Posts

September 23, 2014

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7:45 PM | Stress and the Brain
No summary available for this post.
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6:29 PM | How does the First Drink really get you Drunk?
In treatment circles, I have constantly heard the refrain “one is not enough and two is too many!” and “the first drink gets you drunk” which points to a difficulty certain people have with stopping once they start drinking; a “loss of control” over drinking. It is as if drinking gives you a thirst rather […]
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5:55 PM | Lie Detection using Brain Waves: It’s just as creepy as it sounds…
Currently lie detectors (polygraphs) are not admissible in court, this is because (despite what you may read) there is little proof to show that they are much better than a […]

Meixner JB & Rosenfeld JP (2014). Detecting Knowledge of Incidentally Acquired, Real-World Memories Using a P300-Based Concealed-Information Test., Psychological science, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25231899

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4:24 PM | What is the cost of depression in the first world?
When one thinks of a depression does not usually do so at the cost of depression for the society in which he lives, but rather in the person who is suffering.
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1:50 PM | New on Zoologic: Long-Lasting Effects for Chimps Raised by Humans
Chimpanzees raised by humans to be pets or performers suffer long-term social and behavioral deficiencies. Even when “rehabilitated” and living out their lives in zoos or sanctuaries, they seem to have difficulties relating to their own kind. Read the whole story in my latest Zoologic post: Chimpanzees Raised By Humans Have Social Difficulties With Other Chimps .
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1:24 PM | Flavors of Nonsense
I, like most people, like to categorize things. It helps me keep my mental space organized and tidy. A good system of categorization is also like a framework on which I can hang specific facts and details. Categories are most useful when they reflect underlying reality, rather than superficial or arbitrary features. Categories are therefore often [...]
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10:04 AM | Commonalities Across Various Addictive Behaviours
In the first of many blog on the commonalities in different additive behaviours we briefly consider whether there are brain mechanism similarities in different addictive of obsessive compulsive behaviours. People affected by binge eating, substance abuse and obsessive compulsive disorder … Continue reading →
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8:00 AM | Neuroscience does not threaten people's sense of free will
A key finding from neuroscience research over the last few decades is that non-conscious preparatory brain activity appears to precede the subjective feeling of making a decision. Some neuroscientists, like Sam Harris, have argued that this shows our sense of free will is an illusion. Books have even started to appear with titles like My Brain Made Me Do It: The Rise of Neuroscience and the Threat to Moral Responsibility by Eliezer J. Sternberg.However, in a new paper, a team led by […]
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2:14 AM | De novo gene Creation sans evolution of genes via mutations
Where do genes come from? – Carl Zimmer The pseudoscientific nonsense touted in this video has been refuted by decades of experimental evidence. The experimental evidence links RNA-directed DNA methylation from nutrient-dependent amino acid substitutions to the de novo Creation...Read more
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1:49 AM | The Unspeakable Stillness of HIV
This post is part of a collaborative narrative series composed of my writing and Chris Arnade’s photos exploring issues of addiction, poverty, prostitution and urban anthropology in Hunts... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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12:08 AM | The Genetics of Smoking
Evidence from a 40-year study.  (First published March 28, 2013)Pediatricians have often remarked upon it: Give one adolescent his first cigarette, and he will cough and choke and swear never to try another one. Give a cigarette to a different young person, and she is off to the races, becoming a heavily dependent smoker, often for the rest of her life. We have strong evidence that this difference in reaction to nicotine is, at least in part, a genetic phenomenon.But so what? Is there […]
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12:05 AM | Rollin' rollin' rollin'
Scientopia has meant so much to me. It has been a home, a comfortable place, for so long. It has seen me through the biggest transition of my career. My career(s). The people here have been a source of advice, mentorship, strength. Scientopia is a wonderful group of people. With my new job came new […]

September 22, 2014

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9:31 PM | NEURO.tv Episode 12 – Optogenetics and anxiety-related behaviors, with Kay Tye.
What is optogenetics and how is it used to determine the contribution of brain areas to normal and dysfunctional behaviors? We discuss with Kay Tye, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at MIT.
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8:00 PM | Khabarovsk Krai On Fire
Khabarovsk Krai, a territory occupying the coastline of the Sea of Okhotsk, is on fire. Dozens of red hotspots, accompanied by plumes of smoke mark active fires. The smoke, which appears mostly white or grey, blows to the east towards the Sea of Okhotsk. Taiga and tundra are found in the north of this area, swampy forest inhabit the central depression, and deciduous forests are the natural vegetation in the south.read more
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8:00 PM | Light Can Play Seesaw At The Nanoscale
Electrical engineering researchers have developed a unique nanoscale device that demonstrates mechanical transportation of light. The nanoscale device that can capture, measure and transport fundamental particles of light - photons. The tiny device is just 0.7 micrometers by 50 micrometer (about .00007 by .005 centimeters) and works almost like a seesaw. On each side of the "seesaw benches," researchers etched an array of holes, called photonic crystal cavities. These cavities capture photons […]
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7:32 PM | Planck Data Says BICEP2 Gravitational Waves Were Contaminants
Gravitational waves are phenomena predicted by Einstein's theory of General Relativity but no one has ever observed them and their discovery would have profound implications for the study of the Universe. Last March, the team behind the BICEP2 project made a ground-breaking announcement: the Antarctic observatory had detected a signal referable to gravitational waves. The study said they excluded possible contaminants - other sources that could have generated the same signal - and that the […]
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6:24 PM | Where Did The Thoughtful Animal Go?
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve no doubt noticed that things have been a little quiet around here. While this blog isn’t dead, per se, it’s on an extended hibernation.... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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6:24 PM | Where Did The Thoughtful Animal Go?
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve no doubt noticed that things have been a little quiet around here. While this blog isn’t dead, per se, it’s on an extended hibernation.... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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6:17 PM | Autism and the Low Iron Connection
The topic of autism is a charged one. Maybe it’s because it isn’t a simple diagnosis; there are many roads to autism. Most of them are probably genetic, some of […]

