Post List

  • September 17, 2010
  • 10:33 AM

Can seabirds overfish a resource? The case of cormorants in Estonia

by Hannah Waters in Culturing Science – biology as relevant to us earthly beings

“Overfishing” is a term associated with resource depletion, extinction, and human greed.  While the definition of overfishing is technically a subjective measure (How much fishing is too much?), it has been widely accepted to mean catching more of an aquatic … Continue reading →... Read more »

Dulvy, N., Sadovy, Y., & Reynolds, J. (2003) Extinction vulnerability in marine populations. Fish and Fisheries, 4(1), 25-64. DOI: 10.1046/j.1467-2979.2003.00105.x  

Vetemaa, M., Eschbaum, R., Albert, A., Saks, L., Verliin, A., Jurgens, K., Kesler, M., Hubel, K., Hannesson, R., & Saat, T. (2010) Changes in fish stocks in an Estonian estuary: overfishing by cormorants?. ICES Journal of Marine Science. DOI: 10.1093/icesjms/fsq113  

  • September 17, 2010
  • 10:30 AM

the ongoing search for a simpler, neater universe

by Greg Fish in weird things

Astrophysics is not only a complicated discipline, but it’s becoming more and more esoteric, so much so that there seems to be an entire genre of deriving "groundbreaking papers" from obscure numerology, and the scientific community took a while to catch up with the Bogdanov brothers’ papers and show them to be just the sort [...]... Read more »

David F. Crawford. (2010) Observational evidence favours a static universe. n/a. arXiv: 1009.0953v1

  • September 17, 2010
  • 10:28 AM

Stegosaurus Week: Playing the Stegosaur Name Game

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Measuring diversity in the fossil record can be a tricky task. Short of inventing time travel, there will be always be some uncertainty about how many species of dinosaur existed at any one place and time, and as we learn more about the fossil record it may turn out that what we once thought to [...]... Read more »

Carpenter, K. (2010) Species concept in North American stegosaurs. Swiss Journal of Geosciences, 103(2), 155-162. DOI: 10.1007/s00015-010-0020-6  

  • September 17, 2010
  • 10:12 AM

Is Moral Psychology About Morals Or Their Function?

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

Quandaries such as those involving stealing a drug to save a spouse's life or whether or not to have an abortion have historically dominated the study of the development of moral thinking. The predominant research programs in psychology today use dilemmas in which one choice is deontologically correct (it is wrong to rotate a lever that will divert a train and kill one person instead of five), and the other is consequentially correct (kill one person if it will save five others).

Read the res........ Read more »

Haidt J. (2007) The new synthesis in moral psychology. Science (New York, N.Y.), 316(5827), 998-1002. PMID: 17510357  

  • September 17, 2010
  • 10:11 AM

Brain Port: Seeing With Your Tongue

by A. Goldstein in WiSci

It sounds like a science fiction movie: a blind man wearing sunglasses licks a plastic lollipop and can suddenly see. This device, however, exists today. The Brain Port—a contraption comprised of a tiny video camera attached to a pair of sunglasses linked to a plastic “lollipop”—is enabling the blind to see . . . with [...]... Read more »

BACH-Y-RITA, P., COLLINS, C., SAUNDERS, F., WHITE, B., & SCADDEN, L. (1969) Vision Substitution by Tactile Image Projection. Nature, 221(5184), 963-964. DOI: 10.1038/221963a0  

  • September 17, 2010
  • 10:09 AM

Brain Port: Seeing With Your Tongue

by agoldstein in WiSci

It sounds like a science fiction movie: a blind man wearing sunglasses licks a plastic lollipop and can suddenly see. This device, however, exists today. The Brain Port—a contraption comprised of a tiny video camera attached to a pair of sunglasses linked to a plastic “lollipop”—is enabling the blind to see . . . with their tongues.... Read more »

BACH-Y-RITA, P., COLLINS, C., SAUNDERS, F., WHITE, B., & SCADDEN, L. (1969) Vision Substitution by Tactile Image Projection. Nature, 221(5184), 963-964. DOI: 10.1038/221963a0  

