Post List

  • March 15, 2010
  • 06:02 PM

Altruism has 3 degrees of separation

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

One of the mysteries of human behaviour is why we sometimes act with completely selfless altruism. When asked to play totally anonymous games in which we can cheat without anyone else ever finding out, very often we don't.Instead, we play the game fairly, which results in a cost to ourselves (compared with what we could've had) and a benefit to the stranger. That's a mystery because a evolution says that organisms which don't act to maximise benefit to themselves - whatever the cost to others -........ Read more »

Fowler, J., & Christakis, N. (2010) Cooperative behavior cascades in human social networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0913149107  

  • March 15, 2010
  • 05:16 PM

a marauding star vs. our solar system

by Greg Fish in weird things

Imagine a speeding star plowing through the Oort Cloud surrounding our solar system and sending a stream of comets towards the Sun, a number of them smashing into Jupiter or diverted by the Jovian gravity into the inner solar system where the Earth could easily careen into them. The impacts could easily cause the kind [...]... Read more »

Bobylev, V. (2010) Searching for Stars Closely Encountering with the Solar System. Astronomy Letters, 2010 Vol. 36, No. 3. arXiv: 1003.2160v1

  • March 15, 2010
  • 05:00 PM

The Drosophila Circadian Clock

by Allison in Dormivigilia

Today, we had a guest seminar speaker, Dr. Bridget Lear, who presented us with the molecular regulation of circadian locomotor activity in the Drosophila. By deleting several of specific genes and interfering with the kinetics of specific ion channels, Bridget is able to modify, and in most cases, eradicate organized circadian locomotor activity... Read more »

  • March 15, 2010
  • 01:04 PM

Dyslexia and Brain Connectivity: Insights from Periventricular Nodular Heterotopia

by Livia in Reading and Word Recognition Research

Accessibility Level:  Intermediate

One theory of dyslexia is that it stems from abnormal brain connectivity -- that faulty connections between different language areas result in reading difficulty. Now, some evidence from another condition offers some support for this theory.

Periventricular nodular heterotopia (PNH) is a neurological condition in which neurons don’t migrate to the correct

... Read more »

Chang, B., Katzir, T., Liu, T., Corriveau, K., Barzillai, M., Apse, K., Bodell, A., Hackney, D., Alsop, D., Wong, S.... (2007) A structural basis for reading fluency: White matter defects in a genetic brain malformation. Neurology, 69(23), 2146-2154. DOI: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000286365.41070.54  

  • March 15, 2010
  • 01:04 PM

Dry Spell

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Study contradicts idea that drought caused Amazon 'greening'

... Read more »

  • March 15, 2010
  • 01:01 PM

Hitting cancer’s Achilles’ heel

by Cancer Research UK in Cancer Research UK - Science Update

Like the mythical Greek hero Achilles, whose heel was his only vulnerable spot, we now know that cancer cells have certain weaknesses that we can exploit. The difficulty is finding them.
Today, new research from Professor Alan Ashworth and his team at The Institute of Cancer Research, who have already been involved in the exploitation of [...]... Read more »

Sarah A. Martin, Nuala McCabe, Michelle Mullarkey, Robert Cummins, Darren J. Burgess, Yusaku Nakabeppu, Sugako Oka, Elaine Kay, Christopher J. Lord, & Alan Ashworth. (2010) DNA Polymerases as Potential Therapeutic Targets for Cancers Deficient in the DNA Mismatch Repair Proteins MSH2 or MLH1. Cancer Cell. info:/10.1016/j.ccr.2009.12.046

  • March 15, 2010
  • 12:42 PM

Is Weight Loss Associated with Increased Risk of Early Mortality?

