By Paul Mason
Paul Mason is a PhD student at Macquarie University and frequent contributor to Neuroanthropology. He is well on his way to finishing his thesis, but occasionally shares his insightful columns on a wide range of topics here. Please note that the former ‘Fattest Man in the World’ is a different Paul Mason.
Have you ever woken up and not been able to move your body? For those people who have experienced this sensation, it is unnerving, surreal, and often quite stress........ Read more »
Magnin, M., Rey, M., Bastuji, H., Guillemant, P., Mauguiere, F., & Garcia-Larrea, L. (2010) Thalamic deactivation at sleep onset precedes that of the cerebral cortex in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(8), 3829-3833. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0909710107
One of the major thrusts of the research I've involved with in the last few years is in the world of "domestic introgression." Some times, when we move animals around, there will be a pre-existing wild form of that species. For reindeer transplanted to Alaska, it's the endemic caribou. Some mink farms are in areas that already have a wild mink population. And a dog is nothing, if not a very ... Read more »
SACKS, B., MOORE, M., STATHAM, M., & WITTMER, H. (2011) A restricted hybrid zone between native and introduced red fox (Vulpes vulpes) populations suggests reproductive barriers and competitive exclusion. Molecular Ecology, 20(2), 326-341. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2010.04943.x
The enzyme imidazole glycerophosphate synthase (IGPS) can be a bit of a lump. If you bind just one substrate it doesn't do anything, even though its two active sites are separated by more than 30 Å. Only if the second substrate also binds does catalysis actually go at anything like a respectable rate. In a recent paper in Structure researchers from Yale report evidence that this change of pace results from a change in dynamics.
Apo- IGPS from Thermatoga maritima
PDB code: 1GPW
IGPS consists o........ Read more »
Lipchock, J., & Loria, J. (2010) Nanometer Propagation of Millisecond Motions in V-Type Allostery. Structure, 18(12), 1596-1607. DOI: 10.1016/j.str.2010.09.020
Francis Thicke, agronomist and organic dairy farmer in Iowa, asks: Do you think there are unanswered questions about the health effects of GE foods? I have heard GE critiques frequently contend that there have been very few feeding trials on the health effects of GE foods, and that in the feeding trials that have been done, the results have raised questions about the safety of GE foods. For starters, what is your opinion Continue reading...... Read more »
Ewen SW, & Pusztai A. (1999) Effect of diets containing genetically modified potatoes expressing Galanthus nivalis lectin on rat small intestine. Lancet, 354(9187), 1353-4. PMID: 10533866
Citrus fruits are delicious. Their delicate balance of sweetness and tartness is a biochemical masterpiece. It's no wonder that they, of all nature's tasty options, are the highest value fruit crop in terms of international trade, with over 105 million tons produced annually. But these tempting produce face a persistant villain that seeks to destroy their roots; a menace known, cleverly, as the citrus root weevil.
The weevil's grubby larvae feed like maggots on the vital roots of citrus plants........ Read more »
Ali, J., Alborn, H., & Stelinski, L. (2010) Subterranean Herbivore-induced Volatiles Released by Citrus Roots upon Feeding by Diaprepes abbreviatus Recruit Entomopathogenic Nematodes. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 36(4), 361-368. DOI: 10.1007/s10886-010-9773-7
It is widely acknowledged that racial or ethnic discrimination can negatively affect a person’s health. But how can a scientist measure this impact? The treatment that a person encounters due to the color of their skin, their language, or their country of origin is likely a chronic stimulus, encountered over their entire life rather than [...]... Read more »
Lauderdale, D. (2006) Birth Outcomes for Arabic-Named Women in California Before and After September 11. Demography, 43(1), 185-201. DOI: 10.1353/dem.2006.0008
Do you write longhand or on a computer? How does this affect your writing process? I ran across a study with interesting results.
