Every Friday at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! our contributors pass around links to new scientific results, or science-y news, or videos of adorable wildlife, that they’re most likely to bring up while waiting in line for a latte.
From Sarah, a great New York Times article on cannibalism in the animal world:
Life after metamorphosis brought scant relief from fraternal threats. The scientists also demonstrated that midsize cane toads wriggle digits on their hind feet to lure younger cane toads, which the bigger toads then swallow whole. “A cane toad’s biggest enemy is another cane toad,” Dr. Shine said. “It’s a toad-eat-toad world out there.”
From Devin, a study that shows how epidemiologists can predict the spread of diseases through human social networks by tracking three properties of those networks:
For networks of intermediate density, different structural attributes have a profound impact on disease behaviour. By including the clustering coefficient and mean path length along with the mean degree of the contact network, we can reduce the uncertainty of our model predictions of disease performance (by nearly 14%).
From Jon, a New England Journal of Medicine article on the usefulness of an electronic records database that lets doctors find past cases similar to a patient, and make treatment decisions based on that earlier experience.
Without clear evidence to guide us and needing to make a decision swiftly, we turned to a new approach, using the data captured in our institution’s electronic medical record (EMR) and an innovative research data warehouse. The platform, called the Stanford Translational Research Integrated Database Environment (STRIDE), acquires and stores all patient data contained in the EMR at our hospital and provides immediate advanced text searching capability.