Science continues with a series of essays commemorating the year of Darwin. This week (and by this week I mean the one I got this week, actually dated 6th of November) the topic is the evolutionary origins of religion.
This is quite an interesting topic to which I was first introduced with Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the spell: religion as a natural phenomenom. The central premise is that there could be evolutionary advantages to communities in which individuals follow ways of thi........ Read more »
Ning Fang (Iowa State University) and coworkers have combined the imaging capabilities of differential interference contrast microscopy with the optical properties of metal nanoparticles to develop a supplement to fluorescence imaging. This news feature was written on November 17, 2009.... Read more »
Sun W, Wang G, Fang N, & Yeung ES. (2009) Wavelength-Dependent Differential Interference Contrast Microscopy: Selectively Imaging Nanoparticle Probes in Live Cells. Analytical chemistry. PMID: 19788254
Glycoprotein 2 is the M cell receptor for type I pili on bacteria and is important for the immune response to these bacteria, according to research by Hase and colleagues published last week in the journal Nature.
The mucosal immune system is one of the largest components of our immune system and is hugely important for [...]... Read more »
Hase, K., Kawano, K., Nochi, T., Pontes, G., Fukuda, S., Ebisawa, M., Kadokura, K., Tobe, T., Fujimura, Y., Kawano, S.... (2009) Uptake through glycoprotein 2 of FimH bacteria by M cells initiates mucosal immune response. Nature, 462(7270), 226-230. DOI: 10.1038/nature08529
Who's more "sociable," men or women? Common sense says it's women, right? And many research studies back this impression up: Women are more interpersonal, more connected, more interdependent than men. Women are more likely to share intimate information with each other than men. But is that really the whole story?
There is also research suggesting that men have larger social networks than women do, and that male-male friendships last longer than female-female ones.
A team led by Joyce Benenson ........ Read more »
Fascinating research - often involving phantom limbs and smart sensory manipulations, -has shown that the brain’s body image relies heavily on learning via sensory feedback. This study shows the brain capable of reconstructing body image even in the absence of sensory feedback...... Read more »
Moseley GL, & Brugger P. (2009) Interdependence of movement and anatomy persists when amputees learn a physiologically impossible movement of their phantom limb. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(44), 18798-802. PMID: 19858475
How could I have missed this paper? I was preparing my 2009-lecture on supply chain risk for tomorrow and while looking for some YouTube videos on supply chain risk to spice up my 3-hour presentation, I came across a short snippet featuring Christopher Tang from UCLA, who was talking about three strategies for building a [ ... ]... Read more »
Tang, C. (2006) Robust strategies for mitigating supply chain disruptions. International Journal of Logistics, 9(1), 33-45. DOI: 10.1080/13675560500405584
If you are interested in phylogenomics and primate evolution — including human evolution — this new review in Genome Research is a must read.
Phylogenomics of primates and their ancestral populations
Genome assemblies are now available for nine primate species, and large-scale sequencing projects are underway or approved for six others. An explicitly evolutionary and phylogenetic [...]... Read more »
Siepel, A. (2009) Phylogenomics of primates and their ancestral populations. Genome Research, 19(11), 1929-1941. DOI: 10.1101/gr.084228.108
On the front page of this morning’s USA Today, the headline reads “Report: Mammograms may not be needed until age 50.“ The story covers the recent findings of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), published this month in Annals of Internal Medicine. In it, the “independent panel of experts” makes some rather startling recommendations. [...]... Read more »
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. (2009) Screening for Breast Cancer: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. Annals of Internal medicine, 151(10), 716-726. info:/
A protoplanetary disk rotating around a young star. (NASA)Francis Albarède published a review paper in the October 29th Nature on the source of water and other volatiles in the Earth-Moon system. I read it when it came out but the LCROSS results prompted me to revisit it. Here’s a portion of Albarède’s abstract:Accretion left the terrestrial planets depleted in volatile components. Here I examine evidence for the hypothesis that the Moon and the Earth were essentially d........ Read more »
Albarède, F. (2009) Volatile accretion history of the terrestrial planets and dynamic implications. Nature, 461(7268), 1227-1233. DOI: 10.1038/nature08477
By now, readers of Obesity Panacea (which just celebrated its 1 year anniversary!) have hopefully learned that excess weight is not directly predictive of health risk, and that excess fat mass is not in itself unhealthy. Recall that approximately 30% of individuals who are classified as obese by their body weight turn out to be metabolically healthy, and in fact seem not to get much metabolic benefit (or may even get worse) when they lose weight. Also consider that individuals who have NO fat ti........ Read more »
McLaughlin, T., Liu, T., Yee, G., Abbasi, F., Lamendola, C., Reaven, G., Tsao, P., Cushman, S., & Sherman, A. (2009) Pioglitazone Increases the Proportion of Small Cells in Human Abdominal Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue. Obesity. DOI: 10.1038/oby.2009.380
Here's a brain-scanning study with a difference. Most such tudies try to work out which parts of the brain are activated when people have religious thoughts. This new one looks at whether religious people have more or fewer nerve cells in different parts of their brains.It's by the team lead by Jordan Grafman that published a study earlier in the year on brain activation. This latest study uses data from the same brain scans.Basically, the deal is that they boiled their subjects' religious belie........ Read more »
A new study looks at wetland recovery on formerly reclaimed agricultural lands once farming practices are abandoned and the levees are breached...... Read more »
MacDonald, G., Noel, P., Proosdij, D., & Chmura, G. (2009) The Legacy of Agricultural Reclamation on Channel and Pool Networks of Bay of Fundy Salt Marshes. Estuaries and Coasts. DOI: 10.1007/s12237-009-9222-4
The appendix has long been considered a useless, vestigial organ, primarily based on the fact that it can be removed with no visibly harmful effects on the appendectomy recipient and that it is rather susceptible to severe inflammation. In fact, many theories have been proposed for its ancient purpose, ranging from being a place to allow plant matter to ferment to being a locale for crushed bones to be dissolved.
