Posts

September 12, 2014

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2:43 PM | TEDMED Day 1: Uncertainty, Amazingness, and Upside-Down-ness
TEDMED curator Jay Walker interviews NIH Director Francis Collins.I will replace this with a decent photograph from my actual camera soon...TEDMED D.C. kicked off wordlessly on Wednesday with skilled acrobatics by a pair from the Art of Motion Dance Theater hailing from New York, followed by a soulful performance by Jordanian singer Farah Siraj, who led us on an international musical journey with her talented back-up band.Session 1: "Turn it Upside Down." This session had us re-thinking what we […]
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1:00 PM | Younger Dryas: Microscopic Diamonds Suggest Cosmic Impact Caused It
American cars didn't cause all climate change, no matter what you may have read. Around 13,000 years ago, a sudden, catastrophic event caused drastic climate change and much of the Earth was plunged into a period of cold climatic conditions and drought. This drastic climate change, now called the Younger Dryas, coincided with the extinction of Pleistocene megafauna, such as the saber-tooth cats and the mastodon, and resulted in major declines in prehistoric human populations, perhaps including […]
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12:53 PM | Your Brain Has Got Rhythm Even If You Don’t
Before writing this story, I had never heard the song “Pills” by Bo Diddly, but once I listened to it, I couldn’t help but snap my fingers. I needed a refresher course on beat and meter to figure out the rhythmic organization of the song, but as it turns out, my brain automatically knew the […]
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12:35 PM | Features of Denialism
Denialism is a thing. What I mean is that denialism is a definable intellectual strategy, with consistent features that tend to cluster together. I first wrote about denialism 12 years ago, before global warming denial made the term more widespread. I pointed out that certain beliefs tend to follow the same fallacious arguments – HIV [...]
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12:30 PM | Maternal Age Effect: Molecular Mechanisms Of Birth Defects Among Older Women
Researchers have discovered a pathway that may improve understanding of molecular mistakes that cause older women to have babies with Down syndrome. As women age, so do their eggs and during a woman's 30s, the chance that she will conceive a Down syndrome fetus increases dramatically. Most such pregnancies arise from mistakes in a process called meiosis, a specialized cell division that creates gametes, or sex cells (sperm and eggs). Mistakes in meiosis can lead to gametes with the wrong number […]
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12:30 PM | Why Would Kidney Failure Patients Not Want A Transplant?
Concerns about kidney transplantation are very high among kidney failure patients, particularly older adults and women, but why? There are thousands of patients with kidney failure who lack access to kidney transplantation, and disparities persist in terms of race, age, sex, and other patient characteristics.  That gets a lot of attention but what gets less mention is those disparities are in large part self-created. To improve access, it's important to understand the sources of the […]
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12:00 PM | Fly Life: A day-in-the-life of a fly scientist
… and all you ever wanted to know about fruit flies! Have you ever wondered how fruit fly scientists perform experiments with these tiny insects every day? Since I work with fruit flies, I want to provide a glimpse of the day-to-day life of a fly researcher (imagine you’re a “fly on the wall” in our […]
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12:00 PM | China Shows There's More To Renewable Energy Than Fighting Climate Change
The Tangshanpeng Wind Farm in China. Credit: Flickr/Land Rover Our Planet, CC BY-SABy John Mathews and Hao Tan, University of Newcastle read more
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11:58 AM | Can Psychology Explain What Happened Between Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp?
Although there has been a verdict in the Oscar Pistorius trial, will this satisfy global curiosity as to what happened on the night that Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead by Oscar Pistorius?
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11:22 AM | Of shrinking brains and modern anxieties
A recent piece in Discover magazine highlights research on changes in brain size over the last 20 000 years. Contrary to what you might expect, the findings seem to point to decreasing size up until very recently (the last century or so, when better nutrition and public health measures became available). The article doesn’t mention […]
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8:33 AM | Astrocyte role in gamma waves
The study of the brain has been very neuron centered. Glial cells outnumber neuron by about 10 to 1 in the cortex and are known to be important to brain function but it is not clear just what they do other than some housekeeping tasks and shepherding neurons to their final locations during development. Astrocyte […]

