Does mental disorder spring from the ether or is it the product of unhealthy environments? While biopsychiatrists would favour the former, Morgan and Hutchinson (2009) show that disadvantage and discrimination are behind the exponentially higher rate of mental disorder amongst Black Caribbean and Black African people in the UK (when compared with White people in the UK). The problem, thus, to be fixed, is not 'them' but the social adversity to which those citizens are unfortunately exp........ Read more »
Morgan, C., & Hutchinson, G. (2009) The social determinants of psychosis in migrant and ethnic minority populations: a public health tragedy. Psychological Medicine, 40(05), 705. DOI: 10.1017/S0033291709005546
A little while back I wrote an article about a recent study which largely blamed farmed Tilapia for the loss of native biodiversity in Fijian waterways. I have since received e-mails from Gerald Billings, the Head of Aquaculture at the Ministry of Fisheries and Forests in Fiji. He expressed his concern over the paper's intent and subsequent findings. As a scientist, I believe strongly in impartiality, so I've posted the entirety of his response to the study after the fold for you to read if you ........ Read more »
Jenkins, A., Jupiter, S., Qauqau, I., & Atherton, J. (2010) The importance of ecosystem-based management for conserving aquatic migratory pathways on tropical high islands: a case study from Fiji. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 20(2), 224-238. DOI: 10.1002/aqc.1086
Almost a year ago, on my old blog, I brought up the issue of the Suess effect. Go read that post if you don’t remember what the Suess effect is. If you want an executive summary, digest this: The burning of low-14C fossil fuels (because the fuels are old and the 14C has all decayed), [...]... Read more »
Peter K. Swart, Lisa Greer, Brad E. Rosenheim, Chris S. Moses, Amanda J. Waite, A. Winter, Richard E. Dodge, & Kevin Helmle. (2010) The 13C Suess effect in scleractinian corals mirror changes in the anthropogenic CO2 inventory of the surface oceans. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS,. info:/10.1029/2009GL041397.
A leopard (Panthera pardus). Image from Wikipedia.
SK-54 is a curious fossil. The 1.5 million year old skullcap represents a juvenile Paranthropus robustus, one of the heavy-jawed hominins which lived in prehistoric South Africa, but there is something that makes this skull fragment particularly special. Near one of the sutures along the back of the skull are two neat puncture marks, the hallmark of a leopard.
Even though it was initially proposed that SK-54 had been murdered by another a........ Read more »
Despite the promise of payments for ecosystem services (PES) in supporting effective conservation, there are relatively few cases in which PES strategies have been used to conserve wildlife in developing countries. A paper recently published in the February issue of Conservation Biology – ‘Payments for ecosystem services as a framework for community-based conservation in northern Tanzania’ - highlights a group of tourism operators who are using a PES framework to address the “persistent ........ Read more »
NELSON, F., FOLEY, C., FOLEY, L., LEPOSO, A., LOURE, E., PETERSON, D., PETERSON, M., PETERSON, T., SACHEDINA, H., & WILLIAMS, A. (2010) Payments for Ecosystem Services as a Framework for Community-Based Conservation in Northern Tanzania. Conservation Biology, 24(1), 78-85. DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01393.x
We’ve looked at brain regions and development during word related tasks (word generation, reading and repeating), but we haven’t yet looked at a straight up study of word recognition and development.
What’s the best task to use to study visual word recognition? You can have people read out loud, but that involves processes like speech generation. Likewise, reading sentences or paragraphs
... Read more »
Managing for stability just doesn’t work.
