Post List

  • January 6, 2010
  • 09:46 AM
  • 524 views

How could vaccinia virus block T helpers?

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space







Smallpox pustules
(R. Carswell, 1831)



In contrast to the many viruses that block antigen presentation by MHC class I, only a handful appear to block presentation by MHC class II.  I don’t understand why any would try to block MHC class II in the first place, but another example of it has just been published.
A little [...]... Read more »

  • January 6, 2010
  • 09:00 AM
  • 1,435 views

Gut disorders and autism: A new consensus statement

by Orac in Respectful Insolence

One of the key claims of the "autism biomedical" movement is that something about autism derives from or is exacerbated by the gut; i.e., that there is some sort of link between GI problems, particularly inflammatory diseases of the GI tract, and autism. Although I may not be as versed in the history of this claim as I could be, as far as I can tell, even if this idea didn't originate with Andrew Wakefield, he certainly did a lot to popularize it. Indeed, a common misconception about his misbego........ Read more »

Buie, T., Campbell, D., Fuchs, G., Furuta, G., Levy, J., VandeWater, J., Whitaker, A., Atkins, D., Bauman, M., Beaudet, A.... (2010) Evaluation, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disorders in Individuals With ASDs: A Consensus Report. PEDIATRICS, 125(Supplement). DOI: 10.1542/peds.2009-1878C  

  • January 6, 2010
  • 08:17 AM
  • 1,771 views

Ask an Entomologist: Snow Fleas

by bug_girl in Bug Girl's Blog

What? Fleas in Winter???
If you’ve seen a tiny assortment of purple, bouncing specks in your snow, you might be looking at springtails.  Don’t worry, they aren’t real fleas–they just bounce around in a similar way.
Also, they are probably the cutest dang little things you’ve ever seen! Their tiny size is why you probably don’t know [...]... Read more »

  • January 6, 2010
  • 07:59 AM
  • 659 views

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in "not caused by single virus" shock!

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Late last year, Science published a bombshell - Lombardi et al's Detection of an infectious retrovirus, XMRV, in blood cells of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. This paper reported the presence of a recently-discovered virus in 67% of the blood samples from 101 people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).The question of whether people with CFS are suffering from an organic illness, or whether their condition is partially or entirely psychological in nature, is the Israel vs. Palestine........ Read more »

Erlwein, O., Kaye, S., McClure, M., 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). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008519  

Lombardi VC, Ruscetti FW, Das Gupta J, Pfost MA, Hagen KS, Peterson DL, Ruscetti SK, Bagni RK, Petrow-Sadowski C, Gold B.... (2009) Detection of an infectious retrovirus, XMRV, in blood cells of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Science (New York, N.Y.), 326(5952), 585-9. PMID: 19815723  

  • January 6, 2010
  • 07:52 AM
  • 640 views

Astronomical Units

by Brian Koberlein in Upon Reflection

Figure 1: Aristarchus measured the angle between the Sun and the Moon when the moon was half full, then used trigonometry to measure the distance to the Sun. (Source: Wikipedia) In an earlier post I wrote about how astronomers can...... Read more »

  • January 6, 2010
  • 07:50 AM
  • 1,841 views

Rumours of War

by Richard Grant in Faculty of 1000



In all the Christmas festivities, snow-induced transport chaos, knicker-bombers and New Year-induced academic slackness you might have missed a new report on a forgotten but important conflict in Sumatra (published in Cambridge University Press’s Oryx; your Athens login should get you in).
Turns out that humans and pachyderms are locked in a deadly struggle for survival, [...]... Read more »

  • January 6, 2010
  • 07:00 AM
  • 562 views

The impact of beach grooming on coastal habitat

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

A new study from Southern California affirms that the long-standing management practice of beach grooming is contributing to the loss of coastal strand habitat. Coastal strand plant communities grow along the edge of the high tide line and are comprised largely of endemic species adapted to grow in the dynamic, environment of loose, shifting sand...... Read more »

  • January 6, 2010
  • 04:43 AM
  • 887 views

What do young children know about managing fear?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

The recent film adaptation of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things are prompted much debate about whether it's appropriate to subject children to material which they could find frightening. It's rather topical then that a new research paper has looked at young children's understanding of fear reduction strategies, finding them to be more precocious than previously realised. Liat Sayfan and Kirsten Lagattuta presented 48 children aged between 4 and 7 years with picture-based short stories. The ........ Read more »

  • January 5, 2010
  • 09:00 PM
  • 503 views

Blood Barrier

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Galapagos finches build immune defenses against parasites

... Read more »

Huber, S. et al. (2009) Ecoimmunity in Darwin's finches: Invasive parasites trigger acquired immunity in the medium ground finch (Geospiza fortis). PLoS ONE. info:/

  • January 5, 2010
  • 06:55 PM
  • 879 views

How hard can a tuatara bite?

by hilaryml in Chicken or Egg blog

As a geneticist, I’m only rarely let out of the lab to chase after my study animal, the tuatara.  I count these occasions as a gift, where I get to feel like a “real” biologist and learn to talk knowledgably about the ecology and habits of tuatara (which, lets face it, are generally of more interest to [...]... Read more »

Marc E. H. Jones, & A. Kristopher Lappin. (2009) Bite-force performance of the last rhynchocephalian. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 39(3), 71-83. info:/

  • January 5, 2010
  • 06:26 PM
  • 443 views

Reducing speed really does save lives

by geekheartsscience in geek!

