Posts

September 22, 2014

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6:17 PM | Autism and the Low Iron Connection
The topic of autism is a charged one. Maybe it’s because it isn’t a simple diagnosis; there are many roads to autism. Most of them are probably genetic, some of […]

Rebecca J. Schmidt et al (2014). Maternal intake of supplemental iron and risk for autism spectrum disorders, American Journal of Epidemiology,

Schmidt, R., Tancredi, D., Ozonoff, S., Hansen, R., Hartiala, J., Allayee, H., Schmidt, L., Tassone, F. & Hertz-Picciotto, I. (2012). Maternal periconceptional folic acid intake and risk of autism spectrum disorders and developmental delay in the CHARGE (CHildhood Autism Risks from Genetics and Environment) case-control study, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 96 (1) 80-89. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.110.004416

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7:32 AM | Omega-3 fatty acids and ADHD
With a title like that, this post could turn out to be quite a long winded blog entry. As it happens, I'm not going to subject you, dear reader, to such a literary onslaught but rather focus my attention on the paper by Elizabeth Hawkey & Joel Nigg [1] who undertook two meta-analyses and concluded that: "Omega-3 levels are reduced in children with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder]" and "Dietary supplementation appears to create modest improvements in symptoms"."Maybe the 80s […]

Hawkey E & Nigg JT (2014). Omega-3 fatty acid and ADHD: Blood level analysis and meta-analytic extension of supplementation trials., Clinical psychology review, 34 (6) 496-505. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25181335

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September 21, 2014

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6:33 PM | Move over Carbon nanotubes introducing Diamond nanothreads
Carbon nanotubes, the wave of the future. Our hopes and dreams for the future have been firmly placed in using the unique material for everything from electronics to engineering. Unfortunately […]

Fitzgibbons, T., Guthrie, M., Xu, E., Crespi, V., Davidowski, S., Cody, G., Alem, N. & Badding, J. (2014). Benzene-derived carbon nanothreads, Nature Materials, DOI: 10.1038/nmat4088

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11:21 AM | Warning: This Post Will Change Your Brain
Last week I gave a talk in Brazil called Why Is It So Hard To Think About The Brain?, Well, no sooner have I returned than a story appeared that illustrates my point all too well. A neuroscience paper made headlines around the world on Friday. Here’s Time‘s take: One Dose of Antidepressant Changes the […]The post Warning: This Post Will Change Your Brain appeared first on Neuroskeptic.

Schaefer, A., Burmann, I., Regenthal, R., Arélin, K., Barth, C., Pampel, A., Villringer, A., Margulies, D. & Sacher, J. (2014). Serotonergic Modulation of Intrinsic Functional Connectivity, Current Biology, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.08.024

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September 20, 2014

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7:43 PM | Lengthen Telomeres and Turn Back Aging
Want to live longer and healthier? Of course you do, well science may just have the answer! Scientists have discovered an on-and-off “switch” in cells that may hold the key […]

Tucey, T. & Lundblad, V. (2014). Regulated assembly and disassembly of the yeast telomerase quaternary complex, Genes & Development, DOI: 10.1101/gad.246256.114

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5:52 PM | Solving the metal problem: new polymer used in organic solar cells to allow wide use of metal cathodes, improve efficiency
Organic solar cells (OSC) are an exciting next-generation option for photovoltaics.  The main advantage is that they’re cheap, easily processed using solution-based methods, which opens up many innovative applications – printable cells, even solar paint! The main issue holding OSCs back is … Continue reading →

Page, Z., Liu, Y., Duzhko, V., Russell, T. & Emrick, T. (2014). Fulleropyrrolidine interlayers: Tailoring electrodes to raise organic solar cell efficiency, Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1255826

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September 19, 2014

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11:28 PM | Nanosponges Clean up Antibody-mediated Autoimmune Disease
What does lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatic heart disease have in common? All of these (and many other) apparently unrelated disorders are caused by autoimmunity, […]

Copp JA, Fang RH, Luk BT, Hu CM, Gao W, Zhang K & Zhang L (2014). Clearance of pathological antibodies using biomimetic nanoparticles., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111 (37) 13481-6. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25197051

