Posts

November 28, 2014

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1:00 PM | Thanksgiving Special: Uncovering the link between sleep and food
If you ate a big Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, you probably felt drowsy and sluggish afterward, a phenomenon often referred to as a “food coma”. The belief that it’s caused by the tryptophan in turkey is a long busted myth, and in fact it can happen after any carb-heavy meal. The reasons for this post-food slump […]

Yurgel M.E., Justin DiAngelo & Alex C. Keene (2014). Genetic dissection of sleep–metabolism interactions in the fruit fly, Journal of Comparative Physiology A, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00359-014-0936-9

Shang Y., Christopher G. Vecsey, Fang Guo, Michael Rosbash & Leslie C. Griffith (2013). Short Neuropeptide F Is a Sleep-Promoting Inhibitory Modulator, Neuron, 80 (1) 171-183. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2013.07.029

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7:34 AM | The Autism-Spectrum Quotient: overlap between Asperger syndrome and schizophrenia
The paper by Tove Lugnegård and colleagues [1], including mention of one Maria Unenge Hallerbäck who has appeared on this blog previously, is fodder for today's discussions and their finding that a: "significant overlap of AQ [Autism-Spectrum Quotient] scores across the two diagnostic groups clearly reduces the discriminating power of the AQ in the separation of schizophrenia from AS [Asperger syndrome]."They say you're judged by the strength of your enemies.As per […]

Lugnegård T, Hallerbäck MU & Gillberg C (2014). Asperger syndrome and schizophrenia: Overlap of self-reported autistic traits using the Autism-spectrum Quotient (AQ)., Nordic journal of psychiatry, 1-7. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25389915

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12:37 AM | Does hot cocoa delay brain aging?
Image credits: downloaded from http://www.wallpapermania.eu/, artist unknown. One of the most enjoyable things about the holidays is curling up with a good book and a cup of...

Brickman AM, Khan UA, Provenzano FA, Yeung LK, Suzuki W, Schroeter H, Wall M, Sloan RP & Small SA (2014). Enhancing dentate gyrus function with dietary flavanols improves cognition in older adults., Nature neuroscience, 17 (12) 1798-803. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25344629

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November 27, 2014

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5:40 PM | Fragile X and a new autism treatment
There are many roads to autism, none of them involve vaccination. I get tired of saying that, but it’s simple science, vaccines do not cause autism. Thankfully science knows this and […]

Gkogkas, C., Khoutorsky, A., Cao, R., Jafarnejad, S., Prager-Khoutorsky, M., Giannakas, N., Kaminari, A., Fragkouli, A., Nader, K., Price, T. & Konicek, B. (2014). Pharmacogenetic Inhibition of eIF4E-Dependent Mmp9 mRNA Translation Reverses Fragile X Syndrome-like Phenotypes, Cell Reports, DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.10.064

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4:24 PM | ¿Tienes miedo a ir al dentista? Explora tus pensamientos sobre ello…y los de tu familia
El miedo y la ansiedad ante los tratamientos dentales están ampliamente extendidos en la población tanto infantil como adulta, con importantes consecuencias no sólo para el bienestar emocional del individuo […]

Crego A, Carrillo-Diaz M, Armfield JM & Romero M (2013). Applying the Cognitive Vulnerability Model to the analysis of cognitive and family influences on children's dental fear., European journal of oral sciences, 121 (3 Pt 1) 194-203. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23659243

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9:55 AM | FC is a technique that has no validity
FC, by the way, refers to Facilitated Communication, a controversial technique which as the name suggests relies on a facilitator to support "the hand or arm of a communicatively impaired individual while using a keyboard or other devices with the aim of helping the individual to point and thereby to communicate." The quote for the title of this post comes from the paper by Ralf Schlosser and colleagues [1] who following systematic review, found "unequivocal evidence for facilitator […]

Schlosser RW, Balandin S, Hemsley B, Iacono T, Probst P & von Tetzchner S (2014). Facilitated Communication and Authorship: A Systematic Review., Augmentative and alternative communication (Baltimore, Md. : 1985), 1-10. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25384895

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November 26, 2014

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9:37 PM | When you think about spirits, do you see ghosts?
Humans are finely honed for spotting intentional agents in our environment. Meaning that if you hear a rustling, or see a branch move, you’re instantly on the alert in case it is another person (this effect is has a name: ‘hyperactive agency detection’). You can see why evolution would have favoured that. Better safe than [Read More...]

