Study on Brain’s Reaction to Social Isolation Argues Against Its Use in Prisons

Why do people who have been intentionally isolated from their peers (for example, prison inmates who have been placed in “disciplinary isolation”) find this experience so completely dehumanizing? We all know that human beings have great needs for social contact. But are these needs so great that simply being deprived of such contact upsets our entire mental equilibrium? If a study published in the February 2016 issue of the journal Cell is to be believed,…

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New data report on eye and tissue banking in Canada

New data report on eye and tissue banking in Canada Transplantation Organs and Tissues Tuesday, August 06, 2019 Catherine Lewis “It was as if someone had taken a teaspoon of sand, dumped it in my eye, taken their thumb and ground it in, and every once in a while, gave it a little poke with a twig.” That’s how Loreen Hardy-Ramey describes living with Fuchs endothelial dystrophy, a hereditary eye condition. Without the cornea transplant…

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De nouveaux neurones dans l’amygdale jusqu’à l’âge adulte, mais pas chez les autistes

L’article que je vous présente cette semaine, publié en mars 2018 et intitulé « Neuron numbers increase in the human amygdala from birth to adulthood, but not in autism », n’est pas sans rappeler la récente controverse sur la naissance (ou pas) de nouveaux neurones dans le cerveau humain adulte. Sauf que le phénomène que l’on va décrire ici dans une structure cérébrale qu’on appelle l’amygdale ne se déroule que de l’enfance au début de…

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Animal Book Club August 2019

"A remarkable chronicle of the domestic dog’s journey across thousands of years and straight into our hearts, written with equal parts tenderness and scientific rigor." (Brain Pickings)By Zazie Todd, PhDAfter a month's break, the Companion Animal Psychology Book Club resumes in August with What's a Dog For?: The Surprising History, Science, Philosophy, and Politics of Man’s Best Friend by John Homans."As dogs take their place as coddled family members and their numbers balloon to over…

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052 – Baldness and Vaping

  Chris tries to shave Jonathan's head as a poorly thought-out prophylactic measure against baldness. Meanwhile, comedian Jacob Meza interviews the cast of his comedy show: do baseball caps cause baldness... or treat it? Back in the studio, the boys talk about the many reasons why people lose their hair; Rogaine and Propecia; whether or not women can go bald; and the fact that it's not technically testosterone that's to blame for baldness. Also: peacocks;…

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Time with a Person Benefits Fearful Dogs in Shelters

For fearful dogs in shelters, 2x15 minute human interactions per day over 5 days improves scores on a screening test and makes most of them be classed as adoptable.Photo:  Lightfield Studios/ShutterstockBy Zazie Todd, PhDArriving at a shelter is a stressful experience for any dog. For fearful dogs, being unable to escape from something threatening – such as a person entering the kennel – can cause them to show aggressive behaviour such as growling. New research…

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New tips and tools for “scicomm” courtesy of ComSciConCAN

ComSciConCAN featured pop talks, where attendees had one minute to share their research in an accessible and engaging manner. The audience could raise JARGON or AWESOME cards in response. Credit: Zachary Guy. On July 18th, 50 graduate students (including yours truly!) descended upon McMaster University to attend the first national ComSciConCAN: a three-day science communication event consisting of four panels, six workshops, one keynote and over 25 different experts, with the aim of empowering graduate…

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Five amazing ways redesigning biological cells could help us fight cancer

Cancer is the leading cause of death in the world. Julio C. Valencia, NCI Center for Cancer Research, CC BY-SA  Synthetic biology is an exciting discipline that, according to SynBio Canada, “represents a maturation of genetic engineering and biotechnology.” Medicine by Design names synthetic biology as an engineering design principle that will help accelerate breakthroughs in regenerative medicine. So how is synthetic biology having an impact now? The article below, by Chris Barnes and Alex Fedorec…

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The Lifespan and Health Conditions of French Bulldogs and Labrador Retrievers

Two large studies reveal the kinds of health problems that affect French Bulldogs and Labrador Retrievers – the two most popular breeds in the UK.Photos: left, Irina Kozorog; right, Dmussman. Both ShutterstockBy Zazie Todd, PhDTwo of the most popular breeds of dog in the USA, Canada, and the UK are French Bulldogs and Labrador Retrievers. In fact in 2018, French Bulldogs knocked Labrador Retrievers off the top spot in the UK for the first time.Because…

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