Posts

July 21, 2014

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11:32 AM | You Don't Stop Learning To Read In 4th Grade - Study
Teaching remains more art than science and a popular conjecture that has caught the attention of the education business has been that fourth grade is when students stop learning to read and start reading to learn.  People love to swap terms around that way. But is it accurate? A new paper in Developmental Science says there is nothing special about fourth grade at all, there is no change in automatic word processing, a crucial component of that reading shift conjecture. Instead, […]
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11:29 AM | As a Dream Predicts Lottery Win, and Malaysian Airlines Passenger Posts Eerily Prophetic Picture - Can Dream and Visions Foretell the Future?
The UK press has reported that a judge recently ordered a restaurant owner to split half of a million pound lottery prize with his waiter, because of a dream foretelling the future. The boss of a Turkish restaurant in York, England, bought the winning lottery ticket following a vivid dream experienced by his superstitious employee, predicting the win.
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9:46 AM | The Neurocritic Critiques Critical Neuroscience
I wanted to submit a paper for the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience Research Topic on Critical Neuroscience: The context and implications of human brain research, but I couldn't decide what I should write about.Could I just submit a blog post like Professor of Literary Neuroimaging that critiqued the entrée of fMRI into Literature Departments?“So literature is abandoning Marxism and psychoanalysis in favor of neuroimaging!! Meanwhile, key neuroimagers have taken up psychoanalysis […]
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9:00 AM | Probiotic Plus: Fecal Transplants Let Packrats Eat Toxic Food
Woodrats lost their ability to eat toxic creosote bushes after antibiotics killed their gut microbes. Woodrats that never ate the plants were able to do so after receiving fecal transplants with microbes from creosote-eaters, University of Utah biologists found. The new study confirms what biologists long have suspected: bacteria in the gut – and not just liver enzymes – are "crucial in allowing herbivores to feed on toxic plants," says biologist Kevin Kohl, a postdoctoral […]
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8:29 AM | It's time for Western psychology to recognise that many individuals, and even entire cultures, fear happiness
It's become a mantra of the modern Western world that the ultimate aim of life is to achieve happiness. Self-help blog posts on how to be happy are almost guaranteed popularity (the Digest has its own!). Pro-happiness organisations have appeared, such as Action for Happiness, which aims to "create a happier society for everyone." Topping it all, an increasing number of governments, including in the UK, have started measuring national well-being (seen as a proxy for "happiness") - the argument […]

Joshanloo, M. & Weijers, D. (2013). Aversion to Happiness Across Cultures: A Review of Where and Why People are Averse to Happiness, Journal of Happiness Studies, 15 (3) 717-735. DOI: 10.1007/s10902-013-9489-9

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5:00 AM | Looking For Alien Life? Look To The Oceans
A new paper in Astrobiology says we will need to look to oceans to find life on Earth-like planets. Most computer simulations of habitable climates on Earth-like planets have focused on their atmospheres, but as is easily seen on Venus, the presence of oceans is vital for optimal climate stability and habitability. Their model simulated pattern of ocean circulation on a hypothetical ocean-covered Earth-like planet. They looked at how different planetary rotation rates would impact heat […]
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2:09 AM | More People In The UK Complain About Doctors - Media Implicated
When you get something for free, how much complaining can you really do? Apparently quite a bit, in the UK, according to a new report. There has been a large increase in complaints, which may be due to wider social trends rather than localized issues. A large number of complaints did not progress because the issues raised could not be identified, which suggests that the General Medical Council (GMC) is getting complaints due to a wider complaint-handling system and culture but they are outside […]
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1:28 AM | Facebook research: Harmful or harmless?
Should Facebook be allowed to manipulate users’ newsfeeds in the name of research? This very question has received considerable thought and scrutiny the past few weeks in light of a recent study published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National … Continue reading →
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12:00 AM | Sea Level Rise In Western Tropical Pacific Will Be Caused By Man
A new study indicates sea levels likely will continue to rise in the tropical Pacific Ocean off the coasts of the Philippines and northeastern Australia as humans continue to alter the climate. The study authors combined past sea level data gathered from both satellite altimeters and traditional tide gauges to find out how much a naturally occurring climate phenomenon called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or PDO, influences sea rise patterns in the Pacific.read more

