Post List

  • November 18, 2010
  • 11:40 PM

Autism-Related Gene Spotlight: CNTNAP2

by Lindsay in Autist's Corner

Describes a gene encoding a protein in the neurexin family, Caspr2, that's involved in myelination and distribution of ion channels along axons. Disruptions of this gene have been associated with autism, epilepsy, Tourette syndrome, intellectual disability, schizophrenia and other neurodevelopmental disorders.... Read more »

Arking, D., Cutler, D., Brune, C., Teslovich, T., West, K., Ikeda, M., Rea, A., Guy, M., Lin, S., & Cook Jr., E. (2008) A Common Genetic Variant in the Neurexin Superfamily Member CNTNAP2 Increases Familial Risk of Autism. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 82(1), 160-164. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2007.09.015  

Bakkaloglu, B., O'Roak, B., Louvi, A., Gupta, A., Abelson, J., Morgan, T., Chawarska, K., Klin, A., Ercan-Sencicek, A., & Stillman, A. (2008) Molecular Cytogenetic Analysis and Resequencing of Contactin Associated Protein-Like 2 in Autism Spectrum Disorders. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 82(1), 165-173. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2007.09.017  

  • November 18, 2010
  • 08:50 PM

Dietary nitrate reduces oxygen cost of running and walking

by Colby in

Andrew Jones and his group at the University of Exeter are certainly busy lately.  I’ve reported on two of their papers on nitrate and exercise performance here and here.  They just published another in the Journal of Applied Physiology. In … Continue reading →... Read more »

Lansley, K., Winyard, P., Fulford, J., Vanhatalo, A., Bailey, S., Blackwell, J., DiMenna, F., Gilchrist, M., Benjamin, N., & Jones, A. (2010) Dietary nitrate supplementation reduces the O2 cost of walking and running: a placebo-controlled study. Journal of Applied Physiology. DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01070.2010  

  • November 18, 2010
  • 03:56 PM

Study: More Privilege Means Less Empathy

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

If you're a member of America's anxious middle class, you can feel downtrodden one minute and privileged the next, just watching the news. Here's some super-rich guy planning his run for President, way above you on the social ladder. Next, a story about destitute refugees, which reminds you that you ...Read More
... Read more »

Kraus, M., Cote, S., & Keltner, D. (2010) Social Class, Contextualism, and Empathic Accuracy. Psychological Science, 21(11), 1716-1723. DOI: 10.1177/0956797610387613  

  • November 18, 2010
  • 02:50 PM

GABA Neurons and Rett Syndrome

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Rett Syndrome is a rare (1 in every 10,000 to 15,000 live female births) neurodevelopmental disorder that occurs almost exclusively in young girls. This syndrome shares features with autism.  The disorder is caused by a mutation of the MECP2 (methyl-CpG-binding protein 2) gene (MECP2 translation protein diagram noted on the right).  This gene is found on the X chromosome. Infant boys born with the mutation typically die shortly after birth as they have no reserve X chromosome that may ........ Read more »

Chao, H., Chen, H., Samaco, R., Xue, M., Chahrour, M., Yoo, J., Neul, J., Gong, S., Lu, H., Heintz, N.... (2010) Dysfunction in GABA signalling mediates autism-like stereotypies and Rett syndrome phenotypes. Nature, 468(7321), 263-269. DOI: 10.1038/nature09582  

  • November 18, 2010
  • 02:50 PM

Discussion Has Little Effect on NIH R01 Funding Outcome

by Michael Long in Phased

Discussion of R01 grant proposals submitted to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), after they have received an initial funding priority score, generally has little effect on ultimate funding probability.... Read more »

  • November 18, 2010
  • 12:51 PM

Is there anything fish don't do!? Mucus-feeding and prolactin

by Daniel in Ego sum Daniel

Much of my work involves studying fish genomes. Over time I've gotten to know them pretty well and I can only conclude that fish are incredible and inordinately interesting creatures. Unfortunately fish have an undeservedly low standing in the eyes of the general public, as well as many researchers in more mammal-oriented fields, often being referred to as "lower vertebrates" in the great evolutionary story that led to "higher vertebrates" like mammals. In fact, more than half of all vertebrate........ Read more »

Buckley, J., Maunder, R., Foey, A., Pearce, J., Val, A., & Sloman, K. (2010) Biparental mucus feeding: a unique example of parental care in an Amazonian cichlid. Journal of Experimental Biology, 213(22), 3787-3795. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.042929  

