Archive for: August, 2012

Friday Weird Science: The Bra Strap Injury

Aug 31 2012 Published by under Friday Weird Science

Sci is dealing with some personal stuff right now, and can't post today. I offer up this repost as a piece of glory from the early days, all the way back in 2009! 🙂

Every once in a while, when I look at the lit, I'm truly amazed by the things people report in. This one didn't even need any playing with the title. It's just too good. Rose, et al. "The bra-strap injury: should men have lessons?" British Journal of Plastic Surgery, 2001.

This post shall otherwise be known as "Sci's explanation on how to get off a girl's bra while avoiding possible pain and injury. It even works through a sweater."

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7 responses so far

Do vegetarians feel more disgust?

Aug 29 2012 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

Sci used to be a vegetarian. I decided on being a vegetarian the summer after high school, on a trip across the United States, while studying environmental and land use issues. I guess it's not too surprising that some of the things I found led me to give up meat. And give it up I did, for several years. Unfortunately, I was a really bad vegetarian. Not in terms of eating meat, I was very good at not eating meat. What I was BAD at was eating everything else. Without meat my diet basically extended to bread, cheese, and...other ingredients common to cheese pizza and pasta covered in...cheese. When I started to suffer issues associated with malnutrition (especially anemia), my doctor and family demanded a more balanced diet. Now the Sci-house eats poultry roughly twice a week (except Scicat, obligate carnivores gotta eat). But I have also become a MUCH better eater in general. I now eat piles of dark leafy greens, fruit, and vegetables. Whole grains abound.

But I noticed something during my years as a vegetarian. Meat just didn't interest me. Most of the time, it still doesn't. I tend to look for, and cook, vegetarian recipes because they just appeal to me more. But for many moral vegetarians (people who become vegetarians because of moral reasons), it goes beyond indifference to meat, and all the way to disgust. Meat has become something disgusting, something that is the result of processes that they find distasteful and wrong.

And some scientists it just meat? Or are people who are vegetarians for moral reasons more likely to feel disgust in general?

(Obligatory photo of our adorable obligate carnivore. Could anyone refuse that face?!)

Fessler et al. "Disgust sensitivity and meat consumption: a test of an emotivist account of moral vegetarianism" Appetite, 2003.

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19 responses so far

Back off stranger, that's my mate!

Aug 27 2012 Published by under Behavioral Neuro

Sci is at Scientific American Blogs today, talking about a cool study investigating the role of kappa opioid receptors during pair bond maintenance in voles. Because while pair bond formation requires lots of warm and fuzzy feelings, pair bond maintenance is a bit more aggressive. Head over and check it out!

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Friday Weird Science: This quail has a cloth fetish

Aug 24 2012 Published by under Friday Weird Science

No really. A fetish. Or rather, an animal MODEL of a fetish.

Or at least, that's the idea behind today's study, which is a study of sexual conditioning.

And WHAT animal is going to be the subject of such scientific debauchery???


Everyone please give a big welcome to one dirty little bird, the Japanese QUAIL!!!

Koksal et al. "An animal model of fetishism" Behavior Research and Therapy, 2004.

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One response so far

Sci's blogging all the weird Science at this year's IgNobels!

Aug 23 2012 Published by under Friday Weird Science

Yes! I'm very happy to say I'll be at the IgNobels again this year, tweeting live from the ceremony and interviewing as many winners as I can get my grubby little paws on.

Most of the action will be happening over at Sci Am Blogs, and you should definitely follow along! I can't wait to share the weirdest and wildest science of the year with you all!!!

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An opioid receptor mutation that makes ladies feel the pain

Aug 22 2012 Published by under Behavioral Neuro

Note: I was thinking about writing up some refutations on the idea that “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,”, because that is NONSENSE and that kind of claim makes me ragey. However, Kate Clancy over at Context and Variation has written up a BRILLIANT summary on the topic. I cannot recommend it enough. So I think any thoughts I might have are superfluous. Head over there. Read it. Read the follow up. And then come back here to learn about mu-opioid receptors. 🙂

We all know of someone who says they are impervious to pain. That they have higher pain threshold. Maybe we know someone who is acutely sensitive to pain.

When you hear that someone is more or less sensitive to pain, what do you attribute it to? Me, I always default to someone being told to toughen up as a child. I always thought that people were all roughly equally sensitive to pain, and some were just bigger divas about it than others (and I've always worried that one of those divas was me!).

And sure, maybe there's some nurture, but there may also be some nature. A naturally occurring mutation that may make some people (particularly women) more sensitive to pain than others.

Olsen et al. "Pain Intensity the First Year after Lumbar Disc Herniation Is Associated with the A118G Polymorphismin the Opioid ReceptorMu 1 Gene: Evidence of a Sex and Genotype Interaction" J. Neuroscience, 2012.

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5 responses so far

DESPERATION: The new fragrance for academics!

Aug 20 2012 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

This is what happens when science bloggers talk to each other too much. I blame Laelaps (it was his idea!).

Are you...grant writing?

Your data...ravishing...

Your paycheck...dwindling...

Your scent...DESPERATION.

DESPERATION: the new fragrance for academics everywhere.

Smell hints of fear, lab chemicals, coffee, tears, musty papers, carpel tunel. Light notes of bitterness, regret, and underarm musk.

SEE the dark undereye circles.

HEAR the rustling of drafts, the creaking of lower back pain.

SMELL the scent of the hunted academic.


I even have testimonials!

...can you tell I'm grant writing?

One response so far

Anorexia and Obesity: opposite sides of the reward coin?

Aug 20 2012 Published by under Behavioral Neuro

Sci is at Sci Am Blogs today, talking about a paper looking at fMRI signaling in anorexics as compared to controls and obese individuals. I've seen a bunch of papers on obesity and reward-related systems, but this is one of the first I've seen trying to look at anorexia, the opposite side of the reward coin. Head over and check it out.

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Friday Weird Science: Have a great gas of a time with the Toot Trapper!

Aug 17 2012 Published by under Friday Weird Science

YES. YES. There is something called the Toot Trapper and it exists. This alone should be enough to make your day. It certainly made mine!

Honestly, as with many of the papers I write for Friday Weird Science, it’s the methods of this paper that really take the cake. Beans, rectal tubes, Mylar pants, and duct tape, this paper has it ALL.

Because how else are you going to study the gases in farts?

Suarez et al. “Identification of gases responsible for the odour of human flatus and evaluation of a device purported to reduce this odour" Gut, 1998.

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2 responses so far

"Blocking" heroin addiction while "avoiding the wiring". Did we really?

Aug 15 2012 Published by under Behavioral Neuro

Sci is over at SciAm Blogs today talking about a new hot study getting some major press. The press release states that they have "blocked" addiction using a new drug called (+)-naloxone through the immune system, while "avoiding the wiring". What the heck does that mean? And what did they really find? It turns out the truth is more interesting than the press release. Head over and find out.

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