Posts

December 19, 2014

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5:30 PM | This study of hype in press releases will change journalism
A survey of press releases and their related scientific studies shows that hype may creep from press releases to news coverage. But this doesn’t give anyone at any stage of the news cycle a pass.
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5:06 PM | Dr. Ozvorkian And The Amoebas
In case you are fooled by the title, and are expecting to learn about a retro-metal group with a really terrible name, I apologize in advance. That's not what this is about.At some point during the rancorous comment section that followed my last piece about Dr. Oz,  I promised I wouldn't be writing about him anymore. I lied. Unfortunately, these days there is little downside to doing this. At worst, it will make me slightly more likely to hold a political office in New Jersey.read mor
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4:22 PM | This study of hype in press releases will change journalism
New work shows the inflation of scientific results happens at many stages in the press game ScicuriousScience & Society by Bethany Brookshire 12:30pm, December 19, 2014 A survey of press releases on biomedical studies finds that hype may creep from institutions' press releases about the research into news coverage. But this doesn’t give anyone at any stage of the […]
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4:14 PM | Who am I, exactly? Who are you, exactly?
Originally posted on Baldscientist:“Times change, and so must I… we all change. When you think about it, we are all different people, all through our lives. And that’s okay, that’s good! You’ve gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.” -The 11th Doctor The Time of…
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4:08 PM | Shale Gas Is Here To Stay - Here Are Ways To Keep It Safe And Productive
Though the New York governor recently made a pretense of banning fracking in the state (it was already not allowed) and the California governor said they should do the same thing, they're both being a little hypocritical. New York would have brown-outs without the energy they buy from Pennsylvania fracking and California has no fracking and 50 percent higher utility costs than the rest of the country because they subsidize alternatives and have to buy so heavily on the spot market. American CO2 […]
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3:53 PM | A Vegetarian Carnivorous Plant...Wait, What?
A carnivorous plant is a delight for people because everyone knows plant don't catch and eat animals - except some do. Like us, they need animals for nutrition. Do carnivorous plants also sometimes shake off nature and become vegetarians?  It seems so. The aquatic carnivorous bladderwort, which can be found in many lakes and ponds worldwide, eats little animals but also mixes it up by consuming algae and pollen grains in aquatic habitats where prey animals are rare, and that leads to […]
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3:31 PM | Universal Medicine Uses Google To Silence Critics
An Australian based company called Universal Medicine (UM) has been criticized by various skeptical blogs and groups as being a new age alternative medicine cult. Looking through their website, this seems like a reasonable observation. (The term “cult” is fuzzy, but many of the features seem to be present.) In response to this criticism, UM [...]
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3:00 PM | Diabetes: High Blood Sugar In Young Children Linked To Slower Brain Growth
Young children with type 1 diabetes have slower brain growth compared to children without diabetes, finds a new study in Diabetes. The authors suggest that continued exposure to hyperglycemia, or high blood sugars, may be detrimental to the developing brain. They studied brain development in children ages four to nine years old with type 1 diabetes using structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and cognitive tests to determine if abnormal blood glucose levels impact brain structure and […]
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2:00 PM | W-Band Wireless: High Speed Internet, Outdoors And Everywhere
A European team is working on the world’s first W-band wireless system -  millimeter wave technology for high speed wireless mobile and fixed point Internet - as part of a £2.8 million TWEETHER project.Millimeter waves - found in the spectrum between microwaves and infrared waves - are considered the most promising and cost effective solution for the future. The TWEETHER project will result in a powerful and compact transmission hub, based on a traveling wave tube power […]
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2:00 PM | Parkinson’s Disease Reverted In Rats
Scientists have demonstrated that mobility can be restored in patients with Parkinson's disease, the major degenerative disease of the motor system worldwide. The experiments used stem cells to generate dopaminergic nerve cells and reactivate the production of dopamine in the brains of rats with symptoms of shaking palsy or Parkinson's disease. read more
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1:56 PM | Head Motion Biases Brain Structural Scans
A regular theme here at Neuroskeptic is the worrying issue of head movement during brain scans. We've seen that motion can alter measures of functional and structural connectivity, and that common approaches to dealing with this problem may be inadequate. Now a new study reveals that even measures of the gross structure of the brain can be biased by excessive motion: Head motion during MRI acquisition reduces gray matter volume and thickness estimates. Harvard neurologists Martin Reuter

