Post List

  • August 26, 2010
  • 10:55 AM

Why A Good Friend Has the Same Effect As a Warm Fire

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

"Vision," Stanford's Bill Newsome likes to say, "does not happen in the eye. It happens in the brain." As I mentioned in my last post, this is a general theme in our understanding of the mind and brain: We don't passively record "reality" and then process our perceptions. Rather, we actively create what we see, hear, taste, smell and feel. A nice new example is this experiment, which found that people feel warmer when standing near a loved one, and colder when they're reminded that........ Read more »

  • August 26, 2010
  • 10:05 AM

Fossil Plant Debris Key to UK Dinosaur Preservation

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

When I think of dinosaur bones, the rocky and shrub-flecked expanses of western North America immediately come to mind, but it should not be forgotten that some of the first dinosaurs recognized by science were discovered across the Atlantic in England. Paleontologists have been searching for dinosaurs there longer than anywhere else, and among the [...]... Read more »

  • August 26, 2010
  • 09:23 AM

New potential targets in ovarian cancer?

by Sally Church in Pharma Strategy Blog

Treatment for ovarian cancer hasn't changed much in the last ten years, reflecting the lack of biomarkers and biochemical targets for the disease. Chemotherapy with a platinum (carboplatin or cisplatin) and a taxane (paclitaxel or docetaxel) has therefore formed the...... Read more »

Lu, C., Han, H., Mangala, L., Ali-Fehmi, R., Newton, C., Ozbun, L., Armaiz-Pena, G., Hu, W., Stone, R., & Munkarah, A. (2010) Regulation of Tumor Angiogenesis by EZH2. Cancer Cell, 18(2), 185-197. DOI: 10.1016/j.ccr.2010.06.016  

  • August 26, 2010
  • 08:04 AM

Synthetic tools for controlling protein expression

by Becky in It Takes 30

A recent paper from Jim Collins’ lab (Callura et al. 2010, Tracking, tuning, and terminating microbial physiology using synthetic riboregulators. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA PMID: 20713708) explores the utility of a translational riboregulator to control protein production in four different settings.  The basic idea is that you set up your gene of interest so [...]... Read more »

Callura JM, Dwyer DJ, Isaacs FJ, Cantor CR, & Collins JJ. (2010) Tracking, tuning, and terminating microbial physiology using synthetic riboregulators. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 20713708  

  • August 26, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Gestational Pre-Diabetes Modifies Leptin Gene in Utero

by Arya M. Sharma in Dr. Sharma's Obesity Notes

One of the most exciting and biologically highly plausible reasons for the childhood obesity epidemic may well be that current generations are far more susceptible to obesity because of “epigenetic programming”.
Simply put, the notion is that exposure to an adverse fetal environment, as in the case of maternal obesity, diabetes or hypertension during pregnancy, can [...]... Read more »

Bouchard L, Thibault S, Guay SP, Santure M, Monpetit A, St-Pierre J, Perron P, & Brisson D. (2010) Leptin Gene Epigenetic Adaptation to Impaired Glucose Metabolism during Pregnancy. Diabetes care. PMID: 20724651  

  • August 26, 2010
  • 07:49 AM

Multi-sensory integration in autism

by Jon Brock in Cracking the Enigma

Humans, as we all know, have five senses. Hearing, vision, touch, smell, and taste. Although they're all processed in different parts of the brain initially (that would be the auditory cortex, the visual cortex, the somatosensory cortex, the olfactory cortex, and the gustatory cortex respectively), our senses interact to give us a unified perceptual experience. This 'cross-modal' or 'multi-sensory' interaction is nicely illustrated by various perceptual  illusions. For example, if we see........ Read more »

Russo, N., Foxe, J. J., Brandwein, A. B., Altschuler, T., Gomes, H. and Molholm, S. (2010) Multisensory processing in children with autism: high-density electrical mapping of auditory–somatosensory integration . Autism Research. info:/DOI: 10.1002/aur.152

  • August 26, 2010
  • 07:46 AM

The Usefulness of Dolphin Snot

by Laelaps in Laelaps

For years marine biologists have relied on dart biopsies – small portions of tissue obtained by shooting a dart into an animal – to study the genetics of dolphins in the wild. The trouble is that this method can’t be used on very young animals for fear of harming them, and concerns about injury to [...]... Read more »

