Post List

  • September 7, 2009
  • 07:50 PM

Unicolonial Ants Pose Challenge to "Selfish Gene" Theory

by Eric Michael Johnson in The Primate Diaries

Unicolonial ants, such as these Argentine ants (Linepithema humile), are genetically unrelated but will cooperate to defeat a much larger adversary.
Source: Alex Wild / Live Science

It has been a mainstay of evolutionary theory since the 1970s. Natural selection acts purely on the level of the individual and any cooperation observed between organisms merely hides a selfish genetic motive. There have been two pioneering theories to explain cooperation in the natural world given this framework:........ Read more »

Helantera, H., Strassman, J.E., Carrillo, J., Queller, D.C. (2009) Unicolonial ants: where do they come from, what are they and where are they going? . Trends in Ecology and Evolution.

  • September 7, 2009
  • 06:17 PM

Patient-determined outcomes: If you can’t take my pain away, then at least let me do more

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

If I had a dollar for every time that I’ve asked someone what they would like from pain management and they’ve answered ‘take my pain away’ – well I wouldn’t be writing this blog early in the morning before work!
The findings from this piece of research by Thorne and Morley (2009) suggests that people think [...]... Read more »

  • September 7, 2009
  • 04:17 PM

Epigenetics - Implications for behavioral neuroendocrinology

by Manasi in Wissenschaft

Individuals vary in their sociosexual behavior and reactivity. How an organism interacts with the environment to produce these variations has been a focus in psychology since its inception as a scientific discipline.There is now no question that cumulative experiences throughout life history interact with genetic predispositions to shape the individual's behavior. Recent evidence suggests that events in the past generations may also influence how an individual responds to events in their own li........ Read more »

  • September 7, 2009
  • 04:03 PM

How to optimize host transmission in a complex parasite

by Devin Drown in Coevolvers

Hammerschmidt and colleagues (2009) recently published an empirical investigation of optimal host switching. Parasites that must infect multiple hosts to complete their life cycle face a complex set of challenges. One of these is determining the timing of the switch. The authors of this paper look at the trade-off involved in staying in an intermediate host so as to become larger and more fecund in the next host and the increased chance of mortality in the current host. The authors conduct t........ Read more »

  • September 7, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

New Antipsychotic Agent in the US Market

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

More than 50 years ago, the first antipsychotic medications appeared in the United States. While these drugs -– fluphenazine, haloperidol, chlorpromazine, and others — were effective in treating a variety of psychiatric conditions, their safety and tolerability presented many drawbacks. It was not until the 1990s when a new class of antipsychotic medications emerged that [...]... Read more »

Peritogiannis, V., Stefanou, E., Lixouriotis, C., Gkogkos, C., & Rizos, D. (2009) Atypical antipsychotics in the treatment of delirium. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1819.2009.02002.x  

  • September 7, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

50 Million Chemicals and Counting

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) will announce the 50 millionth registered chemical substance in its Registry, tomorrow (8th September).
According to the email I received from a CAS spokesman, “The number itself represents an important milestone both for researchers and CAS, but even more significant is the pace of scientific discovery around the world.” Roger Schenck, Manager [...]50 Million Chemicals and Counting is a post from: Sciencebase Science Blog
... Read more »

Lipkus, A., Yuan, Q., Lucas, K., Funk, S., Bartelt, W., Schenck, R., & Trippe, A. (2008) Structural Diversity of Organic Chemistry. A Scaffold Analysis of the CAS Registry. The Journal of Organic Chemistry, 73(12), 4443-4451. DOI: 10.1021/jo8001276  

  • September 7, 2009
  • 07:00 AM

Fence lizards versus fire ants: Evolutionary fail?

