Posts

December 15, 2014

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6:02 AM | A Correlation Tug of War
When you think of codebreakers, you usually think of Alan Turing.  But times have changed, and the hip new code everyone is trying to break these days is the Enigma of the neural code. This week’s speaker is Dr. Alex Reyes.  His work has established some fundamental properties about the relationships between neural spike trains […]

December 14, 2014

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10:13 PM | Inulin-propionate Ester Ingredient Will Make You Feel Fuller
Some people eat when they are hungry and stop when they are not. Others eat until they are full. For that second group, science may soon have a way to help keep them slimmer.Inulin-propionate ester (IPE) contains propionate, which stimulates the gut to release hormones that act on the brain to reduce hunger. Propionate is produced naturally when dietary fiber is fermented by microbes in the gut and in its first tests in humans, researchers found that the ingredient is effective at preventing […]
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6:28 PM | Scientists find a drug (currently used) to turn white fat to brown
It seems like we’ve been on a weight loss campaign here at the labs, but there just has been so much new and interesting research on the subject to report […]

Anne Loft, Isabel Forss, Majken Storm Siersbæk, Søren Fisker Schmidt, Ann-Sofie Bøgh Larsen, Jesper Grud Skat Madsen, Didier F. Pisani, Ronni Nielsen, Mads Malik Aagaard, Angela Mathison & Matt J. Neville (2014). Browning of human adipocytes requires KLF11 and reprogramming of PPARγ superenhancers, Genes & Development, Other:

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5:32 PM | Jetlag: the ultimate holiday blues
Holidays are coming… Holidays are coming… And for most of us this means a few festive weeks in cosy England. However an annoyingly smug few will be flying off on long journeys this Christmas. Despite living in an age where … Continue reading →
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1:30 PM | Were You Born Anti-Social?
You may not have been born a criminal, but experiences influence how genetic variants affect the brain and therefore behavior, according to a new paper. The study used a survey of 1,337 students aged 17 or 18 in Västmanland, a Swedish county, who anonymously completed questionnaires reporting on delinquency, family conflict, experiences of sexual abuse, and the quality of their relationship with their parents. They also provided a sample of saliva from which the researchers […]
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1:23 PM | All pain is not the same
A popular illustration of embodied cognition is the notion that physical pain and social pain share the same neural mechanism. The researchers that first published this relationship, have now published a new paper that finds the two types of pain do not overlap in the brain but are just close neighbours, close enough to have […]
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1:00 PM | My Brain Made Me Do It, But Does That Matter?
Your brain is still you. Andrew Mason, CC BYBy Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Duke UniversityImagine that Brian promises to drive you to the airport but never shows up, and you miss your flight. When you confront Brian, he tells you that he remembered his promise but decided to watch a movie instead. Would you be angry? You betcha! read more
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12:57 PM | Increasing Rigor in Huntington’s Disease Research
The CHDI Foundation, a charitable organization who fund a lot of research into Huntington's disease, are interested in reforming the scientific process. The story comes from a paper written by British neuroscientist Marcus Munafo and colleagues (the authors including CHDI staff) published in Nature Biotechnology a couple of months ago: Scientific rigor and the art of motorcycle maintenance. Munafo et al. begin by pointing to the history of car manufacturing as an analogy for the scie

Munafo M, Noble S, Browne WJ, Brunner D, Button K, Ferreira J, Holmans P, Langbehn D, Lewis G, Lindquist M & Tilling K (2014). Scientific rigor and the art of motorcycle maintenance., Nature Biotechnology, 32 (9) 871-3. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25203032

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10:27 AM | http://kolber.typepad.com/ethics_law_blog/2014/12/minds-brains-and-law-a-multidisciplinary-conference-on-law-and-neuroscience-bebhinn-donnelly-lazarov-swansea-university.html
'Minds, Brains and Law: A Multidisciplinary Conference on Law and Neuroscience.' Bebhinn Donnelly-Lazarov, Swansea University Neurolaw is a burgeoning field. This Swansea University College of Law conference brought many controversies to the fore. Reductionism was a major bone of contention....
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5:51 AM | Science and Music Link Roundup!
I’ve decided to post some of the science stories on science and music that I’ve found especially compelling from the past few months. It’s good to see that other people are writing... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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5:51 AM | Science and Music Link Roundup!
I’ve decided to post some of the science stories on science and music that I’ve found especially compelling from the past few months. It’s good to see that other people are writing... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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5:13 AM | Erin Gee blends emotions, science, music, and robotic pianos
Musicians use the movements of their bodies to make music that expresses their innermost thoughts and emotions. But it’s not everyday that music is created from human emotions without humans... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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5:13 AM | Erin Gee blends emotions, science, music, and robotic pianos
Musicians use the movements of their bodies to make music that expresses their innermost thoughts and emotions. But it’s not everyday that music is created from human emotions without humans... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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1:03 AM | TEDx Talk on "The Dark Side of Free Will"
Gregg Caruso on "The Dark Side of Free Will":

December 13, 2014

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7:50 PM | The future of physics predicts no future for evolutionary theory
The ever-smaller future of physics ‘Theory of everything’ captures Weinberg’s imagination in Lee Historical Lecture Excerpt: “…there are hints that the answers to fundamental questions will reveal themselves at around a million billionths — between 10­-17 and 10-19 — of...Read more
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6:51 PM | High fat diet leads to brain inflammation and obesity
The stomach strikes again, or so it seems. We’ve already covered how your stomach seemingly controls your brain and your blood-brain barrier, but now it seems that what you eat –not […]

Valdearcos, M., Robblee, M., Benjamin, D., Nomura, D., Xu, A. & Koliwad, S. (2014). Microglia Dictate the Impact of Saturated Fat Consumption on Hypothalamic Inflammation and Neuronal Function, Cell Reports, DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.11.018

