Post List

  • December 3, 2010
  • 08:53 AM

Friday Weird Science: Female Orgasm, Evolutionary Byproduct? Or not?

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

Today’s post comes to you courtesy of Denim and Tweed, where Jeremy brought up this question, and cited his works very well! And after I saw all that stuff on clitorises, I had cover it myself. Poor female orgasm. It’s always been up for debate. From issues over the G Spot to issues of what [...]... Read more »

  • December 3, 2010
  • 07:44 AM

Close up to Andrias, despite the smell and the teeth

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology

Aww, look at that cute little face, those piggy little, opaque eyes, that wrinkled skin. I just know that you want a little refresher on giant salamanders, so - accompanied with new photos taken at the SMNK in Karlsruhe (by Markus Bühler; thanks) - here's a substantially augmented chunk of text that originally appeared here back in January 2008... Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

  • December 3, 2010
  • 06:56 AM

Paucis Verbis card: Dysphagia

by Michelle Lin in Academic Life In Emergency Medicine

Dyphagia is a disorder of swallowing. It actually occurs in up to 10% of adults older than 50 years old. How can you determine the most likely causes for dysphagia? The secret is to obtain a thorough history and using the algorithm below, which I find really helpful from a review article in American Family Physician.How do you read the figure?Determine first if patient has oropharyngeal vs esophageal dysphagia. Determine if mechanical (problem is solid foods only) vs neuromuscular (problem ........ Read more »

Spieker MR. (2000) Evaluating dysphagia. American family physician, 61(12), 3639-48. PMID: 10892635  

  • December 3, 2010
  • 06:07 AM

Simple Jury Persuasion: Using attraction to your advantage

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Most of us are familiar with the old research saying attractive people get more, well, everything! And in a world that changes at dizzying speed, rest assured that this one remains as true as ever. A new study shows that we do judge a book by its cover “but a beautiful cover prompts a closer [...]

Related posts:Simple Jury Persuasion: Use pre-factual thinking to your advantage in litigation
Simple Jury Persuasion: Using counter-factual thinking to your advantage
Simple Jury Persuasion: Be Po........ Read more »

Ruffle, Bradley J., & Shtudiner, Ze'ev. (2010) Are Good-Looking People More Employable?. SSRN. info:/

  • December 3, 2010
  • 05:30 AM

More microRNA mysteries

by Becky in It Takes 30

Since we only recently found out that microRNAs and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) exist, and modulate gene expression, it’s perhaps not surprising that many aspects of their function are still puzzling.  One mysterious feature is the fact that the efficacy of microRNAs and siRNAs in silencing mRNAs is rather unpredictable. For example, a single microRNA [...]... Read more »

Larsson E, Sander C, & Marks D. (2010) mRNA turnover rate limits siRNA and microRNA efficacy. Molecular systems biology, 433. PMID: 21081925  

  • December 3, 2010
  • 04:48 AM

Shy students who use Facebook have better quality friendships

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

A lot of nonsense is written about the psychological effects of technology, and the Internet in particular. All that time staring at screens must reduce good ol' fashioned face-to-face contact, the scare-mongers say. A new study takes a different view. Levi Baker and Debra Oswald at Marquette University argue that "computer-mediated communication" could be just what shy people need.

Through sites like Facebook, shy people have more control over how they present themselves, the psychologists arg........ Read more »

Baker, L., & Oswald, D. (2010) Shyness and online social networking services. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 27(7), 873-889. DOI: 10.1177/0265407510375261  

  • December 3, 2010
  • 01:34 AM

Debates on Emotions

by Dana Sugu in Cogitation on Emotions

Primacy debate: appraisal vs. arousalZajonc (1980) claimed that simple familiarity with something createsaffective reactions, such as liking or disliking, for that item. Objects werepresented subliminally while participants were engaged in another task. Theresults revealed that though the participants showed no recognition of thesubliminal items, they gave them higher preference ratings than novel items.Zajonc argued that the form of experience that we call feeling accompanies allcognitions, pre........ Read more »