  • September 17, 2010
  • 10:03 AM

Mice, Men and Alzheimer’s

by Isobel in Promega Connections

I know that results in mice do not always translate to humans. I know that. I know that clinical trials can take years and that there are many hurdles between the first promising result in an animal model and the actual development of some form of treatment. Nevertheless I could not stifle a surge of [...]... Read more »

Boyd TD, Bennett SP, Mori T, Governatori N, Runfeldt M, Norden M, Padmanabhan J, Neame P, Wefes I, Sanchez-Ramos J.... (2010) GM-CSF upregulated in rheumatoid arthritis reverses cognitive impairment and amyloidosis in Alzheimer mice. Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD, 21(2), 507-18. PMID: 20555144  

  • September 17, 2010
  • 09:56 AM

First step toward the holy grail of pain research? Molecular identity of a mechanically gated ion channel, Coste et al., 2010 Science


For as long as I have been in pain research (and long before I ever even thought about pain research) the topic of mechanically-gated ion channels has been a huge deal. The reasons are simple: 1) We obtain information about … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • September 17, 2010
  • 09:55 AM

Obese, but Metabolically Healthy: Is Weight Loss Beneficial? (Series Pt 5/5)

by Peter Janiszewski, Ph.D. in Obesity Panacea

So what have we learned thus far?
1. About a third of obese individuals fail to exhibit the metabolic complications commonly attributed to excess weight.
2. These same individuals also seem to be at the same relative risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease as equally healthy, but lean individuals.
3. Nevertheless, despite being metabolically healthy, some evidence suggests that excess weight may put such obese individuals at risk for early mortality due to other, non-metabolic, factors.
4. T........ Read more »

  • September 17, 2010
  • 09:40 AM

Survey of Scottish GPs and drug treatment

by Euan in Dr Euan Lawson| Doctor Writer

This was a follow up to a nationwide survey of GPs in Scotland completed in 2000. They used a similar questionnaire to the original study and sent it to a random sample of one in four Scottish GPs (n=1065). After a poor initial response they sent an abbreviated questionnaire on the key areas from the [...]... Read more »

Matheson C, Porteous T, van Teijlingen E, & Bond C. (2010) Management of drug misuse: an 8-year follow-up survey of Scottish GPs. The British journal of general practice : the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners, 60(576), 517-20. PMID: 20594442  

  • September 17, 2010
  • 09:06 AM

Glucosamine chondroitin = FAIL

by David Bradley in SciScoop Science Forum

Glucosamine and chondroitin do not work in alleviating the pain of osteoarthritis (of hip or knee), other than perhaps as an expensive placebo that sufferers who do gain some relief daren’t stop paying for. A new meta analysis of 10 trials amounting to 3803 patients has been carried out. On a 10 cm visual analogue [...]... Read more »

  • September 17, 2010
  • 09:00 AM

Big Brained Humans: A Dangerous Idea?

by Daniel Bassett in Chew the Fat

Predation is a key driver of biological systems over both ecological and evolutionary timescales. Thus, to understand our role as Homo sapiens within this evolutionary framework we must look to the animal kingdom to find our place. This is important for anyone following an evolutionary eating plan as it gives our species an ecological context, which we can consider when making choices about our lifestyle and diet. In the latest edition of Behavioral Ecology, Shultz & Finlayson utilised a range o........ Read more »

  • September 17, 2010
  • 08:59 AM

Ancient origins of the cerebral cortex

by Kevin Mitchell in Wiring the Brain

Just how special is the human brain? Compared to other mammals, the thing that stands out most is the size of the cerebral cortex – the thick sheet of cells on the outside of the brain, which is so expanded in humans that it has to be folded in on itself in order to fit inside the skull. The cortex is the seat of higher brain functions, the bit of the brain we see with, hear with, think with. In particular, one of its main functions is association – bringing sensory information together ........ Read more »

  • September 17, 2010
  • 08:43 AM

The lead isotope systematics of pregnancy and lactation

by Lab Lemming in Lounge of the Lab Lemming

Isotope geochemistry is useful for so many things that its application to fetal and maternal health can be overlooked. However, this does not diminish the value of isotopic studies to this field. Consider, for example, the groundbreaking ‘Russian Bride’* experiments of Gulson et al. Determining calcium loss and lead exposure in pregnant women is not easy. Most of the bodies calcium is stored ... Read more »

