(This was first published at The Urban Times) In a study published in the online journal PLoS ONE yesterday, researchers show evidence for cannibalistic behaviour in Tyrannosaurus rex. Indeed, the king of the dinosaurs not only fed on other dinos, but also on fellow T. rex, say the researchers after identifying bite marks on giants’ [...]... Read more »
Depression and similar mental disorders like bi-polar disorder, anxiety, and obsessive–compulsive disorder are associated with imbalances in neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are signaling molecules exchanged between neurons (nerve cells) for communication purposes. One of these neurotransmitters is serotonin, and drugs that increase serotonin levels in the brain are the most widely used treatments for [...]... Read more »
Talbot JN, Jutkiewicz EM, Graves SM, Clemans CF, Nicol MR, Mortensen RM, Huang X, Neubig RR, & Traynor JR. (2010) RGS inhibition at G(alpha)i2 selectively potentiates 5-HT1A-mediated antidepressant effects. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(24), 11086-91. PMID: 20534514
The 2010 Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded recently by the Annals of Improbable Science, and a paper I read a while ago and wanted to comment on won the Ig Nobel for Peace! (By the way, comment on, not because I thought it was Ig Nobel-esque, but because it was actually relevant to my work — what does that say about my research!?)! Congratulations to Richard Stephens, John Atkins, and Andrew Kingston for the prize, awarded for their paper, ‘Swearing as a Response to Pain,’ in Neur........ Read more »
APKARIAN, A., BUSHNELL, M., TREEDE, R., & ZUBIETA, J. (2005) Human brain mechanisms of pain perception and regulation in health and disease. European Journal of Pain, 9(4), 463-484. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpain.2004.11.001
Price, D. (2000) Psychological and Neural Mechanisms of the Affective Dimension of Pain. Science, 288(5472), 1769-1772. DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5472.1769
Van Lancker, D. (1999) Expletives: neurolinguistic and neurobehavioral perspectives on swearing. Brain Research Reviews, 31(1), 83-104. DOI: 10.1016/S0165-0173(99)00060-0
Derek's blog pointed me to an editorial by Royce Murray Science Blogs and Caveat Emptor (doi:10.1021/ac102628p). He is warning us, science scholars, for blogs. He is accusing bloggers for not being scholarly, not checking facts etc.
He did himself and the journal a big disfavor: in his blog he does precisely what he is accusing the blogger of: fail to check facts. Even worse, particularly for the 'Analytical Chemistry' journal, he showed inadequate in analyzing the problem, putting his scholarl........ Read more »
There's been a whole lot of interesting stuff coming out this week related the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) going on in Nagoya, Japan right now. CBD's goal was to slow the loss of biodiversity loss by 2010, but that goal was not achieved, and nations are hammering out how to revive the CBD with new goals for 2020.
At a prepatory meeting in May, governments agreed on 20 more specific draft targets, which aim to be “SMART” -........ Read more »
Today is Blog Action Day, and the topic is water. I did a post for this last year when the topic was climate change, so I figured I’d do it again. Water is obviously a huge issue, especially in the arid Southwest, so there are a lot of directions I could go with this. I [...]... Read more »
Peterson JA. (1979) The impact of sanitary reform upon American urban planning, 1840-1890. Journal of social history, 13(1), 83-103. PMID: 11632375
Canada deserves a big pat on the back: On Wednesday, our northerly neighbor added bisphenol A (BPA) to its list of known toxic substances. Canada still has to iron out how it will regulate the chemical, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. (Bryan Walsh over at Time just posted a great piece about this, too—among other things he explains why BPA is “a litmus test for environmental health and for risk tolerance.”)
Let me use this news as an excuse to talk some more a........ Read more »
LaKind, J., & Naiman, D. (2010) Daily intake of bisphenol A and potential sources of exposure: 2005–2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. DOI: 10.1038/jes.2010.9
Cao XL, Corriveau J, & Popovic S. (2010) Sources of low concentrations of bisphenol A in canned beverage products. Journal of food protection, 73(8), 1548-51. PMID: 20819371
The discovery of planet Gliese 581 g, an exoplanet just 3 times the mass of our Earth and located in its host star’s Habitable Zone, was one of the biggest science headlines of the year. The news broke, typically, somewhere between my observing proposal deadline and box number 15: “all the crap that didn’t fit [...]... Read more »
Steven S. Vogt, R. Paul Butler, Eugenio J. Rivera, Nader Haghighipour, Gregory W. Henry, & Michael H. Williamson. (2010) The Lick-Carnegie Exoplanet Survey: A 3.1 M_Earth Planet in the Habitable Zone of the Nearby M3V Star Gliese 581. ApJ accepted. arXiv: 1009.5733v1
A small study from the United States has suggested that getting too little sleep might prevent dieters from losing as much body fat as they would have had they slept properly. When individuals slept for five and a half hours a night, they lost half as much body fat as when they were allowed to [...]... Read more »
Nedeltcheva AV, Kilkus JM, Imperial J, Schoeller DA, & Penev PD. (2010) Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity. Annals of internal medicine, 153(7), 435-41. PMID: 20921542
Guest post by Anne Jefferson, assistant professor at the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, UNC Charlotte, and science blogger at Highly Allochthonous
In August 2009, unusually heavy rains lasting six hours deluged the city of Khartoum in Sudan. Higher, wealthier parts of the city were relatively unaffected, but in the vast shanty towns that surround [...]... Read more »
Giuliano Di Baldassarre, Alberto Montanari, Harry Lins, Demetris Koutsoyiannis,, & Luigia Brandimarte, Günter Blöschl. (2010) Flood fatalities in Africa: from diagnosis to mitigation. Geophysical Research Letters. info:/
Could be rough times ahead if you are the big fish atop the food chain in your river. A sophisticated new analysis finds that droughts and floods reshuffle river food webs in dramatically different ways – offering a potential preview of how climate change, dams and other forces may affect top predators such as large […] Read More »... Read more »
Sabo, J., Finlay, J., Kennedy, T., & Post, D. (2010) The Role of Discharge Variation in Scaling of Drainage Area and Food Chain Length in Rivers. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1196005
In my little bid to participate in Change.org’s Blog Action Day 2010 – Water, I’ve re-hashed a post from 2008 on ‘water neutrality’. This will also benefit my recently joined readers, and re-invigorate a concept I don’t think has received nearly enough attention globally (or even in parched Australia where I live). So here we [...]... Read more »
Nel, D., Marais, C., & Blignaut, J. (2009) Water neutrality: A first quantitative framework for investing in water in South Africa. Conservation Letters, 2(1), 12-19. DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2008.00035.x
Spanish researchers report that the Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of developing diabetes by 50% in middle-aged and older Spaniards, compared with a low-fat diet.
