Post List

  • September 21, 2010
  • 05:35 PM

More problems for mirror neurons

by Greg Hickok in Talking Brains

A recent paper in Human Brain Mapping by Molenberghs et al. challenges the view that the motor system is the basis for action understanding and instead implicates, surprise-surprise, a sensory region the superior temporal sulcus. The abstract from this report (see below) provides a nice summary. I know what the response from the MN crowd will be though: the STS must be part of the mirror system! It has been suggested that in humans the mirror neuron system provides a neural substrate for imit........ Read more »

Molenberghs P, Brander C, Mattingley JB, & Cunnington R. (2010) The role of the superior temporal sulcus and the mirror neuron system in imitation. Human brain mapping, 31(9), 1316-26. PMID: 20087840  

  • September 21, 2010
  • 05:17 PM

Casas Grandes Macaw Breeding

by teofilo in Gambler's House

One of the many similarities between Chaco and Casas Grandes in Chihuahua, in addition to the similar types of effigy vessels, is the presence of significant numbers of scarlet macaw skeletons at both sites.  As with most of these parallels, the evidence at Casas Grandes is more impressive in scale, with hundreds of macaws found [...]... Read more »

Somerville, A., Nelson, B., & Knudson, K. (2010) Isotopic investigation of pre-Hispanic macaw breeding in Northwest Mexico. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 29(1), 125-135. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaa.2009.09.003  

  • September 21, 2010
  • 04:44 PM

Blink and you'll miss it (depending, of course, on your religious beliefs)

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

The attentional blink is another of those weird and wonderful cognitive blind spots with which the human race is afflicted. Flash up two images in close succession, and we find it really difficult to even notice the second, let alone figure out what it is. That's basically because our brains are still engaged in processing the first one.

In another recent study by Lorenzo Colzato (she also did the "big picture" study from a couple of blog posts ago), atheists and Dutch Christian Calvinists have........ Read more »

  • September 21, 2010
  • 04:01 PM

How to handle the paper glut

by Rogue in Into Oblivion

In a Letter to Science, Donald Siegel and Philippe Baveye discuss what they call « the paper glut » we face and address suggestions to improve the reviewing system. « Publish or perrish » has become a real fashion of doing research and has somehow replaced the desire to share knowledge. The authors recall that the amount of schlarly [...]... Read more »

Siegel D, & Baveye P. (2010) Battling the paper glut. Science (New York, N.Y.), 329(5998), 1466. PMID: 20847251  

  • September 21, 2010
  • 03:41 PM

Agonist-directed trafficking of receptor stimulus, Pharm 551A: Berg et al., 1998


After doing a whole bunch of cutting-edge papers for the class its time to go back in time a bit (like 1998 is ancient but anyways) and do an oldie-but-goodie. This particular paper, “Effector Pathway-Dependent Relative Efficacy at Serotonin Type … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • September 21, 2010
  • 03:06 PM

Genetic Anchoring, Tone and Stable Characteristics of Language

by Wintz in A Replicated Typo 2.0

In 2007, Dan Dediu and Bob Ladd published a paper claiming there was a non-spurious link between the non-derived alleles of ASPM and Microcephalin and tonal languages. The key idea emerging from this research is one where certain alleles may bias language acquisition or processing, subsequently shaping the development of a language within a population of . . . → Read More: Genetic Anchoring, Tone and Stable Characteristics of Language... Read more »

  • September 21, 2010
  • 02:25 PM

Angiogenesis, angiopoeitin and Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM)

by Sally Church in Pharma Strategy Blog

Read and writing about malignant brain cancers, gliomas or glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) always makes me sad as life span from diagnosis is often only a year. Over the last decade we have seen many advances in surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and...... Read more »

Verhoeff, J., van Tellingen, O., Claes, A., Stalpers, L., van Linde, M., Richel, D., Leenders, W., & van Furth, W. (2009) Concerns about anti-angiogenic treatment in patients with glioblastoma multiforme. BMC Cancer, 9(1), 444. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2407-9-444  

Pàez-Ribes, M., Allen, E., Hudock, J., Takeda, T., Okuyama, H., Viñals, F., Inoue, M., Bergers, G., Hanahan, D., & Casanovas, O. (2009) Antiangiogenic Therapy Elicits Malignant Progression of Tumors to Increased Local Invasion and Distant Metastasis. Cancer Cell, 15(3), 220-231. DOI: 10.1016/j.ccr.2009.01.027  

