Post List

  • December 14, 2009
  • 06:31 AM

Influenza before 1918, part II: 1872

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

In 1872, a pandemic influenza outbreak brought the US to its knees:

“The streets are almost deserted.” –Washington, D.C.
“A Sunday quiet prevails upon the streets.” –Springfield, OR
“The streets yesterday looked deserted.” –San Francisco, CA
“The street cars have stopped.” – Erie, PA 1

And yet, if you look at the mortality rates for influenza in 1872, it’s not a [...]... Read more »

Adoniram B. Judson, MD. (1873) History and Course of the Epizootic Among Horses Upon the North American Continent in 1872-1873. Public Health Papers and Reports. American Public Health Association. Hurd and Houghton, New York, 88-109. info:/

  • December 14, 2009
  • 03:55 AM

VEGF – How can we stop the blood supply to cancer cells?

by Avril in Understanding Cancer

I haven’t written about VEGF before, not because it’s not important, it is, in fact VEGF has been shown to be important in a whole range of solid (i.e. lump forming) tumours, these include:

Colorectal (bowel)
Esophageal (food pipe)
Glioblastoma multiforme (brain tumour)
Head and neck cancer
Lung cancer
Ovarian cancer
Pancreatic cancer
Renal cell carcinoma

Generally speaking, if you have a lot of [...]... Read more »

Nowak, D., Woolard, J., Amin, E., Konopatskaya, O., Saleem, M., Churchill, A., Ladomery, M., Harper, S., & Bates, D. (2008) Expression of pro- and anti-angiogenic isoforms of VEGF is differentially regulated by splicing and growth factors. Journal of Cell Science, 121(20), 3487-3495. DOI: 10.1242/jcs.016410  

  • December 14, 2009
  • 02:38 AM

Korean beats French

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

If you could choose to learn a foreign language, which one would it be? And why?
Such choices are usually constrained by what is on offer. However, someone must choose the offerings – e.g., language policy makers around the world have for the past couple of decades decided that English is a must-have first foreign [...]... Read more »

Piller, Ingrid, & Takahashi, Kimie. (2006) A passion for English: desire and the language market. Aneta Pavlenko. Ed. Bilingual minds: Emotional experience, expression, and representation. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 59-83. info:/

  • December 14, 2009
  • 12:52 AM

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome- Where exactly is the pain coming from?

by Sport Injuries and Wellness Ottawa in Sport Injuries and Wellness

The knee of an athlete is often a diagnostic dilemma. The knee obtains important biomechanical function and is supported by an array of ligaments and muscles. For these reasons it can be difficult to pinpoint the specific structure which is injured. Such a concept is to be blamed for the creation of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS),What exactly is PFPS?When you think about it what exactly does this diagnosis tell you? Essentially all that this means is we know there is pain and we know it has........ Read more »

  • December 14, 2009
  • 12:07 AM

Zicam and your Nose

by Evil Monkey in Neurotopia

Sci saw this post recently at Dr. Pal's place, and it rang some major bells in her head. So, I figure, I've got to cover it myself, now don't I.

Lim et al. "Zican-induced damage to mouse and human nasal tissue" PLoS ONE, 2009.

So let's start with a couple of things:

1) What is Zicam?
2) Why was it recalled?
3) What are the possible effects of zinc on the common cold? Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

Lim JH, Davis GE, Wang Z, Li V, Wu Y, Rue TC, & Storm DR. (2009) Zicam-induced damage to mouse and human nasal tissue. PloS one, 4(10). PMID: 19876403  

  • December 14, 2009
  • 12:01 AM

Cell phones and cancer again, or: Oh, no! My cell phone’s going to give me cancer! (revisited)

by David Gorski in Science-Based Medicine

It’s been about a year and a half since I’ve written about this topic; so I thought I’d better update the disclaimer that I wrote at the beginning:
Before I start into the meat of this post, I feel the need to emphasize, as strongly as I can, four things:

I do not receive any funding from [...]... Read more »

Myung, S., Ju, W., McDonnell, D., Lee, Y., Kazinets, G., Cheng, C., & Moskowitz, J. (2009) Mobile Phone Use and Risk of Tumors: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 27(33), 5565-5572. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2008.21.6366  

Deltour, I., Johansen, C., Auvinen, A., Feychting, M., Klaeboe, L., & Schuz, J. (2009) Time Trends in Brain Tumor Incidence Rates in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, 1974-2003. JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute. DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djp415  

  • December 14, 2009
  • 12:00 AM

Who provides therapy in an office like this?

