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  • November 20, 2014
  • 04:21 PM
  • 27 views

Designing a better flu vaccine

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

We all hate getting sick and the seasonal flu vaccine can help prevent a time of serious illness. Unfortunately the vaccine is usually an educated guess as to which strains of the flu are going to be most prevalent that year. Well now an international team of researchers has shown that it may be possible to improve the effectiveness of the seasonal flu vaccine by 'pre-empting' the evolution of the influenza virus.... Read more »

Fonville, J., Wilks, S., James, S., Fox, A., Ventresca, M., Aban, M., Xue, L., Jones, T., Le N. M. H., ., Pham Q. T., .... (2014) Antibody landscapes after influenza virus infection or vaccination. Science, 346(6212), 996-1000. DOI: 10.1126/science.1256427  

  • November 19, 2014
  • 02:24 PM
  • 58 views

How gut microbiota changes the blood-brain barrier

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Don’t be alarmed, but we are outnumbered. When figuring out what makes us, “us” we need to remember that there are far more bacteria genes in us than human genes, by recent counts it’s something like 360 to 1. We also know that your stomach can change your cravings, but now we know that your stomach affects more than just your thoughts. Your stomach can control what can get to your brain.... Read more »

Viorica Braniste, Maha Al-Asmakh, Czeslawa Kowal, Farhana Anuar, Afrouz Abbaspour, Miklós Tóth, Agata Korecka, Nadja Bakocevic, Ng Lai Guan, Parag Kundu.... (2014) The gut microbiota influences blood-brain barrier permeability in mice. Science Translational Medicine. info:/10.1126/scitranslmed.3009759

  • November 18, 2014
  • 05:14 PM
  • 71 views

Does brain training really work?

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Ever wonder if you could be the next Einstein if only you could do some brain training? Well as it turns out, while computer based ‘brain training’ can boost memory and thinking skills in older adults, many programs promoted by the $1 billion brain training industry are ineffective.... Read more »

  • November 17, 2014
  • 03:33 PM
  • 57 views

The (Re)discovery of a major brain pathway

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

It was like something out of a mystery movie, a couple of years ago a scientist, looking at dozens of MRI scans of human brains noticed something surprising. A large, fiber pathway that seemed to be part of the network of connections that process visual information showed up on the scans, but the researcher couldn’t find it mentioned in any of the modern-day anatomy textbooks he had.... Read more »

Brian Wandell, Jason Yeatman, & Kevin Weiner. (2014) The vertical occipital fasciculus: A century of controversy resolved by in vivo measurements. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. info:/10.1073/pnas.1418503111

  • November 16, 2014
  • 08:05 PM
  • 58 views

Canine science catch up: 16-30 September 2014

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Gosh, it's been a busy ride since posting the excellent guest post by research, Cat Reeve, about her interesting detector dog research.  So now it's time to play catch up, starting with the canine science related things that we noticed in the second half of September, captured with the help of Storify - did you miss any of these?[View the story "Do You Believe in Dog? [16 - 30 September 2014]" on Storify]Further reading (some of the abstracts from Canine Science Forum 2014 now available):We........ Read more »

Westgarth Carri, & Hayley E. Christian. (2014) How can we motivate owners to walk their dogs more?. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 9(6). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2014.09.023  

Horowitz Alexandra, & Hecht Julie . (2014) Categories and consequences of dog-human play: A citizen science approach. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 9(6). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2014.09.052  

Browne Clare M., T. Mary Foster, & James S. McEwan. (2014) Dog training: Reinforcement timing and owner body language. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 9(6). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2014.09.059  

  • November 16, 2014
  • 01:47 PM
  • 68 views

Soldiers and Suicide: A familiar tale

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

As a Marine, there is a special place in my heart for all things military. While most protesters are busy arguing about the people who are dying overseas, there is an even more disheartening statistic — the suicide statistics of service members here at home. Suicide is an ugly word, so it’s no surprise that there is not a large movement fighting for better care and a new study done on soldiers doesn’t help.... Read more »

