Post List

  • December 27, 2010
  • 12:39 AM

Don’t like angry faces? We have oxytocin for that.

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

I’m sure anyone who reads this blog is by now well aware of the many roles of oxytocin: In men, women, in sex, and especially in emotionally related things like pair bonding, trust, and facial recognition related to emotional states. People who just call oxytocin the “love molecule” don’t get the HALF of it. Oxytocin [...]... Read more »

Evans S, Shergill SS, & Averbeck BB. (2010) Oxytocin decreases aversion to angry faces in an associative learning task. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 35(13), 2502-9. PMID: 20844475  

  • December 26, 2010
  • 10:03 PM

England, Prepare to be Brainwashed

by Neurobonkers in Neurobonkers

A review of a study on the correlation between FOX news consumption and levels of misinformation in light of news that the owner of FOX news is planning to by the SKY news agency in the UK.... Read more »

CLAY RAMSAY, STEVEN KULL, EVAN LEWIS, & STEFAN SUBIA. (2010) Misinformation and the 2010 Election. WORLDPUBLICOPINION.ORG. info:/

  • December 26, 2010
  • 09:39 PM

What Happened at Cowboy Wash?

by teofilo in Gambler's House

In comments to the previous post, Graham King raises an important question: assuming that the assemblages of broken, burned, and otherwise unusually treated bones at sites like 5MT10010 at Cowboy Wash represent incidents of cannibalism, what does this mean culturally and historically?  After all, cannibalism has occurred in various contexts in many societies, including our [...]... Read more »

  • December 26, 2010
  • 09:25 PM

This Week in the Universe: December 20th – December 27th

by S.C. Kavassalis in The Language of Bad Physics

Since I’m in the Rockies soaking up my last few days of vacation, I haven’t actually looked at much this week, but there were two papers I thought were worth noting.
Astrophysics and Gravitation:
Reconstructing Histories with Good Statistics
Tracy Holsclaw, Ujjaini Alam, Bruno Sanso, Herbert Lee, Katrin Heitmann, Salman Habib, & David Higdon (2010). Nonparametric Dark Energy Reconstruction from Supernova Data Phys. Rev. Lett. arXiv: 1011.3079v1
The abstract:
Understanding the ori........ Read more »

Tracy Holsclaw, Ujjaini Alam, Bruno Sanso, Herbert Lee, Katrin Heitmann, Salman Habib, & David Higdon. (2010) Nonparametric Dark Energy Reconstruction from Supernova Data. Phys. Rev. Lett. arXiv: 1011.3079v1

Valeri P. Frolov, & Shinji Mukohyama. (2010) Brane Holes. arXiv. arXiv: 1012.4541v1

  • December 26, 2010
  • 06:34 PM

Weekend Review: All about the Gut - Diet and Immunity

by Kevin Bonham in Food Matters

As Boston gets buried under a layer of snow (wooo! blizzard!), the the Weekend Review makes a return with one of my favorite topics: gut microbes.

The fields of immunology, microbiology, nutrition and metabolism are rapidly converging. Here we expand on a diet-microbiota model as the basis for the greater incidence of asthma and autoimmunity in developed countries.

Two important advances in the fields of immunology and gut microbiology have emerged in recent years. First, it has been clearly ........ Read more »

Maslowski, K., & Mackay, C. (2011) Diet, gut microbiota and immune responses. Nature Immunology, 12(1), 5-9. DOI: 10.1038/ni0111-5  

  • December 26, 2010
  • 12:57 PM

My picks for the top studies of 2010

by Michelle Greene in NeurRealism

Presented in no particular order, here are the ten studies of 2010 that I found the most interesting. Enjoy!1. A Wandering Mind is an Unhappy MindI wrote about this study here. Authors used an iPhone app to obtain "what are you doing?", "what are you thinking about?" and "how happy are you right now?" data. It turns out that we are thinking about something other than what we are doing about half of the time, and these are the times we are least happy.2. Electrical Enhancement of Mathematical Abi........ Read more »

Killingsworth MA, & Gilbert DT. (2010) A wandering mind is an unhappy mind. Science (New York, N.Y.), 330(6006), 932. PMID: 21071660  