van Elk, M., Rutjens, B., van der Pligt, J. & van Harreveld, F. (2014). Priming of supernatural agent concepts and agency detection, Religion, Brain & Behavior, 1-30. DOI: 10.1080/2153599X.2014.933444

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9:37 PM | When you think about spirits, do you see ghosts?
Humans are finely honed for spotting intentional agents in our environment. Meaning that if you hear a rustling, or see a branch move, you’re instantly on the alert in case it is another person (this effect is has a name: ‘hyperactive agency detection’). You can see why evolution would have favoured that. Better safe than [Read More...]

van Elk, M., Rutjens, B., van der Pligt, J. & van Harreveld, F. (2014). Priming of supernatural agent concepts and agency detection, Religion, Brain & Behavior, 1-30. DOI: 10.1080/2153599X.2014.933444

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8:20 PM | Need to turn off the pain? Well now we can!
 My sister suffers from chronic pain issues. I’ve written several posts about how her autoimmune disease is a special brand of pain that you will thankfully (almost certainly) never have […]

Little JW, Ford A, Symons-Liguori AM, Chen Z, Janes K, Doyle T, Xie J, Luongo L, Tosh DK, Maione S & Bannister K (2014). Endogenous adenosine A3 receptor activation selectively alleviates persistent pain states., Brain : a journal of neurology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25414036

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Editor's Pick
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8:01 PM | Synesthesia can be learned
Synesthesia is a condition where one stimulus (like a letter) automatically is experienced with another attribute (like a colour) that is not actually present. About 4% of people have some form of this sensory mixing. It has been generally assumed that synesthesia is inherited because it runs in families. But it has been clear that […]

Bor, D., Rothen, N., Schwartzman, D., Clayton, S. & Seth, A. (2014). Adults Can Be Trained to Acquire Synesthetic Experiences, Scientific Reports, 4 7089. DOI: 10.1038/srep07089

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2:35 PM | Illusion Makes People Speak with the Voice of Their Avatar
Think you’re in control of your own body? A simple virtual-reality session could not only make you feel like an avatar’s body is your own, but make you speak more like the digital character. First there was the rubber-hand illusion, a classic experiment that showed syncing up someone’s touch perceptions with what they see happening […]The post Illusion Makes People Speak with the Voice of Their Avatar appeared first on Inkfish.

Banakou D & Slater M (2014). Body ownership causes illusory self-attribution of speaking and influences subsequent real speaking., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25422444

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1:30 PM | Does Playtime for Cats Reduce Behaviour Problems?
Does few toys and no play equal issues with your cat?Photo: XSeon / ShutterstockA new survey of cat owners by Beth Strickler and Elizabeth Shull investigates how many toys the average cat has, how often their owner plays with them, and whether there is a link with behaviour problems. Since behaviour problems are a common reason for cats to be surrendered to shelters and so many cats are euthanized every year, it’s important to understand how meeting the behavioural needs of cats can lead […]

Ellis, S., Rodan, I., Carney, H., Heath, S., Rochlitz, I., Shearburn, L., Sundahl, E. & Westropp, J. (2013). AAFP and ISFM Feline Environmental Needs Guidelines, Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 15 (3) 219-230. DOI: 10.1177/1098612X13477537

Strickler, B. & Shull, E. (2014). An owner survey of toys, activities, and behavior problems in indoor cats, Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 9 (5) 207-214. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2014.06.005

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12:37 PM | A Sex Researcher At A Furry Convention
A report in the journal Archives of Sexual Behaviour describes an unusual field trip made by Canadian researcher Debra W. Soh – to a furry convention, expecting to witness some kind of sexual free-for-all (or free-fur-all). Soh opens by saying that I couldn’t wait to meet a furry, someone who adopts the identity or persona […]The post A Sex Researcher At A Furry Convention appeared first on Neuroskeptic.

