Post List

  • July 9, 2010
  • 11:01 AM

Sinornithosaurus Probably Wasn’t Venomous After All

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Every now and then, I come across a study that makes me hope my first doubtful impression is wrong and that the authors have better evidence to back up their claims. One such case was the hypothesis that the feathered dinosaur Sinornithosaurus had a venomous bite, as was proposed by scientists Enpu Gong, Larry Martin, [...]... Read more »

  • July 9, 2010
  • 10:49 AM

Geriaddicts – the older drug user

by Euan in Dr Euan Lawson| Doctor Writer

There is a long list of chronic diseases we see as a consequence of illicit drug use. One issue that wasn’t really touched on in this editorial* is the premature ageing effect of drugs. A good example is the state of an intravenous drug user’s legs – the acute risks of DVT and infection are [...]... Read more »

Beynon C, Stimson G, & Lawson E. (2010) Illegal drug use in the age of ageing. The British journal of general practice : the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners, 60(576), 481-2. PMID: 20594437  

  • July 9, 2010
  • 09:30 AM

Sexual orientation – wired that way

by Kevin Mitchell in Wiring the Brain

In a recent post, I presented the evidence that sexual preference is strongly influenced by genetic variation.  Here, I discuss the neurobiological evidence that shows that the brains of homosexual men and women are wired differently from those of their heterosexual counterparts.   First, we must consider the differences between the brains of heterosexual males and females.  These differences are extensive and arise mainly due to the influence of testosterone during a critical period of e........ Read more »

Swaab DF. (2008) Sexual orientation and its basis in brain structure and function. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(30), 10273-4. PMID: 18653758  

  • July 9, 2010
  • 09:29 AM

Broken heart syndrome and the flagellated heart

by Atila in Brazillion Thoughts

This is another one of those unlikely situations that insist on existing. Could a very strong emotion cause a cardiac alteration so severe capable of causing someone's death?
I'm not talking about arrhythmia. Electric alterations in the heart could make it lose its regular rhythm and, possibly, create a situation where there is, in fact, a cardiac arrest. Arrhythmias may be caused by a number of factors, including electrolytic disorders, traumas, drugs, as well as emotions.
What I am talking a........ Read more »

Wittstein IS, Thiemann DR, Lima JA, Baughman KL, Schulman SP, Gerstenblith G, Wu KC, Rade JJ, Bivalacqua TJ, & Champion HC. (2005) Neurohumoral features of myocardial stunning due to sudden emotional stress. The New England journal of medicine, 352(6), 539-48. PMID: 15703419  

  • July 9, 2010
  • 08:42 AM

Watch where you sit, the things you touch affect your decisions and judgment

by Matt Soniak in

How you think you assess and explore new things? You might assume that you do it primarily through sight, right? If I have a cool new gadget, the first words out of your mouth would likely be, “Can I see it?” Chances are, though, that when you say that, you’ll also extend your arm and open your hand. Seeing isn’t all there is. You want to touch, feel, hold and manipulate unfamiliar things.... Read more »

Ackerman JM, Nocera CC, & Bargh JA. (2010) Incidental haptic sensations influence social judgments and decisions. Science (New York, N.Y.), 328(5986), 1712-5. PMID: 20576894  

  • July 9, 2010
  • 08:19 AM

Computerizing the Chaos of Epilepsy

by Rob Mitchum in ScienceLife

The electrical symphony of the human brain, with billions of neurons firing at different rates, up to hundreds of times per second, likely looks like chaos to any outside observer. But there are patterns in the ongoing brain activity seen, for instance, on an EEG: slow oscillations, rhythmic coordination, and purposeful ripples of communication. The [...]... Read more »

Dwyer J, Lee H, Martell A, Stevens R, Hereld M, & van Drongelen W. (2010) Oscillation in a Network Model of Neocortex. Neurocomputing, 73(7-9), 1051-1056. PMID: 20368744  

  • July 9, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

The Handwriting on the Wall

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have poor penmanship. In turn, poor penmanship leads to decreased success in communication, failed academics, and a lack of self-esteem. Until now, clinicians and autism experts believed that developmental delays were to blame for inferior handwriting skills, but a new study in Neurology reports that weak motor skills [...]... Read more »

Beversdorf DQ, Anderson JM, Manning SE, Anderson SL, Nordgren RE, Felopulos GJ, & Bauman ML. (2001) Brief report: macrographia in high-functioning adults with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 31(1), 97-101. PMID: 11439759  

