Brain & Behavior

I just read a really neat study from researchers at Texas A&M University. While admittedly this is not comparative physiology, it was just too interesting not to share. In a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, Dr. Luis Cisneros-Zevallos and colleagues found that administering peach extract to mice inhibited the metastasis (i.e. spread)…

“It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.” -Anais Nin You know the expression that you should believe half of what you see and none…

Epilepsy in sea lions

According to a press release from Stanford University, California sea lions develop epilepsy from exposure to a toxin produced by algae called domoic acid. The animals develop seizures which can result in memory loss, tremors, convulsions and even death. The hippocampal region in the brain of the affected sea lions shows similar damage as humans…

Snails to the rescue!

Here I thought snails were just cute little creatures that liked to dine in my vegetable garden. You can imagine my surprise to learn there are also carnivorous snails….with venom. New research shows that conotoxin, isolated from cone snail venom, can numb pain. Conotoxin is also reportedly 100 times more potent than morphine at treating…

Experts, “plebs” and hope.

A very good video on the gulf that exists between the climate science experts and the general population in terms of awareness and alarm regarding anthropogenic climate change: (from a comment on a P3 thread) The essence of this impending calamity is, more than anything else, a story of betrayal: betrayal of a naively trusting…

Only mammals express RAGE

RAGE stands for “receptor for advanced glycation end-products”, also known as “AGER”, and new research shows that it first appeared in mammals (Sessa et al., 2014). Despite the name, the receptor also binds other signaling molecules such as HMGB1, S100 proteins, beta-amyloid, phosphatidylserine, among others (Xie et al., 2013). RAGE is reportedly involved in diabetes,…

Research published last month in PNAS provides evidence that African elephants (Loxodonta africana) can differentiate human voices. This is a very important skill to an animal that is often threatened by humans. Prior research has shown that elephants could tell the difference between African ethnic groups using sight and scent. The study was conducted by…

Communication as Art and Science

I alluded to this on Twitter, and meant to leave that be, but the other thing I was going to blog today didn’t come together, and I probably shouldn’t leave a cryptic tweet as my only comment. So… One of the links getting passed around a lot in my social-media circles is this Tumblr post…

New discovery about dog eyes

I came across this really interesting press release from the University of Pennsylvania that I just had to share. Despite having a close relationship with dogs for thousands of years, we are still making new discoveries about our canine friends. Drs. William Beltran (School of Veterinary Medicine), Artur Cideciyan (Perelman School of Medicine), and colleagues…

A shark’s perspective

Dr. Carl Meyer (University of Hawaii) and Dr. Katsufumi Sato (University of Tokyo) have teamed up to gather data about shark behavior in a rather interesting way. They flipped the animals upside down, which makes them relax, and strapped on cameras and instruments that will facilitate the creation of 3D models of shark movements. Using…