Post List

  • March 1, 2010
  • 05:55 PM

Elucidating Sleep and Reward Centers

by Allison in Dormivigilia

Elucidating Sleep and Reward Centers
March 1, 2010 - Author: Allison

It is rare for one to see an empirical article in a moderately-impactful journal, such as SLEEP, that solely reports about one case study (let alone have multiple affiliations……can we say out-sourcing/contracting the work?). I can overlook the extremely small sample size, however, because this study may help my lab elucidate a reciprocal relationship between sleep/wake and reward centers of the brain and relat........ Read more »

Smaranda Leu-Semenescu; Isabelle Arnulf; Caroline Decaix; Fathi Moussa; Fabienne Clot; Camille Boniol; Yvan Touitou; Richard Levy; Marie Vidailhet; Emmanuel Roze. (2010) Sleep and Rhythm Consequences of a Genetically Induced Loss of Serotonin. SLEEP, 33(3), 307-314. info:/

  • March 1, 2010
  • 05:07 PM

Is this why atheists are, on average, more intelligent?

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

There's a new paper out by Satoshi Kanazawa which is causing a bit of a stir. You might have seen something about it already - I'm a little behind the curve on this one, but on the plus side I have actually read the paper, unlike many other pundits!What's got people talking is the correlation between atheism and intelligence, although that isn't what the paper is actually about. It's already pretty well established that atheists tend, on average, to be more intelligent. This paper firms that fin........ Read more »

  • March 1, 2010
  • 03:42 PM

Official. Drinking alcohol leads to hangover

by Euan in Dr Euan Lawson| Doctor Writer

Hangovers offer rich pickings for complementary therapists. It’s the perfect fodder for alternative medicine. Give them an affliction almost completely characterised by a progressive recovery and they will be tumbling over themselves to offer ‘cures’. Staring bleary-eyed at the Sunday supplements the recommended homeopathic regime of nux vomica suddenly seem like a good idea. Rational [...]... Read more »

  • March 1, 2010
  • 02:29 PM

Decay Processes and Chordate Phylogeny

by Isabelle Winder in Going Ape

I have just read a Nature paper reporting some experimental work studying the pattern of decay in two soft-bodied species, Lampetra and Branchiostoma, which are thought to be the best proxies of the early chordates (chordates are the group of animals that includes the vertebrates and those invertebrates that are their closest relatives). The authors, Sansom et al. (2010), note that our understanding of the early evolution of the chordates is very sparse, in large part because the early chordates........ Read more »

  • March 1, 2010
  • 12:57 PM

What Attention Looks Like in the Human Brain

by Rob Mitchum in ScienceLife

The brain is essentially an electric organ. Other than slow chemical signals that pass between neurons, information is carried around the brain by electrical impulses, creating a noisy storm  that represents our senses, commands and thoughts. Experimentally, scientists can make some sense of this electric din by lowering an electrode into the brain and recording [...]... Read more »

  • March 1, 2010
  • 12:50 PM

On Software in Astronomy

by sarah in One Small Step

I’ve been giving some thought to software development in astronomy, which is a difficult topic. All astronomers agree that good data processing, and hence good software, is crucial to doing rigorous science. To interpret observational data, to translate electrons on a detector to scientific knowledge, requires a solid understanding of the instrument, the observing conditions, [...]... Read more »

C. Sandin, T. Becker, M. M. Roth, J. Gerssen, A. Monreal-Ibero, P. Böhm, & P. Weilbacher. (2010) p3d: a general data-reduction tool for fiber-fed integral-field spectrographs. accepted by A. arXiv: 1002.4406v1

  • March 1, 2010
  • 12:05 PM

Meat and Mortality

by (Travis Saunders) in Obesity Panacea

[Travis' Note:  We are getting much closer to announcing our exciting news about the future of Obesity Panacea.  We're working hard to get everything ready, and we'll make the announcement as soon as possible.  In the meantime, please enjoy another of our favourite posts from the Obesity Panacea Archives]

Photo by procsilas.
I have mentioned a few times in past posts that I believe a diet high in "plant-based" foods (fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts, whole grains, etc) is somethin........ Read more »

Sinha R, Cross AJ, Graubard BI, Leitzmann MF, & Schatzkin A. (2009) Meat intake and mortality: a prospective study of over half a million people. Archives of internal medicine, 169(6), 562-71. PMID: 19307518  

  • March 1, 2010
  • 11:42 AM

Uncovering the "Chimpanzee Stone Age"

by Laelaps in Laelaps

An adult chimpanzee in Bossou, Guinea uses hammer and anvil stones to crack nuts as younger individuals look on. From Haslam et al., 2009.

