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  • March 26, 2015
  • 06:27 PM
  • 10 views

Stereotype lowers math performance in women, no one noticed

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Stereotypes about people can affect how we look at a person, but sometimes it causes other problems. Gender stereotypes about women’s ability in mathematics negatively impact their performance. And in a significant twist, both men and women wrongly believe those stereotypes will not undermine women’s math performance — but instead motivate them to perform better.... Read more »

Boucher, K., Rydell, R., & Murphy, M. (2015) Forecasting the experience of stereotype threat for others. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 56-62. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2015.01.002  

  • March 26, 2015
  • 02:20 PM
  • 22 views

High-fat diet causes brain inflammation and alters behavior

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

We hear in the media all the time, obesity is effecting our health. In most cases when we talk obesity we are talking about heart disease, sedentary activity, or chronic overeating. But what if a high-fat diet — regardless of obesity — has more than just an affect on your waistline? What if the consumption of fatty foods can change your behavior and your brain?... Read more »

Bruce-Keller, A., Salbaum, J., Luo, M., Blanchard, E., Taylor, C., Welsh, D., & Berthoud, H. (2015) Obese-type Gut Microbiota Induce Neurobehavioral Changes in the Absence of Obesity. Biological Psychiatry, 77(7), 607-615. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.07.012  

  • March 25, 2015
  • 05:59 PM
  • 32 views

Immunotherapy, a promising new treatment of Alzheimer’s disease

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Alzheimer’s disease, it slowly takes things away from the person without giving anything back. Right now there is no cure and at best we can slow the progression in some cases. Time is always a factor and no two cases are the same. However, new treatments are in the works and a new study has revealed that a single dose of an immunotherapy reverses memory problems in an animal model of Alzheimer’s disease.... Read more »

  • March 25, 2015
  • 01:03 PM
  • 32 views

Cracking the blood-brain barrier with magnetic nanoparticles

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The blood-brain barrier, the thorn in the side of medicine. It makes using drugs directed for the brain ineffective at best and unusable at worst. This barrier runs inside almost all vessels in the brain and protects it from elements circulating in the blood that may be toxic to the brain. This barrier means that currently 98% of therapeutic molecules are also unable to cross to the brain. However, researchers now say magnetic nanoparticles can open the blood-brain barrier and deliver molecules directly to the brain.... Read more »

  • March 24, 2015
  • 06:47 PM
  • 35 views

The cool car: electric vehicles show possible benefit to combat climate change

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Electric vehicles are touted as environmentally friendly, but they actually pollute more than conventional vehicles during manufacturing. However, a new report argues that, because electric vehicles are cooler, they can reduce heat and temperature increases in urban environments, leading to a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.... Read more »

Li C, Cao Y, Zhang M, Wang J, Liu J, Shi H, & Geng Y. (2015) Hidden benefits of electric vehicles for addressing climate change. Scientific reports, 9213. PMID: 25790439  

  • March 24, 2015
  • 02:42 PM
  • 39 views

FDA struggles to define what “natural” means for food labels

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

After decades of debate there remains no generally accepted definition of a “natural” food product. Despite a gamut of products with the label prominently displayed, it has caused a headache in lawsuits for the government who have yet to define “natural”. According to new research, while regulatory agencies have refused to settle the issue, they may be under new pressure from those consumer lawsuits.... Read more »

  • March 24, 2015
  • 01:44 PM
  • 38 views

Milk, not just for your bones, for your brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Milk, depending on who you ask it’s either great or the devil. In the US drinking milk is common; not so much in other parts of the world. This has lead to questions about why we even drink milk and how real its reported health claims actually are. Well new research has found a correlation between milk consumption and the levels of a naturally-occurring antioxidant called glutathione in the brain in older, healthy adults.... Read more »

Choi, I., Lee, P., Denney, D., Spaeth, K., Nast, O., Ptomey, L., Roth, A., Lierman, J., & Sullivan, D. (2014) Dairy intake is associated with brain glutathione concentration in older adults. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 101(2), 287-293. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.114.096701  