Soh DW & Cantor JM (2014). A Peek Inside a Furry Convention., Archives of Sexual Behavior, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25408500

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12:12 PM | Thanksgiving week, light posting. One holiday genome (cranberries).
There’s nobody reading the blog this week each year, everyone is traveling or napping, at least in the US. So I’ll just bring a holiday genome I came across recently. Cranberries. This fruit is one of very few native North American fruits that are widely cultivated. I went looking to see if a genome paper […]

Polashock J., Diego Fajardo, Juan Zalapa, Laura Georgi, Debashish Bhattacharya & Nicholi Vorsa (2014). The American cranberry: first insights into the whole genome of a species adapted to bog habitat, BMC Plant Biology, 14 (1) 165. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2229-14-165

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9:54 AM | The gut microbiome in Down Syndrome
The recent preliminary findings from Elena Biagi and colleagues [1] (open-access) reporting on the constitution of the gut microbiome - the collected bacteria which reside in the deepest, darkest recesses of our gastrointestinal (GI) tract - in a small number of cases of Down's syndrome caught my eye recently.It's a funny feeling being taken under the wing of a dragonPerhaps a little bit unusually looking at the gut microbiome because of the link between premature ageing in Down's syndrome […]

Biagi E, Candela M, Centanni M, Consolandi C, Rampelli S, Turroni S, Severgnini M, Peano C, Ghezzo A, Scurti M & Salvioli S (2014). Gut Microbiome in Down Syndrome., PloS one, 9 (11) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25386941

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9:00 AM | Why sadness lasts longer than other emotions
Staying positive can feel like an uphill battle. No wonder: when Philippe Verduyn and Saskia Lavrijsen asked over 200 high-school students (average age 17) to reminisce about the duration of their recent emotional experiences, they found that sadness had an unfortunate habit of lingering, more so than any of the other 26 emotions studied, including joy, pride and relief.Indeed, the average duration of the episodes of sadness recalled by the students was 120 hours. At the other extreme, the most […]

Verduyn, P. & Lavrijsen, S. (2014). Which emotions last longest and why: The role of event importance and rumination, Motivation and Emotion, DOI: 10.1007/s11031-014-9445-y

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November 25, 2014

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10:17 PM | Blu-ray solar power
  So here’s something you don’t see everyday. Blu-ray disks, you know the stuff we use for video games or DVDs also improve the performance of solar cells—suggesting a second […]

Smith, A., Wang, C., Guo, D., Sun, C. & Huang, J. (2014). Repurposing Blu-ray movie discs as quasi-random nanoimprinting templates for photon management, Nature Communications, 5 5517. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms6517

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6:18 PM | Oy. I worry about this with cell line studies a lot. Mis-IDed + contaminated.
Via NCBI Announce mailing list: NCBI BioSample includes curated list of over 400 known misidentified and contaminated cell lines The NCBI BioSample database now includes a curated list of over 400 known misidentified and contaminated cell lines. Scientists should check this list before they start working with a new cell line to see if that cell line […]

A.T.C.C.S.D.O.W.A.0. (2010). Cell line misidentification: the beginning of the end, Nature Reviews Cancer, 10 (6) 441-448. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nrc2852

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2:25 PM | In breve: la cascata dei barioni
In maniera semplice si può parlare di meccanica quantistica nel momento in cui si descrivono le proprietà delle particelle utilizzando i numeri interi. Fatti quei primi passi all'inizio del XX secolo, come fisici abbiamo descritto le particelle utilizzando i così detti numeri quantici in grande abbondanza: la loro scoperta era sempre legata alla scoperta di nuovi decadimenti che non potevano essere altrimenti spiegati senza violare la conservazione di un qualche numero […]

Gell-Mann, M. (1964). A schematic model of baryons and mesons, Physics Letters, 8 (3) 214-215. DOI: 10.1016/S0031-9163(64)92001-3

Alvarez L., Eberhard P., Good M., Graziano W., Ticho H. & Wojcicki S. (1959). Neutral Cascade Hyperon Event, Physical Review Letters, 2 (5) 215-219. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/physrevlett.2.215

Chatrchyan, S. et al (CMS Collaboration) (2012). Observation of a New $\Xi_b$ baryon, Physical Review Letters, 108 (25) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.252002

Barnes V., Connolly P., Crennell D., W. Delaney, W. Fowler, P. Hagerty, E. Hart, N. Horwitz, P. Hough & J. Jensen & (1964). Observation of a Hyperon with Strangeness Minus Three, Physical Review Letters, 12 (8) 204-206. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/physrevlett.12.204

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1:08 PM | As A Bird - It's No Turkey
Mr. Carlson and Herb Tarlek had to deal with the aftermath of bombing Cincinnati with live turkeys. The line about turkeys being able to fly is one of the most famous in TV history. But he should have at least questioned whether they could fly, there are more than 50 species of flightless bird alive as we speak.In a famous 1978 episode of the TV sitcom, WKRP In Cincinnati, station manager Arthur Carlson releases turkeys from a helicopter to a waiting crowd below as part of a holiday publicity […]