However, recent evidence posits that the appendix plays a crucial role in mainta........ Read more »
Smith HF, Fisher RE, Everett ML, Thomas AD, Bollinger RR, & Parker W. (2009) Comparative anatomy and phylogenetic distribution of the mammalian cecal appendix. Journal of evolutionary biology, 22(10), 1984-99. PMID: 19678866
Searching the archives of the BBC, Daily Mail or Guardian returns hundreds of results for date rape drugs, such as Rohypnol. Figures from Google Trends show that search volume for 'date rape drugs' or more specific terms like 'Rohypnol' has decreased since 2004, but remains high. Up and down the country, many people are convinced they have been a victim of date rape drugs, their fears fuelled by media scare stories and alarming reports from the usually sensible ACMD.
So it's a........ Read more »
Burgess, A., Donovan, P., & Moore, S. (2009) Embodying Uncertainty?: Understanding Heightened Risk Perception of Drink 'Spiking'. British Journal of Criminology, 49(6), 848-862. DOI: 10.1093/bjc/azp049
The emergence of oseltamivir (Tamiflu)-resistant 2009 H1N1 influenza virus in a Canadian family illustrates the basic concept that viral loads depend on the dose of antiviral drug.... Read more »
Baz M, Abed Y, Papenburg J, Bouhy X, Hamelin ME, & Boivin G. (2009) Emergence of Oseltamivir-Resistant Pandemic H1N1 Virus during Prophylaxis. The New England journal of medicine. PMID: 19907034
My friend Lauredhel, at the Hoyden About Town blog, made an interesting point about risk factors for swine-origin influenza virus (SOIV), and the perception of those risk factors in the press. The press has made a big deal of the putative link between obesity and risk of severe SOIV. But, as she pointed out back [...]... Read more »
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2009) Hospitalized patients with novel influenza A (H1N1) virus infection - California, April-May, 2009. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report, 58(19), 536-41. PMID: 19478723
Justin T Denholm, Claire L Gordon, Paul D Johnson, Saliya S Hewagama, Rhonda L Stuart, Craig Aboltins, Cameron Jeremiah, James Knox, Garry P Lane, Adrian R Tramontana.... (2010) Hospitalised adult patients with pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza in Melbourne, Australia. The Medical Journal of Australia, 1-3. info:/
Louie JK, Acosta M, Winter K, Jean C, Gavali S, Schechter R, Vugia D, Harriman K, Matyas B, Glaser CA.... (2009) Factors associated with death or hospitalization due to pandemic 2009 influenza A(H1N1) infection in California. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 302(17), 1896-902. PMID: 19887665
New South Wales public health network. (2009) Progression and impact of the first winter wave of the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza in New South Wales, Australia. Euro surveillance : bulletin europeen sur les maladies transmissibles , 14(42). PMID: 19883546
A while back I wrote about the possible adaptive function of somnambulism or sleep-walking. Well...I've come up with yet another hypothesis addressing a behavior falling under the category of parasomnias. Somniloquy or sleep-talking happens during stages of NREM sleep, the time declarative memory (i.e. factual knowledge) is consolidated. This seemingly bizarre behavior typically occurs in childhood and is outgrown by puberty. Presentation can vary from rhythmic nonsense words to long coherent sp........ Read more »
Gais S, & Born J. (2004) Declarative memory consolidation: mechanisms acting during human sleep. Learning , 11(6), 679-85. PMID: 15576885
About chocolate craving:
Research suggests that up to 97% of women and 68% of men experience food cravings. Chocolate is the most common one of the craved foods, typically high calorie.
A number of situations have been shown to experimentally increase cravings of chocolate consumption. For example,chocolate abstinence, stress and exposure to chocolate cues increase urges to [...]
Related posts:Chocolate Craving Research suggests that up to 97% of women and...Chocolate Prize Yes I won a pri........ Read more »
Hormes, J., & Rozin, P. (2009) Perimenstrual chocolate craving. What happens after menopause?. Appetite, 53(2), 256-259. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2009.07.003
Adaptive plasticity is a predictor of future reproductive fitness. The ability of an organism to confront ever-shifting environmental attributes with resilience and flexibility is critical to maintaining lineages with the capacity to undergo the morphological and behavioral modifications required for continued survival. Irregardless if such elastic traits are realized through major swings in ontogenic development, or through the advent of novel life-history strategies, the ability of an organism........ Read more »
Joseph Grinnell. (1917) The Niche-Relationships of the California Thrasher. The Auk, 34(4), 427-433. info:/
NCCAM has funded, to the tune of half a million dollars, of study of magnets and carpal tunnel syndrome.... Read more »
Colbert, A., Wahbeh, H., Harling, N., Connelly, E., Schiffke, H., Forsten, C., Gregory, W., Markov, M., Souder, J., Elmer, P.... (2007) Static Magnetic Field Therapy: A Critical Review of Treatment Parameters. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 6(2), 133-139. DOI: 10.1093/ecam/nem131
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