"Our findings provide genetic evidence of an increased rate of large CNVs in individuals with ADHD and suggest that ADHD is not purely a social construct." (abstract
) Researchers find a genetic basis for ADHD
, and the researcher hopes the finding will reduce the stigma associated with the disorder.
it's more complex
than just biology. In any case, children who are diagnosed at an early age are 10 times more likely
to be depressed as adolescents. (abstract
Albert Einstein once articulated what many scholars have felt in their own work:
The history of scientific and technical discovery teaches us the human race is poor in independent thinking and creative imagination. Even when the external and scientific requirements for the birth of an idea have long been there, it generally needs an external stimulus to make it actually happen; man has, so to speak, to stumble right up against the thing before the right idea comes.
The Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University [html][pdf] [more inside]
Sabotage in the lab.
"As the problems mounted, Ames was getting agitated. She was certain that someone was monkeying with her experiments, but she had no proof and no suspect. Her close friends suggested that she was being paranoid." Scientific research collides with human nature.
Using a 3-D petri dish,
Researchers at Brown University and Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island have built a completely functional artificial human ovary
that will allow doctors to harvest immature human egg cells (oocytes) and grow them into mature, ready-to-be-fertilized human eggs
outside the body. (In vitro
) The advance could eventually help preserve fertility for women facing chemotherapy
or other medical treatments that may be destructive to ovarian folliculogenesis. Press Release.
. (paywall) [more inside]
From Obesity Panacea, a blog is written by two obesity researchers: a 5-part series delving into the fascinating and seemingly paradoxical research on people who remain metabolically-healthy despite being obese: 1) Introduction: An Oxymoron?
2) Prospective Risk of Disease
3) Lower Risk of Mortality?
4) Is Weight Loss Detrimental?
5) Is Weight Loss Beneficial
? [more inside]
A major study was just published in the
Annals of Internal Medicine from Harvard. In approximately 85,000 women who were followed for 26 years and 45,000 men who were followed for 20 years, researchers found that all-cause mortality rates were increased in both men and women who were eating a low-carbohydrate Atkins diet based on animal protein.
However, all-cause mortality rates as well as cardiovascular mortality rates were
decreased in those eating a plant-based diet low in animal protein and low in refined carbohydrates.
[Previously in MeFi
The human body is made up of more bacteria cells
than human cells. Now, researchers at Harvard
have isolated the genes responsible for producing amino acids that can block ultraviolet light and managed get E. coli bacteria to produce them too. Can I interest you in some sunblocking bacteria living on your skin?
More research into into the effects of ketamine on depression published today in the journal Science [abstract]
. [more inside]
In the year 2182 -- 172 years time -- there's a 1 in 1000 chance
that we might be hit
by a very large asteroid. With two centuries advance notice, will we be able to develop effective asteroid deflection techniques
? [more inside]
One reason why humans are special and unique: We masturbate. A lot
The Carnegie Institution for Science reports
"a much higher water content in the Moon’s interior than previous studies." For decades, the moon's water content was estimated at less than 1 part per billion; the new estimates range from 64 ppb to 5 parts per million. A scientist at Washington University said, "We can now finally begin to consider the implications—and the origin—of water in the interior of the Moon.”
There's more at NASA
and the BBC
, and the full paper is available at PNAS
"Does Professor Quality Matter? Evidence from Random Assignment of Students to Professors" by Scott Carrell and James West
is the title of an interesting new study in this month's Journal of Political Economy
, a leading journal in economics. (For a summary of the paper, see this review
. An ungated version
, too). The authors are interested in determining the role of "professor quality" in student learning. They do this by exploiting an unusual institutional feature of the Air Force Academy whereby all undergraduates are randomly assigned their professors, and all professors use the same syllabus. The authors also have the professor's student evaluations, as well each student's subsequent performance in the follow-up classes. To keep it simple, they focus only on Calculus I and the follow-up courses in Calculus (which are mandatory), though they note that an earlier study that looked at Chemistry and Physics found similar things. [more inside]
is a cross-platform research management tool which features article databasing, PDF annotation, online backup, private, shared and public collections, metadata lookup on Google Scholar, direct exporting of multiple citation styles to Word, OpenOffice and BibTex, the ability to add documents directly from a web browser, and social networking with other members in your field of study. Like Zotero
), but out of the browser and with note-taking abilities. For Windows, Mac and Linux.