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

The current recommendations from major health organizations stipulate that if an individual has a BMI in the obese range (30 kg/m2), they should be counseled to lose at least 5-10% of their body weight. This advice appears to make some sense given that increasing body weight is generally associated with heightened risk of various diseases, and that reduction of body weight usually improves levels of risk factors for disease (e.g blood pressure, triglycerides, etc). However, the literature has be........ Read more »

  • March 15, 2010
  • 12:17 PM

Fumbling the Communication Baton in Patient Hand-offs

by Rob Mitchum in ScienceLife

As you may have gathered from various television dramas, medical residents work insane hours. A typical shift “on call” often means 30 straight hours on duty at the hospital, mostly spent on the time-intensive process of admitting new patients. People outside the medical profession often ask why such marathon shifts are necessary, and express surprise [...]... Read more »

Chang, V., Arora, V., Lev-Ari, S., D'Arcy, M., & Keysar, B. (2010) Interns Overestimate the Effectiveness of Their Hand-off Communication. PEDIATRICS, 125(3), 491-496. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2009-0351  

  • March 15, 2010
  • 12:00 PM

The bizarre history of rangeland management research

by JL in Analyze Everything

As with the paper from last Friday, today's paper comes from "Ecological Restoration", one of the few journals that is delivered, in print, to our office. So yeah, I've been reading through it. This paper is by Sayre (2010; full cite below) and is basically about how the cultural and scientific beliefs of those living in the desert southwest have shaped the way that restoration has occurred ... Read more »

  • March 15, 2010
  • 10:16 AM

How Loss Creates Depression And Growth

by Cole Bitting in Fable

The Creative Destruction of Loss: Can We Grow More Than We Wither?

Height is a trait: the taller the man, the greater the (evolutionary) fitness, at least to a certain point. The average height of a population closely approximates the optimal height. There is a distribution around this optimal norm: some are taller and some are shorter. Neuroticism,1 like height, is also a trait.

Language is an adaptation - an innate capacity baked into our DNA. Language skill is a trait, influenced by ge........ Read more »

  • March 15, 2010
  • 09:50 AM

Tumour associated macrophages and survival in Hodgkins Lymphoma

by Sally Church in Pharma Strategy Blog

While reading my pile of mail on Friday, I realised that an interesting paper on Hodgkins Lymphoma (HL) appeared in the current edition of the New England Journal of Medicine (full reference below). The basics of the paper are that...... Read more »

  • March 15, 2010
  • 09:36 AM

Programming DNA for Longevity

by agoldstein in WiSci

Turning on the hypoxic response in worms increases longevity!... Read more »

Mehta, R., Steinkraus, K., Sutphin, G., Ramos, F., Shamieh, L., Huh, A., Davis, C., Chandler-Brown, D., & Kaeberlein, M. (2009) Proteasomal Regulation of the Hypoxic Response Modulates Aging in C. elegans. Science, 324(5931), 1196-1198. DOI: 10.1126/science.1173507  

  • March 15, 2010
  • 09:30 AM

Pocket Science - a psychopath's reward, and the mystery of the shark-bitten fossil poo

by Ed Yong in Not Exactly Rocket Science

The rewarding side of being a psychopath

What goes on in the brains of psychopaths? They can seem outwardly normal and even charming, but tthese people typically show a lack of empathy, immoral behaviour and an impulsive streak. Joshua Buckholtz found that the last of these traits - impulsivity - may stem from a hyperactive reward system in the brain and unusually high levels of the signalling chemical dopamine.

When given small doses of amphetamines, people who come out as more impulsive on ........ Read more »

  • March 15, 2010
  • 09:28 AM

Sloppy Technicians and the Progress of Science

by Promega Corporation in Promega Connections

Entry 6 March 11, 2010 (from One Reader’s Journey through The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks)
Then, in 1953, a geneticist in Texas accidentally mixed the wrong liquid with HeLa and a few other cells, and it turned out to be a fortunate mistake. The chromosomes inside the cells swelled and spread out, and for the [...]... Read more »

Tjio JH, & Puck TT. (1958) THE SOMATIC CHOMOSOMES OF MAN. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 44(12), 1229-37. PMID: 16590337  

BAIKIE AG, COURT-BROWN WM, BUCKTON KE, HARNDEN DG, JACOBS PA, & TOUGH IM. (1960) A possible specific chromosome abnormality in human chronic myeloid leukaemia. Nature, 1165-6. PMID: 13685929  

