Posts

September 03, 2014

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9:08 AM | Want people to care about the environment? Don't overplay the power of science
When people are presented with a picture of rapid scientific progress, they are less likely to engage in environmentally friendly behaviours. This is the conclusion reached across a series of experiments in which students were presented with a short newspaper article on science's achievements and future prospects.The news article came in two flavours. Participants in the "progress" condition read a uniformly positive perspective, lauding medical advances and new technologies to combat climate […]

Meijers, M. & Rutjens, B. (2014). Affirming belief in scientific progress reduces environmentally friendly behaviour, European Journal of Social Psychology, 44 (5) 487-495. DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.2009

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8:36 AM | An observation-based classifier for rapid detection of autism risk
"Keep clear of the moors"Among the many researchers and research groups admired on this blog for their contribution to the world of autism research, the name Dennis Wall is fast becoming a real favourite. Aside from mention of the words 'systems biology' in his profile at Stanford University, I'm particularly interested in the way the Wall research group are looking at trying to apply machine-learning approaches to things like autism assessment.I've covered a few of their past research reports […]

M Duda, J A Kosmicki & D P Wall (2014). Testing the accuracy of an observation-based classifier for rapid detection of autism risk, Translational Psychiatry, 4 Other:

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September 02, 2014

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4:52 PM | Epigenetics: Taking Control of the Music
When I try to explain epigenetics to someone, I like to use the musician metaphor. Your genes are the sheet music and how your body reads those genes, that is your […]

Müller-Ott K, Erdel F, Matveeva A, Mallm JP, Rademacher A, Hahn M, Bauer C, Zhang Q, Kaltofen S, Schotta G & Höfer T (2014). Specificity, propagation, and memory of pericentric heterochromatin., Molecular systems biology, 10 (8) 746. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25134515

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2:41 PM | Pigeon Gamblers Treat Risk Just Like Humans Do
If you watch poker coverage on television, you probably won’t hear the commentators compare players to pigeons. Maybe they should. The birds don’t play a great game of hold ‘em, but the way they think about risk might be strikingly similar to the way we do. Researchers discovered this by putting humans and birds through […]The post Pigeon Gamblers Treat Risk Just Like Humans Do appeared first on Inkfish.

Ludvig EA, Madan CR, Pisklak JM & Spetch ML (2014). Reward context determines risky choice in pigeons and humans., Biology letters, 10 (8) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25165453

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8:33 AM | The epigenetics of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
"These data are consistent with evidence of multisystem dysregulation in CFS [Chronic Fatigue Syndrome] and implicate the involvement of DNA modifications in CFS pathology". So said the paper by Wilfred de Vega and colleagues [1] (open-access here) which, I think, represents a bit of a first for CFS with their examination of the possible role of epigenetic modifications in relation to the condition(s) [2].Ladies first @ Wikipedia I have to say that I was really quite excited […]

de Vega WC, Vernon SD & McGowan PO (2014). DNA Methylation Modifications Associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome., PloS one, 9 (8) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25111603

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3:46 AM | Unpacking Recovery Part 4: Are We All on the Same Page?
Another issue in defining and understanding recovery is that patients and clinicians may have different opinions about what recovery looks like and how to get there. Certainly, there is a body of literature from the critical feminist tradition in particular that explores how at times, patients can “follow the rules” of treatment systems to achieve a semblance of “recovery,” from a weight restoration and nutrition stabilization perspective, but feels nothing like a full […]

Noordenbos, G. & Seubring, A. (2006). Criteria for Recovery from Eating Disorders According to Patients and Therapists, Eating Disorders, 14 (1) 41-54. DOI: 10.1080/10640260500296756

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3:15 AM | Falsifiability and Gandy’s variant of the Church-Turing thesis
In 1936, two years after Karl Popper published the first German version of The Logic of Scientific Discovery and introduced falsifiability; Alonzo Church, Alan Turing, and Emil Post each published independent papers on the Entscheidungsproblem and introducing the lambda calculus, Turing machines, and Post-Turing machines as mathematical models of computation. The years after saw many […]

