Post List

  • February 22, 2010
  • 02:28 PM

Clinical Marijuana Research Update

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

Human beings are fundamentally narcissistic, and this narcissism can be antithetical to good science and good medicine. We place far too much confidence in our individual abilities to understand what happens to us, and we place far too much importance on our own experiences, inappropriately generalizing them. That's why science is so important in medicine---to avoid basing life-or-death decisions on something some guy thinks he might have heard once.

In my recent piece on medical marijuana in........ Read more »

Abrams DI, Jay CA, Shade SB, Vizoso H, Reda H, Press S, Kelly ME, Rowbotham MC, & Petersen KL. (2007) Cannabis in painful HIV-associated sensory neuropathy: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Neurology, 68(7), 515-21. PMID: 17296917  

Ellis, R., Toperoff, W., Vaida, F., van den Brande, G., Gonzales, J., Gouaux, B., Bentley, H., & Atkinson, J. (2008) Smoked Medicinal Cannabis for Neuropathic Pain in HIV: A Randomized, Crossover Clinical Trial. Neuropsychopharmacology, 34(3), 672-680. DOI: 10.1038/npp.2008.120  

  • February 22, 2010
  • 01:47 PM

Exploring Oahu: Makapu'u

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

On the easternmost end of Oahu there is a fun, 2-mile hike to the top of Makapu'u point, where there sits a cool little lighthouse that was built in the 1900s. The way is steep at times, but it's nicely paved, and it's an excursion just about anyone can enjoy. Once at the top, you get a stunning view of the windward side of the island. The first time I hiked it, the day was almost perfect. It was stunningly sunny and clear, and the views were truly breathtaking:

But there were two things wrong........ Read more »

Price, T., Hurst, G., & Wedell, N. (2010) Polyandry Prevents Extinction. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.01.050  

  • February 22, 2010
  • 01:36 PM

Bridging the self-management gap

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

Recently I ran an online survey on this blog asking the question ‘Should self management include:’ and then I listed a number of options such as ‘injection therapy’, ‘medications’, ‘intermittent hands-on therapy’, ‘intermittent hands-off therapy’ and so on. My thoughts were that while the term ’self-management’ is bandied about a lot, there isn’t really [...]... Read more »

  • February 22, 2010
  • 01:00 PM


by Lab Rat in Lab Rat

'Omics' words tend to get a large amount of bad press in biology. Starting fairly sensibly with genomics, the group expanded to include such things as proteomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics and then when a bit crazy, with seemingly every branch of biology (and possibly even a couple of physicists) wanting to find an 'omics' to work on. The 'Tree of Life' blog even started giving out awards to some of the more hilarious ones.Omics words are like the cool silent kids in black leather jackets wi........ Read more »

  • February 22, 2010
  • 11:57 AM

Butt Liposuction Gives You Bigger Breasts?

by (Peter Janiszewski, PhD (Cand.), MSc) in Obesity Panacea

That's right - its like a 2 for 1 combo: you can slim your hips, thighs, and abdomen while simultaneously getting larger breasts.

Last time we discussed liposuction, or the surgical removal of subcutaneous (under the skin) fat, we looked at a study that suggested the loss of fat in this manner does not result in the metabolic benefits one gets when losing that same amount of fat tissue via dieting and exercise. Thus in that post, I argued that liposuction does not make you healthy.

While lipo........ Read more »

  • February 22, 2010
  • 11:45 AM

Mother’s Love

by Moselio Schaechter in Small Things Considered

by Elio Binary fission is a most impressive invention. In one fell swoop, it ensures that progeny cells are born alike and endowed with the same potential for growth and survival. Simple as it sounds, it must have taken considerable evolutionary contortions to make it function so well throughout the living world. But there are cells that have adopted an...... Read more »

  • February 22, 2010
  • 10:24 AM

A Fishfinder for the “Junk DNA” Seas

by Rob Mitchum in ScienceLife

In a way, the Human Genome Project had it easy. Sure, mapping the roughly 23,000 genes active in humans was one of the most important scientific achievements of all time, but those genes are only part of the story. In fact, the protein-coding sequences only occupy about 1.5% of the roughly 3 billion base pairs [...]... Read more »