  • November 15, 2014
  • 12:09 PM
  • 80 views

Telomeres, Epigenetics, and Aging: the new found complexities in your genes

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Telomere length is associated with aging, this isn’t a new statement, but interestingly enough there is more to this story than just the size of your telomeres. Telomere lengths have now been shown to cause epigenetic changes, this new discovery may help explain the aging of cells and how they initiate and transmit disease.... Read more »

Jerome D. Robin,, Andrew T. Ludlow,, Kimberly Batten,, Frederique Magdinier,, Guido Stadler,, Kathyrin R. Wagner,, Jerry W. Shay,, & Woodring E. Wright. (2014) Telomere position effect: regulation of gene expression with progressive telomere shortening over long distances. Genes . info:/

  • November 14, 2014
  • 07:20 PM
  • 94 views

Evolutionary Sins: The Gender Gap In Spatial Cognition And Navigation

by Alexis Delanoir in How to Paint Your Panda

Recent research based on the Twe and Tjimba people of northwestern Namibia is suggested to lend evidence that gender gaps in spatial cognition are a result of evolutionary pressures, as men with higher spatial cognition are more successful in these tribes at mating and producing offspring. This post examines the literature and comes to a different conclusion, warning against hasty evolutionary explanations for behavioural traits.... Read more »

  • November 14, 2014
  • 02:39 PM
  • 68 views

Chlamydia and Cancer: A new connection

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Infections due to the sexually transmitted bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis often remain unnoticed. The pathogen is not only a common cause of female infertility; it is also suspected of increasing the risk of abdominal cancer. A new study has now observed the breakdown of an important endogenous protective factor in the course of chlamydial infection. In other words, the pathogen can cause an increased risk of certain cancers.... Read more »

González E, Rother M, Kerr MC, Al-Zeer MA, Abu-Lubad M, Kessler M, Brinkmann V, Loewer A, & Meyer TF. (2014) Chlamydia infection depends on a functional MDM2-p53 axis. Nature communications, 5201. PMID: 25392082  

  • November 13, 2014
  • 05:18 PM
  • 101 views

Limitless: The science behind remembering everything

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

If you could remember everything, you saw, learned, or did, would it be a blessing or a curse? Well an even better question would be, it even possible to upgrade the storage capabilities of the brain? The answer is strangely enough, maybe, according to a new study we might just be able to remember quite literally everything.
... Read more »

Denise Cook7, Erin Nuro7, Emma V. Jones, Haider F. Altimimi, W. Todd Farmer, Valentina Gandin,, Edith Hanna,, Ruiting Zong,, Alessandro Barbon,, David L. Nelson,, Ivan Topisirovic,, Joseph Rochford,, David Stellwagen,, Jean-Claude Béïque,, & Keith K. Murai. (2014) FXR1P Limits Long-Term Memory, Long-Lasting Synaptic Potentiation, and De Novo GluA2 Translation . Cell Reports. info:/10.1016/j.celrep.2014.10.028

  • November 13, 2014
  • 01:27 PM
  • 85 views

“How Today’s College Students Use Wikipedia”: Journal Club Report by Helena Hollis

by Helena Hollis in DIS Student Blog

Summary of the article by A.J. Head and M.B. Eisenberg and the discussion of it at the UCL MA LIS Journal Club, which meets monthly.... Read more »

  • November 12, 2014
  • 04:38 PM
  • 90 views

Ever wonder how the brain maps our world?

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Sometimes we go into automatic, that “new” coffee shop on your way to work you just noticed, well it has been there for weeks. We can gauge where we are from just about anywhere we have already been. Giving directions, well some of us can never do that, yet we can still get from point A to B easy enough. Yet if we were to drive or even walk backwards and the world wouldn’t feel quite right, things would feel and seem just a little weird — not just because we are used to seeing things pas........ Read more »

  • November 12, 2014
  • 06:26 AM
  • 62 views

Organic solar cells are heating up!

