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Posts

March 24, 2014

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9:29 PM | GenoCAD webinar this Thursday, March 27
Although it’s already posted in our news feed, I just wanted to add a reminder about our upcoming webinar on GenoCAD: open-source computer-assisted design software for synthetic biology. You can see the time and registration details here: Free “Introduction to GenoCAD” Webinar presented March 27th If you want to download the slides beforehand (so you […]

Wilson M.L., Hertzberg R., Adam L. & Peccoud J. (2011). A step-by-step introduction to rule-based design of synthetic genetic constructs using GenoCAD., Methods in enzymology, PMID:

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4:41 PM | Genome-Wide Association Studies Mislead On Cardiac Arrhythmia Risk Gene
Scientists from the UChicago discover what appears to be the primary gene responsible for cardiac arrhythmia risk.

van den Boogaard M., Smemo S., Burnicka-Turek O., Arnolds D.E., van de Werken H.J.G., Klous P., McKean D., Muehlschlegel J.D., Moosmann J. & Toka O. & A common genetic variant within SCN10A modulates cardiac SCN5A expression, Journal of Clinical Investigation, DOI:

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3:46 PM | Does Strong Marijuana Cause Addiction?
Strong pot matters, but maybe not the way we think. Colorado, Washington, and some 20 additional states have now made various provisions for legal transactions involving marijuana. And since time immemorial, there has been an illegal market for marijuana. But try getting your hands on some marijuana straightforwardly, through appropriate channels, for purposes of medical research, and, well, most researchers have just said forget it. Because in the U.S., a bizarre system of drug classification […]

van der Pol P., Liebregts N., Brunt T., van Amsterdam J., de Graaf R., Korf D.J., van den Brink W. & van Laar M. (2014). Cross-sectional and prospective relation of cannabis potency, dosing and smoking behaviour with cannabis dependence: an ecological study, Addiction, n/a-n/a. DOI:

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3:00 PM | Mantis shrimps (part 2): lords of colour (or perhaps not)
In a previous article I wrote about the high speed attacks of the mantis shrimps. However, my favourite feature of these crustaceans is their […] Read more The post Mantis shrimps (part 2): lords of colour (or perhaps not) appeared first on Mapping Ignorance. Related posts:Mantis shrimps (part 1): the Mike Tyson of the sea The mechanical eye The quest for the elementary motion detector in the fly

Thoen H.H., How M.J., Chiou T.H. & Marshall J. (2014). A Different Form of Color Vision in Mantis Shrimp, Science, 343 (6169) 411-413. DOI:

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1:49 PM | Forget suppressed memories
A recent paper (see citation) has put a hole in another remnant of Freud’s influence, that suppressed memories are still active. Freud noticed that we can suppress unwelcome memories. He theorized that the suppressed memories continued to exist in the unconscious mind and could unconsciously affect behaviour. Uncovering these memories and their influence was a […]

Gagnepain, P., Henson, R. & Anderson, M. (2014). Suppressing unwanted memories reduces their unconscious influence via targeted cortical inhibition, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI:

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9:30 AM | A specific female ASD phenotype is emerging...
The title of this brief post is a quote taken from the abstract of the paper by Frazier and colleagues [1] who, following an analysis of participants included in the Simons Simplex Collection, concluded that autism research and practice might well consider looking at differences in the presentation of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) between the sexes.The Lady of Shalott @ Wikipedia Including nearly 2500 people with autism including over 2100 males and 304 females, examining […]

Frazier TW, Georgiades S, Bishop SL & Hardan AY (2014). Behavioral and cognitive characteristics of females and males with autism in the simons simplex collection., Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 53 (3) 329-340000. PMID:

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4:00 AM | Hippocampal Pathology in California Sea Lions with Domoic Acid-Induced Temporal Lobe Epilepsy
In 1987, over 100 Canadians became ill after eating cultivated mussels from Prince Edward Island. Symptoms included the typical gastrointestinal issues, but serious neurological findings such as disorientation, confusion, and memory loss were also observed (Perl et al., 1990). In the worst cases, the patients developed seizures or went into coma. Three elderly people died. The cognitive changes were persistent, and had not resolved […]

Buckmaster, P., Wen, X., Toyoda, I., Gulland, F. & Van Bonn, W. (2014). Hippocampal neuropathology of domoic acid-induced epilepsy in California sea lions. , Journal of Comparative Neurology, 522 (7) 1691-1706. DOI:

