Post List

  • February 26, 2010
  • 06:44 AM

Video-game exercise bikes - not just a gimmick

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Exercise is going techno. People are playing Wii fit sports games in their homes and gyms are full of ever more interactive exercise machines. But is this trend anything more than gimmickry? Yes, according to a new study by Ryan Rhodes at the Behavioural Medicine Lab at the University of Victoria, and his colleagues.Rhodes' team had 29 previously inactive young men embark on an exercise regime, involving three half-hour cycling sessions a week for six weeks. Crucially, half the men trained on Ga........ Read more »

  • February 26, 2010
  • 06:33 AM

Personalized Annoyance of Research Enthusiast (PARE)

by Keith Robison in Omics! Omics!

Last night I finally got my paws on a paper which started out on a frustrating tack. Last week, a flurry of news items heralded a new approach from Vogelstein's group at Johns Hopkins that involved second generation sequencing of patient tumor samples. But, the early reports claimed it had been published in Science Translational Medicine, whereas it most certainly wasn't there except a suggestive teaser about the next week's issue. I thought perhaps someone had really blown it and ignored an ........ Read more »

Leary, R., Kinde, I., Diehl, F., Schmidt, K., Clouser, C., Duncan, C., Antipova, A., Lee, C., McKernan, K., De La Vega, F.... (2010) Development of Personalized Tumor Biomarkers Using Massively Parallel Sequencing. Science Translational Medicine, 2(20), 20-20. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3000702  

  • February 26, 2010
  • 06:02 AM

Why Johnny can’t read (but Jane can)

by Kevin Mitchell in Wiring the Brain

Reading is not a skill that comes naturally.  Unlike learning spoken language, which the human brain has evolved to absorb almost effortlessly, learning to read is a protracted and difficult process.  It involves the categorical association of arbitrary visual symbols with phonemes and also the ability to break words down into component phonemes.  It thus relies on an integration between visual and auditory processes, combining spatial and temporal information, within a learned linguistic c........ Read more »

  • February 26, 2010
  • 05:47 AM

Did Artist Käthe Kollwitz Have Alice in Wonderland Syndrome?

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

"Rare migraineurs have strange symptoms where the diagnosis may be lurking just down a rabbit hole" (Evans & Rolak, 2004).Alice in Wonderland syndrome is an unusual perceptual phenomenon most often caused by migraine headaches, but also seen in association with epilepsy and Epstein-Barr virus. The most well-known symptoms are: Alteration of body image: the sizes of parts of the body are perceived incorrectly. Alteration of visual perception: the size........ Read more »

  • February 26, 2010
  • 05:11 AM

Certain death: Not risky. Uncertain death: risky.

by Jan Husdal in

If you know for sure that things will go wrong, there really is no risk. If you don’t know for sure that things will go wrong, then there is a risk. That’s the basic assumption in a paper I just read. It may sound like a bold statement, but technically speaking, it is a true [ ... ]... Read more »

  • February 26, 2010
  • 05:00 AM

Popular herbicide can be a secret killer of fish

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

The chemical glyphosphate has emerged as the most widely used herbicide in the world. As a new study suggests, the popular herbicide may have unexpected negative impacts on fish by making them more vulnerable to disease...... Read more »

  • February 26, 2010
  • 01:43 AM

Demerol is Not Bad, It Treats Shivering.

by Christian Sinclair, MD in Pallimed: a Hospice & Palliative Medicine Blog

Image via WikipediaIf you have spent anytime with a palliative care team in a hospital you will know of their efforts to essentially blacklist Demerol (meperidine) from use in the hospital.  Some hospitals have removed it or restricted it from the formulary all together.  In medical culture, demerol has been a go to opioid peri-OR and mostly favored by surgeons.  The drug has been purported to be less likely to cause billiary spasm, but this seems to be impacted more by cultural i........ Read more »

  • February 26, 2010
  • 12:22 AM

Friday Weird Science: Doing your Kegels to Improve your Orgasms

by Evil Monkey in Neurotopia

Many of you may have heard from your doctor that doing Kegels is a good thing. It's certainly good for keeping your pelvic floor strong, to prevent problems like uterine prolapse following birth. It's also very good for keeping your bladder good and functional later in life. So do your Kegels, ladies.