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5:21 PM | New test for Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Early
Alzheimer’s diagnosis is important, like the famous slogan “with a stroke, time lost is brain lost,” detecting alzheimer’s is important in order to stave off cognitive decline. A just like […]

Hawkins KM & Sergio LE (2014). Visuomotor Impairments in Older Adults at Increased Alzheimer's Disease Risk., Journal of Alzheimer's disease, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24919768

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12:00 PM | Translational Findings: What drunk fruit flies can tell us about alcohol addiction
A study in 2012 found that approximately 7.2% of adults in the United States have an alcohol use disorder (a term that covers any person for whom their drinking causes distress or harm). That adds up to approximately 17 million Americans! Treatments for alcoholism, such as behavioral therapies or medications, can often be ineffective in […]

Shohat-Ophir G., R. Azanchi, H. Mohammed & U. Heberlein (2012). Sexual Deprivation Increases Ethanol Intake in Drosophila, Science, 335 (6074) 1351-1355. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1215932

Lee H.G., Jennifer S. Dunning & Kyung-An Han (2008). Recurring Ethanol Exposure Induces Disinhibited Courtship in Drosophila, PLoS ONE, 3 (1) e1391. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0001391

Devineni A.V. (2009). Preferential Ethanol Consumption in Drosophila Models Features of Addiction, Current Biology, 19 (24) 2126-2132. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2009.10.070

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8:08 AM | Increasing parental age and autism severity?
An interesting paper by David Geier and colleagues [1] (open-access here) caught my eye recently, concluding that there was a lack of support for the suggestion that: "increasing parental age was associated with increasing autism spectrum disorder phenotypic severity"."the snozzberries taste like snozzberries".Before progressing through the paper and its possible implications, the eagle-eyed out there might have already spotted the name Dr Brian Hooker on the authorship list of the Geier paper. […]

Geier DA, Hooker BS, Kern JK, Sykes LK & Geier MR (2014). An Evaluation of the Effect of Increasing Parental Age on the Phenotypic Severity of Autism Spectrum Disorder., Journal of child neurology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25163730

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4:02 AM | The neuroscience behind scratching an itch
The beautiful experience of alleviating an itch, the vigorous scratching of skin cells, and the white flakes that float away slowly and gently like a whimsical dream.If only those with chronic itching problems could describe their conditions in such a serene way. In the latest edition of Nature Neuroscience, Diana Bautista and colleagues (2014) review the literature on the underlying mechanism of the itch at the molecular and cellular level within the peripheral and central nervous systems. […]

Bautista, D., Wilson, S. & Hoon, M. (2014). Why we scratch an itch: the molecules, cells and circuits of itch, Nature Neuroscience, 17 (2) 175-182. DOI: 10.1038/nn.3619

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3:45 AM | Experimental and comparative oncology: zebrafish, dogs, elephants
One of the exciting things about mathematical oncology is that thinking about cancer often forces me to leave my comfortable arm-chair and look at some actually data. No matter how much I advocate for the merits of heuristic modeling, when it comes to cancer, data-agnostic models take second stage to data-rich modeling. This close relationship […]

Gallaher, J. & Anderson, A.R. (2013). Evolution of intratumoral phenotypic heterogeneity: the role of trait inheritance., Interface Focus, 3 (4) 20130016. arXiv: http://arxiv.org/abs/1305.0524v1

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September 18, 2014

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8:45 PM | How to Look for Otters
In the first of a new series of posts about “How to Look for Mammals”, I take a look at one of our semi aquatic species, the Eurasian otter. The Eurasian otter is distributed across Europe and into Eurasia, but … Continue reading →

Reid N, Hayden B, Lundy MG, Pietravalle S, McDonald RA & Montgomery WI (2013). National Otter Survey of Ireland 2010/12, Irish Wildlife Manuals No. 76. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Dublin, Ireland, Other:

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8:45 PM | How to Look for Otters
In the first of a new series of posts about “How to Look for Mammals”, I take a look at one of our semi aquatic species, the Eurasian otter. The Eurasian otter is distributed across Europe and into Eurasia, but … Continue reading →

Reid N, Hayden B, Lundy MG, Pietravalle S, McDonald RA & Montgomery WI (2013). National Otter Survey of Ireland 2010/12, Irish Wildlife Manuals No. 76. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Dublin, Ireland, Other:

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8:09 PM | Coffee Drinkers Have Trouble Talking About Emotions?
People who drink a lot of coffee – and other caffeinated beverages – find it more difficult to identify and describe their own emotions. This is the claim of a new study, published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, from Australian researchers Michael Lyvers and colleagues: Caffeine use and alexithymia in university students. “Alexithymia” – […]The post Coffee Drinkers Have Trouble Talking About Emotions? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.

