Posts

March 16, 2015

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7:20 PM | Meta-memory surprises
There was a parlor game that was played when I was young. Something in the room would become the focus of attention. Maybe a calendar picture would be remarked on and a short discussion of the picture would follow. The trick was to get people to look carefully at the picture. Then the person who […]

Blake, A., Nazarian, M. & Castel, A. (2015). The Apple of the mind's eye: Everyday attention, metamemory, and reconstructive memory for the Apple logo, The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1-8. DOI: 10.1080/17470218.2014.1002798

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5:57 PM | Does watching porn affect your performance in bed?
Pornography, it’s why google and other search engines have safesearch. It’s all around us and if sales are any indication, it is not going away. There have been lots of claims regarding it, but does a predilection for porn mean bad news in bed? That’s the conclusion of many clinicians and the upshot of anecdotal […]

Prause N. (2015). Viewing Sexual Stimuli Associated with Greater Sexual Responsiveness, Not Erectile Dysfunction, Sexual Medicine, n/a-n/a. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sm2.58

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9:37 AM | Decreased plasma levels of lipoxin A4 in autism
The paper by Chun-Lin Yan and colleagues [1] talking about significantly lower plasma levels of lipoxin A4 (LXA4) "a mediator involved in the resolution of inflammation" in cases of childhood autism is the point of discussions today.Continuing an important theme of immune system involvement in at least some cases of autism, Yan et al focused on a less well-trodden path looking at lipoxins that seem to be involved in something of a yin and yang relationship with another set […]

Yan CL, Zhang J & Hou Y (2015). Decreased plasma levels of lipoxin A4 in children with autism spectrum disorders., Neuroreport, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25714424

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9:33 AM | Update on the BROADEN Trial of DBS for Treatment-Resistant Depression
Website for the BROADEN™ study, which was terminatedIn these days of irrational exuberance about neural circuit models, it's wise to remember the limitations of current deep brain stimulation (DBS) methods to treat psychiatric disorders. If you recall (from Dec. 2013), Neurotech Business Report revealed that "St. Jude Medical failed a futility analysis of its BROADEN trial of DBS for treatment of depression..."A recent comment on my old post about the BROADEN Trial1 had an even more […]

Morishita, T., Fayad, S., Higuchi, M., Nestor, K. & Foote, K. (2014). Deep Brain Stimulation for Treatment-resistant Depression: Systematic Review of Clinical Outcomes, Neurotherapeutics, 11 (3) 475-484. DOI: 10.1007/s13311-014-0282-1

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March 15, 2015

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6:52 PM | Folic acid supplementation cuts stroke risk in adults with high blood pressure
When we think hypertension (high blood pressure) you might not think stroke risk. However, high blood pressure can damage arteries, which often leads to an increased risk for a stroke. But if you suffer from hypertension, you might not need an expensive drug to lower your risk. A new study that included more than 20,000 adults in […]

Yong Huo, MD, Jianping Li, MD, PhD, Xianhui Qin, PhD, Yining Huang, MD, Xiaobin Wang, MD, ScD, Rebecca F. Gottesman, MD, PhD, Genfu Tang, MD, Binyan Wang, MD, PhD, Dafang Chen, PhD, Mingli He, MD & Jia Fu, MD (2015). Efficacy of Folic Acid Therapy in Primary Prevention of Stroke Among Adults With Hypertension in China, Journal of the American Medical Association , Other:

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March 14, 2015

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8:00 PM | ¿Prevenir o reprimir el delito?
Mi sugerencia de esta semana es un texto publicado en la revista electrónica de la Comisión Económica para América Latina (CEPAL). En mi entrada anterior comenté que era más oportuno invertir en estrategias de prevención que en las de control. En efecto, sigo pensando lo mismo, ya que en nuestro país las estrategias de represión han resultado poco efectivas en términos de reducción del delito especialmente la […]

Arriagada, I. & Godoy, L. (2000). Prevenir o reprimir: falso dilema de la seguridad ciudadana, Revista de la CEPAL, 70 107-131.

