Post List

  • August 19, 2010
  • 08:00 AM
  • 1,158 views

Why is a spider like a Derringer?

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

The Derringer pistol:


Pros: Easy concealment. Stylish.

Con: You’ve only got one shot.

Argiope bruennichi of the male variety are rather like Derringer pistols. Because, you see, their sex organs tend to break during mating.

Yes. Break off.

You almost can’t help but wonder if being eaten by the female – which is the fate for a large percentage of them – isn’t almost a relief to the poor boys at that point.

When you only one shot at genetic glory, you would expect to aim at the ta........ Read more »

  • August 19, 2010
  • 07:30 AM
  • 822 views

Numbers on the Brain: Neurobiology of Mathematics

by Jason Goldman in Child's Play

Nearly everyone has heard of developmental dyslexia – a learning disorder characterized by poor reading skills despite otherwise sufficient schooling – but have you heard of developmental dyscalculia? Many people have not. Here is part 4 in a week-long series on this lesser-known learning disorder. Case-studies of patients with various brain lesions have demonstrated the [...]... Read more »

Ardila A, & Rosselli M. (2002) Acalculia and dyscalculia. Neuropsychology review, 12(4), 179-231. PMID: 12539968  

Dehaene, S. (2004) Arithmetic and the brain. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 14(2), 218-224. DOI: 10.1016/j.conb.2004.03.008  

Isaacs EB, Edmonds CJ, Lucas A, & Gadian DG. (2001) Calculation difficulties in children of very low birthweight: a neural correlate. Brain : a journal of neurology, 124(Pt 9), 1701-7. PMID: 11522573  

Dehaene, S, Piazza, M, Pinel, P, & Cohen, L. (2003) Three Parietal Circuits for Number Processing. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 487-506. info:/

  • August 19, 2010
  • 07:15 AM
  • 999 views

A voyage from molecular genetics to microbial ecology -- includes a fish tank and some cartoons

by Cesar Sanchez in Twisted Bacteria

The March issue of International Microbiology included a very nice article by Roberto Kolter, professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School. The title is Biofilms in lab and nature: a molecular geneticist’s voyage to microbial ecology (freely available as PDF).In the article, the author gives an entertaining account of the path that lead him to the study of biofilms -- that is, aggregations of microbes growing on solid substrates. He also highlights some of his rec........ Read more »

Roberto Kolter. (2010) Biofilms in lab and nature: a molecular geneticist’s voyage to microbial ecology. Int. Microbiol., 1-7. info:/10.2436/20.1501.01.105

  • August 19, 2010
  • 06:14 AM
  • 742 views

And so on, ad infinitum

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

Rosy Apple Aphid (Whalon lab, MSU) Normally I don’t talk about research that’s well covered elsewhere, but I like this one so much (and it links back to so many of my earlier posts; check the footnotes for those links) that I’ll make an exception here.  I’d seen bits and pieces of this story, but [...]... Read more »

  • August 19, 2010
  • 06:00 AM
  • 1,524 views

Evolution of Colour Terms: 3 Perceptual Constraints

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Continuing my series on the Evolution of Colour terms, this post reviews evidence for perceptual constraints on colour terms. For the full dissertation and for references, go here.

The perceptual space that results from the processing of opponent colours is non-uniform (see Figure below), meaning that there are optimal ways to describe it (Jameson & D’Andrade, . . . → Read More: Evolution of Colour Terms: 3 Perceptual Constraints... Read more »

  • August 19, 2010
  • 05:04 AM
  • 1,140 views

The final (?) word on those handaxes from Crete

by Julien Riel-Salvatore in A Very Remote Period Indeed

While everybody was busy talking about unexpectedly old cutmarks and other Pleistocene goings-on last week, the paper by Strasser et al. (2010) describing the discovery of quartz handaxe assemblages on Crete quietly came out in Hesperia. This is a topic that was discussed at length on this blog, in several posts that generated a large amount of comments a few months back. The sticking point of ... Read more »

  • August 19, 2010
  • 04:40 AM
  • 1,773 views

What is being taught in the operating room?

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD


You can think of a lot such as technical procedures or washing your hands. For residents it’s obvious. Mostly learning the technical procedure of an operation. During long operations I used to count the number of stitches. Once during a vascular operation the chief surgeon out of the blue asked what vessel it was they’re [...]


