Posts

August 29, 2014

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6:30 PM | Radioactive Cobalt Detected In A Supernova Explosion
Astrophysicists have detected the formation of radioactive cobalt during a supernova explosion, lending credence to a corresponding theory of supernova explosions.  The article's main author, Yevgeny Churazov (Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences), and  co-authors, including Sergei Sazonov of the Space Research Institute and MIPT, reported the results of their analysis of data collected with the INTEGRAL gamma-ray orbital telescope, which they used to detect the […]
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6:00 PM | Snail's Tales: The Rise And Fall Of The Tibetan Plateau
The rise of the Tibetan plateau, the largest topographic anomaly above sea level on Earth, is important for both its profound effect on climate and its reflection of continental dynamics. For a new study, Katharine Huntington and colleagues employed a cutting-edge geochemical tool - "clumped" isotope thermometry - using modern and fossil snail shells to investigate the uplift history of the Zhada basin in southwestern Tibet. read more
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5:31 PM | Proton-Proton Fusion: Looking Into The Heart Of The Sun
Using the Borexino instrument, located deep beneath Italy's Apennine Mountains and one of the most sensitive neutrino detectors on the planet, an international team of physicists has directly detected neutrinos created by the "keystone" proton-proton (pp) fusion process going on at the sun's core.  The pp reaction is the first step of a reaction sequence responsible for about 99 percent of the Sun's power. Solar neutrinos are produced in nuclear processes and radioactive decays of […]
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5:22 PM | Epigenetic modulation of odor response
Toxoplasma gondii infection reduces predator aversion in rats through epigenetic modulation in the host medial amygdala Abstract excerpt: “These results demonstrate an epigenetic proximate mechanism underlying the extended phenotype in the Rattus novergicus – Toxoplasma gondii association.” Reported as: Parasites...Read more
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5:07 PM | Why Replacing Teachers With Automated Education Lacks Imagination
By George Veletsianos, Royal Roads UniversityThe belief that technology can automate education and replace teachers is pervasive. Framed in calls for greater efficiency, this belief is present in today’s educational innovations, reform endeavors, and technology products. We can do better than adopting this insipid perspective and aspire instead for a better future where innovations imagine creative new ways to organize education. read more
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5:04 PM | How Lamarck Divided the Species
Here is a nugget worthy of readers attention. From Jean-Baptiste Lamarck:In order to avoid ambiguity and hypothesis, I divide the entire known animal world in my first course of lectures at the Museum in the spring of 1794 (the year II of the republic) into two perfectly distinct groups, viz: Animals that have vertebrae; Animals without vertebrae. J. B. Lamarck, Zoological Philosophy. Translated by Hugh Elliot (New York and London: Hafner Publishing Co, 1963), p. 62. 
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4:39 PM | How Wild Rabbits Genetically Became Tame Ones
Why wild animals genetically changed into domesticated forms has long been a mystery, covered by the blanket artificial selection reasoning. A new paper in Science says that many genes controlling the development of the brain and the nervous system were particularly important for rabbit domestication. read more
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3:36 PM | The Social Brain: Weekend Reading Links
The theme for September Brain Posts will be human attachment and social neuroscience research.Here are a series of relevant links to abstracts on this topic that I will be reviewing.All abstract links are to manuscripts that have free full-text access.These highlighted abstracts are culled from over 100 recent publications abstracts I reviewed on this topic.To access the abstract, click on the topic title and you will be sent to the PubMed link.For U.S. readers, Happy Labor Day!The photo on […]
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2:48 PM | Studying Prefrontal Lobe Damage Unlocks Brain Mysteries
Until the last few decades, the frontal lobes of the brain were shrouded in mystery and erroneously thought of as nonessential for normal function—hence the frequent use of lobotomies in the early 20th century to treat psychiatric disorders. A review in Neuron highlights studies of patients with brain damage that reveal how distinct areas of the frontal lobes are critical for a person's ability to learn, multitask, control their emotions, socialize, and make real-life […]
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2:40 PM | The gauntlet has been thrown
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2:22 PM | Junk Food Rats Ditch Balanced Diet To Eat Just Like Obese People
Supersize me: buffet edition. Joanna Servaes, CC BY-NCBy Aaron Blaisdell, University of California, Los Angeles read more
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2:14 PM | 3 Papers Discuss The Molecular Toolkits We Share With Flies And Worms
Although separated by hundreds of millions of years of evolution, flies, worms, and humans share ancient patterns of gene expression and it's all in our genomic data. Three related studies in Nature, tell a similar story: even though humans, worms, and flies bear little obvious similarity to each other, evolution used remarkably similar molecular toolkits to shape them. There are dramatic differences between species in genomic regions populated by pseudogenes, molecular fossils of working […]
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2:05 PM | Learning New Skills: It's All About Flexing The Brain
Learning a new skill is easier when it is related to an ability we already have. For example, a trained pianist can learn a new melody easier than learning how to hit a tennis serve. Scientists from the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC) have discovered a fundamental constraint in the brain that may explain why this happens. Writing in Nature, they say that there are limitations on how adaptable the brain is during learning and that these restrictions are a key determinant for […]
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1:26 PM | Breaking research: A study in fruit flies finds a possible drug target to compensate for symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease is caused by the progressive death of neurons important for movement and results in symptoms such as shaking or rigidity in the limbs, slow movements, and difficulty walking. The primary treatment is a drug called L-Dopa, which compensates for the neuron loss but eventually becomes less effective as more and more neurons die […]

