"Control - you must learn control!" These wise words were uttered by no less a sage than Yoda, and while he was talking about telekinetically hoisting spacecraft, having control has another important benefit. It protects a person from spotting false patterns that aren't there, from believing in conspiracies and from developing superstitions.
Control and security are vital parts of our psychological well-being and it goes without saying that losing them can feel depressing or scary. As such, peo........ Read more »
J. A. Whitson, & A. D. Galinsky. (2008) Lacking Control Increases Illusory Pattern Perception. Science, 322(5898), 115-117. DOI: 10.1126/science.1159845
Three short years ago, the first partial face transplantation was performed in France and recently the first of these procedures to be conducted in the United States was successfully accomplished. This was only the fourth operation of its type but experts estimate that perhaps as early as next year the first complete face transplant will [...]... Read more »
J.-M. Dubernard, B. Lengele, E. Morelon, S. Testelin, L. Badet, C. Moure, J.-L. Beziat, S. Dakpe, J. Kanitakis, C. D'Hauthuille.... (2007) Outcomes 18 Months after the First Human Partial Face Transplantation. New England Journal of Medicine, 357(24), 2451-2460. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa072828
L YARDLEY, L MCDERMOTT, S PISARSKI, B DUCHAINE, & K NAKAYAMA. (2008) Psychosocial consequences of developmental prosopagnosia: A problem of recognition. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 65(5), 445-451. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2008.03.013
you ever wonder why so many people are suffering from ‘treatment
resistant’ depression it is because mainstream medicine and psychology
can offer only ‘palliative’ remedies. They treat symptoms only and not causes.
will propose the psycho-nutritional model which says that depression -
and for that matter any other non-psychotic mental illness - is a
disease of energy production.
[D]epression is [...]... Read more »
L BODNAR, & K WISNER. (2005) Nutrition and Depression: Implications for Improving Mental Health Among Childbearing-Aged Women. Biological Psychiatry, 58(9), 679-685. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2005.05.009
D Musselman, E Betan, H Larsen, & L Phillips. (2003) Relationship of depression to diabetes types 1 and 2: epidemiology, biology, and treatment. Biological Psychiatry, 54(3), 317-329. DOI: 10.1016/S0006-3223(03)00569-9
M. Timonen, M. Laakso, J. Jokelainen, U. Rajala, V. Benno Meyer-Rochow, & S. Keinänen-Kiukaanniemi. (2005) Insulin resistance and depression: cross sectional study. BMJ, 330(7481), 17-18. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.38313.513310.F71
Ulrich Vischer, Ildiko Szanto, & Jean-Pierre Michel. (2004) The Association Between Insulin Resistance, Depression, and Dementia. The Journals of Gerontology. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.38313.513310.F71
Breaking news from the field of organonickel chemistry: a stable tetraalkyl nickel compound as reported recently by a Columbia University team . A highly strained dibenzocyclooctatetraene with one trans alkene bond is reacted with bis(cyclooctadiene)nickel(0) (after replacing one cod ligand with a tri(tert-butyl)phosphine ligand for added stability) with some surprising results.... Read more »
OR: The Glasgow Coma Scale-Revised: The Texting Sign.Watch Killing in the Name, live at the Reading Festival 2008.Rage Against the Machine SyncopeFirst we had dangerous sandwiches. Now we have dangerous concerts, as described in an article in the special Christmas edition of BMJ by Mike Sinclair and colleagues (Sinclair et al., 2008). They examined the utility of texting ability as a sign of return to consciousness after fainting or panic attack at large outdoor music festivals in the UK:Three y........ Read more »
A recent paper in MBE presents evidence that the Taphrinomycota (containing S. pombe and Pneumocystis) are in fact a monophyletic group. This is considered an early branch in the Ascomycota with the Pezizomycotina (filamentous ascomycete fungi like Neurospora and Aspergillus) and Saccharomycotina (fungi mainly with yeast forms including Candida and Saccharomyces). The monophyly of Taphrinomyoctina fungi is something that has been fairly accepted but there are a few publications reporting conf........ Read more »
Y. Liu, J. W. Leigh, H. Brinkmann, M. T. Cushion, N. Rodriguez-Ezpeleta, H. Philippe, & B. F. Lang. (2008) Phylogenomic Analyses Support the Monophyly of Taphrinomycotina, including Schizosaccharomyces Fission Yeasts. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 26(1), 27-34. DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msn221