Lyvers M, Duric N & Thorberg FA (2014). Caffeine use and alexithymia in university students., Journal of psychoactive drugs, 46 (4) 340-6. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25188705

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4:58 PM | Is Stress Eating Away at You? No, Literally…
Ever wonder why, when people are too stressed, they are often grouchy, grumpy, nasty, distracted or forgetful? It may not be something you’ve done, in fact it turns out stress […]

van der Kooij, M., Fantin, M., Rejmak, E., Grosse, J., Zanoletti, O., Fournier, C., Ganguly, K., Kalita, K., Kaczmarek, L. & Sandi, C. & (2014). Role for MMP-9 in stress-induced downregulation of nectin-3 in hippocampal CA1 and associated behavioural alterations, Nature Communications, 5 4995. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5995

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12:00 PM | Pythons and the Land - The Bangladesh Python Project Part IV --Guest Post--
By Jon Hakim Make sure to start at Part I. “Snake call!  It's the python.  Are you up?  We got a call for the python.” The words were almost the same, but I woke up to see that Caesar's face held a grimace.  The call he feared had come.  Let's back up to the night before. In the last post I left you in a moment of triumph.  Kanai had led four of us right to our target species

Rahman, Shahriar Caesar & et al. (2013). Monsoon does matter: annual activity patterns in a snake assemblage from Bangladesh, The Herpetological Journal, 23 203-208.

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8:50 AM | Anxiety and sensory over-responsivity linked to gut issues in autism
"The name's Lonnegan! Doyle Lonnegan!"Consider this micropost an extension of some previous discussions on this blog about how gastrointestinal (GI) issues present in cases of autism might show some connection to the presence of anxiety and sensory issues (see here). Today I'm discussing further research by Micah Mazurek and colleagues [1] which follows a previous publication by this author [2] on this topic.In the latest paper, Dr Mazurek and colleagues describe the course of abdominal pain in […]

Mazurek, M., Keefer, A., Shui, A. & Vasa, R. (2014). One-year course and predictors of abdominal pain in children with autism spectrum disorders: The role of anxiety and sensory over-responsivity, Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 8 (11) 1508-1515. DOI: 10.1016/j.rasd.2014.07.018

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September 17, 2014

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9:56 PM | Why are ethical standards higher in science than in business and media?
Facebook manipulates user content in the name of science? Scandalous! It manipulates user content in the name of profit? No worries! Want to run a Milgram study these days? Get bashed by your local ethics committee! Want to show it on TV? No worries. Why do projects which seek knowledge have higher ethical standards than […]

Kramer AD, Guillory JE & Hancock JT (2014). Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111 (24) 8788-90. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24889601

Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral Study of obedience, The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67 (4) 371-378. Other:

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5:24 PM | Biofilms: Using Bacteria for new Designer Nanomaterials
For most people biofilms conjure up images of slippery stones in a streambed and dirty drains. While there are plenty of “bad” biofilms around – they are even the same […]

Peter Q. Nguyen,, Zsofia Botyanszki,, Pei Kun R. Tay, & Neel S. Joshi (2014). Programmable biofilm-based materials from engineered curli nanofibres, Nature Communications, Other:

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4:00 PM | (Transneuronal) Attack of the Mutant Huntingtin!
Huntington’s disease (HD) is an incredibly debilitating neurodegenerative disorder. Currently, there is no treatment that effectively reverses the progression of the disease or delays its onset. Huntington’s is a particularly difficult diagnosis because it is an autosomal dominant degenerative disease, meaning that any child of an affected parent has a 50% chance of inheriting the … Continue reading →

