There's been a growing rumble in the world of scientific publishing for the past several months, focusing especially on the nature and practices of the journal Medical Hypotheses. Briefly put, MH is a non-peer-reviewed journal that publishes original, controversial and thought-provoking ideas ("hypotheses" defined in the broadest possible sense, I guess you could say) about the medical realm sensu lato. Now, as reported by Science Insider, MH's editor, Bruce Charlton (here's his blog presenting ........ Read more »
Riel-Salvatore J. (2008) Mad Neanderthal disease? Some comments on "A potential role for Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies in Neanderthal extinction". Medical hypotheses, 71(3), 473-4. PMID: 18524493
UNDERDOWN, S. (2008) A potential role for Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies in Neanderthal extinction. Medical Hypotheses, 71(1), 4-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.mehy.2007.12.014
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you learn about something completely unexpected. In this case, it’s a new way to get nitrogen, an important nutrient for all living things. Where the soil is poor in nitrogen, various plants have developed ways to trap insects and the like, among them the pitcher plants. Now [...]... Read more »
Chin, L., Moran, J., & Clarke, C. (2010) Trap geometry in three giant montane pitcher plant species from Borneo is a function of tree shrew body size. New Phytologist. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2009.03166.x
The feeling that ‘I’ am ‘here’ is a central component of our personal identity and sense of self. In a recent study, we asked what would happen to the representation of the body if we disrupted the feeling of the body being located at a single point in space. We used an illusion [...]... Read more »
 Longo MR, Kammers MP, Gomi H, Tsakiris M, & Haggard P. (2009) Contraction of body representation induced by proprioceptive conflict. Current biology : CB, 19(17). PMID: 19906570
 Goodwin GM, McCloskey DI, & Matthews PB. (1972) Proprioceptive illusions induced by muscle vibration: contribution by muscle spindles to perception?. Science (New York, N.Y.), 175(28), 1382-4. PMID: 4258209
The further back in time we go, the more and more fragmented the Earth's geological record becomes. Whilst not exactly common, rocks with ages up to about 3.5 billion years old are found at multiple points on the Earth's surface. However, rocks older than this are much less common. Extensive outcrops older than about 3.8 billion years are exceptionally rare, possibly because a series of very large meteorite impacts prior to this time - the Late Heavy Bombardment - largely destroyed any older ........ Read more »
Goldblatt, C., Zahnle, K. J., Sleep, N. H., & Nisbet, E. G. (2010) The Eons of Chaos and Hades. Solid Earth, 1-3. info:/
To review: I love ecological stoichiometry (ES). I find it a fascinating subject and a useful framework for understanding ecological phenomena. However, ES is still relatively new, with a lot of the empirical work restricted to plankton (esp. Daphnia and algae). So it is always interesting to see theories developed predominantly in the pelagic system examined in other habitats.One of the more... Read more »
Hill, W., Smith, J., & Stewart, A. (2010) Light, nutrients, and herbivore growth in oligotrophic streams. Ecology, 91(2), 518-527. DOI: 10.1890/09-0703.1
Urabe, J., & Sterner, RW. (1996) Regulation of herbivore growth by the balance of light and nutrients. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 93(16), 8465-8469. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.93.16.8465
Iron fertilization could increase toxin production in ocean
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Trick, C.G. et al. (2010) Iron enrichment stimulates toxic diatom production in high-nitrate, low-chlorophyll areas. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. info:/10.1073/pnas.0910579107
In this weeks online edition of PNAS Marcel Zentner and Tuomas Eerola report on a study in which they carried out two experiments with a total of 120 infants, aged between 5 and 24 months. The infants were exposed to various musical and rhythmic stimuli, including isochronous drumbeats. Control stimuli consisted of adult- and infant-directed speech. The researchers could show that infants engage significantly more in rhythmic movement to music, and other rhythmically regular sounds, than to spee........ Read more »