Before 1859 the idea that humans lived alongside the mammoths, ground sloths, and saber-toothed cats of the not-too-distant past was almost heretical. Not only was there no irrefutable evidence that our species stretched so far back in time, but the very notion that we could have survived alongside such imposing Pleistocene mammals strained credulity. C........ Read more »

Mercader, J., Barton, H., Gillespie, J., Harris, J., Kuhn, S., Tyler, R., & Boesch, C. (2007) 4,300-Year-old chimpanzee sites and the origins of percussive stone technology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(9), 3043-3048. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0607909104  

  • March 1, 2010
  • 11:19 AM

New Sauropod From Dinosaur National Monument Gets a Name

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Utah’s Dinosaur National Monument is best known for the exquisite collection of Jurassic-age fossils that have been discovered there since the beginning of the 20th century, but what is less well known is that more recent Cretaceous critters can be found there, too. When I visited the national park last summer I dropped by a [...]... Read more »

  • March 1, 2010
  • 11:00 AM

Evolving Molecular Machines: The Plant Edition

by Lab Rat in Lab Rat

Over at Thoughtomics, Lucas has a post up about the evolution of mitochondrial import systems. He starts by going back in time two billion years:"Life was well underway at the time, with proto-bacteria already populating the oceans for over hundreds of millions of years. One of the cells alive at the time, swallowed an alpha-proteobacterium. Something remarkable happened: the alpha-proteobacterium did not die but survived in the host cell. Over time, the host and symbiont became to be dependent ........ Read more »

  • March 1, 2010
  • 09:53 AM

Stars Born as Planets

by Invader Xan in Supernova Condensate

Planets are resilient things. They can survive a lot of punishment from their host stars, with some planets having survived being broiled and others even having survived being engulfed as their parent star swells into a red giant. Amazingly, the means by which planets form is no less hardy, for instance being formed in the debris left after a supernova as pulsar planets. So if the method for planet formation is so rugged, what would happen if you started out with an extremely massive star? Could........ Read more »

  • March 1, 2010
  • 09:33 AM

Small Hive Beetle Biocontrol

by Cheshire in Cheshire

Insect control in Apiaries is really difficult. Your product is an insect which pollinates crops, and it’s very valuable. Strawberries, blueberries, peppers, broccoli…you name a food and it’s probably pollinated by honeybees. They’re valuable. Really valuable. Like you and I would be dead without them valuable. Using pesticides around your bee colonies is a really [...]... Read more »

J. D. Ellis, S. Spiewok, K. S. Delaplane, S. Buchholz, P. Neumann, and W. L. Tedders. (2010) Susceptibility of Aethina tumida (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) Larvae and Pupae to Entomopathogenic Nematodes. The Journal of Economic Entomology. info:/

  • March 1, 2010
  • 09:26 AM

Curious About Herbal Supplements? Do Your Homework First.

by Terri Sundquist in Promega Connections

A recent article by Roger Byard in the Journal of Forensic Science about the potential forensic significance of herbal medicines (1) caught my attention. I was curious about the phrase “potential forensic significance”; what does that mean exactly? It became clearer to me when I read Byard’s recommendation that “the role of herbal medicines in forensic [...]... Read more »

Roger W. Byard. (2010) A review of potential forensic significance of traditional herbal medicines. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 55(1), 89-92. info:/10.1111/j.1556-4029.2009.01252.x

