Palau'amine is a bisguanidine antobiotic first isolated from the marine sponge Stylotella agminata (western Caroline Islands part of Palau) in 1993. Take 600 g of sponge, extract it with 6 liters of methanol, do multiple sessions of chromatography and you may end up with 14 mg of the compound. Palau'amine is characterized by a strained bicyclic 3.3.0 cyclooctane core, a large number of stereocenters, a sensitive pyrrole group and by two guanidine rings which in addition to the potential medicina........ Read more »
Survey research consistently shows that people tend to have a poor view of migrants. It's unpalatable but psychologically-speaking, it's no great surprise. After all, the odds are stacked against new-comers: most of us display inherent biases against people who we perceive to be in a different social group from our own - the so-called 'out group bias' - together with a similar aversion to people who are members of a social minority. Migrants usually fit both these descriptions.Now Mark Rubin and........ Read more »
Rubin, M., Paolini, S., & Crisp, R. (2010) A processing fluency explanation of bias against migrants. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46(1), 21-28. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2009.09.006
A growing body of research suggests that urban sprawl, in addition to being bad for cities, the environment and agriculture, may also take a toll on your health. For example, in a recent issue of the American Journal of Preventive … Continue reading →... Read more »
Trowbridge MJ, Gurka MJ, & O'Connor RE. (2009) Urban sprawl and delayed ambulance arrival in the U.S. American journal of preventive medicine, 37(5), 428-32. PMID: 19840697
Reefs churn out more biodiversity than other marine environments
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Kiessling, W., Simpson, C., & Foote, M. (2010) Reefs as Cradles of Evolution and Sources of Biodiversity in the Phanerozoic. Science, 327(5962), 196-198. DOI: 10.1126/science.1182241
In keeping with the theme of extinctions from my last post, I want to highlight a paper we’ve recently had published online early in Ecology entitled Limited evidence for the demographic Allee effect from numerous species across taxa by Stephen Gregory and colleagues. This one is all about Allee effects - well, it’s all about how difficult it is [...]... Read more »
Gregory, S., Bradshaw, C.J.A., Brook, B.W., & Courchamp, F. (2009) Limited evidence for the demographic Allee effect from numerous species across taxa. Ecology, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1890/09-1128
Svante Pääbo’s group at the Max Plank Institute have a paper coming out in the February issue of Cell Biology. In it, they describe sequencing a complete early human mitochondrial genome from the Markina Gora specimen from the Kostenki 14 site in Russia. The remains date to around 30,000 years ago, not the oldest human [...]... Read more »
Krause J, Briggs AW, Kircher M, Maricic T, Zwyns N, Derevianko A, & Pääbo S. (2009) A Complete mtDNA Genome of an Early Modern Human from Kostenki, Russia. Current biology : CB. PMID: 20045327
The hazard ratio is the statistic of choice for nearly all medical research involving time. And by far the most common method of deriving hazard ratios from data is via the Cox Proportional Hazards model. In a great little editorial in this month's Epidemiology, Miguel Hernán lays out what we lose and what we can gain with a more subtle approach.... Read more »
An medical student on your team asks you to review an 81 year-old female who speaks little English. She was BIBA to the ED following a fall. Her nursing home transfer sheet says that the fall was witnessed: she tripped and there was no loss of consciousness. The student is concerned that the patient's right pupil is fixed and slightly dilated in the presence of facial abrasions.... Read more »
by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog
A new retrovirus, xenotropic murine leukaemia virus-related virus (XMRV), first identified in tumor tissue of individuals with prostate cancer, was subsequently found in 68 of 101 US patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). This observation raised the possibility that XMRV is the etiologic agent of CFS. An important question is whether XMRV is associated with [...]... Read more »
Erlwein O, Kaye S, McClure MO, Weber J, Wills G, Collier D, Wessely S, & Cleare A. (2010) Failure to detect the novel retrovirus XMRV in chronic fatigue syndrome. PloS one, 5(1). PMID: 20066031
It's football season in America: The NFL playoffs are about to start, and tonight, the elected / computer-ranked top college team will be determined. What better time than now to think about ... baseball! Baseball players, unlike most football players, must solve one of the most complicated perceptual puzzles in sports: how to predict the path of a moving target obeying the laws of physics, and move to intercept it.
