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Two new studies on #monogamy come to seemingly different conclusions regarding its #evolutionary origin. One says the cause was females living far apart, requiring a male to stay with one to prevent other males from mating with her (if the ladies live closer together, he can run around and defend many simultaneously); the other says monogamy was driven by the need to prevent other males from killing their offspring. My question: are these truly different conclusions? If a male is sticking around to keep another guy from trying to mate with his lady, wouldn't he also be likely to prevent the male from killing his offspring, and vice-versa? I was hoping the #nytimes article might get critical and dig into how the two conclusions are actually different, instead it seemed to simply buy into the "debate". #science #evolution #sciencemagazine #pnas http://nyti.ms/13tnKL5

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Scientists have convinced mice to remember something that never happened to them! The #hippocampus is probably the single most important #brain region for #memory, and is also extremely important for #navigation. It has been known for a while that the hippocampus facilitates the association of a place with a fearful memory: allowing an animal to selective display certain behaviors in locations in which they've received an electric shock. This work shows that by experimentally activating a specific set of hippocampal #neurons ("Light on") in a place (D) where a mouse has never received a shock, the mouse behaves as if it were in a location that it had previously received a shock (B). #MemoryCreation! This amazingly specific neuronal activation is achieved by the impressive, promising, relatively new, technology of #optogenetics: turning neurons on/off with light. #science #neuroscience #nytimes via #sciencemagazine http://www.sciencemag.org/content/341/6144/387.abstract

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A #baby conceived in May is likely to have a lower #birthweight and worse overall #health vs. other months. A common explanation is #income level; indeed, it seems that lower #socioeconomic status mothers tend to give birth in months with worse outcomes. However, new work casts doubt on this interpretation by tracking seasonal patterns in health at birth in the same mothers. Instead, the authors offer the explanation that seasonal patterns in illnesses such as #influenza may be the cause of these trends. #science #pnas #publichealth http://www.pnas.org/content/110/30/12265.short

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The #fda has published a review on the #publichealth impact of #menthol #cigarettes, finding that they pose a #significant #risk above non-menthol cigarettes because (1) they make it easier to start smoking, (2) they mask the effects of smoking, and (3) they make it harder to quit. #nytimes http://nyti.ms/136df0b via #fda http://www.fda.gov/downloads/TobaccoProducts/ResourcesforYou/UCM361953.pdf

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Two pieces of interest in the #nytimes about #intensivecare and #ptsd. One reports the impressive finding that merely keeping a #diary during one's time in the #icu reduces the incidence of #ptsd. Via #ccforum http://ccforum.com/content/14/5/r168

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#Alcoholism is 10x more prevalent in #smokers than in #nonsmokers, but why? It seems that smoking may blunt one's enjoyment of alcohol. New #research suggest a #physiological mechanism: #nicotine makes #alcohol less rewarding. #Dopamine is our #brain's primary #reward system signal, and this work shows that after nicotine administration, dopamine #neurons are less responsive to alcohol: we get less of a kick out of it. #science #neuroscience #neuron #cell http://www.cell.com/neuron/abstract/S0896-6273(13)00497-2

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Although #crime rates have dropped dramatically since 1990, the #probability that a crime will be committed by an individual at a specific #age has not changed. In keeping with this observation has been the #supremecourt's stance on #punishment for crimes committed by #minors. The court relied on findings in #neuroscience to state: "It is increasingly clear that adolescent brains are not yet fully mature in regions and systems related to higher-order executive functions such as impulse control, planning ahead, and risk avoidance.” (Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. ____ , 2012). #science #law #nrn http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v14/n7/full/nrn3509.html

Instagram Post – Melanocortin 2 Receptor Accessory Protein 2 (Mrap2) and Mammalian Obesity


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The #protein #mrap2 has a dramatic effect on #weight and #bodyfat, if you’re missing both copies of it. (this is extremely rare, only one documented human case). However, this novel work in mice shows how two individuals with similar #activity levels consuming the same number of #calories can end up at different weights. #science #molecularbiology #nytimes via #sciencemagazine http://nyti.ms/18n67lw

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Say hello to the #tetraquark! All the #matter we've ever observed (#protons, #electrons, et cetera) is made of #quarks; always 3 or 2 quarks. Until now, that is! Two research teams independently report observing an exotic four-quark particle that was likely to exist a short time after the #bigbang. #science #physics #highenergyphysics. #nature via #prl