Post List

  • January 27, 2010
  • 01:21 PM

Doctor Who and the Silver Spiral

by Megan in Rigel

Far across the universe, something big was about to happen. The explosion would outshine an entire galaxy and be visible billions of kilometres away. Its light would travel across the universe for millions of years but, aside from a few astronomers, it would go unnoticed on the Earth.With a grating, wheezing noise, a small blue box flickered into existence."So, where are we?""Have a look..." the Doctor replied, tapping a control, "but... don't step outside."The door of the TARDIS clicked open, a........ Read more »

Paragi, Z., Taylor, G., Kouveliotou, C., Granot, J., Ramirez-Ruiz, E., Bietenholz, M., van der Horst, A., Pidopryhora, Y., van Langevelde, H., Garrett, M.... (2010) A mildly relativistic radio jet from the otherwise normal type Ic supernova 2007gr. Nature, 463(7280), 516-518. DOI: 10.1038/nature08713  

Crockett, R., Maund, J., Smartt, S., Mattila, S., Pastorello, A., Smoker, J., Stephens, A., Fynbo, J., Eldridge, J., Danziger, I.... (2008) The Birth Place of the Type Ic Supernova 2007gr. The Astrophysical Journal, 672(2). DOI: 10.1086/527299  

Soderberg, A., Chakraborti, S., Pignata, G., Chevalier, R., Chandra, P., Ray, A., Wieringa, M., Copete, A., Chaplin, V., Connaughton, V.... (2010) A relativistic type Ibc supernova without a detected γ-ray burst. Nature, 463(7280), 513-515. DOI: 10.1038/nature08714  

  • January 27, 2010
  • 12:40 PM

Human grid cells tile the environment

by Mo in Neurophilosophy

HOW does the brain encode the spatial representations which enable us to successfully navigate our environment? Four decades of research has identified four cell types in the brains of mice and rats which are known to be involved in these processes: place cells, grid cells, head direction cells and, most recently, border cells. Although the functions of most of these cell types are well characterized in rodents, it remains unclear whether they are also found in humans. A new functional neuroimag........ Read more »

  • January 27, 2010
  • 11:52 AM

Game changer

by Bryan in Imaging Geek

I'll apologise now for the geek-out, but sometimes a little piece of science comes around that sets my nerd-senses tingling. One such event happened a few days ago, and I'm still working it into my world view - this is a game changer (at least in the little corner of the scientific world in which I live. Sorry, but I need to yell for a second:


Not impressed? You should be - unless, of course, you don't know what integrins or g-protei........ Read more »

Gong H, Shen B, Flevaris P, Chow C, Lam SC, Voyno-Yasenetskaya TA, Kozasa T, & Du X. (2010) G protein subunit Galpha13 binds to integrin alphaIIbbeta3 and mediates integrin "outside-in" signaling. Science (New York, N.Y.), 327(5963), 340-3. PMID: 20075254  

  • January 27, 2010
  • 11:42 AM

Mapping Why Lupus Discriminates

by Rob Mitchum in ScienceLife

As discussed yesterday, lupus is not an equal-opportunity disease. Ninety percent of lupus cases occur in women, the disease is three times more likely to affect African-American women than Caucasian women, and lupus is more common and severe in other minority populations as well. Given that the general cause of lupus remains unknown, the reason [...]... Read more »

  • January 27, 2010
  • 11:01 AM

Evolving Robots

by Bryan in Imaging Geek

Creationists often like to claim that complex traits cannot arise from the "simple" processes of mutation and selection. They often claim that these processed are not even observable (even though we've been observing them since we began breeding plants and animals).

Anyone with even a basic grasp of science knows the above claims are pure BS, but not being content with simply being right, some scientists have now gone the extra mile and used evolution to make ROBOTS.