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

Therapists should bury their modesty and adorn the walls with their well-earned certificates and diplomas. That's according to Ann Devlin and colleagues who asked 227 undergrads to look for one minute at a photo of a clinician's office, furnished in a modern, minimalist style, and to give their impression of the therapist who worked there. All the photos were taken from the perspective of the client's chair, but some students were shown a version with bare walls and no family photos on the desk,........ Read more »

Devlin, A., Donovan, S., Nicolov, A., Nold, O., Packard, A., & Zandan, G. (2009) “Impressive?” Credentials, family photographs, and the perception of therapist qualities. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 29(4), 503-512. DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2009.08.008  

  • December 13, 2009
  • 09:01 PM

Spindle Neurons in Elephants and Dolphins: Convergent Evolution in Large-Brained Mammals?

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Fig. 1 (Hakeem et al., 2009). Photomicrographs of VENs in the brain of the African elephant. A: VENs in frontoinsular cortex (area FI). Scale = 25 μm.Spindle neurons, or Von Economo neurons (VENs), are a unique type of large, bipolar neuron found in layers III and V in the anterior cingulate cortex and the frontoinsular cortex of humans. In 1999, Nimchinsky and colleagues discovered that among the 28 nonhuman primate species they examined, only great apes had VENs (see Spindle Neurons: The Nex........ Read more »

Butti, C., Sherwood, C., Hakeem, A., Allman, J., & Hof, P. (2009) Total number and volume of Von Economo neurons in the cerebral cortex of cetaceans. The Journal of Comparative Neurology, 515(2), 243-259. DOI: 10.1002/cne.22055  

Hakeem, A., Sherwood, C., Bonar, C., Butti, C., Hof, P., & Allman, J. (2009) Von Economo Neurons in the Elephant Brain. The Anatomical Record: Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology, 292(2), 242-248. DOI: 10.1002/ar.20829  

  • December 13, 2009
  • 05:05 PM

Weight in the Workplace

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

The statistics are everywhere: most of the adults in the United States are overweight or obese. These conditions are, of course, responsible for increased health care costs owing to chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. The patient may pick up some of these excess expenses, but society incurs [...]... Read more »

Anderson, L., Quinn, T., Glanz, K., Ramirez, G., Kahwati, L., Johnson, D., Buchanan, L., Archer, W., Chattopadhyay, S., & Kalra, G. (2009) The Effectiveness of Worksite Nutrition and Physical Activity Interventions for Controlling Employee Overweight and ObesityA Systematic Review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 37(4), 340-357. DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2009.07.003  

Han, E., Norton, E., & Stearns, S. (2009) Weight and wages: fat versus lean paychecks. Health Economics, 18(5), 535-548. DOI: 10.1002/hec.1386  

  • December 13, 2009
  • 05:03 PM

Poor Kids Getting More Antipsychotic Drugs: The Power of a Poor Graph

by Polly Palumbo in Momma Data

Children's Health... Read more »

  • December 13, 2009
  • 04:00 PM

Science and politics... and scientists turned politicians

by Pablo Artal in Optics confidential

Some examples and some advice on scientists becoming politicians...... Read more »

Binocular adaptive optics visual simulator. (2009) Binocular adaptive optics visual simulator. Optics Letters. info:/

  • December 13, 2009
  • 01:19 PM

‘I want my epidural!!!!!!!!!!!’

