Posts

October 20, 2014

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5:38 PM | It’s cell type differention, not cell fate determination
“…it was only recently (the past 15 years or so) that scientists discovered that a basic set of the same proteins and mRNAs are involved in all of embryogenesis.” This ignores what we described nearly 18 years ago in the...Read more
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5:30 PM | Autocatalytic Network: A Step Closer To Creating Artificial Living Systems
How did life originate? And can scientists create life? These questions have always occupied philosophers and scientists interested in the origin of life, and they impact technology of the future also. If we can create artificial living systems, we may not only understand the origin of life - we can also revolutionize the future of technology. Protocells are the simplest, most primitive living systems, you can think of. The oldest ancestor of life on Earth was a protocell, and when we see, […]
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5:13 PM | New Tractor Beam Can Repel And Attract
A long-distance optical tractor beam can move tiny particles - one fifth of a millimeter in diameter - a distance of up to 20 centimeters, which is almost 100 times further than previous experiments. The hollow laser beam is bright around the edges and dark in its center and it can be used to attract or repel objects. Get ready to control the weather or capture an X-Wing fighter in space - if it's really close, that is. Dr. Vladlen Shvedov (L) and Dr. Cyril Hnatovsky adjust the hollow laser […]
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4:33 PM | Fairness May Be Built Into The Brain - But Fairness Doesn't Mean Equal Income
Is fairness built into the brain? According to a new Norwegian brain paper, people appreciate fairness - but fairness is not that everybody gets the same income, which is sure to concern those who believe all money should be distributed equally. Economists from the Norwegian School of Economics and brain researchers from the University of Bergen decided to try and assess the relationship between fairness, equality, work and money: how brains react to how income is distributed. The team looked […]
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4:11 PM | Please join us for a webinar discussing Neurostars: A Q&A platform for neuroscience
Next week we kick off the fall webinar series, with Dr. Satrajit Ghosh from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Ghosh is a research scientist at the mcgovern institute for brain research and an assistant professor at harvard medical school. He will talk about Neurostars and Biostars. Neurostars (neurostars.org) and Biostars (biostars.org) are sibling question […]
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4:09 PM | We have a new toy in my laboratory…
We have a new toy in my laboratory! It is a rather cool contraption that can link a variety of smartphones to virtually any kind of light microscope to take high quality photomicrographs. It’s called the Skylight and it looks like this: And like this when attached to a microscope. Credit: skylightscope.com And it looks like …
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3:33 PM | Aspirin, Anti-Inflammatory Medicine, Benefits Schizophrenia Treatment
Anti-inflammatory medicines such as aspirin, estrogen, and Fluimucil can improve the efficacy of existing schizophrenia treatments, according to results announced at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology conference in Berlin. Doctors have long believed that helping the immune system may benefit the treatment of schizophrenia, but until now there has been no conclusive evidence that this would be effective. Now a group of researchers at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands has […]
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2:56 PM | Persistent Insomnia and Alcoholism
Sleep problems complicate the treatment and recovery in alcoholism. Heavy alcohol consumption modifies the nature of sleep architecture.A high blood alcohol concentration at bedtime may promote sleep early in the sleep cycle.However, as alcohol levels decline, sleep is often interrupted with limiting rapid eye movement (REM) sleep duration.Shortened total sleep time with alcohol can produce a lack of feeling well rested on awakening.For those with alcoholism or alcohol dependence, […]

Brower KJ, Krentzman A & Robinson EA (2011). Persistent insomnia, abstinence, and moderate drinking in alcohol-dependent individuals., The American journal on addictions / American Academy of Psychiatrists in Alcoholism and Addictions, 20 (5) 435-40. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21838842