  • March 23, 2015
  • 03:02 PM
  • 47 views

The neurological basis for anorexia nervosa

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Most of us know about dieting, and if not first hand, have seen in the news or from friends how hard sticking to a diet long-term can be. This is because adults (regardless of their weight_ resolve to lose weight. Yet, more often than not, that chocolate lava cake is too enticing and that resolve vanishes. This behavior is normal because hunger increases the intensity of food rewards. Yet, individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN), despite their state of starvation, are able to ignore such food-related rewards.... Read more »

Wierenga, C., Bischoff-Grethe, A., Melrose, A., Irvine, Z., Torres, L., Bailer, U., Simmons, A., Fudge, J., McClure, S., Ely, A.... (2015) Hunger Does Not Motivate Reward in Women Remitted from Anorexia Nervosa. Biological Psychiatry, 77(7), 642-652. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.09.024  

  • March 23, 2015
  • 10:34 AM
  • 50 views

Komodo Dragons: Their Bite is Worse than Their Bark

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

By Shelly Sonsalla Komodo Dragon. Image by Arturo de Frias Marques on Wikimedia. Komodo dragons are the world’s largest living lizard and can be found only on select islands in the Indonesian archipelago. These massive lizards can grow to be 10 feet in length and up to 150 pounds! Their natural prey includes wild boars, deer, and water buffalo—animals which may outweigh them by several hundred pounds. So how does a lizard, even such a large one, manage to take down prey so much larger than them? The answer lies in their bite. Komodo dragons’ mouths are a complex interplay of force, toxins, and bacteria. A study by Brian Fry and his colleagues at the Howard Florey Institute in Australia determined the amount of force that a komodo dragon could generate with its bite. What did they find the answer to be? Not much. They found that a komodo dragon’s bite was 6.5 times less than that of an Australian saltwater crocodile. That’s comparable to a 3.5 pound fennec fox! Obviously, this means that the komodo dragon couldn’t possibly bring down such large prey by strength alone. Luckily for them, there are two more factors at play. Size comparison between a komodo dragon and a fennec fox. Computer Rendered by Michelle Sonsalla. The first is venom secreted by a number of venom glands found on the lower jaw. The amount of venom that can be held in these glands totals less than half a teaspoon! This venom has a number of properties meant to kill its prey, properties which prevent the prey’s blood from coagulating and cause painful cramping in the intestines, paralysis, and loss of consciousness. These effects alone would be enough to bring down most prey, but in case they aren’t, there is a final piece of the puzzle—bacteria. All living things have a multitude of bacteria and fungi that are naturally present on their skin and in their digestive system, but the bacteria found in the mouths of komodo dragons are specialized. According to Joel Montgomery, a researcher at the University of Texas at Arlington, there are 54 species of bacteria found in the mouths of komodo dragons which cause illness and 1 species which has been found to be lethal to mice. These bacteria enter the prey’s bloodstream through its bite and work to infect the creature slowly, causing severe infection within days or weeks. All three factors of a komodo dragon’s bite work together to take down its prey efficiently and effectively. The bite, though weak, is enough to open the skin and allow the venom and bacteria into the prey’s bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, the venom works to weaken the animal, which in turn allows the bacteria to gain a foothold to infect, and eventually kill, the victim. These factors allow this large, magnificent lizard, this dragon among beasts, to take down prey much larger than themselves and have helped them survive the extinction of the past’s other great lizards. References:Christiansen P, & Wroe S (2007). Bite forces and evolutionary adaptations to feeding ecology in carnivores. Ecology, 88 (2), 347-58 PMID: 17479753Fry, B., Wroe, S., Teeuwisse, W., van Osch, M., Moreno, K., Ingle, J., McHenry, C., Ferrara, T., Clausen, P., Scheib, H., Winter, K., Greisman, L., Roelants, K., van der Weerd, L., Clemente, C., Giannakis, E., Hodgson, W., Luz, S., Martelli, P., Krishnasamy, K., Kochva, E., Kwok, H., Scanlon, D., Karas, J., Citron, D., Goldstein, E., Mcnaughtan, J., & Norman, J. (2009). A central role for venom in predation by Varanus komodoensis (Komodo Dragon) and the extinct giant Varanus (Megalania) priscus Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106 (22), 8969-8974 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0810883106Merchant, M., Henry, D., Falconi, R., Muscher, B., & Bryja, J. (2013). Antibacterial activities of serum from the Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis) Microbiology Research, 4 (1) DOI: 10.4081/mr.2013.e4Montgomery JM, Gillespie D, Sastrawan P, Fredeking TM, & Stewart GL (2002). Aerobic salivary bacteria in wild and captive Komodo dragons. Journal of wildlife diseases, 38 (3), 545-51 PMID: 12238371 ... Read more »

