install theme
dendroica:

Blue tits, goldfinches and great spotted woodpeckers thriving in British gardens

Blue tits, goldfinches and great spotted woodpeckers were found in greater abundance by the UK’s biggest citizen science survey this year, despite many bird species being recorded at lower numbers in gardens because of the unusually mild winter.
The top 10 of RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch has all changed since last year, with blue tits (an average of 2.5 birds seen in 74% of gardens) in their highest position since the annual survey began in 1979, while blackbirds, previously in the second spot with an average of 2.2 seen in 82% of gardens, have dropped to fourth place.
Goldfinches have climbed another place since last year to number seven, while the robin, which has reached number seven in the past, has dropped down to number 10.
And for the first time ever, the great spotted woodpecker has made it into the top 20, with 0.1 birds recorded in 10% of gardens.
Around half a million people took part in the annual survey, which asked people to spend an hour counting birds in their garden or local park during the last weekend of January.

(via theguardian.com)

dendroica:

Blue tits, goldfinches and great spotted woodpeckers thriving in British gardens

Blue tits, goldfinches and great spotted woodpeckers were found in greater abundance by the UK’s biggest citizen science survey this year, despite many bird species being recorded at lower numbers in gardens because of the unusually mild winter.

The top 10 of RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch has all changed since last year, with blue tits (an average of 2.5 birds seen in 74% of gardens) in their highest position since the annual survey began in 1979, while blackbirds, previously in the second spot with an average of 2.2 seen in 82% of gardens, have dropped to fourth place.

Goldfinches have climbed another place since last year to number seven, while the robin, which has reached number seven in the past, has dropped down to number 10.

And for the first time ever, the great spotted woodpecker has made it into the top 20, with 0.1 birds recorded in 10% of gardens.

Around half a million people took part in the annual survey, which asked people to spend an hour counting birds in their garden or local park during the last weekend of January.

(via theguardian.com)

, #biology #zoology #birds
neurosciencestuff:

Anaesthetic technique important to prevent damage to brain
Researchers at the University of Adelaide have discovered that a commonly used anaesthetic technique to reduce the blood pressure of patients undergoing surgery could increase the risk of starving the brain of oxygen.
Reducing blood pressure is important in a wide range of surgeries - such as sinus, shoulder, back and brain operations - and is especially useful for improving visibility for surgeons, by helping to remove excess blood from the site being operated on.
There are many different techniques used to lower patients’ blood pressure for surgery - one of them is known as hypotensive anaesthesia, which slows the arterial blood pressure by up to 40%.
Professor PJ Wormald, a sinus, head and neck surgeon from the University’s Discipline of Surgery, based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, led a world-first study looking at both the effectiveness of hypotensive anaesthesia from the surgeon’s point of view and its impact on the patients.
The study followed 32 patients who underwent endoscopic sinus surgery. The results have now been published online in the journal The Laryngoscope.
"There is an important balance in anaesthesia where the blood pressure is lowered so that the surgeon has good visibility and is able to perform surgery safely. There are numerous sensitive areas in sinus surgery - the brain, the eye and large vessels such as the carotid. However, if the blood pressure is lowered too far this may cause damage to the brain and other organs," says Professor Wormald.
"We know from previous research that a person’s brain undergoing anaesthesia has lower metabolic requirements than the awake brain, and therefore it can withstand greater reductions in blood flow.
"There is also a widely accepted concept that the brain has the ability to autoregulate - to adapt and maintain a constant blood flow as needed, despite a wide range of blood pressure conditions. Our studies challenge this; they show that the brain can only autoregulate up to a point, and cannot completely adapt to such low blood pressures.
"This drop in blood pressure poses a risk of starving the brain of much-needed oxygen and nutrients, which could result in injury. There have been cases, for example, where patients have reported memory loss following surgery.
"Given that hypotensive anaesthesia is a widely used technique, not just in sinus surgery but in many different types of surgery, we’ve made recommendations in our paper that suggest a safer approach to this technique. This would reduce risk to the patient while enabling the surgeon to carry out their work effectively," Professor Wormald says.
(Image: Shutterstock)

neurosciencestuff:

Anaesthetic technique important to prevent damage to brain

Researchers at the University of Adelaide have discovered that a commonly used anaesthetic technique to reduce the blood pressure of patients undergoing surgery could increase the risk of starving the brain of oxygen.

