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  • September 13, 2015
  • 02:51 PM
  • 5,567 views

Diet beverage drinkers compensate by eating unhealthy food

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Want fries with that diet soda? You aren’t alone, and you may not be “saving” as many calories as you think by consuming diet drinks. A new study that examined the dietary habits of more than 22,000 U.S. adults found that diet-beverage consumers may compensate for the absence of calories in their drinks by noshing on extra food that is loaded with sugar, sodium, fat and cholesterol.... Read more »

  • September 12, 2015
  • 03:37 PM
  • 5,644 views

Female mice sing for sex

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

They don’t use gondolas or croon like Sinatra. But scientists have known for a long time that male mice belt out something like love songs to females when the time seems right to them. What they didn’t know – until a University of Delaware researcher developed a sophisticated array of microphones and a sound analysis chamber – was that female mice were singing back.... Read more »

  • September 11, 2015
  • 06:06 PM
  • 5,656 views

Smart cells teach neurons damaged by Parkinson’s to heal themselves

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

As a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease, scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have created smarter immune cells that produce and deliver a healing protein to the brain while also teaching neurons to begin making the protein for themselves.... Read more »

  • September 11, 2015
  • 03:16 PM
  • 5,595 views

An antibody that can attack HIV in new ways

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Proteins called broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) are a promising key to the prevention of infection by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. bNAbs have been found in blood samples from some HIV patients whose immune systems can naturally control the infection. These antibodies may protect a patient’s healthy cells by recognizing a protein called the envelope spike, present on the surface of all HIV strains and inhibiting, or neutralizing, the effects of the virus. Now Caltech researchers hav........ Read more »

  • September 11, 2015
  • 12:34 PM
  • 466 views

Perfect Pitch: Is this for real?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

Absolute Pitch (AP) or Perfect Pitch, as some prefer to call it, is common throughout the animal world, and dogs are no exception (Levitin & Rogers, 2005).*... Read more »

Levitin, D., & Rogers, S. (2005) Absolute pitch: perception, coding, and controversies. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9(1), 26-33. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2004.11.007  

  • September 10, 2015
  • 02:26 PM
  • 571 views

Physicists show ‘molecules’ made of light may be possible

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

It’s not lightsaber time… at least not yet. But a team including theoretical physicists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has taken another step toward building objects out of photons, and the findings* hint that weightless particles of light can be joined into a sort of “molecule” with its own peculiar force.... Read more »

M. F. Maghrebi, M. J. Gullans, P. Bienias, S. Choi, I. Martin, O. Firstenberg, M. D. Lukin, H. P. Büchler, & A. V. Gorshkov. (2015) Coulomb bound states of strongly interacting photons. Physical Review Letters. arXiv: 1505.03859v1

  • September 10, 2015
  • 10:24 AM
  • 539 views

What is holding back the transition to open access if it does not cost more?

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective

Transition to Article Processing Charge supported open access from a closed access subscription system is far from straightforward, even if the cost of such an open access system is the same, or even less. There are glimmers of hope, though, in an approach that may help to overcome the hurdles, by taking a large-scale, even nationwide, approach as opposed to the usual one where each individual institution has to weigh up the costs and benefits. … Read More →... Read more »

  • September 9, 2015
  • 06:21 PM
  • 583 views

Carving a path towards carbon pricing

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Why aren't carbon taxes more common? A new policy paper talks about the resistance and decreasing the cost of renewables can make carbon pricing the ONLY smart option.... Read more »

Wagner, G., Kåberger, T., Olai, S., Oppenheimer, M., Rittenhouse, K., & Sterner, T. (2015) Energy policy: Push renewables to spur carbon pricing. Nature, 525(7567), 27-29. DOI: 10.1038/525027a  

  • September 9, 2015
  • 03:12 PM
  • 467 views

Cells from human umbilical cord blood improve cognition in Alzheimer’s disease model mice

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which affects an estimated 26 million people worldwide, is the fourth leading cause of death among the elderly and the leading cause of dementia. Predictions are that the number of AD cases will quadruple by 2050. Although pharmacological methods for treating AD have been discovered, none significantly delay the progression of the disease.... Read more »

Donna Darlington, Song Li2, Huayan Hou, Ahsan Habib, Jun Tian, Yang Gao, Jared Ehrhart, Paul R Sanberg, Darrell Sawmiller, Brian Giunta.... (2015) Human umbilical cord blood-derived monocytes improve cognitive deficits and reduce ß-amyloid pathology in PSAPP mice. Cell Transplantation. DOI: http://dx.org/10.3727/096368915X688894  

  • September 8, 2015
  • 03:12 PM
  • 589 views

Artificial ‘plants’ could fuel the future

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Imagine creating artificial plants that make gasoline and natural gas using only sunlight. And imagine using those fuels to heat our homes or run our cars without adding any greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. By combining nanoscience and biology, researchers led by scientists at University of California, Berkeley, have taken a big step in that direction.... Read more »

