I recently came across the website for LepToThin, a weight loss supplement which targets the hormone leptin. Although leptin induces satiety (in addition to many other functions), most obese individuals develop leptin resistance. Individuals who are resistant to leptin require more food before they feel full, making weight loss or even weight maintenance increasingly difficult.
Every so often someone comes out with a treatment that "cures" leptin resistance. This is somewh........ Read more »
Lee, Y. (2006) Berberine, a Natural Plant Product, Activates AMP-Activated Protein Kinase With Beneficial Metabolic Effects in Diabetic and Insulin-Resistant States. Diabetes, 55(8), 2256-2264. DOI: 10.2337/db06-0006
Through sheer persistence, Beedle and Tatum unify biochemistry and genetics, ushering in a new age in biology. ... Read more »
Beadle, G.W. . (1941) The genetic control of biochemical reactions in Neurospora. . Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 499-506. DOI: 16588492
“Everybody likes something free.” I don’t think anyone is going to disagree with Chimonas and Kassirer there.
Drugs are expensive. And even if in a country like Australia, universal insurance may mean that vital medicines are cheap for the end-consumer, somewhere someone has pay the full price (i.e. the government).
Because drugs are so expensive, many [...]... Read more »
You are never alone. Not even when you might want to be. Tucked away within the ~100m2 of your bowels are ~1014 (there are ~1013 somatic and germinal cells in the human body) of your closest friends, collectively termed The Microbiota. They eat, spawn, conjugate, die, poop, fight, and secrete right there inside of you, unseen and mostly unthought of except when something is wrong. This system, the remarkably homeostatic mammalian gut, forms what is perhaps the densest and most complex microb........ Read more »
Artis, D. (2008) Epithelial-cell recognition of commensal bacteria and maintenance of immune homeostasis in the gut. Nature Reviews Immunology, 8(6), 411-420. DOI: 10.1038/nri2316
When the going gets tough, thousands of people try to boost their failing self-esteem by repeating positive statements to themselves. Encouraged by magazine columnists, self-help books and talk-show hosts, people prepare for challenges by chanting positive mantras like "I am a strong, powerful person," and, "Nothing can stop me from achieving my dreams." This approach has been championed at least as far back as Norman Vincent Peale's infamous book The Power of Positive Thinking, published in 195........ Read more »
Wood, J., Elaine Perunovic, W., & Lee, J. (2009) Positive Self-Statements: Power for Some, Peril for Others. Psychological Science. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02370.x
by Nestor Lopez-Duran PhD in Child-Psych
APS Convention Report #3
This post is part of a series of reports on research presented last weekend at the Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science.
Researchers have noted for decades that children view their home environment and relationship with their parents as “models”, and that this is usually reflected in how these children interact [...]... Read more »
Donnellan, M., Larsen-Rife, D., & Conger, R. (2005) Personality, Family History, and Competence in Early Adult Romantic Relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88(3), 562-576. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3522.214.171.1242
One in four people suffer mental illness.Everyone knows that. But where does that number come from? The answer may surprise. Join me, if you will, as I explore the biography of a statistic."1 in 4" is ubiquitous, at least in the English-speaking world. I can't think of another such number which is better known, except perhaps the fact that 1 in 3 people will suffer from cancer.Anyone who's used the London Underground or watched British TV recently will be familiar with the Time to Change anti-st........ Read more »
Grant, B. (2006) About 26% of people in the US have an anxiety, mood, impulse control, or substance disorder. Evidence-Based Mental Health, 9(1), 27-27. DOI: 10.1136/ebmh.9.1.27
...err..well, not exactly. But it is a much easier way for a 45 ton sperm whale to get a quick bite to eat. This amazing footage of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) shaking cod fishing lines 108 m deep off the coast of Sitka, Alaska, is the first ever of sperm whales feeding - albeit not on its usual prey, the massive squids of the deep sea. Most of the time, sperm whales dive to a staggering 900 to 2600 feet (that's up to half a mile or so deep) to catch their meals. At such depths, with n........ Read more »
Mathias, D., Thode, A., Straley, J., & Folkert, K. (2009) Relationship between sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) click structure and size derived from videocamera images of a depredating whale (sperm whale prey acquisition). The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 125(5), 3444. DOI: 10.1121/1.3097758
I have been closely following the sad saga of Daniel Hauser, the Minnesota teen who ran away with his mother rather than continue treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Fortunately, he and his mother have returned to Minnesota, hopefully to continue his treatment. There has been a lot of debate about the ethics of a [...]... Read more »
BEKELMAN, J., & YAHALOM, J. (2009) Quality of Radiotherapy Reporting in Randomized Controlled Trials of Hodgkin's Lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Radiation OncologyBiologyPhysics, 73(2), 492-498. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2008.04.058
“Not so tough now, are ya?”I think everyone secretly hopes to utter that phrase someday to someone who blusters and bullies and threatens.There’s a scene in Quentin Tarantino’s film Death Proof where Kurt Russell’s character, Stuntman Mike – who has just been terrorizing a group of women on the highway – gets shot. He runs like hell and is pretty soon all but balling his eyes out.I like the scene a lot, because we rarely see it acknowledged in movies or TV that getting shot........ Read more »
Moore, J., Obbard, D., Reuter, C., West, S., & Cook, J. (2009) Male morphology and dishonest signalling in a fig wasp. Animal Behaviour. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.04.006