Baratti, M., Ammannati, M., Magnelli, C., Massolo, A. & Dessì-Fulgheri, F. (2010). Are large wattles related to particular MHC genotypes in the male pheasant?, Genetica, 138 (6) 657-665. DOI: 10.1007/s10709-010-9440-5

Thornton, E., Emery, K., Steadman, D., Speller, C., Matheny, R. & Yang, D. (2012). Earliest Mexican Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) in the Maya Region: Implications for Pre-Hispanic Animal Trade and the Timing of Turkey Domestication, PLoS ONE, 7 (8) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042630

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8:20 AM | Serotonin - melatonin (and the in-betweeners) linked to autism
The paper by Pagan and colleagues [1] (open-access) looking at "serotonin, melatonin and the intermediate N-acetylserotonin (NAS) in a large cohort of patients with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and their relatives" set the old grey-pink matter into action recently. Not only because I have some real interest in the starting material for these compounds - the aromatic amino acid known as tryptophan - but because this research group included some quite important analysis of the […]

Pagan C, Delorme R, Callebert J, Goubran-Botros H, Amsellem F, Drouot X, Boudebesse C, Le Dudal K, Ngo-Nguyen N, Laouamri H & Gillberg C (2014). The serotonin-N-acetylserotonin-melatonin pathway as a biomarker for autism spectrum disorders., Translational psychiatry, 4 PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25386956

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November 24, 2014

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8:26 PM | Hiding cells to prevent HIV transmission
The fight against HIV is ongoing and despite our rapid progression against the disease we still lack a cure or even adequate treatment for people infected. However, new research suggests […]

Byrareddy, S., Kallam, B., Arthos, J., Cicala, C., Nawaz, F., Hiatt, J., Kersh, E., McNicholl, J., Hanson, D., Reimann, K. & Brameier, M. (2014). Targeting α4β7 integrin reduces mucosal transmission of simian immunodeficiency virus and protects gut-associated lymphoid tissue from infection, Nature Medicine, DOI: 10.1038/nm.3715

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10:15 AM | Helicobacter pylori and stem cells in the gastric crypt
Last Friday, the 4th Integrated Mathematical Oncology Workshop finished here at Moffitt. The event drew a variety of internal and external participants — you can see a blurry photo of many of them above — and was structured as a competition between four teams specializing in four different domains: Microbiome, Hepatitis C, Human papillomavirus, and […]

Houghton, J., Stoicov, C., Nomura, S., Rogers, A.B., Carlson, J., Li, H., Cai, X., Fox, J.G., Goldenring, J.R. & Wang, T.C. & (2004). Gastric cancer originating from bone marrow-derived cells., Science, 306 (5701) 1568-71. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15567866

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November 23, 2014

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7:09 PM | Love, it’s in your genes
Most kids worry about passing tests, winning games, lost phones, fractured bones—and whether or not they will ever really fall in love. While the first few things are of relatively low […]

Liu, J., Gong, P. & Zhou, X. (2014). The association between romantic relationship status and 5-HT1A gene in young adults, Scientific Reports, 4 7049. DOI: 10.1038/srep07049

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3:52 PM | Ampulex compressa: The Wasp That Turns Cockroaches Into Zombies
Jewel WaspBy Muhammad Mahdi Karim (Own work) [GFDL 1.2], via Wikimedia CommonsKingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ArthropodaClass: InsectaOrder: HymenopteraSuborder: ApocritaSuperfamily: ApoideaFamily: AmpulicidaeGenus: AmpulexSpecies: Ampulex compressaCommon Name(s): Emerald cockroach wasp or jewel waspThe Emerald cockroach wasp is best known for its unusual parasitoid reproductive behavior, which among other includes stinging and injecting a cockroach with mind controlling toxins and using its […]

Haspel, G., Rosenberg, L. & Libersat, F. (2003). Direct injection of venom by a predatory wasp into cockroach brain, Journal of Neurobiology, 56 (3) 287-292. DOI: 10.1002/neu.10238

Moore EL, Haspel G, Libersat F & Adams ME (2006). Parasitoid wasp sting: a cocktail of GABA, taurine, and beta-alanine opens chloride channels for central synaptic block and transient paralysis of a cockroach host., Journal of neurobiology, 66 (8) 811-20. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16673394