Perl, T., Bédard, L., Kosatsky, T., Hockin, J., Todd, E. & Remis, R. (1990). An Outbreak of Toxic Encephalopathy Caused by Eating Mussels Contaminated with Domoic Acid, New England Journal of Medicine, 322 (25) 1775-1780. DOI:

Teitelbaum, J., Zatorre, R., Carpenter, S., Gendron, D., Evans, A., Gjedde, A. & Cashman, N. (1990). Neurologic Sequelae of Domoic Acid Intoxication Due to the Ingestion of Contaminated Mussels., New England Journal of Medicine, 322 (25) 1781-1787. DOI:

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March 23, 2014

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6:31 PM | Nanopillars of nanotubes! A novel method to drastically improve charge transport in hybrid nanotube devices
A hot buzzword in the materials science communities these days is nano-engineering – that is, exploring unique physics at the nanoscale (10^-9 meters or less)  to improve device performance.  The idea is that there are fundamentally different ways in which … Continue reading →

Barbero, D., Boulanger, N., Ramstedt, M. & Yu, J. (2014). Nano-Engineering of SWNT Networks for Enhanced Charge Transport at Ultralow Nanotube Loading, Advanced Materials, DOI:

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6:03 PM | Why do we sleep?
Why do we sleep? Sleep is an activity that takes up about 1/3 of our lives, so you would probably guess that neuroscience has a clear answer to why we do it, right? Wrong. The fundamental reason behind why we sleep is still shrouded in mystery. We know that we have to sleep (without it we would die). But we still don't know what its physiological function is.There are a variety of hypotheses about why we sleep that have garnered some support. For example, sleep may have evolved in order to help […]

Di Meco, A., Joshi, Y. & Praticò, D. (2014). Sleep deprivation impairs memory, tau metabolism, and synaptic integrity of a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease with plaques and tangles, Neurobiology of Aging, DOI:

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5:57 PM | Bloom’s “Just Babies” and our obsession with moralising sex
I’ve just finished reading Paul Bloom’s “Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil“, it is an enjoyable read that flows easily and never demands too much from the reader. Importantly, I did find in it one idea that I…Read more ›

Pew Research Center (2014). Worldwide, Many See Belief in God as Essential to Morality, Other: http://www.pewglobal.org/files/2014/03/Pew-Research-Center-Global-Attitudes-Project-Belief-in-God-Report-FINAL-March-13-2014.pdf

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1:07 PM | For the Health of It: Disentangling “Healthy Eating” and “Orthorexia”
When is “healthy eating” not so healthy? The line between “normal” and “pathological” eating behaviours is blurry, to say the least. For some time, researchers have been attempting to define a “new” category of eating disorders: orthorexia. This category would capture “obsessions” with “healthy eating” that are (presumably) not already captured in current diagnostic criteria for eating disorders. If you’ve been […]

Koven, N.S. & Senbonmatsu, R. (2013). A neuropsychological evaluation of orthorexia nervosa, Open Journal of Psychiatry, 3 214-222. Other: 10.4236/ojpsych.2013.32019

Varga, M., Thege, B.K., Dukay-Szabó, S., Túry, F. & van Furth, E.F. (2014). When eating healthy is not healthy: orthorexia nervosa and its measurement with the ORTO-15 in Hungary., BMC psychiatry, 14 (1) 59-70. PMID:

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March 22, 2014

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7:59 PM | Wind Industry, Even With Energy Storage Costs, Is Sustainable
Today’s wind industry, even with the necessary batteries and other grid-scale storage, is energetically sustainable, Stanford scientists say. Read more »

Carbajales-Dale, M., Barnhart, C. & Benson, S. (2014). Can we afford storage? A dynamic net energy analysis of renewable electricity generation supported by energy storage, Energy & Environmental Science, DOI:

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11:03 AM | Fairness instinct trumps economic expectations on climate costs
Students taking the role of rich countries in climate negotiation games make generous offers to pay towards the cost of cutting greenhouse gas emissions on fairness grounds, finds Robert Gampfer from ETH Zurich, who suggests that governments doing the same might get popular support.