Reducing blood pressure is important in a wide range of surgeries - such as sinus, shoulder, back and brain operations - and is especially useful for improving visibility for surgeons, by helping to remove excess blood from the site being operated on.

There are many different techniques used to lower patients’ blood pressure for surgery - one of them is known as hypotensive anaesthesia, which slows the arterial blood pressure by up to 40%.

Professor PJ Wormald, a sinus, head and neck surgeon from the University’s Discipline of Surgery, based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, led a world-first study looking at both the effectiveness of hypotensive anaesthesia from the surgeon’s point of view and its impact on the patients.

The study followed 32 patients who underwent endoscopic sinus surgery. The results have now been published online in the journal The Laryngoscope.

"There is an important balance in anaesthesia where the blood pressure is lowered so that the surgeon has good visibility and is able to perform surgery safely. There are numerous sensitive areas in sinus surgery - the brain, the eye and large vessels such as the carotid. However, if the blood pressure is lowered too far this may cause damage to the brain and other organs," says Professor Wormald.

"We know from previous research that a person’s brain undergoing anaesthesia has lower metabolic requirements than the awake brain, and therefore it can withstand greater reductions in blood flow.

"There is also a widely accepted concept that the brain has the ability to autoregulate - to adapt and maintain a constant blood flow as needed, despite a wide range of blood pressure conditions. Our studies challenge this; they show that the brain can only autoregulate up to a point, and cannot completely adapt to such low blood pressures.

"This drop in blood pressure poses a risk of starving the brain of much-needed oxygen and nutrients, which could result in injury. There have been cases, for example, where patients have reported memory loss following surgery.

"Given that hypotensive anaesthesia is a widely used technique, not just in sinus surgery but in many different types of surgery, we’ve made recommendations in our paper that suggest a safer approach to this technique. This would reduce risk to the patient while enabling the surgeon to carry out their work effectively," Professor Wormald says.

(Image: Shutterstock)

, #hyposensitive anaesthesia #anaesthesia #surgery #medicine #medical #neuroscience #brain #brain damage

neuromorphogenesis:

Fact or fiction? Common myths about autism explained

April is Autism Awareness Month. Is your knowledge of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) up-to-date?

Dr. Jeffrey Skowron, Regional Clinical Director for Autism Intervention Specialists in Worcester says there are many myths around autism, but they largely fall into two camps: treatment and causes.

Myth: Vaccines cause autism

This is one of the biggest myths about autism. This idea, based on research that has since been debunked and retracted by medical journals, took off after celebrity Jenny McCarthy claimed her son had autism because of vaccines.

“There’s no credible scientific evidence that autism is related to vaccines in any way,” said Dr. Skowron.

So why does the myth continue to have momentum? Dr. Skowron says that around the time parents start to see signs of autism in their children is around the time when they receive multiple vaccines.

“They will say that their child is having issues with certain aspects of their development, and they ask why is he or she acting this way. It’s just a coincidence that the two events—vaccinations and developing social skills—happen at this time. But frankly it’s hard for parents to diagnose social skills in a six-month-old because they really aren’t having social interactions yet.”

Myth: Autism is a disease

Autism is not a disease, it’s a collection of behaviors or symptoms, which makes it a syndrome.

“We aren’t sure of the underlying pathology or physical issues related to it. Although there is more evidence,” said Dr. Skowron. “There are several different presentations of the behavior we call autism. Most likely it’s a disorder of the brain.”

Because children display the signs of autism shortly after birth, researchers believe there’s a large genetic component which Dr. Skowron says the prevalence of autism with siblings and twins supports. There is a 90 percent likelihood that if one twin has autism, the other will too according to the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Between siblings, there is a five percent chance that they will both be diagnosed with autism.