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

A new processing method with a novel donor materials allows for more material combinations for high PV efficiency in organic solar cells!... Read more »

Liu Yuhang, Zhao Jingbo, Li Zhengke, Mu Cheng, Ma Wei, Hu Huawei, Jiang Kui, Lin Haoran, Ade Harald, & Yan He. (2014) Aggregation and morphology control enables multiple cases of high-efficiency polymer solar cells. Nature communications. PMID: 25382026  

  • November 11, 2014
  • 02:03 PM
  • 66 views

Some Plants can regenerate by DNA duplication

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

When munched by grazing animals (or mauled by scientists in the lab), some herbaceous plants overcompensate – producing more plant matter and becoming more fertile than they otherwise would. Scientists say they now know how these plants accomplish this feat of regeneration.... Read more »

  • November 10, 2014
  • 03:57 PM
  • 63 views

A new way to look at Global Warming

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Global warming, nothing new with that and it’s here to stay for now. But while computer models churn out bleak forecasts for the planet’s future, we also have a more conceptual understanding of what is happening as humans pump carbon dioxide into the air. Unfortunately the traditional conceptual understanding of carbon dioxide wrapping the planet in a sort of blanket that traps more heat is not quite right.... Read more »

  • November 9, 2014
  • 12:48 PM
  • 100 views

If being sad is “bad”, then why is there sad music?

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

We tell children not to look so sad. We tell adults to wipe that sad look off their face and smile. We even worry that if you are sad too long, you might need medical attention. Yet, for most of us, when life gets you down, you put on some sad music. So if sadness is such a negative, why do we spend our money and time wallowing in these sad tunes?... Read more »

  • November 8, 2014
  • 12:55 PM
  • 93 views

When it comes to sleep recommendations, what about the children?

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Sleep is a hot topic lately, are we getting too much, too little, how much is enough? However, most of these questions are for adults, so what about children? Well as it turns out a new study used activity monitors to track how sleep habits changed in younger and older teens as they grew during a two-year period. Key findings from this study has also lent t0 new support to recent recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics that middle and high schools avoid starting earlier than 8:30 a........ Read more »

  • November 6, 2014
  • 05:53 PM
  • 112 views

A Possible Genetic “Cure” for HIV… Maybe

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Let’s face it, a cure for HIV probably won’t be coming around for awhile. That slippery little virus manages to avoid everything we throw at it. Well researchers at Massachusetts General (MGH) and Boston Children’s hospitals (BCH) tried to take another crack at the problem. For the first time they have used a relatively new gene-editing technique to create what could prove to be an effective technique for blocking HIV from invading and destroying patients’ immune systems.... Read more »

Mandal, P., Ferreira, L., Collins, R., Meissner, T., Boutwell, C., Friesen, M., Vrbanac, V., Garrison, B., Stortchevoi, A., Bryder, D.... (2014) Efficient Ablation of Genes in Human Hematopoietic Stem and Effector Cells using CRISPR/Cas9. Cell Stem Cell, 15(5), 643-652. DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2014.10.004  

  • November 5, 2014
  • 04:08 PM
  • 75 views

A Big Break for Bio-Gasoline

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

While the world waits for a better battery (and a energy grid system that doesn't require constant power making), scientists are hard at work trying to teach old fuels a new trick. Thankfully an international team of bioengineers has boosted the ability of bacteria to produce isopentenol, a compound with desirable gasoline properties. The finding, if it is not obvious, is a significant step toward developing a bacterial strain that can yield industrial quantities of renewable bio-gasoline.... Read more »

  • November 5, 2014
  • 12:34 PM
  • 87 views

What is the most instantly recognisable song?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

Everyone knows a hook when they hear one, but scientists don’t know why. By playing the Hooked on Music game you are exploring the science of songs and helping us to unlock what makes music catchy.

Last weekend the preliminary outcome of the online game was announced in Manchester, UK at the MOSI, answering the question: What is the most instantly recognisable song? Interestingly, numerous media started to report on this. A small media hype?... Read more »

J.A. Burgoyne, D. Bountouridis, J. van Balen, & H. Honing. (2013) Hooked: A Game for Discovering What Makes Music Catchy. Proceedings of the 14th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference , 245-250. info:/

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