Post List

  • 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  

  • January 28, 2010
  • 07:47 PM

An Intriguing View of Alzheimer's Disease

by Reason in Fight Aging!

Alzheimer's research is a field in constant flux; no unifying theory of Alzheimer's biochemistry goes unchallenged, there are a great many such theories coming and going, and much remains to be discovered or proven. Conversely, so much money flows into Alzheimer's science that new results are constantly emerging to sway the picture in one direction or another. This is science at its messiest, which is usually also where it is most interesting, and most likely to soon deliver a firm, defensible t........ Read more »

  • January 28, 2010
  • 07:40 PM

Tonotopic organization of human auditory cortex

by Greg Hickok in Talking Brains

For Talking Brains West grad student, Colin Humphries, in collaboration with Einat Liebenthal and Jeff Binder, has recently published the best study yet of the tonotopic organization of human auditory cortex. The found evidence of frequency sensitive gradients, but oriented differently than previous work has suggested. Definitely worth a look. Humphries, C., Liebenthal, E., & Binder, J. (2010). Tonotopic organization of human auditory cortex NeuroImage DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.01.046... Read more »

  • January 28, 2010
  • 07:26 PM

Leaf-Cutters Get Their Fix (nitrogen fix, that is)

by Moselio Schaechter in Small Things Considered

by Elio A single leaf-cutter ant fungus garden chamber with the queen (black arrow). Scale bar: 1 cm. Source. Ants span a great distance within the human psyche, from being insignificant little nuisances to occupying a prominent place in the biological scheme of things. They surely deserve the latter. Not only do they make up a large proportion of the...... Read more »

Pinto-Tomas, A., Anderson, M., Suen, G., Stevenson, D., Chu, F., Cleland, W., Weimer, P., & Currie, C. (2009) Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation in the Fungus Gardens of Leaf-Cutter Ants. Science, 326(5956), 1120-1123. DOI: 10.1126/science.1173036  

  • January 28, 2010
  • 06:13 PM

Cannabis Hyperemesis

by DrugMonkey in DrugMonkey

Most of my readers are aware of the growing head of steam being perked up by the medical marijuana movement (and that I think it is a Trojan Horse for recreational consumption). I have also described how perceptions of the harms associated with cannabis are associated with population level use. This suggests to me that it is important to identify adverse health consequences of cannabis smoking ranging from oral health complications to paradoxical potentiation of Ecstasy-induced hyperthermia, to ........ Read more »

  • January 28, 2010
  • 05:41 PM

Path Integration, continued

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

We previously discussed path integration in the desert ant. Cool stuff, right? It’ll make you think twice next time before you see how quickly it takes to set an ant on fire under a magnifying glass.

Figure 1: Don’t do this anymore. k?
How widespread is path integration, anyway? Does it occur in other organisms? If an [...]... Read more »

Mittelstaedt, M., & Mittelstaedt, H. (1980) Homing by path integration in a mammal. Naturwissenschaften, 67(11), 566-567. DOI: 10.1007/BF00450672  

  • January 28, 2010
  • 04:18 PM

Evo. Anthro. Study Suggests You Might Be Running Wrong

by Laelaps in Laelaps

"The Barefoot Professor", a behind-the-scenes look at the new Nature paper.

Humans that had to escape from saber-toothed cats, giant hyenas, and charging mammoths did not wear Nike or Adidas sneakers. They ran barefoot, but don't feel too bad that they did not have good running shoes to help them. As suggested by a team of researchers led by Daniel Lieberman in the latest issue of Nature, habitually shoeless runners have a unique step that may be better for our feet than even the most expe........ Read more »

Lieberman, D., Venkadesan, M., Werbel, W., Daoud, A., D’Andrea, S., Davis, I., Mang’Eni, R., & Pitsiladis, Y. (2010) Foot strike patterns and collision forces in habitually barefoot versus shod runners. Nature, 463(7280), 531-535. DOI: 10.1038/nature08723  

  • January 28, 2010
  • 04:11 PM

looking for exotic aliens in our solar system

by Greg Fish in weird things

Titan, it’s the farthest place humans have ever landed a robotic probe and one of the most intriguing moons in the solar system, resembling a cryogenic version of our own planet when it was still young. Because it has an active cycle of organic compounds, a thick atmosphere, lakes of liquid natural gas and geologic [...]... Read more »

  • January 28, 2010
  • 03:00 PM

Subtyping Glioblastoma via Genomic Analysis

by Daniel Koboldt in Massgenomics

A recent paper in Cancer Cell reveals the power of integrated genomic datasets for understanding cancer origins and treatment. Members of the TCGA Research Network identified and characterized four glioblastoma subtypes using gene expression, somatic mutation, and copy number data.
Genetic Characteristics of GBM Subtypes
Each subtype was classified by gene expression clustering, and showed specific patterns [...]... Read more »

  • January 28, 2010
  • 02:39 PM

Orange Stripey Dinosaurs? Fossil Feathers Reveal Their Secret Colors

by GrrlScientist in Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

tags: evolutionary biology, fossils, feathers, plumage color, color, dinosaurs, theropods, Sinosauropteryx, Sinornithosaurus, birds, Confuciusornis, melanosomes, phaeomelanosomes, eumelanosomes, keratinocytes, SEM, scanning electron microscopy, 10.1038/nature08740,, peer-reviewed research, peer-reviewed paper

Reconstruction of two Sinosauropteryx, sporting their orange and white striped tails.

Artwork by Chuang Zhao and Lida Xing [larger view]
DOI: 10.1038/nature08740

........ Read more »

Zhang, F., Kearns, S., Orr, P., Benton, M., Zhou, Z., Johnson, D., Xu, X., & Wang, X. (2010) Fossilized melanosomes and the colour of Cretaceous dinosaurs and birds. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature08740  

  • January 28, 2010
  • 02:33 PM

The British Media's "Blonde Moment"

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Ten days ago, the Sunday Times - Britain's "newspaper of record" - recorded thatBlonde women born to be warrior princessesWomen with fair hair are more aggressive and determined to get their own way than brunettes or redheads, according to a study by the University of California... “We expected blondes to feel more entitled than other young women — this is southern California, the natural habitat of the privileged blonde,” said Aaron Sell, who led the study...Well who'da thought it. Ot........ Read more »

Sell A, Tooby J, & Cosmides L. (2009) Formidability and the logic of human anger. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(35), 15073-8. PMID: 19666613  

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