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

As many know, this is the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species. If I may be so bold, one of the things that might distinguish our thinking about evolution in the last 50 years from the first hundred years might be the speed at which natural selection can operate. For a long time, we thought of evolution taking long times: millions of years would be needed to see the gradual accumulation of changes. We learned in the past few decades that we can see the effects of sele........ Read more »

Boronow, K., & Langkilde, T. (2009) Sublethal effects of invasive fire ant venom on a native lizard. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological Genetics and Physiology. DOI: 10.1002/jez.570  

  • September 7, 2009
  • 06:00 AM

Clinical Examination for Meniscus

by Mike Reinold in

Today’s post is a review of a recent meta-analysis looking at the accuracy of clinical tests for meniscal lesions from our friend Dan Lorenz, MS, PT, ATC/L, CSCS. RESEARCH UPDATE: Clinical Tests for Meniscal Lesions Dan Lorenz, MS, PT, ATC/L, CSCS It has been estimated that approximately 27% of all outpatient physical therapy visits are for knee pain.1 Of the many possible lesions causing pain, one common source is from a meniscal lesion. Recently, Meserve et al2 did a meta-analysis summar........ Read more »

  • September 7, 2009
  • 03:53 AM

harder, better, faster, stronger?

by Greg Fish in weird things

Contrary to popular sentiment and science fiction clichés, human evolution hasn’t stopped. If anything, we’re actually evolving faster than ever according to research published in 2007. Moving into new environments and an explosion in our populations drastically increased the rate at which our genomes are changing and being selected. Compared to our prehistoric ancestors, we [...]... Read more »

Hawks, J. et al,. (2007) Recent acceleration of human adaptive evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(52), 20753-20758. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0707650104  

  • September 7, 2009
  • 02:59 AM

Did Salvador Dali suffer from Mental Illness?

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD

Based on two psychiatric assessment procedures, a computer program investigating the presence of a psychotic disorder and a personality questionnaire, Salvador Dali was found to have a personality disorder for DSM Cluster A and B. He was also found to meet the diagnostic criteria for psychotic illnesses.
You can’t diagnose psychiatric illness without doing a face [...]... Read more »

  • September 6, 2009
  • 07:09 PM

I TOLD you you're all mutants

by David in The Atavism

Recently I tried to make this case that a mutation in my mitochondrial DNA
didn't make me so very different than the rest of you:

Our typical conception of mutation is drawn from the tragic effects of those
relatively rare mutations, induced in our bodies or passed on through germ
cells, that lead to diseases (or, in movies to super powers). In fact, we
are, each of us, mutants. DNA replication is not perfect, we are born with about
6 or 7 new mutations...

Well, a paper published last ........ Read more »

  • September 6, 2009
  • 07:00 PM

The Craigslist of Antibiotic Resistance

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

In their most recent article, Sommer, Dantas and Church have hit upon the craigslist for antibiotic resistance used by bacteria living in the human body. The basic genomic material needed for antibiotic resistance is readily available at your local bacterial community. Resistance genes are everywhere, and it is clear that, despite transmission barriers between species, they are transmitted. Bacteria have a large pool form which to draw new resistance genes. The arms race between drug developer........ Read more »

  • September 6, 2009
  • 03:32 PM

Pacing and avoidance in fibromyalgia

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

The recent emergence of study into ‘pacing’ or activity regulation in pain management is a welcome addition to our knowledge of this coping strategy. Although pacing has been described and included in many self-help books as well as clinical texts as an effective strategy for people with chronic pain to use, the research base [...]... Read more »

  • September 6, 2009
  • 01:42 PM

Looking for some science on swine flu

by Catarina Vicente in The Y.O.R.F.

As a medical association in Spain has recently communicated to the press, more than anything there seems to be an epidemic of fear going on. As I am currently living in Portugal, I do not know what the situation is in other countries, but I can tell you how the situation is here. Every news bulletin starts with more news about the flu, even though no one has died here yet. It then finishes with a previously recorded warning on how one should wash hands frequently and keep 1m away from other peop........ Read more »

Garten RJ, Davis CT, Russell CA, Shu B, Lindstrom S, Balish A, Sessions WM, Xu X, Skepner E, Deyde V.... (2009) Antigenic and genetic characteristics of swine-origin 2009 A(H1N1) influenza viruses circulating in humans. Science (New York, N.Y.), 325(5937), 197-201. PMID: 19465683  

Garten, R., Davis, C., Russell, C., Shu, B., Lindstrom, S., Balish, A., Sessions, W., Xu, X., Skepner, E., Deyde, V.... (2009) Antigenic and Genetic Characteristics of Swine-Origin 2009 A(H1N1) Influenza Viruses Circulating in Humans. Science, 325(5937), 197-201. DOI: 10.1126/science.1176225  