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6:45 PM | Making Connections: Peer Support and Eating Disorder Recovery
I feel like a broken record when I say that we continue to lack an evidence-base for most “alternative” forms of support for eating disorders. As I’ve noted in prior posts, just because something is not evidence based does not mean it does not work for anyone; often, an evidence base is established when researchers can secure enough funding to run a randomized-controlled trial (RCT) that would act as evidence. Even when an RCT has been run, it is hard to say that one form of […]
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6:43 PM | Why is reporting on health and science so bad? Because the reporters can’t do their jobs.
Imagine this scenario: a sports reporter is asked to cover an emerging conflict in the Middle East. The sports reporter, never particularly keen on international affairs, is on a deadline and looks to see what they can use. There’s in-person … Continue reading →
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6:30 PM | Origin Of Eukaryotic Cells Gets A New Hypothesis
All complex life, including plants, animals and fungi, consists if of eukaryotic cells, cells with a nucleus, transport mechanisms and often organelles like mitochondria that perform the functions an organism needs to stay alive and healthy. Humans have 220 different kinds of eukaryotic cells which control everything from thinking and locomotion to reproduction and immune defense. Because of that commonality, the evolution of the eukaryotic cell is considered one of the most critical events in […]
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5:58 PM | Circadian Rhythms: The Day Within
You’ve probably heard that our bodies have an internal clock. That’s why you get tired or hungry at about the same time each day and feel jetlagged when you’ve crossed too many time zones. Our clocks are set by external cues, such as daylight, alarm clocks, or your roommate grinding coffee beans at an ungodly hour each morning. But our … Continue reading →
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5:31 PM | Weather Bombs, Polar Vortex: Global Warming's Influence On Extreme Weather
A new analysis to be presented next week at the American Geophysical Union's Fall Meeting in San Francisco says that extreme climate and weather events such as record high temperatures, intense downpours and severe storm surges are more common in many parts of the world. It's hard to be sure. High quality weather records only go back about 30 years and even suspect quality records only go back 100, so there is inference between modern record-keeping and the data trapped in tree rings and […]
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5:30 PM | Oversharing Algorithm: Facebook "Deep Learning" Could Prevent You From Drunk Posting
"You think you're in pain now, but this is not going to look good on Facebook tomorrow." Stefano Bolognini/National Museum of DenmarkBy Arosha K Bandara, The Open University read more
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3:02 PM | The Plot Of The Week: Higgs Decays To WW In ATLAS
The latest paper by the ATLAS Collaboration is a very detailed report of the search for Higgs boson decays to W boson pairs in Run 1 data. The H->WW* process contributes significantly to the total bounty of Higgs boson candidates that the two CERN experiments have been able to collect in the 2011 7-TeV and 2012 8-TeV proton-proton collisions, but the presence of neutrinos in the final state prevents the clean reconstruction of an invariant mass peak, hence the WW* final state has remained a […]
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2:30 PM | Liberal And Conservative Genetic Woo: How Behavioral Genetics Reporting Can Mislead The Public
A study of 1,500 Americans found that media reports about behavioral genetics create unfounded beliefs about what genes can and cannot do, which defeats the purpose of scientific reporting, according to a new analysis.American adults lead the world in science literacy so results may be even more profound in other countries, where political interests control more of scientific policy.read more
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2:00 PM | Dog Brains Process Human Speech The Way Humans Do
All the better for hearing you with. Boris Roessler/EPABy Victoria Ratcliffe, University of Sussex and David Reby, University of SussexSometimes it may seem like your dog doesn’t want to listen.But in our study, however, we’ve found that he may understand more than he lets on. read more
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1:30 PM | GTPBP3 Mutations Cause Mitochondrial Translation Defect - And Diseases
Diseases of dysfunctional mitochondria, also known as mitochondrial diseases, have a prevalence of  up to 1 in 2,000 people and predominantly affect children, though adult-onset disorders are also recognized. An international collaboration has discovered that mutations in the GTPBP3 gene cause defects in protein synthesis in mitochondria and are associated with a devastating disease. Mitochondria are compartments present in every cell of the body except red blood cells and are responsible […]
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12:16 PM | Spike activity 12-12-2014
Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: The new trailer for upcoming Pixar movie Inside Out is very funny and has a remarkably accurate depiction of brain function. Neuroskeptic covers hipster neuroscience. Is the ‘bilingual advantage’ in cognitive performance a result of publication bias? Maybe, suggests the Science of Us. The […]
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9:00 AM | Link feast
Our pick of the best psychology and neuroscience links from the past week or so:2014’s Best Books on Psychology, Philosophy, and How to Live MeaningfullyAn end-of-year roundup from the BrainPickings website.Sickening and Morally ReprehensibleElla Rhodes at The Psychologist magazine reports on the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program (story requires free registration to access).That CIA Torture Methods Were Pointless Is No ShockThe New […]
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3:36 AM | Model organisms: the birds and the bees
Bird Genomes Abound Scientists complete the largest-ever comparative genomic study of birds. By Ruth Williams | December 11, 2014 Excerpt: “Birds are model organisms for a number of human behaviors and conditions—For example, Jarvis compares vocal learning in birds and...Read more
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2:53 AM | Weather Bomb: Scary New Names For Common Winter Storms Are The New Norms
Braving the eye of the bomb. Danny Lawson/PABy Edward Hanna, University of SheffieldA dramatically-named “weather bomb” exploded across the UK in the past week, bringing winds gusting up to 144 mph on outlying islands.But despite the cool name these “bombs” are more common than you might think. read more
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