Post List

  • January 29, 2010
  • 10:35 PM

Altruism-On-Demand: I’ll help, but only if you ask nicely…

by Kelsey in Mauka to Makai

On Thursday, scientists rescued a dog from the icy waters of the Baltic Sea…In December, a Portland, Maine “secret Santa” gave 100 strangers $100 apiece…And, so far, Americans have donated $29 million to American Red Cross Haiti relief efforts.
Humans are so darn nice. But how exactly did that happen? That’s what scientists at the Primate [...]... Read more »

Yamamoto, S., Humle, T., & Tanaka, M. (2009) Chimpanzees Help Each Other upon Request. PLoS ONE, 4(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007416  

  • January 29, 2010
  • 08:25 PM

Highly Successful Mosquito Attraction with a Synthetic Scent

by Michael Long in Phased

Fredros Okumu (Ifakara Health Institute, Tanzania) and coworkers have developed a cheap "synthetic scent" that mosquitoes find to be even more attractive than human scent, which will enable realistic, effective mosquito control in resource-limited nations. This news feature was written on January 29, 2010.... Read more »

Okumu, F. O., Killeen, G. F., Ogoma, S., Biswaro, L., Smallegange, R. C., Mbeyela, E., Titus, E., Munk, C., Ngonyani, H., Takken, W.... (2010) Development and Field Evaluation of a Synthetic Mosquito Lure That Is More Attractive than Humans. PLoS ONE, 5(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008951  

  • January 29, 2010
  • 07:58 PM

G-spots and Orgasms

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

The 80beats blog at Discover blogs is reporting on a French/British argument over the female G-spot. Personally, I’d assume that the French, who are supposed to be the world’s best lovers are right. (Have I mentioned that I’m half French? My Mom was born in Paris.)
The Brits did a study of 902 twin pairs – [...]... Read more »

  • January 29, 2010
  • 04:12 PM

Social Networking and Guidelines for Life Science Conferences

by Allyson Lister in The Mind Wobbles (Systems Biology and Bioinformatics)

Experiences in participation and guidelines for creating policy for the use of social networking in science conferences.... Read more »

  • January 29, 2010
  • 03:42 PM

Iron-plated Snail

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

This post contributed by Nadine Lymn, ESA Director of Public Affairs
Another example of the ingenuity of nature: researchers are finding inspiration in the extraordinarily strong exoskeleton of a deep-sea snail, Crysomallon squamiferum.  The mollusk’s iron-plated shell is giving researchers insights that could lead to stronger materials for airplane hulls, cars, and military equipment.
Researchers at the National [...]

... Read more »

Yao, H., Dao, M., Imholt, T., Huang, J., Wheeler, K., Bonilla, A., Suresh, S., & Ortiz, C. (2010) Protection mechanisms of the iron-plated armor of a deep-sea hydrothermal vent gastropod. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(3), 987-992. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0912988107  

  • January 29, 2010
  • 03:00 PM

Homology of the habenula in fish and mammals

by Tantalus Prime in Tantalus Prime

The habenula is a highly conserved structure in the vertebrate central nervous system. It doesn't matter if you look at mammals, reptiles, or fish, we all have it. It seems to be a relay center in communication between the forebrain (in mammals) and a whole host of midbrain structures, including the substantia nigra and raphe nuclei. These are the dopaminergic and serotonergic centers of the brain. So, you can understand why some who study addiction, schizophrenia, and/or depression are turn........ Read more »

Amo, R., Aizawa, H., Takahoko, M., Kobayashi, M., Takahashi, R., Aoki, T., & Okamoto, H. (2010) Identification of the Zebrafish Ventral Habenula As a Homolog of the Mammalian Lateral Habenula. Journal of Neuroscience, 30(4), 1566-1574. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3690-09.2010  