Gandy, R. (1980). Church's thesis and principles for mechanisms., Studies in Logic and the Foundations of Mathematics, (101) 123-148. DOI: 10.1016/S0049-237X(08)71257-6

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September 01, 2014

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7:09 PM | The hope behind climate change: adaptation strategies for coastal regions
Happy Labor Day!  In honor of a day traditionally taken off (except for retail employees, unfortunately) to enjoy grilling and relaxing outside, I thought I’d discuss something a bit more upbeat.  Climate change research can often be gloomy.  It is … Continue reading →

Brown, S., Nicholls, R., Hanson, S., Brundrit, G., Dearing, J., Dickson, M., Gallop, S., Gao, S., Haigh, I., Hinkel, J. & Jiménez, J. (2014). Shifting perspectives on coastal impacts and adaptation, Nature Climate Change, 4 (9) 752-755. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2344

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6:12 PM | Assemblages: 50 Years Later, We Know Nothing About Them
You would think we learn about every part of a cell in biology, but we really don’t. Case in point, about 50 years ago, electron microscopy revealed the presence of […]

Toretsky, J. & Wright, P. (2014). Assemblages: Functional units formed by cellular phase separation, The Journal of Cell Biology, 206 (5) 579-588. DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201404124

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12:28 PM | Tracking the Daily Microbiome
Humans are essentially 90% bacteria. These bacteria pepper our skin and hang out in our digestive tracts, helping to break down complex carbohydrates and keeping bad bugs in check. We know how the human microbiome (our collection of bacteria) gets … Continue reading →

David LA, Materna AC, Friedman J, Campos-Baptista MI, Blackburn MC, Perrotta A, Erdman SE & Alm EJ (2014). Host lifestyle affects human microbiota on daily timescales., Genome biology, 15 (7) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25146375

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11:56 AM | New Clues Revealed about the Longevity of Naked Mole Rats
Naked Mole RatCredit: UT Health Science Center at San AntonioThe hairless, odd-looking creature in the photo is a naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber).Among many weird traits, the species also holds the record for longest living rodent. For comparison, the house mouse (Mus musculus) has a maximum lifespan of just 2-3 years, whereas naked mole rats have been recorded to live as much as 32 years!The exact mechanisms behind the species remarkable longevity have yet to be clearly unveiled, […]

Rodriguez KA, Osmulski PA, Pierce A, Weintraub ST, Gaczynska M & Buffenstein R (2014). A cytosolic protein factor from the naked mole-rat activates proteasomes of other species and protects these from inhibition., Biochimica et biophysica acta, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25018089

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8:34 AM | Students with more autistic traits make fewer altruistic choices
Most people with autism have difficulties socialising and connecting with others. It's generally agreed that part of this has to do with an impairment in taking other people's perspective. More specifically, an emerging consensus suggests that autism is associated with having normal feelings for other people, but an impaired understanding of them. Little explored before now is how this affects the behaviour of people with autism towards others who need help.Leila Jameel and her colleagues […]

Jameel L, Vyas K, Bellesi G, Roberts V & Channon S (2014). Going 'Above and Beyond': Are Those High in Autistic Traits Less Pro-social?, Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 44 (8) 1846-58. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24522968

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7:32 AM | Lithium for mood disorder symptoms in autism?
Modern classroom? @ Wikipedia The paper published by Matthew Siegel and colleagues [1] talking about some preliminary observations on the use of lithium where symptoms of mood disorder might be present in cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) caught my eye recently. Concluding that: "lithium may be a medication of interest for those who exhibit two or more mood disorder symptoms, particularly mania or euphoria/elevated mood" the sentiments of more research-to-do in this area […]

Siegel M, Beresford CA, Bunker M, Verdi M, Vishnevetsky D, Karlsson C, Teer O, Stedman A & Smith KA (2014). Preliminary Investigation of Lithium for Mood Disorder Symptoms in Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder., Journal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25093602