Gal, R. & Libersat, F. (2010). A Wasp Manipulates Neuronal Activity in the Sub-Esophageal Ganglion to Decrease the Drive for Walking in Its Cockroach Prey, PLoS ONE, 5 (4) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010019

Banks, C. & Adams, M. (2012). Biogenic amines in the nervous system of the cockroach, Periplaneta americana following envenomation by the jewel wasp, Ampulex compressa, Toxicon, 59 (2) 320-328. DOI: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2011.10.011

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November 22, 2014

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7:45 PM | Mental Health- The invisible barrier for women’s care
A while back I wrote a post about mental health and jail sentences, it seems like no one takes mental health seriously and that leads to lack of care for […]

Xiang, X. (2014). Serious Psychological Distress as a Barrier to Cancer Screening Among Women, Women's Health Issues, DOI: 10.1016/j.whi.2014.09.001

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3:32 PM | Hammerhead Slug: World's Largest Flatworm
Bipalium kewenseNotice the distinctive hammer-like headBy Ajaykuyiloor (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia CommonsKingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: PlatyhelminthesClass: TurbellariaOrder: TricladidaSuborder: ContinenticolaFamily: GeoplanidaeSubfamily: BipaliinaeGenus: BipaliumSpecies: Bipalium kewenseCommon Names: Hammerhead slug, Greenhouse PlanarianNicknamed as the "hammerhead slug" due to its half-moon shaped head, Bipalium kewense is not your […]

L. Winsor (1981). The taxonomy, zoogeography and biology of Bipalium kewense Moseley, 1878 (Tricladida, Terricola), Hydrobiologia, 84 (1) 17-17. DOI: 10.1007/BF00026158

Yasuko Shirasawa & Naoya Makino (1991). Pharyngeal regeneration in the land planarian Bipalium kewense, Hydrobiologia, 227 (1) 57-57. DOI: 10.1007/BF00027581

Daly JJ, Farris HE Jr & Matthews HM (1976). Pseudoparasitism of dogs and cats by the land planarian, Bipalium kewense., Veterinary medicine, small animal clinician : VM, SAC, 71 (11) 1540-2. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1049475

Stokes, A., Ducey, P., Neuman-Lee, L., Hanifin, C., French, S., Pfrender, M., Brodie, E. & Brodie Jr, E. (2014). Confirmation and Distribution of Tetrodotoxin for the First Time in Terrestrial Invertebrates: Two Terrestrial Flatworm Species (Bipalium adventitium and Bipalium kewense), PLoS ONE, 9 (6) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0100718

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November 21, 2014

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10:52 PM | Dogtober = Canine science in October
What a BOOMING month for dogs and science October was! We've captured the links to all the latest blogs, research and news that caught out attention throughout Dog-tober.Thanks to Storify (click here if the you can't see the collection of links below) you can make sure you didn't miss out too.[View the story "Do You Believe in Dog? [01-31 October 2014]" on Storify] Further reading:Bradshaw J.W.S. & Nicola J. Rooney (2014). Why do adult dogs ‘play’?, Behavioural Processes, […]

Bozkurt A., Barbara Sherman, Rita Brugarolas, Sean Mealin, John Majikes, Pu Yang & Robert Loftin (2014). Towards Cyber-Enhanced Working Dogs for Search and Rescue, IEEE Intelligent Systems, 1-1. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/mis.2014.77

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9:54 PM | The impact of powered prosthetic failures on the user
  Prosthetics have come a long way in a relatively short amount of time. With the ongoing wars in the middle east the need for better prosthetics technologies has become […]

Zhang, F., Liu, M. & Huang, H. (2014). Effects of Locomotion Mode Recognition Errors on Volitional Control of Powered Above-Knee Prostheses, IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, DOI: 10.1109/TNSRE.2014.2327230

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9:08 PM | EPA Clean Power Plan Explained!
What to give thanks for this year….my wife, the Milwaukee Bucks, doughnuts…or how about the leaders of two world superpowers coming together and agreeing on new carbon emission reduction standards for 2030!  Oh, and when I say superpower, I mean … Continue reading →

Fowlie, M., Goulder, L., Kotchen, M., Borenstein, S., Bushnell, J., Davis, L., Greenstone, M., Kolstad, C., Knittel, C., Stavins, R. & Wara, M. (2014). An economic perspective on the EPA's Clean Power Plan, Science, 346 (6211) 815-816. DOI: 10.1126/science.1261349

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