Post List

  • September 2, 2009
  • 07:06 AM

Tip of the week: A mouse for all reasons

by Mary in OpenHelix

At first the title of this paper made laugh, as I am a major fan of Paul Scofield’s performance in A Man for All Seasons.  And then I remembered what happened to Thomas Moore.  Well, the analogy drops away for me there…. A Mouse for All Reasons by the International Mouse Knockout Consortium presented the [...]... Read more »

The International Mouse Knockout Consortium. (2007) A Mouse for All Reasons. Cell, 128(1), 9-13. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2006.12.018  

  • September 2, 2009
  • 07:00 AM

Hand-Standing Snailfish

by Jason Robertshaw in Cephalopodcast - The Ocean Podcast

A casual glance at a scientific illustration left me wondering why some snailfish stand on their heads.... Read more »

Sakurai, Y, & Kido, K. (1992) Feeding behavior of Careproctus rastrinus (Liparididae) in captivity. Ichthyological Research, 39(1), 110-113. info:/10.1007/BF02905640

  • September 2, 2009
  • 01:32 AM

Making a Long-Term Memory? Don't Forget to Tag it!

by Evil Monkey in Neurotopia

I'm sure you all know that you have both a short-term and a long-term memory. Many people think of those as separate things, and to us, it may seem that way. But in fact, the formation of short and long term memories in the brain is very intertwined, and a short-term memory can become a long-term one. What we don't really know is HOW this happens. What makes the difference between remembering a phone number for a few minutes and remembering it for months? Turns out, it's a simple tag.

Bal........ Read more »

Ballarini, F., Moncada, D., Martinez, M., Alen, N., & Viola, H. (2009) Behavioral tagging is a general mechanism of long-term memory formation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(34), 14599-14604. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0907078106  

  • September 2, 2009
  • 12:38 AM

Need For Less Sleep Associated with Gene Mutation

by Walter Jessen in Highlight HEALTH

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, have discovered the first gene involved in regulating the length of human sleep. The study, published recently in the journal Science, identified a genetic mutation that is associated with a short human [...]... Read more »

He, Y., Jones, C., Fujiki, N., Xu, Y., Guo, B., Holder, J., Rossner, M., Nishino, S., & Fu, Y. (2009) The Transcriptional Repressor DEC2 Regulates Sleep Length in Mammals. Science, 325(5942), 866-870. DOI: 10.1126/science.1174443  

  • September 2, 2009
  • 12:00 AM

Movies like Elizabeth I can help students learn history

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

Picture the scene. It's late one Friday afternoon with "double history" looming. But you arrive at class and your prayers are answered: the teacher says that for today's lesson you're going to be watching the popular film Elizabeth I. According to a new study, not only will this ease you comfortably into the weekend, the experience could significantly improve your retention of the associated course text. With one caveat. The teacher must point out in advance where the film deviates from the true........ Read more »

  • September 1, 2009
  • 11:16 PM

Adjuvant effect on H1N1 vaccine

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

There has been a great deal of discussion about the use of adjuvants to improve the immunogenicity of vaccines against the 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza strain. What effect do these compounds have on the immune response?
Adjuvants are compounds added to vaccines that stimulate the immune response. They are often used when the antigen is in [...]... Read more »

Dormitzer, PR, Rappuoli, R, Casini, F, Wack, A, & et al. (2009) Adjuvant is necessary for a robust immune response to a single dose of H1N1 pandemic flu vaccine in mice. PLoS Currents: Influenza. info:other/

  • September 1, 2009
  • 08:40 PM

Proteins stick together when it's crowded

by Michael Clarkson in Conformational Flux

One of the many ways that a living cell does not resemble a test tube is in the degree to which its internal environment is crowded. Cells are crammed full of massive protein complexes, vesicles, organelles, carbohydrates, peptidoglycan, and other assemblies that occupy a great deal of space. The tubes and cuvettes used for biochemical experiments, in contrast, typically contain nothing more than a few proteins and small molecules of interest along with a relatively dilute set of salts and buffe........ Read more »

