Posts

August 18, 2014

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5:11 AM | The exceptions of biology
Credit: Stanford University I like stating in my lectures that biology is a science of exceptions.  This in no way invalidates the rules; rather, they give us a new appreciation for them.  I have to confess that I love these exceptions.  In a previous post I wrote about organisms that were at the same time …
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2:04 AM | The Mood of Drugs, the Tools Made and Traded
This post is part of a collaborative narrative series composed of my writing and Chris Arnade’s photos exploring issues of addiction, poverty, prostitution and urban anthropology in Hunts... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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1:00 AM | Can psychopathy be treated?
Some psychological conditions receive a disproportionate amount of attention in popular media relative to how frequently they actually occur in the population. One of those is psychopathy, a personality disorder that is characterized by antisocial behavior, impulsivity, and a lack of empathy. Psychopaths may be charming on the surface but tend towards pathological deception and indifferent manipulation of other people. And they are more likely to have behavioral problems or be involved in […]

Polaschek, D. (2014). Adult Criminals With Psychopathy: Common Beliefs About Treatability and Change Have Little Empirical Support, Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23 (4) 296-301. DOI: 10.1177/0963721414535211

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August 17, 2014

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11:40 PM | The Importance of having a healthy brain
Originally posted on Thoughts of a peculiar mind:What exactly is our brain? Well, is a very important organ of our body which controls our thoughts, functions, our movements and pretty much everything.  Without our brain we wouldn’t be anybody; it evens controls our feelings. When we love somebody, that feeling actually comes from our brain,…
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11:00 PM | How Kid Brains Memorize Facts
As children learn arithmetic, they gradually switch from solving problems by counting on their fingers to pulling facts from memory. That comes more easily for some kids than for others and no one knows why but new brain images and a longitudinal provide some clues to how the brain reorganizes itself as children learn math facts. read more
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8:11 PM | Schizophrenia, Autism, and Sensory Processing
“During the last while back I have noticed that noises all seem to be louder to me than they were before. It’s as if someone had turned up the volume. […]
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6:36 PM | Schizophrenia and the Twilight Zone
You are now entering the Twilight Zone. You may remember the television show, with it’s odd twists and turns, but for people with schizophrenia it means something just a little […]

Morris RW, Quail S, Griffiths KR, Green MJ & Balleine BW (2014). Corticostriatal Control of Goal-Directed Action Is Impaired in Schizophrenia., Biological psychiatry, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25062683

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3:07 PM | In Vitro Diagnostic Market Is $54 Billion
The world market for diagnostics was about $54.6 billion in 2013 and is expected to grow 4% annually, to $65 billion, by 2018. That figure in Kalorama's biennial survey of the IVD industry, The Worldwide Market for In Vitro Diagnostic Tests, 9th Edition, includes all laboratory and hospital-based products, and OTC product sales. New technology is leading the charge, according to Kalorama. Diagnostic laboratory technology has changed dramatically due to the publication of the human […]
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2:02 PM | Is Eradicating Polio Realistic?
In a world that is constantly changing, are attempts to eradicate disease realistic?Over 40 years ago, researchers were happy to have a War on Cancer. President Richard Nixon made it a national priority and it came with a lot of funding, so no one corrected what became an obvious point decades and billions of dollars later; you can't cure cancer.Efforts at eradicating diseases may be doomed because of a mismatch between the ways humans structure the world and the ways pathogens move through the […]
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1:00 PM | Winds Blowing May Not Prevent Ocean 'Dead Zones' Growing
By Raquel Vaquer-Sunyer, Lund UniversityThe world’s oceans are plagued with the problem of “dead zones”, areas of high nutrients (such as nitrogen and phosphorus) in which plankton blooms cause a major reduction of oxygen levels in the water. Sea creatures need oxygen to breathe just as we do, and if oxygen levels fall low enough marine animals can suffocate. This commonly happens around coastlines where fertilisers are washed from fields into rivers and the sea, but also […]
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12:06 PM | Two Whacks To Technology’s Dark Side
It’s banal to mention that technology is a two-edged sword. That it solves practical problems and creates new ones. That it makes our lives more comfortable and more complex, and stresses and at the same time sustains our social relationships. Today we’ll go beyond these commonplaces to explore two lesser-known aspects of tech’s dark side: Inequality and unhappiness. Will the dark side prevail? Maybe, but we’ll see glimmers of hope for the team of truth and […]
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11:30 AM | Investigating Soil Moisture Dynamics Using Cosmic-Ray Technology
Soil moisture plays a major role in the environment/climate system because the transport of water within the land and at the land-atmosphere interface is strongly dependent on the state of soil water in a region. Despite its importance, lack of soil moisture measurements at various spatial scales has limited our understanding of how individual physical factors control soil moisture dynamics. AMUSED (A MUlti-scale Soil moisture-Evapotranspiration Dynamics study) is a project that will monitor […]
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8:21 AM | Brain scanning the deceased
I’ve got an article in The Observer about how, a little surprisingly, the dead are becoming an increasing focus for brain scanning studies. I first discussed this curious corner of neuroscience back in 2007 but a recent Neuroskeptic post reminded me of the area and I decided to check in on how it’s progressing. It […]
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7:13 AM | Late night thoughts: Why do I write?
I can’t sleep. In my corner of the world is past 3am. I was reading. Then, out of the blue, I decided to write. Why do I write? Credit: edutech4teachers.edublogs.org I am 49 and change, and I have been writing things intended to be read by people in other walks of life for only the …
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4:30 AM | A little bit of pharmacology: Why do we have to take one medicine every six hours and another one twice a day?
In a previous post I defined what pharmacology is and explored what a dose-response relationship is. Here’s a little bit more of pharmacology. We are all familiar with the various ways in which medications can enter the body: orally, injected, ointments, etc. we are also familiar with the fact that medicines need to be taken …
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3:25 AM | NEURO.tv Episode 11 – Moral decision-making and the brain, with Joshua Greene.
What experiments do psychologists use to identify the brain areas involved in moral decision-making? Do moral truths exist? We discuss with Joshua D. Greene, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and author of Moral Tribes.
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3:01 AM | Quantifying Earthquake Hazards In The Pacific Northwest - It's Complicated
Nearly forgotten research from decades ago complicates the task of quantifying earthquake hazards in the Pacific Northwest, according to a new report.The report focuses on the Cascadia subduction zone—a giant active fault that slants eastward beneath the Pacific coast of southern British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and northern California. Geologic studies in the past three decades have provided increasingly specific estimates of Cascadia earthquake sizes and repeat times. The estimates […]
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2:44 AM | What It Takes: Nine Cents for Drugs
This post is part of a collaborative narrative series composed of my writing and Chris Arnade’s photos exploring issues of addiction, poverty, prostitution and urban anthropology in Hunts... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

