Archive for: September, 2012

Undergrad Herding

Sep 11 2012 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

There's a great post up at ProfSnarky's, giving advice to undergrads who have just gotten a job with a prof. It's full of some really good advice, and if you're an undergrad who wants to do research, I definitely suggest you check it out!

But I also thought I would add some of my own thoughts here. Because if you work for someone in biomed at a big uni, the odds are, you're not working for that big Prof. Nope, you work for that big Prof in name only and see them once or twice a semester. In reality? You work for the postdocs and grad students in the lab. In the day to day, the undergrads in my lab work for me.

(Don't worry, I don't bite. I do, however have a large cat and a desire for world domination.)

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When it comes to competition, the anterior cingulate does it best.

Sep 10 2012 Published by under Behavioral Neuro

...or at least, it's in the competition.

Sci is at SciAm blogs today talking about a new study looking at how the brain processes the presence of competition when making a choice. Because if you found something tasty, odds are someone beat you to it. Head over and check it out.

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Sunday Funny: Pyramids as stress reducers.

Sep 09 2012 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

Got this one from Biochembelle. While some may say "presented without comment", this I merely present with LOTS of eyerolling.

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2007 Mar;4(1):35-42. Epub 2006 Jul 26.
Housing in pyramid counteracts neuroendocrine and oxidative stress caused by chronic restraint in rats.
Bhat MS, Rao G, Murthy KD, Bhat PG.

Department of Biochemistry, Department of Physiology, Melaka Manipal Medical College and Department of Biochemistry, Kasturba Medical College Manipal 576104, India.

The space within the great pyramid and its smaller replicas is believed to have an antistress effect. Research has shown that the energy field within the pyramid can protect the hippocampal neurons of mice from stress-induced atrophy and also reduce neuroendocrine stress, oxidative stress and increase antioxidant defence in rats. In this study, we have, for the first time, attempted to study the antistress effects of pyramid exposure on the status of cortisol level, oxidative damage and antioxidant status in rats during chronic restraint stress. Adult female Wistar rats were divided into four groups as follows: normal controls (NC) housed in home cage and left in the laboratory; restrained rats (with three subgroups) subject to chronic restraint stress by placing in a wire mesh restrainer for 6 h per day for 14 days, the restrained controls (RC) having their restrainers kept in the laboratory; restrained pyramid rats (RP) being kept in the pyramid; and restrained square box rats (RS) in the square box during the period of restraint stress everyday. Erythrocyte malondialdehyde (MDA) and plasma cortisol levels were significantly increased and erythrocyte-reduced glutathione (GSH) levels, erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activities were significantly decreased in RC and RS rats as compared to NC. However, these parameters were maintained to near normal levels in RP rats which showed significantly decreased erythrocyte MDA and plasma cortisol and significantly increased erythrocyte GSH levels, erythrocyte GSH-Px and SOD activities when compared with RS rats. The results showed that housing in pyramid counteracts neuroendocrine and oxidative stress caused by chronic restraint in rats.

Bold is mine. For teh LOLz.


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Friday Weird Science: How much sun could a good beard block?

Sep 07 2012 Published by under Friday Weird Science

...ok I guess that probably won't work for some of us. Fake beards, maybe?

I know a guy with a rather luxuriant amount of facial hair. I once asked him if he ever put sunblock on it. Get in the cracks, you know? He said of course not, hair blocks sun. He's never gotten a burn there, after all.

This is definitely true enough, I've never gotten a sunburn where my hair is, either. But how much sun does a good beard block if a good beard could block sun?

Answer? It blocks the sun that a good beard could block if a good beard could block sun.* At least, depending on the angle, and the thickness of the beard. But how to find out PRECISELY?!

Well for that you need SCIENCE. Science and fake heads with beards on them. On a weathervane. Really.


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15 responses so far

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