Myth: More people have autism than ever

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with autism. A decade ago, the rate was 1 in 150.

But while Dr. Skowron admits that it’s hard to say why those rates are higher, he says it’s not simply an increased prevalence of autism. “It’s a myth to say that more people have autism,” he said.

“It could be that we’re just finding it more often. Families are looking for the signs more, and they have better access to pediatricians, clinicians, and psychologists that are better able to diagnose them,” he said. “What you should really be saying is that more people are diagnosed with autism today than ever before.”

Myth: Treatments turn kids into robots

Some say that behavioral therapy, the recommended treatment for autism, is highly impersonal, which Dr. Skowron said “is simply not true.”

“People say it turns kids into robots,” said Dr. Skowron, who has been working in applied behavioral analysis for 20 years. “It seems very personal to me. Based on the needs of the kids you form a strong bond with the person. The families play a big role in the treatment, and they can have a great affect on the treatment of the child.”

Doctors typically prescribe antipsychotic medications to treat severe symptoms of autism, which can include anxiety, depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

“The best and most effective treatment for autism is applied behavior analysis,” said Dr. Skowron. “There is scientific evidence showing the effectiveness of treating autism this way. Any other methods just don’t have the same body of research toward them.”

Myth: There’s a cure for autism

There is no cure for autism spectrum disorder, according to the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, although there is research going toward this effort. While treatment can be very effective, the social deficits and symptoms are there throughout the person’s life.

“They can learn to compensate with in very effective ways to the point that other people might not even know,” said Dr. Skowron. “But whatever physical problems are in the brain of that person, those will remain throughout the person’s life. So people have to learn ways around that.”

Because of the varying degrees of autism, while some may require a supportive environment, people with autism can successfully live independently.

Myth: People with autism can’t love

Because those who are autistic can have an impaired ability to make friends or carry on a conversation, a common myth is that people with autism can’t love or show emotions such as empathy.

“They may have deficits in social interaction skills and in conveying those emotions to other people, but those emotions are there,” said Dr. Skowron. “There are some people that say if your child is diagnosed with autism, so they can never have a relationship—well that’s just not true. People with autism can have relationships, spouses, girlfriends, and boyfriends. There’s a variety and spectrum of abilities and deficits associated with autism, and people can display these to varying degrees.”

People with autism can go on to have jobs, relationships, and families with effective intervention therapies.

Myth: Foods can cause autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is largely a genetic disorder, and although researchers say environment does play a role in early development, there is not substantial medical evidence finding a relationship between autism and food. Despite this, some families try nutritional therapies like gluten-free diets to treat autism.

Children with autism who improve their behavior as a result of eliminating certain foods from their diets likely have a food allergy, said Dr. Skowron.

“For instance, if a child has a lactose allergy, then drinking milk will make them feel bad and it will probably interfere with their treatment or education, but it’s not because of the milk exacerbating the condition of autism, it’s because drinking the milk makes them feel bad because they’re allergic. Some parents think that a gluten-free diet helps their child with autism, and it may make the child feel better, but it’s not because the wheat or gluten causes autism, it’s because the child has a wheat allergy.”

Doctors recommend that any families following one of the controversial nutritional therapies should be sure to consult a nutritionist and closely follow the child’s nutritional status.

Get the facts:

“Things like treatment involving diet or avoiding vaccinations, avoiding certain foods, those just don’t have credible scientific evidence,” said Dr. Skowron. The true key to treating autism? He says start behavioral therapy intensively when the child is very young.

“If it’s started early, and we’re talking when they’re toddlers, we can see even in the most extreme cases there are huge differences by the time the child is a teenager depending on their function needs.”

To find resources for your family and friends, or to learn more about autism, find more information at:

The Autism Resource Center

Autism Speaks

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Mass ABA

Image1: A boy plays with seeds during therapy at the therapy and development center for autistic kids in the Asociacion Guatemalteca por el Autismo, or Guatemalan Association for Autism, building in Guatemala City March 13, 2014.The center is the only one in the country that specifically conducts programs for autistic children, according to the association.