Job V, Dweck CS, & Walton GM. (2010) Ego depletion--is it all in your head?: implicit theories about willpower affect self-regulation. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 21(11), 1686-93. PMID: 20876879  

Loetscher, T., Bockisch, C., Nicholls, M., & Brugger, P. (2010) Eye position predicts what number you have in mind. Current Biology, 20(6). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.01.015  

Monti, M., Vanhaudenhuyse, A., Coleman, M., Boly, M., Pickard, J., Tshibanda, L., Owen, A., & Laureys, S. (2010) Willful Modulation of Brain Activity in Disorders of Consciousness. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(7), 579-589. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0905370  

Owen, A., Hampshire, A., Grahn, J., Stenton, R., Dajani, S., Burns, A., Howard, R., & Ballard, C. (2010) Putting brain training to the test. Nature, 465(7299), 775-778. DOI: 10.1038/nature09042  

Bourgeois FT, Murthy S, & Mandl KD. (2010) Outcome reporting among drug trials registered in Annals of internal medicine, 153(3), 158-66. PMID: 20679560  

Dosenbach NU, Nardos B, Cohen AL, Fair DA, Power JD, Church JA, Nelson SM, Wig GS, Vogel AC, Lessov-Schlaggar CN.... (2010) Prediction of individual brain maturity using fMRI. Science (New York, N.Y.), 329(5997), 1358-61. PMID: 20829489  

  • December 26, 2010
  • 10:37 AM

Oscar: training data, models, etc

by egonw in Chem-bla-ics

Oscar uses a Maximum Entropy Markov Model (MEMM) based on n-grams. Peter Corbett has written this up (doi:10.1186/1471-2105-9-S11-S4). So, it basically is statistics once more. If you really want a proper bioinformatics education, so do your PhD at a (proteo)chemometrics department.

N-grams are word parts of n characters. For example, the trigrams of acetic acid include ace, cid, tic, eti, and aci. N-grams of length four include acid, etic, and acet. The MEMM assigns weights to these n-grams, a........ Read more »

  • December 25, 2010
  • 11:51 PM

HeLa, telomeres, and the death of my free time

by Casey Rentz in Natural Selections

I haven't posted much lately. It's because I'm obsessively reading Rebecca Skloot's new book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and spending all my free time this week curled up with it (my husband is jealous.) Crazy wild events keep unfolding, and I can't put it down.
I'm about 3/4 of the way through, just past a chapter that wonders why the cells derived from Henrietta's cervical cancer won't die. What makes them 'immortal', thriving in research labs for decades? The answer might be in thei........ Read more »

Jaskelioff M, Muller FL, Paik JH, Thomas E, Jiang S, Adams AC, Sahin E, Kost-Alimova M, Protopopov A, Cadiñanos J.... (2010) Telomerase reactivation reverses tissue degeneration in aged telomerase-deficient mice. Nature. PMID: 21113150  

  • December 25, 2010
  • 06:41 PM

Cannibal Coprolite Christmas Continues

by teofilo in Gambler's House

In their critique of the article reporting evidence for alleged cannibalism at site 5MT10100 near Cowboy Wash on the southern piedmont of Sleeping Ute Mountain, Kurt Dongoske, Debra Martin, and T. J. Ferguson challenged many of the conclusions and lines of evidence presented in the article.  Among these was the evidence of consumption of human [...]... Read more »

  • December 25, 2010
  • 03:14 PM

Platypus: The duck-billed, egg-laying mammal

by beredim in Strange Animals

The platypus is surely one of the world strangest and most bizarre animals. For example, other than the Echidna, its the only mammal to lay eggs. It's also one of the few known mammals with electroreception, or the ability to sense electrical fields produced by other animals. Want more? The platypus is also one of the very few animals that produce venom!... Read more »

Hall, B. (1999) The Paradoxical Platypus. BioScience, 49(3), 211. DOI: 10.2307/1313511  

