Science

Here Be Invisible Dragons

Here Be Invisible Dragons

One recent evening I was browsing my Twitter timeline and I saw a wonderful and glorious thing. Friend of The Lab, Jocelyn Oudesluys (AKA: Quarksparrow), had made a children’s book adaptation of Carl Sagan’s Invisible Dragon story from his book, The Demon Haunted World. I proceeded to share it with my fellow Lab contributors at which point we all flipped out. You can read Jocelyn’... »

Dr. Tania Singer and the Neuroscience of Empathy

Dr. Tania Singer and the Neuroscience of Empathy

The year is 1990 and a man is sitting across from a monkey. Between them is an object that will, in mere moments, become the Raisin Heard Round The World.  This is the lab of Giacomo Rizzolatti, and the monkey is part of an experiment to determine what pre-motor cortex neurons fire in the performing of an action.  By hooking an electrode up to a neuron and a loudspeaker and listening for activity,... »

Wellcome Library Images and Finding My Inner Fish

Wellcome Library Images and Finding My Inner Fish

MAL’s very own Beth brought this sweetass article about the Wellcome image collection to my attention recently. The Wellcome Museum in London made 100,000 high resolution medical and art images available under a Creative Commons license. This includes photos, illustrations, manuscripts, paintings, etchings, sculptures, and artifacts. »

A Promising New Treatment for PTSD, Straight From The Movies

A Promising New Treatment for PTSD, Straight From The Movies

A paper published two weeks ago in Cell promises an exciting new therapy for PTSD, at least in mice. And it’s a little more like something out of “Eternal Sunshine” than you might think. The funny thing is, the reason for that comes down to how memory — especially learned fears such as those that cause PTSD — is written, and rewritten, in your brain. Like Amy said in ... »

What Can You Tell From a Color-Coded Chromosome?

What Can You Tell From a Color-Coded Chromosome?

In an article published earlier this month, researchers color-coded cells based on which of two X-chromosomes they expressed resulting in beautiful images of marbleized cells like the one above. They are undeniably beautiful; but they also rely on complicated biological pathways and illuminate processes at play in every mammalian female. How does this work, what does it show, and how would it be u... »

You are your gene expression: why it’s not surprising that meditation changes epigenetics

You are your gene expression: why it’s not surprising that meditation changes epigenetics

A study came out that was a rather nice demonstration of some molecular changes that actually drive the benefits of mindfulness meditation, and the response to it was all out of proportion. Which, I suppose, is where I come in. Because headlines like “Scientists finally find how meditating can CHANGE YOUR GENOME!” give me hives. »

The Stinkiest of Cheeses?

The Stinkiest of Cheeses?

Think you like stinky cheese? Limburger, gorgonzola, epoisses? What about cheese that doesn’t just smell like feet or armpits but is actually made from the same bacteria that inhabit those parts of the human body? For the Grown Your Own…Life After Nature exhibit at the Science Gallery Dublin in Trinity College Dublin, scientists created cheese from the little critters responsible for a... »

Aging, Metabolism, and Basic Biology

Aging, Metabolism, and Basic Biology

I’m really happy when a plan comes together, which means when my general plan of “talk about science journalism and cut through some of the hype” converged with a new year’s resolution plan of “summarize papers regularly on MAL”, I was thrilled. There’s an article recently published in Cell that’s actually quite cool, and it’s being picked up i... »

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