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
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
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 »
Lear, B., Lin, J., Keath, J., McGill, J., Raman, I., & Allada, R. (2005) The Ion Channel Narrow Abdomen Is Critical for Neural Output of the Drosophila Circadian Pacemaker. Neuron, 48(6), 965-976. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2005.10.030
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
Study contradicts idea that drought caused Amazon 'greening'
... Read more »
Samanta, A. et al. (2010) Amazon forests did not green-up during the 2005 drought. Geophysical Research Letters, 37(5). DOI: 10.1029/2009GL042154
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
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 »
Ingram, D., & Mussolino, M. (2010) Weight loss from maximum body weight and mortality: the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Linked Mortality File. International Journal of Obesity. DOI: 10.1038/ijo.2010.41
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
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 »
Sayre, N. (2010) Climax and "Original Capacity": The Science and Aesthetics of Ecological Restoration in the Southwestern USA. Ecological Restoration, 28(1), 23-31. DOI: 10.3368/er.28.1.23
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 »
NETTLE, D. (2004) Evolutionary origins of depression: a review and reformulation. Journal of Affective Disorders, 81(2), 91-102. DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2003.08.009
Brewin, C., Gregory, J., Lipton, M., & Burgess, N. (2010) Intrusive images in psychological disorders: Characteristics, neural mechanisms, and treatment implications. Psychological Review, 117(1), 210-232. DOI: 10.1037/a0018113
Brewin, C., Dalgleish, T., & Joseph, S. (1996) A dual representation theory of posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychological Review, 103(4), 670-686. DOI: 10.1037/0033-295X.103.4.670
Watkins, E. (2008) Constructive and unconstructive repetitive thought. Psychological Bulletin, 134(2), 163-206. DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.134.2.163
Nettle, D. (2006) The evolution of personality variation in humans and other animals. American Psychologist, 61(6), 622-631. DOI: 10.1037/0003-066X.61.6.622
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 »
Steidl C, Lee T, Shah SP, Farinha P, Han G, Nayar T, Delaney A, Jones SJ, Iqbal J, Weisenburger DD.... (2010) Tumor-associated macrophages and survival in classic Hodgkin's lymphoma. The New England journal of medicine, 362(10), 875-85. PMID: 20220182
DeVita, V., & Costa, J. (2010) Toward a Personalized Treatment of Hodgkin's Disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(10), 942-943. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMe0912481
Kunisch, E. (2004) Macrophage specificity of three anti-CD68 monoclonal antibodies (KP1, EBM11, and PGM1) widely used for immunohistochemistry and flow cytometry. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 63(7), 774-784. DOI: 10.1136/ard.2003.013029
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
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 »
Godfrey, S., & Smith, J. (2010) Shark-bitten vertebrate coprolites from the Miocene of Maryland. Naturwissenschaften. DOI: 10.1007/s00114-010-0659-x
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 »
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
FORD CE. (1960) Human cytogenetics: its present place and future possibilities. American journal of human genetics, 104-17. PMID: 13823894
Hsu, T.C.,. (1952) Mammalian Chromosomes In Vitro: I The Karyotype of Man. J. Heredity, 167-172. info:/
Kottler MJ. (1974) From 48 to 46: cytological technique, preconception, and the counting of human chromosomes. Bulletin of the history of medicine, 48(4), 465-502. PMID: 4618149
Another week has gone by and some very interesting molbio blog posts have been aggregated to Researchblogging.org. 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
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 »
Ames, C. (1992) Classrooms: Goals, structures, and student motivation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84(3), 261-271. DOI: 10.1037//0022-06188.8.131.521
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
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 »
Liston, C., McEwen, B., & Casey, B. (2009) Psychosocial stress reversibly disrupts prefrontal processing and attentional control. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(3), 912-917. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0807041106
Radley, J. (2005) Repeated Stress Induces Dendritic Spine Loss in the Rat Medial Prefrontal Cortex. Cerebral Cortex, 16(3), 313-320. DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhi104
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 »
Armstrong, G. (1999) Trends in Infectious Disease Mortality in the United States During the 20th Century. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 281(1), 61-66. DOI: 10.1001/jama.281.1.61
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 »
Chapman S, & MacKenzie R. (2010) The global research neglect of unassisted smoking cessation: causes and consequences. PLoS medicine, 7(2). PMID: 20161722
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