Posts

October 27, 2014

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1:41 AM | How To Build A Powerful Antibiotic
Antibiotics are a part of nature, as is antibiotic resistance. A study on how a powerful antibiotic agent gets made in nature solved a decades-old mystery and opens up new avenues of research into thousands of similar molecules. The team focused on a class of compounds that includes dozens with antibiotic properties. The most famous of these is nisin, a natural product in milk that can be synthesized in the lab and is added to foods as a preservative. Nisin has been used to combat food-borne […]

October 26, 2014

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8:07 PM | Alu Transposable Elements and the Human Genome
For those not familiar, transposable or mobile elements are segments of DNA that have, or at one time had, the potential for moving about the genome. This occurs either via […]
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7:58 PM | The Cause Behind Seizures post-Vaccination
The anti-vaccination movement is a dangerous one. Children are falling ill (and in certain cases dying) over nothing more than fear and misinformation. The problem is science doesn’t have all […]

Bjarke Feenstra et al. (2014). Common variants associated with general and MMR vaccine–related febrile seizures, Nature Genetics, Other:

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6:38 PM | Ebola: Guidelines For Clinicians
Though the Centers for Disease Control has been a little confused about dealing with Ebola, Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness has guidelines for volunteers who want to help.  Some are obvious. If you deal with Ebola patients, quarantine yourself for a little while. People in the bowling alley don't need to know right now that you were with Doctors Without Borders and that you just got back from helping overseas. Common sense is needed, though The World Health Organization […]
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6:19 PM | Florida Lizards Evolve Within 20 Generations
Scientists have documented the rapid evolution of a native lizard species as a result of pressure from an invading lizard species introduced from Cuba.  After contact with the invasive species, the native lizards began perching higher in trees, and, generation after generation, their feet evolved to become better at gripping the thinner, smoother branches found higher up. It only took about 20 generations - 15 years - but even within a few months, native lizards had begun shifting to […]
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4:00 PM | Intervention Program Helps Prevent Dropouts, Alcohol And Drug Use In Mexican-American Kids
A family-focused intervention program for middle-school Mexican-American children leads to fewer drop-out rates and lower rates of alcohol and illegal drug use. .  High-school aged youth that participated in the Bridges to High School program when they were in seventh grade were more likely to value school and believe it was important for their future. They reported lower rates of substance use, internalizing symptoms such as depression, and school drop-out rates compared to adolescents in […]
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3:59 PM | The Hippocampus as a Cognitive Map: The Book
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3:01 PM | Cat Dentistry - Vets Want Your Money, But Are Nervous About Bringing It Up
A recent survey found that 50% of final year veterinary students in the UK don't feel confident discussing dental problems or doing oral cavity examinations of small pets. Most vets just dread the idea of seriously discussing feline dental procedures. UK veterinarians Rachel Perry and Elise Robertson have taken it upon thenselves to plug this educational and fee gap and have coordinated a ground-breaking two-part special issue of the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery devoted to feline […]
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2:00 PM | Is NIH policy the best way to sex equality in studies?
A new NIH policy will require females to be studied alongside males in preclinical studies. The mandate comes with both opportunities and challenges, and little funding.
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1:00 PM | Plants Absorb More CO2 Than We Thought, But...
A recent study shows plants may absorb more carbon than we thought. Jason Samfield/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SABy Pep Canadell, CSIROThrough burning fossil fuels, humans are rapidly driving up levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which in turn is raising global temperatures. read more
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12:46 PM | Prediction
Have you ever wondered what you would do if you could see in to the future? It’s right up there with invisibility, flight and super-strength as the super-power that people would love to possess. I don’t mean the type of … Continue reading →
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6:25 AM | Inside an abandoned hospital tonight.
Inside an abandoned hospital tonight.
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1:43 AM | Fright Week: The Waking Nightmare of Lord Voldemort
Nightmares can seem very real at times, but then we wake up and realize it was all a bad dream. Now imagine having a vivid nightmare with all the reality of waking life and then... it turns out you're actually awake through it all!This happened to an 11 year old Italian boy who reported frightening auditory and visual hallucinations of Voldemort, the archenemy of Harry Potter, for three straight days. These hallucinations began after a bout of sore throat and fever (38°C).  […]

Vita MG, Batocchi AP, Dittoni S, Losurdo A, Cianfoni A, Stefanini MC, Vollono C, Della Marca G & Mariotti P (2008). Visual hallucinations and pontine demyelination in a child: possible REM dissociation?, Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 4 (6) 588-90. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19110890

