Posts

October 15, 2014

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12:00 PM | Frankenstein Meets Genetic Modification
Biology concepts – Frankenstein, asystole, ethics, genetically modified organisms, genetically modified foods, synthetic biology, decomposers, electroconvulsive therapyMary Shelly was wedded to Lord Byron, one of the great poets of the early 19th century. But she was fair writer on her own. Note the bolts on the monster’s neck. These were added by make-up artist Jack P. Pierce. He said they were electrodes, not bolts, even though Mary Shelly never actually wrote that the good doctor […]

Goldstein, D. (2014). Tempest in a Tea Pot: How did the Public Conversation on Genetically Modified Crops Drift so far from the Facts?, Journal of Medical Toxicology, 10 (2) 194-201. DOI: 10.1007/s13181-014-0402-7

Tufarelli V & Laudadio V (2013). Genetically Modified Feeds in Poultry Diet: Safety, Performance and Product Quality., Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24915369

Van Eenennaam AL & Young AE (2014). Prevalence and impacts of genetically engineered feedstuffs on livestock populations., Journal of animal science, 92 (10) 4255-78. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25184846

Snell C, Bernheim A, Bergé JB, Kuntz M, Pascal G, Paris A & Ricroch AE (2012). Assessment of the health impact of GM plant diets in long-term and multigenerational animal feeding trials: a literature review., Food and chemical toxicology : an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association, 50 (3-4) 1134-48. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22155268

McCall WV, Andrade C & Sienaert P (2014). Searching for the mechanism(s) of ECT's therapeutic effect., The journal of ECT, 30 (2) 87-9. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24755719

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9:16 AM | Hookworm infection and microchallenge for coeliac disease?
I'm getting rather baffled by some of the literature appearing with the autoimmune condition coeliac (celiac) disease in mind. The paper by Kalliokoski and colleagues [1] started the bafflement ball rolling with their suggestion that: "administration of IgA-deficient celiac disease patient serum or total IgG induces both deterioration of the intestinal mucosa and clinical features of celiac disease in mice". Then came the paper from Namatovu and colleagues [2] who concluded that: […]

Croese J, Giacomin P, Navarro S, Clouston A, McCann L, Dougall A, Ferreira I, Susianto A, O'Rourke P, Howlett M & McCarthy J (2014). Experimental hookworm infection and gluten microchallenge promote tolerance in celiac disease., The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25248819

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8:38 AM | How You Feel About People is Related to How You Feel About Cities
You take delight not in a city's seven or seventy wonders, but in the answer it gives to a question of yours. (Calvino, 1978, p. 44).There are numerous structural factors that influence people’s attitudes towards cities, including the city’s architecture, size, infrastructure, transport, crime rates, population density, and quality of housing, to name just a few.  However, as the Italian writer Calvino (1978) alluded to in his book Invisible Cities, these factors may be […]

Rubin, M. & Morrison, T. (2014). Individual Differences in Individualism and Collectivism Predict Ratings of Virtual Cities’ Liveability and Environmental Quality, The Journal of General Psychology, 141 (4) 348-372. DOI: 10.1080/00221309.2014.938721

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8:17 AM | Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Mid-Cingulate Cortex
What happens in the brain during a highly immersive reading experience? According to the fiction feeling hypothesis (Jacobs, 2014), narratives with highly emotional content cause a deeper sense of immersion by engaging the affective empathy network to a greater extent than neutral narratives. Emotional empathy — in this case, the ability to identify with a fictional character via grounded metarepresentations of ‘global emotional moments’ (Hsu et al., 2014) — relies […]

Hsu CT, Conrad M & Jacobs AM (2014). Fiction feelings in Harry Potter: haemodynamic response in the mid-cingulate cortex correlates with immersive reading experience., Neuroreport, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25304498

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October 14, 2014

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8:58 PM | Carbon’s Place in a Silicon World
Everything is silicon based, well mainly your computer, your TV, your ipad, and pretty much every piece of electronics in existence. Still the world turns and so does technology; at […]