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6:27 PM | Antibody therapy offers possible cure for psoriasis
Sure it’s not sexy, you probably won’t be asked for donations towards a cure, or to run/walk/dive for awareness, and it probably won’t kill you. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, but chances are you are not familiar with it. It causes red, scale-like patches, sometimes covering a majority of the body. It’s itchy, painful, and embarrassing (to […]

Krueger, J., Ferris, L., Menter, A., Wagner, F., White, A., Visvanathan, S., Lalovic, B., Aslanyan, S., Wang, E., Hall, D. & Solinger, A. (2015). Anti–IL-23A mAb BI 655066 for treatment of moderate-to-severe psoriasis: Safety, efficacy, pharmacokinetics, and biomarker results of a single-rising-dose, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2015.01.018

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11:30 AM | From Consciousness to Synthetic Consciousness: From One Unknown to Another Unknown with David Chalmers
What is consciousness? In this podcast David Chalmers starts addressing this question by saying that “being conscious is when there is something it is like to be that being”. This argument was initially presented by an American philosopher Thomas Nagel in an influential paper “what is it like to be a bat”. This paper was […]

Chalmers, David (2010). The Singularity: A Philosophical Analysis, Journal of Consciousness Studies, , 17 7-65.

Chalmers, D. (1995). The Puzzle of Conscious Experience, Scientific American, 273 (6) 80-86. DOI: 10.1038/scientificamerican1295-80

Nagel, Thomas (1974). What is it Like to Be a Bat, Philosophical Review, DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781107341050.014

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10:10 AM | Boiling down ADOS for autism detection (again)
Today I want to direct your attention to the paper by Kosmicki and colleagues [1] (open-access) reporting that the use of "machine learning algorithms" could help "streamline ASD [autism spectrum disorder] risk detection and screening."Regular readers of this blog might have already cottoned on to the fact that any talk about applying "computational and statistical methods" to autism screening and/or diagnosis can really mean only one person and research group: Dennis Wall from […]

Kosmicki JA, Sochat V, Duda M & Wall DP (2015). Searching for a minimal set of behaviors for autism detection through feature selection-based machine learning., Translational psychiatry, 5 PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25710120

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2:02 AM | Toxic levels of mercury contaminate 1 in 30 skin-lightening creams (and maybe not by accident)
Toxic levels of mercury contaminate about 1 out of 30 skin-lightening creams purchased in stores and online, according to an international team of researchers who measured mercury levels in more than 500 products worldwide. If you’re like me (pasty and … Continue reading →

Hamann C.R., Boonchai W., Wen L., Sakanashi E.N., Chu C.Y., Hamann K., Hamann C.P., Sinniah K. & Hamann D. (2013). Spectrometric analysis of mercury content in 549 skin-lightening products: is mercury toxicity a hidden global health hazard?, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24321702

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March 13, 2015

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11:56 PM | How gene expression in kept in check and the implications for cancer
Cancers are alive in a sense, they are similar to a parasite and they fight to stay alive when we just want them gone. Cancers have access to complex ways of avoiding elimination and because we cannot easily do anything to treat it short of surgery or chemotherapy, we regularly lose to some of the more cunning […]

Chong Han Ng, Akhi Akhter, Nathan Yurko, Justin M. Burgener, Emanuel Rosonina & James L. Manley (2015). Sumoylation controls the timing of ​Tup1-mediated transcriptional deactivation, Nature Communications, Other:

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8:05 PM | Classical Music modulates genes responsible for brain functions
Although listening to music is common in all societies, the biological determinants of listening to music are largely unknown. According to a latest study, listening to classical music enhanced the activity of genes involved in dopamine secretion and transport, synaptic neurotransmission, learning and memory, and down-regulated the genes mediating neurodegeneration. Several of the up-regulated genes […]

Kanduri, C., Raijas, P., Ahvenainen, M., Philips, A., Ukkola-Vuoti, L., Lähdesmäki, H. & Järvelä, I. (2015). The effect of listening to music on human transcriptome, PeerJ, 3 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.830

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6:05 PM | To Apply Or Not To Apply For That Grant?
When should scientists apply for grants? Does spending more time writing applications pay off in the long run? A paper published in PLoS ONE this week examined the eternal question: To apply or not to apply? The authors, Ted and Courtney von Hippel, start out by noting that most major grant awards are highly competitive - with success rates of just 20% in the case of US federal NIH and NSF awards. What's more, although decisions are made by a panel of expert judges, the evidence is th

von Hippel T & von Hippel C (2015). To apply or not to apply: a survey analysis of grant writing costs and benefits., PloS one, 10 (3) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25738742

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3:22 PM | Breaking Research: How the brain recognizes hot and cold
When you walk outside into sweltering heat or biting cold, your body responds by sweating or shivering to regulate body temperature. It starts with cells in your skin called thermoreceptor neurons, which sense the temperature of your environment and send that information to the brain for processing. But how does the brain process this information […]

