Problematic Neuropeptides And Statistics (PNAS)

By Neuroskeptic | October 20, 2017 11:17 am

Back in May I discussed a paper published in PNAS which, I claimed, was using scientific terminology in a sloppy way. The authors, Pearce et al., used the word “neuropeptides” to refer to six molecules, but three of them weren’t neuropeptides at all. The authors acknowledged this minor error and issued a correction.


Now, it emerges that there may be more serious problems with the PNAS paper. In a letter published last week, researchers Patrick Jern and colleagues say that the statistics used by Pearce et al. were flawed.

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A Parade of Scientific Mice

By Neuroskeptic | October 15, 2017 2:07 pm

Recently I was reading a neuroscience paper and was struck by the cuteness of the two mice that formed part of Figure 1:


So I decided to look further and collect a montage of scientific mice. All of these drawings are taken from peer-reviewed scientific papers. As you can see, the styles vary greatly. Some mice are little more than circles with ears, while others look ready to leap off the page in search of cheese:


I should note that I didn’t include mice found in Graphical Abstracts in the image above. These abstracts are a new development, intended to make papers more accessible, and they often feature artwork even more cartoon-like than the average scientific drawing. See this representative example:


There are many more like this.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: animals, funny, select, Top Posts

Is Parkinson’s A Prion Disease?

By Neuroskeptic | October 14, 2017 2:45 pm

The Journal of Neuroscience recently featured a debate over the hypothesis that Parkinson’s disease is, at least in some cases, caused by a prion-like mechanism – misfolded proteins that spread from neuron to neuron.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: genes, papers, select, Top Posts

“Happy Chemical” Discovered In Beer?

By Neuroskeptic | October 7, 2017 6:15 am

A curious flurry of headlines in praise of beer appeared this week:

Beer really DOES make you happier! Key molecule boosts brain’s reward centre

Drinking Beer Makes You Really Happy, Confirms Awesome New Study

Drinking beer can make you happy, researchers claim

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Is It Time To “Redefine Statistical Significance”?

By Neuroskeptic | October 3, 2017 8:33 am


A new paper in Nature Human Behaviour has generated lots of debate. In Redefine Statistical Significance, authors Daniel J. Benjamin and colleagues suggest changing the convention that p-values below 0.05 are called ‘significant’. Instead, they suggest, the cut-off should be set at 0.005 – a stricter criterion.

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Vagus Nerve Stimulation Restores Consciousness?

By Neuroskeptic | September 28, 2017 2:58 pm

A report that nerve stimulation was able to partially restore consciousness in a patient in a vegetative state has attracted a great deal of attention this week.


The paper, published in Current Biology from French researchers Martina Corazzol and colleagues, is certainly promising, but I didn’t find it entirely convincing.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: EEG, papers, placebo, select, Top Posts

The Heavy Metal Brain

By Neuroskeptic | September 25, 2017 1:17 pm

Get your earplugs ready because this post is metal. Last week, a group of neuroscientists published a paper reporting altered brain activity in heavy metal lovers.

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Can Neuroscience Inform Everyday Life? The “Translation Problem”

By Neuroskeptic | September 22, 2017 11:42 am

A new paper asks why neuroscience hasn’t had more “impact on our daily lives.”


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Scientific Papers Are Getting Less Readable

By Neuroskeptic | September 16, 2017 2:37 pm

“The readability of scientific texts is decreasing over time”, according to a new paper just out. Swedish researchers Pontus Plaven-Sigray and colleagues say that scientists today use longer and more complex words than those of the past, making their writing harder to read. But what does it mean?

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: history, papers, science, select, Top Posts

Update on the Journal of Stem Cells

By Neuroskeptic | September 14, 2017 4:18 am

In April, I called attention to what I saw as serious ethical and scientific problems with a biomedical journal, the Journal of Stem Cells. Now, this publication has been removed from a leading journal index.


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CATEGORIZED UNDER: blogging, papers, science, select, Top Posts


No brain. No gain.

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