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  • January 22, 2011
  • 12:46 PM

When "Healthy Brains" Aren't

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

There's a lot of talk, much of it rather speculative, about "neuroethics" nowadays.But there's one all too real ethical dilemma, a direct consequence of modern neuroscience, that gets very little attention. This is the problem of incidental findings on MRI scans.An "incidental finding" is when you scan someone's brain for research purposes, and, unexpectedly, notice that something looks wrong with it. This is surprisingly common: estimates range from 2–8% of the general population. It will hap........ Read more »

Cramer SC, Wu J, Hanson JA, Nouri S, Karnani D, Chuang TM, & Le V. (2011) A system for addressing incidental findings in neuroimaging research. NeuroImage. PMID: 21224007  

  • January 22, 2011
  • 10:10 AM

Kinky evolution: did we evolve from PVC?

by Gemma Atkinson in Protein evolution and other musings

PVC may have played a big part in our evolution... But, no I'm not talking about polyvinyl chloride (sorry to dissapoint!), I'm talking about the Planctomycetes, Verrucomicrobia, Chlamydiae (PVC) bacterial superphylum. And I'm talking waaaay back, when the Chlamydiae were much more innocent and hadn't got into that whole sexually transmitted disease scene.In a Science article, Devos and Reynaud discuss the possibility that that The PVC bugs, which appear to be a monophyletic group forming their ........ Read more »

Devos, D., & Reynaud, E. (2010) Intermediate Steps. Science, 330(6008), 1187-1188. DOI: 10.1126/science.1196720  

Fuerst JA, & Webb RI. (1991) Membrane-bounded nucleoid in the eubacterium Gemmatata obscuriglobus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 88(18), 8184-8. PMID: 11607213  

Lonhienne, T., Sagulenko, E., Webb, R., Lee, K., Franke, J., Devos, D., Nouwens, A., Carroll, B., & Fuerst, J. (2010) From the Cover: Endocytosis-like protein uptake in the bacterium Gemmata obscuriglobus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(29), 12883-12888. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1001085107  

  • January 22, 2011
  • 09:00 AM

Can’t sleep? Why taking the Blue Pill is Best! (Unless you’re an Italian man)

by Stuart Farrimond in Dr Stu's Science Blog

Insomnia is something all of us struggle with from time to time. Not being able to get off to sleep is perhaps one of the most frustrating and loathsome things in the world (second only to an itchy back).

Many of us resort to herbal or medical remedies. If you had to choose one, which would you go for? Did you realise though that the colour of your remedy has an effect!? Read on to find out why blue is best…... Read more »

  • January 21, 2011
  • 08:41 PM

The Universe and Life is asymmetric: Chirality

by The Astronomist in The Astronomist.

The shadow of symmetry haunts physics. Symmetry is invoked to understand nature concisely, but broken symmetry is invoked to understand nature completely. Physics is filled with examples of shattered symmetries: there is more matter than antimatter, neutrinos only come in the left handed spin flavor, and quantum processes break symmetries constantly, but nature also violates symmetry in chemistry and biology in a very clever manner. Chemistry and biology are subjects I do no normally touch ........ Read more »

Robert N. Compton, Richard M. Pagni, & Volume 48, 2002, Pages 219-261. (2002) The chirality of biomolecules. Advances In Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics, 219-261. info:/

  • January 21, 2011
  • 06:37 PM

Genomic Imprinting IV: Escalation Between Loci

by Jon Wilkins in Lost in Transcription

So, in the previous installment, we introduced the "Loudest Voice Prevails" principle, which describes the evolutionarily stable pattern of gene expression at an imprinted locus where there is an intragenomic conflict over the total level of gene expression. Basically, the allele that favors lower expression becomes transcriptionally silenced. Expression from the other allele (the "louder" voice) evolves to the level that maximizes its inclusive fitness. In this sense, the active allele at an im........ Read more »

Wilkins, J., & Haig, D. (2001) Genomic imprinting of two antagonistic loci. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 268(1479), 1861-1867. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2001.1651  

  • January 21, 2011
  • 06:13 PM

Halitosis - Your mouth smells like arse

by James Byrne in Disease Prone

Sometimes I'm going to write about rare cancers or blood diseases and sometimes I’m going to write about bad breath. That’s just the way I roll.

Halitosis literally means “condition of the breath” and has many causes and just as many home remedies. Original therapies (and by original I mean 1550 BC) like heavily herb infused wines didn’t remove the bad breath but like mints and other modern treatments they just attempted to cover the bad smell with something more pleasant.