Why do we like to sing soppy love songs to our loved one? What is it about them that evokes a mood of affinity and bonding? Why do tears spring to our eyes when we hear a lyric that reminds us of a friendship, relationship or other close bond?The composition and interpretation of music through song, dance, and playing a musical instrument, are complex and high-level tasks of the creative brain. Indeed, the 'creative' aspects of personality are thought to constitute a particular division of intel........ Read more »
Ukkola, L., Onkamo, P., Raijas, P., Karma, K., & Järvelä, I. (2009) Musical Aptitude Is Associated with AVPR1A-Haplotypes. PLoS ONE, 4(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005534
Rosy Apple Aphid (Whalon lab, MSU)
While nothing can match the pure undiluted awesomeness that is the parasitoid wasp/bracovirus symbiosis,1 there are other symbioses that are at least in the same ballpark. The latest one I’ve learned about is the relationship between a densovirus and the rosy apple aphid. 2 I can’t do better than to quote [...]... Read more »
Ryabov, E., Keane, G., Naish, N., Evered, C., & Winstanley, D. (2009) Densovirus induces winged morphs in asexual clones of the rosy apple aphid, Dysaphis plantaginea. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(21), 8465-8470. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0901389106
Hot on the heels of yesterday's paper in Pediatrics showing that vaccine refusal elevates the risk of pertussis in a child by nearly 23-fold, a commentary in PLoS Biology asks what can be done to combat anti-vaccine misinformation. Entitled A Broken Trust: Lessons from the Vaccine-Autism Wars, it's an interview with a professor of medical anthropology at UCSF named Sharon Kaufman, who took a 26 month hiatus from her usual work on aging and longevity to study the anti-vaccine movement from an ant........ Read more »
Gross, L. (2009) A Broken Trust: Lessons from the Vaccine–Autism Wars. PLoS Biology, 7(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000114
The relationships between doctor personalities and medical specialties continues to interest me since we regularly have to select excellent young physicians to become psychiatrists. The usual caricatures of different specialties just won’t suffice as in the differences between surgeons and internists. It’s fun to read so if anyone knows some about psychiatrists and others please [...]... Read more »
Borges, N., Stratton, T., Wagner, P., & Elam, C. (2009) Emotional intelligence and medical specialty choice: findings from three empirical studies. Medical Education, 43(6), 565-572. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2009.03371.x
If you can't tell by now, Sci is something of a dopamine junkie.
Ooooh yeah. See that? That's great. You wanna hit?
Anyway, when one first learns about dopamine, you learn about a "reward" molecule, the one that makes you feel good. Sounds like dope for a reason. But over time, scientist have found that it's not just about reward with dopamine. Dopamine has a lot more to do with things we like to call salience and value. The salience of a cue is in part related to its strength, and it p........ Read more »
Matsumoto, M., & Hikosaka, O. (2009) Two types of dopamine neuron distinctly convey positive and negative motivational signals. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature08028
High blood pressure or hypertension affects more than one in three people worldwide and is a major cause of strokes, heart attacks and heart failure . The degree with which blood pressure traits can be inherited suggests a genetic component. [...]... Read more »
Levy, D., Ehret, G., Rice, K., Verwoert, G., Launer, L., Dehghan, A., Glazer, N., Morrison, A., Johnson, A., Aspelund, T.... (2009) Genome-wide association study of blood pressure and hypertension. Nature Genetics. DOI: 10.1038/ng.384
I was away for the Memorial Day weekend last Friday and hence missed the big news in oncology that Johnson and Johnson were purchasing Cougar Biotechnology for $1 billion. Note the whole company, not just a licensing deal for the...... Read more »
Attard, G., Reid, A., A'Hern, R., Parker, C., Oommen, N., Folkerd, E., Messiou, C., Molife, L., Maier, G., Thompson, E.... (2009) Selective Inhibition of CYP17 With Abiraterone Acetate Is Highly Active in the Treatment of Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2008.20.0642
Psychologists have tended to study facial emotional expressions outside of their real-life social context. But in reality, of course, our facial expressions are usually accompanied by what we, or someone else, is saying or doing. A new study by Shlomo Hareli and colleagues acknowledges this, investigating the effects of sad, friendly and angry expressions in either a clear-cut complaint scenario versus a more ambiguous situation. The results show that scowling, or showing your anger, can be effe........ Read more »
Hareli, S., Harush, R., Suleiman, R., Cossette, M., Bergeron, S., Lavoie, V., Dugay, G., & Hess, U. (2009) When scowling may be a good thing: The influence of anger expressions on credibility. European Journal of Social Psychology, 39(4), 631-638. DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.573
I don’t normally read the freebie newspapers in Toronto as their content is the journalistic equivalent of the lead in the Toronto water supply: both slowly sap your intellect away.
But I ride public transit and those papers are littered everywhere, rolling around the TTC. So against my better judgment I picked up the paper on [...]... Read more »
Mudra, M., Ercan-Fang, N., Zhong, L., Furne, J., & Levitt, M. (2007) Influence of Mulberry Leaf Extract on the Blood Glucose and Breath Hydrogen Response to Ingestion of 75 g Sucrose by Type 2 Diabetic and Control Subjects. Diabetes Care, 30(5), 1272-1274. DOI: 10.2337/dc06-2120
One of the issues inherent in research of a late stage age-related condition is that a lot of different things are going wrong with the body at the same time. The comparatively few categories of age-related damage have spilled over into hundreds of different types of malfunctions and the further disarray resulting from those malfunctions. By way of an analogy, consider rust in a machine: rust is a simple process, but the way in which the machine eventually breaks down can be a very complicated s........ Read more »
Srikanth, V., Maczurek, A., Phan, T., Steele, M., Westcott, B., Juskiw, D., & Münch, G. (2009) Advanced glycation endproducts and their receptor RAGE in Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiology of Aging. DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2009.04.016
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