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  • February 2, 2016
  • 04:03 PM
  • 823 views

Depressed or inflamed? Inflammation attacks brain’s reward center

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Inflammation is a good thing, it helps the body fight disease, and without it we wouldn't survive. Unfortunately, when inflammation isn't kept under control it can wreak havoc on the body. From potentially causing alzheimer's to arthritis it seems that unchecked inflammation can cause all sorts of issues. In fact, a new study adds to the list of issues out of control inflammation causes in the body.

... Read more »

  • February 1, 2016
  • 04:41 PM
  • 687 views

Blood pressure medicine may improve conversational skills of individuals with autism

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

An estimated 1 in 68 children in the United States has autism. The neurodevelopmental disorder, which impairs communication and social interaction skills, can be treated with medications and behavioral therapies, though there is no cure. Now, University of Missouri researchers have found that a medication commonly used to treat high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats may have the potential to improve some social functions of individuals with autism.

... Read more »

  • January 31, 2016
  • 03:57 PM
  • 987 views

The brains of patients with schizophrenia vary depending on the type of schizophrenia

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

I have a friend who lost an eye to his brother. Yes, you read that correctly, his brother tried to kill him and in the process he lost his eye. I’ve told this story before, but whenever new schizophrenia research comes out I feel the need to tell it again. While he has forgiven his brother (partly because not long after, he was diagnosed as schizophrenic), he will not be able to see him again until he is released from prison. A tragedy that could’ve been avoided had he been diagnosed sooner......... Read more »

  • January 30, 2016
  • 04:21 PM
  • 678 views

Neurological adaptations to the presence of toxic HIV protein

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Nearly half of HIV infected patients suffer from impaired neurocognitive function. The HIV protein transactivator of transcription (Tat) is an important contributor to HIV neuropathogenesis because it is a potent neurotoxin that continues to be produced despite treatment with antiretroviral therapy.

... Read more »

  • January 29, 2016
  • 02:51 PM
  • 647 views

How to unlock inaccessible genes

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

An international team of biologists has discovered how specialized enzymes remodel the extremely condensed genetic material in the nucleus of cells in order to control which genes can be used. It was known that the DNA in cells is wrapped around proteins in structures called nucleosomes that resemble beads on a string, which allow the genetic material to be folded and compacted into a structure called chromatin.

... Read more »

de Dieuleveult, M., Yen, K., Hmitou, I., Depaux, A., Boussouar, F., Dargham, D., Jounier, S., Humbertclaude, H., Ribierre, F., Baulard, C.... (2016) Genome-wide nucleosome specificity and function of chromatin remodellers in ES cells. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature16505  

  • January 27, 2016
  • 04:37 AM
  • 695 views

Caste system has affected Indians’ genomes

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

The caste system has affected Indians, even at the level of DNA.

Published in:

PNAS

Study Further:

Caste system in India was introduced about 1,500 years ago, when Gupta emperors were ruling most of the India. That caste system also made it socially unacceptable to marry outside the castes. Now, researchers have found that the caste system left a significant impact on the genes of Indians.

In a study, researchers from India studied the genomes of about 367 Indians f........ Read more »

  • January 26, 2016
  • 07:18 PM
  • 934 views

Ways of seeing

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Here in Australia we celebrated our national holiday yesterday. Australia Day marks the end of the summer holiday season and as everyone heads back to school and work, Language on the Move is coming back from our break, too. Welcome … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 26, 2016
  • 04:20 PM
  • 702 views

Why you should never use the term ‘the mentally ill’

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Even subtle differences in how you refer to people with mental illness can affect levels of tolerance, a new study has found. In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers found that participants showed less tolerance toward people who were referred to as "the mentally ill" when compared to those referred to as "people with mental illness."