Fry, B., Wroe, S., Teeuwisse, W., van Osch, M., Moreno, K., Ingle, J., McHenry, C., Ferrara, T., Clausen, P., Scheib, H.... (2009) A central role for venom in predation by Varanus komodoensis (Komodo Dragon) and the extinct giant Varanus (Megalania) priscus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(22), 8969-8974. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0810883106  

Merchant, M., Henry, D., Falconi, R., Muscher, B., & Bryja, J. (2013) Antibacterial activities of serum from the Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis). Microbiology Research, 4(1), 4. DOI: 10.4081/mr.2013.e4  

Montgomery JM, Gillespie D, Sastrawan P, Fredeking TM, & Stewart GL. (2002) Aerobic salivary bacteria in wild and captive Komodo dragons. Journal of wildlife diseases, 38(3), 545-51. PMID: 12238371  

  • March 23, 2015
  • 07:05 AM
  • 49 views

Pictures, Not Paragraphs

by Viputheshwar Sitaraman in Draw Science

Old and new literature confirm the common idea that visual communication and learning is far more effective and appealing than just text.... Read more »

W. Howard Levie, & Richard Lentz. (1982) Effects of text illustrations: A review of research. Educational Technology Research , 30(4), 195-232. info:/10.1007/BF02765184

  • March 22, 2015
  • 12:01 PM
  • 50 views

Special microbes make anti-obesity molecule in the gut

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

You’ve probably heard of all sorts of diets, paleo, low-fat, low-carb, atkins, but now microbes may just be the next diet craze. Researchers have programmed bacteria to generate a molecule that, through normal metabolism, becomes a hunger-suppressing lipid (fat). Mice that drank water laced with the programmed bacteria ate less, had lower body fat and staved off diabetes — even when fed a high-fat diet — offering a potential weight-loss strategy for humans.... Read more »

Zhongyi Chen, Lilu Guo, Yongqin Zhang, Rosemary L. Walzem, Julie S. Pendergast, Richard L. Printz, Lindsey C. Morris, Elena Matafonova, Xavier Stien, Li Kang.... (2014) Incorporation of Therapeutic Bacteria into the Gut Microbiome for Treatment of Obesity. The Journal of clinical investigation . info:/10.1172/JCI72517.

  • March 21, 2015
  • 07:31 PM
  • 54 views

Squid prolifically edit RNA to enrich their DNA

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

DNA, it’s what makes us, well us! Not that long ago, before we sequenced human DNA we assumed we had one of the largest genomes around. Frankly it wasn’t a bad assumption, but of course we found out this was far from the case and to make ourselves feel better we said size doesn’t matter. But one of the surprising discoveries to emerge from comparative genomics is that drastically different organisms–humans, sea urchins, worms, flies –are endowed with a more or less common set of genes. So given a similar DNA blueprint, how do species develop such vast differences in physical shape, size, and complexity?... Read more »

  • March 20, 2015
  • 09:20 AM
  • 60 views

Could grant proposal reviews be made available openly?

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective

Researchers have been discussing what would be the impact of making the review process of grant proposals more open and transparent, in order to support the preparation of better proposals and acknowledge the work of the reviewers. A recently published paper in Nature examines the impact of two articles on the open availability of the review of research proposals and the possibility of changing the assessment after publication of the results. … Read More →... Read more »

  • March 19, 2015
  • 12:50 PM
  • 45 views

The impact of military deployment on children

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Being a military family is hard, it’s hard for the person serving (obviously) and if divorce rates are any indication, it is also hard on the spouse. While the added stress of deployment on a family cannot adequately be explained, even as someone who has seen it first hand, those stresses affect even the littlest members of the family. A new study reports that following military parents’ return from combat deployment, their children show increased visits for mental healthcare, physical injury, and child maltreatment consults, compared to children whose parents have not been deployed.... Read more »

