Posts

March 24, 2015

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7:07 PM | The Rise of Evolutionary Biology Can Be Attributed To … A Harry Potter Character?
As mentioned in my previous post, the Modern Synthesis of evolutionary biology during the 1930s and 1940s was the result of combining different fields, such as systematics, genetics and paleontology. The genetic piece of the evo-puzzle was put in place by Theodosius Dobzhansky, who wrote the influential Genetics and the Origin of Species in 1937. He is […]

Kleinman, K. (2012). Systematics and the Origin of Species from the Viewpoint of a Botanist: Edgar Anderson Prepares the 1941 Jesup Lectures with Ernst Mayr, Journal of the History of Biology, 46 (1) 73-101. DOI: 10.1007/s10739-012-9325-9

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6:36 PM | FDA struggles to define what “natural” means for food labels
After decades of debate there remains no generally accepted definition of a “natural” food product. Despite a gamut of products with the label prominently displayed, it has caused a headache in lawsuits for the government who have yet to define “natural”. According to new research, while regulatory agencies have refused to settle the issue, they […]

Petty, R. (2014). “Natural” Claims in Food Advertising: Policy Implications of Filling the Regulatory Void with Consumer Class Action Lawsuits, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1509/jppm.14.147

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5:44 PM | Milk, not just for your bones, for your brain
Milk, depending on who you ask it’s either great or the devil. In the US drinking milk is common; not so much in other parts of the world. This has lead to questions about why we even drink milk and how real its reported health claims actually are. Well new research has found a correlation between […]

Choi, I., Lee, P., Denney, D., Spaeth, K., Nast, O., Ptomey, L., Roth, A., Lierman, J. & Sullivan, D. (2014). Dairy intake is associated with brain glutathione concentration in older adults, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 101 (2) 287-293. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.114.096701

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1:26 PM | Can We Interpret Smoking Habits in Historic Skeletal Remains?
This semester I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to teach an introductory archaeology course that I designed from scratch. This week of teaching is definitely my favorite […]

Walker, D. & Henderson, M. (2010). Smoking and health in London's East End in the first half of the 19th century, Post-Medieval Archaeology, 44 (1) 209-222. DOI: 10.1179/174581310X12662382629373

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9:37 AM | More extremes of a limiting diet and autism
In a previous post a while back, I discussed some examples in the peer-reviewed literature of where a self-limiting diet in the extreme can lead to with autism in mind. Today, I'm adding a further example of what food faddism might mean, to further forward the point that "a low threshold for vitamin level testing should be undertaken in autistic spectrum disorder cases, highlighting the importance of enquiring about dietary habits."That last quote comes from the paper in question by Emma […]

Duignan, E., Kenna, P., Watson, R., Fitzsimon, S. & Brosnahan, D. (2015). Ophthalmic Manifestations of Vitamin A and D Deficiency in Two Autistic Teenagers: Case Reports and a Review of the Literature, Case Reports in Ophthalmology, 6 (1) 24-29. DOI: 10.1159/000373921

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March 23, 2015

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7:02 PM | The neurological basis for anorexia nervosa
Most of us know about dieting, and if not first hand, have seen in the news or from friends how hard sticking to a diet long-term can be. This is because adults (regardless of their weight_ resolve to lose weight. Yet, more often than not, that chocolate lava cake is too enticing and that resolve vanishes. This behavior […]

Wierenga, C., Bischoff-Grethe, A., Melrose, A., Irvine, Z., Torres, L., Bailer, U., Simmons, A., Fudge, J., McClure, S., Ely, A. & Kaye, W. (2015). Hunger Does Not Motivate Reward in Women Remitted from Anorexia Nervosa, Biological Psychiatry, 77 (7) 642-652. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.09.024

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2:34 PM | Komodo Dragons: Their Bite is Worse than Their Bark
By Shelly Sonsalla Komodo Dragon. Image by Arturo de Frias Marques on Wikimedia. Komodo dragons are the world’s largest living lizard and can be found only on select islands in the Indonesian archipelago. These massive lizards can grow to be 10 feet in length and up to 150 pounds! Their natural prey includes wild boars, deer, and water buffalo—animals which may outweigh them by several hundred pounds. So how does a lizard, even such a large one, manage to take down prey so […]

Christiansen P & Wroe S (2007). Bite forces and evolutionary adaptations to feeding ecology in carnivores., Ecology, 88 (2) 347-58. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17479753

