...undermining the normal life-processes of the host’s cells, viruses are detriments to health; however, more than just illness can remain in the wake of the virus’s biological sabotage. Sometimes included with the observable symptoms of an ailment are other characteristics of viral infection that serve to promote the spread of disease. The genes that such a virus splices into a host cell’s mainframe can code for phenotypes that manipulate unwitting vectors into exposing them........ Read more »
Mauck, K., De Moraes, C., & Mescher, M. (2010) Deceptive chemical signals induced by a plant virus attract insect vectors to inferior hosts. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0907191107
This post will look at the study conducted by Guntz and colleagues. The authors examined the practical application of a plasma assay for the detection of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) applied to all blood donations. The study intends to study three Blood Transfusion Establishments in France, where 60,000 blood samples will be analyzed over a period of 9-12 months. The current study only reports on the Strasbourg, Alsace site. The Amorfix EP-vCJD blood s........ Read more »
Guntz P, Walter C, Schosseler P, Morel P, Coste J, & Cazenave JP. (2010) Feasibility study of a screening assay that identifies the abnormal prion protein PrP(TSE) in plasma: initial results with 20,000 samples. Transfusion. PMID: 20088835
A while back I made a post about the use of robots to simulate evolutionary behaviors by giving them a kind of free reign and copying the programming of the machines most successful in their tasks into the rest of the test group to emulate natural selection. Now, the lead author of that study, Dario [...]... Read more »
Floreano, D., & Keller, L. (2010) Evolution of Adaptive Behaviour in Robots by Means of Darwinian Selection. PLoS Biology, 8(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000292
ResearchBlogging.orgLots of studies on rats and a few other mamals have seemed to show the benefit of caloric reduction and longevity - mainly it seems in the way that CR impacts core temperature (a bit lower is better), fasting insulin levels, and oxidative stress - that free radical stuff. Testing CR and humans is going to be trickier. So researchers a few years ago looked at simply the effects of CR on these very markers that have been hypothesised to have an effect on longevity. What their w........ Read more »
Heilbronn, L. (2006) Effect of 6-Month Calorie Restriction on Biomarkers of Longevity, Metabolic Adaptation, and Oxidative Stress in Overweight Individuals: A Randomized Controlled Trial. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 295(13), 1539-1548. DOI: 10.1001/jama.295.13.1539
Redman, L., Heilbronn, L., Martin, C., de Jonge, L., Williamson, D., Delany, J., Ravussin, E., & , . (2009) Metabolic and Behavioral Compensations in Response to Caloric Restriction: Implications for the Maintenance of Weight Loss. PLoS ONE, 4(2). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004377
The vulnerability of critical infrastructures is a recurring theme on this blog, and today’s article has been on my mind for a while. What I like about Critical infrastructures at risk: A need for a new conceptual approach and extended analytical tool by Wolfgang Kröger is how it couples critical infrastructures, showing how one is [ ... ]... Read more »
KROGER, W. (2008) Critical infrastructures at risk: A need for a new conceptual approach and extended analytical tools☆. Reliability Engineering , 93(12), 1781-1787. DOI: 10.1016/j.ress.2008.03.005
This short paper gives a good review of the challenges facing researchers in the area of exercise adherence. Researchers aim to encourage people to exercise or take part in physical activity at a level sufficient to enable them to enjoy the associated health benefits. However as Dishman (1994) reports within six months of starting an exercise program the drop-out rate can be as high as 50%. My current research project involves an intervention which attempts to utilize Social Comparison Theory to........ Read more »
Chao D, Foy CG, & Farmer D. (2000) Exercise adherence among older adults: challenges and strategies. Controlled clinical trials, 21(5 Suppl). PMID: 11018578