Huang, H., Bhat, A., Woodnutt, G., & Lappe, R. (2010) Targeting the ANGPT–TIE2 pathway in malignancy. Nature Reviews Cancer, 10(8), 575-585. DOI: 10.1038/nrc2894  

  • September 21, 2010
  • 02:17 PM

The Neurobiology of Anxiety Disorders

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

A key question in the classification of anxiety disorders is whether the DSM-IV classification system describes distinct useful categories.  There is a great deal of overlap in clinical populations.  You do not find many individual who have one unique disorder.  Typically, someone with say panic disorder is likely to have one or more additional anxiety disorder such as social phobia or PTSD.  A key question is whether there is a broader anxiety disorder phenotype that might i........ Read more »

  • September 21, 2010
  • 02:06 PM

Do Coach’s Directions Hinder Athlete’s Performance?

by Psychology 379 bloggers in Cognition & the Arts

Have you ever seen a basketball player fail to pass to an open teammate who was right in front of them? It happens in every game, and teams are always aiming to reduce this mistake. Research has shown that this mistake is due to a phenomenon called inattentional blindness. This happens when a person doesn’t [...]... Read more »

  • September 21, 2010
  • 01:42 PM

Bacteria that tear themselves apart

by Lab Rat in Lab Rat

Bacterial cell division is one of those fairly well studied areas, where time and much study has come forth with a nice standard model. One of the main proteins involved is FtsZ, which seperates one bacteria into two by forming a ring of protein around the middle of the bacteria and tightening it shut as shown below:Until quite recently it was thought that this was pretty much the only way to get bacteria to divide, until 1999, when the sequences of two Chlamydia species turned out not to contai........ Read more »

  • September 21, 2010
  • 01:31 PM

Wait -- Jonah Lehrer Wants Reading to be Harder?

by gameswithwords in Games with Words

Recently Jonah Lehrer, now at Wired, wrote a ode to books, titled The Future of Reading. Many people are sad to see the slow replacement of physical books by e-readers -- though probably not many people who have lugged 50 pounds of books in a backpack across Siberia, though that's a different story. The take-home message appears 2/3 of the way down:
So here’s my wish for e-readers. I’d love them to include a feature that allows us to undo their ease, to make the act of reading just a little ........ Read more »

DEHAENE, S., COHEN, L., SIGMAN, M., & VINCKIER, F. (2005) The neural code for written words: a proposal. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9(7), 335-341. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2005.05.004  

  • September 21, 2010
  • 01:23 PM

What do I want? Don't ask me: Choice blindness at the market stall

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Imagine you sampled two jams, chose your favourite, and were then offered another taste of it before being asked to explain your preference. Would you notice that you'd been offered the wrong one, that you were actually tasting the jam you'd turned down? A new study conducted at a market stall by Lars Hall and colleagues found that even for tastes as dramatically different as spicy Cinnamon-Apple and bitter Grapefruit, fewer than 20 per cent of participants realised that they'd just tasted the j........ Read more »

  • September 21, 2010
  • 12:58 PM

Towards Practical Determination of Bloodstain Age

by Michael Long in Phased

Erin Hanson and Jack Ballantyne (National Center for Forensic Science and University of Central Florida, United States) have determined the age of bloodstains via hemoglobin oxidation chemistry and cheap, portable instrumentation. This news feature was written on September 21, 2010.... Read more »

  • September 21, 2010
  • 12:45 PM

Chemistry of the Great Big Blue: Sedimentation

by Bluegrass Blue Crab in Southern Fried Science

Sedimentation in the Chesapeake - look at the brown toward the headwaters. Found at
Rocks erode, travel down rivers and eventually in the form of small particles, settle in river deltas and estuaries. Even smaller pieces can be carried hundreds of miles into the ocean. It’s all part of the natural process of sedimentation, but [...]... Read more »

Short, F., & Wyllie-Echeverria, S. (2009) Natural and human-induced disturbance of seagrasses. Environmental Conservation, 23(01), 17. DOI: 10.1017/S0376892900038212  

Toshihiro Onitsukaa, Tomohiko Kawamura, Satoshi Ohashic, Shunsuke Iwanaga, Toyomitsu Horiia and Yoshiro Watanabe. (2008) Effects of sediments on larval settlement of abalone Haliotis diversicolor. JEMBE, 365(1). info:/doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2008.07.042