Fry, B., Wroe, S., Teeuwisse, W., van Osch, M., Moreno, K., Ingle, J., McHenry, C., Ferrara, T., Clausen, P., Scheib, H. & Winter, K. (2009). A central role for venom in predation by Varanus komodoensis (Komodo Dragon) and the extinct giant Varanus (Megalania) priscus, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106 (22) 8969-8974. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0810883106

Merchant, M., Henry, D., Falconi, R., Muscher, B. & Bryja, J. (2013). Antibacterial activities of serum from the Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis), Microbiology Research, 4 (1) 4. DOI: 10.4081/mr.2013.e4

Montgomery JM, Gillespie D, Sastrawan P, Fredeking TM & Stewart GL (2002). Aerobic salivary bacteria in wild and captive Komodo dragons., Journal of wildlife diseases, 38 (3) 545-51. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12238371

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9:48 AM | Early life probiotics reducing the risk of subsequent neuropsychiatric disorder?
With my continued interest in all-things gut microbiome on this blog (see here for example) it is little wonder that I was taken to blog about the study findings from Anna Pärtty and colleagues [1] reporting that: "Probiotic supplementation early in life may reduce the risk of neuropsychiatric disorder development later in childhood." Probiotic by the way, refers to various 'live' organisms (bacteria, yeasts) thought to confer some positive effect on health and/or wellbeing.Not only does […]

Pärtty A, Kalliomäki M, Wacklin P, Salminen S & Isolauri E (2015). A possible link between early probiotic intervention and the risk of neuropsychiatric disorders later in childhood - a randomized trial., Pediatric research, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25760553

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March 22, 2015

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7:35 PM | A Continuation in the Search for the Function of Sleep: Commentary from On Your Mind Podcast
This morning, I had the pleasure on being a guest host for one of the more entertaining, informative neuroscience podcasts of today’s smart technology society: On Your Mind. We talked about the job market, my new book–Meathead: Unraveling the Athletic Brain, and wrapped up with discussion of some peer-reviewed literature. It turned out that I […]

Harper, D., Plante, D., Jensen, J., Ravichandran, C., Buxton, O., Benson, K., O'Connor, S., Renshaw, P. & Winkelman, J. (2013). Energetic and Cell Membrane Metabolic Products in Patients with Primary Insomnia: A 31-Phosphorus Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Study at 4 Tesla, SLEEP, DOI: 10.5665/sleep.2530

Plante, D., Trksak, G., Jensen, J., Penetar, D., Ravichandran, C., Riedner, B., Tartarini, W., Dorsey, C., Renshaw, P., Lukas, S. & Harper, D. (2014). Gray Matter-Specific Changes in Brain Bioenergetics after Acute Sleep Deprivation: A 31P Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Study at 4 Tesla, SLEEP, DOI: 10.5665/sleep.4242

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7:24 PM | New method – BWAS
There is a report of a new method of analyzing fMRI scans – using enormous sets of data and giving very clear results. Brain-wide association analysis (BWAS for short) was used in a comparison of autistic and normal brains in a recent paper (citation below). The scan data is divided into 47,636 small areas of […]

Cheng, W., Rolls, E., Gu, H., Zhang, J. & Feng, J. (2015). Autism: reduced connectivity between cortical areas involved in face expression, theory of mind, and the sense of self, Brain, DOI: 10.1093/brain/awv051

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4:01 PM | Special microbes make anti-obesity molecule in the gut
You’ve probably heard of all sorts of diets, paleo, low-fat, low-carb, atkins, but now microbes may just be the next diet craze. Researchers have programmed bacteria to generate a molecule that, through normal metabolism, becomes a hunger-suppressing lipid (fat). Mice that drank water laced with the programmed bacteria ate less, had lower body fat and […]

Zhongyi Chen, Lilu Guo, Yongqin Zhang, Rosemary L. Walzem, Julie S. Pendergast, Richard L. Printz, Lindsey C. Morris, Elena Matafonova, Xavier Stien, Li Kang & Denis Coulon (2014). Incorporation of Therapeutic Bacteria into the Gut Microbiome for Treatment of Obesity, The Journal of clinical investigation , Other:

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10:52 AM | Can Neuroscience Teach Us About Winemaking?
Modern winemakers may have erred when they switched to producing high alcohol wines. According to a new paper, from Spanish neuroscientists Ram Frost and colleagues, a low alcohol content wine actually produces more brain activity in 'taste processing' areas than more alcoholic varieties do. But what does the brain really have to say about Beaujolais? Can scanning help us pick a Sauvignon? Will neuroimaging reveal the secret to a good... er... Nero d'Avola? In their paper, publishe

Frost R, Quiñones I, Veldhuizen M, Alava JI, Small D & Carreiras M (2015). What Can the Brain Teach Us about Winemaking? An fMRI Study of Alcohol Level Preferences., PloS one, 10 (3) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25785844

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March 21, 2015

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11:31 PM | Squid prolifically edit RNA to enrich their DNA
DNA, it’s what makes us, well us! Not that long ago, before we sequenced human DNA we assumed we had one of the largest genomes around. Frankly it wasn’t a bad assumption, but of course we found out this was far from the case and to make ourselves feel better we said size doesn’t matter. […]

Alon, S., Garrett, S., Levanon, E., Olson, S., Graveley, B., Rosenthal, J. & Eisenberg, E. (2015). The majority of transcripts in the squid nervous system are extensively recoded by A-to-I RNA editing, eLife, 4 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.05198

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8:26 PM | Rethinking Salmonella: from food poisoning culprit to cancer-fighting agent
What would you look for in an ideal cancer treatment? You’d probably want something that would only kill cancer cells and leave healthy cells unharmed. It would also be nice if this drug could penetrate deep inside tumours, even if the tumours are dispersed across multiple sites in the body. What if that anti-cancer treatment […]

Swofford CA, Van Dessel N & Forbes NS (2015). Quorum-sensing Salmonella selectively trigger protein expression within tumors., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112 (11) 3457-62. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25737556

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8:00 PM | http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/FocoRojo/~3/qpwy_oTtkBQ/violacion-y-relaciones-de-poder-la.html
Violación y Relaciones de poder: la violación que deja de ser un acto sexual para convertirse en un acto de poder (II)La violación teóricamente es considerada como:“Cualquier hecho que sobrepase los límites corporales y psicológicos de la persona. Es una acción forzada en la cual hay penetración vaginal, anal u oral del pene o cualquier otro sustituto del mismo, con carencia de consentimiento. Este tipo de violencia da como resultado […]

Haugaard, M (2010). Democracy, Political Power, and Authority, Social Research , 77 (4) 1049-1074. Other:

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8:22 AM | Toxoplasma gondii and schizophrenia (again and again)
The findings reported by Ainsah Omar and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) adding further weight to the notion of a "strong association between the active Tg [Toxoplasma gondii] infection and schizophrenia" are set out for your reading consumption today.Continuing a research topic that has already enjoyed quite a bit of air time on this blog (see here and see here) whereby the parasite T. gondii known to cause the condition toxoplasmosis might also be […]

Omar A, Bakar OC, Adam NF, Osman H, Osman A, Suleiman AH, Manaf MR & Selamat MI (2015). Seropositivity and Serointensity of Toxoplasma gondii Antibodies and DNA among Patients with Schizophrenia., The Korean journal of parasitology, 53 (1) 29-34. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25748706

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March 20, 2015

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10:19 PM | Can Monkeys Get Depressed?
According to a new study from Chinese neuroscientists Fan Xu and colleagues, some monkeys can experience depression in a similar way to humans. The researchers studied cynomolgus monkeys, also known as crab-eating macaques (Macaca fascicularis), a species native to Southeast Asia. Cynomolgus monkeys are highly social animals. Xu et al. previously showed that isolating a monkey from its companions caused it to develop depression-like behaviors. In their new paper, the authors say that they'v

Xu F, Wu Q, Xie L, Gong W, Zhang J, Zheng P, Zhou Q, Ji Y, Wang T, Li X & Fang L (2015). Macaques exhibit a naturally-occurring depression similar to humans., Scientific reports, 5 9220. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25783476

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1:20 PM | ¿Podrían ser abiertas las evaluaciones de propuestas de financiamiento para la investigación?
Los investigadores han discutido sobre cuál sería el impacto de hacer que el proceso de revisión de propuestas de financiamiento de investigación fuera más abierto y transparente, con el objetivo de apoyar la redacción de mejores propuestas y reconocer el trabajo de los revisores. Un artículo reciente de Nature examina la repercusión de dos trabajos sobre la apertura del proceso de revisión de proyectos de investigación y la […]

