The present H1N1 influenza virus (nvH1N1, nv=new variant) behaves very differently from other influenza strains. The majority of nvH1N1 infections are mild and self-limiting in nature, but a small percentage of the patients require hospitalization and sometimes emergency care. Unlike the seasonal flu virus, the people who seem to suffer serious complications from this [...]... Read more »
Bermejo-Martin, J., Ortiz de Lejarazu, R., Pumarola, T., Rello, J., Almansa, R., Ramirez, P., Martin-Loeches, I., Varillas, D., Gallegos, M., Seron, C.... (2009) Th1 and Th17 hypercytokinemia as early host response signature in severe pandemic influenza. Critical Care, 13(6). DOI: 10.1186/cc8208
Park, H., Li, Z., Yang, X., Chang, S., Nurieva, R., Wang, Y., Wang, Y., Hood, L., Zhu, Z., Tian, Q.... (2005) A distinct lineage of CD4 T cells regulates tissue inflammation by producing interleukin 17. Nature Immunology, 6(11), 1133-1141. DOI: 10.1038/ni1261
Compelling empirical evidence for the use of learning styles in education and training simply does not exist.... Read more »
From a recent PLOSOne study, some interesting findings on malaria pathogenesis. What we know is that getting cerebral malaria is both very bad and very unpredictable, so that it's very difficult to decide which patient will require closer monitoring than others. Management is non-specific and supportive, and we still don't exactly know why it happens. There are a lot of theories out there, many of which center around the sludging of blood in the cerebral vessels, causing decreased brain blood fl........ Read more »
Bansal, D., Herbert, F., Lim, P., Deshpande, P., Bécavin, C., Guiyedi, V., de Maria, I., Rousselle, J., Namane, A., Jain, R.... (2009) IgG Autoantibody to Brain Beta Tubulin III Associated with Cytokine Cluster-II Discriminate Cerebral Malaria in Central India. PLoS ONE, 4(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008245
So suggests an intriguing and witty editorial in the British Medical Journal.
Given Santa’s tremendous popularity, particularly among children, the authors argue the public should become aware of some of the less-than-ideal lifestyle practices apparently advocated by jolly St. Nick.
Their basic thesis is the following: “Santa’s behaviour and public image are at odds with contemporary accepted public health messages.”... Read more »
Climate threat to alpine species may be overstated
... Read more »
SCHERRER, D., & KÃRNER, C. (2009) Infra-red thermometry of alpine landscapes challenges climatic warming projections. Global Change Biology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.02122.x
I really don’t think it’s possible to write a boring post on bed bugs. The way in which they reproduce is simply one of the most bizzarre…and brutal…methods of insemination in the animal kingdom. One of my favorite webcomics, Dinosaur Comics described their reproduction quite well:
I also like writing about the biological basis behind sexual [...]... Read more »
Ryne, C. (2009) Homosexual interactions in bed bugs: alarm pheromones as male recognition signals. Animal Behaviour, 78(6), 1471-1475. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.09.033
According to a study just out in the American Journal of Psychiatry, starting depressed people on two antidepressants leads to much better results than starting them on just one - Combination of Antidepressant Medications From Treatment Initiation for Major Depressive Disorder. But how reliable is it?Currently accepted practice is to prescribe one antidepressant to begin with, and if the patient doesn't feel better after about 6 weeks, to either change to a different antidepressant (switching) o........ Read more »
Blier, P., Ward, H., Tremblay, P., Laberge, L., Hebert, C., & Bergeron, R. (2009) Combination of Antidepressant Medications From Treatment Initiation for Major Depressive Disorder: A Double-Blind Randomized Study. American Journal of Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2009.09020186