Lee, H., Ghetti, A., Pinto-Duarte, A., Wang, X., Dziewczapolski, G., Galimi, F., Huitron-Resendiz, S., Pina-Crespo, J., Roberts, A., Verma, I. & Sejnowski, T. (2014). Astrocytes contribute to gamma oscillations and recognition memory, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111 (32) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1410893111

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8:23 AM | Psychologists compare the mental abilities of Scrabble and crossword champions
Completed Scrabble (left) and crossword grids (image from Toma et al 2014).Every year, hundreds of word lovers arrive from across the US to compete in the American Crossword Puzzle tournament. They solve clues (e.g. "caught some Z's") and place the answers (e.g. "sleep") in a grid. Meanwhile, a separate group of wordsmiths gather regularly to compete at Scrabble, the game that involves forming words out of letter tiles and finding a suitable place for them on the board.Both sets of players have […]

Toma, M., Halpern, D. & Berger, D. (2014). Cognitive Abilities of Elite Nationally Ranked SCRABBLE and Crossword Experts, Applied Cognitive Psychology, DOI: 10.1002/acp.3059

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7:59 AM | Alcoholism is a Family Disease!
It is so great and very heartening that Dr George Koob, imminent researcher into addiction and Director of the US National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Addiction is so profoundly knowledgeable about the consequences of alcoholism on the suffering families … Continue reading →
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5:14 AM | Testing out a #drawing app with the #brain. More practice to be done when it comes to drawing on my phone. #art #sciart #science
via Instagram http://ift.tt/1rQF1dO
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4:14 AM | Mechanisms that are not understood increase clarity
Science 12 September 2014: Vol. 345 no. 6202 pp. 1240-1241 DOI: 10.1126/science.1252966 Perspective RNA Function RNA and dynamic nuclear organization John Rinn1,2,3, Mitchell Guttman4 Excerpt: “While the mechanism for how lncRNAs establish these domains is not fully understood, it is...Read more
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2:56 AM | Pattern recognition and conserved receptors (TAARs)
Olfactory Receptor Patterning in a Higher Primate The article links the senior author’s prior works form nutrient-dependent RNA-mediated events to her 2005 coauthored work: Feedback loops link odor and pheromone signaling with reproduction. It is surprising to see Nobel Laureate,...Read more
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2:15 AM | Nutrient-dependent erythropoiesis and anemia
A critical role for mTORC1 in erythropoiesis and anemia Excerpt 1): “Cells must coordinate their rate of growth and proliferation with the availability of nutrients. mTOR , a serine-threonine kinase, is one the key proteins responsible for nutrient signaling in...Read more
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2:08 AM | Reflections on TEDMED D.C., 2014: The Big Picture
There's a BLOGGING LOUNGE! So obviously I'm here.Greetings from TEDMED 2014! I type this at The Hive surrounded by the hub-bub, brilliant minds, and countless coffee stations that could only power an event this stimulating. I'm currently eating a Kind bar, chillin' in the Blogging Lounge (yeah, that's a thing here), and keeping an ear open for when I'll be called to get lunch at an event they call TableTalk. There's also a nap station which, as a sleep scientist, I wholeheartedly endorse.We're […]
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12:13 AM | Does fasting improve mental acuity and help you live longer?
Todays guest blog post comes from Dr Devika Garg, a fresh PhD in neurosciences from the National University of Singapore, with a passion for bringing complex science to the public in simple and engaging ways. She has interests in poetry, music, the creative ways neurons function to create complex animal behaviors, and the wonderful way […]The post Does fasting improve mental acuity and help you live longer? appeared first on Your Brain Health.
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12:01 AM | Ebola Crisis In West Africa: Where Did All The Development Money Go?
Health systems aren't sexy. Credit: Truthout.org, CC BY-NC-SABy Sophie Harman, Queen Mary, University of London read more