As is well-known, peptides helices can be right or left handed. Many details of structure, amino acid identity and orientation can control this screw sense, and sometimes the controlling factors can be quite subtle. In a JACS communication, Jonathan Clayden (yes, the co-author of the amazing organic chemistry textbook) and his group uncover a surprising factor that controls the helical screw sense and also incorporate a neat "reporter group" to monitor the screw sense.But this reporter group is ........ Read more »
Solà, J., Helliwell, M., & Clayden, J. (2010) N- versus C-Terminal Control over the Screw-Sense Preference of the Configurationally Achiral, Conformationally Helical Peptide Motif Aib GlyAib . Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1021/ja100662d
Understanding how blood cells are formed is not only important for developing treatments against numerous diseases, but also teaches us more about the fascinating process of turning stem cells into their specialized descendants. Recent work suggests that the initial stem cell that produces all of our blood’s formed elements (cells) comes in two flavors. But [...]... Read more »
Bertrand, J., Chi, N., Santoso, B., Teng, S., Stainier, D., & Traver, D. (2010) Haematopoietic stem cells derive directly from aortic endothelium during development. Nature, 464(7285), 108-111. DOI: 10.1038/nature08738
Kissa, K., & Herbomel, P. (2010) Blood stem cells emerge from aortic endothelium by a novel type of cell transition. Nature, 464(7285), 112-115. DOI: 10.1038/nature08761
A recent study by Italian researchers uncovered the fact that neurosurgery involving certain brain structures can effect personality changes that make one feel more "spiritual". 88 patients underwent pre- and post-surgical personality assessments while treated for tumours, and the results were combined with lesion mapping procedures (to precisely locate lesions) after surgery to measure changes in a personality construct called Self-Transcendence (ST). It was found that patients with p........ Read more »
Urgesi, C., Aglioti, S., Skrap, M., & Fabbro, F. (2010) The Spiritual Brain: Selective Cortical Lesions Modulate Human Self-Transcendence. Neuron, 65(3), 309-319. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2010.01.026
Cloninger CR, Svrakic DM, & Przybeck TR. (1993) A psychobiological model of temperament and character. Archives of General Psychiatry, 50(12), 975-90. PMID: 8250684
By now, everyone who has been paying attention should know that a journal article which lists "editorial support" is an article that was ghostwritten. Yet the average reader of these articles is apparently uninformed enough to not care. Why else would so many articles get published which feature "editorial support provided by [insert name of ghostwriter here]." One my my favorite journals, under the "so bad, it's good" category, is the Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical P........ Read more »
Sexual ambiguity crosses species in this week's research roundup.... Read more »
Zhao, D., McBride, D., Nandi, S., McQueen, H., McGrew, M., Hocking, P., Lewis, P., Sang, H., & Clinton, M. (2010) Somatic sex identity is cell autonomous in the chicken. Nature, 464(7286), 237-242. DOI: 10.1038/nature08852
Yoon, J., Maddock, R., Rokem, A., Silver, M., Minzenberg, M., Ragland, J., & Carter, C. (2010) GABA Concentration Is Reduced in Visual Cortex in Schizophrenia and Correlates with Orientation-Specific Surround Suppression. Journal of Neuroscience, 30(10), 3777-3781. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6158-09.2010
Popescu, M., & Polley, D. (2010) Monaural Deprivation Disrupts Development of Binaural Selectivity in Auditory Midbrain and Cortex. Neuron, 65(5), 718-731. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2010.02.019
Aristov, V., Urbanik, G., Kummer, K., Vyalikh, D., Molodtsova, O., Preobrajenski, A., Zakharov, A., Hess, C., Hänke, T., Büchner, B.... (2010) Graphene Synthesis on Cubic SiC/Si Wafers. Perspectives for Mass Production of Graphene-Based Electronic Devices. Nano Letters, 10(3), 992-995. DOI: 10.1021/nl904115h
Continued from Part 1. After we had arrived at the new hospital and my nephew had been placed into the Pediatric ICU (PICU), the doctors started running more tests, and in conjunction with what the ER doctor had found out, my nephew was diagnosed with a seizure disorder or, as it is more commonly known, [...]... Read more »
Fisher RS, van Emde Boas W, Blume W, Elger C, Genton P, Lee P, & Engel J Jr. (2005) Epileptic seizures and epilepsy: definitions proposed by the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) and the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE). Epilepsia, 46(4), 470-2. PMID: 15816939
