Post List

  • January 26, 2011
  • 11:24 PM
  • 448 views

Weapon of Choice

by Alex in ionpsych

If you see psychology research in the press these days, chances are it comes complete with a pretty fMRI picture, the ones with the brain covered in lights showing which parts are working more.  It’s less likely that you’ve seen … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 26, 2011
  • 10:26 PM
  • 791 views

Statistics: Friend or Foe?

by zacharoo in Lawn Chair Anthropology

In this week's Science, Greg Miller describes recent uproar about a study that claims to have scientific support for the existence of extrasensory perception (ESP). Of course, ESP being in the realm of the paranormal, it ought to be somewhat outside the purview of Big Science.But who cares about ESP?! What comes under scrutiny is statistics, the mathematical theory underlying hypothesis testing. And inference. The brief story is worth a read, as it cites statisticians on what these statistical t........ Read more »

  • January 26, 2011
  • 09:37 PM
  • 968 views

Is abortion associated with mental illness?

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

Anti-abortion groups, having largely failed to convince the American public that abortion is morally abhorrent, have tried to shift the debate to their concern about women’s health.  The same groups who would forbid abortion after rape or incest, or when the mother’s life is endangered claim to be saving women from “post-abortion syndrome”, a mythical [...]... Read more »

Munk-Olsen, T., Laursen, T., Pedersen, C., Lidegaard, �., & Mortensen, P. (2011) Induced First-Trimester Abortion and Risk of Mental Disorder. New England Journal of Medicine, 364(4), 332-339. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0905882  

  • January 26, 2011
  • 09:18 PM
  • 852 views

Bacterial Protection in the Digestive System

by Michael Long in Phased

Some protective bacterial strains help defend against a dangerous bacterial infection in mice by producing acetate, which hinders toxin transport into the blood.... Read more »

Fukuda, S., Toh, H., Hase, K., Oshima, K., Nakanishi, Y., Yoshimura, K., Tobe, T., Clarke, J. M., Topping, D. L., Suzuki, T.... (2011) Bifidobacteria can protect from enteropathogenic infection through production of acetate. Nature, 469(7331), 543-547. DOI: 10.1038/nature09646  

  • January 26, 2011
  • 09:14 PM
  • 1,771 views

Jumbo Shrimps: Why Mega-Mammals Still Looked Puny Next to the Biggest Dinosaurs

by Laelaps in Laelaps

Imagine a rhinoceros. For the sake of argument, let’s say it’s a white rhinoceros. Don’t worry if you can’t envision every little anatomical flourish in your mind. We’re going to modify this beast a bit.
First thing’s first – lose the horn. We have no use for it. Next, lengthen the neck a bit. Not too [...]... Read more »

Smith, F., Boyer, A., Brown, J., Costa, D., Dayan, T., Ernest, S., Evans, A., Fortelius, M., Gittleman, J., Hamilton, M.... (2010) The Evolution of Maximum Body Size of Terrestrial Mammals. Science, 330(6008), 1216-1219. DOI: 10.1126/science.1194830  

Burness, G. (2001) Dinosaurs, dragons, and dwarfs: The evolution of maximal body size. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 98(25), 14518-14523. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.251548698  

Wedel, M. (2009) Evidence for bird-like air sacs in saurischian dinosaurs. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological Genetics and Physiology, 311A(8), 611-628. DOI: 10.1002/jez.513  

  • January 26, 2011
  • 09:00 PM
  • 944 views

To be as smart as bacteria

by avi_wener in The European Biotechnologist

The bacteria have done it again. Several months ago in a post entitled Brilliant Bacteria we told you about two stories of bacterial genius. In the first story, we described the work of a team from the Weizmann Institute in Israel that found that E. coli have the ability to comprehend the present and use [...]... Read more »

  • January 26, 2011
  • 08:36 PM
  • 1,427 views

On the relation between auditory-motor area Spt and conduction aphasia

by Greg Hickok in Talking Brains

Conduction aphasia is characterized by relatively frequent phonemic speech errors with self-correction attempts and difficulty repeating speech verbatim; comprehension is relatively well-preserved. The classical account holds that conduction aphasia is caused by damage to the arcuate fasciculus. However, we have been arguing for some time that conduction aphasia is caused by damage to area Spt -- a functionally defined region in the vicinity of the left planum temporale that exhibits auditory-........ Read more »

  • January 26, 2011
  • 07:16 PM
  • 1,373 views

Vitamin A for the Heart

by Sanford- Burnham in Beaker

Vitamin A is supposed to be really good for you – improving your vision, complexion and even pre-natal health. But what does it do, exactly? A study published in the January 2011 issue of Development comes to some surprising conclusions about the link between vitamin A and heart development. ... Read more »

Brade T, Kumar S, Cunningham TJ, Chatzi C, Zhao X, Cavallero S, Li P, Sucov HM, Ruiz-Lozano P, & Duester G. (2011) Retinoic acid stimulates myocardial expansion by induction of hepatic erythropoietin which activates epicardial Igf2. Development (Cambridge, England), 138(1), 139-48. PMID: 21138976  

  • January 26, 2011
  • 03:46 PM
  • 748 views

A Mouse Model of XMRV Pathogenesis?

by Connor Bamford in The Rule of 6ix

Through studying viral pathogenesis we seek to understand mechanistically how viral infection and replication causes disease in a particular host. This of course will be subject to a number of complex variables involving both the host and the virus such as: dose; genotype; virus receptor distribution of host tissues;the ability of the virus to replicate [...]... Read more »

Sakuma T, Tonne JM, Squillace KA, Ohmine S, Thatava T, Peng KW, Barry MA, & Ikeda Y. (2011) Early Events in Retrovirus XMRV Infection of the Wild-Derived Mouse Mus pahari. Journal of virology, 85(3), 1205-13. PMID: 21084477  