  • September 17, 2010
  • 08:30 AM

Critically evaluating Hershey’s/ADA’s The Moderation Nation campaign

by Colby in

Earlier this week I expressed some concern for a new health campaign by Hershey and the American Dietetic Association.  The campaign website is now launched as of Wednesday. Among my initial concerns that the number of people that will be … Continue reading →... Read more »

Ferriday D, & Brunstrom JM. (2008) How does food-cue exposure lead to larger meal sizes?. The British journal of nutrition, 100(6), 1325-32. PMID: 18466651  

Raynor, H., & Epstein, L. (2001) Dietary variety, energy regulation, and obesity. Psychological Bulletin, 127(3), 325-341. DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.127.3.325  

  • September 17, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Lorcaserin Data Fails to Convince FDA Advisors

by Arya M. Sharma in Dr. Sharma's Obesity Notes

After presenting to the FDA Advisory Committee on Sibutramine on Wednesday, I had to hurry off to join the faculty of the 2nd SCOPE Summer School on the Management of the Obese Patient, in Cambridge, UK.
Fortunately, I was able to follow most of yesterday’s FDA advisory meeting on the 5-HT2c antagonist lorcaserin (Lorqess), another obesity [...]... Read more »

Smith SR, Weissman NJ, Anderson CM, Sanchez M, Chuang E, Stubbe S, Bays H, Shanahan WR, & Behavioral Modification and Lorcaserin for Overweight and Obesity Management (BLOOM) Study Group. (2010) Multicenter, placebo-controlled trial of lorcaserin for weight management. The New England journal of medicine, 363(3), 245-56. PMID: 20647200  

  • September 17, 2010
  • 07:22 AM

Evolution and Costs of Firefly Lights

by Kevin Zelnio in The Online Laboratory of Kevin Zelnio

Photo from Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Light. It’s all around and is the foundation of much of planet. Plants on land or in the shallow seas use the power of light to catalyze a cascade of interactions that ultimately result in the foundation of our planet. Even in the deep sea the products of light find their way [...]... Read more »

  • September 17, 2010
  • 07:16 AM

Trade balances in microbial communities

by Becky in It Takes 30

So this week seems to be turning out to be cooperation week.  We talked about cooperative behavior of the proteins that make up the cytoskeleton on Monday, cooperation in breeding behavior in birds on Wednesday, and now it’s time to talk about cooperative behavior in bacteria.  If only I’d planned it in advance.  Ah well; [...]... Read more »

Wintermute EH, & Silver PA. (2010) Emergent cooperation in microbial metabolism. Molecular systems biology, 407. PMID: 20823845  

  • September 17, 2010
  • 06:03 AM

A Tale of Two Genes

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

An unusually gripping genetics paper from Biological Psychiatry: Pagnamenta et al.The authors discuss a family where two out of the three children were diagnosed with autism. In 2009, they detected a previously unknown copy number variant mutation in the two affected brothers: a 594 kb deletion knocking out two genes, called DOCK4 and IMMP2L.Yet this mutation was also carried by their non-autistic mother and sister, suggesting that it wasn't responsible for the autism. The mother's side of the f........ Read more »

Pagnamenta, A., Bacchelli, E., de Jonge, M., Mirza, G., Scerri, T., Minopoli, F., Chiocchetti, A., Ludwig, K., Hoffmann, P., & Paracchini, S. (2010) Characterization of a Family with Rare Deletions in CNTNAP5 and DOCK4 Suggests Novel Risk Loci for Autism and Dyslexia. Biological Psychiatry, 68(4), 320-328. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.02.002  

  • September 17, 2010
  • 06:00 AM

Paucis Verbis card: When murmurs need echo evaluation

by Michelle Lin in Academic Life In Emergency Medicine

Have you been in a situation where you are the first to detect a cardiac murmur in a patient? If you are hearing it in a busy, loud Emergency Department, I find that it's at least a grade III. Should you order an echocardiogram for further outpatient evaluation? It depends on the grade and characteristic of the murmur, in addition to the patient's symptoms. For instance, all diastolic murmurs require an echo. There is a useful ACC/AHA algorithm which helps you decide.Thanks to Amy Kinard, an Eme........ Read more »

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