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2:03 PM | Caught in My Web: Creepy Animals, Animal Disguises, Pet-Love After Death, and Ebola
For this Halloween edition of Caught in My Web, we check out what the web has to say about creepy animal stories.1. The CDC addresses questions about whether pets can get ebola2. Julie Hecht, the author of Dog Spies at Scientific American blogs explores the love between dogs and their owners from beyond the grave 3. BuzzFeed presents 8 surprisingly creepy animals.4. Dr. Doolittle at ScienceBlogs talks about the eyeless Mexican cavefish 5. Sara Mynott at Saltwater Science, a blog at […]
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12:32 PM | Defending Sick Children
One of the most difficult issues that skeptical physicians face is dealing with children sick with cancer whose parents refuse standard therapy. These cases are always highly charged, because the stakes are extremely high. Obviously the stakes are highest for the child as their life is literally on the line. The stakes are also high [...]
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12:04 PM | Part 3: Implementing the ketogenic diet
This is the last of a series of blogs written about the ketogenic diet. The first two dealt with a historical background to the diet (http://bit.ly/11Q9HWX) as well as some […]
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12:00 PM | The Zen of Presentations, part 66: What do you want your audience to feel?
A common piece of advice for technical presentations is to figure out what your “take home message” is. People will only remember one or two things, to you should figure out what those will be.This is good advice, but it is typical of academics: it focuses on the “head.” It’s a question about information. Lots of people who have thought about presentations have come to the conclusion that if all you are doing is relaying information, there is no point to having a […]
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11:32 AM | Psychiatry Should Switch From Symptom-based Prescriptions To Target-based
Psychology and psychiatry have a big problem - they are trapped in the past. While most areas of medicine have moved beyond symptom-based diagnosis, the mental health community is instead adding new symptom-based diagnoses, and as a result the National Institute of Mental Health has declared that the newest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders should be considered little more than a glossary of terms. To fix that, psychiatry needs to progress from symptom-based (e.g. […]
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11:32 AM | Get A Heart On: Viagra Is Good Outside The Bedroom Too
Long-term daily use of Viagra can provide protection for the heart at different stages of heart disease, with few side effects, according to a new meta-analysis published in BMC Medicine.  Scientists from the Sapienza University of Rome carried out a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials by searching for articles published between January 2004 and May 2014 to deduce the effectiveness of  Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor (PDE5i) in providing cardiac protection, and to find out […]
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10:41 AM | Can prevent workplace bullying before it arises?
One of the most dramatic situations for a worker is suffering workplace bullying by their superiors with all the consequences this has.
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8:37 AM | Decades of lie detection research has been unrealistic
According to decades of psychology research, most people, including law enforcement professionals, are useless at detecting lies. But in a new paper, a team led by Tim Levine argues that nearly all previous research has been unrealistic. The field has been dominated by studies that place the "lie detector" in a passive role, tasked with spotting "tells" leaked by the liar. But this just isn't how deception detection works in real life, say Levine and his team. Rather, the interrogator interacts […]
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8:03 AM | Are emotional processing deficits inherited in alcoholics?
Throughout our blogs so far we have looked at who the vulnerability to later alcoholism is transmitted genetic via family members. The task for science is answering the question – “What exactly is inherited in this vulnerability?” Again via various blogs … Continue reading →
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7:52 AM | Maintaining emotional sobriety (and sanity) via Steps 10-12
Originally posted on The Alcoholics Guide to Alcoholism:When I have did my steps 4-7, noting the situations, the people, the institutions  that have caused persistent resentments in me, then examining what parts of my self have been affected,  I also, thanks to one sponsor was asked me to,  put down exactly what “sins” or…
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6:32 AM | Amenhotep III: Ancient Egyptian Mummies Didn't Have Spinal Arthritis
A systemic disease that causes inflammation in the spinal joints and was thought to have affected members of the ancient Egyptian royal families may have been another condition, according to a new study published in Arthritis&Rheumatology.The authors refutes claims of Ankylosing spondylitis in royals like King Amenhotep III (1390–1352 BC), finding instead a degenerative spinal condition called diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) in royal Egyptian mummies from the 18th to […]
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5:19 AM | The Resource Curse: Science Cities Suffer
I just returned from the Asian Science Park Association conference in Shiraz, Iran.[1] One Science Park official asked me, “Companies in our park cannot get any cooperation from the big petrochemical firms. What can we do?”read more
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3:30 AM | More Electricity In Developing Nations Had Little Impact On Climate Change
Without question American CO2 emissions have plummeted, even after being driven into more coal usage due to political concerns about nuclear energy. Cleaner natural gas made the difference but environmental critics say the energy emissions burden simply shifted to developing nations - poor people can't have air conditioning.  Yet a new study in Nature Climate Change shows that environmentalists don't need to be criticizing the world's poor.  Improving household electricity access in […]
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1:12 AM | The Persistence of Memory
In 1942, Jorge Luis Borges wrote about a boy named Ireneo Funes who, following a horseback riding accident, developed a phenomenal memory. He was able to recall entire volumes (in his non-native language) and recite them fluidly. In contrast to others with hypermnesia (see The Mind of the Mneumonist by A.R. Luria), what made Funes’ […]

