Post List

  • October 6, 2015
  • 01:51 PM

American placebo – An increase in the placebo response, but only in America?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A new study finds that rising placebo responses may play a part in the increasingly high failure rate for clinical trials of drugs designed to control chronic pain caused by nerve damage. Surprisingly, however, the analysis of clinical trials conducted since 1990 found that the increase in placebo responses occurred only in trials conducted wholly in the U.S.; trials conducted in Europe or Asia showed no changes in placebo responses over that period.... Read more »

  • October 6, 2015
  • 11:22 AM

Do Baseball Players Live Longer?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The Major League Baseball (MLB) playoffs begin today. I did a PubMed search for recent research related to baseball.One interesting abstract examined the body of research related to elite athletes and longevity.This review article examined 54 peer-reviewed manuscripts that addressed the mortality and longevity of elite athletes. Sixteen of these studies examined longevity in MLB players.I will summarize some of the conclusions from this review.MLB players tended to have longer lifespan than cont........ Read more »

  • October 6, 2015
  • 10:11 AM

How Cuttlefish Stay Camouflaged On the Go

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Most camouflaged creatures try to hold still so they won't give away their ruse. But cuttlefish aren't most creatures. These masters of camouflage can change color to seamlessly match their background, and they can keep swimming while they do it.

"Cuttlefish are one of nature's fastest dynamic camouflagers," says Noam Josef, a graduate student at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. The cephalopods can change color in just one tenth of a second. They can also create different........ Read more »

Josef N, Berenshtein I, Fiorito G, Sykes AV, & Shashar N. (2015) Camouflage during movement in the European cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis). The Journal of experimental biology. PMID: 26385328  

  • October 6, 2015
  • 09:24 AM

The Earliest Example of Decapitation and Why Archaeologists Should Learn to Draw

by Katy Meyers Emery in Bones Don't Lie

That title is not a mistake. When I read the recent articles about the earliest example of a decapitation, my first thought was “wow, look at those illustrations; we really […]... Read more »

Strauss A, Oliveira RE, Bernardo DV, Salazar-García DC, Talamo S, Jaouen K, Hubbe M, Black S, Wilkinson C, Richards MP.... (2015) The Oldest Case of Decapitation in the New World (Lapa do Santo, East-Central Brazil). PloS one, 10(9). PMID: 26397983  

  • October 6, 2015
  • 06:00 AM

Deadlier than Darth: Death by worm-star

by socgenmicro in Microbe Post

If you happen to be a nematode, worm-stars are probably your worst nightmare. One minute, you’re swimming around minding your own business. The next, you’ve been sucked into a wildly thrashing mass of your peers, all stuck to each other … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • October 6, 2015
  • 04:37 AM

Prenatal hormone involvement in autism risk?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The findings reported by Gayle Windham and colleagues [1] caught my eye recently and their observations based on the examination of mid-pregnancy serum hormone and protein markers for some 2500 mothers of children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with 600,000 controls.Detailing results based on: "Second trimester levels of unconjugated estriol (uE3), human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), and maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein (MSAFP)", researchers reported that their results........ Read more »

  • October 5, 2015
  • 06:48 PM

Gut bacteria population, diversity linked to anorexia nervosa

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers at the UNC School of Medicine found that people with anorexia nervosa have very different microbial communities residing inside their guts compared to healthy individuals and that this bacterial imbalance is associated with some of the psychological symptoms related to the eating disorder.... Read more »

Kleiman, S., Watson, H., Bulik-Sullivan, E., Huh, E., Tarantino, L., Bulik, C., & Carroll, I. (2015) The Intestinal Microbiota in Acute Anorexia Nervosa and During Renourishment. Psychosomatic Medicine, 1. DOI: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000247  

  • October 5, 2015
  • 04:12 PM

Weird colours of bones and teeth

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

I like making lists about living things. Colour is a great starting point for such lists, whether they're about body parts infected by microbes or the origins of science words. For this post, I'm going to look at how bones and teeth can take on a bunch of strange colours.The bones of the eastern fox squirrel (Sciurus niger), a resident of trees dotting the eastern parts of Canada and the US, glow pink if you shine an ultraviolet light on them. This weirdness is due to uroporphyrin I, an int........ Read more »

  • October 5, 2015
  • 12:50 PM

This Month in Blastocystis Research (SEP 2015)

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

Slightly delayed, the "This Month" post is mainly on Blastocystis survyes, detection and host specificity.... Read more »

Stensvold CR, Suresh GK, Tan KS, Thompson RC, Traub RJ, Viscogliosi E, Yoshikawa H, & Clark CG. (2007) Terminology for Blastocystis subtypes--a consensus. Trends in parasitology, 23(3), 93-6. PMID: 17241816  

Wang W, Cuttell L, Bielefeldt-Ohmann H, Inpankaew T, Owen H, & Traub RJ. (2013) Diversity of Blastocystis subtypes in dogs in different geographical settings. Parasites , 215. PMID: 23883734  

  • October 5, 2015
  • 08:29 AM

How do popular kids behave in a cooperative task with a classmate?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Popular girls showed more skilful leadership than others, popular boys showed less. In classrooms around the world, there's an unwritten hierarchy, with most of the kids knowing each other's standing in terms of popularity. Past psychology research has looked into the ways that children and teens attain this status, including the ability to influence their peers, either in skilful, sensitive ways or through coercion and manipulation. A new study published in the Journal of Experimental Chil........ Read more »

  • October 5, 2015
  • 07:02 AM

Is there an effective strategy that reduces a conspiracy  theorist’s intense beliefs?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

According to new research with a large sample from all across the United States, the answer is yes! If you have read this blog for long, you know we love a good conspiracy theorist and use their idiosyncratic associations in pretrial research to plug holes in case narratives. The researchers briefly review the past literature […]

