March 23, 2015

4:31 PM | Migraine Headaches And Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Linked
Patients with carpal tunnel syndrome are more than twice as likely to have migraine headaches, according to data derived from nearly 26,000 Americans responding to a national health survey. Among other questions, participants were asked whether they had had carpal tunnel syndrome during the past year or "severe headache or migraine" during the past three months. Patients with carpal tunnel syndrome have symptoms such as hand numbness and weakness, resulting from pressure on the median nerve in […]
4:23 PM | Cosmic Building Block Dust From An Ancient Supernova Found
One of astronomy's big questions is why galaxies forming as recently as 1 billion years after the Big Bang contain so much dust. The leading hypothesis is that supernovae, stars that explode at the end of their lives, contain large amounts of metal-enriched material that, in turn, harbors key ingredients of dust, like silicon, iron and more
4:09 PM | Geoengineering: Ocean Pipes Would Make Climate Worse
To combat possible climate change due to greenhouse gases, a mix of alternative energy sources (except nuclear for the United States) and geoengineering schemes have been proposed. One idea proposes that ocean pipes could facilitate direct physical cooling of the surface ocean by replacing warm surface ocean waters with colder, deeper waters. A new study from a group of Carnegie scientists determines that these types of pipes could actually increase global warming quite
4:00 PM | Nova Vulpeculae 1670 - Colliding Stars Explain 17th Century Explosion
In 1670, the greatest astronomers, including Cassini and Hevelius, the father of lunar cartography, documented the appearance of a new star in the skies. Hevelius described it as nova sub capite Cygni — a new star below the head of the Swan — and now it is officially known it by the name Nova Vulpeculae 1670.  It lies within the boundaries of the modern constellation of Vulpecula (The Fox), just across the border from Cygnus (The Swan) and is also referred to as Nova Vul 1670 […]
3:55 PM | Why Alcoholics Anonymous Works
A journalistic piece entitled,  “The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous “, written by  Gabrielle Glaser, also harshly criticizes Alcoholics Anonymous. AA and similar 12-step programs. I cite a blog on her criticisms here (1) Why Alcoholics Anonymous Works “Glaser’s central claim is that there’s no rigorous scientific evidence that AA and other 12-step programs work. First, she […]
3:30 PM | How Safe Is Today's Encryption?
When checking your email over a secure connection, or making a purchase from an online retailer, have you ever wondered how your private information or credit card data is kept secure?Our information is kept away from prying eyes thanks to cryptographic algorithms, which scramble the message so no-one else can read it but its intended recipient. But what are these algorithms, how did they come to be widely used, and how secure really are they? read more
3:24 PM | Chromothripsis: Birth Defects May Be Caused By Chromosome Shattering
In a complex system like the human body, it's no surprise things can sometimes go wrong in development but evolution has made the system rather forgiving. When children inherit chromosomes from their parents, some minor genetic changes frequently occur without consequence but chromothripsis - chromosomal shattering - has been linked to severly affected children of healthy mothers in a small more
3:01 PM | Smoking in Pregnancy and Child Brain Development
Smoking during pregnancy produces significant and diverse effects on prenatal development.These adverse effects include dysfunction in prenatal and early childhood brain development.Hanan El Marroun and colleagues from the Netherlands recently published an important childhood brain imaging study of smoking during pregnancy.One hundred and thirteen children exposed to tobacco during pregnancy were compared to a control group of unexposed children.Both groups of children between 6 and 8 years of […]
2:34 PM | Komodo Dragons: Their Bite is Worse than Their Bark
By Shelly Sonsalla Komodo Dragon. Image by Arturo de Frias Marques on Wikimedia. Komodo dragons are the world’s largest living lizard and can be found only on select islands in the Indonesian archipelago. These massive lizards can grow to be 10 feet in length and up to 150 pounds! Their natural prey includes wild boars, deer, and water buffalo—animals which may outweigh them by several hundred pounds. So how does a lizard, even such a large one, manage to take down prey so […]

Christiansen P & Wroe S (2007). Bite forces and evolutionary adaptations to feeding ecology in carnivores., Ecology, 88 (2) 347-58. PMID:

