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There Goes the Significance

Sometimes after seeing an initial interesting result from a project, that trend or its significance peters off in replication studies, leading a New Yorker article from Jonah Lehrer to wonder if there is something wrong with the scientific method. The decline, Lehrer says, is partially explained by publication bias or selective reporting, but the rest of the explanation may be due to randomness or noise. "This suggests that the decline effect is a decline of illusion," Lehrer says. He cites discrepancies in the benefits of anti-psychotics to even some seen in measuring gravity and says that "such anomalies demonstrate the slipperiness of empiricism."

HT: Razib Khan at Gene Expression

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.