August 16, 2014

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11:52 PM | Soy Protein More Effective Than Animal Protein In Preventing Heart Disease - Study
Scientists have known for years that women are protected from cardiovascular disease before menopause, but their risk increases significantly after menopause. Although estrogen is thought to be the protective factor, post-menopausal hormone replacement therapy remains controversial due to the side effects. read more
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11:32 PM | Saturday.
Saturday.
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10:55 PM | Sustainable Fertilizers From Green Energy Waste
Researchers are searching for a sustainable, environmentally-friendlier source of soil conditioner and crop fertilizer that could reduce costs to farmers -  all from renewable energy waste. A collaborative project between Stopford Energy and Environment Limited, the James Hutton Institute, Aqua Enviro Limited and the University of Lancaster builds upon Stopford research looking at using a mixture of digestates, derived from anaerobic digestion, and ash, from burnt biomass, as an […]
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9:30 PM | Ethnoburbs: Is It White Flight Or Creating Neighbord Enclaves?
"White flight" was the term created by sociologists for when people middle-class began moving from poor city neighborhoods to newly created sub-urban communities that were not city apartments and townhouses but not rural either - suburbs. read more
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9:30 PM | Ethnoburbs: Is It White Flight Or Creating Neighborhood Enclaves?
"White flight" was the term created by sociologists for when people middle-class began moving from poor city neighborhoods to newly created sub-urban communities that were not city apartments and townhouses but not rural either - suburbs. read more
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8:45 PM | Hormone Mimics: A New Way To Capture Them
Chemicals known as hormone mimics may damage our ability to reproduce and pollute the natural environment. Now there may be a new way of capturing them.In a laboratory in Trondheim, researchers have managed to create minute particles with some very desirable properties, such as the ability to capture and break down any hormone mimics that have ended up in our waste water. These unwanted chemicals come from the kind of consumer items that make our lives easier and more comfortable. But they have […]
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7:08 PM | How human nature drives the success of #IceBucketChallenge
So apparently the “#IceBucketChallenge” is now a raging social phenomenon. But…why?? Psychological science offers us many insights to quell our collective annoyance and appreciate why this trend has become ubiquitous. Like many people, my Facebook newsfeed this week has been … Continue reading →
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6:01 PM | Running that Red Light? The Complex Drivers of Teenage Risk
You’ve been stuck in traffic forever and are waiting in a long lineup at a red light. The light finally turns green and you start slowly moving, only to find that the light turns yellow as soon as you approach the intersection. Do you go for it and run the yellow (or maybe red!), or […]
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5:00 PM | Is your Stomach… Controlling your Mind?
Close the blinds, lock the doors, and find a safe place to hide. Are you alone? No, no you aren’t and you may not even be in control of your […]

Alcock J, Maley CC & Aktipis CA (2014). Is eating behavior manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressures and potential mechanisms., BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25103109

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1:30 PM | Carbon Monoxide May Prevent Arrhythmia After Heart Attack
A new study has found that carbon monoxide could be used to protect against life-threatening arrhythmias after a heart attack.Restoring blood flow to the heart following a heart attack can leave patients with ventricular fibrillation, a dangerous heart rhythm which puts people at greater risk of sudden cardiac death. Previous research has shown carbon monoxide, which is produced naturally in heart cells, can guard against ventricular fibrillation, however the mechanism behind why this happens […]
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1:26 PM | Can Science Work Without Trust?
What would happen if scientists stopped trusting each other? Before trying to answer this question, I’ll explain why it has been on my mind. Science fraud, questionable research practices, and replication have got a lot of attention lately. One issue common to all of these discussions is trust. Scientists are asking: can we trust other […]The post Can Science Work Without Trust? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.
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1:00 PM | All Our Brains Generate Emotions The Same Way
By Joel N. Shurkin, Inside Science(Inside Science) -- In an analogy many scientists hate, the human brain is often compared to a small, wet computer, functioning in almost the same way as the electronic kind. Two scientists at Cornell University report the analogy might be closer to the truth than anyone thought.They have found an emotion code. read more
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