Post List

  • February 12, 2010
  • 02:05 PM

The Lyme disease spirochete has flagella but doesn't use them in the gut of the feeding tick

by Microbe Fan in Spirochetes Unwound

The Lyme disease agent Borrelia burgdorferi possesses flagella, which are the thin motility structures owned by many members of the bacteria world.  Flagella propel bacteria towards their destination by spinning (read this post to see how flagella function in Borrelia).  It has been assumed B. burgdorferi spin their flagella whenever they need to move from one location to another.  A recent paper in The Journal of Clinical Investigation has demonstrated otherwise, at least for B. ........ Read more »

Dunham-Ems, S.M., Caimano, M.J., Pal, U., Wolgemuth, C.W., Eggers, C.H., Balic, A., & Radolf, J.D. (2009) Live imaging reveals a biphasic mode of dissemination of Borrelia burgdorferi within ticks. Journal of Clinical Investigation. DOI: 10.1172/JCI39401  

  • February 12, 2010
  • 01:49 PM

For Darwin Day: The Biogeography of Darwin's Gourd

by Jeremy in Voltage Gate

In September of 1835, Charles Darwin was visiting an island of Floreana, one of the smaller islands in the Galapagos archipelago where he came across crawling beds of Sicyos villosus, a fairly typical member of the squashes and cucumbers (Cucurbitaceae). Darwin noted that the cucurbit was "injurious" to the surrounding vegetation, referring to its prolific takeover of the landscape nearby.Darwin sent a sample of S. villosus (pictured above) back to Great Britain along with 209 other plants from ........ Read more »

  • February 12, 2010
  • 12:27 PM

Jane Guyer “on possibility”: another “How Is Anthropology Going” redux

by Kevin Karpiak in Kevin Karpiak's Blog

Some of you might remember a panel I organized, along with Chris Vasantkumar and Mattais Viktorin, at the 2008 annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association called “How Is Anthropology Going? An Inquiry into Movement, Mode and Method in the Contemporary World” (if not, you can read a bit more about it in an earlier [...]... Read more »

  • February 12, 2010
  • 11:58 AM

A lurker in the forest

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a fascinating little bugger. Certain strains can interfere with tumor suppressor genes leading to cancer, especially cervical, anal, and some mouth cancers. Other strains cause genital warts. The vaccine offered in the U.S. (Gardasil) protects against the two strains that cause most cancers and against two strains causing warts. The vaccine has the potential to change the way our population is affected by these diseases.

But we are still learning more about thi........ Read more »

  • February 12, 2010
  • 11:23 AM

Does It Mean A Thing If It ‘Ain’t Got Pink Bling? Gender Differences, Toys And The Psychology Of Color

by Kylie Sturgess in Podblack Blog

Upon discovering the podcast of a young pro-princess and pro-science podcaster, I reflect upon several studies on gender, toys and stereotypes - including a new one on picture books and the depiction of males and females.... Read more »

  • February 12, 2010
  • 10:32 AM

The Risks of Cutting Out the Middle-Doctor

by Rob Mitchum in ScienceLife

If you were very sick and weren’t getting better, you would probably go to a doctor. Same goes for if your child was sick; if the symptoms didn’t go away or were severe, a doctor’s appointment is the logical move. But what if you yourself were a doctor? And you were reasonably confident that you [...]... Read more »

  • February 12, 2010
  • 10:12 AM

The 3rd OBO Foundry Workshop 2010, Cambridge, UK

by Duncan Hull in O'Really?