Dziuk MA, Gidley Larson JC, Apostu A, Mahone EM, Denckla MB, & Mostofsky SH. (2007) Dyspraxia in autism: association with motor, social, and communicative deficits. Developmental medicine and child neurology, 49(10), 734-9. PMID: 17880641  

Frings M, Gaertner K, Buderath P, Christiansen H, Gerwig M, Hein-Kropp C, Schoch B, Hebebrand J, & Timmann D. (2010) Megalographia in Children with Cerebellar Lesions and in Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Cerebellum (London, England). PMID: 20480275  

Fuentes CT, Mostofsky SH, & Bastian AJ. (2009) Children with autism show specific handwriting impairments. Neurology, 73(19), 1532-7. PMID: 19901244  

  • July 9, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

“You’re not my type!”, echolocation edition

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

Distinguishing your own species from other species is useful: for one thing, it prevents a lot of potentially embarrassing mating attempts.

“Um. You mean we don’t belong to, er... that is to say... you’re not my species? I am so sorry...”


But how fine a distinction can a species draw? Does it stop at, “You’re not my species,” or can it extend to, “You’re species B, not C or D”? And would species be able to distinguish other species outside of r........ Read more »

  • July 9, 2010
  • 06:00 AM

Making winter sports less intrusive on wildlife

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

... Read more »

  • July 9, 2010
  • 05:30 AM

Calling for help

by SysBio@HMS in It Takes 30

This amazing movie, from Niethammer P, Grabher C, Look AT, Mitchison TJ. 2009 A tissue-scale gradient of hydrogen peroxide mediates rapid wound detection in zebrafish. Nature 459 996-9 PMCID: PMC2803098, shows leukocytes (the white blobs) rushing to the site of a wound in response to a hydrogen peroxide signal (fluorescence in upper panel).

We’ve known for a while that leukocytes rapidly (within minutes) home to the sites of wounds. What hasn’t been clear is what signal attracts ........ Read more »

  • July 9, 2010
  • 02:17 AM

Effect of anger on negotiations depends on cultural context

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

The expression of anger in negotiations can be an effective strategy, several studies have shown, because it is interpreted by others as a sign of toughness, thus encouraging them to make concessions. However, there's a hefty caveat to this conclusion because those studies were conducted entirely in a Western context. Now Hajo Adam and colleagues have attempted to correct this oversight by studying the effect of anger in negotiations conducted by American students hailing from a Western backgrou........ Read more »

Adam H, Shirako A, & Maddux WW. (2010) Cultural variance in the interpersonal effects of anger in negotiations. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 21(6), 882-9. PMID: 20483822  

  • July 9, 2010
  • 01:56 AM

The colonial cringe in academia

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

When I lived in Abu Dhabi, I once visited a university in another Middle Eastern country. As part of the visit I did a guest lecture about my research, I met with colleagues to discuss our joint research interests and … Continue reading →... Read more »

Esmat Babaii. (2010) Opting Out or Playing the ‘Academic Game’? Professional Identity Construction by Off-Center Academics. Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis across Disciplines, 4(1), 93-105. info:/

  • July 9, 2010
  • 01:37 AM

Friday Weird Science: The Human Penis Bone

by Evil Monkey in Neurotopia

Today's post is some seriously OLD science. Old science and WEIRD science, coming to you courtesy of Mt. Sinai hospital in NYC, 1913.

And it's also the WEIRDEST conjunction of this:

And this:

That Sci has ever seen.

Gerster AG, Mandlebaum FS. "XI. On the Formation of Bone in the Human Penis." Annals of Surgery, 1913.

The pictures below are curiously safe for work. I suppose that picture up there wasn't. oops. Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

GERSTER, A., & MANDLEBAUM, F. (1913) ON THE FORMATION OF BONE IN THE HUMAN PENIS. Annals of Surgery, 57(6), 896-901. DOI: 10.1097/00000658-191306000-00012  

  • July 9, 2010
  • 01:36 AM


by Rift in Psycasm

So the game is coming along nicely. There was a reasonably steep learning curve, and I had to cobble together some of my own solutions to my own coding problems, but I think the hardest (technical) part is now over. As posted here I discussed the importance of certain factors that make a game ‘addictive’ [...]... Read more »

Slepian, M., Weisbuch, M., Rutchick, A., Newman, L., & Ambady, N. (2010) Shedding light on insight: Priming bright ideas. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46(4), 696-700. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2010.03.009  

