Posts

October 25, 2014

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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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8:00 PM | From deep time into real time: What evolutionary processes?
Rapid evolution of a native species following invasion by a congener Abstract excerpt: “…the lizard Anolis carolinensis moved to higher perches following invasion by Anolis sagrei and, in response, adaptively evolved larger toepads after only 20 generations.” My comment: This...Read more
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7:26 PM | Spike activity 24-10-2014
Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: A Victorian lunatic asylum begins to reveal its secrets. The Wellcome Library now has the first of many digitised asylum records online. Narratively has an excellent piece on legendary San Francisco eccentric Emperor Norton. The marketers latest fad – make it seem it’s a […]
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6:31 PM | Erupting Bardarbunga Volcano In Iceland Sits On A Massive Magma Hot Spot
 Massive amounts of erupting lava have connected with the fall of civilizations, the destruction of supercontinents and dramatic changes in climate and ecosystems.  Since August 31st, Bárðarbunga volcano in central Iceland has been spewing spectacular amounts of lava. A new paper finds that high mantle temperatures miles beneath the Earth's surface are essential for generating such large amounts of magma - and  Bárðarbunga volcano lies directly above the […]
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6:30 PM | Ebola's Evolutionary Roots Are Ancient
Though Ebola tends to occur in waves, the filoviruses family to which Ebola and its lethal relative Marburg belong, are at least 16 million years old. Filoviruses likely existed in the Miocene Epoch, and at that time, the evolutionary lines leading to Ebola and Marburg had already diverged, according to a paper inl PeerJ. It was once believed that the viruses only came into being some 10,000 years ago, coinciding with the rise of agriculture but now it is believed to have developed at the time […]
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5:54 PM | Genetically Modified Stem Cells Kill Brain Tumors
There may soon be a new way to use stem cells in the fight against brain cancer. A team has created a way to genetically engineer stem cells so that they can produce and secrete tumor-killing toxins that eradicate cancer cells remaining in mouse brains after their main tumor has been removed. The stem cells are placed at the site encapsulated in a biodegradable gel. This method solves the delivery issue that probably led to the failure of recent clinical trials aimed at delivering purified […]
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5:52 PM | How Do Children Learn to Read? Structural Changes in the Brain
Ka-Ka-Ka-r-r-r-et-et-et: Carrot. For parents helping their children learn to read, sounding out words like that is a daily occurrence. Letter-by-letter, syllable-by-syllable, kids make the sounds before thinking about the meaning of the words. As they become reading proficient, they can recognize the words without this painstaking process. The path that children take to reading proficiency […]
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5:38 PM | Preventing Murder: 3 Ways To Predict Who Will Become A Killer
Right now, the police can't do much to help you until after a crime has been committed. In a science-fiction tale about free will and psychological determinism, Philip K. Dick's "Minority Report" detailed a world where PreCrime officers stop acts before they happen. They know who is going to do it. But psychic mutants are a simplistic convention, criminologists have instead been trying to do it in the real world.read more
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5:30 PM | Smart Aquaculture Outsmarts Climate Change
El Niño is nothing new for fishers. Long before it was being used as evidence of climate change, fisheries management experts knew they would have to adjust, just like they will have to adjust this year. A new study shows how smart fisheries management overcame expected detrimental effects of coral reef fisheries impacted by the 1997/98 El Niño.read more
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5:29 PM | 2 OPEN-RANK TENURE-TRACK FACULTY POSITIONS IN SPEECH AND HEARING SCIENCE AT ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY
The Department of Speech and Hearing Science at Arizona State University, Tempe Campus, invites applicants with expertise in communication disorders and related disciplines to apply for two open-rank tenure-track faculty positions starting August, 2015. For the first position, we are seeking candidates whose areas of expertise will complement and augment our current research strengths in psychoacoustics, cochlear implants, auditory neurophysiology and pediatrics. Candidates with research […]
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4:00 PM | Oldest Modern Genome From Human Bone Reveals When We Bred With Neanderthals
The femur that led to the oldest modern human genome. Credit: Bence Viola, MPI EVABy Daniel Zadik, University of LeicesterWhen a human bone was found on a gravelly riverbank by a bone-carver who was searching for mammoth ivory, little did he know it would provide the oldest modern-human genome yet sequenced. The anatomically modern male thigh-bone, found near the town of Ust’-Ishim in south-western Siberia, has been radiocarbon-dated to around 45,000 years old. read more
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3:53 PM | Embodied or Symbolic? Who cares!
I still don't understand the hype over embodied cognition. It's too abstract a concept for me, I guess.  I need more grounding in the real world. (Am I getting it?) So let's consider a real world example of neural computation. For the record, this is partially excerpted/paraphrased from a discussion in The Myth of Mirror Neurons. Sound localization in the barn owl is fairly well-understood in neurocomputational terms.  Inputs from the two ears converge in the brainstem's nucleus […]
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3:29 PM | Breaking Research: WIDE AWAKE is a newly identified gene that explains how we become sleepy at night
The body’s biological clock is responsible for keeping track of time and synchronizing behavior with the environment, so that you feel alert during daylight hours and sleepy at night. This biological clock (also called the circadian clock or circadian rhythms) consists of three major parts: The central pacemaker, which oscillates with a period of about […]

Liu S., Qili Liu, Masashi Tabuchi, Yong Yang, Melissa Fowler, Rajnish Bharadwaj, Julia Zhang, Joseph Bedont, Seth Blackshaw & Thomas E. Lloyd & (2014). WIDE AWAKE Mediates the Circadian Timing of Sleep Onset, Neuron, 82 (1) 151-166. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2014.01.040

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3:09 PM | MOOC “Las preguntas de PISA y TIMSS: una práctica para el aula”
Curso online masivo GRATUITO del Instituto Nacional de Evaluación Educativa titulado "Las preguntas de PISA y TIMSS: una práctica para el aula".
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3:07 PM | I used to run a neuroblog, now I just sit back, shew people away...
I used to run a neuroblog, now I just sit back, shew people away and complain. 
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3:00 PM | Journalists Need A Point Of View If They Want To Stay Relevant
By Jay Rosen, New York University read more
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2:50 PM | The Many Interacting Worlds Hypothesis
Howard Wiseman, a theoretical quantum physicist at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, and his colleagues have come up with an entirely new theory to explain the weird behavior of particles at the quantum level. The idea is that quantum effects result from classical universes interacting with each other. Classical physics is essentially the physics of [...]
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2:00 PM | ASTEROIDS Act: Who Owns Space?
Capturing an asteroid. Credit: NASABy Monica Grady, The Open University read more
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1:27 PM | Home, Workplace, Tomb – Fury And The Reality Of The World War II Tank
Shia LaBeouf, Brad Pitt and more less cramped outside their tank in Fury. image by Sony PicturesBy Clifford Williamson, Bath Spa UniversityThe latest corner of World War II to be dramatized for the big screen is small. Cramped, even. In Fury, starring Brad Pitt and Shia leBeouf, we follow the story of five American soldiers, a crew serving in one tank in Germany, 1945. read more
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1:25 PM | Seeing clearly
Why do we not notice the limitations of our eyes and any time lag in perception? A recent paper by A. Herwig which was reported in ScienceDaily (here) looks at the mechanics of vision. Only one portion of the retina has detailed vision, the fovea. If we hold our arm out, a bit about the […]
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