Reuter M, Tisdall MD, Qureshi A, Buckner RL, van der Kouwe AJ & Fischl B (2014). Head motion during MRI acquisition reduces gray matter volume and thickness estimates., NeuroImage, 107C 107-115. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25498430

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1:37 PM | Guest Post: Ben Allanach, On Open Access
Ben Allanach, guest blogger, is a Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge. He is grumpy about the way that public funds are being unnecessarily directed to scientific publishing houses. So I am offering this space to him to hear what he has to say about that... read more
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1:00 PM | Fly Life: Watching fruit flies sleep
Did you know that fruit flies sleep? There are actually a lot of similarities between sleep in fruit flies and sleep in humans and other mammals. For example… Image modified from Colwell, 2007 Like us, fruit flies get most of their sleep at night, and they also have an afternoon slump (although unlike us, they […]

Potdar S. (2013). Lessons From Sleeping Flies: Insights from Drosophila melanogaster on the Neuronal Circuitry and Importance of Sleep , Journal of Neurogenetics, 27 (1-2) 23-42. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/01677063.2013.791692

Koh K., M. N. Wu, Z. Yue, C. J. Smith & A. Sehgal (2008). Identification of SLEEPLESS, a Sleep-Promoting Factor, Science, 321 (5887) 372-376. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1155942

Liu W., Beika Lu & Aike Guo (2008). amnesiac regulates sleep onset and maintenance in Drosophila melanogaster, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 372 (4) 798-803. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.05.119

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12:00 PM | This Is a Goodbye Post
Some bittersweet news: This is the last installment of Only Human. After two stimulating and fun years blogging at …
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10:05 AM | Our most popular posts of 2014
1. Jailed criminals think they are kinder, more trustworthy and honest than the average member of the public2. The ten most controversial psychology studies ever published3. Happy people think they're good at empathising with the pain of others. They're wrong4. What the textbooks don't tell you - one of psychology's most famous experiments was seriously flawed5. A man's fighting ability is written in his face6. Ten of the most counterintuitive psychology findings […]
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9:39 AM | Interview with Nacho D. Bermejo Bosch, Director of the Institute of Biomechanics of Valencia
Interview with Nacho D. Bermejo Bosch, Director of rehabilitation and personal autonomy in Institute of Biomechanics of Valencia (IBV). Por / By Dr. Juan Moisés de la Serna En Novedades en Psicología - Blog de Psicología con actualidad, novedades y artículos. / In News in Psychology. Blog with news interviews and articles of Psychology.
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9:39 AM | Interview with Nacho D. Bermejo Bosch, Director of the Institute of Biomechanics of Valencia
Interview with Nacho D. Bermejo Bosch, Director of rehabilitation and personal autonomy in Institute of Biomechanics of Valencia (IBV). Por / By Dr. Juan Moisés de la Serna En Novedades en Psicología - Blog de Psicología con actualidad, novedades y artículos. / In News in Psychology. Blog with news interviews and articles of Psychology.
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9:30 AM | Entrevista a D. Nacho Bermejo Bosch, Director del Instituto de Biomecánica de Valencia
Entrevista a D. Nacho Bermejo Bosch, Director de rehabilitación y autonomía personal en Instituto de Biomecánica de Valencia (IBV). Por / By Dr. Juan Moisés de la Serna En Novedades en Psicología - Blog de Psicología con actualidad, novedades y artículos. / In News in Psychology. Blog with news interviews and articles of Psychology.
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12:52 AM | Conserved molecular mechanisms
In RNA-mediated events: chromosomal rearrangements and genomic rearrangements, I wrote: John Hewitt is the only science journalist I know who may have the knowledge required to link bio-physically constrained epigenetically-effected cell type differentiation via Luca Turin’s Molecular Vibration-Sensing Component in...Read more
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12:34 AM | Semester 2 Highlights
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12:20 AM | The Evolution Of Trichromatic Color Vision In Humans
The evolution of trichromatic color vision in humans occurred by first switching from the ability to detect UV light to blue light between 80 and 30 million years ago and then by adding green-sensitivity(between 45-30 million years ago to the preexisting red-sensitivity in the vertebrate ancestor, according to Shozo Yokoyama et al. in PLOS Genetics.read more