Traffic speed zones of 20 mph reduce road injuries and deaths according to research by Grundy and colleagues published in the British Medical Journal.

Road traffic accidents (RTA) are a significant, but often neglected, cause of injury and death worldwide. The WHO estimates that 1.2 million people are killed worldwide in road crashes and up [...]... Read more »

  • January 5, 2010
  • 05:30 PM
  • 1,355 views

Further evidence to suggest we should learn something novel every decade

by Lorimer Moseley in BodyInMind

I remember sitting my folks down and sternly counselling them to make sure they learnt a completely novel skill once per decade, to ensure that their brain doesn’t turn to mush.  There is plenty of evidence to support such advice (well, aside from the ‘mush’ bit), but here is a new finding that adds to [...]... Read more »

Lorimer Moseley. (2010) Further evidence to suggest we should learn something novel every decade. BodyinMind. info:/

  • January 5, 2010
  • 12:50 PM
  • 1,606 views

Predicting invader success requires integrating ecological and land use patterns.

by Marc Cadotte in The EEB and flow

Disclaimer, this was modified from an editorial I wrote for the Journal of Applied Ecology.In the quest to understand species invasions, we often try to link the abundance and distribution of invaders to underlying ecological processes. For example, oft-studied are the links between exotic diversity and native richness or environmental heterogeneity. Seemingly independently, research into how specific land use or management activities affect invasion dynamics is also fairly common. While both re........ Read more »

  • January 5, 2010
  • 10:46 AM
  • 1,303 views

The Neuroscience of MySpace

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

How does popularity affect how we judge music?We tend to say we like what other people like. No-one wants to stand out and risk ridicule by saying they don't enjoy universally loved bands, like The Beatles... unless they're trying to fit into a subculture where everyone hates The Beatles.But do people just pretend to like what others like, or can perceived popularity actually change musical preferences? Do The Beatles actually sound better because we know everyone loves them? An amusing Neuroima........ Read more »

  • January 5, 2010
  • 10:06 AM
  • 1,334 views

Early "Baleen Whale" Was a Tooth-Bearing Mud-Grubber

by Laelaps in Laelaps



A restoration of Mammalodon by Brian Choo (published in Fitzgerald, 2009).




In the introduction to his 1883 lecture on whales, the English anatomist William Henry Flower said;

Few natural groups present so many remarkable, very obvious, and easily appreciated illustrations of several of the most important general laws which appear to have determined the structure of animal bodies, as that selected for my lecture this evening. We shall find the effects of the two opposing forces--that of he........ Read more »

  • January 5, 2010
  • 07:00 AM
  • 624 views

Adding trout to mountain lakes disrupts food supply for birds

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

... Read more »

  • January 5, 2010
  • 04:00 AM
  • 612 views

Prioritizing land preservation: a GIS approach

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

For organizations that protect land by purchasing property (or the underlying development rights), a simple but harsh reality reins: Land is expensive. Money is limited. So you have to spend wisely. In this regard, a new study may help land conservationists identify the highest priority properties for preservation...... Read more »

  • January 5, 2010
  • 01:23 AM
  • 824 views

Anticipating reward improves learning during sleep

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

Rocking out on the guitar is by far one of my most cherished pastimes. At the angst ridden age of 15 I picked up a cheap Ibanez strat and learned my very first Nirvana song, "Teen Spirit". Little did I know a good night's rest would play such a crucial role in my learning those simple power chords. Furthermore, who would've thought my desire to become the next grunge icon would determine the rate at which I learned during those quiet nights of sleep. According to a study by Fischer and Born, pub........ Read more »

Fischer S, & Born J. (2009) Anticipated reward enhances offline learning during sleep. Journal of experimental psychology. Learning, memory, and cognition, 35(6), 1586-93. PMID: 19857029  

  • January 4, 2010
  • 11:42 PM
  • 930 views

SME: A supply chain risk?

by Jan Husdal in husdal.com

Does having Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in your supply chain constitute an increased exposure to supply chain risk? Particularly if these SMEs occupy business-critical positions in the supply chain?... Read more »

Finch, P. (2004) Supply chain risk management. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 9(2), 183-196. DOI: 10.1108/13598540410527079  

  • January 4, 2010
  • 09:58 PM
  • 993 views

Methionine Restriction as the Cause of Calorie Restriction Benefits

by Reason in Fight Aging!

Diet is the key to a great many evolution-driven adaptations in the machinery of our bodies; changes in dietary intake cause the controlling mechanisms of metabolism to sit up and take notice. In particular, lowering the intake of calories by 30-40% or so, and while maintaining an optimal level of micronutrients, causes metabolic processes to operate in a mode that extends life and provides numerous other health benefits. Practiced as a lifestyle, this is known as a calorie restriction diet, and........ Read more »

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