Archive for: May, 2010

Cell Cycle p21, Depression, and Neurogenesis and in the Hippocampus

May 31 2010 Published by under Behavioral Neuro, Neuroscience

This is somewhat of a followup post. What's really cool about this paper (to Sci, anyway), is that it brings two different areas that she's been interested in into one cool glob of SCIENCE. And it helps to explain many of the questions that Sci got in response to two of the papers she has blogged about recently.
They are these:
1) The Incredible Healing Mouse: Bedelbeava et al. "Lack of p21 expression links cell cycle control and appendage regeneration in mice" Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010.
2) The neurogenesis theory of depression and a little guy called CREB: Gur et al. "cAMP Response Element-Binding Protein Deficiency Allows for Increased Neurogenesis and a Rapid Onset of Antidepressant Response" The Journal of Neuroscience, 2007.
And NOW, behold their MUTANT OFFSPRING: Pechnick et al. "p21 restricts neuronal proliferation in the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus" PNAS, 2008.
Well ok, technically it isn't a mutant offspring, because this paper was BEFORE the first paper and after the second. So I guess it's a stepchild. Or a sibling. Or just the results of how Sci was searching PubMed that day.
Let's start with some background.

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7 responses so far

Friday Weird Science: College Student Regrets

May 28 2010 Published by under Behavioral Neuro, Friday Weird Science

Sci happened to be Pubmedding the word "vomit"* today when she ran across this article. It's one of those articles that is weird because it's. So. Obvious. Mallett et al. "Do We Learn from Our Mistakes? An Examination of the Impact of Negative Alcohol-Related Consequences on College Students' Drinking Patterns and Perceptions" J Stud Alcohol. 2006
That's right. The study of vomiting, hangovers, blackouts, and other stupid stuff you did in college.

Actually, this paper does have some interesting correlations for people who study alcoholism and binge drinking, but for the moment, it's about drunk college students. We'll get to the rest of it at the end.
*What, like you don't Pubmed "'vomit"' or "clitoris" or "ejaculation" all the time?! Admit it, you do. And then you giggle.

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10 responses so far

Book Review: Your Brain on Food: How Chemicals Control your Thoughts and Feelings

May 26 2010 Published by under Behavioral Neuro, Neuroscience

Sci recently got asked to be a book reviewer for Oxford University Press again! She is thrilled about this. Having recently moved to Huge New City (and consequently to Very Small New Apartment) she ended up having to...*gulp*...get rid of some books. It was a painful process, but she firmly believes her books are going to a good home (or at least the guys at the used bookstore started setting them aside into little piles with their names on them and begging Sci to return with more).

(*sniff* Goodbye, my lovely, lovely friends! Sci will miss you and think of you fondly! Go to a good home and don't ever let anyone break your spine!)
But book reviewing is great! Sci gets more books! She can replenish her depleted supplies! Well. Ok. Very Small New Apartment probably can't deal with much of that. We'll see how far it gets.
Anyway, Sci was glancing through the list of books that Oxford sent along, and was immediately caught by this title:
"Your brain on food: how chemicals control your thoughts and feelings" by Gary L Wenk.
(Sorry there's no pic, but Sci got a galley copy and doesn't have the cover and can't find it online. As an aside though, Much <3 to Oxford Uni Press for BINDING their galley copies in little plastic covers with little plastic spines! YAY! Sci doesn't have to cart around a 400 page pile of paper! Other presses, take note. Your reviewers will LOVE you for this.)
Food! Chemicals! Brain! W00t! That's totally up Sci's alley. Sci pounced.
And so when the book arrived a few days later, I was very hopeful and opened it up first (oh yes, they sent a PILE, Sci's book shelves will soon be restored to their former glory).
And...well. See below.
Sci would like to note that writing this review gave her angst. So much angst that she ate most of a giant chocolate bar while she read it. I sacrifice my waistline for my art. Sigh...

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10 responses so far

On Washing your Fruit: ADHD and Pesticides

May 24 2010 Published by under Behavioral Neuro, Neuroscience

Sci was a little startled recently when she saw "the latest study" on ADHD splashed across the frontpage of Yahoo. You can see it here on Reuters.

(Run for the hills, indeed. Or maybe run AWAY from the hills, since they might have pesticides)
However, the story broke a good TWO DAYS in advance of the paper actually coming out, and so Sci was forced to possess her soul in patience until she had access.
But she's got it now! And let's take a look at this thing.
But first, I want us to all breathe in together and say: "Correlation is not causation"
Say it with me: "Correlation is not causation"

(Behold Sci contemplating the science of the universe)
All right, here we go. Bouchard, et al. "Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate Pesticides" Pediatrics, 2010.

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10 responses so far

Friday Weird Science: The Dirty Old Dildo

May 21 2010 Published by under Friday Weird Science

Can Sci use the word "Dildo" for the main feed of Scienceblogs? Oh well, guess we will find out! Sorry in advance, OverL0rdz!
Anyway, if you were on the internets at ALL over the past few days, you will have seen three things:
1) A guy showed his coworker a paper on bat fellatio and is in trouble for it. Sci is going to wait on details of the case before she passes judgment, there appears to be a lot more than just bat fellatio involved. But for more on bat fellatio, see here, and here.
2) VENTER HAS CREATED LIFE! Ok, he made a synthetic genome and put it into a cell. And the cell worked! It's not synthetic life, but it's pretty effing cool. Ed as usual does a brilliant job with the story.
3) And of course everyone saw this:

OMG it's a stone age dildo. Stop the presses!
But before we get our undies all in a twist over this, Sci has some concerns.

