Posts

September 29, 2014

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2:40 PM | Epigenetics Of Being Without Electricity For A Few Days
Epigenetics has been used and abused in many ways - can it tell researchers that an expectant mother had no electricity for a few days?In January of 1998, what came to be called the North American Ice Storm of 1998 occurred. It knocked out power for days in cities and weeks in remote areas, impacting up to 4 million people. It was so worrisome that the government, concerned about panic among peaceful Canadians, deployed nearly 25 percent of its armed forces to keep peace in […]
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2:40 PM | Dragonflies and helicopters?
  Somehow I had always thought that dragonflies had inspired the design of the helicopter. However, I can’t seem to find any evidence for this and perhaps it is an urban legend. Here, instead, is an excellent history of the … Continue reading →
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2:32 PM | Family Attachment and the Brain Cingulate Cortex
Healthy family attachment provides a key element for social support and successful interpersonal relationships.Several brain regions as well as hormonal factors appear to modulate positive emotional responses to family members.I have previously reviewed several studies involving the prosocial effects of the hormone oxytocin and the related hormone vasopressin.Nicolas Rusch from the Department of Psychiatry at Ulm University in Germany along with colleagues in Brazil and London recently […]
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2:09 PM | A Constant In A Changing World: Hand Size Keeps Us Grounded
We know our bodies don't just change in size, which makes it an effective metric in a world in motion. Psychologists have found that people tend to perceive their dominant hand as staying relatively the same size even when it's magnified, lending support to the idea that we use our hand as a constant perceptual "ruler" to measure the world around us. To size up the world around us, we need to be able to translate the information that comes in through our eyes into units that are relevant […]
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12:12 PM | How Our Brains Respond to Ambiguous Images
A new study looks at how our brains respond to images of celebrities made ambiguous by morphing two images into one, such as the combination of Halle Berry and Angelina Jolie shown here. The question is – will our brains fire in a way that represents the details of the picture, or will they fire [...]
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11:54 AM | The National Database for Autism Research (NDAR): Playing Favorites in Autism Research
According to their web site (http://ndar.nih.gov/): “The National Database for Autism Research (NDAR) is an NIH-funded research data repository that aims to accelerate progress in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) research […]
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10:15 AM | Do Gambling addicts have emotional difficulties?
The article I reposted yesterday Gambling with America’s health! - mentioned how members of  Gamblers’ Anonymous saw gambling addiction, or gambling disorder, as an emotional rather than financial disease. The addicted person “wants to escape into the dream world of gambling” and “finds he or she is emotionally comfortable only when ‘in action.’” This very […]
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8:12 AM | How Would the FDA Respond If We Had a Drug to Cure Aging? (Guest Post by Kira Peikoff)
The following is a guest post by author Kira Peikoff, a former guest blogger here at NELB, and author of the new book, No Time to Die: In my new book NO TIME TO DIE (Kensington), a young woman has...
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7:52 AM | Bamboozlement theory
September 26, 2014 Why Academics Stink at Writing Excerpt 1): “Why should a profession that trades in words and dedicates itself to the transmission of knowledge so often turn out prose that is turgid, soggy, wooden, bloated, clumsy, obscure, unpleasant...Read more
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7:35 AM | Physics, Chemistry, and Molecular biology (PCMb)
Physics, Chemistry, and Molecular biology (PCMb) link ecological variation to ecological adaptations via a model of gene-cell-tissue-organ-organ system complexity that I first presented in 1992. After adding gene activation by pheromones, I co-authored a book that linked the pheromone-controlled physiology...Read more
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4:11 AM | Some aspects of the evolution of “The First Brain”
Yes, this is yet another post about my book…(:-)… I found some old notes and my first scribbles about the epilogue. I wanted to share them with you… I recently began to try my hand at writing fiction. I have written a story about autism with a science fiction background. If you are interested drop …
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2:04 AM | The Importance of Possessions While Homeless
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

September 28, 2014

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10:18 PM | The Essence of Christopher Gillberg’s E.S.S.E.N.C.E. Theory
“While in the past, child psychiatry had little interest in operationalised diagnosis, recent trends have made categorical diagnosis an integral part of everyday clinical and research practice. So focused are […]
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8:55 PM | Been there done that…or have I? Understanding the phenomenon of Déjà vu
Have you ever experienced that overwhelming sense of familiarity with a place or situation, when it shouldn’t be familiar at all? For example, have you visited a restaurant in a city that you’ve never been to before and had this … Continue reading →
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7:37 PM | The Genetic Evolutionary Arms Race
Genes are tricky little buggers, the stuff that makes us up has fought the test of time to make it to where we are today. It is thought that our genes […]

Jacobs, Greenberg, Nguyen, Haeussler, Ewing, Katzman, Paten, Salama & Haussler (2014). An evolutionary arms race betweenKRAB zinc-finger genes ZNF91/93 and SVA/L1 retrotransposons, Nature, Other:

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5:25 PM | Physics denied; pseudoscientific nonsense accepted
  The events depicted are now portrayed in the context of Genome Dynamics Events, which are biophysically-constrained RNA-mediated events. RNA-mediated events lead to amino acid substitutions that differentiate the cell types of species. For example: “…the so-called alpha chains of...Read more
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5:00 PM | If Trees Could Talk What Tales They'd Tell
Permafrost thaw kills forests in Canada, while drought kills trees in India and Borneo. In the U.S., in Virginia, over-abundant deer eat trees before they reach maturity, while nitrogen pollution has changed soil chemistry in Panama.  Continents apart, trees have many similar ways to die. Many of the changes occurring in forests worldwide are attributable to human impacts on climate, atmospheric chemistry, land use and animal populations - no surprise, writing papers lamenting humanity is […]
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5:00 PM | GABA And Getting Control Over Tourette Syndrome
Tourette syndrome is a developmental disorder characterized by involuntary, repetitive, and stereotyped movements or utterances. New evidence explains how those with Tourette syndrome in childhood often manage to gain control over those tics. In individuals with the condition, a portion of the brain involved in planning and executing movements shows an unusual increase compared to the average brain in the production of a primary inhibitory neurotransmitter known as GABA. read more
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4:00 PM | 325,000 Year Old Stone Age Site In Armenia Leads To Human Technology Rethink
Artifacts from a 325,000-year-old site in Armenia finds that human technological innovation occurred intermittently throughout the Old World, rather than spreading from a single point of origin (usually hypothesized as Africa), as previously thought. read more
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4:00 PM | Spin-Based Computing: Single Material Is Both Semiconductor And Magnetic
Electricity and magnetism rule our digital world but they are really 19th century advancements still being optimized in the 21st. In our current scheme, semiconductors process electrical information while magnetic materials enable long-term data storage but research team has discovered a way to fuse these two distinct properties in a single material.read more
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3:15 PM | Interstellar Molecules Branch Out
Scientists have time detected a carbon-bearing molecule with a "branched" structure in interstellar space. The molecule, iso-propyl cyanide (i-C3H7CN), was discovered in the giant gas cloud Sagittarius B2, a region of ongoing star formation close to the center of our galaxy that is a hot-spot for molecule-hunting astronomers. read more
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3:00 PM | RM 8027: World's Smallest Reference Material
If good things come in small packages, then nanoparticles are going to make engineers very happy. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently issued Reference Material (RM) 8027, the smallest known reference material ever created for validating measurements of these man-made, ultra-fine particles between 1 and 100 nanometers (billionths of a meter) in size.read more
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1:00 PM | Why Ice Sheets Will Keep Melting For Centuries To Come
It may already be too late to stop Antarctic ice sliding into the ocean. Credit: EPABy Eelco Rohling, University of SouthamptonIce sheets respond slowly to changes in climate, because they are so massive that they themselves dominate the climate conditions over and around them. But once they start flowing faster towards the shore and melting into the ocean the process takes centuries to reverse. Ice sheets are nature’s freight trains: tough to start moving, even harder to stop. read
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12:13 AM | Between Homelessness and Psychiatric Hospitals
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

September 27, 2014

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11:07 PM | Water On Earth Is Older Than The Sun
It's no surprise that water was crucial to the formation of life on Earth. What may surprise you is that water on earth is older than the sun itself. Identifying the original source of Earth's water is key to understanding how life-fostering environments came into being and how likely they are to be found elsewhere. A new paper in Science says that much of our Solar System's water likely originated as ices that formed in interstellar space. Water is found throughout the Solar System, not just […]
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8:00 PM | Cryptophytes: Matryoshka Dolls Of The Waters
A team of researchers headed by Prof Dr. Nicole Frankenberg-Dinkel at Ruhr-University Bochum have revealed similarities and differences in the assembly of the light-harvesting machinery of the cryptophyte Guillardia theta compared to cyanobacteria and red algae. Cryptophytes: Matryoshka dolls of the watersread more
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7:00 PM | Sleep Hormone In Humans Makes Plankton Jet Lagged Too
Melatonin, a hormone that governs sleep and jet lag in humans, may also drive the mass migration of plankton in the ocean, according to a report by scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg.  Melatonin, is essential to maintain our daily rhythm, and the scientists have now discovered that it governs the nightly migration of a plankton species from the surface to deeper waters. The findings, published online today in Cell, indicate that melatonin's […]
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6:29 PM | Mechanized Human Hands Improve Function Lost To Nerve Damage
Engineers have developed and successfully demonstrated the value of a simple pulley mechanism to improve hand function after surgery. The device, tested in cadaver hands, is one of the first instruments ever created that could improve the transmission of mechanical forces and movement while implanted inside the body. After continued research, technology such as this may offer new options to people who have lost the use of their hands due to nerve trauma, and ultimately be expanded to improve […]
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6:18 PM | Sometimes choices are not thought out
In some competitive situations animals can produce random behavior rather than behavior based on prior experience. The anterior cingulate cortex is where strategies based on models of reality and history are generated; switching to random behavior is done by inputs to this part of the brain from the locus coeruleus. This was reported in a […]

Tervo, D., Proskurin, M., Manakov, M., Kabra, M., Vollmer, A., Branson, K. & Karpova, A. (2014). Behavioral Variability through Stochastic Choice and Its Gating by Anterior Cingulate Cortex, Cell, 159 (1) 21-32. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.08.037

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5:29 PM | Are Black Holes just in Our Imagination?!
Black holes, physicists have been fighting over them forever, heck there is even a book entitled the black hole war! (which I do recommend for anyone interested) It’s no real […]

Laura Mersini-Houghton (2014). Backreaction of Hawking Radiation on a Gravitationally Collapsing Star I: Black Holes?, Physics Letters B, arXiv: http://arxiv.org/abs/1406.1525v1

Laura Mersini-Houghton, Harald P. Pfeiffer (2014). Back-reaction of the Hawking radiation flux on a gravitationally collapsing star II: Fireworks instead of firewalls , Physics Letters B, Other:

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