Archive for the ‘Biology’ Category

“Few books risk such damage to the public understanding of science as those by Oliver James. Inexplicably popular despite their scientific illiteracy and mediocre writing, they are promoted widely by James’s regular, shriekingly aggressive media appearances. A glance at the studies shows the absurdity of the extreme blank-slate position advanced in Not In Your Genes: environments clearly matter, but so does DNA, and the perversity of denying this becomes ever more acute with each new genetic discovery. Truly understanding human psychology and helping those with psychiatric illnesses requires us to have a realistic view of the causes of differences between people. That realistic view is Not In This Book.”  (excerpt)

Source: On genetics Oliver James is on a different planet to the rest of us | Spectator Health

Learn about the nation’s first uterine transplantation performed at Cleveland Clinic on Feb. 24, 2016. It was the first in a pioneering clinical trial.

Source: Uterus Transplant: Procedure & Information | Cleveland Clinic

Interesting research support that experiences can significantly change brain.

“The study, which has been published in the renowned scientific journal Molecular Psychiatry, shows that it is the imbalance between the two signalling systems which determines the severity of the symptoms suffered by the individual rather than the degree of change in a single system. Others have previously speculated that the biological basis of psychiatric disorders such as PTSD includes a shift in the balance between different signalling systems in the brain but none has yet proved it. The results of the study are a great leap forward in our understanding of PTSD. It will contribute new knowledge which can be used to design improved treatments for traumatised individuals.” (excerpt)


Source: Posttraumatic stress disorder reveals imbalance between signalling systems in the brain

Have you ever noticed that some people are a lot pickier about the food they eat than other people are? They might be more selective because they are supertasters! To supertasters, the flavors of foods are much stronger than to average tasters. Whether or not someone is a supertaster comes down to the taste buds on his or her tongue, and you can actually investigate a person’s supertaster status by looking at this. Are you a supertaster? Find out with this tongue-based activity!

“The researchers say all this suggests there is something uniquely convincing about neuroscience in the context of psychological phenomena. They believe the most plausible reason is that psychology students endorse a “brain-as-engine-of-mind” hypothesis – that is, they “assign to neuroscience a privileged role in explaining psychological phenomena not just because neuroscience is a ‘real’ science but because it is the most pertinent science for explaining the mind.” That the students who endorsed dualist beliefs (seeing the mind as separate from the brain) were just as wooed by superfluous neuroscience information somewhat undermines this interpretation.” (excerpt)

via BPS Research Digest: Psychology students are seduced by superfluous neuroscience.

“It’s not that surprising, given that mitochondria are historically bacteria that evolved within our cells,” says Mouchiroud. “A lot of attention has been paid to the role of antibiotics on our intestinal flora, which has ten times more cells than the rest of our bodies. However, the effects of antibiotics on our mitochondria, which themselves far outnumber the bacteria in our gut, haven’t yet been studied in detail.”

via Antibiotics found to have unexpected effects on mitochondria.

This is one of several chapters that examine APM from a range of perspectives — my favorite is “The Look and Feel of the Nanoscale World”.

via Four Revolutions Compared: Agriculture, Industry, Information, and APM — Metamodern.

Prosthetics and Amputations sixteenth century the “prehistory” of bionics dates back to ancient Egypt, where 3,000 years ago the first known prosthesis was used: a wooden toe that was fit to the foot with a piece of leather. Time passed until mechanical limbs began being used that recovered the function of the lost limbs. It was in the sixteenth century when the French barber-surgeon Ambroise Paré invented a prosthetic hand with a mechanism for moving the fingers.Paré was working in the battlefield and also laid the foundation for surgical amputations, the first essential step in later making implants. Since then, the technology of artificial limbs has been closely linked to battle, with major progress occurring after each of the major wars. Thus, World War II prompted the development of modern prostheses, made ​​of new materials such as plastics and titanium.

via The 5 Milestones of Bionics – OpenMind.

How the hummingbird achieves its aerobatic feats.

the new realistic simulation demonstrates that the tiny birds make use of unsteady airflow mechanisms, generating invisible vortices of air that produce the lift they need to hover and flit from flower to flower.

“You might think that if the hummingbird simply beats its wings fast enough and hard enough it can push enough air downward to keep its small body afloat. But, according to the simulation, lift production is much trickier than that.”