Liu W.W. & Rachel I. Wilson (2015). Thermosensory processing in the Drosophila brain, Nature, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature14170

Frank D.D., Patrick J. Kearney, Lindsey J. Macpherson & Marco Gallio (2015). Temperature representation in the Drosophila brain, Nature, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature14284

Florence T. (2015). Neuroscience: Hot on the trail of temperature processing, Nature, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature14209

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9:42 AM | Individualised medicine and autism: a brave new world
Pharmacogenetics: "the study of inherited genetic differences in drug metabolic pathways which can affect individual responses to drugs, both in terms of therapeutic effect as well as adverse effects."Having recently watched a rather interesting documentary on the BBC titled 'Can you cure my cancer?' illustrating how the era of personalised medicine is here and now (see here) in at least one aspect of medicine, I was really quite interested in the science of how our genes might affect our […]

Smith T, Sharp S, Manzardo AM & Butler MG (2015). Pharmacogenetics Informed Decision Making in Adolescent Psychiatric Treatment: A Clinical Case Report., International journal of molecular sciences, 16 (3) 4416-4428. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25710722

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6:20 AM | How photosynthesis is inspiring solar power research
SUMMARY: To meet humanity’s growing energy demands, scientists are taking lessons from plants, which perfected the process of capturing the sun’s rays and transforming that into starch. Might scientists be able to adapt the photosynthetic process pioneered by plants and adapt it to meet human demands? The impacts that people have upon the global environment has been a concern to scientists for more than 100 years. These impacts are due, in large part, to the fuels we use. To […]

Barber J. (2007). Biological solar energy, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 365 1007-1023. DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2006.1962

Porter G. (1950). Flash Photolysis and Spectroscopy. A New Method for the Study of Free Radical Reactions, Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 200 (1061) 284-300. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspa.1950.0018

Porter G. (1966). Studies of Triplet Chlorophyll by Microbeam Flash Photolysis, Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 295 (1440) 1-12. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspa.1966.0222

Porter G. (1978). The Bakerian Lecture, 1977: In Vitro Models for Photosynthesis, Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 362 (1710) 281-303. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspa.1978.0134

Tyndall J. (1861). The Bakerian Lecture: On the Absorption and Radiation of Heat by Gases and Vapours, and on the Physical Connexion of Radiation, Absorption, and Conduction, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 151 1-36. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstl.1861.0001

Cogdell R.J., P. I. Molina & L. Cronin (2013). The use and misuse of photosynthesis in the quest for novel methods to harness solar energy to make fuel, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 371 (1996) 20110603-20110603. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2011.0603

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1:31 AM | Depressed parents cause anxiety and bad behavior in toddlers
Being a new parent can be stressful, new mothers can suffer from postpartum depression and even new fathers can find the changes stressful enough to cause depression. Unfortunately– and if that wasn’t bad enough– a new study shows that a father’s depression during the first years of parenting – as well as a mother’s – […]

Fisher, S., Brock, R., O’Hara, M., Kopelman, R. & Stuart, S. (2015). Longitudinal Contribution of Maternal and Paternal Depression to Toddler Behaviors: Interparental Conflict and Later Depression as Mediators., Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, DOI: 10.1037/cfp0000037

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March 12, 2015

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5:16 PM | Study shows modest reductions in ER visits from the ACA implementation
It’s future might still be in the air to those of us not on the supreme court, but two patient groups created by the Affordable Care Act (or ACA, also known as “Obama care”) – Medicare patients enrolled in federally designated patient-centered medical homes and people under age 26 who are allowed to remain on their […]

Pines J.M., Martijn van Hasselt & Nancy McCall (2015). Emergency Department and Inpatient Hospital Use by Medicare Beneficiaries in Patient-Centered Medical Homes, Annals of Emergency Medicine, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.annemergmed.2015.01.002

Maria C. Raven (2015). Patient-Centered Medical Homes May Reduce Emergency Department Use: What Does This Tell Us?, Annals of Emergency Medicine, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.annemergmed.2015.03.001

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3:55 PM | Interface time: Finding the source of perpendicular magnetic anisotropy
As touched upon in last week’s Pick of the Week, perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA) may be important for spin transfer torque MRAM (STT-MRAM) as it... The post Interface time: Finding the source of perpendicular magnetic anisotropy appeared first on Spin and Tonic.