Narlikar, L., Sakabe, N., Blanski, A., Arimura, F., Westlund, J., Nobrega, M., & Ovcharenko, I. (2010) Genome-wide discovery of human heart enhancers. Genome Research. DOI: 10.1101/gr.098657.109  

  • February 22, 2010
  • 10:19 AM

In the (Blue) Zone

by Promega Corporation in Promega Connections

Call me kooky, but, even at the relatively tender age of 33, I sometimes fantasize about the kind of old lady I’m going to be, or at least the kind I’d like to be. I want my Mom’s silvery hair. I want to almost exclusively wear jeans. I want my body and bones to be [...]... Read more »

  • February 22, 2010
  • 10:05 AM

A not so modest proposal for pathogens: evolutionary diversification

by Devin Drown in Coevolvers

Due to a ground swell of interest, we recently read Robert Ricklefs inaugural article (Ricklefs 2010) in to the National Academy of Sciences (of the United States of America) in which he proposes a new mechanistic role for parasites and pathogens to generate diversity within the tree of life. In this paper, Ricklefs (2010) distinguishes between two compartments of the ecological niche of a species: 1) the individual niche space and 2) the population niche space. He contrasts these two concepts o........ Read more »

  • February 22, 2010
  • 09:49 AM

Preventing Overweight and Obesity in Scotland - A Route Map Towards Healthy Weight

by PhD Blogger in Exercise Psychology

The Scottish Government has published a paper called Preventing Overweight and Obesity in Scotland - A Route Map Towards Healthy Weight ', Published 22nd Feb2010. Give it a read! We don't do much well. But we certainly known how to do obesity!

Scottish Government (2010). Preventing Overweight and Obesity in Scotland - A Route Map Towards Healthy Weight Government Publication

... Read more »

Scottish Government. (2010) Preventing Overweight and Obesity in Scotland - A Route Map Towards Healthy Weight. Government Publication. info:/

  • February 22, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Study links mercury contamination with changes in birdsongs

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

A new study in the journal Auk finds evidence that mercury contamination can modify the singing behavior of birds.

Kelly Hallinger and fellow researchers from William and Mary's Cristol Lab recorded and analyzed bird songs from four species at sites along the mercury-contaminated South River in Virginia. They also studied birds of the same species at nearby uncontaminated sites.... Read more »

Hallinger, K., Zabransky, D., Kazmer, K., & Cristol, D. (2010) Birdsong Differs between Mercury-polluted and Reference Sites. The Auk, 127(1), 156-161. DOI: 10.1525/auk.2009.09058  

  • February 22, 2010
  • 07:49 AM

Ancient shark was a shell-crushing giant

by Laelaps in Laelaps

An outline of the upper jaw of Ptychodus mortoni showing the position of the new fragment, and a comparison of the size of the shark next to an adult human. (From Shimada et al., 2010)

The study of prehistoric sharks is no easy task. Specialists in other branches of vertebrate paleontology at least have the reasonable hope of discovering complete skeletons of their subjects; except in instances of exceptional preservation the scientists who study sharks typically only have teeth and a few ........ Read more »

  • February 22, 2010
  • 06:15 AM

Rabbits, virulence, history, and connections

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

Man chasing rabbit
(From “Fliegende Blätter”, Munich, 1889)

Everyone knows about rabbits in Australia. Introduced in the mid-1800s, they multiplied ridiculously and are their way across the country, leaving barren devastation behind them.
Myxomavirus, a poxvirus that originated in South America, was introduced in the early 1950s and temporarily controlled the rabbit population, cutting their numbers [...]... Read more »

Kerr, P., Kitchen, A., & Holmes, E. (2009) Origin and Phylodynamics of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus. Journal of Virology, 83(23), 12129-12138. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.01523-09  

  • February 22, 2010
  • 04:26 AM

Building a Motivated Research Group

by Susan Steinhardt in BioData Blogs

Uri Alon, a PI in the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel, recently published an article in Molecular Cell where he discusses how to build a motivated research group.