The Open Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) [1] are a set of reference ontologies for describing all kinds of biomedical data shared in a centralised OBO Foundry. Every year, users and developers of these ontologies gather from around the globe for a workshop at the EBI near Cambridge, UK. Following on from the first workshop two years [...]... Read more »

Smith, B., Ashburner, M., Rosse, C., Bard, J., Bug, W., Ceusters, W., Goldberg, L., Eilbeck, K., Ireland, A., Mungall, C.... (2007) The OBO Foundry: coordinated evolution of ontologies to support biomedical data integration. Nature Biotechnology, 25(11), 1251-1255. DOI: 10.1038/nbt1346  

  • February 12, 2010
  • 09:58 AM

Leprosy and the Silk Road

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

Leprosy is a fascinating disease for many reasons.  Historical, because, well, it’s leprosy.  Genetic, because the bacterium is apparently derived from a single clone that infected humans some 4000 years ago,1 and that has undergone “massive gene decay” in the process of becoming an obligate pathogen:

Thus, since diverging from the last common mycobacterial ancestor, the [...]... Read more »

Monot, M. (2005) On the Origin of Leprosy. Science, 308(5724), 1040-1042. DOI: 10.1126/science/1109759  

Cole, S., Eiglmeier, K., Parkhill, J., James, K., Thomson, N., Wheeler, P., Honoré, N., Garnier, T., Churcher, C., Harris, D.... (2001) Massive gene decay in the leprosy bacillus. Nature, 409(6823), 1007-1011. DOI: 10.1038/35059006  

Monot, M., Honoré, N., Garnier, T., Zidane, N., Sherafi, D., Paniz-Mondolfi, A., Matsuoka, M., Taylor, G., Donoghue, H., Bouwman, A.... (2009) Comparative genomic and phylogeographic analysis of Mycobacterium leprae. Nature Genetics, 41(12), 1282-1289. DOI: 10.1038/ng.477  

  • February 12, 2010
  • 07:45 AM

Social flow - how doing it together beats doing it alone

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Ever had that wonderful, timeless feeling that arises when you're absorbed in a challenging task, one that stretches your abilities but doesn't exceed them? Pioneering psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi called this state 'flow'. Countless studies have shown that flow is highly rewarding and usually provokes feelings of joy afterwards. Little researched until now, however, is the idea of 'social flow', which can arise when a group of people are absorbed together in a challenging task. In a new ........ Read more »

  • February 12, 2010
  • 06:45 AM

Summer born lucky are born rich

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

If you want to feel lucky in life, make sure you are born to well-off parents and don’t worry about whether you’re birthday is in the summer or winter.
In 2005, well-known psychologist Richard Wiseman and his colleagues surveyed 30,000 people via the internet to see if there is a relationship between the season in which [...]Summer born lucky are born rich is a post from: Sciencebase Science Blog
... Read more »

Gerd Grözinger. (2010) Born lucky – or just lucky to be born rich? A note. Int. J. Public Policy, 5(4), 430-435. info:/

  • February 12, 2010
  • 05:13 AM

Supply Chain Risk: Invasive Species

by Jan Husdal in

With 90% of world trade carried by sea, the global network ships criss-crossing the oceans provide perhaps the most important mode of transportation, not only for human mobility and for the exchange of goods, but also for the spread of invasive species that “hitch-hike” with these ships, particularly in the ballast tanks. These invasive species [ ... ]... Read more »

Pablo Kaluza, Andrea Kölzsch, Michael T. Gastner, & Bernd Blasius. (2010) The complex network of global cargo ship movements. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. arXiv: 1001.2172v1

  • February 12, 2010
  • 04:02 AM

On the run-12Feb10

by Richard Grant in Faculty of 1000

Cancer Causes Cancer!
Well, that was the headline we should have gone with. It is of course a hat tip to the Daily Mail, a tabloid publication that is desperate to tell the UK population that just about everything causes cancer. (I found that website by googling ‘cancer causes daily mail’, which is in itself quite [...]... Read more »

  • February 12, 2010
  • 02:20 AM

As the worm turns

by ouroboros in Ouroboros: Research in the biology of aging

A couple of worm genomics papers caught my eye this week.
One is about using networks of genes as biomarkers. (The first author is our own turritopsis, and we extend our heartiest congratulations on the publication of this interesting paper.) It’s a neat idea: networks make better biomarkers than single genes; furthermore, thinking about genes [...]... Read more »

  • February 12, 2010
  • 02:17 AM

The Neuroscience of Meditation

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD

Meditation is different from rest or sleep. It’s a wakeful hypometabolic state with lowered sympathetic activity as opposed to the fight and flight reactions which requires an active sympathetic system. Parasympathetic activity is increased which is important for relaxation and rest. This increase of parasympathetic state is characterized by reduced heart rate, lower systolic blood [...]