The researchers wanted to know how computer writing differed from pen and paper writing. They recruited university faculty and graduate students to write two reports, one on a computer and one on pen and paper. The participants were given background information for the reports (about a new system of bank charges and new company regulations) two days beforehand. ........ Read more »
VANWAES, L., & SCHELLENS, P. (2003) Writing profiles: the effect of the writing mode on pausing and revision patterns of experienced writers. Journal of Pragmatics, 35(6), 829-853. DOI: 10.1016/S0378-2166(02)00121-2
Africa has a new, old wolf. An animal that was previously called a subspecies of the golden jackal in Egypt has now been found to be a very rare relict species hiding in plain sight — an ancient gray wolf line still living today. Previously, it was thought that the Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis) was [...]... Read more »
Eli Knispel Rueness, Maria Gulbrandsen Asmyhr, Claudio Sillero-Zubiri, David W. Macdonald, Afework Bekele, Anagaw Atickem, Nils Chr. Stenseth. (2011) The Cryptic African Wolf: Canis aureus lupaster Is Not a Golden Jackal and Is Not Endemic to Egypt . PLoS ONE, 6(1). info:/10.1371/journal.pone.0016385
Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE ... Read more »
Mason, P.G., Appleby, M., Juneja, S., Allen, J., & Landry, J.-F. (2010) Biology and Development of Acrolepiopsis assectella (Lepidoptera: Acrolepiidae) in Eastern Ontario. The Canadian Entomologist 142(4):393-404. 2010 , 142(4), 393-404. info:/10.4039/n10-026
So, we've already discussed the fact that genomic imprinting is mediated through epigenetic differences between the maternally and paternally inherited gene copies. That is, at an imprinted locus, the maternally inherited allele will have one pattern of epigenetic modifications, while the paternally inherited allele has a different pattern. These differences are first established in the male and female germ lines, when the alleles that will eventually become maternally and paternally derived are........ Read more »
Holliday, R., & Pugh, J. (1975) DNA modification mechanisms and gene activity during development. Science, 187(4173), 226-232. DOI: 10.1126/science.1111098
Riggs, A. (1975) X inactivation, differentiation, and DNA methylation. Cytogenetic and Genome Research, 14(1), 9-25. DOI: 10.1159/000130315
I was surprised to discover the paper I’m about to present to you came out over a week ago. It didn’t cause much of a splash, yet it details a novel treatment for HIV. Ok, that’s overstating it a little bit, but it’s not far off. In order to explain exactly how this “aptamer-siRNA chimera” [...]... Read more »
Neff, C., Zhou, J., Remling, L., Kuruvilla, J., Zhang, J., Li, H., Smith, D., Swiderski, P., Rossi, J., & Akkina, R. (2011) An Aptamer-siRNA Chimera Suppresses HIV-1 Viral Loads and Protects from Helper CD4 T Cell Decline in Humanized Mice. Science Translational Medicine, 3(66), 66-66. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3001581
Back in 2009, a crack team of neuroscientists led by Craig Bennett (blog) famously put a dead fish into an MRI scanner and showed it some pictures.They found some blobs of activation - when they used an inappropriately lenient statistical method. Their point, of course, was to draw attention to the fact that you really shouldn't use that method for fMRI. You can read the whole paper here. The Atlantic Salmon who heroically volunteered for the study was no more than a prop. In fact, I believe he ........ Read more »
Bandoh H, Kida I, & Ueda H. (2011) Olfactory Responses to Natal Stream Water in Sockeye Salmon by BOLD fMRI. PloS one, 6(1). PMID: 21264223
The thorny relationship between neuroscience and clinical psychology... Read more »
Baxter LR Jr, Schwartz JM, Bergman KS, Szuba MP, Guze BH, Mazziotta JC, Alazraki A, Selin CE, Ferng HK, & Munford P. (1992) Caudate glucose metabolic rate changes with both drug and behavior therapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Archives of general psychiatry, 49(9), 681-9. PMID: 1514872
Holden, C. (2004) BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE: NIMH Takes a New Tack, Upsetting Behavioral Researchers. Science, 306(5696), 602-602. DOI: 10.1126/science.306.5696.602
In a fascinating article in the Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, Scott Highhouse discusses why legal protections provided to women under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 might have been included by lawmakers as a joke – or more specifically, as a way to make the bill so ridiculous that it would not pass a [...]
