Archive for: June, 2010

Rheumatoid Arthritis and the Cell Cycle

Jun 28 2010 Published by under Health Care/Medicine

This is a paper in which Sci has a certain amount of personal investment. You see, Sci has a family member who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis. And when I say suffer, I mean she suffers terribly. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where you own body attacks the lining of the membranes between your joints. The result is painful swelling and stiffness (arthritis) which usually affects the smaller joints first (like your fingers) and which can severely impair your quality of life. Symptoms can wax and wane, but right now there is no cure, and treatments (which include things like aspirin or harder pain killers, steroids, and other immunosuppressants) are often not very effective and have a large number of side effects.
About 1% of the population is affected, and while the disease isn't itself fatal, it does shorten your lifespan by about 5-10 years, and seriously affects quality of life. Sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis often can't work and daily living is often impaired. So even though it's not a large population of people, it's still very important to find better treatments and attempt to find a cure to improve the lives of those who suffer from the disease.
And so this paper looks at two different proteins that might be able to help the controlling cell division. In fact, one of them is the SAME protein that Sci wrote about a few weeks ago when she looked at the incredible healing mouse. Interestingly, that mouse apparently is used for some autoimmune disease studies like lupus. Hmmmm. Nasu et al. "Adenoviral transfer of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitory genes suppresses collagen induced arthritis in mice" Journal of Immunology, 2000.
(Does anyone else always worry they are spelling "arthritis" wrong? It's one of those words that look wrong if you look at it too long)
Anyway, let me introduce to you...the arthritic mouse:
(ok, they don't really look like that, but it's cute!)

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3 responses so far

Friday Weird Science: Snoring Problem? Have you considered a didgeridoo?

Jun 25 2010 Published by under Friday Weird Science

Thanks again to NCBI ROFL, who finds these hilarious things and posts their abstracts for all the world to see, and for Sci to giggle over and then run around trying to find hilarious pictures of didgeridoos.
So, let's talk about your snoring problem.

And then let's talk about your musical stylings on the didgeridoo. Puhan, et al. "Didgeridoo playing as alternative treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome: randomised controlled trial" British Medical Journal, 2006.
And to get an idea of what this whole study must have sounded like:

(Dang, this guy is really good...)

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11 responses so far

Calling Grad Students, past, present, and future

Jun 24 2010 Published by under Academia

Samia, over at 49 Percent, is about to become a brand spanking new grad student. And, like the good blogger she is, she's interested in the input of...other bloggers. What's grad school going to be like? What should people watch out for? What things should you look for when choosing a lab? When choosing a project? What kind of things do you wish you knew when you started? Well now you have an opportunity to share. Samia is accepting submissions for a grad school carnival, scheduled for August 15. Sounds like fun! She's interested in perspectives from new grad students, current grad students, old grad students, and basically anyone who's ever had anything to do with grad school. Send 'em in and let's make this thing a repository of grad knowledge!

2 responses so far

Here there be dragon drool!!!

Jun 23 2010 Published by under Basic Science Posts, Natural Sciences

Sci was going to save this one for a Friday Weird Science, but it's just so awesome that she couldn't bring herself to save it. She had to blog it NOW! It's not neuroscience, but it's awesome. Also, there's dragons.
Not this kind:

(Anyone else think Dragon Age Origins is really awesome?! Well, Sci spends a lot of her time wondering why the ladies are so dang naked. You're climbing a high mountain pass in the winter! Your cleavage will suffer frostbite!!!)
It's this kind:

I'm sure you all know that dragons have TERRIBLE breath, but what about that whole "poison" thing? Bull et al."Deathly Drool: Evolutionary and Ecological Basis of Septic Bacteria in Komodo Dragon Mouths" PLoS ONE, 2010.

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4 responses so far

Congrats, and Awesome Site!

Jun 22 2010 Published by under Academia

First off, YAY ED!!! Ed Yong, of Not Exactly Rocket Science Fame, has won the Top Quark Prize for Science, given out by Three Quarks Daily. His post, on gut bacteria in Japanese people who love sushi, is truly really awesome. Kudos also to the winners of the Strange Quark and the Charm Quark! Well written all around!!!
And secondly, Sci got wind recently of something really cool brewing on the internets. This cool thing is a place called The Third Reviewer, which allows people to post comments on journal articles. Right now it's only neuroscience (which is enough for Sci!!) but maybe if it gets popular it will expand. Sci thinks this is a brilliant idea. Right now, you can't really comment on a lot of articles (unless the paper is in PLoS, and though PloS is great, it can't publish everything). Most require you to send in a comment, written and cited, which then has to be reviewed and itself published. And mostly, that won't happen at all. But this is commenting instantly, and ANONYMOUSLY.
Sci thinks this is brilliant. Of course you may get some quacks on there, but you will also get grad students and post-docs, stretching their wings in commenting on science, who will finally feel they can comment without putting their reputations in their field on the line. Sci knows that she and her professional cronies have discussed papers long and hard, and often had some pretty angry (or happy) opinions, but were afraid to say anything due to the huge effort and the possible blow to your reputation that can come from speaking your mind to the big dogs, and maybe, getting it wrong. So this looks like a great idea, and I hope it gains momentum. Check it out!
And now, back to your regular Tuesday.

