PLoS ONE in the News

This is the first of a series of weekly updates on the latest media and blog coverage of the articles published by PLoS ONE, which we will be posting here every Friday.

Our biggest story of the week came from a study by Gregory Berns and colleagues at Emory University whose article, Expert Financial Advice Neurobiologically “Offloads” Financial Decision-Making under Risk, furthers our understanding of financial decision-making and risk-taking. While in an fMRI scanner, the study participants made a series of financial choices between a guaranteed payment and a lottery in two different conditions: either with the advice from a financial expert or without. The researchers found that in the presence of an expert, people tend to “switch off” their own decision-making capacities. The financial topic of the paper is very timely and as such, there was a lot of media and blog coverage of the study, including: New Scientist, the Times, CNN, Wired Science, Dr Joan Bushwell’s Chimpanzee Refuge and Neuronarrative.

Several other papers recently published in PLoS ONE have also been picked up by the media this week, with coverage of a paper entitled, The DISC1 Pathway Modulates Expression of Neurodevelopmental, Synaptogenic and Sensory Perception Genes, by researchers at Edinburgh University, on the BBC News website. A study by a University of Pittsburgh team in which the authors report a new test, which may help to faster identify cases of drug-resistant TB was featured on Voice of America.

Other coverage in the blogosphere includes: Not Exactly Rocket Science who discussed the self-healing caterpillars of Michael Singer’s paper; Byte Size Biology who blogged about Maj-Britt Pontoppidan’s paper, Graveyards on the Move: The Spatio-Temporal Distribution of Dead Ophiocordyceps-Infected Ants; and Neurophilosophy who  examined an Italian study on the interaction of our perception of others and our sense of touch.

As all papers published in PLoS ONE are freely available online, we often find reporters covering papers that have been published several months—or even years—earlier. An article by Paul Sereno and colleagues reporting a new dinosaur named Aerosteon riocoloradensis (“air bones from the Rio Colorado”), which provided new insights into the evolution of birds’ ability to fly, received a lot of news coverage when it was published in September 2008. ScienceCentral has now posted a video interview with Sereno where he discusses the paper in more detail.

From the Other PLoS Journals

A Research in Translation paper, The Alcohol Flushing Response: An Unrecognized Risk Factor for Esophageal Cancer from Alcohol Consumption, published in PLoS Medicine this week has received a lot of attention from the media, with coverage in the New York Times, Voice of America, the Associated Press and Reuters. The scientists reported that those who experience facial flushing after drinking alcohol are at a much higher risk of one form of esophageal cancer from drinking alcohol than those who do not.

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