... Read more »

  • January 25, 2016
  • 12:52 PM
  • 1,088 views

Zika virus and the negligence towards health research in poor countries

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll About a year ago, almost nobody on the whole world was aware of the existence of a virus named Zika virus and the illness it may cause in humans, the Zika fever or Zika disease. But … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 24, 2016
  • 02:52 PM
  • 664 views

60 genetic disorders affect skin and nervous system

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

One of the most common genetic disorders is a condition called neurofibromatosis, which causes brown spots on the skin and benign tumors on the brain, spinal cord and other parts of the nervous system. Neurofibromatosis is one of at least 60 genetic diseases called neurocutaneous disorders that involve the skin, central nervous system, and/or peripheral nervous system.

... Read more »

Figueiredo, A., Mata-Machado, N., McCoyd, M., & Biller, J. (2016) Neurocutaneous Disorders for the Practicing Neurologist: a Focused Review. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports, 16(2). DOI: 10.1007/s11910-015-0612-7  

  • January 23, 2016
  • 03:26 PM
  • 731 views

When the music stops: Intensive instrument playing can lead to movement disorders

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A musician takes up his/her violin and starts to play, but rather than gripping the strings, the fingers seize up--and this happens every time he/she takes up the instrument. Such a movement disorder--the so-called focal dystonia-- is a dramatic disease for those affected, which has thus far barely been studied.

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Rozanski VE, Rehfuess E, Bötzel K, Nowak D. (2015) Task-specific dystonia in professional musicians—a systematic review of the importance of intensive playing as a risk factor. Dtsch Arztebl Int. info:/10.3238/arztebl.2015.0871

  • January 22, 2016
  • 03:50 PM
  • 694 views

Neurons in your gut help the immune system keep inflammation in check

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The immune system exercises constant vigilance to protect the body from external threats–including what we eat and drink. A careful balancing act plays out as digested food travels through the intestine. Immune cells must remain alert to protect against harmful pathogens like Salmonella, but their activity also needs to be tempered since an overreaction can lead to too much inflammation and permanent tissue damage.

... Read more »

  • January 21, 2016
  • 03:27 PM
  • 799 views

Anxious? Chronic stress and anxiety can damage the brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A scientific review paper warns that people need to find ways to reduce chronic stress and anxiety in their lives or they may be at increased risk for developing depression and even dementia. Led by the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences, the review examined brain areas impacted by chronic anxiety, fear and stress in animal and human studies that are already published.... Read more »

Mah, L., Szabuniewicz, C., & Fiocco, A. (2016) Can anxiety damage the brain?. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 29(1), 56-63. DOI: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000223  

  • January 21, 2016
  • 09:25 AM
  • 885 views

A 5,300 Year Old Stomach Ache

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

The fascinating history of the stomach ulcer bacteria H. pylori, which was recently found in Otzi, the 5,300 year old iceman.... Read more »

Tito RY, Knights D, Metcalf J, Obregon-Tito AJ, Cleeland L, Najar F, Roe B, Reinhard K, Sobolik K, Belknap S.... (2012) Insights from characterizing extinct human gut microbiomes. PloS one, 7(12). PMID: 23251439  

Maixner, F., Krause-Kyora, B., Turaev, D., Herbig, A., Hoopmann, M., Hallows, J., Kusebauch, U., Vigl, E., Malfertheiner, P., Megraud, F.... (2016) The 5300-year-old Helicobacter pylori genome of the Iceman. Science, 351(6269), 162-165. DOI: 10.1126/science.aad2545  

  • January 20, 2016
  • 03:29 PM
  • 907 views

Overwhelmed and depressed? Well, there may be a connection

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Ever feel overwhelmed when you are depressed, well the good news is it isn't just you, the bad news is it's probably your brain. Regions of the brain that normally work together to process emotion become decoupled in people who experience multiple episodes of depression, neuroscientists report. The findings may help identify which patients will benefit from long term antidepressant treatment to prevent the recurrence of depressive episodes.