Bethge, P., Munks, S., Otley, H., & Nicol, S. (2003) Diving behaviour, dive cycles and aerobic dive limit in the platypus Ornithorhynchus anatinus. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular , 136(4), 799-809. DOI: 10.1016/S1095-6433(03)00198-3  

Leon Hughes, R., & Hall, L. (1998) Early development and embryology of the platypus. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 353(1372), 1101-1114. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.1998.0269  

Manger PR, Hall LS, & Pettigrew JD. (1998) The development of the external features of the platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus). Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 353(1372), 1115-25. PMID: 9720109  

  • December 25, 2010
  • 02:40 AM

The C Word

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Near the very end of his report on the excavations at Pueblo Bonito by the Hyde Expedition in the 1890s, George Pepper wrote the following: The finding of cracked and calcined bones in some of the rooms brings up the question of the eating of human flesh by the people of this pueblo.  There was [...]... Read more »

Dongoske, K., Martin, D., & Ferguson, T. (2000) Critique of the Claim of Cannibalism at Cowboy Wash. American Antiquity, 65(1), 179. DOI: 10.2307/2694813  

Lambert, P., Leonard, B., Billman, B., Marlar, R., Newman, M., & Reinhard, K. (2000) Response to Critique of the Claim of Cannibalism at Cowboy Wash. American Antiquity, 65(2), 397. DOI: 10.2307/2694066  

  • December 24, 2010
  • 02:05 PM


by beredim in Strange Animals

Echidnas (also knowns as spiny anteaters) are primitive mammals with a series of very strange traits. For example, they are one of the very few surviving mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live youngs. They also have a very strange, 4-headed penis with a shaft covered with spines!... Read more »

Proske U, Gregory JE, & Iggo A. (1998) Sensory receptors in monotremes. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 353(1372), 1187-98. PMID: 9720114  

Grigg GC, Beard LA, Barnes JA, Perry LI, Fry GJ, & Hawkins M. (2003) Body temperature in captive long-beaked echidnas (Zaglossus bartoni). Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular , 136(4), 911-6. PMID: 14667854  

Nicol SC, Andersen NA, Phillips NH, & Berger RJ. (2000) The echidna manifests typical characteristics of rapid eye movement sleep. Neuroscience letters, 283(1), 49-52. PMID: 10729631  

Johnston SD, Smith B, Pyne M, Stenzel D, & Holt WV. (2007) One-sided ejaculation of echidna sperm bundles. The American naturalist, 170(6). PMID: 18171162  

  • December 24, 2010
  • 12:16 PM

Seafood Safety, Part 2a: ‘safe’ criteria, PAHs

by Holly Bik in Deep Sea News

What criteria makes Gulf seafood “safe to eat”?
In part 2, we’re geting down to the nitty gritty: what guidelines and criteria are the FDA and NOAA using to approve the sale and consumption of seafood from the Gulf of Mexico?
The FDA is currently focusing its tests on two separate compounds: PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) to test . . . → Read More: Seafood Safety, Part 2a: ‘safe’ criteria, PAHs... Read more »

Yader, R., Michel, J., & Lord, C. (2002) Managing Seafood Safety after an Oil Spill. Seattle: Hazardous Materials Response Division, Office of Response and Restoration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. info:other/

  • December 24, 2010
  • 11:39 AM

in which more evidence accumulates for utility of calcium channel blockers in treating Parkinson's disease

by Ragamuffin in How We Are Hungry

Neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease is known to be specific to a group of dopamine neurons originating in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc). In nearby region, the ventral tegmental area (VTA), dopamine neurons are all but unaffected by disease progression. This selectivity has generated great interest from the PD research community. In a study out of Dr. D. James Surmeier's lab at Northwestern University, this selectivity was suggested to be related to calcium channel........ Read more »

Guzman JN, Sanchez-Padilla J, Wokosin D, Kondapalli J, Ilijic E, Schumacker PT, & Surmeier DJ. (2010) Oxidant stress evoked by pacemaking in dopaminergic neurons is attenuated by DJ-1. Nature, 468(7324), 696-700. PMID: 21068725  