Fry, B., Wroe, S., Teeuwisse, W., van Osch, M., Moreno, K., Ingle, J., McHenry, C., Ferrara, T., Clausen, P., Scheib, H. & Winter, K. (2009). A central role for venom in predation by Varanus komodoensis (Komodo Dragon) and the extinct giant Varanus (Megalania) priscus, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106 (22) 8969-8974. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0810883106

Merchant, M., Henry, D., Falconi, R., Muscher, B. & Bryja, J. (2013). Antibacterial activities of serum from the Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis), Microbiology Research, 4 (1) 4. DOI: 10.4081/mr.2013.e4

Montgomery JM, Gillespie D, Sastrawan P, Fredeking TM & Stewart GL (2002). Aerobic salivary bacteria in wild and captive Komodo dragons., Journal of wildlife diseases, 38 (3) 545-51. PMID:

1:40 PM | Mind Hacks excerpts x 2
This month, Business Insider have republished a couple of chapters from Mind Hacks the book (in case you missed it, back before the blog, Mind Hacks was a book, 101 do-it-at-home psychology experiences). The excerpts are: 1. Why one of these puzzles is easy and the other is hard – which is about the Wason […]
1:30 PM | Special Snowflakes: Why Some Kids Think They Are Exceptional
Narcissistic children feel superior to others, believe they are entitled to privileges and crave admiration from others.When they don’t get the admiration they want, they may lash out aggressively.Why do some children become narcissistic, whereas others develop more modest views of themselves? We have undertaken research into this question and we found socialization plays a significant role. read more
1:00 PM | Apparently The Frog-pocalypse Is Still A Thing
Lost in all of the hype and hysteria and White House panels on how industry is killing bees is the last indicator species that was being doomed by non-organic pesticides: more
12:30 PM | Does Exposure Enhance Memory? Effect Of Everyday Visual Stimuli Examined
Each day we are bombarded with branding and repetitive advertising. Is it feasible that we dutifully soak up visuals and messages and store them accurately?An experiment tested the concept by examining our memory of the ubiquitous Apple logo and our perceived ability for recall.  Apple has long been a logo recognized the world over and now it is riding a wave of unparalleled fan adulation, with people standing in line for hours just to overpay for phones, tablets and watches and the […]
12:14 PM | Keep up to date with our research…
Click here for our Spring Newsletter 2015
12:00 PM | Evolution Of The Dorso-Ventral Axis In Humans Revealed
Most animals have a dorso-ventral (back-to-belly) body axis which determines the position of the central nervous system - dorsal in humans, ventral in insects. Though there are obviously morphological differences, the same signaling molecules of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) molecules establishes the dorso-ventral axis including the central nervous system in both insects and vertebrates, which led to the conclusion that this molecular mechanism was already present in the common […]
11:50 AM | Autism Self Diagnosis: The Seinfeld Syndrome
A few months ago, during an interview with Brian Williams of NBC’s “Nightly News”, Jerry Seinfled proclaimed that on a very drawn-out scale he fell on the autism spectrum. When […]
11:47 AM | Sting Shows Supplement Regulation Worthless
It seems that the regulation of supplements, homeopathy, and “natural” products in Canada is as bad as the US. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC, the equivalent of NPR and PBS in the US) recently conducted a demonstration of just how worthless and deceptive the regulations are. They created a fake treatment called “Nighton” which they [...]
11:41 AM | Spring Flukes: New 3-Sigma Signals From LHCb And ATLAS
Spring is finally in, and with it the great expectations for a new run of the Large Hadron Collider, which will restart in a month or so with a 62.5% increase in center of mass energy of the proton-proton collisions it produces: 13 TeV. At 13 TeV, the production of a 2-TeV Z' boson, say, would not be so terribly rare, making a signal soon visible in the data that ATLAS and CMS are eager to more
11:22 AM | Mechanism To Delay Aging Identified
As medicine has improved, increasing our ability to treat disease, our longevity has improved as well. The deterioration of the body with age is a whole other matter, though. read more
9:24 AM | Team effectiveness is disproportionately influenced by your group's best performer or "extra miler"
The quality of a team's best performer (the "extra miler") is diagnostic of the group's overall effectiveness.In The Hobbit, fifteen companions come together on a quest for a dragon’s treasure. Traditional team analysis would judge "Thorin and Company" on the sum of its parts: Ori is stalwart, and Dori strongly stalwart, and, ok, Bifur seems stalwart enough … a fairly stalwart team, then. But we’re beginning to understand that single individuals can have a […]
8:22 AM | Entrevista a Dª. Virginia de la Iglesia quien nos habla sobre la alta sensibilidad
Entrevista a Dª. Virginia de la Iglesia, especialista en dependencia emocional, alta sensibilidad y familia tóxica, quien habla sobre la alta sensiblidad. El artículo original está en Entrevista a Dª. Virginia de la Iglesia quien nos habla sobre la alta sensibilidad
8:22 AM | Interview with Ms. Virginia Church on the high sensitivity
Interview with Ms. Virginia Church, emotional dependency specialist, high sensitivity and toxic family, who talks about the high sensibility. The original article is in Interview with Ms. Virginia Church on the high sensitivity
4:48 AM | Massive Amounts Of Fresh Water, Glacial Melt Pouring Into Gulf Of Alaska
Incessant mountain rain, snow and melting glaciers in a comparatively small region of land that hugs the southern Alaska coast and empties fresh water into the Gulf of Alaska would create the sixth largest coastal river in the world if it emerged as a single stream, a recent study shows. Since it's broken into literally thousands of small drainages pouring off mountains that rise quickly from sea level over a short distance, the totality of this runoff has received less attention, scientists […]
4:00 AM | A simple model for growing a brain
Today I had a chance to read a paper by Song, Kennedy, and Wang about their model for explaining how brains are wired up at a high level (explaining how areas are connected, not the detailed wiring of neural circuits). It's very simple, but manages to capture some complicated aspects of brain structure. The goal of the model is to offer some explanation for area-to-area connection patterns across species (humans, monkeys, mice). For example, the human connection matrix looks like this (from […]
2:53 AM | Life-saving Treatments Learned From War Are Being Missed
Trauma is responsible for more global deaths annually than HIV, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Yet healthcare systems in many countries are missing out on life-saving treatments learnt on the battlefield, according to a review by King's College London and published today in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. Medical advancements made by the military in times of conflict, are increasingly seen in the hospitals of high income countries but are being missed in poorer countries, […]