And ........ Read more »

  • January 27, 2010
  • 10:28 AM

Cross-talk: what it is and how it impacts cancer research

by Sally Church in Pharma Strategy Blog

A Pharma friend who regularly reads this blog attended the ASCO GI meeting last weekend and phoned me to say that cancer is indeed getting much more complex. She was also highly amused at the buzzword bingo post from the...... Read more »

Pollak, M., Schernhammer, E., & Hankinson, S. (2004) Insulin-like growth factors and neoplasia. Nature Reviews Cancer, 4(7), 505-518. DOI: 10.1038/nrc1387  

  • January 27, 2010
  • 10:05 AM

"Chemical camouflage" lets leafhoppers hide from their own bodyguards

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Many insects in the order Hemiptera – the "true" bugs – have evolved a way to hire their own protection by excreting sugary "honeydew." Honeydew attracts ants, who tend honeydew-producing bugs like livestock, protecting them from predators and even disease. Honeydew is cheap to make because honeydew producers typically make a living sucking the sap of their host plants; they're trading sugar and water, which they have in abundance, for safety.

.flickr-photo { }.flickr-frameright { float: ri........ Read more »

  • January 27, 2010
  • 09:40 AM

Mozart Effect: The effect of music on premature babies

by Nestor Lopez-Duran PhD in Child-Psych

Do you remember the Mozart Effect? In the 1990s a small yet very influential study showed that listening to classical music, and in particular Mozart, improved test performance in college students -thus Mozart must make you smarter! The public reacted and an entire industry was born. Parents rushed to the stores to purchase Mozart CDs so [...]... Read more »

Lubetzky, R., Mimouni, F., Dollberg, S., Reifen, R., Ashbel, G., & Mandel, D. (2009) Effect of Music by Mozart on Energy Expenditure in Growing Preterm Infants. PEDIATRICS, 125(1). DOI: 10.1542/peds.2009-0990  

  • January 27, 2010
  • 09:18 AM

A Real Headache: Is There a Relationship between MSG and Migraine?

by Promega Corporation in Promega Connections

A diagnosis of “migraine” is often frustrating for the patient because there are probably as many causes of migraine as there are migraine sufferers. Add to that the fact that migraines rarely result from a single factor and you have a difficult malady to manage. For instance, a female migraine patient may be able to [...]... Read more »

Baad-Hansen, L., Cairns, B.E., Ernberg, M., & Svensson, P. (2009) Effect of systemic monosodium glutamate (MSG) on headache and pericranial muscle sensitivity. Cephalalgia, 30(1), 68-76. info:/10.111/j.1468-2982.2009.01881.x

  • January 27, 2010
  • 09:03 AM

David Goldstein Proves Himself Wrong

by Luke Jostins in Genetic Inference

A recent paper in PLoS Biology by David Goldstein’s group is being seen as another ‘death of GWAS’ moment (again?). I have a lot of issues with this paper, but I will be brief and stick to my main objection; the authors attempt to demonstrate that common associations can be caused by sets of rare [...]... Read more »

Dickson, S., Wang, K., Krantz, I., Hakonarson, H., & Goldstein, D. (2010) Rare Variants Create Synthetic Genome-Wide Associations. PLoS Biology, 8(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000294  

  • January 27, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Fishing, climate change not double trouble for corals

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

Do fishing and climate change act synergistically on coral reef ecosystems, meaning the combined impact is greater than the sum of each acting individually? Conservation practitioners have expressed this concern, but synergism in ecosystems has been challenging to prove scientifically...... Read more »

  • January 27, 2010
  • 06:20 AM

Viral resistance and new functions

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

Last week, the Effect Measure blog1 talked about a paper that offered a new way of treating influenza.2 Briefly, the approach is to attack the virus by treating the host cell: Eliminating host functions that the virus requires, but that the host cell does not.
The authors of the paper commented that “targeting host cell [...]... Read more »

  • January 27, 2010
  • 05:52 AM

Looking at Peer-to-Peer Optimization Methods

by Tomas Rawlings in A Great Becoming

P2P algorithms can offer robustness and communication efficiency over more centralised GRID methods. So authors compared to p2p algorithms performance searching in large-scale and unreliable networks.
read more... Read more »

Balázs Bánhelyi, Marco Biazzini, Alberto Montresor, and Márk Jelasity. (2009) Peer-to-Peer Optimization in Large Unreliable Networks with Branch-and-Bound and Particle Swarms. Lecture Notes In Computer Science, 87-92. info:/

