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  • July 24, 2016
  • 03:29 PM
  • 8 views

Researchers temporarily turn off brain area to better understand function

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Capitalizing on experimental genetic techniques, researchers have demonstrated that temporarily turning off an area of the brain changes patterns of activity across much of the remaining brain. The research suggests that alterations in the functional connectivity of the brain in humans may be used to determine the sites of pathology in complex disorders such as schizophrenia and autism.

... Read more »

  • July 24, 2016
  • 04:45 AM
  • 26 views

Week 29 In Review: Open-Access Science | 18 to 25 July

by TakFurTheKaffe in Tak Fur The Kaffe

Cave art, wild fires, new dinosaur with teeny T-rex arms, thirsty trees and a new method to create hydrogen from grass. Here are five of the latest scientific studies published open-access this week.... Read more »

Cooper, J., Samson, A., Nieves, M., Lace, M., Caamaño-Dones, J., Cartwright, C., Kambesis, P., & Frese, L. (2016) ‘The Mona Chronicle’: the archaeology of early religious encounter in the New World. Antiquity, 90(352), 1054-1071. DOI: 10.15184/aqy.2016.103  

Nagra, G., Treble, P., Andersen, M., Fairchild, I., Coleborn, K., & Baker, A. (2016) A post-wildfire response in cave dripwater chemistry. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 20(7), 2745-2758. DOI: 10.5194/hess-20-2745-2016  

Caravaca, A., Jones, W., Hardacre, C., & Bowker, M. (2016) H production by the photocatalytic reforming of cellulose and raw biomass using Ni, Pd, Pt and Au on titania . Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Science, 472(2191), 20160054. DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2016.0054  

  • July 23, 2016
  • 05:30 PM
  • 40 views

Brain activity and response to food cues differ in severely obese women

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The brain's reward centers in severely obese women continue to respond to food cues even after they've eaten and are no longer hungry, in contrast to their lean counterparts. The study compared attitudes and the brain activity of 15 severely obese women (those with a body mass index greater than 35) and 15 lean women (those with a BMI under 25).

... Read more »

Puzziferri, N., Zigman, J., Thomas, B., Mihalakos, P., Gallagher, R., Lutter, M., Carmody, T., Lu, H., & Tamminga, C. (2016) Brain imaging demonstrates a reduced neural impact of eating in obesity. Obesity, 24(4), 829-836. DOI: 10.1002/oby.21424  

  • July 23, 2016
  • 04:17 AM
  • 64 views

On probiotics and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Granted, I am taking a slight departure from the material typically discussed on this blog by introducing the paper by Yan Zhang and colleagues [1] who reported the findings of a meta-analysis examining "the efficacy of different probiotic types, doses and treatment durations in IBS [irritable bowel syndrome] patients diagnosed by Rome III criteria via a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs)." The results however - "Probiotics are an effective pharmacological t........ Read more »

  • July 22, 2016
  • 12:25 PM
  • 57 views

Video of Evaporating Booze Droplet Looks Like a Tiny Planet

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Most of us don't give much thought to drops of liquid that end up outside our drinking glasses. But physicists care a lot about liquid droplets, and study their whole lifespans—from the first splash or drip to the moment a drop disappears.

Liquids that contain three different substances, though, haven't been studied as much. Detlef Lohse, a physicist at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, and his colleagues took a deep dive into one such liquid: ouzo.

Ouzo is a mixture of wate... Read more »

Tan H, Diddens C, Lv P, Kuerten JG, Zhang X, & Lohse D. (2016) Evaporation-triggered microdroplet nucleation and the four life phases of an evaporating Ouzo drop. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 27418601  

  • July 22, 2016
  • 09:01 AM
  • 58 views

Update on clinical trials and treatments for RCC

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common type of kidney cancer and although the majority of cases are sporadic approximately 3% of cases are caused by genetic conditions such as BHD, VHL, HLRCC and TSC (Randall et al., 2014). These inherited forms of RCC have provided great insights into sporadic cancer genetics. BHD patients can develop multiple kidney tumours. In most cases these tumours are small local RCCs that can be surgically removed. However, these treatments are not without risk,........ Read more »

  • July 22, 2016
  • 03:01 AM
  • 72 views

Surgery for "chronic idiopathic constipation" and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I can't profess to be an expert on the techniques called sigmoidectomy and appendicostomy so won't even try and pretend that I am. From what I gather from Dr Google, the latter is a surgical technique generally performed to "help deliver enemas more easily" to relieve constipation, whilst the former involves the surgical removal of some or all of the sigmoid colon. Both are only generally indicated when traditional methods of treating constipation for example, fail.The reason I'm briefly ta........ Read more »