Sharon Bahena-Garrido, Norihiro Shimoi, Daisuke Abe, Toshimasa Hojo, Yasumitsu Tanaka & Kazuyuki Tohji (2014). Plannar light source using a phosphor screen with single-walled carbon nanotubes as field emitters, Review of Scientific Instruments, Other:

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5:34 PM | These Tiny Animals Live Only on Driftwood
Maybe you gave your last realtor a long series of must-haves: a washing machine in unit, proximity to the train, a gas stovetop. But there’s no way you’re as picky as the driftwood hopper. This minute crustacean will only live in rotting chunks of driftwood. David Wildish, a marine zoologist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, […]The post These Tiny Animals Live Only on Driftwood appeared first on Inkfish.

Wildish, D. (2014). New genus and two new species of driftwood hoppers (Crustacea, Amphipoda, Talitridae) from northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean coastal regions, Zoosystematics and Evolution, 90 (2) 133-146. DOI: 10.3897/zse.90.8410

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3:49 PM | New Morbid Terminology: Overburden
As funerary archaeologists, we need to consider the whole range of behavior surrounding death and burial. This includes the ritual surrounding preparation of the body for burial, modes of transportation […]

McGowan, G. & Prangnell, J. (2014). A method for calculating soil pressure overlying human burials, Journal of Archaeological Science, DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2014.09.016

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2:22 PM | Treating school uniforms to reduce dengue: the Finances
 [A shorter version of this article first appeared on SciDev.Net] Scientists working to reduce dengue among school children in Thailand are testing something new: insecticide-treated school uniforms. A recent model published in PLoS One suggests that this intervention can be economically attractive in the context of Thailand. Using data from dengue studies in Thailand, the […]

Tozan Y, Ratanawong P, Louis VR, Kittayapong P & Wilder-Smith A (2014). Use of insecticide-treated school uniforms for prevention of dengue in schoolchildren: a cost-effectiveness analysis., PloS one, 9 (9) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25247556

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11:10 AM | Prenatal genetic testing and autism: a delicate subject
I realise that the paper by Lei-Shih Chen and colleagues [1] covers a most sensitive topic when it comes to the autism spectrum, exploring: "the attitudes toward PGT [prenatal genetic testing] and termination decisions of 42 parents of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]". Indeed, this is not the first time that this research group has looked at this area of autism research [2] and it seems like they will be talking about it further too (see here).I chose to discuss the most […]

Chen LS, Xu L, Dhar SU, Li M, Talwar D & Jung E (2014). Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Qualitative Study of Attitudes toward Prenatal Genetic Testing and Termination Decisions of Affected Pregnancies., Clinical genetics, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25251361

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8:57 AM | High Emotional Intelligence linked with more delinquency among young women (but not men)
If, as research suggests, the psychological trait of sensation seeking is the catalyst for youthful delinquency, might high emotional intelligence (EI; having empathy for other people's emotions and good control over one's own) act as a calming restraint? That was the question Alison Bacon her colleagues posed in their study of 96 undergrads (average age 20; 48 women).Their "surprising and unprecedented" discovery was that for women, not only did high EI not moderate the link between sensation […]

Bacon, A., Burak, H. & Rann, J. (2014). Sex differences in the relationship between sensation seeking, trait emotional intelligence and delinquent behaviour, The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 25 (6) 673-683. DOI: 10.1080/14789949.2014.943796

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6:00 AM | Drinking Decaf Coffee Maybe Good for the Liver
Researchers from the National Cancer Institute report that decaffeinated coffee drinking may benefit liver health. Results of the study published in Hepatology, a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, show that higher coffee consumption, regardless of caffeine content, was linked to lower levels of abnormal liver enzymes. This suggests that […] The post Drinking Decaf Coffee Maybe Good for the Liver appeared first on Wiley Asia Blog.