Halitos........ Read more »

Suarez FL, Furne JK, Springfield J, & Levitt MD. (2000) Morning breath odor: influence of treatments on sulfur gases. Journal of dental research, 79(10), 1773-7. PMID: 11077993  

  • January 21, 2011
  • 06:10 PM

Agonist, partial agonist, irreversible agonist-bound and GPCR active state crystal structures

by Peter Nollert in Emerald BioStructures Blog

Wow, the new year is off to a great start in GPCR structural biology: Rasmussen SG, Choi HJ, Fung JJ, Pardon E, Casarosa P, Chae PS, Devree BT, Rosenbaum DM, Thian FS, Kobilka TS, Schnapp A, Konetzki I, Sunahara RK, Gellman SH, Pautsch A, Steyaert J, Weis WI, & Kobilka BK (2011). Structure of a [...]... Read more »

Rasmussen SG, Choi HJ, Fung JJ, Pardon E, Casarosa P, Chae PS, Devree BT, Rosenbaum DM, Thian FS, Kobilka TS.... (2011) Structure of a nanobody-stabilized active state of the β(2) adrenoceptor. Nature, 469(7329), 175-80. PMID: 21228869  

Rosenbaum DM, Zhang C, Lyons JA, Holl R, Aragao D, Arlow DH, Rasmussen SG, Choi HJ, Devree BT, Sunahara RK.... (2011) Structure and function of an irreversible agonist-β(2) adrenoceptor complex. Nature, 469(7329), 236-40. PMID: 21228876  

Warne T, Moukhametzianov R, Baker JG, Nehmé R, Edwards PC, Leslie AG, Schertler GF, & Tate CG. (2011) The structural basis for agonist and partial agonist action on a β(1)-adrenergic receptor. Nature, 469(7329), 241-4. PMID: 21228877  

  • January 21, 2011
  • 04:49 PM

dbSNP, or is it?

by Todd Smith in finchtalk

dbSNP is NCBI’s catalog of DNA variation. While the SNP in the name implies a focus on Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, dbSNP is far more comprehensive and includes length variants, mutations, and a plethora of annotations that characterize over 75...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]... Read more »

  • January 21, 2011
  • 03:44 PM

Out With The Scientists, In With The Quacks (and religious zealots)

by Neurobonkers in Neurobonkers

The Government announced this week the list... Read more »

Rolles S. (2010) An alternative to the war on drugs. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 20627976  

  • January 21, 2011
  • 03:16 PM

Prairie Dog Communication

by Richard in A Replicated Typo 2.0


A recent NPR radio show covered the research of the biosemiotician Con Slobodchikoff of the Univeristy of Arizone on prairie dog calls. The piece is very public-orientated, but still might be worth listening to.
We’ve all (I hope) heard of the vervet monkeys, which have different alarm calls for different predators, such as for leopard (Panthera pardus), martial . . . → Read More: Prairie Dog Communication... Read more »

  • January 21, 2011
  • 11:07 AM

Cancer Versus the Immune System

by Daniel Koboldt in Massgenomics

Mice ... Read more »

Vesely MD, Kershaw MH, Schreiber RD, & Smyth MJ. (2010) Natural Innate and Adaptive Immunity to Cancer. Annual review of immunology. PMID: 21219185  

  • January 21, 2011
  • 10:55 AM

Florbetapir: Making AD A Costlier Affair

by Pranab Chatterjee in Scepticemia

The FDA has conditionally approved the novel contrast agent, Florbetapir, to help in the diagnosis of amyloid beta plaque build up in the brains of Alzheimer’s (or, for that purpose, any damn dementia) patients. Now there are several reasons why … Continue reading →... Read more »

Wong, D., Rosenberg, P., Zhou, Y., Kumar, A., Raymont, V., Ravert, H., Dannals, R., Nandi, A., Brasic, J., Ye, W.... (2010) In Vivo Imaging of Amyloid Deposition in Alzheimer Disease Using the Radioligand 18F-AV-45 (Flobetapir F 18). Journal of Nuclear Medicine, 51(6), 913-920. DOI: 10.2967/jnumed.109.069088  

Clark, C., Schneider, J., Bedell, B., Beach, T., Bilker, W., Mintun, M., Pontecorvo, M., Hefti, F., Carpenter, A., Flitter, M.... (2011) Use of Florbetapir-PET for Imaging  -Amyloid Pathology. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 305(3), 275-283. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2010.2008  

  • January 21, 2011
  • 10:14 AM

Higher altitude increases suicide risk

by mercurialmind in Mercurialmind Matters

Higher altitude has been found to increase the risk of suicide and consequently the west with its higher altitudes carry an increased risk of suicide. Perry Renshaw of the University of Utah School of Medicine believes from his analysis that the risk increases by nearly one third at an altitude of 2,000m (6,500ft above sea level). Renshaw analyzed data from CDC and found that altitude is an independent risk factor for suicide. He believes "...this association may have arisen from the effect........ Read more »

