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My Google news alert for MDMA, Ecstasy and the like has been turning up references to a cathinone analog called variously 4-methylmethcathinone (4-MMC), mephedrone (2-methylamino-1-p-tolylpropan-1-one), Meow-Meow, MMCAT and a few other things. There has been one fatality attributed* to 4-MMC that I can find and a few bits of seized-drug analysis confirming that the stuff is indeed being used. A quick scan over at PubMed finds little reported on the effects of this compound in animal models or in humans. I did, however, run across an article on other cathinone analog drugs that caught my attention.
ResearchBlogging.orgThe newpaper reports on 4-MMC coming out of the UK, for the most part, are experiencing the usual difficulty in characterizing the subjective properties of an analog of a stimulant class of drugs. This not dissimilar to the case of MDMA and relatives such as MDA, MDEA/MDE which are structurally similar to amphetamine and methamphetamine but convey subtly different subjective properties. This also gives me an opportunity to talk about an animal model used quite a bit in drug abuse studies: The drug-discrimination assay. The paper of interest is the following one.
Cathinone: an investigation of several N-alkyl and methylenedioxy-substituted analogs. Dal Cason TA, Young R, Glennon RA. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1997 Dec;58(4):1109-16. (DOI)

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Off the top of your head, when you think “science blog”, which specific blogs, collectives, aggregators, etc come to mind?
List up to 11 in the comments.
(I’ll moderate comments for a little while today to avoid contamination)

We’ve been talking about grants getting spiked by one outlying, jerk of a Reviewer #3 lately. Here and elsewhere. I have one guiding philosophy when it comes to disappointing grant reviews.
Pardon my PhysioProffish.

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Many of my readers will have already faced the joys of the shorter NIH Grant application. Briefly, the meat of the R01 proposal has now been reduced from 25 to 12 pages and the meat of the R21 from 15 pages to 6. As I observed when the Notice appeared, this is a challenge.
Since I am finally getting serious about trying to write one of these new format grants, I am thinking about how to maximize the information content. One thought that immediately strikes me is….cheat!

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I’ve been meaning to pick up on a comment made by a reader over at writedit’s epic thread on NIH paylines, scores and whatall. (If you want to swap war stories and score/IC payline grumbling, that is the hot place in town.) The guy was ticked off about a recent review he received and had a question:

I am an establishe investigator. I subnitted a competing renewal … I got a score of 40 (37 percentile). I was very shocked and dissapointed to find out that my application had a preliminary score of 2.7 (which would have been fundable) but it seems one negative reviewer carried the day, and convinced others to pull down the score. I have not yet seen the comments, but if the comments have factual errors, especially from the negative errors, can I appeal the review and request a re-review?

Recently, as luck would have it, a loyal reader of the blog submitted the following scores, received on the review of her R01 grant proposal. Under the new scoring procedures in place since last June, these are scores which each reviewer suggests for criteria of Significance, Investigator, Innovation, Approach and Environment. I may have slightly re-ordered specific scores for concealment purposes but this is essentially the flavor.
rev#1: 2,1,1,1,1
rev#2: 2,2,3,3,1
rev#3: 3,2,5,4,2
It really is always Reviewer #3, isn’t it?

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A recent paper from I. Kouper entitled “Science blogs and public engagement with science: practices, challenges, and opportunities” has been receiving a fair bit of bloggy attention. Of the negative sort. Mostly because the paper purports to report on the state of all science blogging but then cherry picks a few blogs to generate data- which is not actually presented for the most part. Furthermore the paper ends up with a subjective review of blog tone, level and commentary that makes one wonder if the author actually reads blogs at all. It is just that detached from the experience of many of us.
Bora was particularly annoyed and held forth at some length. Additional thoughts were advanced at Cosmic Variance, Panda’s Thumb andPharyngula.
Since this blog was included in the alleged dataset, narcissistically, I felt I had better point out some more flaws in this paper. Let’s get the hilarious one out of the way first.

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Go entertain yourself with the Obesity Panacea blog (previously here).
If you don’t laugh at the Ten Most Annoying Gym Personalities you need to, well, hit the gym.
Welcome Peter and Travis!