A report published yesterday in the UK by Professor Sir Liam Donaldson the UK Government's Chief Medical Officer, and the professional head of all medical staff in England, draws attention to the role of inactivity in the nations health. The report states that "the benefits of regular physical activity to health, longevity, well being and protection from serious illness have long been established. They easily surpass the effectiveness of any drugs or other medical treatment. The challenge f........ Read more »
Blair, S. (2007) 61 Physical inactivity: the biggest public health problem of the 21st Century. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 29-29. DOI: 10.1016/S1440-2440(07)70066-X
Two new articles in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment show that dramatic expansion of biofuel agriculture may reduce biodiversity and promote the spread of invasive species. The articles also make a number of recommendations for reducing the ecological impact from biofuel production. ... Read more »
Davis, A., Cousens, R., Hill, J., Mack, R., Simberloff, D., & Raghu, S. (2010) Screening bioenergy feedstock crops to mitigate invasion risk. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1890/090030
Symptoms of small pox, scarlet fever, measles, miliary fever, petechiae, rank itch and watery itch.
from Domestic medicine. Or, a treatise on the prevention and cure of diseases, by regimen and simple medicines.
by William Buchan (T. Nelson,London. 1846)
This is part II of “Measles Week”; see Part I for an explanation of what this is about, [...]... Read more »
Grenfell, B., Bjørnstad, O., & Kappey, J. (2001) Travelling waves and spatial hierarchies in measles epidemics. Nature, 414(6865), 716-723. DOI: 10.1038/414716a
Furuse, Y., Suzuki, A., & Oshitani, H. (2010) Origin of measles virus: divergence from rinderpest virus between the 11th and 12th centuries. Virology Journal, 7(1), 52. DOI: 10.1186/1743-422X-7-52
About ten years ago an overseas student from South Korea who was about to fail a unit I was teaching left a suicide note under my office door. She described herself as a “loser” who – in contrast to other overseas students – hadn’t got enough English to cope with her course. She wrote how [...]... Read more »
Song, J. (2010) Language ideology and identity in transnational space: globalization, migration, and bilingualism among Korean families in the USA. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 13(1), 23-42. DOI: 10.1080/13670050902748778
Being in good or excellent health increases the quality and quantity of sex for middle aged and older people, according to a big study that delved into the sex lives of 6,000 American adults aged 25-85. Plus being fit can keep you sexually active into a ripe old age, unlike your unhealthy peers.
The study also [...]... Read more »
Lindau, S., & Gavrilova, N. (2010) Sex, health, and years of sexually active life gained due to good health: evidence from two US population based cross sectional surveys of ageing. BMJ, 340(mar09 2). DOI: 10.1136/bmj.c810
Here's a interesting study. Simple experimental design. Take 165 undergraduate students and enroll them in a study you tell them is about memory and where as part of their reward for inclusion, they'll be given a snack. Ask half of them to memorize a 2 digit number and the other half a 7 digit number and once they've memorized their numbers ask them to go into a second room where they are faced with their snack choice - either a piece of chocolate cake or a cup of fruit salad. Track choice a........ Read more »
Shiv, B., & Fedorikhin, A. (1999) Heart and Mind in Conflict: the Interplay of Affect and Cognition in Consumer Decision Making. Journal of Consumer Research, 26(3), 278-292. DOI: 10.1086/209563
Sometimes the well-intentioned efforts of land managers can have unintended negative consequences for threatened species. In a new case study, researchers from Israel show how efforts by the national forestry agency to improve scrubland habitat in the Negev desert actually created an ecological trap for a highly endangered, endemic lizard...... Read more »
HAWLENA, D., SALTZ, D., ABRAMSKY, Z., & BOUSKILA, A. (2010) Ecological Trap for Desert Lizards Caused by Anthropogenic Changes in Habitat Structure that Favor Predator Activity. Conservation Biology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2010.01477.x
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