Ekkekakis, P., & Lind, E. (2005) Exercise does not feel the same when you are overweight: the impact of self-selected and imposed intensity on affect and exertion. International Journal of Obesity, 30(4), 652-660. DOI: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0803052
Ryan, R., Frederick, C., Lepes, D., Rubio, N., . (1997) Intrinsic motivation and exercise adherence. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 335-354. info:/
Luszczynska, A., & Tryburcy, M. (2008) Effects of a Self-Efficacy Intervention on Exercise: The Moderating Role of Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases. Applied Psychology, 57(4), 644-659. DOI: 10.1111/j.1464-0597.2008.00340.x
I have written on the topic of mitochondrial uncoupling in the past, so back into the archives we go for a quick summary: Mitochondria are the power plants of your cells: they toil to turn food into ATP, used as fuel by the cell. In recent years, the eye of the research community has turned towards the process of mitochondrial uncoupling, whereby the processing of food is uncoupled from the generation of ATP. The result is less ATP and more energy in the form of heat - this is a part of the temp........ Read more »
Andrews ZB. (2010) Uncoupling Protein-2 and the Potential Link Between Metabolism and Longevity. Current aging science. PMID: 20158496
The atypical use of powerful antipsychotic agents like risperidone should, according to Rattehalli et al. (2010), invoke much needed research. According to the authors, we still have so much to learn about cause and effect, when it comes to risperidone and drugs of a similar ilk. ... Read more »
Rattehalli, RD, Jayaram, MB, & Smith, M. (2010) Risperidone versus placebo for schizophrenia. The Cochrane Library. info:/10.1002/14651858.CD006918.pub2
Some of the first organisms found on a newly risen or recently destroyed island are spiders. On mainlands, spiderlings of smaller species weave a tiny drag chute, perched atop the highest point in their immediate area – the leaf of an herb or the very tip of a blooming meadow grass – and let the breeze, even the slightest one, carry them away. Most only travel short distances, remaining in the ecosystem in which they were born, but some are spun upwards in varying winds, and swept into jet s........ Read more »
Whittaker, R., Triantis, K., & Ladle, R. (2008) A general dynamic theory of oceanic island biogeography. Journal of Biogeography, 35(6), 977-994. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2008.01892.x
Cardoso, P., Arnedo, M., Triantis, K., & Borges, P. (2010) Drivers of diversity in Macaronesian spiders and the role of species extinctions. Journal of Biogeography. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2009.02264.x
Do you think your teenager will drink alcohol? On a scale from 1 to 10, how likely do you think it your child will drink alcohol regularly as a teenager?Moms who underestimate the chances may actually prevent kids from drinking. That's good news, believing your kid won't drink can discourage your teen from drinking. But the opposite is also true... Moms who overestimate their kid's risk can end up promoting more drinking. We're talking self-fulfilling prophecy here. That's fancy talk........ Read more »
Madon, S., Guyll, M., Buller, A., Scherr, K., Willard, J., & Spoth, R. (2008) The mediation of mothers' self-fulfilling effects on their children's alcohol use: Self-verification, informational conformity, and modeling processes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(2), 369-384. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3518.104.22.1689
It's really hard for me to write about sharks. It makes me angry. Unlike with so many species under the threat of extinction, when I try to talk to people about sharks, the message just doesn't get through. Show them a movie about Taji and they get infuriated. Have them look into the eyes of a tiger cub and they are overwhelmed with emotion. Maybe it's that sharks aren't warm and fuzzy enough - maybe if they had hair, people wouldn't be so leery of them. Maybe it's too many childhood memories of........ Read more »
It is often suggested that breakfast consumption is key facet of a healthful diet, especially when attempting to lose weight. However, while breakfast may be ‘the most important meal of the day’ the composition of that breakfast must not be overlooked.