  • December 24, 2010
  • 11:20 AM

Having a Very Merry Christmas Can Help You Think Creatively

by APS Daily Observations in Daily Observations

People who watch funny videos on the internet, or in this case APS Christmas Cards , at work aren’t necessarily wasting time. They may be taking advantage of the latest ... Read more »

  • December 24, 2010
  • 10:49 AM

Don't change your worldview based on one study

by Daniel Simons in The Invisible Gorilla

Why media coverage of new and controversial scientific findings leads to the distrust of science.... Read more »

Chabris CF. (1999) Prelude or requiem for the 'Mozart effect'?. Nature, 400(6747), 826-827. PMID: 10476958  

Kaptchuk, T. J, Friedlander, E., Kelley, J. M., Sanchez, M. N., Kokkotou, E., Singer, J. P., Kowalczykowski, M., Miller, F. G., Kirsch, I., & Lembo, A. J. (2010) Placebos without Deception: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Irritable Bowel Syndrome. PLoS One, 5(12). info:/

  • December 24, 2010
  • 09:18 AM

Is it cancer or is it not? A case study

by Debajyoti Datta in Medicine...Life

A diagnosis of cancer carries a lot of significance for the patient who receives the diagnosis. But is it always cancer? Can it be another disease masquerading as cancer? It is rare, but it can happen as a case report by Smulders YE et al. published in the Journal of Medical Case Reports demonstrates.They report a case of a 50 year old Caucasian male referred to their clinic. He had complaints of dysphonia (difficulty in speaking), dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing), and odynophagia (pain whil........ Read more »

  • December 24, 2010
  • 07:47 AM

Fried food may cause diabetes in thin people too.

by ABK in Environment and Health

A Taiwanese research group published on the effects of high oxidized frying oil on insulin secretion (reduces insulin secretion)in 2007. In this study they (Chiang et al. 2010) attempt to determine the cause by experimenting with mice. They used three treatment groups: Low Fat DietHigh Fat DietHigh Oxidized Frying Oil Diet. The mice fed high oxidized frying oil exhibited reduced insulin secretion and high blood glucose levels. Very important here: their islets of langerhans (the tissue that ........ Read more »

Ya-Fan Chiang, Huey-Mei Shaw, Mei-Fang Yang, Chih-Yang Huang, Cheng-Hsien Hsieh and Pei-Min Chao. (2010) Dietary oxidised frying oil causes oxidative damage of pancreatic islets and impairment of insulin secretion, effects associated with vitamin E deficiency. British Journal of Nutrition. info:/10.1017/S0007114510005039

  • December 24, 2010
  • 07:34 AM

Levels of evolution

by Lab Rat in Lab Rat

Eukaryotes - animals, plants, and other creatures with a nucleus, evolve relatively slowely. Genetic variation occurs through changes in the DNA between generations; each offspring will be a genetic product of their parents and nothing else. Genetic changes happen down the generations. In bacteria, however, everything is a little more insane. Because bacteria can change DNA with almost any other bacteria they come accross, there is less of a conserved genetic record. Genes are flying around all ........ Read more »

He, M., Sebaihia, M., Lawley, T., Stabler, R., Dawson, L., Martin, M., Holt, K., Seth-Smith, H., Quail, M., Rance, R.... (2010) Evolutionary dynamics of Clostridium difficile over short and long time scales. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(16), 7527-7532. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0914322107  

  • December 24, 2010
  • 07:07 AM

Simple Jury Persuasion: Are those folks in the jury box thinkers or feelers?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Here’s a nice and very simple persuasion tactic first presented at PsyBlog in their ongoing series on 10 forms of persuasion. They cite the recent work of Nicole Mayer & Zakary Tormala (2010) and discuss the natural tendency we have to see the world (and thus describe it) via either thinking (useless or useful) or [...]

Related posts:Simple Jury Persuasion: I’m too smart to fall for that!
Simple Jury Persuasion: You may want to disagree with this post
Simple Jury Persuasion: Don’t co........ Read more »

Mayer ND, & Tormala ZL. (2010) "Think" versus "feel" framing effects in persuasion. Personality and social psychology bulletin, 36(4), 443-54. PMID: 20363901  

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