Related posts:
Conspiracy beliefs and the relation to emotional uncertainty
Would you get sucked in to conspiracy theories?
Think conspiracy theorists live on ........ Read more »

  • October 5, 2015
  • 02:34 AM

The ASQ-3 and autism screening: has the UK already started?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

'Can Screening with the Ages and Stages Questionnaire Detect Autism?' was the research question posed and partially answered in the paper by Sarah Hardy and colleagues [1] recently.Drawing on data from a very healthy sized cohort (~2800 toddlers) who were "screened with the ASQ-3 [Ages and Stages Questionnaire] and M-CHAT-R across 20 pediatric sites" in the United States, researchers suggested that there may be more to see when it comes to the use of ASQ-3 and the complicated topic of ........ Read more »

Hardy S, Haisley L, Manning C, & Fein D. (2015) Can Screening with the Ages and Stages Questionnaire Detect Autism?. Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP, 36(7), 536-43. PMID: 26348972  

  • October 4, 2015
  • 09:51 PM

Saving brains: malaria in pregnancy leads to cognitive deficits in offspring

by Betty Zou in Eat, Read, Science

A new study in PLoS Pathogens uses an experimental malaria in pregnancy model to show that malaria during pregnancy induces learning and memory impairments and depressive-like behaviour in offspring. The researchers show that the deficits are dependent on complement activation and provide the first evidence for a causal link between malaria in pregnancy, complement activation and neurodevelopment.... Read more »

  • October 4, 2015
  • 05:36 PM

History of Cataloguing. 2. Jewett

by Anne Welsh in Library Marginalia

The second in a series on the History of Cataloguing, this post highlights OCLC's news that they will no longer be printing catalogue cards and provides an insight into Charles Coffin Jewett's suggestion that shared cataloguing be undertaken, led by the Smithsonian Institution in the mid-nineteenth century.... Read more »

Charles Coffin Jewett. (1853) On the Construction of Catalogues of Libraries, and their Publication by Means of Separate, Stereotyped Titles, with Rules and Examples. 2nd ed. Hathi Trust Digital Library. info:/

  • October 4, 2015
  • 02:01 PM

Exercise Pills May Benefit Those Unable To Exercise

by Marie Benz in Interview with: Prof. Ismail Laher Department of Anesthesiology Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics Faculty of Medicine University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Laher: There … Continue reading →
The post Exercise Pills May Benefit Those Unable To Exercise appeared first on
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Prof. Ismail Laher. (2015) Exercise Pills May Benefit Those Unable To Exercise. info:/

  • October 4, 2015
  • 01:39 PM

Brain networking: behind the cognitive control of thoughts

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The human brain does not come with an operating manual. However, a group of scientists have developed a way to convert structural brain imaging techniques into “wiring diagrams” of connections between brain regions. Three researchers from UCSB’s Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences — Michael Miller, Scott Grafton and Matt Cieslak — used the structure of neural networks to reveal the fundamental rules that govern which parts of the brain are most able to exert cognitive control ........ Read more »

Gu, S., Pasqualetti, F., Cieslak, M., Telesford, Q., Yu, A., Kahn, A., Medaglia, J., Vettel, J., Miller, M., Grafton, S.... (2015) Controllability of structural brain networks. Nature Communications, 8414. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9414  

  • October 4, 2015
  • 08:08 AM

Recurrence Rates Fall For In-Situ Ductal Breast Cancer

by Marie Benz in Interview with: Kimberly J. Van Zee, MD, FACS Surgical oncologist Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Medical Research: Why is this study important? Dr. Van Zee: It is very important because the 4 large studies that randomized women with DCIS to radiation … Continue reading →
The post Recurrence Rates Fall For In-Situ Ductal Breast Cancer appeared first on
... Read more »

Kimberly J. Van Zee, MD, FACS. (2015) Recurrence Rates Fall For In-Situ Ductal Breast Cancer. info:/

  • October 4, 2015
  • 12:53 AM

Can Mindful Dishwashing Reduce Nervousness?

by Marie Benz in Interview with: Adam Hanley Doctoral candidate College of Education’s Counseling/School Psychology program Florida State University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study emerged from the intersection of my personal dislike … Continue reading →
The post Can Mindful Dishwashing Reduce Nervousness? appeared first on
... Read more »

Adam Hanley. (2015) Can Mindful Dishwashing Reduce Nervousness?. info:/

  • October 3, 2015
  • 02:21 PM

Can exercise be replaced with a pill?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Everyone knows that exercise improves health, and ongoing research continues to uncover increasingly detailed information on its benefits for metabolism, circulation, and improved functioning of organs such as the heart, brain, and liver. With this knowledge in hand, scientists may be better equipped to develop “exercise pills” that could mimic at least some of the beneficial effects of physical exercise on the body. But a review of current development efforts ponders whether such pills will........ Read more »

Laher, & et al. (2015) Exercise Pills: At the Starting Line?. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences. info:/

  • October 3, 2015
  • 03:39 AM

One more time... the interpregnancy interval and risk of offspring autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Children born after an IPI [interpregnancy interval] of <12 months or ≥72 months had a 2- to 3-fold increased ASD [autism spectrum disorder] risk compared with children born after an interval of 36 to 47 months."So said the study results published by Ousseny Zerbo and colleagues [1] looking at the increasingly interesting area of the autism research landscape: the interpregnancy interval (the time from the birth of an index child to the next conception/pregnancy of........ Read more »

Zerbo, O., Yoshida, C., Gunderson, E., Dorward, K., & Croen, L. (2015) Interpregnancy Interval and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders. PEDIATRICS. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2015-1099  

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