12 London archives – digitised, marked up and tagged – to "create a comprehensive electronic edition of primary sources on criminal justice and the provision of poor relief and medical care in eighteenth-century London".
page is a good place to start browsing. [related]
A nearly 25-year study
has concluded that children raised in lesbian households were psychologically well-adjusted
and had fewer behavioral problems than their peers
. Results were published this month in Pediatrics
: the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. (Abstract
. Free PDF
). [more inside]
Science vs. Religion:
a new book, Science and Religion: What Scientists Really Think
by Rice University sociologist Elaine Ecklund, discusses the results of her detailed study
of 1,646 scientists at top American research universities. Among her findings: ~36% of those surveyed not only believe in God but also practice a form of closeted, often non-traditional faith. They worry about how their peers would react to learning about their religious views.
Interview with the author from the Center for Inquiry
's Point of Inquiry podcast
. Also, here's a webcast
from an author discussion forum held at Rice University on April 7th. [more inside]
What do Singing in the Rain
, Live Is Life
, Don't Worry, Be Happy
, I Will Survive
and Ça fait rire les oiseaux
have in common? In a study, French-speaking Internet users identified these five pop songs out of 100, as the most pernicious earworms
. Here are their top 25 picks
, including audio clips. [more inside]
is an invention factory founded by Nathan Myhrvold
, who previously founded Microsoft Research and was MS's CTO. Bill Gates raves about IV
, Malcolm Gladwell wrote an article
about the IV invention process in The New Yorker
, Newsweek profiled
Nathan’s company in April 2010, and this week there was an hour-long TV interview
with Myhrvold on Charlie Rose. Take a 6-min video tour
of the laboratory.
Best of History Web Sites
,) is a resource of annotated and rated-by-content links to over 1200 history web sites across a broad range of related topics. The site also offers links of special interest to educators: hundreds of K-12 lesson plans
, teacher guides, activities, games and quizzes
Is a Woman's MBA Worth Less? $4,600.
That's how much less women made than men in their first post-MBA jobs, according to research by Nancy Carter and Christine Silva of Catalyst. And it's not because women tend to start at lower positions than men — though they do start at lower positions than men, on average, that's a separate problem. The research controls for job level and industry. What's more, the salary lines aren't parallel; men's salaries start higher, then rise faster. The gap widens over time, even after controlling for factors like having children or differing aspiration levels.
The pay just isn't equal.
Odds of Cooking the Grandkids
: "There is a horrible paper in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which looks at how the limits of human physiology interact with upper-range global warming scenarios. The bottom line conclusion is that there is a small - of order 5% - risk of global warming creating a situation in which a large fraction of the planet was uninhabitable (in the sense that if you were outside for an extended period during the hottest days of the year, even in the shade with wet clothing, you would die)." [more inside]
Yesterday (April 15), Representatives Doyle (D-PA), Waxman (D-CA), Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), Harper (R-MS), Boucher (D-VA) and Rohrabacher (R-CA) introduced the Federal Research Public Access Act (HR 5037), a bill that would ensure free, timely, online access to the published results of research funded by eleven U.S. federal agencies.
-Alliance for Taxpayer Access. [more inside]
Nothing succeeds like failure. [H]istory shows that breakthroughs often spring not from carefully laid plans, but from mischance or even sheer, ridiculous accidents. A stovetop spill heralded vulcanized rubber; the potency of uranium was revealed when a rock was left in a drawer among photographic plates. And great research seldom follows an unswerving path. At RCA in Princeton in the 1950s, David Sarnoff exhorted his team to invent a flat television that could hang on a wall. “There were an enormous number of failures,” says Princeton historian of science Michael Gordin — and instead of TVs, the world got the Seiko digital watch in 1973.
Veronique de Rugy, NRO contributor and George Mason fellow, says her research
indicates that stimulus funding was disproportionately directed towards Democratic congressional districts. Nate Silver begs
to disagree. De Rugy responds here
; Silver responds here
. Others say that this is a model "for the quick, effective peer-review that the internet facilitates." Perhaps this is a new model
for peer review?