... Read more »

Jacobs, R., Barba, A., Gowins, J., Klumpp, H., Jenkins, L., Mickey, B., Ajilore, O., Peciña, M., Sikora, M., Ryan, K.... (2016) Decoupling of the amygdala to other salience network regions in adolescent-onset recurrent major depressive disorder. Psychological Medicine, 1-13. DOI: 10.1017/S0033291715002615  

  • January 19, 2016
  • 03:14 PM
  • 607 views

Can you trust your gut when public speaking?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

There is good news for frequent public speakers. New research shows that individuals have the ability to quickly and accurately identify a crowd's general emotion as focused or distracted, suggesting that we can trust our first impression of a crowd's mood.


... Read more »

  • January 19, 2016
  • 09:59 AM
  • 951 views

Investigating Funerary Rituals in a Multiethnic African Diasporic Cemetery

by Katy Meyers Emery in Bones Don't Lie

The Atlantic slave trade was a massive undertaking promoted by Europeans between the 16th and 19th centuries to forcibly move people from Africa to America to be sold as laborers. During this period in […]... Read more »

  • January 17, 2016
  • 11:00 AM
  • 1,106 views

Week Two In Review: Open-Access Science | 11 to 17 Jan

by TakFurTheKaffe in Tak Fur The Kaffe

The world’s largest canyon discovered hidden under the Antarctic ice, citizen science is on the up, new genetic secrets of Ötzi Iceman, and the social lives of chimps. Here are 5 of the latest scientific studies published open-access this week.... Read more »

Jamieson, S., Ross, N., Greenbaum, J., Young, D., Aitken, A., Roberts, J., Blankenship, D., Bo, S., & Siegert, M. (2015) An extensive subglacial lake and canyon system in Princess Elizabeth Land, East Antarctica. Geology. DOI: 10.1130/G37220.1  

Moeller, A., Foerster, S., Wilson, M., Pusey, A., Hahn, B., & Ochman, H. (2016) Social behavior shapes the chimpanzee pan-microbiome. Science Advances, 2(1). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500997  

Coia, V., Cipollini, G., Anagnostou, P., Maixner, F., Battaggia, C., Brisighelli, F., Gómez-Carballa, A., Destro Bisol, G., Salas, A., & Zink, A. (2016) Whole mitochondrial DNA sequencing in Alpine populations and the genetic history of the Neolithic Tyrolean Iceman. Scientific Reports, 18932. DOI: 10.1038/srep18932  

Engelmann, J., & Herrmann, E. (2016) Chimpanzees Trust Their Friends. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.11.037  

  • January 16, 2016
  • 04:12 PM
  • 1,074 views

‘Space Warps’ and other citizen science projects reap major dividends for astrophysics

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Thanks to the Internet, amateur volunteers known as "citizen scientists" can readily donate their time and effort to science--in fields ranging from medicine to zoology to astrophysics. The astrophysics project Space Warps offers a compelling example of why citizen science has become such a popular tool and how valuable it can be.

... Read more »

Marshall, P., Verma, A., More, A., Davis, C., More, S., Kapadia, A., Parrish, M., Snyder, C., Wilcox, J., Baeten, E.... (2015) SPACE WARPS - I. Crowdsourcing the discovery of gravitational lenses. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 455(2), 1171-1190. DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv2009  

More, A., Verma, A., Marshall, P., More, S., Baeten, E., Wilcox, J., Macmillan, C., Cornen, C., Kapadia, A., Parrish, M.... (2015) SPACE WARPS- II. New gravitational lens candidates from the CFHTLS discovered through citizen science. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 455(2), 1191-1210. DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv1965  

  • January 15, 2016
  • 03:56 PM
  • 729 views

Autism-linked protein lays groundwork for healthy brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A gene linked to mental disorders helps lays the foundation for a crucial brain structure during prenatal development, according to Salk Institute research. The findings reveal new mechanistic insights into the gene, known as MDGA1, which may bring a better understanding of neurodevelopmental disorders in people.

... Read more »

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