  • September 7, 2015
  • 03:42 PM
  • 471 views

Tree of life study unveils inner workings of a cell

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A multinational team of scientists have sifted through cells of vastly different organisms, from amoebae to worms to mice to humans, to reveal how proteins fit together to build different cells and bodies. This tour de force of protein science, a result of a collaboration between seven research groups from three countries, led by Professor Andrew Emili from the University of Toronto’s Donnelly Centre, uncovered tens of thousands of new protein interactions, accounting for about a quarter of al........ Read more »

Wan, C., Borgeson, B., Phanse, S., Tu, F., Drew, K., Clark, G., Xiong, X., Kagan, O., Kwan, J., Bezginov, A.... (2015) Panorama of ancient metazoan macromolecular complexes. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature14877  

  • September 7, 2015
  • 06:58 AM
  • 508 views

Psychology Should Aim For 100% Reproducibility

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Last week, the Open Science Collaboration reported that only 36% of a sample of 100 claims from published psychology studies were succesfully replicated: Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science.

A reproducibility rate of 36% seems bad. But what would be a good value? Is it realistic to expect all studies to replicate? If not, where should we set the bar?

In this post I'll argue that it should be 100%.





First off however, I'll note that no single replication attemp... Read more »

Open Science Collaboration. (2015) Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science. Science (New York, N.Y.), 349(6251). PMID: 26315443  

  • September 6, 2015
  • 03:35 PM
  • 463 views

Guilting teens into exercise won’t increase activity

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Just like attempts at influencing hairstyles or clothing can backfire, adults who try to guilt middle-schoolers into exercising won’t get them to be any more active. The study found students who don’t feel in control of their exercise choices or who feel pressured by adults to be more active typically aren’t.... Read more »

  • September 5, 2015
  • 03:03 PM
  • 579 views

The science of stereotyping: Challenging the validity of ‘gaydar’

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

“Gaydar” — the purported ability to infer whether people are gay or straight based on their appearance — seemed to get a scientific boost from a 2008 study that concluded people could accurately guess someone’s sexual orientation based on photographs of their faces. In a new paper researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison challenge what they call “the gaydar myth.” William Cox, an assistant scientist in the Department of Psychology and the lead author, says gaydar isn’t ........ Read more »

  • September 5, 2015
  • 06:21 AM
  • 677 views

Are internal replications the solution to the replication crisis in Psychology? No.

by Richard Kunert in Brain's Idea

Most Psychology findings are not replicable. What can be done? Stanford psychologist Michael Frank has an idea : Cumulative study sets with internal replication. ‘If I had to advocate for a single change to practice, this would be it.’ I took a look whether this makes any difference. A recent paper in the journal Science […]... Read more »

  • September 4, 2015
  • 02:28 PM
  • 615 views

Common antidepressant may change brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A commonly prescribed antidepressant may alter brain structures in depressed and non-depressed individuals in very different ways, according to new research. The study – conducted in nonhuman primates with brain structures and functions similar to those of humans – found that the antidepressant sertraline, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) marketed as Zoloft, significantly increased the volume of one brain region in depressed subjects but decreased the volume of two brain areas........ Read more »

Willard, S., Uberseder, B., Clark, A., Daunais, J., Johnston, W., Neely, D., Massey, A., Williamson, J., Kraft, R., Bourland, J.... (2015) Long term sertraline effects on neural structures in depressed and nondepressed adult female nonhuman primates. Neuropharmacology, 369-378. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2015.06.011  

  • September 3, 2015
  • 02:06 PM
  • 445 views

Do antipsychotic medications affect cortical thinning?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

People diagnosed with schizophrenia critically rely upon treatment with antipsychotic medications to manage their symptoms and help them function at home and in the workplace. But despite their benefits, antipsychotic medications might also have some negative effects on brain structure or function when taken for long periods of time.... Read more »

  • September 3, 2015
  • 06:23 AM
  • 600 views

Why are Psychological findings mostly unreplicable?

by Richard Kunert in Brain's Idea

Take 97 psychological effects from top journals which are claimed to be robust. How many will replicate? Brian Nosek and his huge team tried it out and the results were sobering, to say the least. How did we get here? The data give some clues. Sometimes the title of a paper just sounds incredible. Estimating […]... Read more »

  • September 2, 2015
  • 02:23 PM
  • 543 views

Feeling blue and seeing blue: Sadness may impair color perception

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The world might seem a little grayer than usual when we’re down in the dumps and we often talk about “feeling blue” — new research suggests that the associations we make between emotion and color go beyond mere metaphor. The results of two studies indicate that feeling sadness may actually change how we perceive color. Specifically, researchers found that participants who were induced to feel sad were less accurate in identifying colors on the blue-yellow axis than those who were led to ........ Read more »

Thorstenson CA, Pazda AD, & Elliot AJ. (2015) Sadness Impairs Color Perception. Psychological science. PMID: 26307592  

  • September 1, 2015
  • 01:34 PM
  • 485 views

Researchers help identify neural basis of multitasking

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

What makes someone better at switching between different tasks? Looking for the mechanisms behind cognitive flexibility, researchers have used brain scans to shed new light on this question. By studying networks of activity in the brain’s frontal cortex, a region associated with control over thoughts and actions, the researchers have shown that the degree to which these networks reconfigure themselves while switching from task to task predicts people’s cognitive flexibility.... Read more »

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