However, Sci has always heard through the grapevine that Kegels were also good for...other things.

Well, are they?

Lowenstein et al. "Can stronger pelvic muscle floor improve sexual function........ Read more »

Lowenstein, L., Gruenwald, I., Gartman, I., & Vardi, Y. (2010) Can stronger pelvic muscle floor improve sexual function?. International Urogynecology Journal. DOI: 10.1007/s00192-009-1077-5  

  • February 25, 2010
  • 11:41 PM

Nucleotide diversity - what two new African genomes mean

by David in The Atavism

If you wanted evidence that we live in a post-genomic age you would need to look no further than the headlines in the science section of the newspaper last week. A man dubbed Inuk who lived and died in Greenland 4 000 years ago had dry earwax and might have gone bald if he lived long enough, Tutankhamun was inbred and had a cleft palate and Desmond Tutu has had his whole genome sequenced. What about the science behind the hook? Ed Yong has the the story of Inuk (whose genes tell us about migrat........ Read more »

Schuster SC, Miller W, Ratan A, Tomsho LP, Giardine B, Kasson LR, Harris RS, Petersen DC, Zhao F, Qi J.... (2010) Complete Khoisan and Bantu genomes from southern Africa. Nature, 463(7283), 943-7. PMID: 20164927  

  • February 25, 2010
  • 11:02 PM

XMRV not detected in Dutch chronic fatigue patients

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

The suggestion that the retrovirus XMRV is the etiologic agent of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) arose from a study in which the virus was found in 68 of 101 US patients. The virus was not detected in two independent studies of 186 and 170 CFS patients in the United Kingdom. A new Dutch study has also [...]... Read more »

Frank J M van Kuppeveld, Arjan S de Jong, Kjerstin H Lanke, Gerald W Verhaegh, Willem J G Melchers, Caroline M A Swanink, Gijs Bleijenberg, Mihai G Netea, Jochem M D Galama, & Jos W M van der Meer. (2010) Prevalence of xenotropic murine leukaemia virus-related virus in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome in the Netherlands: retrospective analysis of samples from an established cohort. British Medical Journal. info:/10.1136/bmj.c1018

  • February 25, 2010
  • 10:28 PM

Prion diseases: protein is enough

by Michael Clarkson in Conformational Flux

Spongiform encephalopathies are transmissible diseases that can have a major economic impact on agricultural exports, and pose a significant challenge for surveillance of the food supply. Scientists generally believe that these diseases are transmitted via a self-propagating, aberrant conformation of the prion protein (PrP). This prion hypothesis suggests that PrP alone should be sufficient to cause symptoms or death. If this hypothesis is true, then it should be possible to reproduce the diseas........ Read more »

  • February 25, 2010
  • 07:42 PM

Echoes of the Past

by teofilo in Gambler's House

There’s a spot near the west end of the Pueblo Bonito parking lot, close to the spot where guided tours begin, where you can yell something in the direction of the canyon wall and hear a very clear echo back.  Some of the tour guides at Chaco regularly demonstrate this impressive effect when beginning their [...]... Read more »

  • February 25, 2010
  • 07:41 PM

Is the Clinical Significance Criterion Significant?

by Neuropsych15 in The MacGuffin

The draft version of DSM-V: Revenge of the Fallen has been online for a few weeks (1) and much has already been written about it (1, 2, 3, 4). Much focus has been on what is "new" and what is "gone." One feature that is shared by the majority of DSM diagnoses, the "clinical significance" criterion, might be on its way out. Typically this criterion reads "The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other........ Read more »

  • February 25, 2010
  • 07:01 PM

A personal god boosts the placebo effect

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

The placebo effect is that spooky phenomenon that can cure people simply by convincing them they're getting real medicine (whereas they in fact are just taking a sugar pill). Although it's been reported in all sorts of areas of medicine, it's particularly potent for treating things like irritable bowel syndrome, pain, and depression.In fact, a recent analysis found that most of the effect of antidepressant medicine in people with depression was in fact due to the placebo effect (but the effect........ Read more »

  • February 25, 2010
  • 03:26 PM

Research Blogging Award Finalists!