Physicians are under mounting pressure to increase efficiency in the provision of medical care. That is, see more patients in less time for less money. But, since speed and accuracy do not always go hand-in-hand, does this increased physician efficiency lead to quality medical care? A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine [...]... Read more »
Olfson, M., Cherry, D., & Lewis-Fernandez, R. (2009) Racial Differences in Visit Duration of Outpatient Psychiatric Visits. Archives of General Psychiatry, 66(2), 214-221. DOI: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2008.523
Chen, L., Farwell, W., & Jha, A. (2009) Primary Care Visit Duration and Quality: Does Good Care Take Longer?. Archives of Internal Medicine, 169(20), 1866-1872. DOI: 10.1001/archinternmed.2009.341
Linder, J. (2003) Association between antibiotic prescribing and visit duration in adults with upper respiratory tract infections. Clinical Therapeutics, 25(9), 2419-2430. DOI: 10.1016/S0149-2918(03)80284-9
Lo, A., Ryder, K., & Shorr, R. (2005) Relationship Between Patient Age and Duration of Physician Visit in Ambulatory Setting: Does One Size Fit All?. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 53(7), 1162-1167. DOI: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2005.53367.x
by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog
In the summer of 1989, two papers about viruses were published in high-profile journals. One described the engineering of a recombinant poliovirus bearing on its surface an antigen from HIV-1. The second paper claimed that transgenic mice could be made by adding DNA to sperm before using them to fertilize eggs. Both reports played a [...]... Read more »
Evans, D., McKeating, J., Meredith, J., Burke, K., Katrak, K., John, A., Ferguson, M., Minor, P., Weiss, R., & Almond, J. (1989) An engineered poliovirus chimaera elicits broadly reactive HIV-1 neutralizing antibodies. Nature, 339(6223), 385-388. DOI: 10.1038/339385a0
Lavitrano, M. (1989) Sperm cells as vectors for introducing foreign DNA into eggs: Genetic transformation of mice. Cell, 57(5), 717-723. DOI: 10.1016/0092-8674(89)90787-3
Scientists Paul Cryan and Robert Barclay tackle a perplexing question in the newest issue of the Journal of Mammalogy. "Why are wind farms so deadly for bats?" Their article, a synthesis of the research on the topic should be required reading for anyone working on bat conservation, wind development, or for those with a strong interest in either topic...... Read more »
Cryan, P., & Barclay, R. (2009) Causes of Bat Fatalities at Wind Turbines: Hypotheses and Predictions. Journal of Mammalogy, 90(6), 1330-1340. DOI: 10.1644/09-MAMM-S-076R1.1
Another Science Lesson from Rick Santorum...
I think that I ruffled Rick Santorum’s feathers. Last week I published an article in which Christian fundamentalist and presidential hopeful Rick Santorum was used as a metaphor to dispel one of the commonly held misconceptions about biological evolution.... Read more »
You know you're bored when you start shading in the squares of your notebook. Apparently it's a habit that could be helping you to concentrate. In a neat little experiment, Jackie Andrade asked forty participants to listen to a monotone two and a half minute phone message about arrangements for a party. They were told the message would be dull, that there was no need to memorise it, but that they should write down the names of the people who would be able to attend the party. Crucially, half the........ Read more »
Facing a difficult surgery to remove that pesky medial sphenoid wing meningioma? Be sure your neurosurgeon looks at pictures of cute kittens and puppies before scrubbing up. Or so implies a goofy study by Sherman et al. (2009):Infantile physical morphology—marked by its “cuteness”—is thought to be a potent elicitor of caregiving, yet little is known about how cuteness may shape immediate behavior. To examine the function of cuteness and its role in caregiving, the authors tested whether ........ Read more »
Sherman, G., Haidt, J., & Coan, J. (2009) Viewing cute images increases behavioral carefulness. Emotion, 9(2), 282-286. DOI: 10.1037/a0014904
I’ve been reluctant to call bogus on science reporting from shows like Today Tonight or A Current Affair because, well, it’s just too easy. That, and I don’t watch them.