Motivation in a research group is very important as that is the way that work actually gets done. Its not enough to go uninspired through the motions and conduct experiments because if it doesn’t work out – what is going to push you to keep trying? I personally have spoken to many involved in research asking what i........ Read more »

  • February 22, 2010
  • 04:24 AM

At what age do children recognise the difference between sarcasm and irony?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

People hold strong feelings about the meanings of irony and sarcasm. Just look at the reaction to Alanis Morissette's global hit 'ironic' - despite commercial success, the apparent misunderstanding of irony conveyed by the song provoked a chorus of derision (at least everyone agreed that this state of affairs was ironic). So I'd say it's with some courage that Melanie Glenwright and Penny Pexman have chosen to investigate the tricky issue of when exactly children learn the distinction between sa........ Read more »

  • February 22, 2010
  • 02:15 AM

Dwarf galaxies start making sense

by Charles Daney in Science and Reason

Cosmology has, for a decade, had its "standard model", which largely explains most of the cosmological phenomena that astronomers are able to observe. Except for a relatively small number of things that don't seem to make sense in the model. Prominent among the latter are dwarf galaxies – by one definition, galaxies having less than 10% of the total mass of the Milky Way.The standard model of cosmology is known officially as the Λ-cold-dark-matter model – ΛCDM. (This th........ Read more »

Governato, F., Brook, C., Mayer, L., Brooks, A., Rhee, G., Wadsley, J., Jonsson, P., Willman, B., Stinson, G., Quinn, T.... (2010) Bulgeless dwarf galaxies and dark matter cores from supernova-driven outflows. Nature, 463(7278), 203-206. DOI: 10.1038/nature08640  

  • February 22, 2010
  • 02:02 AM

How Risky Are Social Networking Sites for Kids

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD

This article discussed in this post, isn’t recent but the conclusion is very nuanced which isn’t always the case with publications especially in news media about social networking and kids or adolescents. Seems that politicians are advocating measures to restrict social networking for children in order to prevent assumed online sexual exploitation and Internet harassment.
Broad [...]

Related posts:Searching Dating Sites Reduces Decision Quality Dating sites as well as social netw........ Read more »

  • February 22, 2010
  • 12:23 AM

Latest 'Coping With Cancer' publications

by Drew Rosielle MD in Pallimed: a Hospice & Palliative Medicine Blog

A few analyses from the Coping With Cancer Study have been published recently, all in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. We've published extensively about the CWCS (see here for more). Briefly, it was a prospective, US multi-institutional study of several hundred advanced cancer patients (& their family caregivers) which measured at baseline, among many things, characteristics of patient coping, communication with clinicians, and care preferences. Patients were followed through death, and ........ Read more »

  • February 22, 2010
  • 12:22 AM

2/3 of the truth

by Drew Rosielle MD in Pallimed: a Hospice & Palliative Medicine Blog

NEJM has an editorial discussing withholding information from patients. It's a practical, casual discussion of 1) the fact that in real life we withhold information from patients all the time (e.g. don't go into all the details as they can be confusing, overwhelming, or superfluous), and 2) the fact that we decide all the time to withhold certain major pieces information out of a desire to protect the patient emotionally. It's the latter that is the real issue (e.g. not talking with a leuke........ Read more »

Epstein RM, Korones DN, & Quill TE. (2010) Withholding information from patients--when less is more. The New England journal of medicine, 362(5), 380-1. PMID: 20130252  

Schapira, L., Butow, P., Brown, R., & Boyle, F. (2009) Pessimism Is No Poison. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 28(4), 705-707. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2009.25.0027  

  • February 21, 2010
  • 07:08 PM

More on the M2 Channel Structure Controversy

by Nick Anthis in The Scientific Activist

Last year, I wrote about a scientific controversy over the structure of the influenza M2 proton channel, particularly over the protein's binding site for adamantane type anti-flu drugs. The Schnell/Chou model, based on solution NMR, had the drug binding to the outside of the channel, within the membrane (at a 4:1 drug:protein ratio). On the other hand, the Stouffer/DeGrado model had the drug binding inside the channel (1:1 ratio), based on X-ray crystallography studies.

A new study was recently........ Read more »

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