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Posts

April 15, 2014

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2:20 PM | Whooping Cough Bacterium Evolves In Australia
The bacterium that causes whooping cough, Bordetella pertussis, has changed in Australia - most likely in response to the vaccine used to prevent the disease - with a possible reduced effectiveness of the vaccine as a result, a new study shows. A UNSW-led team of researchers analysed strains of Bordetella pertussis from across Australia and found that many strains no longer produce a key surface protein called pertactin. read more
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12:24 PM | Why We Need a Skeptical Movement
Skeptics tend (as they should) to question everything, even the need for a movement of self-identified skeptics. It is an interesting question – what is the net cultural effect of organized scientific skepticism? Of course, we can’t really ever know the answer to this question. There are too many moving parts. We could point to [...]
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12:12 PM | British Medical Journal Study: Your Psych Meds Can Kill You
Sleep aids are a more than < read more
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12:00 PM | Videos: A (Very) Close Look Inside the Zebrafish Brain
About a year ago I wrote a story about the hottest new animal model in neuroscience: baby zebrafish. …
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12:00 PM | Tuesday Crustie: Hello, world!
World, meet Gramastacus lacus. Gramastacus lacus, world.This is an interesting new burrowing crayfish species. For one, it’s only the second in its genus. Second, it has an unusual way of walking on land. (I started my scientific career doing locomotion, so this fascinates me.)There is a unique forward movement via a series of rhythmic plunges. The crayfish raises the cephalothorax and both claws up with its legs and then moves forward overbalancing and plunges down and forward then […]
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8:00 AM | Consciousness as Social Perception (BSP 108)
Michal Graziano and Kevin (click image to play interview) In his latest book Consciousness and the Social Brain  Princeton neuroscientist Michael Graziano proposes a unique and compelling theory of consciousness. He proposes that the same circuits that the human brain uses to attribute awareness to others are used to model self-awareness. He emphasizes that his attention schema theory is only tentative, but it is […]
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7:45 AM | The biases of pop psychology
I just found this great piece at Scientific American that makes a fascinating point about how pop psychology books that inform us about our biases tend not to inform us about our most important bias – the effect of making things into stories – despite the fact that they rely on it to get their […]
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2:51 AM | Disordered Eating and Athletic Performance: Where’s the Line?
If a person severely restricts his diet and exercises for hours each day, he has an eating disorder. If another does exactly the same but it is because she wants to make the lightweight rowing team (which has an upper weight limit), she’s a committed athlete. When the two overlap, and an athlete presents with eating disorder symptoms, how do we distinguish between the demands of the sport and the illness? I’ve been interested in the distinctions we make between disordered and […]

Werner, A., Thiel, A., Schneider, S., Mayer, J., Giel, K. & Zipfel, S. (2013). Weight-control behaviour and weight-concerns in young elite athletes – a systematic review, Journal of Eating Disorders, 1 (1) 18. DOI:

Martinsen, M., Bratland-Sanda, S., Eriksson, A. & Sundgot-Borgen, J. (2009). Dieting to win or to be thin? A study of dieting and disordered eating among adolescent elite athletes and non-athlete controls, British Journal of Sports Medicine, 44 (1) 70-76. DOI:

Rouveix M, Bouget M, Pannafieux C, Champely S & Filaire E (2007). Eating attitudes, body esteem, perfectionism and anxiety of judo athletes and nonathletes., International journal of sports medicine, 28 (4) 340-5. PMID:

Ferrand C, Magnan C & Philippe RA (2005). Body-esteem, body mass index, and risk for disordered eating among adolescents in synchronized swimming., Perceptual and motor skills, 101 (3) 877-84. PMID:

Citation
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2:00 AM | Raleigh Reflections
Yesterday I ran in the fourth race of my crazy idea to do 12 half marathons in 12 months. The race was in Raleigh, NC, which put out its best spring colors for the occasion. And its pollen. It brought LOTS of pollen. Thanks, Raleigh. Unfortunately, the amazing traffic horror that is Northern VA did […]