Dana SUGU . (2010) Flashback: Reshuffling Emotions. International Journal on Humanistic Ideology, 3(1), 109-133. info:/

  • December 2, 2010
  • 10:52 PM

Science that’s only skin deep

by Captain Skellett in A Schooner of Science

I’m a guest blogger for the RiAus, and this post also appeared on their fancy website. To tell the truth, I really wanted to call this post “Hormonally Yours” in homage to the Shakespeare Sisters (anyone?) but I’ll save it for another post. Recently I was in Arnhem Land, visiting some Indigenous communities with a [...]... Read more »

Jablonski, N. (2000) The evolution of human skin coloration. Journal of Human Evolution, 39(1), 57-106. DOI: 10.1006/jhev.2000.0403  

  • December 2, 2010
  • 10:49 PM

A new life form? Not so fast

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

So everybody is excited about the new GFAJ-1 bacterium that Felisa Wolfe-Simon and her colleagues have discovered. A common buzzphrase diffusing through the media and blogosphere is “NASA discovers a new life form“. (Or, better yet alien life.) Big press conference, and I just finished going through the article that Wolfe-Simon and colleagues have published in Science. Great work. But is this really a new life form?... Read more »

Felisa Wolfe-Simon, Jodi Switzer Blum, Thomas R. Kulp, Gwyneth W. Gordon, Shelley E. Hoeft, Jennifer Pett-Ridge, John F. Stolz, Samuel M. Webb, Peter K. Weber, Paul C. W. Davies.... (2010) A Bacterium That Can Grow by Using Arsenic Instead of Phosphorus. Science. info:/10.1126/science.119725

  • December 2, 2010
  • 08:50 PM

The great boundary crossing: Perceptions on training pharmacists as supplementary prescribers in the UK

by Amir Rashid in Pharmacy Commitment PhD

An interesting study by Tann, et al (2010). They argue that, once the preserve of the medical profession, prescribing rights have now been extended to others including pharmacists. However in this paper the authors concentrate on one form of “non medical” prescribing by pharmacists, namely supplementary prescribing, which is carried out in partnership, with mostly, [...]... Read more »

  • December 2, 2010
  • 07:02 PM

Arsenic and Old Lace

by Madhusudan Katti in a leafwarbler's gleanings

As you may very well have heard by now, NASA made a bit of a splash today in the mainstream media and especially the science (and sci-fi too, of course) blogosphere / twitterverse through its press conference about a fascinating biological discovery with potential astrobiological significance. An "alien" life-form that incorporates Arsenic (which normally kills our kind of life-form) instead of Phosphorus in the "backbone" of its very DNA. Actually its a bacterium from ........ Read more »

Wolfe-Simon, F., Blum, J.S., Kulp, T.R., Gordon. G.W., Hoeft, S.E., Pett-Ridge, J., Stolz, J.F., Webb, S.M., Weber, P.K., Davies, P.C.W., Anbar, A.D., and, Oremland, R.S. (2010) A Bacterium That Can Grow by Using Arsenic Instead of Phosphorus. Science. info:/

  • December 2, 2010
  • 06:01 PM

Occupational hazards in supply chains

by Jan Husdal in

Material damage and occupational accidents are little understood elements of the overall supply chain. This research looks at the paper industry in Finland and the occupational accidents that occur in the supply chain from the paper mill to the harbor of arrival. » Read more » » »
... Read more »

  • December 2, 2010
  • 03:34 PM

NASA's new organism, the meaning of life, and Darwin's Second Theory

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

In his highly readable book, One Long Argument, Ernst Mayr breaks down the body of thought often referred to as "Darwin's Theory" into five separate and distinct theories, the second of which being "common descent." Darwin's second evolutionary theory (second by Mayr's count, not Darwin's) is really a hypothesis that could be worded this way:

All life on earth descended from a single, original, primordial form that arose eons ago.