Maines TR, Jayaraman A, Belser JA, Wadford DA, Pappas C, Zeng H, Gustin KM, Pearce MB, Viswanathan K, Shriver ZH.... (2009) Transmission and pathogenesis of swine-origin 2009 A(H1N1) influenza viruses in ferrets and mice. Science (New York, N.Y.), 325(5939), 484-7. PMID: 19574347  

Itoh, Y., Shinya, K., Kiso, M., Watanabe, T., Sakoda, Y., Hatta, M., Muramoto, Y., Tamura, D., Sakai-Tagawa, Y., Noda, T.... (2009) In vitro and in vivo characterization of new swine-origin H1N1 influenza viruses. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature08260  

  • September 6, 2009
  • 12:50 PM

The tantalising potential of mobile phones for social research

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

Nearly everyone seems to carry a mobile phone these days. What if social scientists could exploit this technology to spy on our social behaviour: who we speak to and who we spend time with? It turns out they already are. Nathan Eagle, named recently as a leading young innovator by Technology Review, and his colleagues, have published one of the first studies into social network analysis using spy software loaded onto Nokia smartphones.For nine months, Eagle's team recorded data from the phones ........ Read more »

Eagle, N., Pentland, A., & Lazer, D. (2009) Inferring friendship network structure by using mobile phone data. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0900282106  

  • September 6, 2009
  • 09:54 AM

A few anthropological notes, or, why we're fearful and rude

by nuclear.kelly in Miss Atomic Bomb

Here are two stories involving recent psychological/anthropological/biological research:In Future, Science Could Erase Traumatic Memories (NPR)The Culture of Being Rude (Smithsonian Magazine)As to the first, while describing an interesting study, the story itself is characteristically media. We can pinpoint the amygdala as being the "source" of the flight-or-fight (ie, fear) response, and we have now learned that as we (or, at least, as rats) grow, a "protective molecular sheath" coats the cells........ Read more »

Gogolla N, Caroni P, Lüthi A, & Herry C. (2009) Perineuronal nets protect fear memories from erasure. Science (New York, N.Y.), 325(5945), 1258-61. PMID: 19729657  

Fincher CL, Thornhill R, Murray DR, & Schaller M. (2008) Pathogen prevalence predicts human cross-cultural variability in individualism/collectivism. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 275(1640), 1279-85. PMID: 18302996  

  • September 6, 2009
  • 02:41 AM

Erasing phobias early in life

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

The model of fear extinction originated from the Pavlovian classical conditioning paradigm in the early 1900s. Defined as a reduction in a conditioned fear response following a non reinforced exposure to a feared conditioned stimulus, fear extinction is known to involve the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). It's also a frequently striven-for goal in cognitive behavioral therapy during the treatment of various phobias including arachibutyrophobia; the fear of peanut butter sticking to........ Read more »

  • September 6, 2009
  • 12:51 AM

Protected minke whales from unreported bycatch sold on Japanese markets

by hilaryml in Chicken or Egg blog

Japan kills over a hundred minke whales each year under the guise of “scientific whaling”, and much of the meat ends up in the commercial markets destined for Japanese dinner plates.  Now a study just published in Animal Conservation indicates that a similar number of whales are killed as “bycatch” in Japanese coastal waters, [...]... Read more »

  • September 5, 2009
  • 04:46 PM

By their faces you will recognize them

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Does this look like a religious woman to you? According to a study by Prof Richard Wiseman in the New Scientist in February this year (hey, I've only just read it, OK?), this is a typical face of a religious person in the UK.What they did was to ask readers to send in photos of themselves, along with a rating of their personality. They digitised the key features, and produced an average of each personality type. When other people were asked to guess the personality based on face alone, they wer........ Read more »

  • September 5, 2009
  • 04:25 PM

Checking postural hypotension in patients with syncope

by Robert Badgett in ClinDx

The authors report that in 2106 consecutive patients 65 years or older admitted for syncope, "Postural blood pressure (BP) recording, performed in only 38% of episodes, had the highest yield with respect to affecting diagnosis (18%-26%) or management (25%-30%) and determining etiology of the syncopal episode (15%-21%)...... Read more »

Mendu ML, McAvay G, Lampert R, Stoehr J, & Tinetti ME. (2009) Yield of diagnostic tests in evaluating syncopal episodes in older patients. Archives of internal medicine, 169(14), 1299-305. PMID: 19636031  

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