Some related articles on Neo-Academic:The Right to Internet Access
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Highhouse, S. (2011) The history corner: Was the addition of sex to Title VII a joke? Two viewpoints. . The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 48(3), 102-107. info:/
If you say "it's snowing hard out there," are you annoyed if no one gets up to shovel the walkway? Vexed, are you, by your intimates' inability to see what you meant? Do you think a long love's result should be near-wordless mind-reading? If so, here is some advice derived from the current issue of ...Read More
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Savitsky, K., Keysar, B., Epley, N., Carter, T., & Swanson, A. (2011) The closeness-communication bias: Increased egocentrism among friends versus strangers. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47(1), 269-273. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2010.09.005
One of the key principles of behaviour modification in chronic disease management is self-monitoring. This is why we ask patients with pain to keep a pain diary, patients with diabetes to monitor their glucose levels, patients with hypertension to measure their blood pressure, and patients with asthma to monitor their peak flow.
In obesity management, the [...]... Read more »
Burke LE, Wang J, & Sevick MA. (2011) Self-monitoring in weight loss: a systematic review of the literature. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 111(1), 92-102. PMID: 21185970
The value of pop culture data for legitimate research is being put to the test. Exactly what, if anything, can the reality show Big Brother tell us about language change over time?Voice Onset Time is a measure of how long you wait to begin vibrating your vocal folds after you release a stop consonant. Voiced stop consonants like /b/ and /d/ require two things: 1) stop all airflow from escaping the airway by closing the glottis and 2) after the air is released, begin vibrating the glottis (by usi........ Read more »
Max Ban, Peter Graf, & Morgan Sonderegge. (2011) Longitudinal phonetic variation in a closed system. Linguistic Society of America. info:/
Last night, my girlfriend informed me that she made some instant (sugar free, fat free) chocolate pudding 2 nights before. When opening the fridge to finish it off, it was green! I had never heard of this before. I don’t … Continue reading →... Read more »
Dykes GA, Timm RG, & von Holy A. (1994) Azoreductase activity in bacteria associated with the greening of instant chocolate puddings. Applied and environmental microbiology, 60(8), 3027-9. PMID: 8085839
Mindfulness is, it seems, in fashion. Every month there seems to be a new TV show or talkback hour on its wondrous curative powers. It made it into our Christmas Dinner Conversation and I am waiting for the mindfulness-branded t-shirts and environmentally friendly canvas shopping bags to emerge. Is it really that good? Well, fortunately [...]... Read more »
Zautra, A., Fasman, R., Davis, M., & Craig, A. (2010) The effects of slow breathing on affective responses to pain stimuli: An experimental study. Pain, 149(1), 12-18. DOI: 10.1016/j.pain.2009.10.001
Just when you think you understand how a gene works…BAM! Alternative splicing shows up and reminds us that there is so much yet to learn, even about a gene as well-studied as formin. Genes get transcribed into RNA, which gets translated into proteins. After transcription of a gene, different regions of RNA called exons and introns are either connected together (exons) or removed (introns) in a process called splicing. Some genes undergo a process called “alternative splicing” that allo........ Read more »
Iskratsch, T., Lange, S., Dwyer, J., Kho, A., Remedios, C., & Ehler, E. (2010) Formin follows function: a muscle-specific isoform of FHOD3 is regulated by CK2 phosphorylation and promotes myofibril maintenance. originally published in The Journal of Cell Biology, 191(6), 1159-1172. DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201005060
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