Post List

  • February 3, 2010
  • 06:59 AM

Now playing: Viral plaque formation

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

One of the most important procedures in virology is measuring the virus titer – the concentration of viruses in a sample. A widely used approach for determining the quantity of infectious virus is the plaque assay. In this technique, the spread of progeny viruses released by individually infected cells is restricted to neighboring cells by [...]... Read more »

  • February 3, 2010
  • 06:43 AM

Do you love anyone enough to give them your last Rolo?

by judithharvey in NASGP

A 1980s cult advertising campaign posed sharing your tube of cheap caramels as an existential crisis. A 21st century version of the dilemma involves higher stakes. Would you offer one of your kidneys to a member of your family? To a friend? To a stranger?
The first successful living donor kidney transplant was performed in 1954. [...]... Read more »

Ferriman, A. (2008) Becoming a live kidney donor. BMJ, 336(7657), 1374-1376. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.a277  

  • February 3, 2010
  • 06:15 AM

Tumors as ecosystems

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

Clonal evolution during in situ to invasive breast carcinoma progression1

What’s a tumor?
In some ways, that’s a bad question (never mind the answer) because it implies that a tumor is a single thing. But we know that’s not true. A tumor, by the time we can detect it, is a collection of many cells, [...]... Read more »

  • February 3, 2010
  • 05:05 AM

Shiny, swanky car boosts men's appeal to women, but not women's appeal to men

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

It's a widely held, if much derided, belief that ownership of a prestige sports car can increase a man's sex appeal to women. Indeed, there's a scene in the American sit-com Friends in which Joey dons a ridiculous Porsche-branded costume of peak cap, gloves, jacket and trousers, so determined is he to convince female passers-by that he owns a fast, shiny car. Now Michael Dunn and Robert Searle have tested the shiny car effect scientifically, looking at the effect of apparent car ownership on bot........ Read more »

  • February 3, 2010
  • 12:12 AM

Mild Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Fixation

by Michael Long in Phased

Satoshi Minakata (Osaka University) and coworkers have converted carbon dioxide into a synthetically-useful chemical under mild conditions, providing hope for practical atmospheric cleanup and a halt to global warming. This news feature was written on February 2, 2010.... Read more »

  • February 2, 2010
  • 10:19 PM

‘Safe’ Water-Based Drill Cuttings Affect Seafloor Animals

by Kevin Zelnio in Deep Sea News

Oil and gas extraction is pervasive among the coasts of the world. In many areas, such as the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of west Africa, resource exploration companies have been moving into pretty deep waters. Many rigs use water-based muds in the drilling process. It is considered to the best alternative because [...]... Read more »

Hilde C. Trannum, Hans C. Nilsson, Morten T. Schaanning, & Sigurd Øxnevad. (2009) Effects of sedimentation from water-based drill cuttings and natural sediment on benthic macrofaunal community structure and ecosystem processes. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. info:/10.1016/j.jembe.2009.12.004

  • February 2, 2010
  • 09:41 PM

More on abstinence

by Ryan in Evidence-Based Public Health

A recent paper describes a significant benefit from abstinence-only education. The story is more complicated...... Read more »

  • February 2, 2010
  • 09:18 PM

Monolingual mindset in the lucky country

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

National holidays are there to celebrate the nation and the opinion pages tend to be full of self-congratulation on such occasions. Australia is no exception and one of the more over-excited ones that was produced on the occasion of Australia Day last week came from Ross Cameron, a former Liberal (and in Australia that means [...]... Read more »

Clyne, Michael. (2005) Australia's Language Potential. UNSW Press. info:/

  • February 2, 2010
  • 09:12 PM

Spermidine and Another Vote For Autophagy

by Reason in Fight Aging!

For many years, up until fairly recently, life science researchers who talked in public about altering or reversing the course of aging found that this was a quick and effective way to destroy fundraising prospects. The mainstream institutions involved in grants are conservative indeed. So next to nobody said anything - in public at least. But times are changing. It has to be said that scientists involved in aging research are now becoming noticeably more comfortable about talking in public on t........ Read more »

Madeo F, Eisenberg T, Büttner S, Ruckenstuhl C, & Kroemer G. (2010) Spermidine: A novel autophagy inducer and longevity elixir. Autophagy, 6(1). PMID: 20110777  

  • February 2, 2010
  • 08:23 PM

Weekly Dose of Cute: Baby Froggies!

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

A little proof that the mini version of just about anything is cute:

Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher/WCS via Zooborns

These little tykes are the Bronx Zoo's newest arrivals: baby Kihansi Spray Toads (Nectophrynoides asperginis). While they might just look like any other toad, this species is unique. Females give birth to fully-formed babies, not eggs like most amphibians. There are no tadpoles here - baby toads come right out of mom looking like mini versions of their parents.