March 22, 2015

11:50 PM | About how we are all sensitive whiney babies nowadays
Oh hey. I was opening up WordPress to say hey guys, writing is not so much  happening these days, because it is GO TIME as far as this PhD thing is concerned. But then I saw the below rant from … Continue reading →
9:58 PM | Albino Tapir Photographed – New on Weird & Wild
In my latest for Nat Geo’s Weird & Wild news, I write about how a camera trap caught a local legend on film – an albino tapir in Brazil’s Atlantic rainforest. To see my whole story, and photos, go here: Super-Rare Albino Tapir Photographed in Brazil.
9:35 PM | Melatonin Allows A Good Night's Sleep In A Noisy Environment
Using melatonin could provide more and better quality sleep compared to using an eye mask and earplugs in a simulated noisy and illuminated environment, according to research published in open access journal Critical Care. This study was carried out on healthy subjects but could have future implications for intensive care unit (ICU) patients. Melatonin is the hormone secreted by the body to regulate sleep, usually in periods of darkness. Synthetically produced melatonin is used to boost the […]
8:27 PM | Canada Could Save Billions Of Dollars With Universal Public Drug Coverage
Canadian taxpayers could save billions by the introduction of a universal public drug plan to provide prescriptions to all Canadians, according to a paper in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Canada is the only developed country with universal health insurance that does not also offer universal prescription drug coverage. read more
7:57 PM | Phase 3 Trial Of Brentuximab Vedotin Shows It Doubles Progression Free Survival In Hodgkin Lymphoma
A phase 3 trial of brentuximab vedotin (BV), the first new drug for Hodgkin lymphoma in over 30 years, shows that adults with hard-to-treat Hodgkin lymphoma given BV immediately after stem cell transplant survived without the disease progressing for twice as long as those given placebo (43 months vs 24 months). The findings, published in The Lancet, are potentially practice changing for this young cancer population who have exhausted other treatment options and for whom prognosis is poor. "No […]
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