Post List

  • December 24, 2010
  • 07:34 AM

Levels of evolution

by Lab Rat in Lab Rat

Eukaryotes - animals, plants, and other creatures with a nucleus, evolve relatively slowely. Genetic variation occurs through changes in the DNA between generations; each offspring will be a genetic product of their parents and nothing else. Genetic changes happen down the generations. In bacteria, however, everything is a little more insane. Because bacteria can change DNA with almost any other bacteria they come accross, there is less of a conserved genetic record. Genes are flying around all ........ Read more »

He, M., Sebaihia, M., Lawley, T., Stabler, R., Dawson, L., Martin, M., Holt, K., Seth-Smith, H., Quail, M., Rance, R.... (2010) Evolutionary dynamics of Clostridium difficile over short and long time scales. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(16), 7527-7532. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0914322107  

  • December 24, 2010
  • 07:07 AM

Simple Jury Persuasion: Are those folks in the jury box thinkers or feelers?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Here’s a nice and very simple persuasion tactic first presented at PsyBlog in their ongoing series on 10 forms of persuasion. They cite the recent work of Nicole Mayer & Zakary Tormala (2010) and discuss the natural tendency we have to see the world (and thus describe it) via either thinking (useless or useful) or [...]

Related posts:Simple Jury Persuasion: I’m too smart to fall for that!
Simple Jury Persuasion: You may want to disagree with this post
Simple Jury Persuasion: Don’t co........ Read more »

Mayer ND, & Tormala ZL. (2010) "Think" versus "feel" framing effects in persuasion. Personality and social psychology bulletin, 36(4), 443-54. PMID: 20363901  

  • December 24, 2010
  • 07:00 AM

Love Can Alleviate Pain

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

The early stages of a new, romantic relationship are associated with feelings of euphoria, which likely arise from brain mechanisms responsible for sensations of pleasure or reward. Imaging studies have shown that viewing pictures of a new, romantic partner elicits brain activity in multiple reward processing centers in the brain. Interestingly, these findings have now [...]... Read more »

Kelley AE, & Berridge KC. (2002) The neuroscience of natural rewards: relevance to addictive drugs. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 22(9), 3306-11. PMID: 11978804  

Master SL, Eisenberger NI, Taylor SE, Naliboff BD, Shirinyan D, & Lieberman MD. (2009) A picture's worth: partner photographs reduce experimentally induced pain. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 20(11), 1316-8. PMID: 19788531  

  • December 24, 2010
  • 06:15 AM

Dark energy as theoretical entity

by Jörg Friedrich in Reading Nature

Dark matter and dark energy are typical examples of what is known in the philosophy of science as “theoretical entity”: elements of theories, whose existence is hypothesized and their assumed properties and behaviours can be used for explanation of the … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • December 24, 2010
  • 05:47 AM

Placebos - now with added ethics!

by Richard Morrisroe in DisgruntledPhD

Placebo effects can be induced in patients without deception, according to a new study in PLoS One. The study was an open label (no blinding for patients) single blind (the investigators did not know which treatment participants were given) controlled trial in 80 people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The patients were followed for one month, with a baseline, end and midpoint assessment. According to validated self report measures for the syndrome, the patients who were given the pill i........ Read more »

Kaptchuk, T., Friedlander, E., Kelley, J., Sanchez, M., Kokkotou, E., Singer, J., Kowalczykowski, M., Miller, F., Kirsch, I., & Lembo, A. (2010) Placebos without Deception: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Irritable Bowel Syndrome. PLoS ONE, 5(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015591  

  • December 23, 2010
  • 11:12 PM


by teofilo in Gambler's House

Sand Canyon Pueblo, which I discussed in the previous post, is one of the best-known prehistoric communities in the Southwest due to the multi-year research program conducted there by Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in the 1980s and 1990s.  Crow Canyon selected it for this research for a variety of reasons, including its short period of [...]... Read more »

  • December 23, 2010
  • 09:08 PM

Three Cheers for Failure!

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

Last week I vowed to pay more attention to replication in psychology experiments. Repeated experiments are an important test of whether a finding is "really out there" or an accident, so, as a number of psychologists have been saying lately to the public, it is kind of a problem that many ...Read More
... Read more »

Jennifer V. Fayard, Amandeep K. Bassi, Daniel M. Bernstein, & Brent W. Roberts. (2009) Is cleanliness next to godliness? Dispelling old wives’ tales: Failure to replicate Zhong and Liljenquist (2006). Journal of Articles in Support of the Null Hypothesis, 6(2), 21-29. info:other/1539-8714

  • December 23, 2010
  • 08:34 PM

You wouldn’t lie to me, would you?