  • September 1, 2009
  • 06:46 PM

Parallels between conduction aphasia and optic ataxia

by Greg Hickok in Talking Brains

Conduction aphasia and optic ataxia are both "dorsal stream" sensory-motor integration syndromes. The only difference is they affect distinct motor effector systems. At least that is the view I'd like to promote.For those who aren't familiar with these syndromes, conduction aphasia is a language disorder characterized by phonemic paraphasias (speech production errors), difficulty with verbatim repetition of speech, but with preserved auditory comprehension. Optic ataxia is a "motor" disorder w........ Read more »

Rossetti, Y., Pisella, L., & Vighetto, A. (2003) Optic ataxia revisited:. Experimental Brain Research, 153(2), 171-179. DOI: 10.1007/s00221-003-1590-6  

  • September 1, 2009
  • 05:47 PM

Prospects for Immune System Rejuvenation Through Selective Destruction

by Reason in Fight Aging!

One of the reasons that the immune system degenerates with age is, and I greatly simplify the reality on the ground in saying this, that only a limited number of immune cells can be supported at once. As the years roll on more and more of the immune cells known as T cells become memory T cells, dedicated to remembering specific threats. That leaves less and less room for naive T cells that can go out and stomp on new threats. Thus as your immune system becomes ever more knowledgable, it also bec........ Read more »

Weinberger B, Welzl K, Herndler-Brandstetter D, Parson W, & Grubeck-Loebenstein B. (2009) CD28(-) CD8( ) T cells do not contain unique clonotypes and are therefore dispensable. Immunology letters. PMID: 19715728  

  • September 1, 2009
  • 04:20 PM

Focusing on how little time you have left can make you happier

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

Jim and Nora each attended summer camps that they enjoyed tremendously this past summer. When we picked up Nora from her camp, she was completely exhausted. Why? She and her new friends had only gotten 30 minutes of pretend sleep the night before. This was to fool their counselors before sneaking into a pre-determined room for a vigil during their precious last few hours together. Jim, it turned out, had stayed up all night his last night too, but without the pretense of tricking the counselors,........ Read more »

  • September 1, 2009
  • 03:00 PM

Is the latest claim regarding "chimp-human" inbreeding a bunch of hooey?

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

Yes, but not necessarily because it is wrong.

Some time ago researchers proposed that the modern DNA signal indicated that chimps and humans continued to interbreed long after they split in evolutionary time. A new study refutes this, and as the author states, this new study is more correct because it "simpler and hence more likely".

Wow. Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

Dolgin, Elie. (2009) Human-chimp interbreeding challenged. Nature News. info:/

  • September 1, 2009
  • 01:25 PM

Human Y Chromosome Mutation Rates

by Larry Moran in Sandwalk

 One thing men are really good at is making mistakes—just ask any woman. When it comes to mutations we are ten times better than women at ensuring the evolution of the species. Knowing the actual rate of mutation in humans—or any other species—is important for many reasons. For one thing, it tells us about the maximum possible rate of evolution. For another, it gives us an important clue about ... Read more »

  • September 1, 2009
  • 10:58 AM

Olfactory communication and mate choice

by Wintz in A Replicated Typo

From the regulation and reproduction in bacteria colonies (Bassler, 2002) to complex smell and taste systems of humans (Van Toller & Dodd, 1988), the ability of sensing chemical stimuli, known as chemosensation, is believed to be the most basic and ubiquitous of senses (Bhutta, 2007). One strain of thought places chemosensation as merely an evolved [...]... Read more »

Bhutta, M. (2007) Sex and the nose: human pheromonal responses. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 100(6), 268-274. DOI: 10.1258/jrsm.100.6.268  

Havlicek, J., & Roberts, S. (2009) MHC-correlated mate choice in humans: A review. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 34(4), 497-512. DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2008.10.007  

  • September 1, 2009
  • 10:22 AM

Librarians and Open Access – What are we Actually Doing?

by bjms1002 in the Undergraduate Science Librarian

The librarians I’ve met at workshops, at conferences, and on the web, are generally strong supporters of open access. My impression has always been that our professional philosophy of providing information to our users free of charge (to them) fits very nicely with the philosophy of the open access movement.
Recently, I’ve started to wonder [...]... Read more »