Gampfer, R. (2014). Do individuals care about fairness in burden sharing for climate change mitigation? Evidence from a lab experiment, Climatic Change, DOI:

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11:00 AM | Civil War in the Body: Autoimmune Disease
Allergic to something? Many of us are. Whether it’s itchy earlobes from those not-so-expensive earrings from a not-so-missed ex-boyfriend, or wheeziness during the hayfever season, allergies can be a pain! […]

DeGiorgio LA, Konstantinov KN, Lee SC, Hardin JA, Volpe BT & Diamond B (2001). A subset of lupus anti-DNA antibodies cross-reacts with the NR2 glutamate receptor in systemic lupus erythematosus., Nature medicine, 7 (11) 1189-93. PMID:

Rook, G. (2011). Hygiene Hypothesis and Autoimmune Diseases, Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology, 42 (1) 5-15. DOI:

Loma, I. & Heyman, R. (2011). Multiple Sclerosis: Pathogenesis and Treatment, Current Neuropharmacology, 9 (3) 409-416. DOI:

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10:59 AM | The Explosive Brain
A few months ago, I blogged about The Hydraulic Brain – an unorthodox theory which proposed that brain function is not electrical, but mechanical. On this view, neuroscientists have it all wrong, because nerve impulses are in fact physical waves of pressure that travel down neurons as if the brain were made up of billions […]The post The Explosive Brain appeared first on Neuroskeptic.

Robertson DS (2014). Percussion circuits and brain function - A hypothesis., Medical hypotheses, PMID:

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10:55 AM | Stem cell memories influences their fate
Kristi S. AnsethCreditNew research suggests that human stem cells have memories. Specifically, they can remember whether they were grown on a soft bed of polyethylene glycol or on a stiff floor of polystyrene.This mechanical memory influences their fate, such as whether they will differentiate into fat or bone cells.That’s one take-home message of a presentation given last week by University of Colorado, Boulder, materials scientist Kristi S. Anseth at the American Chemical Society […]

Yang, C., Tibbitt, M., Basta, L. & Anseth, K. (2014). Mechanical memory and dosing influence stem cell fate, Nature Materials, DOI:

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10:44 AM | Induction of human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells into bladder cells
Eric KurzrockCreditFor the first time, researchers have managed to coax laboratory cultures of human stem cells to develop into the specialized, unique bladder cells requred to fix a patient's defective or diseased bladder.This breakthrough, developed at the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures and published today in the scientific journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine, is of great importance as it provides a pathway to regenerate replacement bladder tissue for patients whose bladders […]

Osborn, S., Thangappan, R., Luria, A., Lee, J., Nolta, J. & Kurzrock, E. (2014). Induction of Human Embryonic and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Into Urothelium, Stem Cells Translational Medicine, DOI:

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10:13 AM | Research identifies source of hematopoietic stem cells
Matthew InlayHematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are routinely used to treat patients with cancers and other disorders of the blood and immune system, but researchers know little about the progenitor cells that give rise to them during embryonic development.In a study appearing in Stem Cell Reports, Matthew Inlay of the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center, and faculty member of the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, and Stanford University colleagues created novel cell […]

Inlay, M., Serwold, T., Mosley, A., Fathman, J., Dimov, I., Seita, J. & Weissman, I. (2014). Identification of Multipotent Progenitors that Emerge Prior to Hematopoietic Stem Cells in Embryonic Development, Stem Cell Reports, DOI:

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March 21, 2014

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7:48 PM | Spent Nuclear Fuel Could Be Used as Energy Source
Lawrence Livermore scientists have modeled actinide-based alloys, such as spent nuclear fuel (SNF), in an effort to predict the impact of evolving fuel chemistry on material performance. Read more »

Turchi, P., Söderlind, P. & Landa, A. (2014). From Electronic Structure to Thermodynamics of Actinide-Based Alloys, JOM, 66 (3) 375-388. DOI:

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6:17 PM | Researchers Find Possible Way to Make Superconducting Graphene
Scientists at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have discovered a potential way to make superconducting graphene. Read more »

Yang, S., Sobota, J., Howard, C., Pickard, C., Hashimoto, M., Lu, D., Mo, S., Kirchmann, P. & Shen, Z. (2014). Superconducting graphene sheets in CaC6 enabled by phonon-mediated interband interactions, Nature Communications, 5 DOI:

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5:26 PM | Pass me the 'dog book'
(Source)Hi Mia!So many books. Written about dogs. Most I see at the airport, memoirs of someone’s ‘very special relationship’ with a 'very special' dog, another about dogs ‘racing in the rain,’ (seems like it would be a pretty short book, or would make a better YouTube video), and some even feature a dog as a private eye (many are fans of this one, see Patricia McConnell’s review). Sometimes while sitting in the living room I joke with my boyfriend, […]

Horowitz A. (2014). Domestic Dog Cognition and Behavior The Scientific Study of Canis familiaris, DOI:

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