  • January 29, 2010
  • 12:11 PM

Science Behind the Warm Fuzzy Feeling

by Anne Welsh in Library Marginalia

Richard L. Hart's article finds no evidence through citation analysis for the higher quality of published articles from collaborative research. However, the quality of manuscripts submitted may be higher, so the author experience may be better.... Read more »

  • January 29, 2010
  • 11:45 AM

Canadian Kids - Heavier and Less Fit Than in 1981

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Image by Mike Baird.
For a couple weeks now I have been waiting to discuss a very important new paper published on data from the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS).  For nerds researchers like Peter and myself the CHMS is just about the coolest thing ever.  I'm going to go into a few of the many reasons as to why it's so great, but if you're willing to take my word for it, feel free to skip the next paragraph.

The CHMS is a nationally representative survey of 5,000 Canadians, whic........ Read more »

Mark S Tremblay, Margot Shields, Manon Laviolette, Cora L. Craig, Ian Janssen, & Sarah Connor Gorber. (2010) Fitness of Canadian Children and Youth: Results from the 2007-2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey. Health Reports, 21(1), 1-7. info:/

  • January 29, 2010
  • 10:30 AM

Parochial conservation

by CJA Bradshaw in ConservationBytes


A little bit of conservation wisdom for you this weekend.
In last week’s issue of Nature, well-known conservation planner and all-round smart bloke, Reed Noss (who just happens to be an editor for Conservation Letters and Conservation Biology), provided some words of extreme wisdom. Not pulling any punches in his Correspondence piece entitled Local priorities [...]... Read more »

Smith, R., Veríssimo, D., Leader-Williams, N., Cowling, R., & Knight, A. (2009) Let the locals lead. Nature, 462(7271), 280-281. DOI: 10.1038/462280a  

  • January 29, 2010
  • 09:24 AM

Ginkgo Biloba Ineffective… Again

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Many parents have cried “How many times do I have to tell you?” at their young children when trying to get their attention or emphasize specific behaviors. Now, pharmacists and other medical practitioners are beginning to feel like these parents: “How many times do we have to tell you that Ginkgo biloba is not all [...]... Read more »

Leistner, E., & Drewke, C. (2010) and Ginkgotoxin . Journal of Natural Products, 73(1), 86-92. DOI: 10.1021/np9005019  

Snitz, B., O'Meara, E., Carlson, M., Arnold, A., Ives, D., Rapp, S., Saxton, J., Lopez, O., Dunn, L., Sink, K.... (2009) Ginkgo biloba for Preventing Cognitive Decline in Older Adults: A Randomized Trial. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 302(24), 2663-2670. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2009.1913  

  • January 29, 2010
  • 09:21 AM

Giant Panda Genome: Answers About the Carnivore that Eats Plants

by Promega Corporation in Promega Connections

They are the cuddly, roly-poly giants that are the face of the wildlife conservation movement. Unfortunately, giant pandas have earned the honor. They are one of the most endangered species on earth. They are also something of an enigma. They are carnivores who subsist almost entirely on a diet of plants. They have opposable thumb-like [...]... Read more »

Li, R., Fan, W., Tian, G., Zhu, H., He, L., Cai, J., Huang, Q., Cai, Q., Li, B., Bai, Y.... (2009) The sequence and de novo assembly of the giant panda genome. Nature, 463(7279), 311-317. DOI: 10.1038/nature08696  

  • January 29, 2010
  • 09:00 AM

Predictive Value of Symptoms for Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer

by Robert Badgett in ClinDx

This study demonstrates a case of specialty societies prematurely promoting testing for their diseases. ... Read more »

Rossing, M., Wicklund, K., Cushing-Haugen, K., & Weiss, N. (2010) Predictive Value of Symptoms for Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer. JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute. DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djp500  

  • January 29, 2010
  • 07:31 AM

On destroying smallpox stocks

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

Smallpox pustules
(R. Carswell, 1831)

But despite these advances, there is far more that we simply do not understand about smallpox disease or its causative virus. The smallpox vaccine, vaccinia virus, remains the poster-child for human vaccines, but we have only begun to understand how vaccinia-induced immune responses protect vaccinees from orthopoxvirus infections.  …  In contrast, we [...]... Read more »

  • January 29, 2010
  • 04:45 AM

The Entropy of the Universe

by Alexander in The Astronomist.