Related posts:Neuroscience of Learning Arithmetic Maybe I have told you in the a previous...
The Ne........ Read more »

  • February 12, 2010
  • 12:22 AM

Friday Weird Science: Redder than a baboon's butt

by Evil Monkey in Neurotopia

...can Sci use "butt" in her post title? I guess we're going to find out!

Courtesy of NCBI ROFL, who gave me the idea to Pubmed this thing.

Ozkaya, E. "An unusual case of mercurial baboon syndrome: lasting seasonal attacks in a retired metalworker". Contact Dermatitis, 2008.

So what, you may ask, is baboon syndrome?

(Pics below NSFW. Really, it's Friday Weird Science, is this even a question by now?) Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

  • February 11, 2010
  • 11:23 PM

Tube ‘em & Move ‘em: The Data Set

by Brian McMichael, MD in Pallimed: a Hospice & Palliative Medicine Blog

On a large, retrospective, chart-review of residents of nursing homes with advanced cognitive impairment, on the rate of surgical or endoscopic gastrostomy tube (G-tube) placement during acute hospitalizations. ... Read more »

  • February 11, 2010
  • 08:12 PM

Measuring the Strength and Speed of the Microbial Grappling Hook

by Moselio Schaechter in Small Things Considered

by Amber Pollack-Berti I’ll admit, I’ve been in love with the type IV pili (T4P) for a long time. After memorizing all those complex pathways for regulation and metabolism, there was something so refreshing and accessible about pili. These bacterial surface appendages are, by their nature, mechanical structures. They are easy to visualize. Their composition is simple: a Type...... Read more »

Clausen M, Jakovljevic V, Søgaard-Andersen L, & Maier B. (2009) High-force generation is a conserved property of type IV pilus systems. Journal of bacteriology, 191(14), 4633-8. PMID: 19429611  

  • February 11, 2010
  • 04:57 PM

The brain surgery path to transcendence

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Transcendence: the belief that you are connected in ineffable ways to the world around you, that you are not limited by your body but can go beyond it in mysterious ways.The feeling of transcendence seems to be linked to the right parietal lobe. Brain scans of meditating Buddhist monks show decreased activity in this area, and people with brain damage in the region report feeling more spiritual.Now a new study has taken a closer look in patients undergoing surgery for brain tumours. Using a sens........ Read more »

  • February 11, 2010
  • 04:30 PM

Neil OConnell on A Cup of weak Qi

by Lorimer Moseley in BodyInMind

Brain imaging studies are often both fascinating and frustrating in equal measure. They shine a light on activity patterns within the brain that occur during various aspects of behaviour, movement and perception. The problem comes when we try to negotiate the minefield of drawing conclusions.
Acupuncture is a widely used and advocated treatment for pain (as [...]... Read more »

  • February 11, 2010
  • 03:17 PM

Protection against 2009 influenza H1N1 by immunization with 1918-like and classical swine viruses

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

Influenza A viruses typically cause severe respiratory disease mainly in the very young or the elderly. The 2009 swine-origin H1N1 virus is unusual because it preferentially infects individuals under 35 years of age. We’ve previously noted that being older is a good defense against 2009 H1N1 influenza virus, in part because older people have antibodies that [...]... Read more »

join us!

Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.

If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.

Register Now

Research Blogging is powered by SMG Technology.

To learn more, visit