Yun J., Huan Yang, Michael A Lizzio, Chunlai Wu, Zu-Hang Sheng & Ming Guo (2014). MUL1 acts in parallel to the PINK1/parkin pathway in regulating mitofusin and compensates for loss of PINK1/parkin, eLife, 3 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/elife.01958

Diedrich M., Grit Nebrich, Andrea Koppelstaetter, Jie Shen, Claus Zabel, Joachim Klose & Lei Mao (2011). Brain region specific mitophagy capacity could contribute to selective neuronal vulnerability in Parkinson's disease, Proteome Science, 9 (1) 59. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1477-5956-9-59

Citation
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10:48 AM | Rotherham and ‘playing the race card’ – Psychologists investigate whether perpetrator’s race protects against being found guilty. Dr Raj Persaud and Professor Adrian Furnham
Rotherham and ‘playing the race card’ – Psychologists investigate whether perpetrator’s race protects against being found guilty.   Dr Raj Persaud and Professor Adrian Furnham One of the reasons, it is argued, that extensive sexual abuse and child exploitation was tolerated for so long in Rotherham, is that the race of the perpetrators might have […]
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9:09 AM | Replication and reputation: Whose career matters?
©CartoonStock.com […]
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8:58 AM | Funding Research with Ice Buckets and Coffee Money
A world where our health depends on the fickle nature of viral fundraising risks creating more losers than winners.
Editor's Pick
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8:30 AM | The psychology of wearable computing - does Google Glass affect where people look?
Computing eyewear such as Google Glass can record information far more discreetly than a handheld camera. As a result, privacy concerns have been raised, whether in a bar or changing for the gym. Are users of this tech likely to use their new toys responsibly? Early research was promising, suggesting that the very act of recording our gaze may lead us to be extra considerate in where we look. Unfortunately a new study finds that while wearing gaze-monitoring devices may initially encourage […]
Editor's Pick
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3:35 AM | Pseudogenes exemplify past ecological adaptations
Wild Connection: What Animal Courtship and Mating Tell Us about Human Relationships Paperback – June 3, 2014 by Jennifer L. Verdolin Reported as: Are Humans Any Good at Pheromones? By Jennifer L. Verdolin   Excerpt: “…almost all of the genes...Read more
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3:00 AM | Anger Face Is Universal, And It Evolved Because Of Psychology
The next time you get really mad, take a look in the mirror. See that lowered brow, the thinned lips and the flared nostrils? That's what social scientists call the "anger face," and they believe it is part of our basic biology as humans.read more
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2:44 AM | Baby talk: More misrepresentations of ecological adaptations
Evolution’s Baby Steps by Carl Zimmer Excerpt 1) “When organisms find themselves in a new environment, they develop in a way that helps them cope with their new surroundings. Their descendants may acquire mutations that encode that anatomy in their...Read more
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2:00 AM | Aconite: Chinese Herbal Medicine Turns Deadly
There is a reason alternative medicine has an adjective in front of it - it can't survive double-blind clinical trials the way medicine has. But at least it isn't harmful. In most cases. However, aconite, a class of plant that is also known as wolfsbane or devil's helmet and is in a poisonous genus of the buttercup family, recently led to facial tingling and numbness within minutes of ingesting, followed by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain 30 minutes later.  The […]
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1:38 AM | Mental Illness, Sexual Advances and What Women Face
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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1:30 AM | Stuck Fermentation In Wine Triggered By Prions
A chronic problem in wine making is when yeast that should be busily converting grape sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide prematurely shuts down, leaving the remaining sugar to instead be consumed by bacteria that can spoil the wine.read more
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1:00 AM | Malaise: 70 Percent Of Americans Believe Recession Is Permanent
Though the rich get richer and the stock market is booming, which has led to claims by the administration that things are fine, the American public hasn't been this pessimistic about the future since Jimmy Carter was president. Pessimism has instead leaped 40% higher since 2009, when the Great Recession was in full swing.read more
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1:00 AM | The UK Government Is Undermining One Of Its Most Valuable Exports: Education
Credit: Birkbeck Media Services Centre, CC BY-NC-NDBy Gina Rippon, Aston University read more
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12:30 AM | PEBS Neuroethics Roundup (JHU)
Last Edition's Most Popular Article(s): Is There Such a Thing as a 'Good Psychopath'? NPR: The Protojournalist In The Popular Press: Using Light Technique, Scientists Find Dimmer Switch for Memories in Mice, NY Times Scientists Turn Bad Memories Into Good...

August 28, 2014

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11:33 PM | Babies may be good at remembering, and forgetting
Studies in kids suggest that young children can form memories but can’t recall them later, offering new clues to how memory-storing systems form in young brains.
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11:32 PM | Babies may be good at remembering, and forgetting
Growth CurveNeuroscience,Human Development by Laura Sanders 7:33pm, August 28, 2014 A young baby may be capable of forming a memory of nuzzling her soft toy, but she may easily forget it, too.Damircudic/iStockphotoIn one of my earliest memories, I’m wiggling around on the kitchen floor of my childhood home. My mom had just dropped a bunch of oranges for my brother and me to bang around, […]
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9:31 PM | Old Dope, New Tricks: The New Science Of Medical Cannabis
Somewhere in this much-incinerated plant lies valuable medicine: perhaps a treatment for cancer or an antidote to obesity.Prensa 420/Flickr, CC BY-NCBy David J. Allsop, University of Sydney and Iain S. McGregor, University of SydneyMedicinal cannabis is back in the news again after a planned trial to grow it in Norfolk Island was blocked by the federal government last week. The media is ablaze with political rumblings and tales of public woe, but what does science have to say on the […]
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