Particularly, diets high in fiber are known to be associated with better control of body weight as well as glucose homeostasis. For example, a prior meta-analysis suggests that consumption of greater than 14 g/d of dietary fiber for........ Read more »
Hamedani, A., Akhavan, T., Samra, R., & Anderson, G. (2009) Reduced energy intake at breakfast is not compensated for at lunch if a high-insoluble-fiber cereal replaces a low-fiber cereal. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.2008.26827
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that children who were obese were almost twice as likely to die before 55 years of age than those who were not obese. Moreover, children whose weight was in the top 25% out of nearly 5,000 kids were 2.3 times more likely to [...]... Read more »
Franks, P., Hanson, R., Knowler, W., Sievers, M., Bennett, P., & Looker, H. (2010) Childhood Obesity, Other Cardiovascular Risk Factors, and Premature Death. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(6), 485-493. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0904130
When you drink alcohol and get drunk, are you getting drunk on alcohol?Well, obviously, you might think, and so did I. But it turns out that some people claim that the alcohol (ethanol) in drinks isn't the only thing responsible for their effects - they say that acetaldehyde may be important, perhaps even more so.South Korean researchers Kim et al report that it's acetaldehyde, rather than ethanol, which explains alcohol's immediate effects on cognitive and motor skills. During the metabolism of........ Read more »
Kim SW, Bae KY, Shin HY, Kim JM, Shin IS, Youn T, Kim J, Kim JK, & Yoon JS. (2009) The Role of Acetaldehyde in Human Psychomotor Function: A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Crossover Study. Biological psychiatry. PMID: 19914598
How do you explain the phenomenon of incomplete penetrance, which happens when individuals carrying an allele for a given phenotype don’t always express the phenotype? For instance, individuals carrying the same mutation associated with a genetic disease do not always develop that disease.
Sometimes environment influences gene expression and plays a role, or other genetic differences [...]... Read more »
Raj, A., Rifkin, S., Andersen, E., & van Oudenaarden, A. (2010) Variability in gene expression underlies incomplete penetrance. Nature, 463(7283), 913-918. DOI: 10.1038/nature08781
Raj A, van den Bogaard P, Rifkin SA, van Oudenaarden A, & Tyagi S. (2008) Imaging individual mRNA molecules using multiple singly labeled probes. Nature methods, 5(10), 877-9. PMID: 18806792
The coconut tree’s large seed is
better adapted to drought and
shade than smaller seeds.
It is generally believed that, when competing for the same resources, large plant seeds beat out small seeds regardless of the growing conditions. But according to researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, large seeds actually have the advantage in stressful conditions—such as [...]
... Read more »
Muller-Landau, H. (2010) The tolerance-fecundity trade-off and the maintenance of diversity in seed size. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0911637107
See? Cartoon cute.It may be easy to put a kitten up as the weekly dose of cute, but look at him - he may be the cutest kitten ever. Cuter, perhaps, than even that little ocelot kitten, which, until now, has earned the title of cutest kitten ever. I mean, look at him! His eyes are cartoon adorable. I didn't know cat eyes could actually look like Puss N Boots! How could I resist showcasing this unbelievable exhibition of pure cuteness?
Anyhow, this six-week-old cutest kitten competitor was born ........ Read more »
It's not every day that you hear about spy missions that involve a lack of sex, but clearly parasitic wasps don't pay much attention to Hollywood clichés.
These insects merge the thriller, science-fiction and horror genres, They lay their eggs inside other animals, turning them into slaves and living larders that are destined to be eaten inside-out by the developing grubs. To find their victims, they perform feats of espionage worthy of any secret agent, tapping into their mark's communication........ Read more »
Huigens, M., Woelke, J., Pashalidou, F., Bukovinszky, T., Smid, H., & Fatouros, N. (2010) Chemical espionage on species-specific butterfly anti-aphrodisiacs by hitchhiking Trichogramma wasps. Behavioral Ecology. DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arq007
My first encounter with informed medical consent came as a young law student. I was assigned to assist a lawyer in the defense of an older man who had refused treatment for leukemia. His daughter objected, and asked the court to appoint her to be his conservator so she could compel him to undergo treatment. When [...]... Read more »
Buchanan, A. (2004) Mental capacity, legal competence and consent to treatment. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 97(9), 415-420. DOI: 10.1258/jrsm.97.9.415
We sometimes forget that guys don't end up being big ugly brutes just because that's what guys like. Sometimes, as Taylor and Quayle (2010) discovered, that's what women like too.... Read more »
Talbot, K., & Quayle, M. (2010) The Perils of Being a Nice Guy: Contextual Variation in Five Young Women's Constructions of Acceptable Hegemonic and Alternative Masculinities. Men and Masculinities. DOI: 10.1177/1097184X09350408
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