De La Torre L, Cogley K, Calisto J, Nace G, & Correa C. (2016) Primary sigmoidectomy and appendicostomy for chronic idiopathic constipation. Pediatric surgery international. PMID: 27372298  

  • July 21, 2016
  • 03:01 PM
  • 80 views

Artificial muscle for soft robotics: Low voltage, high hopes

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Soft robots do a lot of things well but they're not exactly known for their speed. The artificial muscles that move soft robots, called actuators, tend to rely on hydraulics or pneumatics, which are slow to respond and difficult to store.

... Read more »

  • July 21, 2016
  • 10:08 AM
  • 80 views

The decline of biodiversity: Past the point of no return?

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

Mohi looks up at her mother. Confused. Afraid. Mother had always said that she had to keep her filtration veil on when they left their housedome. But now, here stood her mother, unveiled. The woman gifted an encouraging nod to her young daughter. Mohi removed her veil. Air! Light! The freshness of the breeze and […]... Read more »

Steffen W, Richardson K, Rockström J, Cornell SE, Fetzer I, Bennett EM, Biggs R, Carpenter SR, de Vries W, de Wit CA.... (2015) Sustainability. Planetary boundaries: guiding human development on a changing planet. Science, 347(6223). PMID: 25592418  

Newbold T, Hudson LN, Arnell AP, Contu S, De Palma A, Ferrier S, Hill SL, Hoskins AJ, Lysenko I, Phillips HR.... (2016) Has land use pushed terrestrial biodiversity beyond the planetary boundary? A global assessment. Science, 353(6296), 288-91. PMID: 27418509  

Oliver TH. (2016) How much biodiversity loss is too much?. Science, 353(6296), 220-1. PMID: 27418489  

  • July 21, 2016
  • 02:59 AM
  • 94 views

Sensory processing issues are present throughout the autism spectrum

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I want to make an initial point about the paper by Corentin Gonthier and colleagues [1] and their research findings titled: 'Sensory Processing in Low-Functioning Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Distinct Sensory Profiles and Their Relationships with Behavioral Dysfunction', I'm not a great fan of the use of the term 'functioning' when it comes to autism. Yes, I know what message it's trying to convey in terms of 'severity' of autism and/or accompanying learning (intellectual) disabili........ Read more »

  • July 20, 2016
  • 04:02 PM
  • 110 views

How our brain puts the world in order

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The world around is complex and changing constantly. To put it in order, we devise categories into which we sort new concepts. To do this we apply different strategies. A team of researchers wanted to find out which areas of the brain regulate these strategies. The results of their study using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) show that there are indeed particular brain areas, which become active when a certain strategy of categorisation is applied.

... Read more »

  • July 20, 2016
  • 08:30 AM
  • 82 views

The “neighborhood effect” in chromatin biology: TET proteins-mediated DNA demethylation reconfigures the “histone code” at CpG islands

by Li Tan in EpiBeat

A nucleosome is constituted by positively charged histone proteins and negatively charged DNA. Methylation as well as other covalent modifications on DNA and histones ( together also called epigenetic modifications or marks) play important roles in the regulation of chromatin structure and function. TET (Ten-Eleven Translocation) proteins were identified as 5mC oxidases which not only generate new 5mC oxidative derivates (5hmC, 5caC and 5fC) but also initiate active or passive DNA demethylation1........ Read more »

Tahiliani M, Koh KP, Shen Y, Pastor WA, Bandukwala H, Brudno Y, Agarwal S, Iyer LM, Liu DR, Aravind L.... (2009) Conversion of 5-methylcytosine to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in mammalian DNA by MLL partner TET1. Science (New York, N.Y.), 324(5929), 930-5. PMID: 19372391  

He YF, Li BZ, Li Z, Liu P, Wang Y, Tang Q, Ding J, Jia Y, Chen Z, Li L.... (2011) Tet-mediated formation of 5-carboxylcytosine and its excision by TDG in mammalian DNA. Science (New York, N.Y.), 333(6047), 1303-7. PMID: 21817016  

Ito S, Shen L, Dai Q, Wu SC, Collins LB, Swenberg JA, He C, & Zhang Y. (2011) Tet proteins can convert 5-methylcytosine to 5-formylcytosine and 5-carboxylcytosine. Science (New York, N.Y.), 333(6047), 1300-3. PMID: 21778364  