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

I’ve had two children – now 19 and 16, and wonderful. At the time of their delivery I can remember both times thinking ‘as long as they’re healthy’ and being not at all worried about having medical intervention if it was needed. My eldest was born with epidural anaesthesia, and my youngest was [...]... Read more »

  • December 13, 2009
  • 01:00 PM

Plastic from bacteria

by Lab Rat in Lab Rat

I'm on holiday at the moment, so today's post is another section from my long essay last year, about the potential uses of biorefineries. It was written for a more scientific-based audience so might be a little harder to decipher than my usual posts.BioplasticsBioplastics are polyesters that accumulate intracellularly in microorganisms in storage granules. They are usually built up from hydroxyl-acyl CoA derivatives through a range of different pathways in different microorganisms. As they are b........ Read more »

Madison LL, & Huisman GW. (1999) Metabolic engineering of poly(3-hydroxyalkanoates): from DNA to plastic. Microbiology and molecular biology reviews : MMBR, 63(1), 21-53. PMID: 10066830  

Steinbuchel, A., & Valentin, H. (1995) Diversity of bacterial polyhydroxyalkanoic acids. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 128(3), 219-228. DOI: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.1995.tb07528.x  

  • December 13, 2009
  • 06:43 AM

MM09 answer: Hoplonympha

by Psi Wavefunction in Skeptic Wonder

I'm really behind on the answers. I'll do the easier one first, so MM08 will be next.Remember this myserious organism from a while ago? Johan got it: it's Hoplonympha, a parabasalian gut endosymbiont! (Opisthokont was also on the right track)Hoplonympha. top: SEM of whole organism (F indicates flagella), the long strips are actually ectosymbiotic bacteria, as evident in the TEM cross section on the bottom. CM - cytoplasmic [inner] membrane, OM - outer membrane, SL - S-layer. Note that unlike in........ Read more »

  • December 12, 2009
  • 05:16 PM

Smell the decay

by Lars Fischer in EuCheMS 2010 Blog

een to a library lately? Those of you who, like me, get their current literature via the internet, probably thoroughly repressed the memory of literature research without a search mask, but there are things that stay with you. Such as the smell of old books.

Turns out that there is more to this smell that meets the… uh… nose.... Read more »

Strlič, M., Thomas, J., Trafela, T., Cséfalvayová, L., Kralj Cigić, I., Kolar, J., & Cassar, M. (2009) Material Degradomics: On the Smell of Old Books. Analytical Chemistry, 81(20), 8617-8622. DOI: 10.1021/ac9016049  

  • December 12, 2009
  • 12:58 AM

What an Unlearned Presidential Hopeful can teach us about Evolution

by Johnny in Ecographica

One of the common misconceptions about biological evolution is that the process pushes organisms towards a pinnacle of perfection in which the ‘most evolved species’ maintain dominance over ‘less evolved’ or ‘lower organisms.’ Often closely associated with this mistaken belief is the erroneous idea that, by virtue of braininess, our own species – Homo sapiens - currently holds sovereignty over evolution’s hypothetical pinnacle. These egocentric a........ Read more »

  • December 11, 2009
  • 09:41 PM

Are Cells From Old People Still Good For Therapeutic Use?

by Reason in Fight Aging!

Some nagging uncertainties remain on progress in stem cell medicine - and especially progress in reprogramming easily obtained somatic cells into patient-specific pluripotent stem cells. These uncertainties will be answered and addressed in the years ahead, but this one springs to mind today: it is possible that cells from older people may be altered or damaged in ways that prevent their effective use as-is in the sort of autologous stem cell therapies presently envisaged. That would be a setbac........ Read more »

Suhr, S., Chang, E., Rodriguez, R., Wang, K., Ross, P., Beyhan, Z., Murthy, S., & Cibelli, J. (2009) Telomere Dynamics in Human Cells Reprogrammed to Pluripotency. PLoS ONE, 4(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008124  

  • December 11, 2009
  • 05:10 PM

Keeping the Faith

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Historical places of worship may harbor biodiversity

... Read more »

  • December 11, 2009
  • 01:42 PM

A Shot in the Arm

by Brian Koberlein in Upon Reflection

Cold and flu season has hit the Rochester area recently, as evidenced by the recent uptick in the number of students missing class on account of colds and flu. Fortunately there are ways to minimize your chances of getting a...... Read more »

  • December 11, 2009
  • 01:37 PM

Walking the line, using a microscope

by Bryan in Imaging Geek

Things need to get transported around inside of our cells. For example, proteins meant to detect extracellular signals like hormones must move to the cell surface; otherwise they won't work. Much of this cargo gets moved through small balloon-like structures called vesicles. Rather than drifting randomly, these "balloons" move along tracks in the cell called microtubules; long, filamentous proteins that form a skeleton within the cell. ike a train, these "balloons" require a motor to pull the........ Read more »

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