Sci couldn’t help but notice all the tweets going around the other day talking about how sex stressed you out but was ultimately good for you. She contemplated saving it for a Friday Weird Science, but it’s not THAT weird (though it is interesting), and anyway Sci has something brewing for teh weird skienz. So [...]... Read more »
Leuner B, Glasper ER, & Gould E. (2010) Sexual experience promotes adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus despite an initial elevation in stress hormones. PloS one, 5(7). PMID: 20644737
It is often said that the human brain develops and improves up to a certain age, then becomes stagnant for a while, then slowly (or not so slowly) deteriorates over time. This is an old conception that developed before we knew that neural connections are being modified constantly, and that it is even the [...]... Read more »
Berry, A., Zanto, T., Clapp, W., Hardy, J., Delahunt, P., Mahncke, H., & Gazzaley, A. (2010) The Influence of Perceptual Training on Working Memory in Older Adults. PLoS ONE, 5(7). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011537
So, astute readers may notice a name change here - I've decided to go back to my old WordPress blog title (which never had more than five posts over its year-long lifespan, a perfect example of my habit of enthusiastically starting projects and never following through). I used to own the domain motorchauvinist.com but no longer. Oh well. Blogger will do for the moment.Why motor chauvinism? I'd like to disassociate myself from the idea that I am in any way interested a) in cars and b) in denigrat........ Read more »
Increasing physical activity levels is one of the biggest public health challenges. Various environmental manipulations may provide pathways towards increasing the level of physical activity in children and adults.Several research studies support dog ownership as a correlate of increased physical activity levels. Coleman and colleagues examined the role of physical activity and weight status in households with and without dogs. Using the Neighborhood Quality of Life Survey, 32 neighborhoods in........ Read more »
Coleman KJ, Rosenberg DE, Conway TL, Sallis JF, Saelens BE, Frank LD, & Cain K. (2008) Physical activity, weight status, and neighborhood characteristics of dog walkers. Preventive medicine, 47(3), 309-12. PMID: 18572234
by Michele in Promega Connections
We owe a lot to frogs and toads. They help us welcome in spring and summer with their peeps, croaks and snores in the evenings. They serve as bioindicator species that alert us to damaged or toxic environments. And, now, they may even help us kick the fossil fuel habit. Biofuels, based on harvesting and [...]... Read more »
Wendell, D., Todd, J., & Montemagno, C. (2010) Artificial Photosynthesis in Ranaspumin-2 Based Foam. Nano Letters, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1021/nl100550k
To many, “snake eyes” is a bad bet at the craps table. To some, it’s a GI Joe character. To a very small, select group, it’s a minor addition to the oeuvre of Brian De Palma. *
Today, I want to look at the most literal meaning of the term imaginable. But, since this is a biology blog, you could probably guess that I was going to end up talking about the eyes of snakes.
I’m willing to bet that when most people visualize snake eyes, they think of something with a vertical slit for ........ Read more »
Brischoux F, Pizzatto L, & Shine R. (2010) Insights into the adaptive significance of vertical pupil shape in snakes. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2010.02046.x
The science of superheroes is taking a green and nasty turn this week as we discuss the largest superhero of them all, The Hulk. Join myself and our regular superhero expert Dr Boob as we delve into the science of how we might realise The Hulk in the lab. It was one of the more entertaining interviews I have done for the podcast.