Khong, H., Kuah, M., Jaya-Ram, A., & Shu-Chien, A. (2009) Prolactin receptor mRNA is upregulated in discus fish (Symphysodon aequifasciata) skin during parental phase. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 153(1), 18-28. DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpb.2009.01.005  

  • November 18, 2010
  • 11:15 AM

Does light controls your mood?

by Casey Rentz in Natural Selections

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about a study involving mice...and circadian rhythms: too much low light (day or night ) or insufficient bright light (during the day) can mess with circadian rhythms and cause bodily fatigue, jet lag, seasonal effective disorder, whatever you want to call it. It made me glad I walk to work in the bright sunshine every day and sad that my bedroom wall has big floor-to-ceiling windows.
This week, I read another study involving hamsters...and circadian rhythms: too much........ Read more »

Altimus CM, Güler AD, Alam NM, Arman AC, Prusky GT, Sampath AP, & Hattar S. (2010) Rod photoreceptors drive circadian photoentrainment across a wide range of light intensities. Nature neuroscience, 13(9), 1107-12. PMID: 20711184  

  • November 18, 2010
  • 11:00 AM

Giordano da Silva: Teaching Scientist

by Susan Steinhardt in The PostDoc Forum

Postdoc Gio da Silva is our Featured Scientist of the Month. Read on to find out more about his passion for the sciences and love of teaching as well as valuable tips about choosing a Postdoc lab and maintaining organization in the lab.... Read more »

  • November 18, 2010
  • 10:53 AM

Facing Homotherium

by Laelaps in Laelaps

When craftsman Ken Walker decided to reconstruct an Irish elk for the “recreations” category of the 2005 World Taxidermy Championships, he did not rely on bones alone. Skeletons of the extinct Pleistocene mammal – technically called Megaloceros giganteus – were in no short supply as references, but there are some things that bones just can’t [...]... Read more »

ANTÓN, M., GARCÍA-PEREA, R., & TURNER, A. (1998) Reconstructed facial appearance of the sabretoothed felid Smilodon. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 124(4), 369-386. DOI: 10.1111/j.1096-3642.1998.tb00582.x  

Gould, S. (1997) The exaptive excellence of spandrels as a term and prototype. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 94(20), 10750-10755. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.94.20.10750  

REUMER, J., ROOK, L., VAN DER BORG, K., POST, K., MOL, D., & DE VOS, J. (2003) LATE PLEISTOCENE SURVIVAL OF THE SABER-TOOTHED CAT HOMOTHERIUM IN NORTHWESTERN EUROPE. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 23(1), 260-262. DOI: 10.1671/0272-4634(2003)23[260:LPSOTS]2.0.CO;2  

  • November 18, 2010
  • 10:27 AM

Are big brains better for long trips in bats?

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

Previously, on NeuroDojo...

(M)igration causes brain size to reduce, rather than the other way around.
The quote might be a bit misleading, though, because that was in reference to bird migration. All manner of animals migrate, and it is possible that birds face pressure other creatures don’t.

A good first place to look for a comparison would be bats. Because despite being separate by several hundred millions years of evolution, bats have one very obvious similarity to birds: they fly. And, ........ Read more »

  • November 18, 2010
  • 10:15 AM

What Can Dolphins Tell Us About The Evolution of Friendship?

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

Scientists thought they had a pretty good handle on the social interactions of bottlenose dophins (Tursiops). They've used the term fission-fusion dynamics to describe dolphin (and non-human primate) society and so far it has served researchers well. Fission-fusion societies among dolphins are characterized by two levels of social hierarchy: groups of two or three related males ("first-order alliances") which work together to guard one or more females from other males, and larger teams compris........ Read more »

  • November 18, 2010
  • 08:51 AM

Is music cognition?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

Many studies of the evolution of music concern the question of what defines music Can birdsong, the song structure of humpback whales, a Thai elephant orchestra, or the interlocking duets of Gibbons be considered music? The answer is of course a simple ‘yes’. A definition of music can easily be stretched to include all types of sound, noises and even plain silence. As such it makes the discussion of what is and what is not music one of the most noticeable pitfalls in the study of music and e........ Read more »

