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  • February 3, 2016
  • 03:06 PM
  • 109 views

Investigating potential fetal exposure to antidepressants

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Depression is a serious issue for expecting mothers. Left untreated, depression could have implications for a fetus’s health. But treating the disease during pregnancy may carry health risks for the developing fetus, which makes an expecting mother’s decision whether to take medication a very difficult one. To better understand how antidepressants affect fetuses during pregnancy, scientists studied exposure in mice.

... Read more »

  • February 2, 2016
  • 02:13 AM
  • 82 views

Earth = combination of two planets (study shows)

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

Earth is actually a combination of two planets, i.e. Earth and Theia, a planet thought to be about the size of Mars.

Published in:

Science

Study Further:

Researchers from University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) have recently reported that there was a “violent, head-on collision” of Earth and Theia, which is thought to be an ancient planet having the approximate size of Mars or according to some it was about Earth’s size, about 4.5 billion years ag........ Read more »

Young, E., Kohl, I., Warren, P., Rubie, D., Jacobson, S., & Morbidelli, A. (2016) Oxygen isotopic evidence for vigorous mixing during the Moon-forming giant impact. Science, 351(6272), 493-496. DOI: 10.1126/science.aad0525  

  • January 31, 2016
  • 07:09 AM
  • 95 views

Coal tar, dyes, and the unlikely origins of psychotherapeutic drugs

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged










While it may be difficult to imagine in a day and age when psychiatric medicines are advertised as a way to treat nearly every mental disorder, only 65 years ago targeted and effective psychiatric medicines were still just an unrealized aspiration. In fact, until the middle of the 20th century, the efficacy and safety of many common approaches to treating mental illness were highly questionable. For example, one method of treating schizophrenia that was common in the 1940s........ Read more »

López-Muñoz, F., Alamo, C., cuenca, E., Shen, W., Clervoy, P., & Rubio, G. (2005) History of the Discovery and Clinical Introduction of Chlorpromazine. Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, 17(3), 113-135. DOI: 10.1080/10401230591002002  

  • January 29, 2016
  • 08:39 AM
  • 120 views

The power of poop: revolutionizing wastewater treatment

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

A commentary in Nature proposes a complete overhaul of how we treat our wastewater. Among the benefits would be new energy-producing industry and reduce greenhouse gas emissions!... Read more »

Li, W., Yu, H., & Rittmann, B. (2015) Chemistry: Reuse water pollutants. Nature, 528(7580), 29-31. DOI: 10.1038/528029a  

  • January 28, 2016
  • 09:29 AM
  • 105 views

Help me, neighbor!

by ragothamanyennamalli in Getting to know Structural Bioinformatics

We all have neighbors who help us in our hour of need. Some go out of the way as well. In enzymes too, it seems, that neighbors play a crucial role. Lafond et al in their recent publication in the Journal of Biological Chemistry report the invovlement of neighboring chains of the same enzyme, lichenase. Apart from the role of stabilizing the quarternary structure (a trimer), they are also invovled in the enzymatic activity.... Read more »

Lafond M, Sulzenbacher G, Freyd T, Henrissat B, Berrin JG, & Garron ML. (2016) the quaternary structure of a glycoside hydrolase dictates specificity towards beta-glucans. The Journal of biological chemistry. PMID: 26755730  

  • January 22, 2016
  • 10:21 AM
  • 130 views

When good intentions don't mix: designing policy to stop global warming and improve clean cookware access

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Carbon fees are a tremendous policy tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But what is their effect on other public health missions, like providing cleaner cookware to the poor in developing countries. We take a look at new research designing policy to meet both public health needs.... Read more »

  • January 20, 2016
  • 06:06 AM
  • 132 views

Dear kids, don't eat that falling snow...

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

Snow falling in urban areas could be toxic for human beings due to the presence of dangerous chemicals and pollutants coming from cars and industries.

Published in:

Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts

Study Further:

Beauty can be dangerous and recent research is showing the same, i.e. beautiful and pure snowflakes can be dangerous. Researchers have found that snowflakes are not as clean as they may appear. They reported that snow falling, especially in cities, h........ Read more »

  • January 18, 2016
  • 04:07 PM
  • 172 views

Thwarting abnormal neural development with a new mutation

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have discovered how to reverse the abnormal axonal development characteristic of CFEOM3, a congenital disease that affects the muscles that control eye movements. The work shows how creating a specific mutation rescued abnormal axonal growth in the developing mouse brain.

... Read more »

Minoura, I., Takazaki, H., Ayukawa, R., Saruta, C., Hachikubo, Y., Uchimura, S., Hida, T., Kamiguchi, H., Shimogori, T., & Muto, E. (2016) Reversal of axonal growth defects in an extraocular fibrosis model by engineering the kinesin–microtubule interface. Nature Communications, 10058. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms10058  

  • January 15, 2016
  • 12:08 PM
  • 154 views

Amazon resilience buoyed by diversity

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Previous research has suggested that the Amazon could reach a tipping point when rainforest gives way to a grassy savannah. Could this really happen? A new modeling study suggests the diversity of the Amazon could prevent such a drastic change.... Read more »

Levine NM, Zhang K, Longo M, Baccini A, Phillips OL, Lewis SL, Alvarez-Dávila E, Segalin de Andrade AC, Brienen RJ, Erwin TL.... (2015) Ecosystem heterogeneity determines the ecological resilience of the Amazon to climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 26711984  

  • January 13, 2016
  • 07:00 PM
  • 35 views

Electrolithoautotrophs

by adam phillips in It Ain't Magic

Learn what electrolithoautotrophs are and how the scientists proved that A. ferrooxidans can use electric potential to fuel growth.... Read more »

