Posts

March 26, 2015

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10:27 PM | Stereotype lowers math performance in women, no one noticed
Stereotypes about people can affect how we look at a person, but sometimes it causes other problems. Gender stereotypes about women’s ability in mathematics negatively impact their performance. And in a significant twist, both men and women wrongly believe those stereotypes will not undermine women’s math performance — but instead motivate them to perform better. […]

Boucher, K., Rydell, R. & Murphy, M. (2015). Forecasting the experience of stereotype threat for others, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 58 56-62. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2015.01.002

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6:20 PM | High-fat diet causes brain inflammation and alters behavior
We hear in the media all the time, obesity is effecting our health. In most cases when we talk obesity we are talking about heart disease, sedentary activity, or chronic overeating. But what if a high-fat diet — regardless of obesity — has more than just an affect on your waistline? What if the consumption of fatty […]

Bruce-Keller, A., Salbaum, J., Luo, M., Blanchard, E., Taylor, C., Welsh, D. & Berthoud, H. (2015). Obese-type Gut Microbiota Induce Neurobehavioral Changes in the Absence of Obesity, Biological Psychiatry, 77 (7) 607-615. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.07.012

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1:41 PM | What’s the Answer? (alignment editors)
This week’s highlighted question is from the Bioinformatics discussion area at Reddit. There are a range of topics discussed in that subreddit, and some of the tool-specific ones are very helpful in learning about new software. What are some of the best multiple alignment editors that allow for manual editing? Cross-platform/open-source would be preferred. –AtlasAnimated […]

Larsson A. (2014). AliView: a fast and lightweight alignment viewer and editor for large datasets, Bioinformatics, 30 (22) 3276-3278. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btu531

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11:50 AM | Watching a paradigm shift in neuroscience
When I finished my PhD 15 years ago, the neurosciences defined the main function of brains in terms of processing input to compute output: “brain function is ultimately best understood in terms of input/output transformations and how they are produced” […] ↓ Read the rest of this entry...

Gordus, A., Pokala, N., Levy, S., Flavell, S. & Bargmann, C. (2015). Feedback from Network States Generates Variability in a Probabilistic Olfactory Circuit, Cell, DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.02.018

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11:39 AM | Autism increases risk of nonaffective psychotic disorder and bipolar disorder
Published at the same time and in the same journal as the 'MoBa does bowel issues in autism' paper from Bresnahan and colleagues [1], the study results from Jean-Paul Selten et al [2] reporting that "A diagnosis of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] is associated with a substantially increased risk for NAPD [nonaffective psychotic disorder] and BD [bipolar disorder]" has, at the time of writing this post, received little or no press attention in comparison despite […]

Selten JP, Lundberg M, Rai D & Magnusson C (2015). Risks for Nonaffective Psychotic Disorder and Bipolar Disorder in Young People With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Population-Based Study., JAMA psychiatry, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25806797

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March 25, 2015

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10:04 PM | Was early crocodile a top predator among dinosaurs?
It’s widely-accepted that dinosaur ruled the Earth (unless you believe that the Earth is only 6,000 years old and magically sprang into existence). For around 200 million, roarin’, stompin’, Jeff Goldblum-chasin’ years they were the unquestionable tyrants of the land. Or were they? Scientists from the US claim to have found an early ancestor of…

Zanno LE, Drymala S, Nesbitt SJ & Schneider VP (2015). Early crocodylomorph increases top tier predator diversity during rise of dinosaurs., Scientific reports, 5 9276. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25787306

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9:59 PM | Immunotherapy, a promising new treatment of Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease, it slowly takes things away from the person without giving anything back. Right now there is no cure and at best we can slow the progression in some cases. Time is always a factor and no two cases are the same. However, new treatments are in the works and a new study has […]

Castillo-Carranza, D., Guerrero-Munoz, M., Sengupta, U., Hernandez, C., Barrett, A., Dineley, K. & Kayed, R. (2015). Tau Immunotherapy Modulates Both Pathological Tau and Upstream Amyloid Pathology in an Alzheimer's Disease Mouse Model, Journal of Neuroscience, 35 (12) 4857-4868. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4989-14.2015

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9:57 PM | MoBa does bowel issues in autism
'MoBa' in the title of this post, refers to the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study and a handy resource which has already impacted on autism research (see here for example).Now MoBa has turned its epidemiological clout to an issue which less and less is encountering scientific resistance: are gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms over-represented when it comes to a diagnosis of autism? Further, when do such bowel issues start to present?The answer, shown in the paper by Michaeline […]

Bresnahan, M., Hornig, M., Schultz, A., Gunnes, N., Hirtz, D., Lie, K., Magnus, P., Reichborn-Kjennerud, T., Roth, C., Schjølberg, S. & Stoltenberg, C. (2015). Association of Maternal Report of Infant and Toddler Gastrointestinal Symptoms With Autism, JAMA Psychiatry, DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.3034

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5:03 PM | Cracking the blood-brain barrier with magnetic nanoparticles
The blood-brain barrier, the thorn in the side of medicine. It makes using drugs directed for the brain ineffective at best and unusable at worst. This barrier runs inside almost all vessels in the brain and protects it from elements circulating in the blood that may be toxic to the brain. This barrier means that […]

