalence of Autism in a US Metropolitan Area. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 289(1), 49-55. DOI: 10.1001/jama.289.1.49  

  • June 16, 2010
  • 10:05 AM

Not just babble: Cooperating birds talk it through

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

For cooperation to work, everyone involved needs to know what the others are willing to contribute in order to decide what she will contribute. You might think that only humans can achieve that kind of back-and-forth negotiation, but a paper recently published online by Proceedings of the Royal Society suggests otherwise. In it, ornithologists decode the negotiations [$a] that allow sociable birds to share the task of watching for predators.

.flickr-photo { }.flickr-frameright { float: right; t........ Read more »

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