Category: analysis taken too far

NCBI ROFL: Is there a gene for self-employment?

By ncbi rofl | April 11, 2013 12:00 pm

A self-employment gene could explain why some families seem to have “a nose for business.” But, like most biological problems, it’s just not that simple.  This study found that there might be many genes that, in combination and along with a heavy environmental influence, have a small effect on someone’s propensity to become an entrepreneur (something true of many traits, like intelligence). We can’t wait until they do the follow-up study on the genetics of going to grad school!
(A few definitions: SNP = single-nucleotide polymorphism, i.e., a mutation in the DNA [not necessarily harmful]; heritability = how much of the variation in the phenotype [in this case, self-employment] can be explained by variation in the DNA)

The Molecular Genetic Architecture of Self-Employment

“Economic variables such as income, education, and occupation are known to affect mortality and morbidity, such as cardiovascular disease, and have also been shown to be partly heritable. However, very little is known about which genes influence economic variables, although these genes may have both a direct and an indirect effect on health. We report results from the first large-scale collaboration that studies the molecular genetic architecture of an economic variable–entrepreneurship–that was operationalized using self-employment, a widely-available proxy. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: analysis taken too far, NCBI ROFL

NCBI ROFL: An evolutionary explanation for baldness?

By ncbi rofl | March 13, 2013 12:00 pm

One of the biggest pet peeves of evolutionary biologists is when people try to find evolutionary explanations for every single human trait. Natural selection isn’t 100% efficient, and many traits are there because of chance, because they’re genetically linked to some other really desirable trait, or for myriad other reasons. That being said, wouldn’t it be cool if baldness evolved to help men make more vitamin D from sunlight! (Spoiler alert: it didn’t. But it does make men appear more dominant).

Does degree of baldness influence vitamin D status?

To determine the association, if any, between male-pattern hair loss (baldness) and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) levels.
A cross-sectional study of 296 healthy middle-aged and older men.
Degree of baldness was independently assessed by two researchers using the Hamilton-Norwood scale and serum 25-OHD was measured in all men. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: analysis taken too far, NCBI ROFL

NCBI ROFL flashback: Will your love last? This mathematical model may hold the answer…

By ncbi rofl | February 14, 2013 2:06 pm

Photo on 2010-05-13 at 20.03A mathematical model of sentimental dynamics accounting for marital dissolution.

“BACKGROUND: Marital dissolution is ubiquitous in western societies. It poses major scientific and sociological problems both in theoretical and therapeutic terms. Scholars and therapists agree on the existence of a sort of second law of thermodynamics for sentimental relationships. Effort is required to sustain them. Love is not enough. Read More

NCBI ROFL: The Tie retraction syndrome.

By ncbi rofl | February 11, 2013 3:00 pm

“Tissue retraction is implicated in the pathogenesis of various ophthalmic disorders. Here we describe the clinical characteristics, epidemiology and pathophysiology of a form of retraction syndrome which – to the best of our knowledge – has not been reported in the ophthalmic literature so far. We have termed this condition – consisting of a slowly progressive pseudovertical shortening of tie length due to a horizontal extension of girth length – the “Tie retraction syndrome” (TRS). Read More

NCBI ROFL: Alcohol consumption and handwriting: a kinematic analysis.

By ncbi rofl | January 10, 2013 5:00 pm

“Cerebellar dysfunction is associated with deficits in the control of movement extent, as well as changes in the amplitude and relative amounts of acceleration and deceleration and action tremor. The present study sought to identify whether cerebellar symptoms occur in the handwriting of intoxicated individuals. Read More

NCBI ROFL: Intense dead fish smell proven no excuse for not working.

By ncbi rofl | January 8, 2013 7:00 pm

Neurobehavioral performance in human volunteers during inhalation exposure to the unpleasant local irritant cyclohexylamine.

“Chemosensory active volatile organic compounds occur in the breathing air at many workplaces and it has been assumed that they are potent to impair workers’ cognitive performance; however, the nature of this relationship is not understood. In the current study we investigated whether the combination of strong chemosensory potency and unpleasant odor valence is a sufficient predictor for the appearance of neurobehavioral impairment. Read More

NCBI ROFL: Investigation of the best suture pattern to close a stuffed Christmas turkey.

By ncbi rofl | December 20, 2012 2:00 pm

“Instructions on how to debone and stuff a turkey are available, but what is the best way to close it up? A randomised trial involving 15 turkeys was performed in order to evaluate skin disruption scores and cosmetic outcomes following the use of different suture patterns. Turkeys were deboned, stuffed and cooked according to guidelines of the US Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Services. After stuffing, they were randomly assigned to one of five closure groups: simple continuous Lembert; simple continuous Cushing; simple continuous Utrecht; simple continuous; or staples. Read More

NCBI ROFL: Endometriosis: hot or not?

By ncbi rofl | October 26, 2012 7:00 pm

Attractiveness of women with rectovaginal endometriosis: a case-control study.

“OBJECTIVE: To evaluate physical attractiveness in women with and without endometriosis… A total of 31 of 100 women in the rectovaginal endometriosis group (cases) were judged as attractive or very attractive, compared with 8 of 100 in the peritoneal and ovarian endometriosis group and 9 of 100 in the group of subjects without endometriosis. Read More

NCBI ROFL: Presidential laugh lines. Candidate display behavior and audience laughter in the 2008 primary debates.

By ncbi rofl | October 16, 2012 7:00 pm

“Political humor has long been used by candidates to mobilize supporters by enhancing status or denigrating the opposition. Research concerning laughter provides insight into the building of social bonds; however, little research has focused on the nonverbal cues displayed by the individual making humorous comments. This study first investigates whether there is a relationship between facial display behavior and the presence and strength of laughter. Next, the analysis explores whether specific candidate displays during a humorous comment depend on the target of the comment. Read More

NCBI ROFL: The effect of hurricanes on popular baby names.

By ncbi rofl | October 4, 2012 7:00 pm

From Karen to Katie: Using Baby Names to Understand Cultural Evolution.

“How do psychological processes shape how culture evolves? We investigated how a cultural item’s popularity is shaped by the recent popularity of other items with features in common. Specifically, using more than 100 years of first-names data, we examined how a name’s popularity is influenced by the popularity of that name’s component phonemes in other names in the previous year. Building on mere-exposure research, we found that names are more likely to become popular when similar names have been popular recently. These effects are nonlinear, however, and overpopularity hurts adoption. In addition, these effects vary with phoneme position. We demonstrate the causal impact of similarity on cultural success in a natural experiment using hurricane names. Read More


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