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

“Fake Pills Can Work, Even If Patients Know It” “Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Placebo Works Even if Patients Know” “Knowingly taking a placebo helps, study finds” “Sugar Pills Work Even When People Know They Are Fake” That’s just a sample of the headlines accompanying a new study on placebos published in PLoS ONE.  The study attempts [...]... Read more »

Kaptchuk, T., Friedlander, E., Kelley, J., Sanchez, M., Kokkotou, E., Singer, J., Kowalczykowski, M., Miller, F., Kirsch, I., & Lembo, A. (2010) Placebos without Deception: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Irritable Bowel Syndrome. PLoS ONE, 5(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015591  

  • December 23, 2010
  • 07:18 PM

How to make a transistor based on electron spin

by Joerg Heber in All That Matters

Last week I blogged about the potential of using the magnetic properties of an electron, its spin, for novel electronics. And already this week we have come a step further towards spin electronics through the demonstration of a spin-based transistor device! In spin electronics, it is the spin of the electron and not its electrical [...]... Read more »

Datta, S., & Das, B. (1990) Electronic analog of the electro-optic modulator. Applied Physics Letters, 56(7), 665. DOI: 10.1063/1.102730  

Wunderlich, J., Park, B., Irvine, A., Zarbo, L., Rozkotova, E., Nemec, P., Novak, V., Sinova, J., & Jungwirth, T. (2010) Spin Hall Effect Transistor. Science, 330(6012), 1801-1804. DOI: 10.1126/science.1195816  

  • December 23, 2010
  • 05:13 PM

Magical thinking enhances creativity

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

It's tough being an atheist dad at Christmas. I mean, the kids love the all the stories, the sense of drama, the sense of community and of being part of something big. They also love to think they have a magical friend who cares about them and watches over them.

But I still feel awkward looking them in the eyes and telling them that Santa is real. I guess it's the incorrigible rationalist in me. Arty types probably have it easier.

Well, here's a study that I was hoping would salve my conscienc........ Read more »

Subbotsky E, Hysted C, & Jones N. (2010) Watching films with magical content facilitates creativity in children. Perceptual and motor skills, 111(1), 261-77. PMID: 21058605  

  • December 23, 2010
  • 03:11 PM

Comparison of various DNA-Seq library prep methods

by epibio in EpiCentral

Adey et al. (in the laboratory of Jay Shendure, University of Washington) recently published a methods paper characterizing various library prep technologies for high-throughput DNA sequencing, including Epicentre’s Nextera™ technology. The publication highlights recent advances in DNA library preparation for next-generation sequencing, in order to overcome the bottleneck posed by earlier methods, i.e., labor, time, and lack of automation.

With Nextera technology, it is now possible to prep........ Read more »

  • December 23, 2010
  • 11:56 AM

I’m Bringing Home my Baby Bumble-Bee!

by John Carroll in Chronicles of Zostera

Won’t my mommy be so proud of me?
For a group of 8-10 year olds from an English elementary school, a group of parents are proud.  Why? Because their sons and daughters produced a science project whose results were published in the most recent issue of Biological Bulletin, a fairly prestigious accomplishment even for scientists who do . . . → Read More: I’m Bringing Home my Baby Bumble-Bee!... Read more »

Blackawton, P., Airzee, S., Allen, A., Baker, S., Berrow, A., Blair, C., Churchill, M., Coles, J., Cumming, R., Fraquelli, L.... (2010) Blackawton bees. Biology Letters. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.1056  

  • December 23, 2010
  • 11:24 AM

What Killed Alaska’s Dinosaurs?

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

In northern Alaska, along the banks of the Colville River, a series of fossil bonebeds preserve remnants of the Late Cretaceous world. These ancient environments were quite different from those found farther south. Even though the climate of Cretaceous Alaska was warmer than that of today, areas near the Colville River deposits were cold enough [...]... Read more »

  • December 23, 2010
  • 11:11 AM

Presents for the holidays – Plant pathogen genomes

by stajich in The Hyphal Tip

Though a bit cliche, I think the metaphor of “presents under the tree” of some new plant pathogen genomes summarized in 4 recent publications is still too good to resist.  There are 4 papers in this week’s Science that will certainly make a collection of plant pathogen biologists very happy. There are also treats for the [...]... Read more »

Baxter, L., Tripathy, S., Ishaque, N., Boot, N., Cabral, A., Kemen, E., Thines, M., Ah-Fong, A., Anderson, R., Badejoko, W.... (2010) Signatures of Adaptation to Obligate Biotrophy in the Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis Genome. Science, 330(6010), 1549-1551. DOI: 10.1126/science.1195203  

Spanu, P., Abbott, J., Amselem, J., Burgis, T., Soanes, D., Stuber, K., Loren van Themaat, E., Brown, J., Butcher, S., Gurr, S.... (2010) Genome Expansion and Gene Loss in Powdery Mildew Fungi Reveal Tradeoffs in Extreme Parasitism. Science, 330(6010), 1543-1546. DOI: 10.1126/science.1194573  