July 20, 2014

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11:28 PM | In Plants, Size And Age Impact Productivity More Than Climate And Rain - Study
The size and age of plants has more of an impact on their productivity than temperature and precipitation, according to a landmark study by University of Arizona researchers. Professor Brian Enquist and postdoctoral researcher Sean Michaletz, along with collaborators Dongliang Cheng from Fujian Normal University in China and Drew Kerkhoff from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, have combined a new mathematical hypothesis with data from more than 1,000 forests across the world to show that climate […]
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8:39 PM | Material Can Extract Radon, Radioactive Elements From Air And Water
 An 'organic cage molecule' called CC3 has been found to separate krypton, radon and xenon from air at concentrations of only a few parts per million.  Gases such as radon, xenon and krypton all occur naturally in the air but in minute quantities – typically less than one part per million. As a result they are expensive to extract for use in industries such as lighting or medicine and, in the case of radon, the gas can accumulate in buildings. In the US, radon accounts for […]
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8:31 PM | 60 Percent Of The Risk Of Developing Autism Is Genetic - Study
A new paper in Nature Genetics finds that nearly 60 percent of the risk of developing autism is genetic and most of that risk is caused by inherited variant genes that are common in the population and present in individuals without the disorder. Although autism is thought to be caused by an interplay of genetic and other factors, there has been no consensus on their relative contributions and the nature of its genetic architecture. Recently, evidence has been mounting that genomes of […]
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7:43 PM | Babylonian Neurology and Psychiatry
A fascinating little paper in Brain examines Neurology and psychiatry in Babylon. It’s a collaboration by British neurologist Edward H. Reynolds and Assyriologist James V. Kinnier Wilson. The sources they discuss are almost 4,000 years old, dating to the Old Babylonian Dynasty of 1894 – 1595 BC. Writing in cuneiform script impressed into clay tablets, […]The post Babylonian Neurology and Psychiatry appeared first on Neuroskeptic.

Reynolds EH & Kinnier Wilson JV (2014). Neurology and psychiatry in Babylon., Brain : a journal of neurology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25037816

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7:30 PM | Using Twitter To Track Lady Gaga - Oh, And Flu
A site called Social Predictor (sociadictor.com) predicts future trends based on the number of tweets, sentiment of tweets, number of news stories and sentiment of the news stories about celebrities and culture. It can also try and predict stock prices or daily sales of a product, based on the chatter related to user-input keywords, such as a stock ticker or the name.The creators said trading strategy based on their model outperformed other baseline strategies by between 1.4 percent and nearly […]
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6:30 PM | Red Planet: Global Geologic Map Of Mars Shows It's Older Than Thought
A new global geologic map of Mars is the most thorough representation of the "Red Planet's" surface, bringing together observations and scientific findings from four orbiting spacecraft that have been acquiring data for more than 16 years. read more
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6:02 PM | Robotic Grasp Gives You Two Extra Fingers
An MIT robotic device is worn around the wrist and basically works like two extra fingers adjacent to the pinky and thumb. A novel control algorithm enables it to move in sync with the wearer's fingers to grasp objects of various shapes and sizes. Wearing the robot, a user could use one hand to, for instance, hold the base of a bottle while twisting off its cap. The robot, which the MIT researchers have dubbed "supernumerary robotic fingers," consists of actuators linked together to exert […]
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5:27 PM | Watching Electrons Jump Between The Fragments Of Exploding Molecules
Ultra-short X-ray flashes have enabled scientists to watch electrons jumping between the fragments of exploding molecules. The study reveals up to what distance a charge transfer between the two molecular fragments can occur, marking the limit of the molecular regime. The technique used can show the dynamics of charge transfer in a wide range of molecular systems. Such mechanisms play a role in numerous chemical processes, including photosynthesis.read more
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4:40 PM | Drugs and Disease: A Look Forward
First published 2/18/2014. Former National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) director Alan Leshner has been vilified by many for referring to addiction as a chronic, relapsing “brain disease.” What often goes unmentioned is Leshner’s far more interesting characterization of addiction as the “quintessential biobehavioral disorder.”Multifactorial illnesses present special challenges to our way of thinking about disease. Addiction and other biopsychosocial disorders […]
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3:33 PM | Antiretrovirals and Pregnancy Risk
Don’t drink when you are pregnant, we all know that you aren’t supposed to do that. We also know you shouldn’t smoke, use drugs, and should talk to your Doctor […]

Mugo NR, Hong T, Celum C, Donnell D, Bukusi EA, John-Stewart G, Wangisi J, Were E, Heffron R, Matthews LT & Morrison S (2014). Pregnancy Incidence and Outcomes Among Women Receiving Preexposure Prophylaxis for HIV Prevention: A Randomized Clinical Trial., JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 312 (4) 362-371. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25038355