October 19, 2014

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7:41 PM | Night-to-night variability of sleep in traumatic brain injury
It's been a while since I've posted something substantial. My apologies to all 20 followers of TQLC. Academia and clinical cases have been taking up most of my time. However, some exciting news! My paper on variability of respiration during sleep in traumatic brain injury (TBI) has recently been accepted into Neurorehabilitation.    In the paper my colleagues and I examined the sleep processes of individuals with TBI using polysomnography. Polysomnography is a tool […]
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7:36 PM | Would you spread the word?
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 I expressed my feelings …
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5:43 PM | DNA Nanotech: The First Large DNA Crystals
DNA is the stuff of life as we know it, but it is the potential as a programmable material platform that could spawn entire new and revolutionary nanodevices in computer science, microscopy, […]

Ke, Y., Ong, L., Sun, W., Song, J., Dong, M., Shih, W. & Yin, P. (2014). DNA brick crystals with prescribed depths, Nature Chemistry, DOI: 10.1038/nchem.2083

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5:30 PM | Attention Cute Robots And Satellites Of Mars: A Comet Is Coming
Image: NASABy Monica Grady, The Open University read more
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5:15 PM | Divide And Conquer: Novel Trick Helps Rare Pathogen Infect Healthy People
New research into a rare pathogen has shown how a unique evolutionary trait allows it to infect even the healthiest of hosts through a smart solution to the body's immune response against it. Scientists at the University of Birmingham have explained how a particular strain of a fungus, Cryptococcus gattii, responds to the human immune response and triggers a 'division of labour' in its invading cells, which can lead to life-threatening infections. read more
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5:15 PM | New Pill-only Regimens Cure Patients With Hardest-to-treat Hepatitis C Infection
(Vienna, October 17, 2014) Two new pill-only regimens that rapidly cure most patients with genotype 1 hepatitis C (HCV) infection could soon be widely prescribed across Europe. Two recently-published studies1,2 confirmed the efficacy and safety of combination therapy with two oral direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs), with around 90% of patients cured after just 12-weeks of treatment.read more
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5:00 PM | Antibiotics Of The Future
Computer simulations show how bacteria are able to destroy antibiotics, focusing on the role of enzymes in the bacteria which split the structure of the antibiotic and stop it working, making the bacteria resistant.  The new findings show that it's possible to test how enzymes react to certain antibiotics and thus design new antibiotics with a much lower risk of resistance, and even to choose the best medicines for specific outbreaks. Using QM/MM - quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics […]
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4:30 PM | Digital Death And The Digital Afterlife: How To Have It And How To Avoid It
Image: the conversationBy David Glance, University of Western AustraliaIn 2012, the UK’s Sunday Times reported that actor Bruce Willis was going to sue Apple because he was not legally allowed to bequeath his iTunes collection of music to his children. The story turned out to be false (and shockingly bad journalism) but it did start a conversation about what we can, and can’t, do with our digital possessions. read more
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