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Posts

April 20, 2014

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6:24 PM | Genetic Anticipation: Bad News Is Good News For Familial Amyloid Polyneuropathy
In biology, anticipation is the term for genetic diseases caused by an abnormal repeat in DNA that becomes more severe with each new generation. Now there is a twist. A study has found the existence of anticipation in diseases caused by different errors - not a DNA repeat - in fatal neurodegenerative disorder Familial Amyloid Polyneuropathy (FAP).read more
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5:00 PM | New Discovery turns Neuroscience Upsidedown
Sometimes finding out that something established isn’t true is more groundbreaking than finding something new. That is exactly what happened this week when it was found out that the covering that […]

Tomassy G.S., Berger D.R., Chen H.H., Kasthuri N., Hayworth K.J., Vercelli A., Seung H.S., Lichtman J.W. & Arlotta P. (2014). Distinct Profiles of Myelin Distribution Along Single Axons of Pyramidal Neurons in the Neocortex, Science, 344 (6181) 319-324. DOI:

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4:03 PM | EyeWire Laptop Backgrounds
Can’t get enough EyeWire? Enjoy five fresh laptop/desktop backgrounds by our epic designer Alex Norton! Download straight from this post or visit our Flickr page for multiple resolutions. We’d love to see screenshots of your EyeWired Mac or PC!    
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2:42 PM | Reproduce Or Conquer The World? Bacterial Adventures In Theoretical Biophysics
The bacterium Bacillus subtilis is quite adaptable, it moves about in liquids and on agar surfaces by means of flagella and alternatively, it can just stick to an underlying substrate. The bacteria proliferate most effectively in this stationary state, while motile bacteria reproduce at a noticably lower rate.In order to sustain and extend the colony, bacteria primarily require sufficient nutrients. Moving slowly means that nutrients are soon used up, but adventurous bacteria that decide […]
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2:07 PM | Neuroscience is not ready for schools
I don’t believe that children’s education should be experimented with. This is a personal concern of mine. I am dyslexic and entered school in a short period when a drastic change in curriculum had banished all phonetics from learning to read/write. That may work for some students but it certainly did not work for me […]
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2:05 PM | Jonah Lehrer's New Blog
Jonah Lehrer has started a new blog (link here). I am personally of the opinion that he should be given a third (if last) chance.Forgiveness is a virtue known only to humans. Forgetfulness is a still better advantage. I think we all would do well to exercise both more frequently. Am I wrong?
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1:36 PM | Cohort Study - Avoiding Foods Early Leads To More Allergies
A long-term study of a cohort of young people, 12,000 people now six years old, from Iceland to Greece, who have been tracked from birth and whose diets and allergies have been recorded, is evaluating maternal diet’s impact on food allergy in later life is expected to uncover causes of allergy in children.Some pointers are already evident, they note. Compared to the UK, Israeli children typically eat nuts at an earlier age and have fewer allergies, which suggests that such dietary habits […]
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1:04 PM | Happy #420 folks! Here's a #drawing of the #brain and #weed. #sciart #neuroscience #Science #art
via Instagram http://ift.tt/1r3EIy4
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10:03 AM | The Mystery of “Quantum Resonance Spectroscopy”
Can quantum physics help to diagnose schizophrenia and depression? A paper just published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease claims that a technique called ‘quantum resonance spectroscopy’ (QRS) can accurately diagnose various mental health problems. But is it quantum wizardry or magic quackery? According to the authors of the new paper, Zhang et […]The post The Mystery of “Quantum Resonance Spectroscopy” appeared first on Neuroskeptic.

