Discusses a review article by Bouthenia Jemel, Laurent Mottron and Michelle Dawson that finds inconsistent evidence for atypical fusiform-gyrus activity in autistic people looking at faces. I also review two fMRI studies of face processing in autism that came out after Jemel et al. (2006) was published.... Read more »
Dalton KM, Nacewicz BM, Johnstone T, Schaefer HS, Gernsbacher MA, Goldsmith HH, Alexander AL, & Davidson RJ. (2005) Gaze fixation and the neural circuitry of face processing in autism. Nature neuroscience, 8(4), 519-26. PMID: 15750588
Jemel, B., Mottron, L., & Dawson, M. (2006) Impaired Face Processing in Autism: Fact or Artifact?. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 36(1), 91-106. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-005-0050-5
Neumann D, Spezio ML, Piven J, & Adolphs R. (2006) Looking you in the mouth: abnormal gaze in autism resulting from impaired top-down modulation of visual attention. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 1(3), 194-202. PMID: 18985106
One aspect of climate change policy that doesn’t seem to get discussed very much is that despite how much noise the coal industry makes in protesting the very idea of pricing carbon they’re not actually the ones who would have to pay for it. Coal companies mine coal, but they don’t burn it. Instead they [...]... Read more »
Fischhoff, M. (2007) Electricity company managers’ views of environmental issues: Implications for environmental groups and government. Energy Policy, 35(7), 3868-3878. DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2007.01.012
I don’t know if the situation is the same in other countries, but in the Netherlands we can only get prescribed medications in pharmacies. Drugstores are only allowed to sell over-the counter (OTC) medicines.
Most Pharmacies have a small shop of 5 square meters (besides a large storage room). What surprises me is that the counter [...]... Read more »
Downey, L., Tyree, P., Huebner, C., & Lafferty, W. (2009) Pediatric Vaccination and Vaccine-Preventable Disease Acquisition: Associations with Care by Complementary and Alternative Medicine Providers. Maternal and Child Health Journal. DOI: 10.1007/s10995-009-0519-5
The Ventricles of the Brain (Ross & Wilson)You can always count on the journal Medical Hypotheses (published by Elsevier) for a good laugh. The Editor-in-Chief (Bruce G. Charlton) accepts all sorts of completely speculative crackpot articles. Who can forget the classic, Is there an association between the use of heeled footwear and schizophrenia? [see The Journal of Truly, Truly Outrageous Medical Hypotheses.] Or the crowd favorite, Ejaculation as a potential treatment of nasal congestion in........ Read more »
Hendrie, C., & Pickles, A. (2009) Depression as an evolutionary adaptation: Anatomical organisation around the third ventricle. Medical Hypotheses. DOI: 10.1016/j.mehy.2009.10.026
When you studied animal behaviour in year 13 you probably learned about the different mating systems: polygamy (polygyny & polyandry), promiscuity - & monogamy: a bond between a single male & a single female. You may also have heard that in...... Read more »
Ismar, S., Daniel, C., Stephenson, B., & Hauber, M. (2009) Mate replacement entails a fitness cost for a socially monogamous seabird. Naturwissenschaften. DOI: 10.1007/s00114-009-0618-6
The Level 3 & Scholarship examiners often ask you to discuss the evolutionary history of a group of organisms (Hebe, cockroaches, cicadas etc) in relation to the geological history of New Zealand. Geological changes such as the widening of the...... Read more »
Bunce, M., Worthy, T., Phillips, M., Holdaway, R., Willerslev, E., Haile, J., Shapiro, B., Scofield, R., Drummond, A., Kamp, P.... (2009) The evolutionary history of the extinct ratite moa and New Zealand Neogene paleogeography. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0906660106
Exceptional, conspicuous, outstanding, most usually in a negative fashion.
Example: this headline from Science Daily: Fruit Fly Sperm Makes Females Do Housework After Sex
Seriously. How freakin’ embedded in your culture do you have to be to project your heteronormist, traditional gender role shit onto FLIES, people?
Do fruit flies have a monogamous sex life? No.
Do [...]... Read more »
Isaac, R., Li, C., Leedale, A., & Shirras, A. (2009) Drosophila male sex peptide inhibits siesta sleep and promotes locomotor activity in the post-mated female. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 277(1678), 65-70. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1236
Fangqiong Tang (Chinese Academy of Sciences) and coworkers have synthesized bright nanoparticles that can function as a sunscreen and a heat insulator. This news feature was written on November 29, 2009.... Read more »
Peng, B., Meng, X., Tang, F., Ren, X., Chen, D., & Ren, J. (2009) General Synthesis and Optical Properties of Monodisperse Multifunctional Metal-Ion-Doped TiO2 Hollow Particles . The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 113(47), 20240-20245. DOI: 10.1021/jp906937e
Despite its common name ‘sea lavender’ is a member of the Plumbaginaceae Family, which means that it isn’t really a ‘lavender’ at all, as lavenders belong to the Lamiaceae Family. One of the plant’s unique characteristics is that it’s one of only a handful of the Limonium genera’s 120 species with a range limited to North America; the majority of the genera’s members show a much more global distribution. Here in Florida, the Obligate can be f........ Read more »
FIGUEROLA, J., & GREEN, A. (2002) Dispersal of aquatic organisms by waterbirds: a review of past research and priorities for future studies. Freshwater Biology, 47(3), 483-494. DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2427.2002.00829.x
Leaf-cutting ants have the power to slice, dice, and pilfer the foliage of an entire grove of trees in a matter of days. With impressive efficiency, swarms of leaf-cutters clip and carry leafy material in vast quantities back to their subterrainean colony. There they process the clippings into compost piles, atop which the ants cultivate crops of fungi. The ants tend these fungal gardens and in return the fungi provide a constant source of food for the ant colony.
