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Watch ALL the neurons in a brain: Ahrens and Freeman continue their reign of terror
Okay, not quite all of them. But it looks like Misha Ahrens and Jeremy Freeman are going to continue their reign of terror, imaging the whole zebrafish brain as if it’s no big deal. Yeah they’ve got almost every neuron of a vertebrate, so what? Besides figuring out that not shooting light at the eyes might […]

Freeman, J., Vladimirov, N., Kawashima, T., Mu, Y., Sofroniew, N., Bennett, D., Rosen, J., Yang, C., Looger, L. & Ahrens, M. & (2014). Mapping brain activity at scale with cluster computing, Nature Methods, DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.3041

Vladimirov, N., Mu, Y., Kawashima, T., Bennett, D., Yang, C., Looger, L., Keller, P., Freeman, J. & Ahrens, M. (2014). Light-sheet functional imaging in fictively behaving zebrafish, Nature Methods, DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.3040

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What percent nature? What percent nurture?
The Nature versus Nurture debate is over: we no longer ask if genetics governs personality or if environment does. They work together, and it’s hard to pick their effects apart. But surely we can pick their effects apart a little? For example, if a dog trainer is trying to impress upon their students the importance of getting a puppy from a good breeder who takes behavior into account — or conversely, the importance of bringing a new puppy to a puppy class: what should she tell […]

Liinamo A.E., Peter A.J. Leegwater, Matthijs B.H. Schilder, Johan A.M. van Arendonk & Bernard A. van Oost (2007). Genetic variation in aggression-related traits in Golden Retriever dogs, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 104 (1-2) 95-106. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2006.04.025

Strandberg E. & Peter Saetre (2005). Direct genetic, maternal and litter effects on behaviour in German shepherd dogs in Sweden, Livestock Production Science, 93 (1) 33-42. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.livprodsci.2004.11.004

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A New Hepatitis C Treatment offers Hope
Well this might seem weird, but today is world hepatitis day. I guess I should qualify weird with the fact that it’s only weird because no one really knows. What […]

Lawitz, E., Sulkowski, M., Ghalib, R., Rodriguez-Torres, M., Younossi, Z., Corregidor, A., DeJesus, E., Pearlman, B., Rabinovitz, M., Gitlin, N. & Lim, J. (2014). Simeprevir plus sofosbuvir, with or without ribavirin, to treat chronic infection with hepatitis C virus genotype 1 in non-responders to pegylated interferon and ribavirin and treatment-naive patients: the COSMOS randomised study, The Lancet, DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61036-9

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Plastic bags responsible for outrageous lack of cute pink piglets
Most of us now subscribe to the idea that plastic bags are bad for the environment. Hence, droves of people turn up at their local supermarket with a sturdy jute bag in tow. Now, there’s evidence that the items that … Continue reading →

Nerin C, Ubeda JL, Alfaro P, Dahmani Y, Aznar M, Canellas E & Ausejo R (2014). Compounds from multilayer plastic bags cause reproductive failures in artificial insemination., Scientific reports, 4 4913. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24810330

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The mistakes that lead therapists to infer psychotherapy was effective, when it wasn't
How well can psychotherapists and their clients judge from personal experience whether therapy has been effective? Not well at all, according to a paper by Scott Lilienfeld and his colleagues. The fear is that this can lead to the continued practice of ineffective, or even harmful, treatments.The authors point out that, like the rest of us, clinicians are subject to four main biases that skew their ability to infer the effectiveness of their psychotherapeutic treatments. This includes the […]

Lilienfeld, S., Ritschel, L., Lynn, S., Cautin, R. & Latzman, R. (2014). Why Ineffective Psychotherapies Appear to Work: A Taxonomy of Causes of Spurious Therapeutic Effectiveness, Perspectives on Psychological Science, 9 (4) 355-387. DOI: 10.1177/1745691614535216

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Prenatal and neonatal blood mercury levels and autism
Acknowledging that some topics have the ability to furrow brows when it comes to autism research, mercury and autism is becoming something of a frequent talking point on this blog as a function of a whole slew of articles appearing in the peer-reviewed domain. If I were to [very tentatively] summarise the collected literature so far, it would be to say something like:Mosaic of mercury @ Wikipedia (i) there is quite a bit more research to be done on some sources of mercury being […]

Yau VM, Green PG, Alaimo CP, Yoshida CK, Lutsky M, Windham GC, Delorenze G, Kharrazi M, Grether JK & Croen LA & (2014). Prenatal and neonatal peripheral blood mercury levels and autism spectrum disorders., Environmental research, 133C 294-303. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24981828

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Holy Grail of Battery Design: A lithium anode
Technology has been racing forward at an ever increasing rate. Unfortunately, anyone who owns a smartphone will tell you that the battery life doesn’t match the advancements. That is probably […]

Liu N, Lu Z, Zhao J, McDowell MT, Lee HW, Zhao W & Cui Y (2014). A pomegranate-inspired nanoscale design for large-volume-change lithium battery anodes., Nature nanotechnology, 9 (3) 187-92. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24531496

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Save the Neurons: Fighting the Effects of Parkinsons
Possibly one of the most famous cases of parkinson’s is Michael J. Fox. More than just the “shakes” parkinson’s can cause a whole host of other problems mentally and physically […]

Barnum CJ, Chen X, Chung J, Chang J, Williams M, Grigoryan N, Tesi RJ & Tansey MG (2014). Peripheral Administration of the Selective Inhibitor of Soluble Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) XPro1595 Attenuates Nigral Cell Loss and Glial Activation in 6-OHDA Hemiparkinsonian Rats., Journal of Parkinson's disease, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25061061

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Temperatures make our global warming opinions change like the weather
Our experience of current warmth can override our scientific knowledge in driving beliefs about climate change, which is part of the reason we struggle to take the resulting risks seriously, underlines Columbia University’s Elke Weber.

Weber, E. (2006). Experience-Based and Description-Based Perceptions of Long-Term Risk: Why Global Warming does not Scare us (Yet), Climatic Change, 77 (1-2) 103-120. DOI: 10.1007/s10584-006-9060-3

Li, Y., Johnson, E. & Zaval, L. (2011). Local Warming: Daily Temperature Change Influences Belief in Global Warming, Psychological Science, 22 (4) 454-459. DOI: 10.1177/0956797611400913

Zaval, L., Keenan, E., Johnson, E. & Weber, E. (2014). How warm days increase belief in global warming, Nature Climate Change, 4 (2) 143-147. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2093

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Fighting the Obesity Epidemic with X-box [No, not that one]
Despite all the efforts, people are losing the war on obesity. There is probably a number of factors involved, genetics, underlying medical problems, most of all diet, but in any […]

Williams KW, Liu T, Kong X, Fukuda M, Deng Y, Berglund ED, Deng Z, Gao Y, Liu T, Sohn JW & Jia L (2014). Xbp1s in Pomc Neurons Connects ER Stress with Energy Balance and Glucose Homeostasis., Cell metabolism, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25017942

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