The question of how a baseball player knows where to run in order to catch a f........ Read more »
Fink, P.W., Foo, P.S., & Warren, W.H. (2009) Catching fly balls in virtual reality: A critical test of the outfielder problem. Journal of Vision, 9(13), 1-8. info:/10.1167/9.13.14
by Jon Voisey in Angry Astronomer
New evidence has shown the most commonly given age of the solar system is wrong.The equations used to derive the age of it from radiometric dating of numerous isotopes was fundamentally flawed because it assumed that the ratio of certain isotopes was the same. Detailed new measurements have shown it's not.This "implies substantial uncertainties in the ages previously determined by Pb-Pb dating". So astronomers have had to recalculate the age of the solar system given this new information.The old........ Read more »
Brennecka, G., Weyer, S., Wadhwa, M., Janney, P., Zipfel, J., & Anbar, A. (2009) 238U/235U Variations in Meteorites: Extant 247Cm and Implications for Pb-Pb Dating. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1180871
Compared with our ancestors, Western societies today lead a lifestyle that is much more sedentary, probably as a result of cultural changes stemming from modern socio-economic morays. Taking into account differences in body size, our energy expenditure per kilogram of body weight has been estimated to be ... Read more »
Manson JE, Skerrett PJ, Greenland P, & VanItallie TB. (2004) The escalating pandemics of obesity and sedentary lifestyle. A call to action for clinicians. Archives of internal medicine, 164(3), 249-58. PMID: 14769621
Considerable improvements have been made in the health of the population of the United States in the last three decades owing to healthy living interventions, specifically a reduction in smoking. However, during the same period, substantial increases in the incidence of overweight and obesity have adversely impacted the health of the same population. A new [...]... Read more »
Lubetkin, E., & Jia, H. (2009) Health-Related Quality of Life, Quality-Adjusted Life Years, and Quality-Adjusted Life Expectancy in New York City from 1995 to 2006. Journal of Urban Health, 86(4), 551-561. DOI: 10.1007/s11524-009-9344-9
Stewart, S., Cutler, D., & Rosen, A. (2009) Forecasting the Effects of Obesity and Smoking on U.S. Life Expectancy. New England Journal of Medicine, 361(23), 2252-2260. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsa0900459
Reuser, M., Bonneux, L., & Willekens, F. (2009) Smoking Kills, Obesity Disables: A Multistate Approach of the US Health and Retirement Survey. Obesity, 17(4), 783-789. DOI: 10.1038/oby.2008.640
Wang, Y., Colditz, G., & Kuntz, K. (2007) Forecasting the Obesity Epidemic in the Aging U.S. Population**. Obesity, 15(11), 2855-2865. DOI: 10.1038/oby.2007.339
van Baal, P., Hoogenveen, R., de Wit, G., & Boshuizen, H. (2006) Estimating health-adjusted life expectancy conditional on risk factors: results for smoking and obesity. Population Health Metrics, 4(1), 14. DOI: 10.1186/1478-7954-4-14
One of the more common arguments from skeptics of anthropogenic climate change is that the Earth has experienced periods during which atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were much much higher than they are today -- as much as 10 times higher. Why worry about a mere 30% increase over pre-industrial levels?
There are several answers to that challenge. The most obvious is that while it may be true that CO2 levels have been several times higher that today's 387 parts per million, the Earth was also a........ Read more »
Breecker, D., Sharp, Z., & McFadden, L. (2009) Atmospheric CO2 concentrations during ancient greenhouse climates were similar to those predicted for A.D. 2100. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0902323106
It's not information overload, it's filter failure (Clay Shirky)Bonetta (2009) gave an excellent introduction to the micro-blogging service Twitter and its uses and limitations for scientific communication. We believe that other social networking tools merit a similar introduction, especially those that provide more effective filtering of scientifically relevant information than Twitter. We find that FriendFeed (already mentioned in the first online comment on the article, by Jo Badge) shares al........ Read more »
This is a response to a controversial piece in Science Based Medicine by Amy Tuteur, M.D. on circumcision: "The case for neonatal circumcision," which cites a recent journal paper of the same title . Beyond calling for the American medical establishment to put pressure on parents to circumcise their infant children, the article implicitly compares those who don't circumcise or who are opposed to circumcising infants to anti-vaccination activists.
........ Read more »
Tobian, A., Gray, R., & Quinn, T. (2010) Male Circumcision for the Prevention of Acquisition and Transmission of Sexually Transmitted Infections: The Case for Neonatal Circumcision. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 164(1), 78-84. DOI: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2009.232
Krieger, J., Mehta, S., Bailey, R., Agot, K., Ndinya-Achola, J., Parker, C., & Moses, S. (2008) Adult Male Circumcision: Effects on Sexual Function and Sexual Satisfaction in Kisumu, Kenya. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 5(11), 2610-2622. DOI: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2008.00979.x
Insects that have evolved elaborate mimicry of inanimate objects – leaves, twigs, even bird droppings – to hide from predators are a staple of nature documentaries. But do these masquerades work because they help insects blend into the background, or because predators actually see the insects and then dismiss them as inedible leaves, twigs, or bird droppings? It's a tricky question to answer, but a brief paper in this week's Science presents an experiment that tries to do just that [$a].
T........ Read more »
Skelhorn, J., Rowland, H., Speed, M., & Ruxton, G. (2010) Masquerade: Camouflage without crypsis. Science_id, 327(5961), 51-51. http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi/10.1126/science.1181931
Circadian rhythm is the cyclic control of cellular processes over a period of roughly twenty-four hours. There are many processes within the body that are held under circadian control; the need to eat and sleep, blood pressure and some hormone production to name a few. Circadian control is an important development in evolution, as it allows behaviour to adapt to appropriate times in the day. Humans have not adapted to function particularly well at night, so using that time for sleeping means the........ Read more »
Sahar, S., Zocchi, L., Kinoshita, C., Borrelli, E., & Sassone-Corsi, P. (2010) Regulation of BMAL1 Protein Stability and Circadian Function by GSK3β-Mediated Phosphorylation. PLoS ONE, 5(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008561
(Co-blogged with Björn Brembs and Allyson Lister.)
"It's not information overload, it's filter failure." (Clay Shirky)
Bonetta (2009) gave an excellent introduction to the micro-blogging service Twitter and its uses and limitations for scientific communication. We believe that other social networking tools merit a similar introduction, especially those that provide more effective filtering of scientifically relevant information than Twitter. We find that Fri........ Read more »
Long-billed Curlew / Photo by Mike BairdAt a time when federal listings have been delayed and international standards are difficult to implement, state endangered species lists can play an important role in protecting at-risk species. That is, they can protect globally threatened species, especially ones for which their region bears high responsibility. Jeffrey Wells of the Boreal Songbird Initiative set out to assess how well state lists are identifying and protecting globally threatened specie........ Read more »
Wells, J., Robertson, B., Rosenberg, K., & Mehlman, D. (2010) Global versus Local Conservation Focus of U.S. State Agency Endangered Bird Species Lists. PLoS ONE, 5(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008608
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