Zhang Y, Liu F, Shi J, Yue X, Zhang H, Du X, Sun L & Yuan J (2014). Exploratory quantum resonance spectrometer as a discriminator for psychiatric affective disorders., The Journal of nervous and mental disease, 202 (4) 287-91. PMID:

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12:54 AM | Book Review: Why science does not disprove God
Why science does not disprove God Amir Aczel Right or wrong, this is one of the best books that I have read in a while. Not that the book is perfect, but it is quite entertaining and thought-provoking. Its main message is that science cannot be used to disprove the existence of God, simply because …

April 19, 2014

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9:53 PM | Scientists Discover Brain's Anti-distraction System
Two Simon Fraser University psychologists have made a brain-related discovery that could revolutionize doctors' perception and treatment of attention-deficit disorders. This discovery opens up the possibility that environmental and/or genetic factors may hinder or suppress a specific brain activity that the researchers have identified as helping us prevent distraction. The Journal of Neuroscience has just published a paper about the discovery by John McDonald, an associate professor of […]
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9:52 PM | New Research Shows People Are Thinking About Their Health Early In The Week
San Diego, Calif. (April 18, 2014) ― A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine analyzing weekly patterns in health-related Google searches reveals a recurring pattern that could be leveraged to improve public health strategies. Investigators from San Diego State University, the Santa Fe Institute, Johns Hopkins University, and the Monday Campaigns, analyzed "healthy" Google searches (searches that included the term healthy and were indeed health-related, e.g., "healthy […]
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9:52 PM | Impact Glass Stores Biodata For Millions Of Years
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Asteroid and comet impacts can cause widespread ecological havoc, killing off plants and animals on regional or even global scales. But new research from Brown University shows that impacts can also preserve the signatures of ancient life at the time of an impact. A research team led by Brown geologist Pete Schultz has found fragments of leaves and preserved organic compounds lodged inside glass created by a several ancient impacts in Argentina. The […]
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9:30 PM | The nose knows: How to pick your friends
We all have that friend. Let's call her Jane. Jane is bubbly and gregarious. Jane doesn't attend a party, she manifests it. She seeks out social gatherings and is enlivened by human presence. Jane is a good listener and has many trusted friends. What can explain Jane's extroversion? The answer, astonishingly, is her attraction to human body odor. 

Lübke, K., Croy, I., Hoenen, M., Gerber, J., Pause, B. & Hummel, T. (2014). Does Human Body Odor Represent a Significant and Rewarding Social Signal to Individuals High in Social Openness?, PLoS ONE, 9 (4) DOI:

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8:25 PM | Brains Anti-Distraction System Found
So once my Grandmother… oh wait sorry, I was distracted while typing. As it turns out I’m not the only one. But there is hope, two Psychologists at Simon Fraser University […]

Gaspar J.M. & McDonald J.J. (2014). Suppression of Salient Objects Prevents Distraction in Visual Search, Journal of Neuroscience, 34 (16) 5658-5666. DOI:

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4:00 PM | Myelin Finding Turns Neuroscience On Its Head
Myelin, the electrical insulating material long believed to be essential for the fast transmission of impulses along the axons of nerve cells, is not as ubiquitous as thought, according to a new paper that turns 160 years of neuroscience on its head.read more
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2:54 PM | No-Till Soil Organic Carbon Sequestration Claims Questioned
During the 20 year span of global warming policy debates, climate scientists have used an estimate of soil organic carbon sequestration rates suggesting that soil organic carbon can be sequestered by simply switching from moldboard or conventional tillage systems to no-till systems. read more
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9:07 AM | Spike activity 18-04-2014
Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Wired has a fascinating interview with psychopath researcher Kent Kiehl. He of the mobile brain scanner. Scanning brain energy could help predict who will wake from vegetative state. Interesting piece on preliminary research covered by The Conversation Contrary to news stories, a recent study […]
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8:00 AM | High-Energy Laser Beams Aimed At Clouds To Control Weather
Optics researchers from the University of Central Florida's College of Optics&Photonics and the University of Arizona are working on a new technique to aim a high-energy laser beam into clouds to make it rain or trigger lightning. They are developing the a technique to surround a primary beam with a second beam that acts as an energy reservoir, sustaining the central beam to greater distances than previously possible. The secondary "dress" beam refuels and helps prevent the dissipation of […]
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6:54 AM | Brain oscillations bind smell to memory
Image credit: Pixar As a foodie, one scene in Pixar’s Ratatouille particularly resonated with me: Anton Ego, the acerbic food critic, takes one bite out...
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6:51 AM | Music Therapy: Religious Music Helps Seniors Reduce Anxiety
A new article reports that listening to religious music is associated with a decrease in anxiety about death and increases in life satisfaction, self-esteem, and sense of control over their lives among older Christians.  The associations are similar for blacks and whites, women and men, and individuals of both low- and high-socioeconomic status.read more
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4:46 AM | Energy Expenditure (Calories Burned) in Anorexia Nervosa Patients
How many calories do patients with anorexia nervosa need to eat to gain a kilo (2.2 lbs)? It seems like a simple question and one that we should have figured out a long time ago, given the importance (err, necessity) of refeeding and weight restoration in recovery from anorexia nervosa. Unfortunately, research in this area has often led to contradictory results (see Salisbury et al., 1995 and de Zwaan et al., 2002 for reviews). Fortunately, a paper by Stephan Zipfel and colleagues […]