3 responses so far

Stress and Anxiety, aka CRF and 5-HT2

Today's post comes to you from several tweets that Sci received way back in the mists of time (that is...two weeks ago. Three? Something like that). Sci got wind of this paper and has been meaning to blog it for a while, but other things get in the way, like other things will. And when those other things finally get out of the way, Sci sometimes finds that she's so SLEEPY she doesn't know if she can make it through any more dry, sciency prose (sciency prose, even at the best of times, is pathetically dry. It's why Sci blogs for you. See how she cares).
Like right now, when Sci is SO SLEEPY she just wants to lie down next to the cat and sack out. Scicat is currently reclining in a truly relaxed manner on the floor and isn't making this any easier. But for the sake of stress, anxiety, depression, and a large glad of iced Moroccan mint green tea, SCI BLOGS ON.

(Sci's determination very much resembles that of the bottom biting bug pictured here. A friend of mine showed this to me about a year ago, and it may still remain the oddest thing I have ever seen on the internet. Sci also finds it hilarious that every time anyone in Japan apparently trains for ANYTHING, they must at some point sit under a waterfall, and always end by looking determined on the top of Mt. Fuji. It's like the Rocky Steps of Japan.) Magalhaes, et al. "CRF receptor 1 regulates anxiety behavior via sensitization of 5-HT2 receptor signaling" Nature Neuroscience, 2010.

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7 responses so far

Friday Weird Science: a tote for your scrote, a recepticle for your testicle.

Jun 18 2010 Published by under Friday Weird Science

This post was chosen as an Editor's Selection for
Many thanks to NCBI ROFL for providing this excellent gem of a paper. I was actually going to do another one that I found via their site, but then I saw this one and I HAD TO HAVE IT. And so much additional thanks goes to Jason of the Thoughtful Animal and twitter bud hectocotyli, who managed to find the paper, as Sci only has access to the stacks copy and was about to pull her hair out.
And it was all worth it, my friends! This is a paper of such hilarious awesome that Sci can barely contain her giggles as she writes.
Let me introduce to you...the ball sling.

Just like that. 'Cept it's for a different pair of rocks. Shafik, A. "Contraceptive efficacy of polyester-induced azoospermia in normal men." Contraception, 1992.
Hehehe. A ball sack for your ball sack. A recepticle for your testicle. A tote for your scrote! I could do this all day...
A sling for your thing. A thong for your dong. A sock for your cock...
Anyway, let me introduce to your a tote for your scrote, made out of the ever classy polyester.

(NSFW pics below the fold. As though that picture of polyester shirts wasn't full of enough horror).

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24 responses so far

What does that MRI signal MEAN, anyway?

Jun 16 2010 Published by under Behavioral Neuro, Neuroanatomy, Neuroscience

Sci was incredibly excited to see this paper come out. It's got lots of stuff going for it, and all its powers combined were enough to send Sci bouncing around in her seat and sending emails to Ed Yong saying "OMG COOL PAPER!!".
What's it got, you say? It's got the meaning of life, the universe, and that pesky MRI signal. Lee et al. "Global and local fMRI signals driven by neurons defined optogenetically by type and wiring" Nature, 2010.

Ah, the pretty brain picture. But what does it MEAN?

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13 responses so far

Dopamine and Reward Prediction: What your brain looks like on Rickroll

Jun 14 2010 Published by under Behavioral Neuro, Neuroscience

Today Sci is going to blog a paper that she has been meaning to blog for a long time. It's one of those papers that people who do certain kinds of science snuggle with when they go to sleep at night.

(Sci and this paper)
But the real reason that Sci loves this paper is that it's the neurobiological equivilant of a RickRoll.

And the question behind this paper is: what is the mechanism behind reward prediction? Schultz, Dayan, and Montague. "A neural substrate of prediction and reward" Science, 1997.

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9 responses so far

Friday Weird Science: FINALLY, a clitoris study!

Jun 11 2010 Published by under Friday Weird Science

Sci has constantly been annoyed that no one seems to have performed a real, thorough study on the sensitivity of the vagina. Or at least, it's beyond her pubmed-fu. If someone has done it, please let me know! I'd really like to cover it and I'm very annoyed that I cannot seem to find it. Sci is also annoyed by this because several studies have covered the sensitivity of the penis. It's just not fair.
But today, Sci was pubmedding furiously, and she FOUND SOMETHING. I am so excited. Foldes and Buisson. "The Clitoral Complex: A Dynamic Sonographic Study" Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2009.
YES! Not the whole thing, but it's a start.

I suppose you could say the pictures below are NFSW. But they're sonograms. So it could be anything, really, and most people won't know. If your boss comes up behind you, tell them you're looking at someone's baby pics.

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42 responses so far

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