  • July 9, 2010
  • 12:37 AM

Friday Weird Science: The Human Penis Bone

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

Today’s post is some seriously OLD science. Old science and WEIRD science, coming to you courtesy of Mt. Sinai hospital in NYC, 1913. And it’s also the WEIRDEST conjunction of this: And this: That Sci has ever seen. Gerster AG, Mandlebaum FS. “XI. On the Formation of Bone in the Human Penis.” Annals of Surgery, [...]... Read more »

GERSTER, A., & MANDLEBAUM, F. (1913) ON THE FORMATION OF BONE IN THE HUMAN PENIS. Annals of Surgery, 57(6), 896-901. DOI: 10.1097/00000658-191306000-00012  

  • July 9, 2010
  • 12:24 AM

RNA Journal Club 7/1/10

by YPAA in You'd Prefer An Argonaute

A coding-independent function of gene and pseudogene mRNAs regulates tumour biology Laura Poliseno, Leonardo Salmena, Jiangwen Zhang, Brett Carver, William J. Haveman & Pier Paolo Pandolfi Nature 465: 1033–1038, 24 June 2010. doi:10.1038/nature09144 No formal write-up for this week, rather just some points to consider, raised during our journal club discussion: The authors’ probing of [...]... Read more »

Poliseno L, Salmena L, Zhang J, Carver B, Haveman WJ, & Pandolfi PP. (2010) A coding-independent function of gene and pseudogene mRNAs regulates tumour biology. Nature, 465(7301), 1033-8. PMID: 20577206  

  • July 8, 2010
  • 11:31 PM

Consider the CB(2) Receptor

by Dirk Hanson in Addiction Inbox

A different destination for cannabinoids.
THC and its organic cousin, anandamide, do what they do by locking into both the CB1 receptor, discovered in 1988, and the CB2 receptor (as it is commonly written in shorthand), discovered 5 years later. THC and anandamide are CB receptor agonists, meaning they activate the receptors in question. (An antagonist blocks the receptor’s action.)
CB1 is a very common receptor in the central nervous system, and, when stimulated by an agonist, is responsible........ Read more »

Atwood, B., & Mackie, K. (2010) CB2: a cannabinoid receptor with an identity crisis. British Journal of Pharmacology, 160(3), 467-479. DOI: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.00729.x  

  • July 8, 2010
  • 11:24 PM

Immunosenescence and What Can Be Done About It

by Reason in Fight Aging!

Immunosenescence is the steady degeneration of the immune system that occurs with age. For the adaptive immune system at least, researchers have a good picture as to why and how this happens - which means that they also have starting points to develop ways to reverse immunosenescence. Here is an open access review paper on the topic: The elderly frequently suffer from severe infections. Vaccination could protect them against several infectious diseases, but it can be effective only if cells that........ Read more »

  • July 8, 2010
  • 09:40 PM

Sunscreen in a Pill?

by Scott in Science-Based Pharmacy

I’ve previously described the consequences of acute and chronic sun exposure, and the rationale for topical sunscreen products. But wouldn’t it be easier to just take a pill that can boost our skin’s resistance to to the harmful effects of the sun? Is it possible to get all the benefits of sunscreen without the bother [...]... Read more »

Middelkamp-Hup MA, Pathak MA, Parrado C, Goukassian D, Rius-Díaz F, Mihm MC, Fitzpatrick TB, & González S. (2004) Oral Polypodium leucotomos extract decreases ultraviolet-induced damage of human skin. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 51(6), 910-8. PMID: 15583582  

Middelkamp-Hup MA, Pathak MA, Parrado C, Garcia-Caballero T, Rius-Díaz F, Fitzpatrick TB, & González S. (2004) Orally administered Polypodium leucotomos extract decreases psoralen-UVA-induced phototoxicity, pigmentation, and damage of human skin. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 50(1), 41-9. PMID: 14699363  

  • July 8, 2010
  • 09:07 PM

Organic agriculture pest control through enemy evenness

by Colby in

Recently I wrote about a study on organic vs synthetic pesticides on sustainability, which suggested that organic pesticides are not always more efficacious against pests nor as selective (not killing natural enemies of pests) than synthetic pesticides. Earlier this month a study was published … Continue reading →... Read more »

Crowder DW, Northfield TD, Strand MR, & Snyder WE. (2010) Organic agriculture promotes evenness and natural pest control. Nature, 466(7302), 109-12. PMID: 20596021  

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