Post List

  • December 29, 2010
  • 06:16 PM

The Paper That Finally Changed The Law on Drugs?

by Neurobonkers in Neurobonkers

Sweeping changes to UK law removing the requirement for any consultation of scientists is due to come in to effect in the new year. Is this a result of recent research condemning drug policy?... Read more »

Rolles S. (2010) An alternative to the war on drugs. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 20627976  

  • December 29, 2010
  • 05:48 PM

Fluoride and IQ

by Ashartus in exposure/effect

One effect that has been claimed for fluoridation of drinking water that I didn’t really examine in my previous examination of fluoride toxicity is reduced IQ. The major regulatory reviews have previously concluded there is no evidence for any such link at relevant concentrations, but a new study published ahead of print in Environmental Health [...]... Read more »

  • December 29, 2010
  • 05:36 PM

Pleiotropy is 100 years old

by Bjørn Østman in Pleiotropy

This year, the term pleiotropy was defined 100 years ago, and Frank Stearns, graduate student at the University of Maryland biology graduate program has written a perspective in Genetics, which I highly recommend.... Read more »

  • December 29, 2010
  • 04:03 PM

Using Google to Tell Real Science from Fads

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

Most hot ideas and discoveries fade with time. But some scientific papers are genuine breakthroughs, whose importance only increases as the decades pass. This one, published in Science last week, which describes a database of words from millions of books digitized by Google—4 percent of all books ...Read More
... Read more »

  • December 29, 2010
  • 01:20 PM

Energy Scales

by Kevin Bonham in Food Matters

Bacteria are tiny. Compared to our cells, they can seem insignificant. There are about ten times more bacteria cells in your gut *right now* than there are human cells in your entire body, but they only make up about 5% of your mass. They're tiny, but they're successful - they live in places we can't, they can metabolize things we can't, and they're everywhere. Despite this success, there's some things they don't do, like multicellularity, but why?

PZ has a great review of a recent paper in Nat........ Read more »

Lane N, & Martin W. (2010) The energetics of genome complexity. Nature, 467(7318), 929-34. PMID: 20962839  

  • December 29, 2010
  • 12:38 PM

First week recap

by Bradley Voytek in brainSCANr

Wow, it's only been a week, but brainSCANr has been quite successful!We don't have a mailing list yet, so if you'd like to keep updated in the meantime, subscribe to our RSS feed or follow Brad on Twitter. You can see what people are saying about our site at the bottom of this post.And if you haven't seen it yet, Brad's been quoted in a recent New York Times article on the human connectome.So far we've had just shy of 10,000 pageviews from 75 countries including Kenya and Iran. The top 5 countr........ Read more »

Bickart KC, Wright CI, Dautoff RJ, Dickerson BC, & Barrett LF. (2010) Amygdala volume and social network size in humans. Nature Neuroscience. PMID: 21186358  

Feinstein JS, Adolphs R, Damasio A, & Tranel D. (2010) The Human Amygdala and the Induction and Experience of Fear. Current Biology. PMID: 21167712  

  • December 29, 2010
  • 12:11 PM

Belgian Blue: The super cow

by Beredim in Strange Animals

If Arnold Schwarzenegger had a pet cow, it would most probably be Belgian Blue. These cows are incredibly muscled, toned and have very little fat. Interestingly, the breed has been created using the genetic power of selective breeding. No steroids or anabolics. Only natural bodybuilding here :P... Read more »

  • December 29, 2010
  • 11:03 AM

Iron Chef: Middle Paleolithic

by zacharoo in Lawn Chair Anthropology

New evidence suggests Neandertals ate cooked foods, and plants at that.
Amanda Henry and colleagues (in press) extracted phytoliths - small mineralized parts from plants - and starch grains from dental calculus found on 2 Belgian (Spy) and 1 Iraqi (Shanidar) Neandertal fossils. I've never seen a study look at this kind of evidence before, I have to say it's pretty neat. Calculus, not just a badass type of mathematics, is mineralized plaque that can build up on teeth. As the Neandertals chewed th........ Read more »

  • December 29, 2010
  • 09:23 AM

Stegosaur Wars: the SJG stegosaur special, part I

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology

Among the most iconic and remarkable of dinosaurs are the stegosaurs, a mostly Jurassic group of thyreophorans famous for the rows of spikes and plates that decorated their necks, backs and tails [somewhat inaccurate Stegosaurus stenops shown below. I did it many years ago].

As I'm fond of saying, the stegosaur we know best - Stegosaurus - is an atypical member of the group. It's particularly large and possesses lots of plates and but a few spikes. Stegosaurus may also be unusual in lacking........ Read more »

Maidment, S., Norman, D., Barrett, P., & Upchurch, P. (2008) Systematics and phylogeny of Stegosauria (Dinosauria: Ornithischia). Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, 6(04), 367. DOI: 10.1017/S1477201908002459  

  • December 29, 2010
  • 09:01 AM

Caterpillars Whistle, Warblers Go Hungry

by Kelly Grooms in Promega Connections

Is there anything a caterpillar can do to cause a bird, one of its biggest predators, to duck for cover? If your answer is no, think again and read on. (If your answer was yes, congratulations you are very, very smart, but read on anyway). Caterpillars are a great example of defense mechanisms at work. [...]... Read more »

