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  • November 28, 2015
  • 03:20 PM

The silence of the genes, an epigenetic tale

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Research led by Dr. Keiji Tanimoto from the University of Tsukuba, Japan, has brought us closer to understanding the mechanisms underlying the phenomenon of genomic imprinting. In this intriguing event, one copy of a gene is ‘turned off’, or silenced, depending on whether it was derived from the mother or the father.... Read more »

Matsuzaki H, Okamura E, Takahashi T, Ushiki A, Nakamura T, Nakano T, Hata K, Fukamizu A, & Tanimoto K. (2015) De novo DNA methylation through the 5'-segment of the H19 ICR maintains its imprint during early embryogenesis. Development (Cambridge, England), 142(22), 3833-44. PMID: 26417043  

  • November 24, 2015
  • 04:36 PM

Cultural brokering

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Recently, I signed a contract for a revised second edition of my 2011 book Intercultural Communication: A Critical Introduction to be published in 2017. One way in which I am planning to extend the book is to have a greater … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • November 22, 2015
  • 10:30 PM

History of neuroscience: The mystery of trepanation

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

In 1867, an archaeologist and diplomat named Ephraim George Squier sought out the help of Paul Pierre Broca, the esteemed anatomist and surgeon. He was trying to solve a mystery about an ancient Incan skull that had been given to him by a wealthy artifact collector in Peru. In addition to its age, the Neolithic skull had a unique feature: on the top of the cranium a rectangular piece of bone had been removed. The presence of several cross-cuts surrounding the hole suggested that it was not a sim........ Read more »

  • November 22, 2015
  • 03:01 PM

Neuroscience and the search for happiness

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Exercising, meditating, scouring self-help books… we go out of our way to be happy, but do we really know what happiness is? Wataru Sato and his team at Kyoto University have found an answer from a neurological perspective.... Read more »

Sato, W., Kochiyama, T., Uono, S., Kubota, Y., Sawada, R., Yoshimura, S., & Toichi, M. (2015) The structural neural substrate of subjective happiness. Scientific Reports, 16891. DOI: 10.1038/srep16891  

  • November 21, 2015
  • 05:09 PM

The mysterious fungus that has major health consequences

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers at the University of Toronto examined fungi in the mucus of patients with cystic fibrosis and discovered how one particularly cunning fungal species has evolved to defend itself against neighbouring bacteria. A regular resident of our microbiome – and especially ubiquitous in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients -the Candida albicans fungus is an “opportunistic pathogen.”
... Read more »

  • November 21, 2015
  • 10:40 AM

Where Are All the Wearables We Want to Wear?

by Aurametrix team in Health Technologies

Millions of years ago our ancestors straightened up and started carrying tools around, instead of dropping them after use. And so technology became a part of daily routine.​As time passed, more useful tools were made than it was feasible to carry or wear over the shoulder. One solution to this problem was monetary exchange, the other was a better technology. Wearables promised to add more convenience than carryables and, ever since humans started to wear clothes some 170,000 years ag........ Read more »

Bouzouggar A, Barton N, Vanhaeren M, d'Errico F, Collcutt S, Higham T, Hodge E, Parfitt S, Rhodes E, Schwenninger JL.... (2007) 82,000-year-old shell beads from North Africa and implications for the origins of modern human behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(24), 9964-9. PMID: 17548808  

Sungmee Park, & Jayaraman S. (2014) A transdisciplinary approach to wearables, big data and quality of life. Conference proceedings : .. Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Annual Conference, 4155-8. PMID: 25570907  

  • November 17, 2015
  • 04:48 PM

What’s in a name? More than you think…

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

What’s in a name? In the case of the usernames of video gamers, a remarkable amount of information about their real world personalities, according to research. Analysis of anonymised data from one of the world’s most popular computer games by scientists in the Department of Psychology at York also revealed information about their ages.... Read more »

  • November 17, 2015
  • 11:47 AM

Landscapes of Death and Mass Graves from the Roman Empire

by Katy Meyers Emery in Bones Don't Lie

There is an amazing relationship between human behavior and space. Our landscape and environment shapes what we can do on it, how we move through it, and where we can […]... Read more »

  • November 15, 2015
  • 12:58 PM

Bioanthro lab activity: Hominin brain size

by zacharoo in Lawn Chair Anthropology

Last week in my Human Evolution class we looked at whether we could estimate hominin brain sizes, or endocranial volumes (ECV), based on just the length and width of the bony brain case. Students took these measurements on 3D surface scans… … and then plugged their data into equations relating these measurements to brain size […]... Read more »

  • November 14, 2015
  • 04:18 PM

3-D printing aids in understanding food enjoyment

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Tasting food relies on food volatiles moving from the back of the mouth to the nasal cavity, but researchers have wondered why airflow doesn’t carry them in the other direction, into the lungs. Now a team of engineers, using a 3D printed model of the human airway from nostril to trachea, has determined that the shape of the airway preferentially transfers volatiles to the nasal cavity and allows humans to enjoy the smell of good food.... Read more »

Ni, R., Michalski, M., Brown, E., Doan, N., Zinter, J., Ouellette, N., & Shepherd, G. (2015) Optimal directional volatile transport in retronasal olfaction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1511495112  

  • November 8, 2015
  • 08:40 AM

Osteology Everywhere: Bacon or first rib?