Image2: Alexander Prentice, 5, of Burton, Mich., smiles as he searches for items at the bottom of a sand bin in the reinforcement room, which allows technicians to work with children on building on skill sets at Genesee Health System’s new Children’s Autism Center on Jan. 16, 2014 in Flint.

, #autism awareness month #autism #myths #debunking #science #medicine #informativefacts
spaceplasma:

Suppose you had a single hydrogen atom and at a particular instant plotted the position of its electron. Soon afterwards, you do the same thing, and find that it is in a new position. You have no idea how it got from the first place to the second. You keep on doing this over and over again, and gradually build up a sort of 3D map of the places that the electron is likely to be found.
The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle  says - loosely - that you can’t know with certainty both where an electron is and where it’s going next. That makes it impossible to plot an orbit for an electron around a nucleus, but we have a mathematical function that describes the wave-like behavior of either one electron or a pair of electrons in an atom. This function can be used to calculate the probability of finding any electron of an atom in any specific region around the atom’s nucleus.
In the hydrogen case, the electron can be found anywhere within a spherical space surrounding the nucleus. Such a region of space is called an orbital. Orbits and orbitals sound similar, but they have quite different meanings. It is essential that you understand the difference between them. You can think of an orbital as being the region of space in which the electron lives. The GIF animation shows the probability densities for the electron of a hydrogen atom in different quantum states. These orbitals form an orthonormal basis for the wave function of the electron. These shapes are intended to describe the angular forms of regions in space where the electrons occupying the orbital are likely to be found.

spaceplasma:

Suppose you had a single hydrogen atom and at a particular instant plotted the position of its electron. Soon afterwards, you do the same thing, and find that it is in a new position. You have no idea how it got from the first place to the second. You keep on doing this over and over again, and gradually build up a sort of 3D map of the places that the electron is likely to be found.

The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle  says - loosely - that you can’t know with certainty both where an electron is and where it’s going next. That makes it impossible to plot an orbit for an electron around a nucleus, but we have a mathematical function that describes the wave-like behavior of either one electron or a pair of electrons in an atom. This function can be used to calculate the probability of finding any electron of an atom in any specific region around the atom’s nucleus.

In the hydrogen case, the electron can be found anywhere within a spherical space surrounding the nucleus. Such a region of space is called an orbital. Orbits and orbitals sound similar, but they have quite different meanings. It is essential that you understand the difference between them. You can think of an orbital as being the region of space in which the electron lives. The GIF animation shows the probability densities for the electron of a hydrogen atom in different quantum states. These orbitals form an orthonormal basis for the wave function of the electron. These shapes are intended to describe the angular forms of regions in space where the electrons occupying the orbital are likely to be found.

, #quantum mechanics #physics #hydrogen atom #wave function #chemistry #atomic orbitals

skeptv:

What Kills Us? How We Understand Risk

One of the things that baffles me about people is how they completely misunderstand risk. Lots of my friends panic about things that have no real chance of killing them, but ignore the things that will. This can lead us to make irrational decisions, and sometimes irrational policy. What really will kill us? Watch and learn.

via The Healthcare Triage.

, #risk #video #healthcare triage #humanactions #science

futurejournalismproject:

Cable on Climate Science

Via the Union of Concerned Scientists:

CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC are the most widely watched cable news networks in the U.S. Their coverage of climate change is an influential source of information for the public and policy makers alike.

To gauge how accurately these networks inform their audiences about climate change, UCS analyzed the networks’ climate science coverage in 2013 and found that each network treated climate science very differently.

Fox News was the least accurate; 72 percent of its 2013 climate science-related segments contained misleading statements. CNN was in the middle, with about a third of segments featuring misleading statements. MSNBC was the most accurate, with only eight percent of segments containing misleading statements.