Human bipedal locomotion is arguably the most defining adaptation in the narrative of human evolution. It has altered the way our bodies dissipate heat, the way we give birth, and even the way we use our hands - to some extent it has influenced the function/morphology of every element of our anatomy. Of course, when such a bauplan altering adaptation evolves there are certain to be a few kinks along the way. Some of these kinks are much more than just minor flaws in function and morphology, and,........ Read more »
Jan-Willem M. Kouwenhoven, & René M. Castelein. (2008) The Pathogenesis of Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis. Spine, 33(26), 2898-2908. DOI: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181891751
KAREN CHIN, JOSEPH H. HARTMAN, BARRY ROTH (2008). Opportunistic exploitation of dinosaur dung: fossil snails in coprolites from the Upper Cretaceous Two Medicine Formation of Montana Lethaia DOI: 10.1111/j.1502-3931.2008.00131.xIn this post I wrote about a snail and a slug that were helping themselves some dog feces. Now it turns out that terrestrial gastropods may have been into coprophagy for quite a long time, at least since dinosaurs were around.In a very interesting paper, Chin et al. repor........ Read more »
KAREN CHIN, JOSEPH H. HARTMAN, & BARRY ROTH. (2008) Opportunistic exploitation of dinosaur dung: fossil snails in coprolites from the Upper Cretaceous Two Medicine Formation of Montana. Lethaia. DOI: 10.1111/j.1502-3931.2008.00131.x
In an increasingly digital age, one researcher looked at the differential effect of reading print versus online, which seems like a logical choice. However, she found that online reading is less rewarding - and perhaps effective - than reading printed material. The reasons for this include less physical manipulation of the computer and the flashy multimedia on the pages.There needs to be more consideration, she thus argues, as we integrate more and more technology into the classrooms and our dai........ Read more »
So this isn't necessarily weird science, in that it's not something so odd and out there you'd never see it. It's more that the reason behind the phenomenon is a little funny.
I'm at a time of life where all my friends are getting married. And once they get married, they start spawning. I'm a fan of friend-spawn, and I certainly hope that they all grow up to be adorable awesome little geeks. I will take any kind of geek, science, history, literature, music, theater, I love them all, and I k........ Read more »
HL McClellan, DT Geddes, JC Kent, CP Garbin, LR Mitoulas, & PE Hartmann. (2008) Infants of mothers with persistent nipple pain exert strong sucking vacuums. Acta Paediatrica, 97(9), 1205-1209. DOI: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2008.00882.x
Wouldn't you love it if the Neanderthals hadn't gone extinct, but were still living with us today? I'd give my right arm to see that (but then again, I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous). It is still hotly debated how they went extinct, but a paper in PLoS ONE  concludes that Homo neanderthalensis were outcompeted by humans.... Read more »
William E. Banks, Francesco d'Errico, A. Townsend Peterson, Masa Kageyama, Adriana Sima, & Maria-Fernanda Sánchez-Goñi. (2008) Neanderthal Extinction by Competitive Exclusion. PLoS ONE, 3(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003972
R GREEN, A MALASPINAS, J KRAUSE, A BRIGGS, P JOHNSON, C UHLER, M MEYER, J GOOD, T MARICIC, & U STENZEL. (2008) A Complete Neandertal Mitochondrial Genome Sequence Determined by High-Throughput Sequencing. Cell, 134(3), 416-426. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2008.06.021
This study looked at genetic differences and gene flow in an understory shrub, Miconia affinis, in a 1200 ha matrix of forest and shade coffee farms in Nueva Alemania, Chiapas, Mexico. ... Read more »
S. Jha, & C. Dick. (2008) Shade coffee farms promote genetic diversity of native trees. Current Biology, 18(24). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.11.017
According to a twenty-year longitudinal study of over 4000 individuals, happiness is indeed contagious. Dr. Nicholas Christakis, professor at Harvard University, compared the spread of happiness to a “ripple effect” that could affect others up to three degrees of separation away; a friend of a friend of a friend, so to speak.
The study did [...]... Read more »
J. H Fowler, & N. A Christakis. (2008) Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study. BMJ, 337(dec04 2). DOI: 10.1136/bmj.a2338
Your face is a major component of your self-identity, but when you look into a mirror, how do you know that the person you are seeing is really you? Is it because the person in the reflection looks just like you? Or because the reflection moves when you move? Or perhaps because you see the face in the reflection being touched when you reach up to touch yours.