Leaf-cutter ants and their fun........ Read more »
Schultz, T., & Brady, S. (2008) From the Cover: Major evolutionary transitions in ant agriculture. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(14), 5435-5440. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0711024105
You know the Dead Sea? That hypersaline lake located between Israel and Jordan, were even the worst swimmer can remain buoyant? The lake that’s so salty that it’s supposed to be entirely dead, since no life can thrive in such salty conditions?
False! While you won’t find fish swimming around in the Dead Sea, there’s definitely [...]... Read more »
Oren A. (2008) Microbial life at high salt concentrations: phylogenetic and metabolic diversity. Saline systems, 2. PMID: 18412960
Existing as a bacteria is tough, especially on your own. For a pathogenic strain it's even worse, not only do they face the challenges of the environment, but the human body is full of cells whose main task within the body is to seek out and destroy them. For this reason many bacteria in the body tend to stick together to form multi-cellular-like biofilm structures which give them a better chance at surviving the body's antibacterial defenses.Biofilm formation, diagram taken from Davies lab webs........ Read more »
Alhede M, Bjarnsholt T, Jensen PØ, Phipps RK, Moser C, Christophersen L, Christensen LD, van Gennip M, Parsek M, Høiby N.... (2009) Pseudomonas aeruginosa recognizes and responds aggressively to the presence of polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Microbiology (Reading, England), 155(Pt 11), 3500-8. PMID: 19643762
Cold War shielded Eastern Europe from some exotic bird invasions
... Read more »
Chiron, F., Shirley, S., & Kark, S. (2009) Behind the Iron Curtain: Socio-economic and political factors shaped exotic bird introductions into Europe. Biological Conservation. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2009.10.021
Once upon a time, we took a look at why creating black holes in particle colliders and using them to generate energy for our power grids was fraught with problems. However, if at sometime in the future we could scale up our lasers and use them to create a black hole with a mass energy [...]... Read more »
With the rise of obesity in our society people will try almost anything to lose weight. This can include different diets, workout regiments and even surgery. The research and market exposure tackling such a topic is outstanding. However, a new study from the University of California purposes a different method to losing weight...texting?Subjects in the study were sent 3-5 text messages a day with friendly tips and reminders on nutrition and weight control. Furthermore, calls would be carried ou........ Read more »
Patrick K, Raab F, Adams MA, Dillon L, Zabinski M, Rock CL, Griswold WG, & Norman GJ. (2009) A text message-based intervention for weight loss: randomized controlled trial. Journal of medical Internet research, 11(1). PMID: 19141433
The aftermath of a landslide in Taiwan caused by very heavy rainfallOne of the most interesting aspects of the global landslide database that we maintain at Durham is the way in which it has highlighted the importance of rainfall intensity in the triggering of fatal landslides. Generally speaking, to kill people a landslide needs to move quickly rapid, and rapid landslides appear to be primarily (but note not always) triggered by intense rainfall events (indeed in the reports the term "cloudbur........ Read more »
Liu, S., Fu, C., Shiu, C., Chen, J., & Wu, F. (2009) Temperature dependence of global precipitation extremes. Geophysical Research Letters, 36(17). DOI: 10.1029/2009GL040218
As we know it, our molecular life as individuals starts with a fusion between a female oocyte and a male sperm cell. When our mother was born, she got already in her ovary that small not-matured oocyte that than contributed to our first half cell at the time of ovulation several years later. Conversely, it is believed that our father at the time of conception, just donate our second half cell by means of a sperm cell (randomly) produced de novo.
Now, Zhuoru Wu and her colleagues at the Universi........ Read more »
Wu, Z., Luby-Phelps, K., Bugde, A., Molyneux, L., Denard, B., Li, W., Suel, G., & Garbers, D. (2009) Capacity for stochastic self-renewal and differentiation in mammalian spermatogonial stem cells. The Journal of Cell Biology, 187(4), 513-524. DOI: 10.1083/jcb.200907047
You're mugged by a man with a patch over one eye. You describe him and his distinctive appearance to the police. They locate a one-eyed suspect and present him to you in a video line-up with five innocent "foils". If this suspect is the only person in the line-up with one eye, prior research shows you're highly likely to pick him out even if, in all other respects, he actually bears little resemblance to your mugger. So the challenge is: How to make police line-ups fairer for suspects who have a........ Read more »
Zarkadi T, Wade KA, & Stewart N. (2009) Creating Fair Lineups for Suspects With Distinctive Features. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS. PMID: 19883492
In an effort to gain insight into the challenges posed by climate change, I just spent the last couple of hours watching the animated feature film “Ice Age 2 – The Meltdown.” The plot of the cartoon centers on a group of anthropomorphized prehistoric mammals (a mammoth, saber-toothed tiger, sloth and a halfwit saber-toothed squirrel) as they flee an impending flood and their certain extinction. Interestingly enough, the floodwaters in the movie purportedly result from a period ........ Read more »
Faith, J., & Surovell, T. (2009) Synchronous extinction of North America's Pleistocene mammals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0908153106
I love aquatic insects! They do some amazing things and are incredibly interesting animals. That said, I feel like most people know very little about aquatic insects and the role they play in our world. Heck – some people don’t know that aquatic insects even exist! So, for my first From the Literature post, I [...]... Read more »
Eldakar OT, Dlugos MJ, Pepper JW, & Wilson DS. (2009) Population structure mediates sexual conflict in water striders. Science (New York, N.Y.), 326(5954), 816. PMID: 19892974
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