December 18, 2014

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11:35 PM | The Origin Of Theta Auroras Revealed
Auroras are the most visible manifestation of the sun's effect on Earth, but many aspects of these spectacular displays are still poorly understood. One particular type of very high-latitude aurora is known as a theta aurora -- seen from above it looks like the Greek letter theta, an oval with a line crossing through the center -- which sometimes occurs closer to the poles than normal aurora. While the genesis of the auroral oval emissions is reasonably well understood, the origin of the theta […]
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11:27 PM | A Line In The Sea: NOAA Picks 'Tipping Points' For Sea Level Related Flooding
Predictions about specific effects of climate change were once common - but they turned out to be spectacularly wrong so there are fewer these days. In 2006, former Vice-President Al Gore said by 2016 it would be too late to do anything, while the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said African farmers would be suffering 50% yield drops by 2020 and the Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035.  Today, the IPCC is more scientific and cautions against attributing specific […]
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11:01 PM | The celebrity analysis that killed celebrity analysis
Most ‘psy’ professionals are banned by their codes of conduct from conducting ‘celebrity analysis’ and commenting on the mental state of specific individuals in the media. This is a sensible guideline but I didn’t realise it was triggered by a specific event. Publicly commenting on a celebrity’s psychological state is bad form. If you’ve worked […]
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10:18 PM | Blame City Life, Not Fast Food, For The Surge In Diabetes
City folk may not think much of rural living - but they are healthier. A new study finds that diabetes, once rather uncommon, is now affecting 387 million people worldwide - and 77 percent of it is in developed nations. The reason is stress, write the authors of a paper in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology&Metabolism. City life - noise, crime and traffic all lead to higher stress and the body producing more of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can counteract insulin, […]
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10:02 PM | Finally, We May Get Instant-On Computers
Computers don't really boot up any faster than they have in decades and that is due to limitations in electric currents (and ignoring the bloated software rolled out after every new chip), which are also a significant power drain. The solution may be on the horizon. A team has created a room-temperature magnetoelectric memory device, equivalent to one computer bit, that could lead to next-generation nonvolatile memory: magnetic switchability, in two steps, with nothing but an electric […]
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7:56 PM | You Can Self-identify With Any Ancestry You Want, But Genetically...
There is a running joke in America that there are three times as many people in the U.S. claiming to be Irish as there are actual people in Ireland.  Though it's nice to claim to be Irish because of a last name, America is a melting pot. And it is so melted that the genetic ancestry of racial and ethnic groups varies significantly even across different geographic regions in the United States. A paper in the American Journal of Human Genetics, researchers analyzed the genomes of more than […]
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7:38 PM | How Will Climate Change Impact Agriculture?
Climate change impacts could mean uncertain transformations of global agriculture systems by 2050, according to a new paper from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. read more
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7:35 PM | Gene fragments linked to brain development and autism
While the anti-vaccine movement enjoys the simple (and very wrong) answer to the cause of autism, there are people who want the actual truth. This drive had lead to a […]

Irimia, M., Weatheritt, R., Ellis, J., Parikshak, N., Gonatopoulos-Pournatzis, T., Babor, M., Quesnel-Vallières, M., Tapial, J., Raj, B., O’Hanlon, D. & Barrios-Rodiles, M. (2014). A Highly Conserved Program of Neuronal Microexons Is Misregulated in Autistic Brains, Cell, 159 (7) 1511-1523. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.11.035

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7:04 PM | No cerebellum? No problem!
What happens when you are born missing 80% of your neurons? Well, pretty much nothing, as it turns out, at least when it comes to those missing a cerebellum. Comprising 70 billion of the brain’s 85 billion neurons (Herculano-Houzel 2009), this hindbrain structure is “the primary center of motor coordination in the central nervous system” […]
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