  • November 18, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Effectiveness of “Traffic-Light” Food Labeling and “Junk-Food” Taxes

by Arya M. Sharma in Dr. Sharma's Obesity Notes

Two of the most commonly proposed population-wide measures to prevent and reduce the health burden of obesity are a simple front-of-package food label (green-yellow-red) and the taxation of junk foods.
But would such measures truly be cost effective?
This question was now addressed by Sacks and colleagues from Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, who modeled the cost [...]... Read more »

  • November 18, 2010
  • 07:20 AM

November 18, 2010

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

When you see the lovely images on the cover of a journal, you can be sure that those images are the tip of the iceberg for a cell biologist's “portfolio” of images. Today’s image complements the cover and accompanying paper in this month’s Journal of Biological Chemistry and deserves its own spotlight (yes, I’m referring to HighMag as a “spotlight”). The myosin family of actin motors is large and diverse. One myosin, Myo3A, is found in the stereocilia of the inner ear and has ........ Read more »

Quintero, O., Moore, J., Unrath, W., Manor, U., Salles, F., Grati, M., Kachar, B., & Yengo, C. (2010) Intermolecular Autophosphorylation Regulates Myosin IIIa Activity and Localization in Parallel Actin Bundles. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 285(46), 35770-35782. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M110.144360  

  • November 18, 2010
  • 07:00 AM

Are Rhesus Monkeys Self-Aware?

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Conventional wisdom from cognitive science posits that a variety of animals can recognize themselves in the mirror and, therefore, possess self-awareness. Traditionally, macaque monkeys have not been included among them, but a new study utilizing refined behavioral methods reveals that rhesus monkeys can indeed recognize themselves in the mirror. The results appear to reconcile a [...]... Read more »

Plotnik JM, de Waal FB, & Reiss D. (2006) Self-recognition in an Asian elephant. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103(45), 17053-7. PMID: 17075063  

Reiss D, & Marino L. (2001) Mirror self-recognition in the bottlenose dolphin: a case of cognitive convergence. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 98(10), 5937-42. PMID: 11331768  

  • November 18, 2010
  • 06:47 AM

Playing It SAFE

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Which nation is more sustainable: Albania or Angola? Before you place your bet, you might want to consult a new mathematical model that tries to improve efforts to grade countries on how they manage their resources for the long-term.
Although even experts don’t agree on exactly what “sustainability” means, there have been numerous efforts to […] Read More »... Read more »

Phillis, Y., Grigoroudis, E., & Kouikoglou, V. (2010) Sustainability ranking and improvement of countries. Ecological Economics. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2010.09.037  

  • November 18, 2010
  • 06:18 AM

CERN trap 38 atoms of antimatter

by Captain Skellett in A Schooner of Science

For the first time ever, antimatter has been trapped by a magnetic field allowing it to be studied in detail. The 38 atoms were antihydrogen, theoretically the same as hydrogen but having the opposite charge. Where hydrogen is made of one proton, one electron, antihydrogen is made with an antiproton and a positron. Antihydrogen was [...]... Read more »

Andresen, G., & et al. (2010) Trapped antihydrogen. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature09610  

  • November 18, 2010
  • 05:39 AM

Fractals in clouds – why clouds appear ‘cloudlike’

by Croor Singh in Learning to be Terse

Clouds have distinctive shapes. Or they seem to have distinctive shapes. It turns out that is likely due to the fractal nature of clouds. The fractal nature of clouds was first shown in this paper in Science, from 1982.... Read more »

  • November 18, 2010
  • 05:35 AM

Fractals in clouds

by Croor Singh in Learning to be Terse

Clouds have distinctive shapes. Or they seem to have distinctive shapes. It turns out that is likely due to the fractal nature of clouds. The fractal nature of clouds was first shown in this paper in Science, from 1982.... Read more »

  • November 18, 2010
  • 04:49 AM

Effects of sleep on Remembering to Remember

by Psychothalamus in Psychothalamus

Prospective memory is a class of memory that is unique in that it involves the future rather than the present or the past. Various examples of prospective memory include remembering to buy a pet monkey, or remembering to break up with your girlfriend or remembering to do that blasted thesis that you have been putting off for the umpteenth time. Hence, some researchers have called it the act of "remembering to remember" (Winograd, 1988). Although prospective memory is quite important for daily fu........ Read more »

Scullin MK, & McDaniel MA. (2010) Remembering to execute a goal: sleep on it!. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 21(7), 1028-35. PMID: 20519489  

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