Xiao, Q., Sinha, R., Graubard, B. & Freedman, N. (2014). Inverse associations of total and decaffeinated coffee with liver enzyme levels in NHANES 1999-2010, Hepatology, DOI: 10.1002/hep.27367

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October 13, 2014

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9:30 PM | Yes folks... broccoli chemical impacts on autism presentation
Please do not adjust your set. Broccoli, or least a chemical found in broccoli called sulforaphane has, under placebo-controlled, double-blind experimental conditions, been reported to impact on the presentation of autism according to the paper by Kanwaljit Singh and colleagues [1] (open-access).Eat your greens @ Fir0002/FlagstaffotosI had to do a bit of a double-take myself when I first read about these results (see here). Indeed, even the authors themselves seemed to be a […]

Kanwaljit Singh, Susan L. Connors, Eric A. Macklin, Kirby D. Smith, Jed W. Fahey, Paul Talalay & Andrew W. Zimmerman (2014). Sulforaphane treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), PNAS, Other:

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9:27 PM | Free Radicals and Wound Healing
Free radicals, said in the right crowd and you might hear someone scream for their life. Of course, to be perfectly transparent antioxidants have already shown to be bad in […]

Suhong Xu, & Andrew D. Chisholm (2014). C. elegans Epidermal Wounding Induces a Mitochondrial ROS Burst that Promotes Wound Repair , Developmental Cell, Other:

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9:17 PM | Emodiversity: A Mix of Emotions Is Healthiest?
“Emodiversity” – a life containing a balance of different emotions – is good for you. So say psychologists Jordi Quoidbach and colleagues in a rather cool new paper (pdf). In two large surveys (with a total of over 37,000 responders), conducted in France and Belgium, Quoidbach et al. show that emodiversity is an independent predictor […]The post Emodiversity: A Mix of Emotions Is Healthiest? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.

Quoidbach J, Gruber J, Mikolajczak M, Kogan A, Kotsou I & Norton MI (2014). Emodiversity and the Emotional Ecosystem., Journal of experimental psychology. General, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25285428

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2:00 PM | Guiding light to boost algae biofuel production
Algae are aquatic organisms which make ponds murky and biofoul the hulls of boats and ships and slow them down. But these these tiny green creatures could also be the future of fuel production – they produce natural oils (lipids) which can be extracted and turned into a wide range of hydrocarbon fuels including diesel…

Ahsan, S., Pereyra, B., Jung, E. & Erickson, D. (2014). Engineered surface scatterers in edge-lit slab waveguides to improve light delivery in algae cultivation, Optics Express, 22 (S6) DOI: 10.1364/OE.22.0A1526

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8:46 AM | Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for anxiety in autism
I'll readily admit that despite having a tinge of psychology running through my research career, I'm not overly enthused about the impact of the discipline on the autism spectrum down the years. I'm not necessarily just talking about the Freudian effect which set autism research back decades and shamefully added needless worry and stigma to those on the spectrum and their loved ones, but also the grand over-arching psychological theories which seemed, for example, to completely miss the […]

Ung D, Selles R, Small BJ & Storch EA (2014). A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety in Youth with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders., Child psychiatry and human development, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25246292

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8:26 AM | Evolutionary psychologists expose the "shoddy" treatment of their discipline by textbooks
The Gendered Society contained 12 errors about evolutionary psychology, morethan any other book in this evaluation. Evolutionary theory is universally accepted among the mainstream science community. And yet, when the evolutionary perspective is applied to human behaviour, the approach continues to meet with resistance, and in some cases outright disdain.A team led by Benjamin Winegard thinks part of the reason is because of the misrepresentation of evolutionary psychology in textbooks, […]

Winegard BM, Winegard BM & Deaner RO (2014). Misrepresentations of evolutionary psychology in sex and gender textbooks., Evolutionary psychology : an international journal of evolutionary approaches to psychology and behavior, 12 (3) 474-508. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25299988

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October 12, 2014

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10:22 PM | The Psychology of Procrastination: How We Create Categories of the Future
"Do not put your work off till tomorrow and the day after; for a sluggish worker does not fill his barn, nor one who puts off his work: industry makes work go well, but a man who puts off work is always at hand-grips with ruin."        Hesiod in "The Works and Days" Paying bills, filling out forms, completing class assignments or submitting grant proposals – we all have the tendency to procrastinate. We may engage in trivial activities... Read more