Read the overview here, or jump to the study here (PDF).

Images: Science or Spin?: Assessing the Accuracy of Cable News Coverage of Climate Science, via Union of Concerned Scientists

, #science #resources #sources #news #news sources #humanactions #climate science #science journalism
psydoctor8:

Famed amnesia case,  K.C. died last week. Having lost both hippocampuses after a motorcycle accident, he was somehow able to hold on to some memories, though “devoid of all context and emotion”… and his identity.  

That’s actually a common theme in the neuroscience of accidents. It’s easy to see the victims of brain damage as reduced or diminished, and they are in some ways. But much of what they feel from moment to moment is exactly what you or I feel, and there’s almost nothing short of death that can make you forget who you are. Amid all the fascinating injuries in neuroscience history, you’ll come across a lot of tales of woe and heartbreak. But there’s an amazing amount of resiliency in the brain, too. [via]

psydoctor8:

Famed amnesia case,  K.C. died last week. Having lost both hippocampuses after a motorcycle accident, he was somehow able to hold on to some memories, though “devoid of all context and emotion”… and his identity.  

That’s actually a common theme in the neuroscience of accidents. It’s easy to see the victims of brain damage as reduced or diminished, and they are in some ways. But much of what they feel from moment to moment is exactly what you or I feel, and there’s almost nothing short of death that can make you forget who you are. Amid all the fascinating injuries in neuroscience history, you’ll come across a lot of tales of woe and heartbreak. But there’s an amazing amount of resiliency in the brain, too. [via]

, #neuroscience #amnesia #accident #humanactions #science #medicine

ucresearch:

The riddle of zebras’ stripes


Why zebras have black and white stripes is a question that has intrigued scientists and spectators for centuries. A research team led by UC Davis, has now examined this riddle (in a very systematic way).

Many hypotheses for zebra stripes have been proposed since Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin debated the problem 120 years ago. These include:

  • A form of camouflage
  • Disrupting predatory attack by visually confusing carnivores
  • A mechanism of heat management
  • Having a social function
  • Avoiding ectoparasite attack, such as from biting flies

After analyzing the five hypotheses, the scientists ruled out all but one: avoiding blood-sucking flies. The scientists found that biting flies (such as horseflies and tsetse flies) are the evolutionary driver for zebra stripes.

Why would zebras evolve to have stripes whereas other hooved mammals did not? The study found that, unlike other African hooved mammals living in the same areas as zebras, zebra hair is shorter than the mouthpart length of biting flies, so zebras may be particularly susceptible to annoyance by biting flies.

Yet in science, one solved riddle begets another: Why do biting flies avoid striped surfaces?

[images via headlikeanorange and gif-book]

, #zebra #zebra stripes #evolution #biology #zoology #science #UC Davis
emergentfutures:

Computers are providing solutions to math problems that we can’t check

Good news! A computer has solved the longstanding Erdős discrepancy problem! Trouble is, we have no idea what it’s talking about — because the solution, which is as long as all of Wikipedia’s pages combined, is far too voluminous for us puny humans to confirm.
A few years ago, the mathematician Steven Strogatz predicted that it wouldn’t be too much longer before computer-assisted solutions to math problems will be beyond human comprehension. Well, we’re pretty much there. In this case, it’s an answer produced by a computer that was hammering away at the Erdős discrepancy problem.

Full Story: Io9

emergentfutures:

Computers are providing solutions to math problems that we can’t check

Good news! A computer has solved the longstanding Erdős discrepancy problem! Trouble is, we have no idea what it’s talking about — because the solution, which is as long as all of Wikipedia’s pages combined, is far too voluminous for us puny humans to confirm.

A few years ago, the mathematician Steven Strogatz predicted that it wouldn’t be too much longer before computer-assisted solutions to math problems will be beyond human comprehension. Well, we’re pretty much there. In this case, it’s an answer produced by a computer that was hammering away at the Erdős discrepancy problem.

Full Story: Io9

, #news #tech #technology #computers #math #mathematics
^