Tabatabaei, S., Girouard, H., Carret, A. & Martel, S. (2015). Remote control of the permeability of the blood–brain barrier by magnetic heating of nanoparticles: A proof of concept for brain drug delivery, Journal of Controlled Release, 206 49-57. DOI: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2015.02.027

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1:38 PM | Video Tip of the Week: Protein structure information for public outreach. Really.
This week’s tip isn’t about a specific tool–but a really interesting look at how a tool was used in the context of some general public outreach messaging. Recently I posted about Aquaria, a new tool available to let biologists explore protein structures, mutations, and domains in user-friendly ways. But an interesting example of how the […]

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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12:30 PM | Can Street Dogs Become Good Pets?
From free-ranging dog to new home. It sounds like a fairy-tale, but how does it work out?A recent survey by Yasemin Salgiri Demirbas (Ankara University) et al investigates how well free-roaming urban dogs fit into a family home once they are adopted. The results show the dogs adapt well to their new homes.The scientists say, “Every year in Turkey, thousands of free-ranging dogs are brought to dog shelters. These dogs are mongrel dogs with stray origins.” There is often a bias […]

Blackwell, E., Twells, C., Seawright, A. & Casey, R. (2008). The relationship between training methods and the occurrence of behavior problems, as reported by owners, in a population of domestic dogs, Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 3 (5) 207-217. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2007.10.008

Salgirli Demirbas, Y., Emre, B. & Kockaya, M. (2014). Integration ability of urban free-ranging dogs into adoptive families' environment, Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 9 (5) 222-227. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2014.04.006

Lord, L., Reider, L., Herron, M. & Graszak, K. (2008). Health and behavior problems in dogs and cats one week and one month after adoption from animal shelters, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 233 (11) 1715-1722. DOI: 10.2460/javma.233.11.1715

McMillan, F., Duffy, D. & Serpell, J. (2011). Mental health of dogs formerly used as ‘breeding stock’ in commercial breeding establishments, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 135 (1-2) 86-94. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2011.09.006

Sherman, B. & Mills, D. (2008). Canine Anxieties and Phobias: An Update on Separation Anxiety and Noise Aversions, Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, 38 (5) 1081-1106. DOI: 10.1016/j.cvsm.2008.04.012

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12:00 PM | This Nose Knows
Biology concepts – evolution, asymmetry, bilateral symmetry, phonic lips, whales, echolocation, encephalization quotient, densityThis picture gives you a good idea of just how big a spermaceti whale is. Captain Ahab wanted to take this guy on mano y mano. He was nuts.Captain Ahab had an obsession for the white whale in Moby Dick. It was a killer, but not a killer whale. It swamped boats, rammed ships, and generally made a nuisance of itself. But it seemed to be intelligent as well, the […]

Ridgway, S. & Hanson, A. (2014). Sperm Whales and Killer Whales with the Largest Brains of All Toothed Whales Show Extreme Differences in Cerebellum, Brain, Behavior and Evolution, 83 (4) 266-274. DOI: 10.1159/000360519

Oliveira, C., Wahlberg, M., Johnson, M., Miller, P. & Madsen, P. (2013). The function of male sperm whale slow clicks in a high latitude habitat: Communication, echolocation, or prey debilitation?, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 133 (5) 3135. DOI: 10.1121/1.4795798

BODDY, A., McGOWEN, M., SHERWOOD, C., GROSSMAN, L., GOODMAN, M. & WILDMAN, D. (2012). Comparative analysis of encephalization in mammals reveals relaxed constraints on anthropoid primate and cetacean brain scaling, Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 25 (5) 981-994. DOI: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2012.02491.x

Montgomery, S., Geisler, J., McGowen, M., Fox, C., Marino, L. & Gatesy, J. (2013). THE EVOLUTIONARY HISTORY OF CETACEAN BRAIN AND BODY SIZE, Evolution, 67 (11) 3339-3353. DOI: 10.1111/evo.12197

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9:33 AM | Autism and depression: interlinked?
"A possible implication is that interventions aimed at either autism symptoms or symptoms of depression may improve the other."That was the intriguing statement made by Per Normann Andersen and colleagues [1] who "investigated the course of and association among changes in autism symptoms, depression symptoms and executive functions (EF) in children with high-functioning autism (HFA)." Aside from frowning a little at the mention of the concept of 'high-functioning' I assume to denote those […]

Andersen PN, Skogli EW, Hovik KT, Egeland J & Øie M (2015). Associations Among Symptoms of Autism, Symptoms of Depression and Executive Functions in Children with High-Functioning Autism: A 2 Year Follow-Up Study., Journal of autism and developmental disorders, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25763986

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March 24, 2015

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10:46 PM | The cool car: electric vehicles show possible benefit to combat global warming
Electric vehicles have been touted as a revolution waiting to happen to our transportation grid, just as soon as we can make a battery that provides long-range travel between charging stops.  They are also sold as a way to avoid … Continue reading →

Li C, Cao Y, Zhang M, Wang J, Liu J, Shi H & Geng Y (2015). Hidden benefits of electric vehicles for addressing climate change., Scientific reports, 5 9213. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25790439

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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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8:00 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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