  • January 27, 2010
  • 05:34 AM

Time flew by ... I must have been enjoying myself

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Have you ever been in the cinema and felt the time drag? It's happened to me. A glance at my watch and then the thought that I can't be enjoying the film all that much or else the time would surely have flown. My experience matches the findings from a series of studies by Aaron Sackett and colleagues. The folk psychology belief 'time flies when you're having fun' is so powerful and ubiquitous, the researchers say, that whenever we feel an event has passed more quickly than we expected, we infer ........ Read more »

AM Sackett, LD Nelson, T Meyvis, BA Converse, & AL Sackett. (2010) You're having fun when time flies: The hedonic consequences of subjective time progression. Psychological Science. info:/10.1177/0956797609354832

  • January 27, 2010
  • 05:00 AM

Study finds high mercury levels, simplified food chain in prairie reservoir

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

A new study on mercury levels in prairie reservoirs finds exceedingly high concentrations in northern pike residing in a newly constructed reservoir in Alberta. In addition, the study suggests the reservoir’s food web is extremely simplified, a factor that could be further exacerbating the elevated levels of mercury...... Read more »

  • January 27, 2010
  • 02:49 AM

Attachment Theory and Poorly Performing Doctors

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD

The attachment theory from the sixties of the previous century is still used e.g. in psychotherapy but also in research such as shown in a recent post on:How do social relationships function online. Is attachment theory also useful in medical education, does it explain the poor performance by some doctors? After all doctors are required [...]

Related posts:Twitter, Doctors, Hospitals and Medical Education Beginning March 2009 the number of hospitals on using...
Is 360-degree feedback for doc........ Read more »

  • January 27, 2010
  • 12:00 AM

Understanding Support for Militancy in Pakistan

by Randy Borum in Science of Global Security & Armed Conflict

Stability in Pakistan is in the fundamental interest of (at least most of) the global security community. And militancy is widely regarded as the most serious and present threat to that stability. Pew regularly conducts and reports on surveys of Pakistani public opinion. Policymakers and analysts also have their own set of working assumptions. As with all policy decisions our understanding and assumptions about the problem will affect, if not drive, our strategy and intervention. A recent study ........ Read more »

  • January 26, 2010
  • 09:59 PM

Taking Fish and Leaving Trash

by Dr. M in Deep Sea News

Monofilament fishing line is not what you expect to see on the deep ocean floor.  What would your response be if I told that enough occurs at depths over 1000 feet you can tally it?  And what if I told you it occurs frequently even in marine sanctuaries?  What if I told you it is [...]... Read more »

Watters, D., Yoklavich, M., Love, M., & Schroeder, D. (2010) Assessing marine debris in deep seafloor habitats off California. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 60(1), 131-138. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2009.08.019  

  • January 26, 2010
  • 09:42 PM

A Little More Heat Shock Protein Manipulation Work

by Reason in Fight Aging!

Last week, I posted on the topic of calorie restriction mimetics, with a focus on enhancement of autophagy and the operation of heat shock proteins as a path to extended longevity - or at least some repair of age-related cellular damage. Both autophagy and heat shock proteins contribute to cleaning up damage and dysfunctional molecular machinery in our cells, and are strongly implicated in the benefits to health and longevity provided by exercise and calorie restriction. As an addendum to that p........ Read more »

  • January 26, 2010
  • 08:30 PM

Evolution: The Curious Case of Dogs

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

Man's best friend is much more than a household companion - for about two centuries, artificial selection in dogs has made them prime examples of the possibilities of evolution. While humans have been breeding dogs for over ten thousand years, it was until recently that strict breeds and the emphasis on "purebreds" has led to over 400 different breeds that are some of the best examples of the power of selection. Those that doubt that small variations in traits can lead to large levels of diversi........ Read more »

Akey, J., Ruhe, A., Akey, D., Wong, A., Connelly, C., Madeoy, J., Nicholas, T., & Neff, M. (2010) Tracking footprints of artificial selection in the dog genome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(3), 1160-1165. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0909918107  

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