Pecho-Vrieseling E., Sascha Fuchs, Dorothee Bleckmann, Maria Soledad Esposito, Paolo Botta, Chris Goldstein, Mario Bernhard, Ivan Galimberti, Matthias Müller & Andreas Lüthi & (2014). Transneuronal propagation of mutant huntingtin contributes to non–cell autonomous pathology in neurons, Nature Neuroscience, 17 (8) 1064-1072. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nn.3761

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3:28 PM | Antidepressants Modulate Memory in the Healthy Brain
The mechanism of antidepressant drug response is not well understood.One theory posits antidepressant effects are only seen in those with clinical depression leaving the healthy brain unchanged.In a previous post, I outlined a study demonstrating effects of antidepressants on brain connectivity measures in the healthy brain.A recent fMRI study extends our understanding of the potential mechanisms for antidepressant drugs.CT Cerqueira and colleagues from Brazil studied the effects of the […]

Cerqueira CT, Sato JR, de Almeida JR, Amaro E Jr, Leite CC, Gorenstein C, Gentil V & Busatto GF (2014). Healthy individuals treated with clomipramine: an fMRI study of brain activity during autobiographical recall of emotions., Translational psychiatry, 4 PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24984192

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2:02 PM | An Unusual Case of Scurvy found in the Maya
Scurvy is caused by a lack of vitamin C in one’s nutrition. Historical accounts of the disease are first recorded in 1845, noting the presence of rosy patches of skin, […]

Wrobel G (2014). A likely case of scurvy in a rural early classic maya burial from Actun Uayazba Kab, Belize., American journal of physical anthropology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25105478

White C, Maxwell J, Dolphin A, Williams J & Longstaffe F (2006). Pathoecology and paleodiet in postclassic: historic Maya from northern coastal Belize., Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, 101 Suppl 2 35-42. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17308807

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1:46 PM | Video Tip of the Week: GOLD, Genomes OnLine Database
Yes, I know some people suffer from YAGS-malaise (Yet Another Genome Syndrome), but I don’t. I continue to be psyched for every genome I hear about. I even liked the salmon lice one. And Yaks. The crowd-funded Puerto Rican parrot project was so very neat. These genomes may not matter much for your everyday life, […]

Pagani I., J. Jansson, I.-M. A. Chen, T. Smirnova, B. Nosrat, V. M. Markowitz & N. C. Kyrpides (2011). The Genomes OnLine Database (GOLD) v.4: status of genomic and metagenomic projects and their associated metadata, Nucleic Acids Research, 40 (D1) D571-D579. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkr1100

Liolios K., Lynette Hirschman, Ioanna Pagani, Bahador Nosrat, Peter Sterk, Owen White, Philippe Rocca-Serra, Susanna-Assunta Sansone, Chris Taylor & Nikos C. Kyrpides & (2012). The Metadata Coverage Index (MCI): A standardized metric for quantifying database metadata richness, Standards in Genomic Sciences, 6 (3) 444-453. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4056/sigs.2675953

Field D., Tanya Gray, Norman Morrison, Jeremy Selengut, Peter Sterk, Tatiana Tatusova, Nicholas Thomson, Michael J Allen, Samuel V Angiuoli & Michael Ashburner & (2008). The minimum information about a genome sequence (MIGS) specification, Nature Biotechnology, 26 (5) 541-547. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nbt1360

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1:28 PM | Builders and Blocks – Engineering Blood Vessels with Stem Cells
Back in 2001, when we first began studying how regenerative cells (stem cells or more mature progenitor cells) enhance blood vessel growth, our group as well as many of our colleagues focused on one specific type of blood vessel: arteries. Arteries are responsible for supplying oxygen to all organs and tissues of the body and arteries are more likely to develop gradual plaque build-up (atherosclerosis) than veins or networks of smaller blood vessels (capillaries). Once the amount of plaque […]

Paul JD, Coulombe KL, Toth PT, Zhang Y, Marsboom G, Bindokas VP, Smith DW, Murry CE & Rehman J (2013). SLIT3-ROBO4 activation promotes vascular network formation in human engineered tissue and angiogenesis in vivo., Journal of molecular and cellular cardiology, 64 124-31. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24090675