Raffaele, S., Farrer, R., Cano, L., Studholme, D., MacLean, D., Thines, M., Jiang, R., Zody, M., Kunjeti, S., Donofrio, N.... (2010) Genome Evolution Following Host Jumps in the Irish Potato Famine Pathogen Lineage. Science, 330(6010), 1540-1543. DOI: 10.1126/science.1193070  

Schirawski, J., Mannhaupt, G., Munch, K., Brefort, T., Schipper, K., Doehlemann, G., Di Stasio, M., Rossel, N., Mendoza-Mendoza, A., Pester, D.... (2010) Pathogenicity Determinants in Smut Fungi Revealed by Genome Comparison. Science, 330(6010), 1546-1548. DOI: 10.1126/science.1195330  

  • December 23, 2010
  • 10:59 AM

Depression Treatment Increased From 1998 to 2007

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

A paper just out reports on the changing patterns of treatment for depression in the USA, over the period from 1998 to 2007.The headline news is that increased: the overall rate of people treated for some form of "depression" went from 2.37% to 2.88% per year. That's an increase of 21%, which is not trivial, but it's much less than the increase in the previous decade: it was just 0.73% in 1987.But the increase was concentrated in some groups of people.Americans over 50 accounted for the bulk of ........ Read more »

Marcus SC, & Olfson M. (2010) National trends in the treatment for depression from 1998 to 2007. Archives of general psychiatry, 67(12), 1265-73. PMID: 21135326  

  • December 23, 2010
  • 09:43 AM

What Makes a Face Look Alive? Video

by APS Daily Observations in Daily Observations

No matter how good technology is, we can often tell the difference between a human face and an animated face. Being able to tell the difference allows us to pay ... Read more »

  • December 23, 2010
  • 09:43 AM

Top-down vs bottom-up approaches to cognition: Griffiths vs McClelland

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Two articles to be published in Trends in Cognitive Sciences debate the merits of approaching cognition from different ends of the microscope. The central issue is which approach is the most productive for explaining phenomena in cognition. Structured probabilistic takes a 'top-down' approach while Emergentism takes a 'bottom-up' approach.... Read more »

Griffiths, T., Chater, N., Kemp, C., Perfors, A., & Tenenbaum, J. (2010) Probabilistic models of cognition: exploring representations and inductive biases. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 14(8), 357-364. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2010.05.004  

McClelland, J., Botvinick, M., Noelle, D., Plaut, D., Rogers, T., Seidenberg, M., & Smith, L. (2010) Letting structure emerge: connectionist and dynamical systems approaches to cognition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 14(8), 348-356. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2010.06.002  

Zeil J, Hofmann MI, & Chahl JS. (2003) Catchment areas of panoramic snapshots in outdoor scenes. Journal of the Optical Society of America. A, Optics, image science, and vision, 20(3), 450-69. PMID: 12630831  

  • December 23, 2010
  • 08:54 AM

an instance of misconstrued media reporting: placebos

by Ragamuffin in How We Are Hungry

A most recent example of the media mis-representing scientific findings is the recent NPR report on placebos being equally effective in IBS patients as "the strongest prescription drugs", even when the patients knew that they were being given the placebo. This coverage was a translation of a study out of Harvard Medical, and published in PLoS ONE.... Read more »

Ted J. Kaptchuk, Elizabeth Friedlander, John M. Kelley, M. Norma Sanchez, Efi Kokkotou, Joyce P. Singer, Magda Kowalczykowski, Franklin G. Miller, Irving Kirsch, Anthony J. Lembo. (2010) Placebos without Deception: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Irritable Bowel Syndrome. PLoS. info:/

  • December 23, 2010
  • 08:10 AM

Autoimmune disease and inhalation of particulates

by ABK in Environment and Health

Airborne particulate matter appears to increase risk of diabetes, as discussed a few posts down and diabetics appear to have altered immune function according to a number of parameters. Diabetics have now been observed to have stronger indicators of immune response when air pollution levels (particulate matter in this case) are high. Schneider and Alexis (2010 . . . two first authors, congratulations all) observed increased blood levels of endogenous promotors of Activated Protein C Resistanc........ Read more »

  • December 23, 2010
  • 06:24 AM

The paradigm is dead, long live the paradigm!

by Razib Khan in Gene Expression

Mitochondrial DNA and human evolution: Mitochondrial DNA from 147 people, drawn from five geographic populations have been analysed by restriction mapping. All these mitochondrial DMAs stem from one woman who is postulated to have lived ab7out 200,000 years ago, probably in Africa. All the populations examined except the African population have multiple origins, implying that [...]... Read more »

Reich, David, Green, Richard E., Kircher, Martin, Krause, Johannes, Patterson, Nick, Durand, Eric Y., Viola, Bence, Briggs, Adrian W., Stenzel, Udo, Johnson, Philip L. F.... (2010) Genetic history of an archaic hominin group from Denisova Cave in Siberia. Nature. info:/10.1038/nature09710

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