Over 400 people participated in a trial comparing two Mediterranean diets and a low-fat diet. Over the course of four years, 10 or 11% of the Mediterraneans developed type 2 diabetes, [...]... Read more »
Salas-Salvado, J., Bullo, M., Babio, N., Martinez-Gonzalez, M., Ibarrola-Jurado, N., Basora, J., Estruch, R., Covas, M., Corella, D., Aros, F.... (2010) Reduction in the Incidence of Type 2-Diabetes with the Mediterranean Diet: Results of the PREDIMED-Reus Nutrition Intervention Randomized Trial. Diabetes Care. DOI: 10.2337/dc10-1288
Reboxetine is an antidepressant. Except it's not, because it doesn't treat depression.This is the conclusion of a much-publicized article just out in the BMJ: Reboxetine for acute treatment of major depression: systematic review and meta-analysis of published and unpublished placebo and SSRI controlled trials.Reboxetine was introduced to some fanfare, because its mechanism of action is unique - it's a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (NRI), which has no e........ Read more »
Eyding, D., Lelgemann, M., Grouven, U., Harter, M., Kromp, M., Kaiser, T., Kerekes, M., Gerken, M., & Wieseler, B. (2010) Reboxetine for acute treatment of major depression: systematic review and meta-analysis of published and unpublished placebo and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor controlled trials. BMJ, 341(oct12 1). DOI: 10.1136/bmj.c4737
A recent review article by Friedemann Pulvermuller looks at what is known about the neurobiology of language. He uses the question of what recent progress has been in the where, when, how and why of language processing in the brain. He does a masterful job and yet I am, personally, disappointed. In what way I [...]... Read more »
Friedemann Pulvermuller. (2010) Brain-Language Research: Where is the Progress. Biolinguistics, 4(2), 255-288. info:/
One of the questions of interest in the study of the evolution of culture is whether there is a direction in history in terms of complexity. As I have noted before in the pre-modern era many felt that the direction of history was of decline. That is, the ancients were wise and subtle beyond compare [...]... Read more »
Currie, Thomas E., Greenhill, Simon J., Gray, Russell D., Hasegawa, Toshikazu, & Mace, Ruth. (2010) Rise and fall of political complexity in island South-East Asia and the Pacific. Nature. info:/10.1038/nature09461
This Friday we are continuing coverage of the most recent IgNobel prizes, those awesome prizes given to celebrate the truly odd, yet wonderful findings in scientific research. Sci LOVES these prizes. In fact, someday I want to be invited, so I can LIVE BLOG these prizes. Interview the winners! Have hilarious conversations! YES! You should [...]... Read more »
When I lived in Northern California, I would often hear stories about people scouring the back country for psychedelic toads. In popular imagination, these toad wranglers would then gather around bonfires and with great ceremony and earnestness, they would lick hapless bufoids until they (the humans) fell into ecstatic trances—and then vomited profusely. These stories, [...]... Read more »
Roberts, B., Aronsohn, M., Moses, B., Burk, R., Toll, J., & Weeren, F. (2000) intoxication in dogs: 94 cases (1997–1998) . Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 216(12), 1941-1944. DOI: 10.2460/javma.2000.216.1941
Gowda, R. (2003) Toad venom poisoning: resemblance to digoxin toxicity and therapeutic implications. Heart, 89(4), 14-14. DOI: 10.1136/heart.89.4.e14
Chi, H., Hung, D., Hu, W., & Yang, D. (1998) Prognostic implications of hyperkalemia in toad toxin intoxication. Human , 17(6), 343-346. DOI: 10.1191/096032798678908800
At the 2009 meeting of the American Geophysical Union, renowned climate scientist Richard Alley (Penn State) gave a keynote address, The Biggest Control Knob: Carbon dioxide in Earth’s Climate History, in which he used a variety of paleoclimatological proxy data to show how CO2 changes over much of Earth history have exerted a strong influence [...]... Read more »
Lacis, A., Schmidt, G., Rind, D., & Ruedy, R. (2010) Atmospheric CO2: Principal Control Knob Governing Earth's Temperature. Science, 330(6002), 356-359. DOI: 10.1126/science.1190653
This time of year, the shrill 'see,see,see' contact calls of Long-tailed tit flocks, coming from all directions from the tree canopy. These fluffy, tiny birds have a fascinating breeding system - facultative co-operative breeding - by which individuals may help rear up offspring of others depending of the circumstances. Their breeding season is rather short, and they are only able to rear a single brood per season. In the spring, all individuals pair up and attempt breeding, if breeding fails ea........ Read more »
Nam, K., Simeoni, M., Sharp, S., & Hatchwell, B. (2010) Kinship affects investment by helpers in a cooperatively breeding bird. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 277(1698), 3299-3306. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2010.0737
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