by zacharoo in Lawn Chair Anthropology

I went to a cafe today to eat breakfast and get some work done. It’s important to be properly nourished to ensure maximal productivity. But I was aghast to behold the food they placed before me: First of all, this is not a sufficient amount of bacon. Secondably, this bacon is a spitting image of a first rib: […]... Read more »

Lordkipanidze D, Jashashvili T, Vekua A, Ponce de León MS, Zollikofer CP, Rightmire GP, Pontzer H, Ferring R, Oms O, Tappen M.... (2007) Postcranial evidence from early Homo from Dmanisi, Georgia. Nature, 449(7160), 305-10. PMID: 17882214  

Schmid P, Churchill SE, Nalla S, Weissen E, Carlson KJ, de Ruiter DJ, & Berger LR. (2013) Mosaic morphology in the thorax of Australopithecus sediba. Science, 340(6129), 1234598. PMID: 23580537  

White TD, Asfaw B, Beyene Y, Haile-Selassie Y, Lovejoy CO, Suwa G, & WoldeGabriel G. (2009) Ardipithecus ramidus and the paleobiology of early hominids. Science, 326(5949), 75-86. PMID: 19810190  

  • November 7, 2015
  • 10:07 AM

Bioanthro lab activity: Sexual dimorphism

by zacharoo in Lawn Chair Anthropology

A few weeks ago we examined sexual dimorphism – characteristic differences between males and females – in my Intro to Bioanthro class. Sexual dimorphism roughly correlates with aspects of social behavior in animals, and so we compared dimorphism in our class with what is seen in other primates. For the lab, we collected our body masses, heights, […]... Read more »

  • November 6, 2015
  • 10:54 PM

Cancer survivors less likely to receive callbacks from potential employers

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Job applicants who are cancer survivors are less likely to receive callbacks from potential retail employers than those who did not disclose their health history, according to a recent study by Rice University and Penn State University researchers.... Read more »

  • November 5, 2015
  • 03:55 PM

Adults’ happiness on the decline

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Are you less happy than your parents were at the same age? It may not be all in your head. Researchers led by San Diego State University professor Jean M. Twenge found adults over age 30 are not as happy as they used to be, but teens and young adults are happier than ever. Researchers analyzed data from four nationally representative samples of 1.3 million Americans ages 13 to 96 taken from 1972 to 2014.... Read more »

Jean M. Twenge, Ryne A. Sherman, & Sonja Lyubomirsky. (2015) More Happiness for Young People and Less for Mature Adults: Time Period Differences in Subjective Well-Being in the United States, 1972–2014. Social Psychological and Personality Science. info:/10.1177/1948550615602933

  • November 3, 2015
  • 02:26 PM

Lipid helps keep algae and brain fluid moving

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The same lipid that helps algae swim toward the light also appears to enable one type of brain cell to keep cerebrospinal fluid moving, researchers report. ... Read more »

Kong, J., Hardin, K., Dinkins, M., Wang, G., He, Q., Mujadzic, T., Zhu, G., Bielawski, J., Spassieva, S., & Bieberich, E. (2015) Regulation of Chlamydomonas flagella and ependymal cell motile cilia by ceramide-mediated translocation of GSK3. Molecular Biology of the Cell. DOI: 10.1091/mbc.E15-06-0371  

  • November 1, 2015
  • 03:20 PM

Kids meals, toys, and TV advertising: A triple threat to child health

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Fast food companies advertise children’s meals on TV with ads that feature toy premiums, and it has been suggested that the use of these toy premiums may prompt children to request eating at fast food restaurants. In a new study, researchers found that the more children watched television channels that aired ads for children’s fast food meals, the more frequently their families visited those fast food restaurants.... Read more »

  • October 31, 2015
  • 04:56 AM

Osteology everywhere: Halloween skull comet

by zacharoo in Lawn Chair Anthropology

It’s Halloween, a day when it’s socially acceptable for adults to play dress-up like children. Also, people celebrate things that are spooky-scary. So it’s perfect timing that NASA would announce that our planet will be visited by a dead comet, a celestial ghost hoping to haunt a planet full of the living. As NASA pointed out in […]... Read more »

  • October 30, 2015
  • 01:48 AM

Bioanthro lab activity: What species is it?

by zacharoo in Lawn Chair Anthropology

We’re learning about the divergence between robust Australopithecus and early Homo 2.5-ish million years ago in my Human Evolution class this week. Because of this multiplicity of contemporaneous species, when scientists find new hominin fossils in Early Pleistocene sites, a preliminary question is, “What species is it?” To help my students learn how we know whether […]... Read more »

  • October 29, 2015
  • 01:59 PM

What blocks pro-vaccine beliefs?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Despite rhetoric that pits “anti-vaxxers” versus “pro-vaxxers,” most new parents probably qualify as vaccine-neutral–that is, they passively accept rather than actively demand vaccination. Unless there is an active threat of polio or whooping cough, they have to remind themselves that injecting their crying infant with disease antigens is a good thing.... Read more »

Miton, & Mercier. (2015) Cognitive Obstacles to Pro-Vaccination Beliefs. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. info:/

  • October 28, 2015
  • 08:20 PM

How common is sexting among married couples?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Earlier this year, we looked at a study that suggested sexting can be healthy in a relationship, but that study primarily looked at non-married couples and the average age for the behavior was, as you may expect, young adult. Which may lead you to think that married couples don’t sext. In fact, married couples do report sexting, but it is much less common than in young adult relationships and consists more of intimate talk with their partners than sending nude or nearly nude photos via mobile ........ Read more »

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