Kim N, Mickelson JB, Brenner BE, Haws CA, Yurgelun-Todd DA, & Renshaw PF. (2011) Altitude, gun ownership, rural areas, and suicide. The American journal of psychiatry, 168(1), 49-54. PMID: 20843869  

  • January 21, 2011
  • 10:03 AM

Pterosaurs Were Born to Fly

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Just a few hours after yesterday’s post on dinosaur embryos went up, another major egg-based discovery was announced, in the journal Science. In October of 2009, paleontologists first described the flying reptile Darwinopterus, a pterosaur that lived in what is now China over 160 million years ago. Since then, multiple other specimens have been found, [...]... Read more »

Lu, J., Unwin, D., Deeming, D., Jin, X., Liu, Y., & Ji, Q. (2011) An Egg-Adult Association, Gender, and Reproduction in Pterosaurs. Science, 331(6015), 321-324. DOI: 10.1126/science.1197323  

  • January 21, 2011
  • 09:45 AM

Tears as a human female adaptation to limit rape

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

This came up a while ago and I assumed the idea would die the usual quick and painless death, but the idea seems to be either so fascinating or so irritating to people (mainly in various blog comment sections) that it still twitches and still has a heartbeat, but only as a result of the repeated flogging it is getting.
Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

Gelstein, S., Yeshurun, Y., Rozenkrantz, L., Shushan, S., Frumin, I., Roth, Y., & Sobel, N. (2011) Human Tears Contain a Chemosignal. Science, 331(6014), 226-230. DOI: 10.1126/science.1198331  

  • January 21, 2011
  • 08:41 AM

Are we finally smart enough to learn from the gloomy octopus?

by Michele in Promega Connections

The octopus is a fascinating creature and probably the smartest invertebrate known. It has an extremely well developed visual system with high acuity, and although it cannot distinguish color, it can see polarized light. Scientists have proposed that octopuses communicate with each other by polarizing the light that reflects from their scales, creating a messaging [...]... Read more »

Pronk, R., Wilson, D., & Harcourt, R. (2010) Video playback demonstrates episodic personality in the gloomy octopus. Journal of Experimental Biology, 213(7), 1035-1041. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.040675  

  • January 21, 2011
  • 06:30 AM

An Amoeba Is More Fiscally Responsible than Most Americans

by Sharon Neufeldt in I Can Has Science?

A new study reveals that even – those squishy little single-celled organisms – know how to save up for a rainy day. Scientists at Rice University have discovered that some members of a like to save up food for when … Continue reading →... Read more »

Brock, D., Douglas, T., Queller, D., & Strassmann, J. (2011) Primitive agriculture in a social amoeba. Nature, 469(7330), 393-396. DOI: 10.1038/nature09668  

  • January 21, 2011
  • 12:48 AM

Friday Weird Science: The Magnificent Mammal Menage a Trois

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

…aka “The Thrilling Whale Threesome” …aka “Constant Coupling Clubs in Cetacean Coitus” …aka…I could keep going! Cause this is more than mammals. It’s WHALES, BABY!!! Whales GETTING IT ON. Strap yourselves in, cause we’re headed on a journey to the bay, complete with a bendable 8 foot penis. I do hope we’ve all had our [...]... Read more »

  • January 20, 2011
  • 10:40 PM

The evolutionary story of ecosystem function

by Marc Cadotte in The EEB and flow

Twenty years of research has repeatedly shown that communities with greater diversity result higher functioning -namely greater production of biomass. One of the major mechanisms producing this relationship is that different species use differing resources, such that their complementary use of resources uses the total resource pool more thoroughly, thus converting more resources into biomass. Resource preference is the product of evolution and how organisms have adapted to using various resource........ Read more »

  • January 20, 2011
  • 08:32 PM

Toumai and the Sabercats

by Laelaps in Laelaps

“They fight! And bite! They fight and bite and fight! Fight fight fight! Bite bite bite!”
That’s the theme from “The Itchy and Scratchy Show” – the ultra-violent riff on Tom and Jerry regularly featured on The Simpsons - but it could be easily applied to almost any documentary about prehistoric animals that you care to [...]... Read more »

de Bonis, L., Peigné, S., Taisso Mackaye, H., Likius, A., Vignaud, P., & Brunet, M. (2010) New sabre-toothed cats in the Late Miocene of Toros Menalla (Chad). Comptes Rendus Palevol, 9(5), 221-227. DOI: 10.1016/j.crpv.2010.07.018  

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