  • December 29, 2010
  • 08:46 AM

Bouncing Babies Betray Awareness of Others’ Beliefs

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

…if only I could have found synonyms for “awareness” and “adult” or “other person” that started with B…my life is eternally unfulfilled now. Today’s post on babies is dedicated to Glendon Mellow of the Flying Trilobite, who just yesterday welcomed a bouncing TriloBoy! Congratulations to Glendon!!! That’s going to be one amazingly awesome family. (Not [...]... Read more »

  • December 29, 2010
  • 05:30 AM

It’s all about energy

by Becky in It Takes 30

Over the last 10 years or so — thanks to tools that allow us to study the behaviors of individual cells — we’ve become increasingly aware of and interested in cell-to-cell variation in genetically identical populations.  For example, in response to a challenge, some cells may live and others die (I’ve written before about examples of [...]... Read more »

  • December 29, 2010
  • 04:44 AM

What’s the actual size of your personal social network? Some numbers

by ---a in

In 1992 Robin Dunbar proposed a rough estimate of 150. But the "Dunbar's number" pretty much doubled in 1998, when Peter Killworth suggested a mean personal network size of 290. And in 2010 that number doubled again, as Matthew Salganik came up with 610 personal. So who says 1,200?... Read more »

Bickart, K., Wright, C., Dautoff, R., Dickerson, B., & Barrett, L. (2010) Amygdala volume and social network size in humans. Nature Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2724  

Killworth, P., Johnsen, E., Bernard, H. R., Shelley, G., & McCarty, C. (1990) Estimating the size of personal networks. Social Networks, 12(4), 289-312. DOI: 10.1016/0378-8733(90)90012-X  

McCormick, T., Salganik, M., & Zheng, T. (2010) How Many People Do You Know?: Efficiently Estimating Personal Network Size. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 105(489), 59-70. DOI: 10.1198/jasa.2009.ap08518  

  • December 29, 2010
  • 03:22 AM

Improving scan results

by Janet Kwasniak in Thoughts on thoughts

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Yarkoni and others make a plea for collaboration and cumulative science in the mapping of brain functions, and in doing this they give much needed cautions to those of us that follow the images without any first-hand experience of a fMRI technology. I list here what they say are the short [...]... Read more »

  • December 29, 2010
  • 02:47 AM

DON’T PANIC: Sustainable seafood and the American outlaw

by Miriam in Deep Sea News

Time: 9 PM, after a long day in the lab.
Place: Lucha Libre Taco Shop
Internal Monologue:
Bad Miriam: “If I do not have a Surf ‘n’ Turf burrito I will surely perish!”
Good Miriam: “No! Shrimp is bad! You know shrimp is bad! You are a goddamn marine biologist!”
Bad Miriam: “But it is sooooo delicious. Plus it tastes so . . . → Read More: DON’T PANIC: Sustainable seafood and the American outlaw... Read more »

  • December 29, 2010
  • 02:00 AM

The Obama administration sparks a renewed interest in climate change policy

by SAGE Insight in SAGE Insight

The Western Climate Initiative From State and Local Government Review Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is one of the greatest challenges the world will face in the coming decades. Renewed interest from the Obama administration along with continuing regional and local actions have raised awareness among US constituents and their representatives concerning this issue. Policymakers at [...]... Read more »

Warren, D., & Tomashefsky, S. (2009) The Western Climate Initiative. State and Local Government Review, 41(1), 55-60. DOI: 10.1177/0160323X0904100107  

  • December 29, 2010
  • 01:17 AM

The First Human RCT: Renal Sympathetic Denervation in Treatment Resistant Hypertension

by Pranab Chatterjee in Scepticemia

Treatment resistant hypertension has been an issue which has been bugging medical practitioners for a long time now. The first human trial on renal sympathetic denervation for treatment of this condition, the results of which have been recently published in … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • December 28, 2010
  • 09:34 PM

Trio of Dogs Study

by Leema in Some Thoughts About Dogs

What do three dogs do by themselves in St Louis City, Missouri, in 1973? Researchers studied their behaviour.... Read more »

Fox, MW, Beck, AM, & Blackman, E. (1975) Behaviour and ecology of a small group of urban dogs (Canis familiaris). Applied Animal Ethology, 1(2), 119-137. info:/

  • December 28, 2010
  • 09:18 PM

A Fistful of Teeth – Do the Qesem Cave Fossils Really Change Our Understanding of Human Evolution?

by Laelaps in Laelaps

A handful of fossil teeth found in Israel’s Qesem Cave, described in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology and attributed to 400,000 year old members of our own species in multiple news reports, are said to rewrite the story of human evolution. This discovery doubles the antiquity of Homo sapiens, the articles say, and identify [...]... Read more »

Hershkovitz, I., Smith, P., Sarig, R., Quam, R., Rodríguez, L., García, R., Arsuaga, J., Barkai, R., & Gopher, A. (2010) Middle pleistocene dental remains from Qesem Cave (Israel). American Journal of Physical Anthropology. DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.21446  

  • December 28, 2010
  • 01:29 PM

Detecting facial emotions: Women vs Men

by Psychothalamus in Psychothalamus

Do women really recognize facial emotion better than men? Existing literature on the subject remains contradictory with some studies showing a female advantage (albeit with small effect sizes) and others failing to find any gender differences. Hoffman and colleagues (2010) suggest that expression intensity is an important factor mediating gender differences in recognizing emotions and that while women do recognize facial emotions better than men, this advantage only exists for subtle emotional f........ Read more »

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