Rebecca J. Schmidt et al (2014). Maternal intake of supplemental iron and risk for autism spectrum disorders, American Journal of Epidemiology,

Schmidt, R., Tancredi, D., Ozonoff, S., Hansen, R., Hartiala, J., Allayee, H., Schmidt, L., Tassone, F. & Hertz-Picciotto, I. (2012). Maternal periconceptional folic acid intake and risk of autism spectrum disorders and developmental delay in the CHARGE (CHildhood Autism Risks from Genetics and Environment) case-control study, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 96 (1) 80-89. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.110.004416

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5:58 PM | Did our adapted mind evolve?
What is currently know about neuroendocrine regulation clearly links ecological variation to ecological adaptations manifested in morphological and behavioral phenotypes via RNA-mediated events without the pseudoscientific nonsense of evolutionary theory. Evidence that biological facts about cause and effect make no...Read more
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5:53 PM | Vandana Shiva and GMOs
A recent New Yorker article by Michael Specter does an excellent job of putting the activism of anti-GMO campaigner, Vandana Shiva, into perspective. Shiva has since written a very critical response to Specter, and The New Yorker has responded to Shiva. The exchange is very enlightening. Shiva is a dedicated anti-GMO activist, perhaps the most [...]
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5:30 PM | 15 Biomarkers: Blood Test May Determine Risk For Psychosis
Preliminary results from a recent study show that a blood test, when used in psychiatric patients experiencing symptoms that are considered to be indicators of a high risk for psychosis, identifies those who later went on to develop psychosis.  It may lead to accurate diagnosis of people who are experiencing the earliest stages of psychosis. Psychosis includes hallucinations or delusions that define the development of severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia. Schizophrenia emerges in […]
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5:17 PM | Do Kids Of Tiger Moms Have Lower Self-Esteem?
Do kids of "tiger moms" - the term used by culture for demanding mothers in Asian families and   popularized due to the 2011 book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" by Amy Chua - have lower self-esteem? Not if the halls of Caltech are any indication. And do we need more young people with high levels of self-esteem living with their parents in their 30s? Regardless, a new paper in  the Journal of Family Issues finds that less supportive and punitive parenting techniques used by […]
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4:07 PM | Is it possible to be in pain and not know it?
I ran into this question on Quora, a question-and-answer website, and thought it was interesting enough to be worth discussing in a blog post. At a superficial level the question might not seem very difficult. It would be easy to say that the answer is no, end of story. But that would be a facile … Continue reading »
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4:01 PM | Why Research Beats Anecdote In Our Search For Knowledge
US Army scientists analyze unknown samples to determine whether hazardous. That's typical of research trying to understand the unknowns and expand on our knowledge. Credit: Flickr/US Army RDECOM, CC BYBy Tim DeanUNDERSTANDING RESEARCH: What do we actually mean by research and how does it help inform our understanding of things? We begin today by looking at the origins of research. read more
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3:54 PM | CO2 Budget: The Lesser Known Role Of Arctic Sea Ice
In a global warming scenario, large areas of sea ice melt in the summer and when sea ice freezes over in the winter it is thinner and more reduced. But warmer Arctic summers could lead to an acceleration of global warming, because reduced sea ice in the Arctic will remove less CO2 from the atmosphere, Danish scientists report. "If our results are representative, then sea ice plays a greater role than expected, and we should take this into account in future global CO2 budgets", says Dorte […]
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3:19 PM | How Gene Expression Affects The Facial Kind
A person's face is the first thing that others see, and much remains unknown about how it forms — or malforms — during early development. Recently, Chong Pyo Choe, a senior postdoctoral fellow working in the lab of USC stem cell researcher Gage Crump, has begun to unwind these mysteries. In a September study published in the journal Development, Choe and Crump describe how a mutation in a gene called TBX1 causes the facial and other deformities associated with DiGeorge syndrome.read
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2:39 PM | "Law and Neuroscience: Recommendations Submitted to the President's Bioethics Commission"
Recently published in SSRN (and recently published in Journal of Law and Biosciences, vol 1, pp 224-236 (2014)): "Law and Neuroscience: Recommendations Submitted to the President's Bioethics Commission" OWEN D. JONES, Vanderbilt University - Law School & Dept. of Biological...
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1:00 PM | Vitriolic Abuse Of Anita Sarkeesian: Why The Games Industry Needs Her
Sarkeesian has been the focus of much online hatred since she started her website Feminist Frequency in 2009. Credit: Anita SarkeesianBy Jessamy Gleeson, Swinburne University of TechnologyThree weeks ago, well-known feminist gaming critic Anita Sarkeesian was forced to leave her San Francisco home due to an ongoing tirade of abuse and threats. Members of a vocal minority of online trolls had threatened to kill her parents, drink her blood, and rape her – all while publishing her personal […]
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12:30 PM | Eat More Meat, Get Lower Blood Pressure?
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