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Stories by James Byrne

One for the Dr. Who fans

In my post about going vegan for a month I mentioned that during that time I ran a science outreach event in regional Victoria called "Science of Fiction: Doctor Who" and that I took a bunch of pictures on the way back...

December 1, 2011 — James Byrne

Eye movements give your dreams away

I recently got asked to cover a news story for COSMOS Magazine online. Go check it out. Even when asleep, portions of our brains associated with the planning and execution of a particular movement 'light up', according to new research into lucid dreamers.The study, published in a recent issue of Current Biology , used lucid dreamers - who can interact with and manipulate with their dream environment - to shed light on the mystery of our brain activity when we are asleep...

November 23, 2011 — James Byrne

Antibiotics with a side of steak

We’re in a sad and weird place in biomedical science. In the 1940’s we got penicillin, in the following 30 years another 13 different classes of antibiotic were introduced.

November 16, 2011 — James Byrne

Bacterial Toxins

Key to the development of disease in many bacterial infections is expression of a bacterial toxin. Toxins come in many shapes and forms but all have a pretty similar goal, to directly induce damage to the cells of the host...

November 10, 2011 — James Byrne

Could you go vegan for a month?

I didn't know if I could but I wanted to give it a try. I kept a diary which is below which some might find entertaining or funny in parts but was really only designed for me to easily follow what I was doing...

November 2, 2011 — James Byrne

Spook house sporotrichosis

This was previously posted on the 27/10/10 on my previous blog Disease of the Week. I have changed it up a bit but its essentially the same. It received an Editor's Selection then so I've left it on the post...

October 31, 2011 — James Byrne

Cerebral Palsy Challenger

I have been taking part in a fundraising drive raising money for people with cerebral palsy called ‘The Cerebral Palsy Challenge’. I have been wearing a pedometer for the last few weeks with the aim of walking the equivalent number of steps it would take to climb Mt...

October 19, 2011 — James Byrne

Ongoing fitness experiment update

It’s been a big two months. I got really sick for a few weeks limiting my running for a while and then I got a new job (which bring the tally to 4 jobs held concurrently…).

October 12, 2011 — James Byrne

MolBio Carnival #15!

It's that time again!!!Welcome to MolBio #15 hosted by me James Byrne at this place Disease Prone on the Scientific American Blog Network.Some very interesting submissions to this carnival so I encourage you to take a look!First up we have 96well from with their post on the generation of a synthetic plasmid and the trials and tribulations of finding the right supplier.Our second submission came from Ms...

October 3, 2011 — James Byrne

Hendra Virus

In recent months Australia has seen the lengths science will go to to control the potential outbreak of significant infectious diseases. At this stage, Hendra virus is not particularly infectious in humans but is very deadly and some important recent developments have led to increased concern in the scientific community.Hendra virus is named after the suburb Hendra in Queensland, Australia, where the virus was first detected...

September 28, 2011 — James Byrne

Scurvy Dogs - the ITLAPD edition

In honour of International Talk Like A Pirate Day (ITLAPD) I thought I would tackle the pirate's biggest concern (after other pirates, official Navies, reefs or anything else that was part of the pirate lifestyle), scurvy...

September 19, 2011 — James Byrne

Peptidoglycan - The bacterial wonder wall

Quick, can you describe your grandparents? Staphylococcus aureus , or the Golden Staph, can and it is a single cell. If you couldn't you should visit them more often.

September 14, 2011 — James Byrne

Acinetobacter baumannii the most opportunisitic-ist pathogen you know

Editor's Selection Icon A. baumannii does not mess around. As opportunistic pathogens go it’s pretty out there. An aerobic, gram negative, almost entirely antibiotic resistant (largely through passive mechanisms) bacterium that’s developing such a terrible reputation that it has picked up the nickname ‘Iraqibacter’, but that’s mostly because of the high proportion of A...

September 7, 2011 — James Byrne

Donated to Science - Interview with Paul Trotman

Last year I was told about a great film that had recently come out about the use of human cadavers used in science. I know its weird that this sort of thing interests me but I’ve come to terms with it.The film, Donated to Science, is a documentary style film following students of the Otago Medical School (University of Otago, New Zealand) through their first year of medical school and, importantly, their first encounters with cadavers and human dissection...

August 24, 2011 — James Byrne

Emerging infectious diseases and cities

When we were discussing the ‘cities’ theme that’s running across all the SciAm blogs I didn’t want to take the easy route. Connecting cities and disease is pretty easy, I could look at plague or cholera and be totally within the scope of the theme...

August 17, 2011 — James Byrne

My Fitness Experiment

It occurred to me last year (while I was till blogging here and before I started here) that I write a lot about diseases but I’m on the verge of being hypocritical.

August 10, 2011 — James Byrne

Antibiotics are good for more than killing

As a community here @sciamblogs we decided to each cover something chemistry related on each of our individual blogs to coincide with the World Chemistry Congress taking place in Puerto Rico...

August 2, 2011 — James Byrne

Can't fall asleep? You don't want to read this then.

The last post I put up was on narcolepsy and of course the opposite of a condition where you fall asleep all the time is a disease where you cant seem to fall asleep at all, insomnia.Unlike narcolepsy, which has been shown to have genetic and environmental triggers insomnia seems to have no genetic component...

July 27, 2011 — James Byrne


Everyone knows what narcolepsy looks like from movies like the ridiculous display in Deuce Bigalow (one of the ‘adorable misfit bunch of suitors’) to other more subdued examples like Mike in My Own Private Idaho...

July 16, 2011 — James Byrne

My Genographic Project

I was recently (well a few months ago at least) lucky enough to win a competition held by The Environment Institute at the University of Adelaide. The prize?

July 6, 2011 — James Byrne
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