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12:30 PM | Does Your Cat Sniff New Food?
New research investigates which feline behaviours show that cats find food tasty. Photo: FreeBirdPhotos / ShutterstockThere are certain things we can take for granted when feeding the cat: the pitiful miaows that become increasingly strident, the anticipatory purring when you move towards the cat food, and the way the cat wraps herself around your leg as if you’re her best friend ever. But when you put the food down, is there any guarantee she will eat it? Cat food manufacturers have […]

Becques, A., Larose, C., Baron, C., Niceron, C., Feron, C. & Gouat, P. (2014). Behaviour in order to evaluate the palatability of pet food in domestic cats, Applied Animal Behaviour Science , 159 55-61. Other:

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12:00 PM | Should I Stay Or Should I Go
Biology concepts – bacteria, motility, flagella, quorum sensing, bacterial swarming, biofilms, pathogenesisNomads are wanderers. They come in different flavors. Hunter-gatherers follow the animals as they graze in different places. Pastoral nomads have animal herds and move them around to where the grazing is best. But the interesting ones are the peripatetic nomads. These are people that move around within cities and other populated areas, often to sell services or trades. Romanis, or […]

Gloag ES, Turnbull L, Huang A, Vallotton P, Wang H, Nolan LM, Mililli L, Hunt C, Lu J, Osvath SR & Monahan LG (2013). Self-organization of bacterial biofilms is facilitated by extracellular DNA., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110 (28) 11541-6. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23798445

Deng P, de Vargas Roditi L, van Ditmarsch D & Xavier JB (2014). The ecological basis of morphogenesis: branching patterns in swarming colonies of bacteria., New journal of physics, 16 15006-15006. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24587694

McCall J, Hidalgo G, Asadishad B & Tufenkji N (2013). Cranberry impairs selected behaviors essential for virulence in Proteus mirabilis HI4320., Canadian journal of microbiology, 59 (6) 430-6. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23750959

Alteri CJ, Himpsl SD, Pickens SR, Lindner JR, Zora JS, Miller JE, Arno PD, Straight SW & Mobley HL (2013). Multicellular bacteria deploy the type VI secretion system to preemptively strike neighboring cells., PLoS pathogens, 9 (9) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24039579

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2:15 AM | Colon cancer, mathematical time travel, and questioning the sequential mutation model.
On Saturday, I arrived in Columbus, Ohio for the the MBI Workshop on the Ecology and Evolution of Cancer. Today, our second day started. The meeting is an exciting combination of biology-minded mathematicians and computer scientists, and math-friendly biologist and clinicians. As is typical of workshops, the speakers of the first day had an agenda […]

Baker AM, Cereser B, Melton S, Fletcher AG, Rodriguez-Justo M, Tadrous PJ, Humphries A, Elia G, McDonald SA, Wright NA & Simons BD (2014). Quantification of crypt and stem cell evolution in the normal and neoplastic human colon., Cell reports, 8 (4) 940-7. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25127143

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September 16, 2014

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11:11 PM | Breaking battery convention: new study indicates fast charging not necessarily detrimental to cycling lifetimes
It’s exciting in science when a conventional view is overthrown, as this opens the way for both new perspectives on old data and new experiments to design to test new theories.  A great example of this challenging of convention appears … Continue reading →

Li Y, El Gabaly F, Ferguson TR, Smith RB, Bartelt NC, Sugar JD, Fenton KR, Cogswell DA, Kilcoyne AL, Tyliszczak T & Bazant MZ (2014). Current-induced transition from particle-by-particle to concurrent intercalation in phase-separating battery electrodes., Nature materials, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25218062

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5:14 PM | New Cocktail Turns Adult Cells into Stem Cells
For those of us who were following stem cell news, recently the field had a huge setback when a paper, that offered a cheap and novel way to create stem […]

Buganim Y, Markoulaki S, van Wietmarschen N, Hoke H, Wu T, Ganz K, Akhtar-Zaidi B, He Y, Abraham BJ, Porubsky D & Kulenkampff E (2014). The Developmental Potential of iPSCs Is Greatly Influenced by Reprogramming Factor Selection., Cell stem cell, 15 (3) 295-309. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25192464

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