September 11, 2014

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11:00 PM | Unusual Biochemistry: Fat Proteins Interact Directly With Mitochondria
Researchers have revealed an unusual biochemical connection: ft (Fat) genes interact directly with mitochondria in cells. Mitochondria are the primary sources of energy production within our cells and there are some 200 pathologies linked to mitochondrial dysfunction. read more
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10:52 PM | PEBS Neuroethics Roundup (JHU)
Last Edition's Most Popular Article(s): Where Is The Brain In The Human Brain Project? Nature News In The Popular Press: Could Deep-Brain Stimulation Fortify Soldiers’ Minds? Scientific American Brain-to-Brain Communication Is Finally Possible. It's Just Very Clunky, Vox Woman of...
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10:51 PM | Brilliance Often Springs from Boredom
Every so often, we face a job we dread because it seems exceedingly dull. As a child, I felt that way about household chores—scrubbing a toilet, sweeping a floor, wiping a countertop, weeding. I... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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10:50 PM | "Toward a Jurisprudence of Psychiatric Evidence: Examining the Challenges of Reasoning from Group Data in Psychiatry to Individual Decisions in the Law"
Recently Published in SSRN (and forthcoming in the University of Miami Law Review): "Toward a Jurisprudence of Psychiatric Evidence: Examining the Challenges of Reasoning from Group Data in Psychiatry to Individual Decisions in the Law" Carl E. Fisher,Columbia University -...
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10:37 PM | "The Selective Allure of Neuroscientific Explanations"
Recently published on PLoS One: "The Selective Allure of Neuroscientific Explanations" NICHOLAS SCURICH, University of California, Irvine ADAM SHNIDERMAN, Texas Christian University Some claim that recent advances in neuroscience will revolutionize the way we think about human nature and legal...
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10:30 PM | Captured: The Sound Of An Atom
Researchers have used sound to communicate with an artificial atom, demonstrating phenomena in quantum physics using sound rather than light. The interaction between atoms and light has been studied extensively but making acoustic waves couple to an artificial atom is a newer endeavor. An artificial atom is an example of such a quantum electrical circuit. Just like a regular atom, it can be charged up with energy which it subsequently emits in the form of a particle. This is usually a particle […]
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10:14 PM | Alien Life Search Guidelines Released
Astronomers searching the atmospheres of alien planets for gases that might be produced by life, such as oxygen, ozone, or methane, may be missing the mark - because those gases can be produced non-biologically. Methane is a carbon atom bound to four hydrogen atoms. On Earth, much of it is produced biologically - burping cows are a classic example - but it can also be made inorganically; for example, volcanoes at the bottom of the ocean can release the gas after it is produced by […]
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10:13 PM | Different economies of academic success
From the K-12 system to their undergraduate degree, students are taught that they are operating in a credential economy. What is valued are whether or not you get a high school diploma, a certain GPA, a bachelor’s degree.After so long operating in a credential based system, it should be no surprise that they have trouble comprehending the idea that at higher levels, in post-graduate work, academics are operating in a reputation economy. It’s no big deal to have a doctoral degree; […]
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10:01 PM | Which Patients Are Most Likely To Delay Hospice Enrollment?
Almost 20 percent cancer patients wait to enroll in Hospice until their last three days of life.  Their courage and determination is admirable, Hospice is palliative care, but it shortchanges both patients and their families and a new paper seeks to create a profile for people like to be late admissions. The team examined de-identified data from electronic medical records of 64,264 patients in 12 hospices in the Coalition of Hospices Organized to Investigate Comparative Effectiveness […]
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9:45 PM | Mapping 15 Years Of Carbon Dioxide Emissions
There hasn't been a lot of progress made on greenhouse gas emissions policies - while America and the EU have made efforts to curb emissions, three countries that account for 3X the emissions of the US are exempt from treaties under an umbrella of developing nation status. And neither policy makers nor the public trusts climate science the way they do other fields. What the world needs is globally consistent, independent emissions assessments - and a lot less self-reporting, errors and lack of […]
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