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3:25 AM | August lives up to its definition: respected and impressive
The things we noticed in and around canine science over the past two weeks, Storified in one neat location for your convenience:[View the story "Do You Believe in Dog? [16-31 August 2014]" on Storify] Further reading:Feuerbacher E.N. (2014). Shut up and pet me! Domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) prefer petting to vocal praise in concurrent and single-alternative choice procedures, Behavioural Processes, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2014.08.019 Gygax L. (2014). The A to Z of […]

Gygax L. (2014). The A to Z of statistics for testing cognitive judgement bias, Animal Behaviour, 95 59-69. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2014.06.013

Arnott E.R., Claire M. Wade & Paul D. McGreevy (2014). Environmental Factors Associated with Success Rates of Australian Stock Herding Dogs, PLoS ONE, 9 (8) e104457. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0104457

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August 31, 2014

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10:18 PM | Whitman Was Not a Neuroscientist
Do I contradict myself?Very well then I contradict myself,(I am large, I contain multitudes.)-Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself" (from Leaves of Grass)Science is the search for objective truth based on physical laws of the universe. Scientific theories try to explain the consistent and predictable behavior of natural systems. They are generally reductionist, meaning that complex systems are reduced to simpler and more fundamental elements. The principles of physics, for instance, are expressed in […]

Chen, C., Huang, M., Yen, J., Chen, C., Liu, G., Yen, C. & Ko, C. (2014). Brain correlates of response inhibition in Internet gaming disorder, Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, DOI: 10.1111/pcn.12224

Daniel Z. Freedman (1994). Some beautiful equations of mathematical physics, CERN-TH.7367/94, arXiv: http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/9408175v1

Ko, C., Hsieh, T., Chen, C., Yen, C., Chen, C., Yen, J., Wang, P. & Liu, G. (2014). Altered brain activation during response inhibition and error processing in subjects with Internet gaming disorder: a functional magnetic imaging study, European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1007/s00406-013-0483-3

Zeki, S., Romaya, J., Benincasa, D. & Atiyah, M. (2014). The experience of mathematical beauty and its neural correlates, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8 DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00068

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7:47 PM | Mushroom extracts might prevent dental cavities
Recently published research suggests red camphor mushroom extracts might prevent the proliferation of bacteria that cause dental cavities and gum disease.1 * The Taiwanese red camphor mushroom (scientific name: Antrodia camphorata) is a herbal medicine traditionally used for treating conditions such as twisted tendons, muscle damage and liver diseases. Studies using human cells grown in […]

Lien HM, Tseng CJ, Huang CL, Lin YT, Chen CC & Lai YY (2014). Antimicrobial Activity of Antrodia camphorata Extracts against Oral Bacteria., PloS one, 9 (8) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25144619

Geethangili M & Tzeng YM (2011). Review of Pharmacological Effects of Antrodia camphorata and Its Bioactive Compounds., Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2011 212641. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19687189

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6:38 PM | New Synthetic Amino Acid for a New Class of Drugs
Creating new drug molecules is challenging, developing drugs that are highly effective against a target, but with minimal (or no) toxicity and side-effects to the patient can be an exercise in […]

Chen S. Gopalakrishnan R, Schaer T, Marger F, Hovius R, Bertrand D, Pojer F, Heinis C (2014). Di-thiol amino acids can structurally shape and enhance the ligand-binding properties of polypeptides, Nature Chemistry, Other:

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August 30, 2014

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6:54 PM | Direct mind-to-mind communication in humans
Image credit: www.techspot.com Here’s something right out of science fiction: a team of neuroscientists in Spain developed a system that allows a person to transmit the...

Grau C, Ginhoux R, Riera A, Nguyen TL, Chauvat H, Berg M, Amengual JL, Pascual-Leone A & Ruffini G (2014). Conscious Brain-to-Brain Communication in Humans Using Non-Invasive Technologies., PloS one, 9 (8) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25137064

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