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

I know you've been on pins and needles waiting to hear, so I'm happy to report that the finalists are out! Congrats to everyone! There are some fantastic blogs in the running for some nice sums of cash. In a week or so, voting will open to allow research blogging members to vote for their favorites in a bunch of categories.

I am so honored that Observations of a Nerd was chosen as a finalist not only in the "Best Blog -- Biology" and in the "Best Lay-Level Blog" categories, but one of my post........ Read more »

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

  • February 25, 2010
  • 03:24 PM

Social Cognition in Dogs, or How did Fido get so smart?

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

Figure 1: Dogs are pretty intelligent.
Domesticated dogs seem to have an uncanny ability to understand human communicative gestures. If you point to something the dog zeroes in on the object or location you’re pointing to (whether it’s a toy, or food, or to get his in-need-of-a-bath butt off your damn bed and back onto his [...]... Read more »

  • February 25, 2010
  • 02:56 PM

The power of prediction reduces activation in the primary visual cortex

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

Prediction is an invaluable skill for navigating through complex environments. Somehow the brain generates predictions about perceptual inputs it's likely to receive using contextual information from recent memory. Statistical regularities are learned (e.g. movement and attack patterns of Mega Man bosses) and lead to less activation in corresponding brain areas. The brain is truly a miserly organ. "Why put in more work than I have to when I know what's gonna happen next", says the brain. Alink a........ Read more »

Alink, A., Schwiedrzik, C., Kohler, A., Singer, W., & Muckli, L. (2010) Stimulus Predictability Reduces Responses in Primary Visual Cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 30(8), 2960-2966. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3730-10.2010  

Doppelmayr M, Klimesch W, Sauseng P, Hödlmoser K, Stadler W, & Hanslmayr S. (2005) Intelligence related differences in EEG-bandpower. Neuroscience letters, 381(3), 309-13. PMID: 15896490  

  • February 25, 2010
  • 01:14 PM

Research demonstrates that marine protected areas aid coral reefs

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

Research has shown that marine protected areas (MPAs)—areas where fishing and other potentially destructive activities are regulated—are benefitting, not just the fish habitats they are known to aid, but nearby coral reefs as well. MPAs may benefit corals by restoring reef-based food webs and protecting damage from anchors and nutrient runoff.... Read more »

  • February 25, 2010
  • 01:08 PM

Research demonstrates that marine protected areas aid coral reefs

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

Research has shown that marine protected areas (MPAs)—areas where fishing and other potentially destructive activities are regulated—are benefitting, not just the fish habitats they are known to aid, but nearby coral reefs as well. MPAs may benefit corals by restoring reef-based food webs and protecting damage from anchors and nutrient runoff...

... Read more »

  • February 25, 2010
  • 12:50 PM

It's What You Learn, Not What You Think

by Cole Bitting in Fable

Some symptoms of OCD might be describable as pathological doubt, for instance, that one’s hands are clean or that the doors are locked. A review of OCD treatments states, “pathological doubt is one of the central manifestations of this illness. The person goes to the door, shuts it, locks it, feels that it is locked, knows that it is locked, turns around, and walks away. All of a sudden, he or she feels that it is absolutely necessary to go back and check. It appears clinically that the m........ Read more »

Nolen-Hoeksema, S., Wisco, B., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2008) Rethinking Rumination. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 3(5), 400-424. DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-6924.2008.00088.x  

join us!

Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.

If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.

Register Now

Research Blogging is powered by SMG Technology.

To learn more, visit