This epiphany has helped forge the development of ecosystem based management (EBM), theoretically a more holistic approach to natural resource management that is more in tune with natural processes. However, we still haven’t worked out the kinks so something good in theory often falls flat. A couple of recent [...]... Read more »
GRANEK, E., POLASKY, S., KAPPEL, C., REED, D., STOMS, D., KOCH, E., KENNEDY, C., CRAMER, L., HACKER, S., BARBIER, E.... (2010) Ecosystem Services as a Common Language for Coastal Ecosystem-Based Management. Conservation Biology, 24(1), 207-216. DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01355.x
PETERSON, M., HALL, D., FELDPAUSCH-PARKER, A., & PETERSON, T. (2010) Obscuring Ecosystem Function with Application of the Ecosystem Services Concept. Conservation Biology, 24(1), 113-119. DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01305.x
Connecting eastern US wind stations could reduce gaps in power
... Read more »
Electric power from offshore wind via synoptic-scale interconnection. (2010) Kempton, W. et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. info:/10.1073/pnas.0909075107
Researchers have discovered three species of Loricifera living in an oxygen-starved basin at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. Loricifera are marine sediment-dwelling animals consisting of a head, mouth, digestive system and outer shell called a lorica.
... Read more »
Roberto Danovaro, Antonio Dell'Anno, Antonio Pusceddu, Cristina Gambi, Iben Heiner, & Reinhardt Mobjerg Kristensen. (2010) The first metazoa living in permanently anoxic conditions. BMC Biology, 8(3). info:/
Scientists validate a new drug target, the Trypanosoma brucei enzyme N-myristoyltransferase, in the fight against sleeping sickness, and have already identified and tested an inhibitor against this enzyme that successfully cures T. brucei infection in mice.
The study, published in the journal Nature, provides a much-needed boost to research into neglected tropical diseases, which are often associated with [...]... Read more »
Frearson, J., Brand, S., McElroy, S., Cleghorn, L., Smid, O., Stojanovski, L., Price, H., Guther, M., Torrie, L., Robinson, D.... (2010) N-myristoyltransferase inhibitors as new leads to treat sleeping sickness. Nature, 464(7289), 728-732. DOI: 10.1038/nature08893
The Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja) is a nasty scary-looking muppethugging monster of a carnivorous bird. Female harpies weigh 14-20 pounds, and males weigh 8.5-12 pounds. They stand between 2.9 and 3.5 feet tall. The wingspan of the harpy eagle can reach 6 feet, 7 inches. The talons – sharp claws to grasp onto [...]... Read more »
Gil-da-Costa R, Palleroni A, Hauser MD, Touchton J, & Kelley JP. (2003) Rapid acquisition of an alarm response by a neotropical primate to a newly introduced avian predator. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 270(1515), 605-10. PMID: 12769460
The perils of a hypersensitive dopamine system.
The brooding, antisocial loner, the one with impulse control problems, a penchant for risk-taking, and a cigarette dangling from his lip, is a recognizable archetype in popular culture. From Marlon Brando to Bruce Lee, these flawed heroes are perhaps the ones with restless brain chemicals; the ones who never felt good and never knew why (“What are you rebelling against?” “What’ve you got?”).
A recent study at Vanderbilt University, pu........ Read more »
Buckholtz, J., Treadway, M., Cowan, R., Woodward, N., Benning, S., Li, R., Ansari, M., Baldwin, R., Schwartzman, A., Shelby, E.... (2010) Mesolimbic dopamine reward system hypersensitivity in individuals with psychopathic traits. Nature Neuroscience, 13(4), 419-421. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2510
A bunch of scientists build robots which blend in with a society by learning their languages and customs. The intention of these robots is to subvert the societies by changing the how the locals think and act.
Sounds like something from a bad sci-fi movie, right? A Tea Party speech, perhaps?
Welcome to the world of pest [...]... Read more »
Halloy, J., Sempo, G., Caprari, G., Rivault, C., Asadpour, M., Tache, F., Said, I., Durier, V., Canonge, S., Ame, J.... (2007) Social Integration of Robots into Groups of Cockroaches to Control Self-Organized Choices. Science, 318(5853), 1155-1158. DOI: 10.1126/science.1144259
What is Context? How Do We Use It?
What Happens When We Lose It?
One of our most essential life skills is the ability to build context - the core assumptions which enable effective choice of behavior. The literatures on posttraumatic growth, many forms of therapy, recovery from depression or significant loss describe new context as a foundational achievement: recovery happens as we create better, more valid assumptions about ourselves and the world around us.