It feels kind of cheap picking on Today Tonight when they feel the necessity to put at the bottom of the idiotic reporting on their website [...]... Read more »
Leon, H., Shibata, M., Sivakumaran, S., Dorgan, M., Chatterley, T., & Tsuyuki, R. (2008) Effect of fish oil on arrhythmias and mortality: systematic review. BMJ, 337(dec23 2). DOI: 10.1136/bmj.a2931
Saravanan P, & Davidson NC. (2009) Fish oil and arrhythmias. Pro-arrhythmic effects of fish oils. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 19188223
Nature this week published two papers describing the complete sequencing of a cancer cell line (small cell lung cancer (SCLC) NCI-H209 and melanoma COLO-829) each along with a "normal" cell line from the same individual. I'll confess a certain degree of disappointment at first as these papers are not rich in the information of greatest interest to me, but they have grown on me. Plus, it's rather churlish to complain when I have nothing comparable to offer myself.Both papers have a good deal of........ Read more »
Pleasance, E., Stephens, P., O’Meara, S., McBride, D., Meynert, A., Jones, D., Lin, M., Beare, D., Lau, K., Greenman, C.... (2009) A small-cell lung cancer genome with complex signatures of tobacco exposure. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature08629
Pleasance, E., Cheetham, R., Stephens, P., McBride, D., Humphray, S., Greenman, C., Varela, I., Lin, M., Ordóñez, G., Bignell, G.... (2009) A comprehensive catalogue of somatic mutations from a human cancer genome. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature08658
Neti pots have moved from the fringe to the mainstream over the past few years. Traditionally used to treat sinus problems, their popularity exploded in 2007 when Oprah covered them on her show. Requests flooded the pharmacy I worked at. The pharmacy’s owner ordered in a case, and they disappeared in days. Given Oprah’s poor record at identifying credible sources of medical information, [...]... Read more »
Pynnonen, M., Mukerji, S., Kim, H., Adams, M., & Terrell, J. (2007) Nasal Saline for Chronic Sinonasal Symptoms: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Archives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, 133(11), 1115-1120. DOI: 10.1001/archotol.133.11.1115
Harvey R., Hannan SA., Badia L., & Scadding G. (2007) Nasal saline irrigations for the symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006394.pub2
When most people think of testosterone, words like “aggression,” “dominance,” and “violence” usually come to mind. Those words are memetically linked with testosterone the way “expensive” is linked with diamonds, and most of us have adopted the linkage without thinking much about it. Collectively, we’ve adopted a “folk hypothesis” about testosterone–a generalized presupposition grounded in folk wisdom assumed to be correct........ Read more »
Abbott, A. (2009) Testosterone link to aggression may be all in the mind. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/news.2009.1131
Researchers have successfully mapped the different microbial communities over the whole body according to research by Costello and colleagues published in Science this week.
The human body is home to trillions of bacteria, so many that in fact bacteria outnumber our own cells by 10 to 1. The human body’s microbiota (the microorganisms that live inside [...]... Read more »
Costello, E., Lauber, C., Hamady, M., Fierer, N., Gordon, J., & Knight, R. (2009) Bacterial Community Variation in Human Body Habitats Across Space and Time. Science, 326(5960), 1694-1697. DOI: 10.1126/science.1177486
HOW do you react when you see somebody else in pain? Most of us can empathize with someone who is sick or has been injuered - we can quite easily put ourselves "in their shoes" and understand, to some extent, what they are feeling. We can share their emotional experience, because observing their pain activates regions of the brain which are involved in processing the emotional aspects of pain.
But can seeing somebody else in pain actually cause pain in the observer? People with mirror-touch syna........ Read more »
Osborn, J., & Derbyshire, S. (2009) Pain sensation evoked by observing injury in others. Pain. DOI: 10.1016/j.pain.2009.11.007
Suppose your organization is interviewing candidates for an important job. Would it be better for one trusted person to have an extended interview with them, or for several people to talk to them for less time? How many people would you need to conduct the interviews? Would three be enough? Would ten be too many? If ten is good, wouldn't twenty be even better?
We've discussed thin-slicing studies before -- the idea that a few brief exposures to an individual can give just as accurate an impress........ Read more »
Borkenau, P., Mauer, N., Riemann, R., Spinath, F., & Angleitner, A. (2004) Thin Slices of Behavior as Cues of Personality and Intelligence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86(4), 599-614. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3518.104.22.1689
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