Listen in to this show here (or press play below), and read further for more info:
The Hulk is alter-ego of Dr Bruce Banner, who allegedly bares a striking resembl........ Read more »
Shimomura, O., Johnson, F., & Saiga, Y. (1962) Extraction, Purification and Properties of Aequorin, a Bioluminescent Protein from the Luminous Hydromedusan,Aequorea. Journal of Cellular and Comparative Physiology, 59(3), 223-239. DOI: 10.1002/jcp.1030590302
I was looking to write about a new treatment, or something that is innovative, and you know, there isn’t a whole lot new out there in pain management land. If it wasn’t for Lorimer Moseley’s work on motor imagery and Lance McCracken’s work on acceptance, I think we’d be doing pretty much what I was … Read more... Read more »
McCracken, L., & Zhao-O’Brien, J. (2010) General psychological acceptance and chronic pain: There is more to accept than the pain itself. European Journal of Pain, 14(2), 170-175. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpain.2009.03.004
Biologists already know lots of reasons to encourage mathematicians to get hooked on biology. There’s structural biology; population genetics; epidemiology; ecology; bioinformatics; computational neuroscience; and yes, systems biology, to name but a few. But here is a new one. How long have we been studying Darwin’s finches? About 170 years. In all that time, nobody [...]... Read more »
Campas, O., Mallarino, R., Herrel, A., Abzhanov, A., & Brenner, M. (2010) Scaling and shear transformations capture beak shape variation in Darwin's finches. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(8), 3356-3360. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0911575107
File this one under cool data!Simple study published in Food and Nutrition Research to look at the differences between whole foods and processed foods and the calories the body utilizes to metabolize them (something called diet induced thermogenesis and also known as the thermic effect of food).18 subjects were enrolled in a cross-over study (meaning they each ate both test meals) whereby the thermic effect of food was measured following the ingestion of two different cheese sandwiches.One chees........ Read more »
Barr, S., & Wright, J. (2010) Postprandial energy expenditure in whole-food and processed-food meals: implications for daily energy expenditure. Food . DOI: 10.3402/fnr.v54i0.5144
I said in the previous pronghorn article that the modern pronghorn - Antilocapra americana - is but the tip of the phylogenetic iceberg, if you will; the only surviving member of a group that was previously far more diverse [the adjacent photo (from wikipedia) shows Ramoceros osborni. Yes, it really looked like that, read on].
As we'll see here, fossil pronghorns encompassed a reasonable amount of diversity: there were kinds with deer-like pseudo-antlers as well as others that superficially........ Read more »
Forced to wait for fifteen minutes at the airport luggage carousel leaves many of us miserable and irritated. Yet if we'd spent the same waiting time walking to the carousel we'd be far happier. That's according to Christopher Hsee and colleagues, who say we're happier when busy but that unfortunately our instinct is for idleness. Unless we have a reason for being active we choose to do nothing - an evolutionary vestige that ensures we conserve energy.
Consider Hsee's first study. His team offe........ Read more »
Hsee CK, Yang AX, & Wang L. (2010) Idleness aversion and the need for justifiable busyness. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 21(7), 926-30. PMID: 20548057
CNS Response are a California-based company who offer a high-tech new approach to the personalized treatment of depression: "referenced EEG" (rEEG). This is not to be confused with qEEG, which I have written about previously. What is rEEG? It involves taking an EEG recording of resting brain activity and sending it - along with a cheque, naturally - to CNS Response, who compare it to their database of over 1,800 psychiatric patients who likewise had EEGs taken before they started on various dru........ Read more »
DeBattista, C., Kinrys, G., Hoffman, D., Goldstein, C., Zajecka, J., Kocsis, J., Teicher, M., Potkin, S., Preda, A., & Multani, G. (2010) The use of referenced-EEG (rEEG) in assisting medication selection for the treatment of depression. Journal of Psychiatric Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2010.05.009
Last week I dropped John Safran’s name with reference to an anecdote he made on the radio. I noted, soon after, that he visited the site and linked to it from his twitter. This week, in celebration of knowing that sentient beings – and not just web-crawling viagra bots – visit my site I thought [...]... Read more »
