Archive for: December, 2012

You scratch, I itch!

Dec 10 2012 Published by under Behavioral Neuro

Sci is at SciAm Blogs today, talking about a study which looks at the contagiousness of itch. When you see someone scratch, do you get itchy? And what's happening? And can you make it through the ENTIRE post...without getting itchy? Head over and check it out!

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Sunday Funny: Sausage and Kinks

Dec 09 2012 Published by under Sunday Funnies

Today's Sunday Funny is funny mostly because of the title of the paper. It's a perfectly serious paper about physics, but it's got Sausages, and Kinks. And Jeans.

Phys Rev Lett. 2011 May 13;106(19):191103. Epub 2011 May 13.
Sausage and kink oscillations in astrophysical disk configurations.
Griv E.

Department of Physics, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva 84105, Israel.

The development of hydrodynamic oscillations in various rotating astrophysical disks ranging from planetary rings to galaxies is studied analytically. The dispersion relation of wave propagation is derived. Modes of oscillation are examined from this dispersion relation that are suitable for obtaining information not just on oscillations but also on some instability properties of the disk-shaped structure. It is shown that unstable oscillations of different types, sausage compression and kink bending, may be excited effectively due to the Jeans gravitational instability and the kink transverse instability, respectively. The obtained results for the sausage oscillations may be applicable for such phenomena as the appearance of the in-plane spiral and circular structures, while the case for the kink mode is more relevant for the systematic vertical corrugations of astrophysical disks.


LinkOut - more resources

The paper.

I love science.

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Friday Weird Science: Monsters are people too.

Dec 07 2012 Published by under Friday Weird Science, Uncategorized

I'm going to start with an upfront declaration. This paper is awesome for three major reasons:

1. It is interesting science.
2. It utilizes Dungeons and Dragons.
3. The first author is in middle school.

Yes. That last bit is correct. He's 14, and he just might be better published than you (he is, perhaps, better published than me. Ouch). I know that Ed already covered this paper (he always gets to the best stuff first), but I just really wanted to cover it myself. In my own way. Mostly so I could read it and look at the monsters.


Levy et al. "Monsters are people too". Biology Letters, 2012.

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7 responses so far

Stressed out and not thinking straight? Blame dopamine release in your prefrontal cortex

Dec 05 2012 Published by under Behavioral Neuro, Uncategorized

Some of us like to think that we think better under pressure. Maybe under the pressure of a deadline, but when it comes to severe stress and times of crisis, well, cognitive performance tends to crumble. We know that part of the cause of this is because of increases in dopamine released into the prefrontal cortext. When you increase dopamine in the prefrontal cortex during stress, you can decrease working memory performance. And this is specific to stress! Nicer things that increase dopamine (like drugs or tasty food) don't cause this effect.

So the question becomes, how does this work? The answer may be in the interaction between dopamine and stress, particularly in the glucocorticoid receptor.

Butts et al. "Glucocorticoid receptors in the prefrontal cortex regulate stress-evoked dopamine efflux and aspects of executive function". PNAS, 2012.

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13 responses so far

Come see Sci in Philadelphia!

Dec 04 2012 Published by under Activism

Sci has scheduled a talk! A talk at a bar!! It should be fun, and I hear I at least get one beer free. If you'd like to make sure I get more than that, however, you should come hear Sci give a talk at National Mechanics in Philadelphia, as part of Science on Tap! I'll be there on Monday, December 10th, at 6pm to talk about the science behind antidepressants. If you want to learn about antidepressants, or if you just want to come and buy me a beer (but not TOO many beers or I'll never make the train home!), I'd love to see you! Come one, come all, and have some Science on Tap!

2 responses so far

Does Neuroscience need a Newton?

Dec 03 2012 Published by under Neuroscience, Synaptic Misfires

Sci is at SciAm Blogs today, talking about the recent backlash against neuro-hype (which I am ALL in support of, obviously), highlighting the excellent work of Neuroskeptic and The Neurocritic, and asking...does neuroscience need a Newton? I personally think the question, especially now, is pointless. Newtons aren't the way science works anymore, and with the millions of possibilities in neuroscience...we need millions of neuroscientists. Head over and check it out.

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