Unfortunately........ Read more »

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

  • February 2, 2010
  • 08:20 PM

Integration of Network Design and Production/Distribution Planning

by Daniel Dumke in SCRM Blog - Supply Chain Risk Management

Jang et al. (2002): "A combined model of network design and production/distribution planning for a supply network" suggest a framework for integrating the strategic supply chain network design with the operational planning needed for production and distribution.... Read more »

  • February 2, 2010
  • 08:19 PM

Cognitive Impairment and Schizophrenia

by Neuropsych15 in The MacGuffin

Time to act like a big boy again...When you hear the word "schizophrenia," what comes to mind? Frequently, people imagine someone who has auditory hallucinations (e.g., a voice keeping a running commentary on the person's behavior) or bizarre delusions, such as having thoughts broadcasted to others.When mental health professionals discuss the disorder, the most common phrases used are "positive symptoms" (e.g., hallucinations, delusions) and "negative symptoms"........ Read more »

Reichenberg, A., Caspi, A., Harrington, H., Houts, R., Keefe, R., Murray, R., Poulton, R., & Moffitt, T. (2010) Static and Dynamic Cognitive Deficits in Childhood Preceding Adult Schizophrenia: A 30-Year Study. American Journal of Psychiatry, 167(2), 160-169. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2009.09040574  

  • February 2, 2010
  • 06:06 PM

Do bees benefit from a balanced diet?

by Thomas Kluyver in Thomas' Plant-Related Blog

We discussed this paper at a journal club in our department yesterday (Monday 1st February). Some of our thoughts are below.
Although the media coverage of this study played heavily on the link to colony collapse disorder (which is causing honeybee colonies to die off around the world), the authors only allude to it in one [...]... Read more »

Alaux, C., Ducloz, F., Crauser, D., & Le Conte, Y. (2010) Diet effects on honeybee immunocompetence. Biology Letters. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.0986  

  • February 2, 2010
  • 05:57 PM

Fish oil: Bogus or not?

by Michael Slezak in Good, Bad, and Bogus

In a previous post which considered some of the bogus science claims made by the Australian TV show Today Tonight, I had a brief look at a few things that fish oil is supposed to treat. It seemed fair to say that counter to the strong claims made by TT, the evidence suggests that fish oil [...]... Read more »

Amminger, G., Schafer, M., Papageorgiou, K., Klier, C., Cotton, S., Harrigan, S., Mackinnon, A., McGorry, P., & Berger, G. (2010) Long-Chain Ω-3 Fatty Acids for Indicated Prevention of Psychotic Disorders: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Archives of General Psychiatry, 67(2), 146-154. DOI: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2009.192  

  • February 2, 2010
  • 04:37 PM

Optimising Fat Burning on Non-HIIT days

by mc in begin to dig (b2d)

We can't HIIT all the time, nor can we work steady state at the top end of our aerobic capacit all the time. Our central nervous system would come up and strangle us. That's another word for overtraining. But if we still want to make sure that we're optimizing our non-HIIT time for both endurance capacity and fat mobilization, can we do both at the same time? Outlook looks good that there's a sweet spot for such work in the 60-80% MaxHR zone.... Read more »

Carey, DG. (2009) Quantifying Differences in the "Fat Burning" Zone and the Aerobic Zone: Implications For Training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: , 23(7), 2090-2095. info:/10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181bac5c5

  • February 2, 2010
  • 04:08 PM

Arthritis, platelets, and inflammation

by Bryan in Imaging Geek

As I mentioned in my last post, this has been a watershed week in two areas I'm greatly interested in. Two major discoveries were published last week that are in areas of great interest for myself. My first post concentrated on one of my favourite parts of the cell - mitochondria. The second article I want to blog about is a blast from my past, and involves inflammation - the major way our immune system gets rid of bacteria, and ironically, the cause of many human diseases.This paper discusse........ Read more »

Boilard E, Nigrovic PA, Larabee K, Watts GF, Coblyn JS, Weinblatt ME, Massarotti EM, Remold-O'Donnell E, Farndale RW, Ware J.... (2010) Platelets amplify inflammation in arthritis via collagen-dependent microparticle production. Science (New York, N.Y.), 327(5965), 580-3. PMID: 20110505  

  • February 2, 2010
  • 04:01 PM

Instant Neurons

by Kevin Mitchell in Wiring the Brain

A new study from Marius Wernig and colleagues at Stanford University has succeeded in transforming fibroblast cells directly into neurons. In the end, it was far simpler than expected. The identities of different cell types are known to be established during development by particular combinations of transcription factors, which, by controlling the expression of large numbers of target genes, define the genetic and biochemical profile of each cell type. It was thought that this profile of gen........ Read more »

  • February 2, 2010
  • 03:40 PM

Does mixed-income housing ameliorate poverty?

by Christopher Leo in Christopher Leo

One of the most troubling problems of North American cities is the isolation of the poor and racialized minorities in ghetto neighbourhoods. Mixed-income neighbourhoods offer a possible remedy, but in place of careful analysis of the benefits they can and can't provide, too often we argue fruitlessly from inadequately-researched, ideologically fixed positions. Some recent research takes a step forward.... Read more »

  • February 2, 2010
  • 03:36 PM

Bound to happen (especially if you're an Asian Christian)

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Christians tend to be more fatalistic than the non-religious, which is not altogether surprising. In a post earlier this month I reviewed a study showing one of the consequences of that fatalism.This post is about an altogether weirder aspect of fatalism!It comes from a study by Ara Norenzayan (University of British Columbia) and Albert Lee (Queen's University, Ontario). They looked at religious students and found, lo and behold, they were more fatalistic than non-religious students.They also lo........ Read more »

Norenzayan, A., & Lee, A. (2010) It was meant to happen: Explaining cultural variations in fate attributions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. info:/

  • February 2, 2010
  • 02:50 PM

Growth From Suffering

by Cole Bitting in Fable

In their article, Posttraumatic Growth: Conceptual Foundations and Empirical Evidence,1 Tedeschi and Calhoun create a valuable framework for evaluating a routine consequence of trauma - personal growth.

Traumatic events are “profoundly disturbing,” cause significant anxiety and stress, can give rise to “dysfunctional patterns of thinking,” including “repetitive intrusions of thoughts and images,” cause unpleasant, potentially significant physical reactions, and can cause or exacerba........ Read more »

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