PENROSE LS. (1962) Some clinical aspects of human cytogenetics. Postgraduate medical journal, 284-5. PMID: 14485139  

Hsu, T.C.,. (1952) Mammalian Chromosomes In Vitro: I The Karyotype of Man. J. Heredity, 167-172. info:/

  • March 15, 2010
  • 09:23 AM

Surveying the gut microbiota, cross dressing chickens and more, in my Picks of the Week, from RB

by Alejandro Montenegro-Montero in MolBio Research Highlights

Another week has gone by and some very interesting molbio blog posts have been aggregated to Every week [see my opening post on the matter], I'll select some blog posts I consider particularly interesting in the field of molecular biology [see here to get a sense of the criteria that will be used], briefly describe them and list them here for you to check out.Note that I'm ... Read more »

Qin, J., Li, R., Raes, J., Arumugam, M., Burgdorf, K., Manichanh, C., Nielsen, T., Pons, N., Levenez, F., Yamada, T.... (2010) A human gut microbial gene catalogue established by metagenomic sequencing. Nature, 464(7285), 59-65. DOI: 10.1038/nature08821  

Vijay-Kumar, M., Aitken, J., Carvalho, F., Cullender, T., Mwangi, S., Srinivasan, S., Sitaraman, S., Knight, R., Ley, R., & Gewirtz, A. (2010) Metabolic Syndrome and Altered Gut Microbiota in Mice Lacking Toll-Like Receptor 5. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1179721  

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  

  • March 15, 2010
  • 07:37 AM

An investigation into the effect of motivational climate on participant enjoyment of children’s athletics sessions

by PhD Blogger in Exercise Psychology

I thought today for some light relief I would post my undergrad dissertation.  As I can actually read it and feel OK about it, i reckon its not too bad, it also got quite a good grade  It can be downloaded in full here.  Don't submit it as your own!  That's cheating!  Any questions email me!The study was based on the using TARGET framework to influence motivational climate in children coaching sessions, the abstract is below;Grounded in Achievement Goal Theory (Maehr & Nicholls, 1980: Nicho........ Read more »

  • March 15, 2010
  • 07:00 AM

Quantifying the impact of land cover change on regional climate

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

Ecosystems can influence regional climate through biophysical regulation. Researchers test a method to help resource mangers quantify this ecosystem service and predict how land cover changes will affect climate...... Read more »

West, P., Narisma, G., Barford, C., Kucharik, C., & Foley, J. (2010) An alternative approach for quantifying climate regulation by ecosystems. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1890/090015  

  • March 15, 2010
  • 06:30 AM

Should scientists be in control?

by Björn Brembs in

The cliché scientist is often portrayed as the laborious worker slogging away days and nights in the lab. In contrast, the cliché for musicians or artists often comprises a bohemian lifestyle, full of parties, drugs and the occasional spurts of genius and frantic artistic expression. Reality, as always, is somewhere in-between. Artists need to work hard and laboriously to get something finished before the concert, recording or exhibition and scientists need to be creative and invest a lot of ........ Read more »

  • March 15, 2010
  • 06:10 AM

Measles week, part I: Introduction

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

Zhong Kui, a Chinese god, punishing two gods of measles (1862)

I’ve talked before about measles incidence and the effect of vaccination.  Now I’m going to spend this whole week talking about measles deaths, because I ended up with more than I could cover in one or two posts.  So this is Part I of a [...]... Read more »

  • March 15, 2010
  • 05:52 AM

How to Stop Smoking

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

1. Don't smoke.2. See 1.This is essentially what Simon Chapman and Ross MacKenzie suggest in a provocative PloS Medicine paper, The Global Research Neglect of Unassisted Smoking Cessation: Causes and Consequences.Their point is deceptively simple: there is lots of research looking at drugs and other treatments to help people quit smoking tobacco, but little attention is paid to people who quit without any help, despite the fact that the majority (up to 75%) of quitters do just that. This is good........ Read more »

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