  • March 1, 2010
  • 07:53 AM

Journal Club Follow-Up: Coenzyme Q10

by Ragamuffin in How We Are Hungry

Many Parkinson's patients take Coenzyme Q10 supplements. As mentioned in the previous post, CoQ10 is part of the Electron Transport Chain -- a very important part, in fact, as it alleviates pressure on our precarious and susceptible-to-aging Complex I.... Read more »

Schapira AH. (1994) Evidence for mitochondrial dysfunction in Parkinson's disease--a critical appraisal. Movement disorders : official journal of the Movement Disorder Society, 9(2), 125-38. PMID: 8196673  

Morais, V., Verstreken, P., Roethig, A., Smet, J., Snellinx, A., Vanbrabant, M., Haddad, D., Frezza, C., Mandemakers, W., Vogt-Weisenhorn, D.... (2009) Parkinson's disease mutations in PINK1 result in decreased Complex I activity and deficient synaptic function. EMBO Molecular Medicine, 1(2), 99-111. DOI: 10.1002/emmm.200900006  

Storch, A., Jost, W., Vieregge, P., Spiegel, J., Greulich, W., Durner, J., Muller, T., Kupsch, A., Henningsen, H., Oertel, W.... (2007) Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial on Symptomatic Effects of Coenzyme Q10 in Parkinson Disease. Archives of Neurology, 64(7), 938-944. DOI: 10.1001/archneur.64.7.nct60005  

  • March 1, 2010
  • 07:43 AM

Antarctic climate change – the exception that proves the rule?

by Andy Russell in Our Clouded Hills

Antarctica has been in the news recently because two large icebergs (one about 60 miles long and the other about 50) have broken off the continent. These “calving” events often occur naturally and these ones are probably not linked to climate change, although they might affect the global ocean circulation.

But I thought that this [...]... Read more »

  • March 1, 2010
  • 07:39 AM

How looking away prevents pedestrian collisions

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

One day a friend and I were briskly strolling along a mall corridor, engaged in conversation, until something quite hilarious happened. A burly gentleman was quickly approaching my friend's direct line of trajectory. She and this man had to make either one of two choices; move to the left or to the right to avoid a disastrous collision. Simple, no? And so I thought. With about a foot between them, my tiny-sized friend and this large stranger began this seemingly unending and surprisingly well-co........ Read more »

  • March 1, 2010
  • 07:00 AM

Not all species are created equal (in the eyes of scientific study)

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

Not all species are equally important in the eyes of scientific research. As a new paper in the journal Conservation Biology shows, some types of species are much more commonly studied than others.... Read more »

TRIMBLE, M., & VAN AARDE, R. (2010) Species Inequality in Scientific Study. Conservation Biology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2010.01453.x  

  • March 1, 2010
  • 06:00 AM

The Missing Link in Protecting Against Back Pain

by Mike Reinold in

Sometimes we need to take a step back and think about some of the traditional recommendations for people with low back pain.  One such is the emphasis on abdominal strength, which alone may even cause more low back issues in some people.  Craig Liebenson has done an excellent job, as usual, highlighting this and giving some examples for working on the spinal extensors in the latest issue of the Journal of Bodywork and Movement...


... Read more »

Liebenson, C. (2010) The missing link in protecting against back pain. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 14(1), 99-101. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2009.10.002  

  • March 1, 2010
  • 05:00 AM

Medical school entrance exam favours white public school boys

by Helen Jaques in In Sickness and In Health

New research has found that the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT), introduced to level the playing field in selection for medical and dental schools, favours male applicants, white people, and students from a higher socioeconomic class or who attended an independent or grammar school.
In the UK, students take advanced level (A level) exams aged 18, [...]... Read more »

  • March 1, 2010
  • 04:59 AM

Can therapists tell when their clients have deteriorated?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

About five to ten per cent of the time, people in therapy get worse instead of better. What should psychotherapists do in such cases? Hang on a minute. There's no point answering that question unless therapists can recognise that a client has deteriorated in the first place. A new study tackles this precise issue, finding, rather alarmingly, that the vast majority of therapists appear blind to client deterioration. Derek Hatfield and colleagues took advantage of therapy outcome data gathered at ........ Read more »

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