Houjie Wang, Zuosheng Yang, Yoshiki Saitoc, J. Paul Liud, Xiaoxia Suna, and Yan Wanga. (2007) Stepwise decreases of the Huanghe (Yellow River) sediment load (1950–2005): Impacts of climate change and human activities . Global and Planetary Change, 57(3-4). info:/doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2007.01.003

  • September 21, 2010
  • 12:17 PM

Finding the Stem Cell User’s Manual

by Rob Mitchum in ScienceLife

In recent weeks, stem cell research has once again been drawn into a battle over political, ethical, and legal questions. Given all the controversy, it’s easy to forget that there are still many scientific questions surrounding stem cells and their potential for medical use. The ability of such cells to grow into different types of [...]... Read more »

Luo, J., Tang, M., Huang, J., He, B., Gao, J., Chen, L., Zuo, G., Zhang, W., Luo, Q., Shi, Q.... (2010) TGF /BMP Type I Receptors ALK1 and ALK2 Are Essential for BMP9-induced Osteogenic Signaling in Mesenchymal Stem Cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 285(38), 29588-29598. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.m110.130518  

  • September 21, 2010
  • 12:07 PM

How To Possibly Detect Graviton Mass With Gravity Waves/Pulsars.

by Joseph Smidt in The Eternal Universe

Gravitons are the particles that mediate the force of gravity in the analogous way that photons are responsible for the electro-magnetic field.  And like photons, gravitons are thought to be massless.  In fact, assuming general relativity is correct, the mass of the graviton has an upper bound of 7x10-32 eV which is really small. (See bold text at bottom.)  However, for alternative gravity

... Read more »

Kejia Lee, Fredrick A. Jenet, Richard H. Price, Norbert Wex, & Michael Kramer. (2010) Detecting massive gravitons using pulsar timing arrays. Accepted by ApJ. arXiv: 1008.2561v2

  • September 21, 2010
  • 10:14 AM

Memory, Social Structure and Language: Why Siestas affect Morphological Complexity

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Why are children better than adults at learning second languages? Hypotheses suggest that it's easier to learn some parts of language with procedural memory, which atrophies in adults. But why has language evolved to be like this? I suggest that the answer lies in social structure and explain why taking siesta can affect the morphological complexity of your language.... Read more »

L. Kirk Hagen. (2008) The bilingual brain: Human evolution and second language acquisition. Evolutionary Psychology, 43-63. info:/

Christiansen, M., & Chater, N. (2008) Language as shaped by the brain. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 31(05). DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X08004998  

Hartshorne JK, & Ullman MT. (2006) Why girls say 'holded' more than boys. Developmental science, 9(1), 21-32. PMID: 16445392  

BACKHAUS, J., & JUNGHANNS, K. (2006) Daytime naps improve procedural motor memory. Sleep Medicine, 7(6), 508-512. DOI: 10.1016/j.sleep.2006.04.002  

  • September 21, 2010
  • 10:06 AM

Seamount mythbusting

by Uncharted Atolls in Uncharted Atolls

Seamounts—mountains beneath the waves—may not be conventionally thought of as large habitats on the global ecological stage, compared to say, forests or estuaries.  But there’s quite a bit of them to say the least, perhaps in the hundreds of thousands. … Continue reading →... Read more »

Etnoyer PJ, Wood J, Shirley TC. (2010) How large is the seamount biome?. Oceanography, 23(1), 206-209. info:/

Rowden, A., Dower, J., Schlacher, T., Consalvey, M., & Clark, M. (2010) Paradigms in seamount ecology: fact, fiction and future. Marine Ecology, 226-241. DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0485.2010.00400.x  

  • September 21, 2010
  • 09:34 AM

Kate Pickett on the nation’s health – why can’t we close the gap between rich and poor?

by Cancer Research UK in Cancer Research UK - Science Update

Professor Kate Pickett is a Cancer Research UK-funded health researcher, and co-author of  The Spirit Level. In this guest blog post, she discusses the latest research and insights into the causes of inequalities in health, and gives us her opinions on what government should do to tackle them… Britain has a long and distinguished record [...]... Read more »

  • September 21, 2010
  • 09:33 AM

Synthetic probes of natural oscillations

by Becky in It Takes 30

One of the motivations for systems biology is the gathering realization that biological systems are not simply composed of on/off switches.  Instead of thinking of signal transduction as a simple relay race — A passes the information to B, who passes it to C — we need to understand the information processing in multiple layers [...]... Read more »

Toettcher JE, Mock C, Batchelor E, Loewer A, & Lahav G. (2010) A synthetic-natural hybrid oscillator in human cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 20837528  

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