  • January 11, 2016
  • 07:06 AM
  • 168 views

Natural clays can help in the fight against bacteria

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

Natural clay (such as Oregon Blue clay) can help in killing a broad range of bacterial pathogens including antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Published in:

Scientific Reports

Study Further:

Researchers have reported that natural antibacterial clays upon hydration and topical application can kill human pathogens and these pathogens also include antibiotic resistant strains. They noted that only certain clays are bactericidal in nature. Those clays having soluble reduced met........ Read more »

  • January 7, 2016
  • 01:45 PM
  • 246 views

Are you multicellular? Thank a random mutation that created a new protein

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

All it took was one mutation more than 600 million years ago. With that random act, a new protein function was born that helped our single-celled ancestor transition into an organized multicellular organism. That’s the scenario — done with some molecular time travel — that emerged from basic research in the lab of University of Oregon biochemist Ken Prehoda.... Read more »

Anderson, D., Whitney, D., Hanson-Smith, V., Woznica, A., Campodonico-Burnett, W., Volkman, B., King, N., Prehoda, K., & Thornton, J. (2016) Evolution of an ancient protein function involved in organized multicellularity in animals. eLife. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.10147  

  • December 27, 2015
  • 07:00 PM
  • 26 views

Black smokers and electroecosystems

by adam phillips in It Ain't Magic

Black smokers are deep-sea hydrothermal vents found in the ocean. Now scientists believe that they may host electroecosystems in which the primary producers use electric currents as their energy source.... Read more »

Nakamura, R., Takashima, T., Kato, S., Takai, K., Yamamoto, M., & Hashimoto, K. (2010) Electrical Current Generation across a Black Smoker Chimney. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 49(42), 7692-7694. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201003311  

  • December 24, 2015
  • 03:54 PM
  • 312 views

It came from planet X: ‘Forbidden’ substances on super-Earths

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Using mathematical models, scientists have ‘looked’ into the interior of super-Earths and discovered that they may contain compounds that are forbidden by the classical rules of chemistry — these substances may increase the heat transfer rate and strengthen the magnetic field on these planets.... Read more »

  • December 21, 2015
  • 11:43 AM
  • 250 views

Unsmellable Snake Camouflages Its Scent

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish





If your favorite activity is lying motionless on the ground, you'd better make sure hungry animals can't find you. Snakes and other creatures that hunt by ambush, waiting for their prey to wander past, often have impressive visual camouflage. But at least one type of viper seems to disguise itself in another way, too: its smell is undetectable to predators.

Puff adders (Bitis arietans) are big, fat vipers that move around very little while they wait for prey. They're widespread in Af... Read more »

Miller AK, Maritz B, McKay S, Glaudas X, & Alexander GJ. (2015) An ambusher's arsenal: chemical crypsis in the puff adder (Bitis arietans). Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 282(1821). PMID: 26674950  

  • December 21, 2015
  • 07:45 AM
  • 178 views

Music of the Macromolecules

by Shane Caldwell in Helical Translations

A molecule is like an instrument in an orchestra. Find out about the symphony inside your own cells.... Read more »

C. Wilson, R. V. Agafonov, M. Hoemberger, S. Kutter, A. Zorba, J. Halpin, V. Buosi, R. Otten, D. Waterman, D. L. Theobald, D. Kern. (2015) Using ancient protein kinases to unravel a modern cancer drug’s mechanism. Science, 882-886. info:/10.1126/science.aaa1823

  • December 18, 2015
  • 11:24 AM
  • 248 views

Beyond the headlines: clarifying the connection between healthy diets, resource use, and greenhouse gas emissions

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

A recent study looking at the impact of USDA-recommended diets on the environment has received significant media attention. Some of these reports have been a bit misleading, so read here to learn the details about this important study that should impact US dietary policy!... Read more »

  • December 10, 2015
  • 08:36 PM
  • 302 views

LSD changes consciousness by reorganizing human brain networks

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

LSD is known to cause changes in consciousness, including “ego-dissolution”, or a loss of the sense of self. Despite a detailed knowledge of the action of LSD at specific serotonin receptors, it has not been understood how this these pharmacological effects can translate into such a profound effect on consciousness.... Read more »

Lebedev, A., Lövdén, M., Rosenthal, G., Feilding, A., Nutt, D., & Carhart-Harris, R. (2015) Finding the self by losing the self: Neural correlates of ego-dissolution under psilocybin. Human Brain Mapping, 36(8), 3137-3153. DOI: 10.1002/hbm.22833  

  • December 10, 2015
  • 03:22 PM
  • 278 views

Eyes on Environment: where fuel goes, water cannot follow

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Water and energy policy have long been separate despite the deep link between energy production and freshwater consumption. Here we discuss a new study examining this link with policy implications about how to prevent resource scarcity.... Read more »

Holland RA, Scott KA, Flörke M, Brown G, Ewers RM, Farmer E, Kapos V, Muggeridge A, Scharlemann JP, Taylor G.... (2015) Global impacts of energy demand on the freshwater resources of nations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(48). PMID: 26627262  

  • December 4, 2015
  • 04:02 PM
  • 276 views

A Camera That Sees Methane

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Swedish scientists have built a camera that makes methane gas visible. The tool could help researchers study greenhouses gases and answer tricky questions about climate change. It's also good for visualizing cow farts.

Magnus Gålfalk of Linköping University explains that the camera works using infrared spectroscopy. Called "hyperspectral imaging," the method simultaneously captures a spectrum of infrared light for every pixel in a photo. Many gases absorb infrared light, Gålfalk says, ........ Read more »

Gålfalk, M., Olofsson, G., Crill, P., & Bastviken, D. (2015) Making methane visible. Nature Climate Change. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2877  

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