Kim, M., Kim, S., Ko, J. & Hong, J. (2015). Contribution of individual interfaces in the MgO/Co/Pd trilayer to perpendicular magnetic anisotropy upon annealing, Applied Physics Letters, 106 (10) 102404. DOI: 10.1063/1.4914497

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3:55 PM | Interface time: Finding the source of perpendicular magnetic anisotropy
As touched upon in last week’s Pick of the Week, perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA) may be important for spin transfer torque MRAM (STT-MRAM) as it... The post Interface time: Finding the source of perpendicular magnetic anisotropy appeared first on Spin and Tonic.

Kim, M., Kim, S., Ko, J. & Hong, J. (2015). Contribution of individual interfaces in the MgO/Co/Pd trilayer to perpendicular magnetic anisotropy upon annealing, Applied Physics Letters, 106 (10) 102404. DOI: 10.1063/1.4914497

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9:49 AM | More evidence for non-coeliac gluten sensitivity?
"In a cross-over trial of subjects with suspected NCGS [non-coeliac gluten sensitivity], the severity of overall symptoms increased significantly during 1 week of intake of small amounts of gluten, compared with placebo."That was the conclusion reached in the study by Antonio Di Sabatino and colleagues [1] who applied the gold standard research methodology - "a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial" - to studying the effects of small amounts of gluten on those […]

Di Sabatino A, Volta U, Salvatore C, Biancheri P, Caio G, De Giorgio R, Di Stefano M & Corazza GR (2015). Small Amounts of Gluten in Subjects with Suspected Nonceliac Gluten Sensitivity: a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Cross-Over Trial., Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology : the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25701700

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6:54 AM | Science, climate change and controversy
SUMMARY: It’s inevitable: as science progresses, controversy happens. But sometimes, the public sees controversy where none exists. How to remedy that? “Science is often thought of as simply a collection of facts which has been handed down to us by some great authority in the past”, says meteorologist Paul Williams, a Royal Society university research fellow at the University of Reading. “But of course, the reality is a lot more complicated than that.” Science is a […]

Darwin C. (1839). Observations on the Parallel Roads of Glen Roy, and of Other Parts of Lochaber in Scotland, with an Attempt to Prove That They Are of Marine Origin, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 129 39-81. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstl.1839.0005

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March 11, 2015

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8:11 PM | The cerebral cortex: we can rebuild it, we have the technology
While the first actual bionic man (or woman) might still be a ways off, the writers of the show might be impressed at this, a international team of researchers, have just taken an important step in the area of cell therapy: repairing the cerebral cortex of the adult mouse using a graft of cortical neurons […]

Michelsen, K., Acosta-Verdugo, S., Benoit-Marand, M., Espuny-Camacho, I., Gaspard, N., Saha, B., Gaillard, A. & Vanderhaeghen, P. (2015). Area-Specific Reestablishment of Damaged Circuits in the Adult Cerebral Cortex by Cortical Neurons Derived from Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells, Neuron, 85 (5) 982-997. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.02.001

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7:27 PM | Part of the diabetes puzzle solved… with breast milk
There is a long-standing puzzle in the diabetes field, only a small subset of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas of adult organisms can replicate (and hence contribute to beta cell regeneration in diabetes). Furthermore, this subset of replicating cells continues to decline with advancing age. This means that the typical risk for diabetes gets higher […]

Stolovich-Rain, M., Enk, J., Vikesa, J., Nielsen, F., Saada, A., Glaser, B. & Dor, Y. (2015). Weaning Triggers a Maturation Step of Pancreatic β Cells, Developmental Cell, 32 (5) 535-545. DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2015.01.002

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2:14 PM | Citizen science is making scientists of everyone
SUMMARY: Citizen science is getting a lot of attention these days, which might make you think it is a new social phenomenon. But in fact, nothing is further from the truth: citizen science has been around much longer than any of us. . . Citizen science is getting a lot of attention these days, which might make you think it is a new social phenomenon. But in fact, nothing could be further from the truth: citizen science has been around... Read more

Blackawton P.S., Airzee S., Allen A., Baker S., Berrow A., Blair C., Churchill M., Coles J., Cumming R.F.J. & Fraquelli L. & (2011). Blackawton bees, Biology Letters, 7 168-172. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.1056

Silvertown J. (2009). A new dawn for citizen science, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 24 (9) 467-471. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2009.03.017