The evidence in favor of this hypothesis is strong, but the te........ Read more »

Wolfe-Simon, Felisa, & Et.Al. (2010) A bacterium that can grow by using arsenic instead of phosphorus. Science. info:/10.1126/science.1197258

  • December 2, 2010
  • 12:00 PM

One in a Million

by Merry Youle in Small Things Considered

Like it or not, we can't shop around for a genetic code, nor do we have a choice of brand or model. We're pretty much stuck with the one we have at this point (although some researchers are modifying the code to synthesize proteins containing "designer amino acids"). The universal genetic code is just that, virtually universal. Oh, there are about 20 other "genetic codes" known but almost all of them are used only by mitochondria or else the differences are limited to start and stop codons. So h........ Read more »

Freeland, S., & Hurst, L. (1998) The Genetic Code Is One in a Million. Journal of Molecular Evolution, 47(3), 238-248. DOI: 10.1007/PL00006381  

  • December 2, 2010
  • 11:06 AM

The Distribution of Dominance

by Jon Wilkins in Lost in Transcription

So, as you have no doubt surmised from the title of this post, the cash-strapped Republican Party is going to start using their abundant frequent "flyer" points to pay their debts.

I'm kidding, of course. The GOP doesn't pay its debts!

Actually, we're going to talk about a paper just out in Genetics by Aniel Agarwal and Michael Whitlock. They provide a very thorough analysis of data on the fitness effects of homozygous and heterozygous gene deletions in yeast.

But let's back up for a minute........ Read more »

  • December 2, 2010
  • 10:12 AM

Super MRI

by Janet Kwasniak in Thoughts on thoughts

One of the reasons that the neo-cortex has center stage in our view of the brain is that it is big, very big; another is that it is relatively bigger in humans than in animals; and finally is the fact that we can examine it more easily than other parts of the brain. So, hey, [...]... Read more »

  • December 2, 2010
  • 10:07 AM

Need a Hand? Don’t Ask an Abelisaurid

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

As mighty as Tyrannosaurus rex was, its tiny forelimbs have also made it one of the most mocked dinosaurs of all time. The stubby arms of this predator once seemed mismatched to its enormous frame, and some of the hypotheses put forward to explain their function just made the “tyrant king” seem sillier. The ideas [...]... Read more »

  • December 2, 2010
  • 09:16 AM

You Sleep, but Your Brain Doesn’t

by APS Daily Observations in Daily Observations

We all know sleep is good. Not only does it feel good, it helps consolidate our memories, fixing them in the brain so we can retrieve them later. But now, ... Read more »

Payne, J.D., . (2010) Sleep’s Role in the Consolidation of Emotional Episodic Memories. Current Directions in Psychological Science. info:/

  • December 2, 2010
  • 08:03 AM

Early Life Experience and Neurodegeneration

by Psychothalamus in Psychothalamus

Although some studies have found that early life environmental factors can affect our vulnerability to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease in later life, the underlying neuronal mechanisms of such vulnerability are not well understood. By looking at post mortem rhesus monkey brains, Merrill et al. (2011) finds an association between early life experience and subsequent risk of exhibiting neurodegeneration in later life. In the study, β-amyloid plaque density and synaptophys........ Read more »

Merrill DA, Masliah E, Roberts JA, McKay H, Kordower JH, Mufson EJ, & Tuszynski MH. (2011) Association of early experience with neurodegeneration in aged primates. Neurobiology of aging, 32(1), 151-6. PMID: 19321231  

  • December 2, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

What Do Doctors Advise Patients About Losing Weight?

by Arya M. Sharma in Dr. Sharma's Obesity Notes

Obesity is a medical problem and obesity treatments should be initiated by trained health professionals.
This solid piece of advice, of course assumes that trained health professionals actually know something about obesity treatment.
But is this assumption really valid?
We addressed this issue in a study just published in the Journal of Obesity, in which we surveyed 33 [...]... Read more »

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