Ysseldyk R, Matheson K, & Anisman H. (2010) Religiosity as identity: toward an understanding of religion from a social identity perspective. Personality and social psychology review : an official journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc, 14(1), 60-71. PMID: 20089847
Kay AC, Gaucher D, McGregor I, & Nash K. (2010) Religious belief as compensatory control. Personality and social psychology review : an official journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc, 14(1), 37-48. PMID: 20040614
Daaleman, T., & Dobbs, D. (2009) Religiosity, Spirituality, and Death Attitudes in Chronically Ill Older Adults. Research on Aging, 32(2), 224-243. DOI: 10.1177/0164027509351476
SCHWADEL, P. (2005) Individual, Congregational, and Denominational Effects on Church Members' Civic Participation. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 44(2), 159-171. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-5906.2005.00273.x
Khattab, N. (2009) Ethno-religious Background as a Determinant of Educational and Occupational Attainment in Britain. Sociology, 43(2), 304-322. DOI: 10.1177/0038038508101167
Yesterday, the New York Times carried a heart-breaking story about an exceptional school principal forced from her position under No-Child-Left-Behind legislation in order for the school district to obtain federal funding. It’s an instructive tale about the standardized-assessment tail wagging … Continue reading →... Read more »
Ruairc, G. (2009) 'Dip, dip, sky blue, who's it? NOT YOU': children's experiences of standardised testing: a socio-cultural analysis. Irish Educational Studies, 28(1), 47-66. DOI: 10.1080/03323310802597325
I am currently attending the 2010 International Meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) in Sanur, Bali (Indonesia). As I did a few weeks ago at the ICCB in Canada, I’m tweeting and blogging my way through. - Yesterday I attended a talk by my good friend Trish Shanley (formerly of CIFOR) [...]... Read more »
Shanley, P., & López, C. (2009) Out of the Loop: Why Research Rarely Reaches Policy Makers and the Public and What Can be Done. Biotropica, 41(5), 535-544. DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7429.2009.00561.x
I found a story kicking around the blogosphere this week that’s really got me irritated. According to a new study a bunch of American HIGH SCHOOL BIOLOGY TEACHERS were surveyed and asked to indicate their personal beliefs regarding evolution and the origin of human beings. The results of the survey were then presented in a fancy graphic by another group (go check it out, its depressing but shiny), the only purpose of which seems to be to deaden the impact of the astounding results.... Read more »
Berkman MB, Pacheco JS, & Plutzer E. (2008) Evolution and creationism in America's classrooms: a national portrait. PLoS biology, 6(5). PMID: 18494560
The presence of “gaps” in the fossil record is one of the main arguments creationists use against evolution. The transition from Coelurosaurian dinosaurs to birds is one such purported gap that creationists like to harp on about. Evolutionary biologists would argue that Archeopteryx fills this gap quite nicely, but this is disputed by creationists, who argue [...]... Read more »
SENTER, P. (2010) Using creation science to demonstrate evolution: application of a creationist method for visualizing gaps in the fossil record to a phylogenetic study of coelurosaurian dinosaurs. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2010.02039.x
Why shade coffee does not guarantee biodiversity conservation. 2010. Tejada-Cruz, C., E. Silva-Rivera, J. R. Barton, and W. J. Sutherland. Ecology and Society 15: [online] http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol15/iss1/art13/. The title of this paper should probably be "Does promoting shade coffee encourage forest...
... Read more »
C. Tejada-Cruz, E. Silva-Rivera, J. R. Barton, & W. J. Sutherland. (2010) Why shade coffee does not guarantee biodiversity conservation. Ecology and Society, 15(1). info:/
Research published in June shows that nanoparticles from the English Ivy might make superior sunscreen to current brands, offering high broad spectrum protection and lasting for longer than current creams.
The trend towards organics has influenced industries like food, coffee and shampoo as well as pretty much everything you can conceivably imagine. Over the past few [...]... Read more »
Xia, L., Lenaghan, S., Zhang, M., Zhang, Z., & Li, Q. (2010) Naturally occurring nanoparticles from English ivy: an alternative to metal-based nanoparticles for UV protection. Journal of Nanobiotechnology, 8(1), 12. DOI: 10.1186/1477-3155-8-12
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