Frère, C., Krzyszczyk, E., Patterson, E., Hunter, S., Ginsburg, A., & Mann, J. (2010) Thar She Blows! A Novel Method for DNA Collection from Cetacean Blow. PLoS ONE, 5(8). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012299  

  • August 26, 2010
  • 05:14 AM

You Read It Here First

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Remember the paper from 2009 about combining two different drugs in the treatment of depression?It was about a clinical trial in which patients were randomly assigned to get just one antidepressant, fluoxetine, or two - mirtazapine & fluoxetine, mirtazapine & venlafaxine, or mirtazapine & buproprion. The people who got two antidepressants did better.But as I said at the time, in a comment beneath my post about it...All the first 6 weeks shows is that mirtazapine is better than placeb........ Read more »

El-Mallakh RS, Kaur G, & Lippman S. (2010) Placebo group needed for interpretation of combination trial. The American journal of psychiatry, 167(8). PMID: 20693473  

  • August 26, 2010
  • 04:26 AM

Universal Patterns in Colour Terms are not Evidence for Innate Constraints

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

In a series of posts, I've been discussing constraints on the evolution of colour terms. Here, I discuss the role of drift and argue that universal patterns are not necessarily good evidence for innate constraints.... Read more »

  • August 26, 2010
  • 03:35 AM

Global Temperature Proxy Reconstructions ~ now with CO2 forcing

by apeescape in mind of a Markov chain

Previously, I did a simple Bayesian projection of recent temperature using proxy data and the methods shown in McShane and Wyner (2010). I showed that when you take out the last 30 years of data (1969~1998), the projection does not track the recent uptick in temperatures well. The “projection” is a simple unparametric bootstrap which [...]... Read more »


  • August 25, 2010
  • 11:50 PM

Solid-state lighting: may not be magic bullet for energy savings

by Olexandr Isayev in

The importance of artificial light to society has long been recognized with the utilization of fire thought of as the quintessential human invention. Now scientists have found that emerging, more energy efficient lighting technologies could be the key to a better quality of life. New research published on August 19 , in a special issue [...]... Read more »

Tsao, J., Saunders, H., Creighton, J., Coltrin, M., & Simmons, J. (2010) Solid-state lighting: an energy-economics perspective. Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, 43(35), 354001. DOI: 10.1088/0022-3727/43/35/354001  

  • August 25, 2010
  • 10:53 PM

Magic for dogs

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

At the recent International Congress of Neuroethology, one of the keynote talks was by Susana Martinez-Conde about the psychology of magic. She’s written a few article on illusions, and has a book on the subject coming out soon.

It was great, but it was a little unusual for a neuroethology meeting. It was all humans, so there wasn’t much ethology. And there really wasn’t a lot in the way of neurons. I wondered, “Are there magic tricks for animals?”

Maybe there is.

If you’ve playe........ Read more »

Macknik, S., King, M., Randi, J., Robbins, A., Teller, ., Thompson, J., & Martinez-Conde, S. (2008) Attention and awareness in stage magic: turning tricks into research. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 9(11), 871-879. DOI: 10.1038/nrn2473  

  • August 25, 2010
  • 09:00 PM

Mahjong-Induced Seizures

by Kevin Zelnio in The Online Laboratory of Kevin Zelnio

Mahjong indoctrination starts early in China.
Anyone that knows me outside of the blogosphere, knows I won’t turn down a good game of Mahjong. Part of the  fun is figuring out which scoring system your host is going to use, because I swear to to this day it changes by the minute. “Oh, is that a [...]... Read more »

  • August 25, 2010
  • 08:08 PM

Zombie cyclophilins catalyze HIV capsid isomerization

by Michael Clarkson in Conformational Flux

If you're going to study the role an enzyme plays in a biological pathway, it's often useful to "kill" it with a mutation. For example, the proline cis-trans isomerase cyclophilin A (CypA) needs a particular arginine residue for its chemistry, so mutations that remove or alter that functional group, like R55K and R55A, should destroy the protein's function and have effects on the related pathways that help illustrate its role. The hydrophobic pocket it uses to bind substrates is made by residues........ Read more »