Related posts:Bedside teaching, Computer Based Learning and Wiki in Medical Education
Personalized Medical Education
Empathy for the Mentally Ill in Medical........ Read more »

Irani, J., Greenberg, J., Blanco, M., Greenberg, C., Ashley, S., Lipsitz, S., Hafler, J., & Breen, E. (2010) Educational value of the operating room experience during a core surgical clerkship. The American Journal of Surgery, 200(1), 167-172. DOI: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2009.06.023  

  • August 19, 2010
  • 12:00 AM
  • 1,616 views

Ultracold atoms as model systems

by Joerg Heber in All That Matters

One of the fundamental concepts of quantum mechanics is that objects can be described as waves, whether they are electrons, atoms, light, anything really, even your cat (or that of Erwin Schrödinger). And of course, if the equations that describe their wavefunctions are identical, objects will behave in the same way. Even if they are fundamentally different physical entities.

Two papers published this week highlight just how far this analogy can go. In one study a gas of ultracold atoms beha........ Read more »

Sherson, J., Weitenberg, C., Endres, M., Cheneau, M., Bloch, I., & Kuhr, S. (2010) Single-atom-resolved fluorescence imaging of an atomic Mott insulator. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature09378  

Manning, A., Hodgman, S., Dall, R., Johnsson, M., & Truscott, A. (2010) The Hanbury Brown-Twiss effect in a pulsed atom laser. Optics Express, 18(18), 18712. DOI: 10.1364/OE.18.018712  

  • August 18, 2010
  • 09:23 PM
  • 685 views

More poop Mommy; I'm hungry!

by The Science Pundit in The Science Pundit

A few years ago, a cousin of mine told me the story of the time she was at a public swimming pool (in Utah, I believe) when her infant son demanded to be fed. She did what came naturally: she began to breastfeed her son. This act didn't go over very well with at least one of the pool's patrons, who came over to my cousin and sneered "That's disgusting! I have young children and they don't need to see that!" My cousin mused on how curious it was that this lady wasn't bothered by her children ........ Read more »

  • August 18, 2010
  • 09:20 PM
  • 617 views

PAINTing Individual Protein Molecules in Neural Synapses

by Michael Long in Phased

Laurent Cognet (Universite de Bordeaux, France) and coworkers have used PAINT microscopy to track tens of thousands of protein binding events in cell membranes within a few minutes, extremely useful for unraveling secrets of cell membrane physiology. This news feature was written on August 18, 2010.... Read more »

Giannone, G., Hosy, E., Levet, F., Constals, A., Schulze, K., Sobolevsky, A. I., Rosconi, M. P., Gouaux, E., Tampé, R., & Choquet, D. (2010) Dynamic Superresolution Imaging of Endogenous Proteins on Living Cells at Ultra-High Density. Biophysical Journal, 99(4), 1303-1310. DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2010.06.005  

  • August 18, 2010
  • 09:08 PM
  • 684 views

Making autism research history: The Pre-school Autism Communication Trial

by Michelle Dawson in The Autism Crisis

Some months ago, Jonathan Green and his colleagues simultaneously published (in the Lancet) and presented (at IMFAR 2010) their multi-site RCT of an early autism intervention. In conducting and reporting the Pre-school Autism Communication Trial, they have made autism research history. They have done so simply by applying to autistics scientific standards that are well-established in non-autism non-ABA areas. The upshot is an autism early intervention trial whose results are worth serious consid........ Read more »

Green, J., Charman, T., McConachie, H., Aldred, C., Slonims, V., Howlin, P., Le Couteur, A., Leadbitter, K., Hudry, K., & Byford, S. (2010) Parent-mediated communication-focused treatment in children with autism (PACT): a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet, 375(9732), 2152-2160. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)60587-9  

  • August 18, 2010
  • 06:00 PM
  • 636 views

Parasite threatens many of Britain's best-loved birds

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

Emerging infectious diseases do not only affect humans. Wildlife is threatened as well, and an alarming report from Britain documents an avian tragedy of great proportions. Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

Robinson, Robert, Lawson, Becki, Toms, Mike, Peck, Kirsi, Kirckwood,James, Chantrye, Julian, Clatworthy, Innes, Evans, Andy, Hughes, Laura, Hutchinson, Oliver.... (2010) Emerging Infectious Disease Leads to Rapid Population Declines of Common British Birds . PLoS ONE, 5(8). info:/

  • August 18, 2010
  • 04:13 PM
  • 586 views

Is Seaweed the New Diet Food?

by agoldstein in WiSci

Diet medications may damage your liver, low-carbohydrate diets can cause kidney failure, and gastric bypass carries with it all the risks and complications of any body-altering surgery. However, recent research has suggested a slightly less risky fat-fighting alternative: seaweed.... Read more »