Tu, Y. & Soman, D. (2014). The Categorization of Time and Its Impact on Task Initiation, Journal of Consumer Research, 41 (3) 810-822. DOI: 10.1086/677840

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6:57 PM | Nothing Sticks to a new Bioinspired coating for medical devices
Putting things in the body can be tricky, I mean we need things from joint replacements to cardiac implants and dialysis machines, these medical devices are needed to enhance or […]

Don Ingber et. al (2014). A bioinspired omniphobic surface coating on medical devices prevents thrombosis and biofouling, Nature Biotechnology, Other:

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6:11 PM | What Really Drives Academic Citations?
Citations are today the international currency of the scholarly economy. In theory, academic citations are the gold standard measure of the ‘impact‘ of a piece of work. If it gets other academics talking then it’s important. But why do individual academics cite particular articles? A paper out now in the Social Studies of Science journal […]The post What Really Drives Academic Citations? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.

Erikson MG & Erlandson P (2014). A taxonomy of motives to cite., Social studies of science, 44 (4) 625-37. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25272615

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2:55 PM | Is EV-D68 causing mysterious polio-like symptoms in children?
Bubble fun at the Santa Fe Renaissance Fair © EEG One of the twists in my latest book, Gene Cards, is an unknown pathogen threatening the fictional city of Liasis. I confess that when I came up with the idea I was a little nervous. My story is set in the future, and with all the state-of-the-art technology we already have, is it feasible to think that we will still deal with diseases without a known causative agent? The thing is, new viruses and new pathogens arise all the time. Take […]

Kim H, Kang B, Hwang S, Lee SW, Cheon DS, Kim K, Jeong YS & Hyeon JY (2014). Clinical and enterovirus findings associated with acute flaccid paralysis in the Republic of Korea during the recent decade., Journal of medical virology, 86 (9) 1584-9. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24114945

Zangwill KM, Yeh SH, Wong EJ, Marcy SM, Eriksen E, Huff KR, Lee M, Lewis EM, Black SB & Ward JI & (2010). Paralytic syndromes in children: epidemiology and relationship to vaccination., Pediatric neurology, 42 (3) 206-12. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20159431

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1:55 PM | Largest methane hotspot in the US found in the Four Corners: fracking not to blame!
A current scientific challenge today is the accurate quantification of total methane emissions in the US.  This can serve as an important baseline against which to compare how emissions change with the burgeoning of the fracking industry.  It also gives … Continue reading →

Kort, E., Frankenberg, C., Costigan, K., Lindenmaier, R., Dubey, M. & Wunch, D. (2014). Four corners: The largest US methane anomaly viewed from space, Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: 10.1002/2014GL061503

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October 11, 2014

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8:14 PM | Poop Pills, Yeah they are a Thing Now
When someone is lying it isn’t too abnormal to hear someone say, “you’re full of sh…” well you get the idea. Our poop defines us, the microbes that live in […]

Ilan Youngster, MD,, George H. Russell, MD,, Christina Pindar, Tomer Ziv-Baran, PhD, Jenny Sauk, MD & Elizabeth L. Hohmann, MD (2014). Oral, Capsulized, Frozen Fecal Microbiota Transplantation for Relapsing Clostridium difficile Infection, Journal of the American Medical Association , Other:

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4:06 PM | Efficacy of foetal stem cell transplantation in autism...
The recent news that researchers might be one step closer to 'curing' type 1 diabetes following the publication of the paper by Pagliuca and colleagues [1] brought back into focus how stem cell therapy might hold some promise for all manner of conditions. The idea that researchers could generate "hundreds of millions of glucose-responsive β cells from hPSC [human pluripotent stem cells] in vitro" still faces a few challenges, including overcoming the immune assault central to the […]