Easwaran H, Johnstone SE, Van Neste L, Ohm J, Mosbruger T, Wang Q, Aryee MJ, Joyce P, Ahuja N, Weisenberger D.... (2012) A DNA hypermethylation module for the stem/progenitor cell signature of cancer. Genome research, 22(5), 837-49. PMID: 22391556  

Lian CG, Xu Y, Ceol C, Wu F, Larson A, Dresser K, Xu W, Tan L, Hu Y, Zhan Q.... (2012) Loss of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine is an epigenetic hallmark of melanoma. Cell, 150(6), 1135-46. PMID: 22980977  

  • July 20, 2016
  • 06:50 AM
  • 86 views

Take Off Your Coat And Stay Awhile

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

The naked mole rat is quite naked, but a lack of hair does help it move around in its environment. Other mammals that are supposedly hairless aren’t really, even dolphins have a few hairs. Of course, some humans and other mammals can have autoimmune disease mutations that make them completely hairless. For the naked mole rat it was a strange adaptation with strange results – it has become the only cold-blooded (ectothermic) mammal!... Read more »

  • July 20, 2016
  • 02:55 AM
  • 98 views

Autism 'disclosure cards' and negative judgements?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I have to say that I initially felt slightly uncomfortable reading the study results published by Jillian Austin and colleagues [1] providing "preliminary validation for the use of autism disclosure cards in buffering negative judgment." Uncomfortable because, despite the fact that it is human nature for people to stop, stare and perhaps question something when it seems 'out of the ordinary', the idea that when children with autism specifically 'misbehave' in a public place their parents need to........ Read more »

  • July 19, 2016
  • 04:08 PM
  • 91 views

Protein found to bolster growth of damaged muscle tissue

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Biologists have found that a protein that plays a key role in the lives of stem cells can bolster the growth of damaged muscle tissue, a step that could potentially contribute to treatments for muscle degeneration caused by old age and diseases such as muscular dystrophy. The results show that a particular type of protein called integrin is present on the stem cell surface and used by stem cells to interact with, or "sense" their surroundings.

... Read more »

  • July 19, 2016
  • 02:51 AM
  • 109 views

1 in 3 people with CFS might benefit from methylphenidate?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm cautious about the findings reported by Daniel Blockmans & Philippe Persoons [1] talking about how long-term use of the stimulant medication methylphenidate (MPH) might be something to consider for at least some people diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Cautious because the sole use of a questionnaire looking "for possible improvement of concentration difficulties and fatigue" following the use of MPH on this research occasion is not exactly a top tier scientific method...Non........ Read more »

  • July 18, 2016
  • 04:07 PM
  • 118 views

Eggs can develop without being fertilized in this sturgeon… but they don’t survive

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Parthenogenesis is the development of eggs without fertilization. For the first time, it has been shown to occur in the sterlet sturgeon. ... Read more »

  • July 18, 2016
  • 03:20 PM
  • 130 views

Secrets of the human brain unlocked

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Human intelligence is being defined and measured for the first time ever. Researchers have been recently undertaken to quantify the brain's dynamic functions, and identify how different parts of the brain interact with each other at different times - namely, to discover how intellect works.

... Read more »

  • July 18, 2016
  • 02:45 AM
  • 88 views

Reconsidering the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) for autism screening?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin: "The AQ's [Autism Spectrum Quotient] utility for screening referrals was limited in this sample. Recommendations supporting the AQ's role in the assessment of adult ASD [autism spectrum disorder], e.g. UK NICE guidelines, may need to be reconsidered."Taken from the paper published by Ashwood and colleagues [1], the findings from this team don't make for great reading if you happen to be a fan of the AQ as a potential screening instrument for adult autism. Indeed,........ Read more »

Ashwood KL, Gillan N, Horder J, Hayward H, Woodhouse E, McEwen FS, Findon J, Eklund H, Spain D, Wilson CE.... (2016) Predicting the diagnosis of autism in adults using the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) questionnaire. Psychological medicine, 1-10. PMID: 27353452  

  • July 17, 2016
  • 03:08 PM
  • 109 views

Specialized neurons in emotional memory play important role in fear

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Fear memory encoding, the process responsible for persistent reactions to trauma-associated cues, is influenced by a sparse but potent population of inhibitory cells called parvalbumin-interneurons (PV-INs) in the amygdala, according to a new study.

... Read more »

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