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 »
Rhodes, R., Warburton, D., & Bredin, S. (2009) Predicting the effect of interactive video bikes on exercise adherence: An efficacy trial. Psychology, Health , 14(6), 631-640. DOI: 10.1080/13548500903281088
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
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 »
Chang, B., Katzir, T., Liu, T., Corriveau, K., Barzillai, M., Apse, K., Bodell, A., Hackney, D., Alsop, D., Wong, S.... (2007) A structural basis for reading fluency: White matter defects in a genetic brain malformation. Neurology, 69(23), 2146-2154. DOI: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000286365.41070.54
Rosen GD, Herman AE, & Galaburda AM. (1999) Sex differences in the effects of early neocortical injury on neuronal size distribution of the medial geniculate nucleus in the rat are mediated by perinatal gonadal steroids. Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991), 9(1), 27-34. PMID: 10022493
"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 »
Drysdale, G. (2009) Kaethe Kollwitz (1867-1945): the artist who may have suffered from Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. Journal of Medical Biography, 17(2), 106-110. DOI: 10.1258/jmb.2008.008042
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 »
AVEN, T. (2009) Identification of safety and security critical systems and activities. Reliability Engineering , 94(2), 404-411. DOI: 10.1016/j.ress.2008.04.001
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 »
Kelly, D., Poulin, R., Tompkins, D., & Townsend, C. (2010) Synergistic effects of glyphosate formulation and parasite infection on fish malformations and survival. Journal of Applied Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01791.x
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 »
Doufas, A. (2003) Dexmedetomidine and Meperidine Additively Reduce the Shivering Threshold in Humans. Stroke, 34(5), 1218-1223. DOI: 10.1161/01.STR.0000068787.76670.A4
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
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
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
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 »
Wang, F., Wang, X., Yuan, C., & Ma, J. (2010) Generating a Prion with Bacterially Expressed Recombinant Prion Protein. Science, 327(5969), 1132-1135. DOI: 10.1126/science.1183748
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 »
Mills, B., & Ferguson, T. (2008) Animate Objects: Shell Trumpets and Ritual Networks in the Greater Southwest. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 15(4), 338-361. DOI: 10.1007/s10816-008-9057-5
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 »
Wakefield, J., Schmitz, M., & Baer, J. (2010) Does the DSM-IV Clinical Significance Criterion for Major Depression Reduce False Positives? Evidence From the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. American Journal of Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2009.09040553
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 »
Murphy, P., & Fitchett, G. (2009) Belief in a concerned god predicts response to treatment for adults with clinical depression. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65(9), 1000-1008. DOI: 10.1002/jclp.20598
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 »
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 »
Hare, B., Plyusnina, I., Ignacio, N., Schepina, O., Stepika, A., Wrangham, R., & Trut, L. (2005) Social Cognitive Evolution in Captive Foxes Is a Correlated By-Product of Experimental Domestication. Current Biology, 15(3), 226-230. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2005.01.040
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
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 »
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 »
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 »
Dolbier, C., Jaggars, S., & Steinhardt, M. (2009) Stress-related growth: pre-intervention correlates and change following a resilience intervention. Stress and Health. DOI: 10.1002/smi.1275
Watkins, E. (2008) Constructive and unconstructive repetitive thought. Psychological Bulletin, 134(2), 163-206. DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.134.2.163
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