Bradstreet JJ, Sych N, Antonucci N, Klunnik M, Ivankova O, Matyashchuk I, Demchuk M & Siniscalco D (2014). Efficacy of fetal stem cell transplantation in autism spectrum disorders: an open-labeled pilot study., Cell transplantation, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25302490

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8:48 AM | Yet more air pollution and autism risk research
Air pollution and autism risk. It's a topic which has cropped up a few times on this blog (see here and see here and see here) with the majority of the research (but not all) suggesting that there may be something to see when it comes to such a correlation.Enter then the paper by Amy Kalkbrenner and colleagues [1] to proceedings, and their conclusion: "Our study adds to previous work in California showing a relation between traffic-related air pollution and autism, and adds similar findings in […]

Kalkbrenner AE, Windham GC, Serre ML, Akita Y, Wang X, Hoffman K, Thayer BP & Daniels JL (2014). Particulate Matter Exposure, Prenatal and Postnatal Windows of Susceptibility, and Autism Spectrum Disorders., Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.), PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25286049

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3:26 AM | The red of bearded vultures—allure or cure?
We now know that bearded vultures deliberately dust themselves red. But why?

Negro JJ, Margalida A, Hiraldo F & Heredia R (1999). The function of the cosmetic coloration of bearded vultures: when art imitates life., Animal behaviour, 58 (5) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10564620

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October 10, 2014

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9:49 PM | How the Brain Heals After a Stroke
You have all the brain cells you’ll ever have when you reach adulthood. That was the science lesson I was taught in high school from, maybe a misguided teacher, or […]

Magnusson, J., Goritz, C., Tatarishvili, J., Dias, D., Smith, E., Lindvall, O., Kokaia, Z. & Frisen, J. (2014). A latent neurogenic program in astrocytes regulated by Notch signaling in the mouse, Science, 346 (6206) 237-241. DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6206.237

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3:54 PM | A "parsimonious" Bayesian supertree model for estimating species trees
When we have sequence alignments regarding several genes from a group of taxa, we usually want to extract the phylogenetic information common to all of them. However, in many cases such phylogenomic analyses depend on selecting one sequence from each species per gene family (=alignment), or excluding paralogs, or partitioning these paralogous sequences into loci, or utilizing only gene families without apparent paralogs. If we want to analyse all our data at once, without excluding sequences or […]

de Oliveira Martins L., Mallo D. & Posada D. (2014). A Bayesian Supertree Model for Genome-Wide Species Tree Reconstruction, Systematic Biology, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/sysbio/syu082

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2:00 PM | Ebola Virus VP40 -A protein straight out of “transformers”
  Ebola. Just the word is enough to make people panic. Well “Ebola” is actually just a river in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Of course when they hear the word, most people think about the deadly virus discovered near this river in 1976. To clarify the terminology, “Ebola” is the river; “Ebolavirus” is […]

Bornholdt Z., Dafna M. Abelson, Peter Halfmann, Malcolm R. Wood, Yoshihiro Kawaoka & Erica Ollmann Saphire (2013). Structural Rearrangement of Ebola Virus VP40 Begets Multiple Functions in the Virus Life Cycle, Cell, 154 (4) 763-774. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2013.07.015

Feldmann H. (2011). Ebola haemorrhagic fever, The Lancet, 377 (9768) 849-862. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0140-6736(10)60667-8

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12:00 PM | For Disguise, Female Squid Turn On Fake Testes
Did you know this week is International Cephalopod Awareness Days? I’ll assume your gifts are in the mail. Today is dedicated to squid, and you can’t have total cephalopod awareness without discussing fake squid testes. This post was first published in September 2013. The best way to stay out of trouble, if you’re a shimmery, […]The post For Disguise, Female Squid Turn On Fake Testes appeared first on Inkfish.

DeMartini DG, Ghoshal A, Pandolfi E, Weaver AT, Baum M & Morse DE (2013). Dynamic biophotonics: female squid exhibit sexually dimorphic tunable leucophores and iridocytes., The Journal of experimental biology, 216 (Pt 19) 3733-41. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24006348

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