  • August 25, 2010
  • 07:00 PM

Choose foods, not nutrients

by Colby Vorland in

Last week, Yoni Freedhoff highlighted a great JAMA editorial by Dariush Mozaffarian and David Ludwig entitled “Dietary Guidelines in the 21st Century-a Time for Food.” (1). It is a short but smart commentary by 2 researchers who clearly see the big picture (and have contributed research to support it): that we should be promoting whole foods, not specific nutrients which push consumers toward processed products. Yoni has reprinted most of it on his blog, so I will make a very short........ Read more »

Mozaffarian D, & Ludwig DS. (2010) Dietary guidelines in the 21st century--a time for food. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 304(6), 681-2. PMID: 20699461  

Hu, F. (2010) Are refined carbohydrates worse than saturated fat?. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91(6), 1541-1542. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.2010.29622  

Siri-Tarino PW, Sun Q, Hu FB, & Krauss RM. (2010) Saturated fat, carbohydrate, and cardiovascular disease. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 91(3), 502-9. PMID: 20089734  

  • August 25, 2010
  • 06:50 PM

Correlating Drug Side Effects, Biochemical Pathways, and Diseases

by Michael Long in Phased

The computational model of Izhar Wallach, Navdeep Jaitly, and Ryan Lilien (Unversity of Toronto, Canada) will accelerate drug development, and help scientists understand the origin of adverse drug side effects. This news feature was written on August 25, 2010.... Read more »

  • August 25, 2010
  • 06:07 PM

Inhibition of mutated, activated BRAF in metastatic melanoma

by Sally Church in Pharma Strategy Blog

Hot on the heels of last week's New England Journal of Medicine article on ipilimumab (BMS) comes another article on metastatic melanoma, this time from Keith Flaherty's group in Pennsylvania and Boston on BRAF inhibition with PLX4032, an exciting compound...... Read more »

Flaherty, K., Puzanov, I., Kim, K., Ribas, A., McArthur, G., Sosman, J., O'Dwyer, P., Lee, R., Grippo, J., Nolop, K.... (2010) Inhibition of Mutated, Activated BRAF in Metastatic Melanoma. New England Journal of Medicine, 363(9), 809-819. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1002011  

Heidorn, S., Milagre, C., Whittaker, S., Nourry, A., Niculescu-Duvas, I., Dhomen, N., Hussain, J., Reis-Filho, J., Springer, C., & Pritchard, C. (2010) Kinase-Dead BRAF and Oncogenic RAS Cooperate to Drive Tumor Progression through CRAF. Cell, 140(2), 209-221. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2009.12.040  

Hatzivassiliou, G., Song, K., Yen, I., Brandhuber, B., Anderson, D., Alvarado, R., Ludlam, M., Stokoe, D., Gloor, S., Vigers, G.... (2010) RAF inhibitors prime wild-type RAF to activate the MAPK pathway and enhance growth. Nature, 464(7287), 431-435. DOI: 10.1038/nature08833  

  • August 25, 2010
  • 05:15 PM

You gotta have heart—Just ask PZ

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

About a year and a half ago I injured my back fairly severely. I was relatively immobile for several days (although I continued to work), and one night the pain became so unbearable that I took a (appropriately-prescribed) narcotic pain reliever. A short while later I was able to move around a bit better, but [...]... Read more »

  • August 25, 2010
  • 01:49 PM

Neuroscience of Murder and Aggression: Genetics

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

This is the third in a five-part series examining neuroscience aspects of homicide and aggressive behavior.  The first post examined some of the general issues in this topic and the second focused on epidemiology.  In this post I will summarize some of the genetic research.  Part four will look at neuroimaging research and part five will summarize psychopharmacologic strategies.A series of twin and adoption studies support the role for significant genetic contributions to antisoci........ Read more »

  • August 25, 2010
  • 01:30 PM

Spitting with a segmented brain

by Lucas in thoughtomics

The darkness is everywhere in this pitch black and humid forest. Unaware of the ancient hunter that is slowly wiggling its way through the undergrowth on its cute stubby legs, you are cleaning yourself after a long and tiring day. Suddenly, you’re stuck in a mass of glue and are no longer able to move. [...]... Read more »

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