Post List

  • May 11, 2010
  • 05:57 AM
  • 1,903 views

Tree of Roots

by Psi Wavefunction in Skeptic Wonder

Flagellar roots, that is. Tree of phylogenetic roots would be another fun project though...You know when you see a page full of diagrams and get overcome by this urge to map them onto some phylogeny just for the hell of it? Especially when your other option is to actually write up the results and discussion sections your supervisor's sort of waiting for? (wrote two whole paragraphs' worth today, so I can take the rest of the day off, right?) Anyway, here comes Sleigh 1988 BioSystems p279, moder........ Read more »

  • May 11, 2010
  • 05:30 AM
  • 960 views

Rapid weight loss is the best way to keep it off?

by Yoni Freedhoff in Weighty Matters

You'd sure think so if you'd just been reading headlines.You see a study came out last week in the International Journal of Behavioural Medicine that looked at the impact the initial rate of weight loss had on long term success in 262 women over the course of an 18 month weight management program.The study is a mess. Before I get to the results, let's go over some methodological issues.Firstly the study represents a secondary data analysis of a different randomized controlled tria........ Read more »

  • May 11, 2010
  • 05:08 AM
  • 792 views

Making the Most Out of a Small Drop of Blood

by avi_wener in American Biotechnologist

Parents of newborn infants are very familiar with the excitement of holding their baby for the first time, staring into his or her little eyes and thinking about the bundle of joy that they has just been bestowed upon them. Then come the barrage of tests and medical procedures. Doctors (or nurses) measure the baby’s [...]... Read more »

Lane JA, & Noble JA. (2010) Maximizing Deoxyribonucleic Acid Yield from Dried Blood Spots. Journal of diabetes science and technology, 4(2), 250-254. PMID: 20307384  

  • May 11, 2010
  • 04:00 AM
  • 1,271 views

The decisive moment

by David Winter in Careers - in Theory

Choosing an expensive item like a car can be hard enough. In 2006 Ap Dijksterhuis, a researcher from the University of Amsterdam, made things a bit harder. He gave people various items of information about a selection four of cars and asked them to choose the best option. The information had been engineered so that [...]... Read more »

  • May 11, 2010
  • 01:19 AM
  • 383 views

The First Fossil Remains of Chimpanzees

by Laura Klappenbach in Nature Notes

Until recently, there were no known fossil remains of chimpanzees. Then in 2005, anthropologists Sally McBrearty and Nina Jablonski published a paper in the journal Nature describing three fossil chimpanzee teeth that had been unearthed from the Kapthurin Formation, a basalt outcrop west of Lake Baringo in Kenya. This discovery offered new insight into the lives ancestral chimpanzees.

Today, chimpanzees inhabit the tropical forests of West and Central Africa and are absent from the dryer habit........ Read more »

McBrearty, S., & Jablonski, N. (2005) First fossil chimpanzee. Nature, 437(7055), 105-108. DOI: 10.1038/nature04008  

  • May 11, 2010
  • 12:21 AM
  • 580 views

Atlatls to Bows: Loopy

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Intact atlatls are rarely found, but when they are it’s usually in the Southwest or the Great Basin, arid regions with good preservation conditions for perishable materials like wood and leather.  Some, but not all, of the examples that have been found in these areas have pieces of leather attached as apparent finger loops to [...]... Read more »

  • May 10, 2010
  • 09:15 PM
  • 1,155 views

Anaesthetic Addler 001

by sandnsurf in Life in the Fast Lane

A case-based Q-and-A on procedural sedation using ketamine to remove a button battery from a child's nose. What would you do? What if laryngospasm occurs?... Read more »

  • May 10, 2010
  • 07:57 PM
  • 1,371 views

'Megatheria' muzzles provide clues to giant ground sloth diets

by Laelaps in Laelaps



The skeleton of Megatherium, as figured in William Buckland's Geology and Mineralogy Considered With Reference to Natural Theology.




There is something fantastically weird about giant ground sloths. Creatures from a not-too-distant past, close enough in time that their hair and hide is sometimes found in circumstances of exceptional preservation, these creatures have no living equivalent. Their arboreal cousins still live in the tropics of the western hemisphere, but they can hardly be cons........ Read more »

  • May 10, 2010
  • 06:19 PM
  • 867 views

Flower engineers

by Africa Gomez in BugBlog

Yesterday I was following a queen Bombus terrestris, as usual, with the faint hope one will nest in my garden when she landed on a comfrey patch. This was the first time I have seen this species on comfrey, their deep flowers are mostly visited by Bombus pascuorum, B. hypnorum and B. pratorum*, in addition to Anthophora plumipes. The heavy queen landed on top of the flowers, and I was able to approach without disturbing her. She noisily bit the top of a flower and then inserted her ton........ Read more »

  • May 10, 2010
  • 05:25 PM
  • 907 views

Challenging the Plasticity Limits of Visual Development

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Pawan Sinha is an MIT academic engineer who is involved in a combined humanitarian, medical and scientific effort to understand childhood blindness. He has established a program in India called Project Prakash to identify children with congenital cataracts who would benefit for early correction. Early correction is key to prevent persistent blindess as visual plasticity declines over time if the retina and brain are not stimulated. He has challenged the idea that vision cannot be established ........ Read more »

Ostrovsky Y, Andalman A, & Sinha P. (2006) Vision following extended congenital blindness. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 17(12), 1009-14. PMID: 17201779  

