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Neurons don't waste energy

By | September 10, 2009

A classical model of how neurons power their chemical messages may need revision. Neurons from the rat hippocampus use three times less energy to propagate an action potential down an axon than was previously believed, according to a new study published in this week's issue of Science -- providing important clues for interpreting brain imaging techniques. Golgi staining of pyramidal cells in human hippocampusImage: Wikimedia commons, MethoxyRoxy"Many people will be surprised by this," said neur

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PNAS scraps special submission

By | September 10, 2009

A leading scientific journal has done away with a manuscript submission option that allowed members of the National Academy of Sciences to usher papers from non-members through the peer review process. The __Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences__ (__PNAS__) offered the option, called "Track I," to members of the Academy as a way to bring papers written by non-members to the journal's attention. Members were allowed to "communicate" two Track I papers per year, and were responsible fo

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Stem cell co. faked success: SEC

By | September 9, 2009

A stem cell company is in hot water with the linkurl:US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC);http://www.sec.gov/ for falsely representing an early-stage experimental stem cell therapy as nearing human trials. Image: Wikimedia commons, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image LibraryThe SEC yesterday (September 8) linkurl:filed charges;http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2009/2009-195.htm against linkurl:CellCyte,;http://www.cellcyte.com/ based in Bothell, Wash., as well a

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School sued for fake cancer test

By | September 8, 2009

A biotechnology company is suing the University of Pittsburgh over a test for prostate cancer, linkurl:the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported last week.;http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_641304.html The lawsuit claims the test is "no more accurate in distinguishing cancerous tissue from normal tissue than flipping a coin," according to the newspaper. After researcher Robert Getzenberg said he had identified a new biomarker for prostate cancer in 2001, the University of Pitt

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Brain proteins make fears last

By | September 3, 2009

Why are fearful memories so hard to shake? The answer may lie in developmental changes in the extracellular environment in the amygdala -- the emotional center of the brain -- where such memories are formed, according to a study published this week in Science. Image: Wikimedia commons"This is an extremely important observation because it suggests a mechanism for why fear memories are so indelible," neuroscientist linkurl:Gregory Quirk;http://www.md.rcm.upr.edu/quirk/Home.html of the University

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New round of Gates grants

By | September 3, 2009

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is taking applications for a new round of funding under its Grand Challenges Explorations grant program. The program, in its second year, aims to fund research that tackles developing world problems using innovative technologies and "unorthodox ideas." Since last fall, three rounds of grants have mainly funded research on infectious diseases, such as HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis, but this linkurl:fourth round;http://www.grandchallenges.org/Explorations/Pa

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NSF adopts new ethics rules

By | September 3, 2009

Starting in 2010, all researchers applying for funding from the National Science Foundation will have to provide some evidence that they will educate their students and postdocs in the responsible and ethical conduct of research. According to an linkurl:entry;http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-19930.htm that appeared in the Federal Register late last month, the NSF will require that "each institution that applies for financial assistance from the Foundation for science and engineering resear

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Y causes sex disorders

By | September 3, 2009

The Y chromosome has a unique approach to ensuring its survival, but that self-preservation mechanism may cause a range of sexual disorders from male sterility to sex reversal, in which a person's genetic sex is opposite his anatomical development, according to a study published online today (September 3) in Cell. Tug of war during mitosis can breakthe isodicentric chromosome in twoImage: Tom DiCesare/Whitehead Institute"Every time nature solves a problem, it seems to create one," said linkurl

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Edutainment

By | September 2, 2009

One afternoon in 2007, linkurl:James Kakalios,;http://www.physics.umn.edu/people/kakalios.html a physics professor at the University of Minnesota, received a rather unexpected call. Ann Merchant, marketing director for the National Academy of Sciences, was on the line. "We've got a request for a scientist to work on a superhero. Have you heard of linkurl:Watchmen?";http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0409459/ Merchant asked. That was like asking a movie buff, "Have you ever heard of Citizen Kane?" Ka

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Epilepsy paper retracted

By | September 2, 2009

Researchers have linkurl:retracted a highly-cited 2003 Nature Genetics paper;http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v41/n9/full/ng0909-1043.html which identified mutations underlying some types of epilepsy after discovering some blatantly erroneous results that negate the study's main finding, they report in the September issue of the journal. Generic family pedigreeImage: Wikimedia commons, Armin Kübelbeck"I think it's appalling, to be perfectly honest," said Massimo Pandolfo of the linkurl:H&#

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