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October 25, 2014

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11:45 PM | Would you spread the word? / ¿Podrías pasar la voz?
Originally posted on Baldscientist:Dear faithful readers, As you know, I usually write about science for the popular public, but I also write about autism from the perspective of a father. Recently, I was thinking about the worry that all of us parents of kids in the autism spectrum feel about their future, and somehow…
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9:35 PM | Can science and evolution be reconciled?
Biology Professor Tells Students: Science and Religion Cannot Be Reconciled Excerpt 1): “Biology is probably the one science where God’s creation is the most obvious and where evolutionary development makes the least sense.” That fact appears to support teaching the...Read more
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9:30 PM | In Overweight Kids, There Are Mistaken Asthma Symptoms - And Overuse Of Medication
When obese children with asthma run out of breath it could be due to poor physical health related to weight, yet it is considered asthma often enough that there could be high and unnecessary use of rescue medications, finds a paper in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.  The researchers reviewed the lung function, treatment uses, symptom patterns, healthcare utilization, quality of life and caregiver perceptions of asthma-related quality of life in overweight/obese children […]
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9:16 PM | Sexual differentiation of cell types in plants
Antheridiogen determines sex in ferns via a spatiotemporally split gibberellin synthesis pathway Excerpt: “Homosporous ferns have evolved a mechanism to favor cross-fertilization by controlling the sex ratio among individuals or prothalli within the population with the aid of antheridiogens. Antheridiogens...Read more
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8:45 PM | Germany’s Green Energy Gamble Could Really Use Some Vorsprung Durch Technik
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8:28 PM | Blood Vessel Transplant From Own Stem Cells - Now In A Week
Three years ago, a patient at Sahlgrenska University Hospital received a blood vessel transplant grown from her own stem cells. Two other transplants were performed in 2012. The patients, two young children, had the same condition as in the first case – they were missing the vein that goes from the gastrointestinal tract to the liver.  Professors Suchitra Sumitran-Holgersson, Professor of Transplantation Biology at The Univerisity of Gothenburg, and Michael Olausson, Surgeon/Medical […]
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6:59 PM | The Oceans Link to Climate Change
Hold on to your hats folks, we can all agree that most of the concerns about climate change have focused on the amount of greenhouse gases that have been released […]

Woodard SC, Rosenthal Y, Miller KG, Wright JD, Chiu BK & Lawrence KT (2014). Antarctic role in Northern Hemisphere glaciation., Science , PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25342658

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6:46 PM | Is the songbird vocal learning pathway specialized for song and independent from other tasks?
First off, I wanted to say I’m working in a songbird lab now, so while I’m keeping this a general neuroscience blog, you’re probably going to start seeing more blogposts about bird brains. So, is the bird vocal learning pathway specialized for song and independent from other tasks? A new paper by the Okanoya lab […]
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6:00 PM | Shutting Off Blood To An Extremity Protects Hearts During Cardiac Surgery
In a new study, researchers have shown that shutting off the blood supply to an arm or leg before cardiac surgery protects the heart during the operation. The research group wanted to see how the muscle of the left chamber of the heart was affected by a technique, called RIPC (remote ischemic preconditioning), during cardiac surgery. RIPC works by shutting off the blood supply to an arm or a leg before heart surgery. The goal is to reduce risk during cardiac surgery in the future. The […]
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5:54 PM | Most Autistic People Have Normal Brain Anatomy
A new paper threatens to turn the world of autism neuroscience upside down. Its title is Anatomical Abnormalities in Autism?, and it claims that, well, there aren’t very many. Published in Cerebral Cortex by Israeli researchers Shlomi Haar and colleagues, the new research reports that there are virtually no differences in brain anatomy between people […]The post Most Autistic People Have Normal Brain Anatomy appeared first on Neuroskeptic.
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5:35 PM | Oxytocin: Bonding, Birth, and Trust
Heralded in the media as a molecular love guru, oxytocin has been publicized as the “hug hormone” and the “cuddle chemical” because of it’s reported roles in promoting positive social virtues like trust, empathy, intimacy, and generosity. While oxytocin may have a hand in these behaviors, the idea that this ancient molecule, originally discovered for […]
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5:30 PM | Climate Change Caused By The Ocean
Focus on greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has led to a lot of confusion among the public: bad storms are caused by global warming but a lack of warming is not. There may be a reason things don't add up, according to a paper in Science. The circulation of the ocean plays an equally important role in regulating the earth's climate, it finds. In their study, the researchers say the major cooling of Earth and continental ice build-up in the Northern Hemisphere 2.7 million years ago coincided with […]
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8:02 AM | Link feast
Our pick of the best psychology and neuroscience links from the past week or so:Brain Games Exploit Anxieties About Memory Loss For Profit – ScientistsA group of over 70 psychologists and neuroscientists has written an open letter warning that the claims of brain training companies are unsubstantiated, and that playing the games could divert people from healthier activities.Free Journal Articles on the Psychology of Violence and AggressionA digital give away from the publishers Psychology […]
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2:50 AM | A wonderful “Thank You” card
Originally posted on Baldscientist:Over the years, several students have surprised me with thoughtful “Thank you” notes, sometimes just to show appreciation for a semester of study or because I wrote a recommendation letter on their behalf when they are applying to grad school, medical school, etc. These kind notes always leave me with a…
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2:34 AM | A model of MHC ‘evolution’
Sexual selection and the evolutionary dynamics of the major histocompatibility complex Excerpt: “Here, we present the results of the first model of MHC evolution incorporating both survival and reproduction, modelling the combined effects of natural selection and MHC-based disassortative mating...Read more

October 24, 2014

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9:20 PM | The Genetics of Congenital Heart Defects Slowly Emerge from Down Syndrome Study
Down syndrome, of all the genetic defects people are born with, is the most common (as far as chromosomal abnormalities go). Down syndrome involves having a third copy of all […]

Ramachandran D, Mulle JG, Locke AE, Bean LJ, Rosser TC, Bose P, Dooley KJ, Cua CL, Capone GT, Reeves RH & Maslen CL (2014). Contribution of copy-number variation to Down syndrome-associated atrioventricular septal defects., Genetics in medicine : official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25341113

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8:52 PM | Is NIH policy the best way to sex equality in studies?
Mandate comes with opportunities, challenges, little funding, and few details ScicuriousScience & Society by Bethany Brookshire 10:00am, October 26, 2014 A new NIH policy will require females to be studied alongside males in preclinical studies in animals and even cells.Jaroslav74/IstockphotoIn many scientific fields, the study of the body is the study of boys. In […]
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