Have you ever wanted to change the functionality of the GUI of a program that you didn't have the source code for? Prefab
is a tool that was made to allow you to do exactly that. [more inside]
Followup to this post:
A US District Court has ruled
that Myriad Genetic's patents on breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, which allow them to hold exclusive rights
to a widely used genetic test for inherited breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility, are invalid
. Genomics Law Report analyzes the ruling
in two posts
. The decision is likely to be challenged in a legal appeal — but if upheld, it could have huge implications for the biotechnology industry. [more inside]
A new study
suggests that humanity's sense of fair play and kindness towards strangers is determined by culture, not genetics
. Speculation: the finding may be directly related to the rise of religion
in human history, as well as more complex economies
). [more inside]
Do you have a life-changing medical condition? Patientslikeme (mentioned previously in a 2008 post on mood conditions)
is a way for you share information online with other people who have the same condition. Some of the conditions with groups established already are epilepsy, depression, and Multiple Sclerosis.
Started by 3 MIT engineers who had personal experiences with ALS (Lou Gherig's disease), the site is funded by partnerships with healthcare providers
who have access to anonymised data about the member base. The stated goal in their Openness Policy
has a plain-English description of what happens to information that members share.
Sweet, sour, bitter, salty, umami, and.... fat? Dr. Russell Keast
, an Austrailian scientist who studies
"perceived flavour, consumer acceptance and preference of foods and nutrition," has conducted research exploring humans' apparent sixth taste perception: fat. The kicker? Sensitivity to the taste of fat was negatively correlated with fat intake and BMI. Dr. Keast discussed the results of his latest research
, and The Sydney Morning Herald
. (via) [more inside]
A letter by Rene Descartes, stolen in 1840s, recovered in 2010 by online detective work.
The letter was stolen by Guglielmo Libri, inspector general of the libraries of France, who stole thousands of valuable documents and fled to England in 1848. Since 1902 it's been in the collection of Haverford College, its contents unknown to scholars, and nobody there realized that it was an unknown letter. But because they had catalogued it and recently put their catalogue on line, Dutch philosopher Erik-Jan Bos found it "during a late-night session browsing the Internet
". (A Haverford undergraduate thirty years ago had translated it and written a paper on it, in which he recognized that the letter was unknown -- but nobody followed up and the letter had sat in the library since then until it was listed online.) The letter includes some last-minute edits to the Meditations, and some thoughts on God as causa sui. Haverford, whose president was a philosophy major, is returning the letter
to the Institut de France.
The Google/China hacking case,
or "How many news outlets do the original reporting on a big story?"
Dig out the flannel from the attic--there's another grunge movement a-comin'!
According to a new study from the Pew Research Center
, the millennial generation (18-29 year olds) are becoming one of the most educated generations ever, but many of them are still unemployed.
This research revealed another very scary statistic. They said the college students who graduate during a bad economy typically suffer long term consequences that can affect their careers and earnings for as long as 15 years (Gen-Xers everywhere wince). [more inside]
We may soon be able to clone Neanderthals. But should we
? An essay from Archaeology Magazine examines the ethical, scientific and legal ramifications. (Via Heather Pringle's Time Machine blog, where essay author Zach Zorich posted a reply and elicited a response.) [more inside]
“For me, augmented reality has to be the future for 2020, together with it's close cousin the internet of things
... It will become commonplace to be able to overlay reviews of a product simply by pointing a screen at it, or check the weather forecast by pointing your phone at the sky.” The Pew Research Center releases its The Future of the Internet IV
report, an online survey of 895 technology stakeholders’ and critics’ expectations of social, political and economic change by 2020. [more inside]
is an awful disease. Its symptoms are the four D's -- diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia, and death, unpleasant by anyone's standards. Caused by a deficiency in niacin
, pellagra is uncommon in developed nations thanks to the fortification
of bread products with niacin. But could excess niacin be causing the rapid rise in type II diabetes? [more inside]
Norman Rockwell's research photos.
Norman Rockwell commissioned photos (which he meticulously directed) and then painted those photos. Here are some of them.
"We were concerned that the study would raise a lot of controversy and be misused," Pardo said. "We were right." Some practitioners
treat autistic children with the anti-inflammatory intravenous immunoglobulin
, citing a study
by Carlos Pardo, et al. showing inflammation in the brains of deceased autistic patients. Pardo: "modulators of immune reactions (e.g. intravenous immunoglobulins, IVIG) WOULD NOT HAVE a significant effect."
Others, following the work of Simon Baron-Cohen on autism and the male brain
, treat autistic children with testosterone inhibitors
, a prospect which Baron-Cohen says "fills me with horror." Another anti-inflammatory treatment, hyperbaric therapy, is supported by one recent clinical trial
, but looks bad in another
. Side effects include horrible death by fire
(via the Chicago Tribune)