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1:42 PM | Video Tip of the Week: Aquaria, streamlined access to protein structures for biologists
This week’s Video Tip of the Week is Aquaria, a new resource for exploring protein structures, mutations, and similarities to other proteins. It’s a very well-designed and interactive experience for end users. It is aimed largely at biologists who could benefit from exploring the structural details of their proteins of interest, but are daunted by […]

O'Donoghue S.I., Maria Kalemanov, Christian Stolte, Benjamin Wellmann, Vivian Ho, Manfred Roos, Nelson Perdigão, Fabian A Buske, Julian Heinrich & Burkhard Rost & (2015). Aquaria: simplifying discovery and insight from protein structures, Nature Methods, 12 (2) 98-99. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nmeth.3258

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12:37 PM | The Eyes Have It
Biology concepts – asymmetry, lateral polymorphism, flatfish, evolution, copepod, ecology, nicheRay Harryhausen was the most famous of the stop motion artists in the movies. This version of the Cyclops was his creation for the 1958 movie, The 7thVoyage of Sinbad. I can’t see how the Cyclops could catch anything with just the one eye – he had no depth perception.We have been talking about bilateral symmetry in the past few weeks, and this would include having two eyes, one on […]

MacDonald P (2013). A rare occurrence of reversal in the common megrim Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis (Pleuronectiformes: Scophthalmidae) in the northern North Sea., Journal of fish biology, 83 (3) 691-4. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23991885

Suzuki, T., Washio, Y., Aritaki, M., Fujinami, Y., Shimizu, D., Uji, S. & Hashimoto, H. (2009). Metamorphic pitx2 expression in the left habenula correlated with lateralization of eye-sidedness in flounder, Development, Growth & Differentiation, 51 (9) 797-808. DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-169X.2009.01139.x

Goto T (2009). Reversals in two dextral flounder species, Microstomus achne and Cleisthenes pinetorum (Pleuronectida; Teleostei), from Japan., Journal of fish biology, 74 (3) 669-73. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20735586

BERGSTROM, C. (2007). Morphological evidence of correlational selection and ecological segregation between dextral and sinistral forms in a polymorphic flatfish, Platichthys stellatus, Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 20 (3) 1104-1114. DOI: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2006.01290.x

Friedman, M. (2008). The evolutionary origin of flatfish asymmetry, Nature, 454 (7201) 209-212. DOI: 10.1038/nature07108

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12:30 PM | Where Do Cats Like To Be Stroked?
People expect cats to enjoy affection, but what’s the cat’s opinion?Research by Sarah Ellis (University of Lincoln) et al investigated how cats respond to being stroked by their owner and an unfamiliar person, and which parts of the body they prefer to be petted. The results show cats have definite preferences.It is thought that animals prefer petting from humans to be similar to the ways animals show affection to members of their own species. Don’t worry, this doesn’t […]

Ellis, S., Thompson, H., Guijarro, C. & Zulch, H. (2014). The influence of body region, handler familiarity and order of region handled on the domestic cat's response to being stroked, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2014.11.002

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March 10, 2015

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5:26 PM | New understanding of genetics behind the autism spectrum
Autism is a spectrum, because it isn’t a clear-cut diagnosis — and because the brain is so complex — it has been hard to figure out what causes autism. This uncertainty has led rise to the anti-vaccination movement along with other groups who are at best misinformed and at worst trying to make a quick dollar. However, […]

Cotney, J., Muhle, R., Sanders, S., Liu, L., Willsey, A., Niu, W., Liu, W., Klei, L., Lei, J., Yin, J. & Reilly, S. (2015). The autism-associated chromatin modifier CHD8 regulates other autism risk genes during human neurodevelopment, Nature Communications, 6 6404. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms7404

Pramparo T, Pierce K, Lombardo MV, Carter Barnes C, Marinero S, Ahrens-Barbeau C, Murray SS, Lopez L, Xu R & Courchesne E & (2015). Prediction of Autism by Translation and Immune/Inflammation Coexpressed Genes in Toddlers From Pediatric Community Practices., JAMA psychiatry, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25739104

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1:06 PM | The Transition from Living to Dead in Neolithic Italy
I am a huge fan of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series of novels. They are a perfect blend of intellectual references, irreverent creativity and humor that is perfect for breaking down the […]

Robb, J., Elster, E., Isetti, E., Knüsel, C., Tafuri, M. & Traverso, A. (2015). Cleaning the dead: Neolithic ritual processing of human bone at Scaloria Cave, Italy, Antiquity, 89 (343) 39-54. DOI: 10.15184/aqy.2014.35

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