April 14, 2014

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11:47 PM | Metasurface Lens: Flat Surface Becomes A Spherical Antenna
An array of tiny, metallic, U-shaped structures deposited onto a dielectric material creates a new artificial surface that can bend and focus electromagnetic waves the same way an antenna does.read more
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11:28 PM | ApoE4 Gene Variant Linked To Higher Risk Of Alzheimer's In Women
Women who carry a copy of a gene variant called ApoE4 have substantially greater risk for Alzheimer's disease than men,according to an analysis of data on large numbers of older individuals who were tracked over time and noting whether they had progressed from good health to mild cognitive impairment — from which most move on to develop Alzheimer's disease within a few years — or to Alzheimer's disease itself.read more
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10:54 PM | Post-Partum Depression Hits Dads Too
Because the majority of prescriptions for depression, are given to women, men don't get a lot of concern, but depression can hit young fathers hard and the symptoms can increase dramatically during the formative years of children.read more
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10:45 PM | Ferns Borrowed Genes To Flourish In Low Light
DURHAM, N.C. -- During the age of the dinosaurs, the arrival of flowering plants as competitors could have spelled doom for the ancient fern lineage. Instead, ferns diversified and flourished under the new canopy -- using a mysterious gene that helped them adapt to low-light environments. A team led by Duke University scientists has pinpointed the curious origins of this gene and determined that it was transferred to ferns from a group of unassuming moss-like plants called hornworts. The […]
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10:45 PM | Plugging An Ozone Hole
CAMBRIDGE, Mass-- Since the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole, scientists, policymakers, and the public have wondered whether we might someday see a similarly extreme depletion of ozone over the Arctic. But a new MIT study finds some cause for optimism: Ozone levels in the Arctic haven't yet sunk to the extreme lows seen in Antarctica, in part because international efforts to limit ozone-depleting chemicals have been successful. read more
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10:00 PM | A Gene Panels Alternative To Whole-Genome Sequencing
Up to 10 percent of women with family history of breast or ovarian cancer have at least one genetic mutation that would prompt their doctors to recommend changes in their care - and it isn't BRCA1 or BRCA2. The women in the study did not have mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2, which are strongly associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, but they did have mutations in other cancer-associated genes and those were found using a multiple-gene panel to quickly and cheaply sequence just a few […]
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9:56 PM | Logan's Run Was Right: After Age 24, It's All Downhill
If you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new paper.   Simon Fraser University doctoral student Joe Thompson, associate professor Mark Blair, Thompson's thesis supervisor, and Andrew Henrey, a statistics and actuarial science doctoral student say this in one of the first social science experiments to rest on big data and they tested when we start to experience an age-related decline in our cognitive motor […]
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8:36 PM | Dogs Benefit Families Of Children With Autism
Should you get a pet? If so, a dog or a cat?  For families of children with autism, the decision may have gotten a little easier. A University of Missouri nurse has studied dog ownership decisions in families of children with autism and found, regardless of whether they owned dogs, the parents reported the benefits of dog ownership included companionship, stress relief and opportunities for their children to learn responsibility.read more
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8:32 PM | Symbiotic Association: Wasps And Microbes Have Been Faithful Allies Since The Cretaceous
Humans depend on microbes for survival. So do most animals and such symbioses can persist for millions of years. Scientists have discovered that certain wasps tightly control mother-to-offspring transmission of their bacterial symbionts. This stabilizes the symbiotic alliance and contributed to its persistence over the past 68-110 million years.read more
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8:00 PM | The Power of Dad
In the 1994 film Junior, a male scientist becomes pregnant and gives birth to a baby girl. It’s a rather ridiculous tale, but if any man could be given the superpower of giving birth, my dad should... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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7:54 PM | The Trouble with Epigenetics, Part 3 – over-fitting the noise
The idea of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance of acquired behaviors is in the news again, this time thanks to a new paper in Nature Neuroscience (who seem to have a liking for this sort of thing). The paper is provocatively titled:  “Implication of sperm RNAs in transgenerational inheritance of the effects of early trauma in mice”. The abstract claims that:“We found that traumatic stress in early life altered mouse microRNA (miRNA) expression, and […]
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7:54 PM | The Trouble with Epigenetics, Part 3 – over-fitting the noise
The idea of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance of acquired behaviors is in the news again, this time thanks to a new paper in Nature Neuroscience (who seem to have a liking for this sort of thing). The paper is provocatively titled:  “Implication of sperm RNAs in transgenerational inheritance of the effects of early trauma in mice”. The abstract claims that:“We found that traumatic stress in early life altered mouse microRNA (miRNA) expression, and […]
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6:47 PM | Against the evidence
I would have thought that the argument was over (but of course this sort of argument never is). I keep thinking that Chomsky and his adherents will have accepted the evidence and moved on but I keep being surprised that they have not changed their theories.   Chomsky has not yet accepted that language has […]
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6:40 PM | Popular Medical Websites Too Complex When It Comes To Colon Cancer - Analysis
 A review of a dozen popular websites found that information on colorectal cancer is too difficult for most lay people to read and doesn't address the appropriate risks to and concerns of patients.read more
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6:35 PM | The Dual Role Of Carbon Dioxide In Photosynthesis
Carbon dioxide, in its ionic form bicarbonate, has a regulating function in the splitting of water in photosynthesis. This means that carbon dioxide has an additional role to being reduced to sugar, according to scientists at Umeå University in Sweden.read more
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5:07 PM | What is the profile of the altruistic between young students?
Much talk about what young people can improve, but there is no doubt that it is at the stage of training much more altruistic shown in helping.
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3:52 PM | Genetically Modified Tobacco Plants As Biofuel
Tobacco is a high-density crop that is mowed several times throughout its cycle and that can be a good thing, because it can produce as much as 160 tons of fresh biomass per hectare. Biomass that is suitable for producing bioethanol.  Smoking cigarettes is bad but renewable energy is good, tobacco just needs some help from science.read more
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3:44 PM | Unstable Singlet Oxygen: A Stable Model For An Unstable Target
Singlet oxygen is an electronically excited state of oxygen that is less stable than normal oxygen. Its high reactivity has enabled its use in photodynamic therapy, in which light is used in combination with a photosensitizing drug to generate large amounts of singlet oxygen to kill cancer cells or various pathogens. read more
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3:13 PM | Persistent Organic Pollutant - Slow Degradation Of The Arctic And Antarctic
Global warming may be a topic of debate and arguments about measurements and models, but some things are measurable right now, like environmental pollutants.  Although persistent environmental pollutants are released worldwide, the Arctic and Antarctic regions are significantly more contaminated with persistent organic pollutants than elsewhere; marine animals living there have some of the highest levels of persistent organic pollutant (POP) contamination of any creatures and the Inuit […]
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3:03 PM | Does Germ Plasm Accelerate Evolution Faster Than Epigenesis?
A new paper suggests that genes evolve more rapidly in species containing germ plasm, which challenges a long held belief about the way certain species of vertebrates evolved.  The results came about as the researchers put to the test a novel theory that early developmental events dramatically alter the vertebrate body plan and the way evolution proceeds. read more
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