Two other foundational qualities ........ Read more »
Tedeschi, R., & Calhoun, L. (2004) TARGET ARTICLE: "Posttraumatic Growth: Conceptual Foundations and Empirical Evidence". Psychological Inquiry, 15(1), 1-18. DOI: 10.1207/s15327965pli1501_01
Brewin, C., Gregory, J., Lipton, M., & Burgess, N. (2010) Intrusive images in psychological disorders: Characteristics, neural mechanisms, and treatment implications. Psychological Review, 117(1), 210-232. DOI: 10.1037/a0018113
I saw this Op-Ed piece earlier this month about the decline of the RSVP, and it resonated strongly. It reminded me of my own experience last year when I organized my sister-in-law's (husband's sister) bridal shower. Apparently, I came very close to alienating the guest list, which contained mostly family members, because of the way my invitation was delivered.
The gathering was limited to "
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Abu-Zahra, N. (1974) Material Power, Honour, Friendship, and the Etiquette of Visiting. Anthropological Quarterly, 47(1), 120. DOI: 10.2307/3317030
The turritopsis nutricula species of jellyfish may, in fact, be the only immortal creature in the world.... Read more »
Piraino, S., Boero, F., Aeschbach, B., & Schmid, V. (1996) Reversing the Life Cycle: Medusae Transforming into Polyps and Cell Transdifferentiation in Turritopsis nutricula (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa). Biological Bulletin, 190(3), 302. DOI: 10.2307/1543022
People move animals around. It's what we do. Why are there Elk on Afognak island? Some guy thought it was a good idea at the time. Wildlife managers in the past were some of the biggest conduits for moving animals around, frequently en mass, back before biology really caught up with the profession. We can cite plenty of examples where moving animals around to do population rescues was a bad thing... Read more »
Haanes, H., Røed, K., Mysterud, A., Langvatn, R., & Rosef, O. (2010) Consequences for genetic diversity and population performance of introducing continental red deer into the northern distribution range. Conservation Genetics. DOI: 10.1007/s10592-010-0048-1
Excessive fear is the cause of many psychopathologies. Although pharmacological interventions can help in preventing the retrieval of fear memories, they are toxic and involve a lot of side-effects. Till now, non-pharmacological interventions were only effective in suppressing the memory of fear for a short period. A new technique developed by scientists at the Center for [...]... Read more »
Schiller, D., Monfils, M., Raio, C., Johnson, D., LeDoux, J., & Phelps, E. (2009) Preventing the return of fear in humans using reconsolidation update mechanisms. Nature, 463(7277), 49-53. DOI: 10.1038/nature08637
Much like internal waves, I always loved the idea of explosive radiation. Not the nasty, pernicious Chernobyl kind; I mean the rapid evolution of a whole bunch of species from a common ancestor, over a relatively short period of time. There's a few textbook examples of explosive radiations, but none so well-worn (possibly even hackneyed) as that of the cichlid fishes in the rift lakes of ... Read more »
Väinölä, R., Witt, J., Grabowski, M., Bradbury, J., Jazdzewski, K., & Sket, B. (2007) Global diversity of amphipods (Amphipoda; Crustacea) in freshwater. Hydrobiologia, 595(1), 241-255. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-007-9020-6
Elmer, K., Reggio, C., Wirth, T., Verheyen, E., Salzburger, W., & Meyer, A. (2009) Pleistocene desiccation in East Africa bottlenecked but did not extirpate the adaptive radiation of Lake Victoria haplochromine cichlid fishes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(32), 13404-13409. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0902299106
I love B-grade monster movies, and one of my all time favorites is the 1980 creature feature Alligator. As its title suggests, the film’s protagonist is a 40-foot-long alligator, literally pumped up on steroids from consuming the bodies of medical research lab animals which had been dumped in the sewers under Chicago, and it spends [...]... Read more »
Héctor E. RIVERA-SYLVA, Eberhard FREY, José Rubén GUZMÁN-GUTIÉRREZ. (2009) Evidence of predation on the vertebra of a hadrosaurid dinosaur from the Upper Cretaceous (Campanian) of Coahuila, Mexico. Notebooks on Geology, 1-6. info:/
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