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3:00 PM | Combination Drug Therapy Cures Hepatitis C In Patients Co-infected With HIV
A multicenter team of researchers report that in a phase III clinical trial, a combination drug therapy cures chronic hepatitis C in the majority of patients co-infected with both HIV and hepatitis C. "In many settings, hepatitis C is now a leading cause of death among HIV co-infected patients," says Mark Sulkowski, M.D., medical director of the Johns Hopkins Infectious Disease Center for Viral Hepatitis and professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Approximately […]
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2:45 PM | Natural Hormone Trigger For Ovulation Could Make IVF Safer
Researchers have successfully used a new and potentially safer method to stimulate ovulation in women undergoing IVF treatment.  One in six couples in the UK experiences infertility, and 48,147 women underwent IVF treatment in 2011. read more
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2:35 PM | Excitatory GABA
gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, otherwise more commonly known by its acronym, “GABA,” is a primary neurotransmitter of the central nervous system. While most of us may be more familiar with the concept […]
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2:30 AM | Why There's A Bend In The Appalachian Mountain Chain
The Appalachian mountain chain runs along a nearly straight line from Alabama to Newfoundland— 1,500 miles - except for a curious bend in Pennsylvania and New York. Why it bends has been a mystery. When the North American and African continental plates collided more than 300 million years ago, the North American plate began folding and thrusting upwards as it was pushed westward into the dense underground rock structure—in what is now the northeastern United States. The dense […]

July 19, 2014

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11:52 PM | Just a matter of perspective
I should be working on three papers that are almost done, one of them in fact, is accepted with minor changes. This is good. I could also be working on the proposal for my next book; I already have the idea and I think it’s going to be good! I have several work-ish things to …
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11:27 PM | Science 2.0: Big Data And Conservation Efforts
Though there is a deluge of new information about the diversity and distribution of plants and animals around the globe, conservation efforts outside government science remain very firmly trapped in a 1980s world of fundraising and brochures and cultural name-calling. But Big Data in a Science 2.0 environment could dramatically boost conservation efforts and biodiversity if it catches on.read more
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6:39 PM | HIV and Hepatitis C: A New Treatment Coming Soon!!
The old saying it could always be worse might not sound like it would apply to HIV patients. Then again if you had HIV and hepatitis C, that would probably […]

Sulkowski, M., Naggie, S., Lalezari, J., Fessel, W., Mounzer, K., Shuhart, M., Luetkemeyer, A., Asmuth, D., Gaggar, A., Ni, L. & Svarovskaia, E. (2014). Sofosbuvir and Ribavirin for Hepatitis C in Patients With HIV Coinfection, JAMA, 312 (4) 353. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2014.7734

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4:42 PM | Cervical Cancer Assurance: Negative HPV Test May Be Better Than Negative Pap
The human papilloma virus (HPV) is common in humans but it can lead to infection and even cancer so there have been calls to get people vaccinated. 4,000 women will die each year from cervical cancer, which is linked to HPV, and HPV can also cause genital warts and more rare forms of cancer. The two vaccines in use, made by GlaxoSmithKline and Merck, prevent about 70 percent of cervical cancer cases and the CDC estimates that 7,000 HPV-associated cancers might be prevented each year […]
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4:15 PM | We only use 10% of our brains? That’s 100% wrong
Originally posted on Quartz:It’s a common conversation starter to assert that we only use 10% of our brains. In Lucy, the soon-to-be-released thriller about a woman forced to work as a drug mule for the Taiwanese mob, Professor Norman [Morgan…
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4:09 PM | Our Brains as Alien Technology
Our brains are alien technology. We don’t understand how they work, and the glimpses w have gotten so far indicate that our brains work quite differently than our own smart technology. After a century of research, we are just beginning …The post Our Brains as Alien Technology appeared first on Neuroanthropology.
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12:00 PM | Want To Be Happy? Get Some Danish DNA
They say money can't buy happiness. Can genetics? Some people seem to be happy no matter what. If you visit many places in Africa, even when the existence may seem hard to Europeans or Americans, a lot of people are quite happy. The key could be genetics say....economists. Why not economists? We let sociologists and anthropologists make all kinds of claims and they don't understand statistics anywhere near as well as the economists from the University of Warwick Centre for Competitive Advantage […]
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