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To Err is Human

By | February 1, 2011

By Sarah Greene To Err is Human This is your brain on emotions. Researchers bring their own values and passions to the lab bench. I was delighted to see a couple recent F1000 evaluations that strayed from traditional peer-reviewed literature. F1000 Members Frank Harrell, a biostatistician at Vanderbilt Medical School, and Daniel Beard, a bioengineer at the Medical College of Wisconsin, independently evaluated an article by Jonah Lehrer in The New Yorker

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Top 7 From F1000

By | February 1, 2011

Top 7 From F1000 James Cavallini / Photo Researchers, Inc. 1. Immune response feeds parasite » Salmonella is able to outcompete resident gut microbes by deriving energy from the inflammatory immune response that is supposed to combat the pathogen. S.E. Winter et al., Nature, 467:426-29, 2010. Evaluated by P. Malik-Kale & O. Steele-Mortimer, NIAID; E. Guccione & D. Kelly, Univ Sheffield; M. Vijay-Kumar & A. Gewirtz, Emory Univ; D. Alpers, Wa

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When Stress Is Good

By | February 1, 2011

By Christina M. Warboys, Narges Amini, Amalia de Luca, and Paul C. Evans When Stress Is Good Fast blood flow protects against atherosclerosis: implications for treatment Andrew Swift The formation of atherosclerotic plaques within arteries underlies most forms of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease in which inflammatory cells (e.g. leukocytes) and lipids accumulate to form a plaque within the artery wall, underneat

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A Morbid Map

By | January 1, 2011

By Jef Akst A Morbid Map Below, from L to R: David Rosenblatt, grad student Natascia Anastasio, Loydie Jerome-Majewska and Jacek Majewski. CREDIT: Daniel Boismenu In October 2009, Loydie Jerome-Majewska and her husband Jacek Majewski made a bet: which of them would be the first to identify the gene that causes Van Den Ende–Gupta Syndrome (VDEGS)? Gene mapping of four patients with the rare genetic disorder had narrowed the search to a region of chromosom

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Appealing Choice

By | January 1, 2011

By Erika Lorraine Milam Appealing Choice A book is born from pondering why sexual selection was, for so long, a minor component of evolutionary biology. Erika Lorraine Milam Courtesy of The University Of Maryland I became fascinated by the history of sexual selection during my second year of graduate work in biology. I was drafting a review paper on the evolution of internal reproduction in fishes. The two dominant theories at the time (worked out with in

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Bacterial Glue

By | January 1, 2011

By Cristina Luiggi Bacterial Glue Mélanie Hamon talks about bacteria that hijack the host’s cell-renewal process. Courtesy of Mélanie Hamon The intestinal epithelium is continually renewing itself. This is bad news for bacteria such as Shigella flexneri, which infects cells that line the gut and causes dysentery in humans. Pasteur Institute microbiologist Mélanie Hamon chats about a paper that describes how this stomach bug has evolved a wa

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Basophil Roles

By | January 1, 2011

By Richard P. Grant Basophil Roles Dr. David Phillips/Visuals Unlimited, Inc. The paper C. Ohnmacht et al., “Basophils orchestrate chronic allergic dermatitis and protective immunity against helminths,” Immunity, 33:364-74, 2010. Free F1000 Evaluation The finding Basophils were deemed critical in allergic response and parasite removal, but their precise role has been controversial. David Vöhringer, now at Universitätsklinikum Erlan

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Book Excerpt from Looking for a Few Good Males

By | January 1, 2011

By Erika Lorraine Milam Book Excerpt from: Looking for a Few Good Males In Chapter 2, "Progressive Desire," author Erika Lorraine Milam explores sexual selection’s incursion into evolutionary theory Starting in the 1920s, three men—Ronald Aylmer Fisher, J. B. S. Haldane, and Sewall Wright—began to integrate genetics with natural selection, using mathematics to describe the evolution of a population. Only one of these mathematically inclined evo

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Brave New Drugs

By | January 1, 2011

By Sarah Greene Brave New Drugs Intoxicating ideas for saving a billion lives A call to indie innovators to come up with affordable alternatives David Nutt was no stranger to controversy by the time he was fired as chair of the UK’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs in October 2009, after claiming that alcohol is more harmful to health, and to society as a whole, than many illegal drugs—including cannabis, LSD, and ecstasy. Though no

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Capsule Reviews

By | January 1, 2011

By Richard P. Grant Capsule Reviews How to Catch a Robot Rat: When Biology Inspires Innovation By Agnès Guillot & Jean-Arcady Meyer; translated by Susan Emanuel The MIT Press 232 pp. $29.95 Where do physicists turn for inspiration? To biology, naturally. Back in the day, we used to dream of being like the Six Million Dollar Man, Steve Austin, our bodies made of space-age metal and plastic, squishy biology replaced by new technology. But the oppos

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