Woolston, C. (2015). What would happen if grant reviews were made public?, Nature, 517 (7534) 247-247. DOI: 10.1038/517247f

Mietchen D (2014). The transformative nature of transparency in research funding., PLoS biology, 12 (12) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25549343

Gurwitz D, Milanesi E & Koenig T (2014). Grant application review: the case of transparency., PLoS biology, 12 (12) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25460001

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1:20 PM | Could grant proposal reviews be made available openly?
Researchers have been discussing what would be the impact of making the review process of grant proposals more open and transparent, in order to support the preparation of better proposals and acknowledge the work of the reviewers. A recently published paper in Nature examines the impact of two articles on the open availability of the review of research proposals and the possibility of changing the assessment after publication of the results. … Read More →

Woolston, C. (2015). What would happen if grant reviews were made public?, Nature, 517 (7534) 247-247. DOI: 10.1038/517247f

Mietchen D (2014). The transformative nature of transparency in research funding., PLoS biology, 12 (12) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25549343

Gurwitz D, Milanesi E & Koenig T (2014). Grant application review: the case of transparency., PLoS biology, 12 (12) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25460001

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1:20 PM | Os pareceres de propostas de financiamento a pesquisa poderiam ser abertos?
Pesquisadores têm discutido qual seria o impacto de tornar o processo de revisão de propostas de financiamento a pesquisa mais aberto e transparente, com o objetivo de apoiar a redação de melhores propostas e reconhecer o trabalho dos revisores. Artigo recente na Nature analisa a repercussão de dois trabalhos sobre a abertura do processo de revisão de projetos de pesquisa e a possibilidade de alteração da avaliação depois da […]

Woolston, C. (2015). What would happen if grant reviews were made public?, Nature, 517 (7534) 247-247. DOI: 10.1038/517247f

Mietchen D (2014). The transformative nature of transparency in research funding., PLoS biology, 12 (12) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25549343

Gurwitz D, Milanesi E & Koenig T (2014). Grant application review: the case of transparency., PLoS biology, 12 (12) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25460001

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March 19, 2015

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4:50 PM | The impact of military deployment on children
Being a military family is hard, it’s hard for the person serving (obviously) and if divorce rates are any indication, it is also hard on the spouse. While the added stress of deployment on a family cannot adequately be explained, even as someone who has seen it first hand, those stresses affect even the littlest members […]

Hisle-Gorman, E., Harrington, D., Nylund, C., Tercyak, K., Anthony, B. & Gorman, G. (2015). Impact of Parents’ Wartime Military Deployment and Injury on Young Children’s Safety and Mental Health, Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 54 (4) 294-301. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2014.12.017

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3:39 PM | Heusler alloys: A hot topic
A-Heusler there matey Heusler materials are becoming increasingly interesting for use in spintronics.  These materials have X2YZ stoichiometry (where Y is a magnetic ion) and... The post Heusler alloys: A hot topic appeared first on Spin and Tonic.

Kento Yamasaki1, Soichiro Oki1, Shinya Yamada1, Takeshi Kanashima1, and Kohei Hamaya1 (2015). Spin-related thermoelectric conversion in lateral spin-valve devices with single-crystalline Co2FeSi electrodes , Applied Physics Express, 8 43003. Other:

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3:39 PM | Heusler alloys: A hot topic
A-Heusler there matey Heusler materials are becoming increasingly interesting for use in spintronics.  These materials have X2YZ stoichiometry (where Y is a magnetic ion) and... The post Heusler alloys: A hot topic appeared first on Spin and Tonic.

Kento Yamasaki1, Soichiro Oki1, Shinya Yamada1, Takeshi Kanashima1, and Kohei Hamaya1 (2015). Spin-related thermoelectric conversion in lateral spin-valve devices with single-crystalline Co2FeSi electrodes , Applied Physics Express, 8 43003. Other:

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10:05 AM | Objective measures of sleep in autism meta-analysed
"Children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] have small but measurable objective differences in their sleep parameters that are consistent with subjective reporting."That was the main conclusion reached in the meta-analysis from Marilisa Elrod and Bradley Hood [1] who looked at the collected peer-reviewed data "that used objective measures such as actigraphy or polysomnography (PSG) to describe the sleep parameters of TST [total sleep time], SL [sleep latency], and […]

Elrod, M. & Hood, B. (2015). Sleep Differences Among Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders and Typically Developing Peers, Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 1. DOI: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000140

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