Brownlee, I., Allen, A., Pearson, J., Dettmar, P., Havler, M., Atherton, M., & Onsøyen, E. (2005) Alginate as a Source of Dietary Fiber. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 45(6), 497-510. DOI: 10.1080/10408390500285673  

Iain A. Brownlee, Chris J. Seal, Matthew Wilcox, Peter W. Dettmar and Jeff P. Pearson. (2009) Applications of Alginates in Food. Microbiology Monographs, 211-228. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-540-92679-5_9  

MacArtain, P., Gill, C., Brooks, M., Campbell, R., & Rowland, I. (2007) Nutritional Value of Edible Seaweeds. Nutrition Reviews, 65(12), 535-543. DOI: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2007.tb00278.x  

  • August 18, 2010
  • 03:24 PM
  • 593 views

The ecosystems within us

by Aaron Berdanier in Biological Posteriors

In the guts of each of us there are trillions of microbes. They provide us with "enhanced metabolic capabilities, protection against pathogens, education of the immune system, and modulation of gastrointestinal development" (De Filippo et al. 2010). The diversity of these organisms can play a role in the future development of disease. But, what makes our guts so diverse? As De Filippo et al. (2010) report, one main factor appears to be diet.... Read more »

De Filippo C, Cavalieri D, Di Paola M, Ramazzotti M, Poullet JB, Massart S, Collini S, Pieraccini G, & Lionetti P. (2010) Impact of diet in shaping gut microbiota revealed by a comparative study in children from Europe and rural Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 20679230  

  • August 18, 2010
  • 03:00 PM
  • 501 views

Direct Yearly Cost of Scientific Misconduct in the United States May Exceed $100 Million USD

by Michael Long in Phased

Arthur Michalek (Roswell Park Cancer Institute, United States) and coworkers show that scientific misconduct costs a tremendous amount of money, and is definitely not a "victimless crime." This news feature was written on August 18, 2010.... Read more »

  • August 18, 2010
  • 02:46 PM
  • 2,045 views

Recreational Mephedrone Brief (8/18/10)

by DrugMonkey in DrugMonkey

sourceThe recreational drug 4-methylmethcathinone (4-MMC; aka mephedrone, MMCAT) was legal in the UK up until mid April of this year. I had previously covered the only work in a behaving animal model that I could find, a paper using drug-discrimination techniques to evaluate the discriminative stimulus (aka, subjective) properties of several cathinone derivative compounds (but [...]... Read more »

  • August 18, 2010
  • 02:20 PM
  • 1,000 views

Noise Exclusion Deficits in Dyslexia

by Livia in Reading and Word Recognition Research

Accessibility:  Intermediate-Advanced



The human visual system includes two pathways, magnocellular and parvocellular, deriving from two types of retinal ganglion cells that project to different layers of the lateral geniculate nucleus. ...

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... Read more »

  • August 18, 2010
  • 01:13 PM
  • 1,193 views

Melatonin and Sleep Disorders in Children

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

I previously posted a study that found melatonin to be an effective treatment for insomnia among children with autism.  This post has been accessed via Google search more than any other Brain Posts.  It is apparent that many people are interested in the potential role of melatonin in treating sleep problems in children.There have been several research and clinical guideline manuscripts that address this issue.  A review of sleep disorders in children was published in Clinical Evid........ Read more »

  • August 18, 2010
  • 01:07 PM
  • 1,084 views

Metroculturalism

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Recent activity in academia and the blogosphere has been encouraging scientists and everyday people to get out of the mono-mindset. Is monolingualism a legitimate abstraction for scientists or is bilingualism a fundamental part of language?... Read more »

Otsuji, E., & Pennycook, A. (2010) Metrolingualism: fixity, fluidity and language in flux. International Journal of Multilingualism, 7(3), 240-254. DOI: 10.1080/14790710903414331  

  • August 18, 2010
  • 12:01 PM
  • 1,448 views

Snowball Earth no problem for sponges

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

Evidence from numerous sources seems to be converging to suggest that sponges - the first animals - emerged much earlier than the beginning of the Cambrian, and apparently sailed through severe climatic events in the Cryogenian without much trouble at all. Continue reading →... Read more »

Maloof, A., Rose, C., Beach, R., Samuels, B., Calmet, C., Erwin, D., Poirier, G., Yao, N., & Simons, F. (2010) Possible animal-body fossils in pre-Marinoan limestones from South Australia. Nature Geoscience. DOI: 10.1038/ngeo934  

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