  • May 10, 2010
  • 05:00 PM
  • 1,082 views

Exercise and Back Pain – Hell’s own elephant

by Lorimer Moseley in BodyInMind


It’s getting cramped in here and I can’t work out why. I’m inside a room labelled ‘how to treat low back pain’ and something enormous is taking up all the space.
Exercise is at the heart of the physical therapies in the treatment of back pain. Most forms of therapeutic exercise boast arguably plausible theories and [...]... Read more »

[1] van Middelkoop M, Rubinstein SM, Verhagen AP, Ostelo RW, Koes BW, & van Tulder MW. (2010) Exercise therapy for chronic nonspecific low-back pain. Best practice , 24(2), 193-204. PMID: 20227641  

[5] Kaptchuk TJ. (2003) Effect of interpretive bias on research evidence. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 326(7404), 1453-5. PMID: 12829562  

  • May 10, 2010
  • 04:49 PM
  • 7,482 views

Who's to blame for the financial crisis

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Astute observers will have noticed that there's been something of a crisis in the financial world over the past couple of years. The EU's just coughed up €500 billion in the latest an effort to stem the panic... or, alternatively, to fend off the predators.

And that gets to the heart of the matter. Is the crisis just one of those things - part of a natural economic cycle that is beyond anyone's ability to predict or control? Or is it a result of moral or intellectual failures among those who........ Read more »

  • May 10, 2010
  • 03:11 PM
  • 563 views

Peripheral Protein Clustering Reorganizes an Artificial Cell Membrane

by Michael Long in Phased

Erin Sheets (University of Minnesota Duluth, United States) and coworkers have utilized peripheral protein clustering to induce lipid clustering in artificial cell membranes, shedding light on the physical basis of lateral organization in living cell membranes. This news feature was written on May 10, 2010.... Read more »

  • May 10, 2010
  • 01:00 PM
  • 755 views

Carbon Dioxide and Lifespan in Drosophila

by Colby in nutsci.org

My first post to this blog began with a fascinating study by Scott Pletcher that found odor from yeast can accelerate the ageing of dietary restricted Drosophila.  His group recently published another study that adds to our understanding (1), which I summarize below.
The investigators chose carbon dioxide (CO2) to study because of its known role [...]... Read more »

  • May 10, 2010
  • 01:00 PM
  • 1,071 views

Viral Turtles

by Merry Youle in Small Things Considered

A double stranded RNA (dsRNA) viral genome, introduced into a host cell, is met by formidable host defenses. The very presence of dsRNA in a eukaryotic or prokaryotic cell announces a viral infection and elicits effective responses, ranging from silencing of the viral mRNAs to apoptosis. Despite that, there are successful dsRNA viruses throughout the biosphere. By...... Read more »

  • May 10, 2010
  • 12:49 PM
  • 511 views

Comparing Ghrelin Levels Across 2 Bariatric Surgical Techniques

by Maureen McCormick in GourMind

So, what have we learned so far? That ghrelin production is directly related to appetite in normals, but is unpredictable in post-bariatric surgery patients. And that studies of post-surgical patients in the U.S. and Sweden showed contradictory results. So let's throw in another variable - surgical procedure - as well as another location - Greece - and see what we can add to our narrative.First, a little background from a non-surgeon. Gastric bypass is a procedure in which the stomach is reduced........ Read more »

  • May 10, 2010
  • 12:22 PM
  • 815 views

Understanding triple negative breast cancer – 53BP1 and the BRCA1 connection

by Cancer Research UK in Cancer Research UK - Science Update

Over the years, Cancer Research UK has helped transform breast cancer treatment – now 8 out of 10 women survive their disease for more than 5 years, compared with 5 out of 10 women in the 1970s. Most of this progress has been made in so-called hormone-sensitive cancers – those that are fuelled by the [...]... Read more »

Bouwman, P., Aly, A., Escandell, J., Pieterse, M., Bartkova, J., van der Gulden, H., Hiddingh, S., Thanasoula, M., Kulkarni, A., Yang, Q.... (2010) 53BP1 loss rescues BRCA1 deficiency and is associated with triple-negative and BRCA-mutated breast cancers. Nature Structural . DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.1831  

  • May 10, 2010
  • 12:15 PM
  • 1,195 views

Affordances, Part 1: Affordances are real dispositions of the environment

by Andrew Wilson in Notes from Two Scientific Psychologists

A key concept in ecological psychology is that of affordances. There is still uncertainty how to characterise these (slightly odd) properties, and the first formal attempt was by Turvey (1992).... Read more »

  • May 10, 2010
  • 12:00 PM
  • 810 views

Why it's time for the media to help our politicians believe they can succeed

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

A psychology study fresh off the presses shows the importance of positive expectations for the successful resolution of awkward negotiations. The results couldn't be more timely as our senior politicians negotiate over terms for a new coalition British government - the first since the 1970s. The finding suggests that the media has a vital role to play. By fostering optimism in the likely success of the negotiations, the media could help increase the likelihood of a successful resolution.In an in........ Read more »

  • May 10, 2010
  • 11:13 AM
  • 14,905 views

For the Love of the Game: A Look at Fans and Disappointment

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

What does it mean to be a baseball fan? To exchange high fives with complete strangers utterly swept away with the exhilaration of a win? To sit in your car, despondent, after a devastating loss? What is the fan’s connection to this game—billed as America’s pastime?

Before delving into this post, it’s only fair to report that I myself am a fan. So this is in part a self-reflexive exercise to... Read more »

Karl J. Franklin. (1985) Componential Analysis and the Game of Baseball. Anthropological Linguistics, 27(3), 281-301. info:/

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