  • January 26, 2011
  • 03:24 PM
  • 779 views

What's the difference between an oceanographer and a marine biologist?

by Heather Wright in Plankton Biogeography

In a recent article entitled: Marine Sciences: from natural history to ecology and back, on Darwin's shoulders - Boero brings up the historical differences between biological oceanography, marine biology and ecology. It's time we turn our attention to this topic for discussion and opinions. I believe in both practice (applied science) and philosophical approach (or culture) that there is a distinct difference between an oceanographer and a marine biologist. ... Read more »

  • January 26, 2011
  • 02:18 PM
  • 1,304 views

What the Tiger Mother Left Out

by David Berreby in Mind Matters


A cognitive scientist friend of mine made a good point the other day about Amy Chua's assertion that "nothing is fun until you're good at it." It is, he said (and I should have seen right away) not true. Lots of things are fun before you're good at them. Potching around with a guitar or a tennis ...Read More
... Read more »

  • January 26, 2011
  • 02:16 PM
  • 1,418 views

Khat to the Chase

by Dirk Hanson in Addiction Inbox


Of mephedrone, bath salts, and impaired driving.

 Automobile accidents are the ninth leading cause of death worlwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). More than a million people are killed on roads annually, and that number could rise to 2.5 million by 2020. WHO estimates that traffic accidents cost developing countries an astonishing 1-2 % of their gross domestic product (GDP).

For years now, police and public health officials have puzzled over the alarming number of tr........ Read more »

Colzato, L., Ruiz, M., van den Wildenberg, W., Bajo, M., & Hommel, B. (2011) Long-Term Effects of Chronic Khat Use: Impaired Inhibitory Control. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2010.00219  

  • January 26, 2011
  • 01:58 PM
  • 779 views

Michael Lea: Moringa oleifera tree, low-cost water purification

by A. Goldstein in WiSci

Mindbogglingly useful: a new, low-cost water purification protocol for the developing world now freely available* to download from CP Microbiology: Unit 1G.2 Bioremediation of Turbid Surface Water Using Seed Extract from Moringa oleifera Lam. (Drumstick) Tree In the Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams described his fictional creation, the all language-translating Babel fish, as [...]... Read more »

  • January 26, 2011
  • 12:43 PM
  • 1,064 views

The Rekhmire tomb elephant revisited: island dwarf or Syrian giant?

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology



I really enjoyed the long and involved debate that followed my article on the small elephant depicted on the wall of Rekhmire's tomb. Thank you to (just about) everyone who contributed. As I tried to make clear in the actual article, we'll likely never know the truth of the matter, and this whole exercise should be seen as a bit of fun speculation [image below © Alessando Mangione and Marco Masseti].

Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

  • January 26, 2011
  • 12:37 PM
  • 910 views

Killer Whales Kill Whales

by Sam W in From C to Carnivore

Aren’t they adorable? Orcas are beautiful animals and people often try to portray them as nicer animals than they really are (most notably anyone who thinks it is a good idea to keep these animals in an aquarium). Really though, orcas are nasty. That’s not to judge, all predators are essentially nasty. They eat other animals (but then again, so do I).... Read more »

  • January 26, 2011
  • 12:14 PM
  • 1,154 views

Neandertal admixture, revisiting results after shaken priors

by Razib Khan in Gene Expression

After 2010′s world-shaking revolutions in our understanding of modern human origins, the admixture of Eurasian hominins with neo-Africans, I assumed there was going to be a revisionist look at results which seemed to point to mixing between different human lineages over the past decade. Dienekes links to a case in point, a new paper in Molecular Biology and Evolution,  An X-linked haplotype of Neandertal origin is present among all non-African populations. The authors revisit a genetic lo........ Read more »

Vania Yotova, Jean-Francois Lefebvre, Claudia Moreau, Elias Gbeha, Kristine Hovhannesyan, Stephane Bourgeois, Sandra Bédarida, Luisa Azevedo, Antonio Amorim, Tamara Sarkisian.... (2011) An X-linked haplotype of Neandertal origin is present among all non-African populations. Mol Biol Evol . info:/10.1093/molbev/msr024

  • January 26, 2011
  • 11:12 AM
  • 790 views

Visual Navigation in Ants

by Marc in Teaching Biology

How ants find their way around long distances using their eyes.... Read more »

  • January 26, 2011
  • 10:41 AM
  • 1,158 views

Role of Smads and WWP2 in potentially blocking some cancers

by Sally Church in Pharma Strategy Blog

“Ubiquitin-dependent mechanisms have emerged as essential regulatory elements controlling cellular levels of Smads and TGFβ-dependent biological outputs such as epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT). # In this study, we identify a HECT E3 ubiquitin ligase known as WWP2 (Full-length WWP2-FL), together with … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 26, 2011
  • 10:30 AM
  • 1,998 views

For T. rex, Scavenging Was a Tough Gig

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Was Tyrannosaurus rex a fearsome hunter or a scavenger? The answer is “both.” In the early 1990s, the paleontologist Jack Horner popularized the idea that Tyrannosaurus fed entirely on carrion. The idea that this dinosaur—the “prize fighter of antiquity“—could not catch or kill other dinosaurs was shocking. Reporters and documentary-makers ate it up, but other [...]... Read more »

  • January 26, 2011
  • 09:57 AM
  • 1,515 views

Stand Up and Walk; Repeat Often

by Sara Klink in Promega Connections

As someone who regularly works at a computer both at work and at home, sedentary activity is a part of my daily life. Unfortunately, my desk is the standard kind that requires me to sit on a chair; I can only dream of the kind that has a treadmill to encourage movement as I work. [...]... Read more »

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