Kristi L. Palmer, Emily Dill, & Charlene Christie. (2009) Where There's a Will There's a Way?: Survey of Academic Librarian Attitudes about Open Access. College and Research Libraries, 70(4), 315-335. info:/

  • September 1, 2009
  • 07:00 AM

A bitter taste in your lungs

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

Smell is the oldest and most basic sense. Smell is the detection of external chemicals, which bacteria, without even having neurons (because they are one-celled), are able to do with ease. Taste is a mere spin-off of smell, as it is also about detection of chemicals, just those in a little higher concentrations a little closer to the body.

A new paper by Shah and colleagues blurs the already fuzzy line between small, taste, and even nociception (detection of tissue damaging stimuli). They exa........ Read more »

Shah, A., Ben-Shahar, Y., Moninger, T., Kline, J., & Welsh, M. (2009) Motile Cilia of Human Airway Epithelia Are Chemosensory. Science, 325(5944), 1131-1134. DOI: 10.1126/science.1173869  

  • September 1, 2009
  • 04:55 AM

Fun with a local homeopath

by Michael Meadon in Ionian Enchantment

Note: Prinsloo has edited his website in light of our criticisms, but the version of his site that I responded to is still available on Google cache. 

A Pretoria-based homeopath, one Dr. JP Prinsloo, has taken on some local skeptics, including Owen and Angela. I'll have more to say about him in the next while, but for the moment I want to do three things: point to Owen's superb (and damn funny) response, address one of Prinsloo's arguments and demonstrate he misinterprets the medical literat........ Read more »

  • September 1, 2009
  • 02:40 AM

Visualising Connections in the Human Brain

by Kevin Mitchell in Wiring the Brain

Most of us are familiar with pictures from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the human brain; indeed, these black-and-white images have achieved almost iconic status at this stage. From popular television programmes, and regrettably from common experience, the use of these images to detect lesions, such as tumours or the effects of stroke, is well known. Classic MRI can distinguish grey and white matter based on their different cellular composition but cannot go very far beyond that, because ........ Read more »

Wedeen, V., Wang, R., Schmahmann, J., Benner, T., Tseng, W., Dai, G., Pandya, D., Hagmann, P., D'Arceuil, H., & de Crespigny, A. (2008) Diffusion spectrum magnetic resonance imaging (DSI) tractography of crossing fibers. NeuroImage, 41(4), 1267-1277. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.03.036  

Perrin, M., Cointepas, Y., Cachia, A., Poupon, C., Thirion, B., Rivière, D., Cathier, P., El Kouby, V., Constantinesco, A., Le Bihan, D.... (2008) Connectivity-Based Parcellation of the Cortical Mantle Using q-Ball Diffusion Imaging. International Journal of Biomedical Imaging, 1-19. DOI: 10.1155/2008/368406  

  • August 31, 2009
  • 11:08 PM

Not In My Forest

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Vietnam has "exported" its logging to other countries

... Read more »

Meyfroidt, P., . (2009) Forest transition in Vietnam and displacement of deforestation abroad. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. info:/

  • August 31, 2009
  • 09:09 PM

The peripheral attenton deficit of primary psychopaths

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

Described as cold, heartless, manipulative, selfish, and low anxiety, primary psychopaths frankly scare the bejesus out of most people including myself. Look at the case of John Wayne Gacy Jr., the American serial killer who took the lives of 33 boys and young men between 1972 to 1978; burying most of the bodies in his crawl space beneath his home. During his sentencing he was quoted to have morbidly joked that the only thing he was guilty of was "running a cemetery without a license". How fucke........ Read more »

  • August 31, 2009
  • 09:00 PM

Quasar light switches

by Emma in we are all in the gutter

Right, it’s about time this blog went extragalactic again. As Douglas Adams wrote, “Space…is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space”. With all that Universe available [...]... Read more »

M. Jamrozy, D. J. Saikia, & C. Konar. (2009) 4C02.27: a quasar with episodic activity?. Accepted for publication in MNRAS. arXiv: 0908.1508v1

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