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7 responses so far

The Neurogenesis theory of depression and a little guy called CREB

Sci wishes she could begin this post with something clever. But she has a cold. Suffice it to say that this paper is cool and interesting. And also, as Sci has a cold, I expect all of you to read this post out loud to yourselves in suitably stuffy, gluey Sci-voices.

(*sniff*) Gur et al. "cAMP Response Element-Binding Protein Deficiency Allows for Increased Neurogenesis and a Rapid Onset of Antidepressant Response" The Journal of Neuroscience, 2007.
(Yeah, yeah, the title is long and scary. Worry not, Sci will 'splain.)
And this paper is especially good because it allows Sci to write a post on a topic she's been meaning to get to even since she did a depression series way back when: the neurogenesis theory of antidepressant responses.
So here we go. And a new neuron is born.

(From Bumpy Brains. Sci thinks the rendition of diapers as glia is hilarious.)

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7 responses so far your favorite color?

May 17 2010 Published by under Behavioral Neuro, Evolution Palmer and Schloss. "An ecological valence theory of human color preference" PNAS, 2010.
Sci will admit that she didn't really know all that much about color preference theory until she read this paper. And that until she read this paper...she thought a lot of it was silly.
Also, she doesn't have a favorite color. That might have something to do with it. Can someone have a favorite color palette instead?
Anyway, let's talk color preference theory.

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28 responses so far

Friday Weird Science: We need your ID, kiss on the dotted line.

May 14 2010 Published by under Friday Weird Science

Sci watched the new Sherlock Holmes movie the other night. It's cute, and one of the things that she really enjoyed was watching Sherlock Holmes use his amazing power of deduction:

Sherlock Holmes: As to where I am, I was, admittedly, lost for a moment, between Charing Cross and Holborn, but I was saved by the bread shop on Southford Hill. The only baker to use a certain French glaze on their loaves - a Brittany sage. After that, the carriage forked left and right, and then a tell-tale bump at the Fleet conduit. And as to who you are, that took every ounce of my not-inconsiderable experience. The letters on your desk were addressed to a Sir Thomas Rothman, Lord Chief Justice, that would be the official title. Who you *really* are is, of course, another matter entirely. Judging by the sacred ox on your ring, you're the secret head of the Temple of the Four Orders in whose headquarters we now sit, located on the northwest corner of St. James Square, I think. As to the mystery, the only mystery is why you bothered... to blindfold me at all.

And then of course there's this:;

(An excellent reason to enjoy watching a movie if ever I saw one)
And then of course, there was the cool historical methods Holmes and Watson used in their forensic studies. None of the normal fingerprint stuff, though. And it's too bad, fingerprints make great identifiers.
As I'm sure most of you already know, no two people's finger prints are identical. This means that you can identify someone by their finger print (usually the thumb). It also means that a lot of stories talk about robbers who sanded off their fingertips to make them more sensitive and prevent fingerprinting. Which seems pretty cool, though painful and probably rather ineffective.
So Sci always thought that the fringerprints were the only easily accessible thing about people that could be used for identification.
But what about other parts?
What about the lips?

This Friday Weird Science comes to you courtesy of reader Tony, who saw this and thought of Sci! Tsuchihashi, Y. "Studies on personal identification by means of lip prints" Forensic Science, 1974.

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4 responses so far

Walking and Obesity: The City Life vs the Country Life

May 12 2010 Published by under Health Care/Medicine

Sci rather wishes this study were done in mice, if only so she could write "the city mouse and the country mouse" in her title. But it was done in humans, which was really probably a good thing.
This post has some background. Sci was sitting around with her lab one day, shootin' the breeze like you do when it's Friday and science has you cross-eyed, and we were talking about going to meetings in exotic locales. We were talking about one especially large city, and one person in the group said "you know, what's amazing about cities is how THIN everyone is". And everyone in the group nodded sagely and said it was always shocking to go to large cities and realize how skinny everyone was.
But, being a scientist, Sci this really true? Are people thinner in the city and thicker in the country, and if so, why? Is it just our perception, due to some cities featured on TV being full of starving artists and lots of plastic surgery? Is it universal? Is it just among the upper class? What about the urban poor? And is it due to all the walking, or is it just because of increased populations of starving artists?
And that's not all. Sci just hopped up and moved to a new, Very Large City, and for the first week or so, my feet DEFINITELY noticed the walking increase. The blisters on my feet especially. Apparently every other female on the planet knew about those gel insoles to help you wear pretty shoes, but Sci apparently flunked that part of her "how to be a girl" exam.
So relationships between physical activity and obesity? Sci shot off an email to Travis of Obesity Panacea. Travis sent her a paper citation. Let's do this. Frank et al. "Obesity relationships with community design, physical activity, and time spent in cars" American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 2004.

(Put on your walking shoes! Sci hates those obligatory pictures of obese people next to pictures of people who are obviously models. This one is better.)

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30 responses so far

Welcome Speakeasy Science!!1

May 11 2010 Published by under Uncategorized

Sci has been wanting to read "The Poisoner's Handbook" by Deborah Blum for an AGE now, and she's now even more thrilled that she can read her every day! Please welcome Deborah Blum to Scienceblogs, where she will be blogging at Speakeasy Science. The blog already has some crazy awesome stories of poisoning by different substances! Good times ahead, people. Good times.
Also, if anyone wants to SEND Sci a copy of the Poisoner's Handbook...*cough cough*...:)

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