Recent studies have shown that recognizing our own bodies depends upon integrated information from the senses of vision, touch and propri........ Read more »
Manos Tsakiris. (2008) Looking for Myself: Current Multisensory Input Alters Self-Face Recognition. PLoS ONE, 3(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004040
Since the first living things appeared on the planet, the biggest among them have become increasingly bigger. Over 3.6 billion years of evolution, life's maximum size has shot up by 16 orders of magnitude - about 10 quadrillion times - from single cells to the massive sequoias of today (below right). And no matter what people say, size does matter.
The largest of creatures, from the blue whale to the sauropod dinosaurs, are powerful captors of the imagination, but they are big draws for scienti........ Read more »
J. L. Payne, A. G. Boyer, J. H. Brown, S. Finnegan, M. Kowalewski, R. A. Krause, S. K. Lyons, C. R. McClain, D. W. McShea, P. M. Novack-Gottshall.... (2008) Two-phase increase in the maximum size of life over 3.5 billion years reflects biological innovation and environmental opportunity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0806314106
tags: parrots, Psittaciformes, evolution, molecular phylogeny, ornithology, Neornithes
Red-crowned Amazon parrot, Amazona viridigenalis, at Elizabeth Street Parrotry, Brownsville, Texas.
Image: Joseph Kennedy, 7 April 2008 [larger view].
Nikon D200, Kowa 883 telescope TSN-PZ camera eyepiece 1/750s f/8.0 at 1000.0mm iso400.
One of the most contentious issues among scientists who study the evolution of birds is identifying precisely when the modern birds (Neornithes) first appeared. Thi........ Read more »
T. F. Wright, E. E. Schirtzinger, T. Matsumoto, J. R. Eberhard, G. R. Graves, J. J. Sanchez, S. Capelli, H. Muller, J. Scharpegge, G. K. Chambers.... (2008) A Multilocus Molecular Phylogeny of the Parrots (Psittaciformes): Support for a Gondwanan Origin during the Cretaceous. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 25(10), 2141-2156. DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msn160
As many an astrochemist will tell you without hesitation, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are important molecules to study, because they’re directly relevant to the origins of life. We tend to repeat this like a mantra, and perhaps we don’t always fully appreciate the ramifications of what we’re saying. Contentious, hotly debated and under researched, the origin of life is a difficult and heavily transdisciplinary subject. It’s also a long standing fascination of mine, a........ Read more »
Pascale Ehrenfreund, Steen Rasmussen, James Cleaves, & Liaohai Chen. (2006) Experimentally Tracing the Key Steps in the Origin of Life: The Aromatic World. Astrobiology, 6(3), 490-520. DOI: 10.1089/ast.2006.6.490
Here's a lovely little bit of social psychology. It shows that some of our common metaphors correlate with a genuine association in experience, in this case between social exclusion and physical coldness. If you don't have a subscription, you can currently get a preprint of the paper here. Among other mentions of this research in the media, is this piece in the New York Times.This is the abstract:Metaphors such as icy stare depict social exclusion using cold-related concepts; they are not to be ........ Read more »
Chen-Bo Zhong, & Geoffrey J. Leonardelli. (2008) Cold and Lonely: Does Social Exclusion Literally Feel Cold?. Psychological Science, 19(9), 838-842. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02165.x
Synchiria is a neurological condition in which a stimulus applied to one side of the body is referred to both sides. If, for example, one's left hand is touched, he experiences tactile sensations on both hands. People with intact brains do not experience this, probably because of inhibitory mechanisms which prevent activity in one hemisphere of the brain from crossing over to the other.
This phenomenon is therefore very rare, and has only been reported in a small number of brain-damaged patient........ Read more »
J MEDINA, & B RAPP. (2008) Phantom Tactile Sensations Modulated by Body Position. Current Biology, 18(24), 1937-1942. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.10.068
Term is over and it's time for a round-up. I have read what feels like an unbelievable number of articles and book chapters since September, and of course I found some more interesting than others. In fact, as soon as I thought of doing a 'best of fall term' post, two articles came to mind. I couldn't think of a third article that impressed me as much as these two, so here is my 'top two' of fall term 2008:Darden, Keith, Grzydala-Busse, Anna (2006). The Great Divide: Literacy, Nationalism, and C........ Read more »
Darden, Keith, & Grzydala-Busse, Anna. (2006) The Great Divide: Literacy, Nationalism, and Communist Collapse. World Politics, 59(1), 83-115.
Kuran, Timur. (1991) Now Out of Never: The Element of Surprise in the Eastern European Revolutions of 1989. World Politics, 44(1), 7-48.
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