First, what is entropy? The entropy of a system can be defined as proportional to (the natural log of) the number of microstates corresponding to the observed system macrostate. In this post I discuss a paper for anyone was wondering what the entropy of the observable Universe is.... Read more »

Chas A. Egan, & Charles H. Lineweaver. (2010) A Larger Estimate of the Entropy of the Universe. ApJ. arXiv: 0909.3983v3

  • January 29, 2010
  • 04:40 AM

What kind of Internet user are you?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Before Kraft's Executive Board had even heard of Cadbury's, there used to be an advert on British television that showed people eating Cadbury's cream-eggs in a number of odd and inventive ways. The tag-line was 'How do you eat yours?' Now a pair of Turkish researchers, Leman Tosun and Timo Lajunen, have taken a similar tack with Internet use, asking hundreds of undergrad students how they use their time on the global interweb.More specifically, the researchers were interested in whether the stu........ Read more »

  • January 29, 2010
  • 02:57 AM

Study links carnivore decline in protected areas to human persecution outside boundary

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

When it comes to protecting at-risk carnivores like the African leopard, conservationists need to pay particular attention to reducing persecution by humans at the edges of preserves. That's the take-home message from a new study in the journal Animal Conservation that looked at leopards in the contiguous Mkhuze and Phinda Game Reserves in South Africa...... Read more »

  • January 29, 2010
  • 12:01 AM

Friday Weird Science: Getting carpal tunnel could be more fun than you think

by Evil Monkey in Neurotopia

So after that whole myth about sex in space got thrown around and it turned out to be bunk (well, ok, I'm calling it bunk until I see the report my ownself, and I was SO happy to be able to say "". Blah), I figure I owe you guys some REAL Friday Weird Science. Or at least, a really amusing hypothesis.

Ah, Journal of Medical Hypotheses. Where would we be without the hilarious, half-baked meanderings of people who submit their lightly-supported ideas to a j........ Read more »

  • January 28, 2010
  • 09:54 PM

Fly-Through Restaurant

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Fishing boats offer "fast food" to seabirds

... Read more »

Bartumeus, F. et al. (2010) Fishery discards impact on seabird movement patterns at regional scale. Current Biology. info:/10.1016/j.cub.2009.11.073

  • January 28, 2010
  • 09:41 PM

Does Schizophrenia Need to Be Treated?

by Neuropsych15 in The MacGuffin

The short answer is "Yes."However, the dogma about the illness is one of chronicity, that is, schizophrenia is an illness of unremitting symptoms even with the best of treatments.Is this depiction accurate?Not entirely, according to Harrow et. al, who set out to answer this question (and many more) in the Schizophrenia Bulletin article "Do Patients with Schizophrenia Ever Show Periods of Recovery? A 15-year Multifollow-Up Study."The authors wanted to answer 4 questions:1. Do ........ Read more »

  • January 28, 2010
  • 07:51 PM

Dyslexia Brain Differences Show Up Before Formal Reading Instruction

by Livia in Reading and Word Recognition Research

Last time, we talked about early behavioral differences between prereading children that predicted future reading impairment. Today, we’re continuing on the theme of early predictive differences, this time in the brain.

The question of how early brain differences arise is a worthwhile one. We want to know whether the dyslexic brain is tackling reading differently from the very beginning or if these brain differences arise after some reading experience, perhaps reflecting compensatory s........ Read more »

Specht K, Hugdahl K, Ofte S, Nygård M, Bjørnerud A, Plante E, & Helland T. (2009) Brain activation on pre-reading tasks reveals at-risk status for dyslexia in 6-year-old children. Scandinavian journal of psychology, 50(1), 79-91. PMID: 18826418  

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