Hisle-Gorman, E., Harrington, D., Nylund, C., Tercyak, K., Anthony, B., & Gorman, G. (2015) Impact of Parents’ Wartime Military Deployment and Injury on Young Children’s Safety and Mental Health. Journal of the American Academy of Child , 54(4), 294-301. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2014.12.017  

  • March 18, 2015
  • 02:19 PM
  • 74 views

Not “just in your head,” brain networks differ among those with severe schizophrenia

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The brain is plastic, it’s how we grow, it’s how we adapt, it is quite literally how we survive. This can unfortunately be to our detriment and new research shows that people with a severe form of schizophrenia have major differences in their brain networks compared to others with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and healthy individuals. So while it may be true, that it is all be in your head, it isn’t how people usually mean it.... Read more »

Anne L. Wheeler, PhD, Michèle Wessa, PhD, Philip R. Szeszko, PhD, George Foussias, MD, MSc, M. Mallar Chakravarty, PhD, Jason P. Lerch, PhD, Pamela DeRosse, PhD, Gary Remington, MD, PhD, Benoit H. Mulsant, MD, Julia Linke, PhD.... (2015) Further Neuroimaging Evidence for the Deficit Subtype of Schizophrenia: A Cortical Connectomics Analysis. JAMA Psychiatry. info:/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.3020

  • March 17, 2015
  • 06:14 PM
  • 86 views

Is diet soda making you fat?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The diet soda controversy is still raging on, study after study has been coming in saying that it helps weight loss, it hurts weight loss, and frankly it can all be a little confusing. Well this probably won’t help matters any, a new study shows that increasing diet soda intake is directly linked to greater abdominal obesity in adults 65 years of age and older. These findings raise concerns about the safety of chronic diet soda consumption, which may increase belly fat and contribute to greater risk of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases.... Read more »

  • March 17, 2015
  • 08:31 AM
  • 76 views

Gender equality in science: it takes a village

by GrrlScientist in Maniraptora

SUMMARY: Late last year, a metastudy was published showing that, since 2000, things are improving for women working in most STEM-based fields, although there are some notable exceptions... Read more »

  • March 16, 2015
  • 11:45 PM
  • 73 views

Pairing tools and problems: a lesson from the methods of mathematics and the Entscheidungsproblem

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

Three weeks ago it was my lot to present at the weekly integrated mathematical oncology department meeting. Given the informal setting, I decided to grab one gimmick and run with it. I titled my talk: ‘2’. It was an overview of two recent projects that I’ve been working on: double public goods for acid mediated […]... Read more »

  • March 16, 2015
  • 01:57 PM
  • 70 views

Does watching porn affect your performance in bed?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Pornography, it’s why google and other search engines have safesearch. It’s all around us and if sales are any indication, it is not going away. There have been lots of claims regarding it, but does a predilection for porn mean bad news in bed? That’s the conclusion of many clinicians and the upshot of anecdotal reports claiming a man’s habit of viewing sex films can lead to problems getting or sustaining an erection, but what does science say?... Read more »

  • March 15, 2015
  • 02:52 PM
  • 59 views

Folic acid supplementation cuts stroke risk in adults with high blood pressure

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

When we think hypertension (high blood pressure) you might not think stroke risk. However, high blood pressure can damage arteries, which often leads to an increased risk for a stroke. But if you suffer from hypertension, you might not need an expensive drug to lower your risk. A new study that included more than 20,000 adults in China with high blood pressure but without a history of stroke or heart attack, the combined use of the hypertension medication enalapril and folic acid, compared with enalapril alone, significantly reduced the risk of first stroke.... Read more »

Yong Huo, MD, Jianping Li, MD, PhD, Xianhui Qin, PhD, Yining Huang, MD, Xiaobin Wang, MD, ScD, Rebecca F. Gottesman, MD, PhD, Genfu Tang, MD, Binyan Wang, MD, PhD, Dafang Chen, PhD, Mingli He, MD.... (2015) Efficacy of Folic Acid Therapy in Primary Prevention of Stroke Among Adults With Hypertension in China. Journal of the American Medical Association . info:/10.1001/jama.2015.2274

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