Zipfel S, Mack I, Baur LA, Hebebrand J, Touyz S, Herzog W, Abraham S, Davies PS & Russell J (2013). Impact of exercise on energy metabolism in anorexia nervosa., Journal of Eating Disorders, 1 (1) 37. PMID:

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3:43 AM | Alcohol
As a college student I often hear stories from friends and classmates that involve lots and lots of alcohol. Not one to drink, I didn’t really know much about alcohol and its effects, other than what kids are told in grade school. After doing some searching I found out that, not only was there a […]

April 18, 2014

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10:34 PM | 28 Percent Of Morning After Pills In Study Are Counterfeit
Emergency contraceptive pills haven't reduced teen pregnancies or abortions but at least in America those incidents have not risen - in South America, unprotected sex is really taking a pregnancy gamble, even if there is access to a morning after pill. A survey of emergency contraceptive pills in Peru found that 28 percent of the batches studied were either of substandard quality or falsified. Many released the active ingredient too slowly, others had the wrong active ingredient, one batch was […]
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10:33 PM | New Blog…
As you probably noticed I stopped updating this blog. If you’re still interesting in reading my new posts, you can find me at medium. Thanks for all the support/comments so far.  
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10:05 PM | Sun Emits A Mid-level Solar Flare
The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel. To see how this event may impact Earth, please visit NOAA's […]
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9:45 PM | Truth and science – As I suspected
As promised, but I am rather annoyed, so this will be short and a little rambling… I saw this church sign while driving around my neighborhood (I parked my car before taking the picture, AND this is not the church I attend). I did not know what to think (well, I did but I was …
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9:28 PM | Holistic Conservation: Forget 20th Century Claims About People And Species Extinction
The USA alone has more wilderness than the entire continent of Africa does, but the natural world is not the same as it was 20, 50 or 100 years ago.  And the natural world than was far different than preceding generations.read more
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9:09 PM | Sexual Healing in Bonobos
Bonobos have earned a reputation as a “sexy” ape. Sexual activity — in many creative forms — plays a large role in bonobo society. Sexual contacts occur often, in virtually all partner combinations and in a slew of different positions. Read my latest Zoologic post, a Q&A with Emory University’s Zanna Clay about her research looking at how bonobos use sex to break the tension after conflicts: Sexual Healing: How Bonobos Use Sex to De-Stress .
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8:55 PM | The varieties of peer review
I’ve been very pleased with the response to my Neuron article on post-publication peer review. (Read more about the backstory here). The commentary on PubPeer got me thinking some more about the different kinds of peer review. In particular, the topic of pre-print servers like arXiv came up. I noted that arXiv is “moderated by experts”... which sounds kind of like peer review.This lead me to thinking about the continuum from traditional pre-publication peer review to […]
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