Post List

  • January 26, 2015
  • 06:27 AM
  • 2 views

We're more likely to cheat when we're anxious

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

When we’re stressed out and feeling threatened, our priority becomes self-preservation. According to new research, this defensive mode even affects our morality, making us more likely to cheat and excuse our own unethical behaviour.Maryam Kouchaki and Sreedhari Desai demonstrated this through six experiments. In the clearest example, 63 student participants spent three minutes listening to either calm music, or in the anxiety condition, to Bernard Herrmann's Psycho score. Those freaked out by ........ Read more »

  • January 26, 2015
  • 06:23 AM
  • 2 views

Is it necessary to use brain imaging to understand teen girls' sexual decision making?

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

“It is feasible to recruit and retain a cohort of female participants to perform a functional magnetic resonance imaging [fMRI] task focused on making decisions about sex, on the basis of varying levels of hypothetical sexual risk, and to complete longitudinal prospective diaries following this task. Preliminary evidence suggests that risk level differentially impacts brain activity related to sexual decision making in these women [i.e., girls aged 14-15 yrs], which may be related to pas........ Read more »

  • January 26, 2015
  • 04:44 AM
  • 3 views

What factors are linked to behavioural crises in autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The question posed in the title of this post was asked and [partly] answered by the paper by Vincent Guinchat and colleagues [1] based on the analysis of 58 adolescents diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and "hospitalized for severe challenging behaviors." Challenging behaviours, by the way, refers to a whole spectrum of presentations which doesn't just include aggressive or violent behaviours (see here). Indeed, I recently talked about irritability and autism (see here), whic........ Read more »

  • January 26, 2015
  • 12:05 AM
  • 0 views

Minding the Gap: Connecting Pre-season Screenings with Prospective Injury Data

by Laura McDonald in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

Anterior reach asymmetry larger than 4 cm on the Y Balance test was associated with increased risk of non-contact injury in a sample of collegiate athletes.... Read more »

  • January 25, 2015
  • 09:19 PM
  • 10 views

Coding Responsibly Part I: Version Control

by Geoffrey Hannigan in Prophage

As a result of the growing number of resources allowing everyone to learn how to code, as well as numerous other awesome educational efforts, programming is steadily growing in popularity and accessibility...... Read more »

Perkel, J. (2011) Coding your way out of a problem. Nature Methods, 8(7), 541-543. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.1631  

  • January 25, 2015
  • 05:17 PM
  • 14 views

Transferring primary symbionts: a missed link?

by Mauro Mandrioli in The aphid room

One of the most studied example of symbiotic interaction is related to aphids and their symbiont Buchnera aphidicola  that they host in specialized cells called bacteriocytes. Each aphid may host about 6 millions of Buchnera cells that are involved in the continuous overproduction of tryptophan and other amino acids. In addition to obligate symbionts, exemplified […]... Read more »

Moran NA, & Yun Y. (2015) Experimental replacement of an obligate insect symbiont. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 25561531  

  • January 25, 2015
  • 03:41 PM
  • 14 views

The unsolved mysteries of protein misfolding in common neurodegenerative diseases

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

Throughout the 1970s, biochemist Stanley Prusiner was obsessed with trying to find the causative agent for a mysterious group of diseases. The diseases, which included kuru and Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease in humans and scrapie in sheep, were characterized by slowly-developing symptoms and neurodegeneration so severe it eventually caused the brain to take on the appearance of a sponge (due to myriad little holes that developed where grey matter was lost). By the time Prusiner began studying these........ Read more »

Brettschneider, J., Tredici, K., Lee, V., & Trojanowski, J. (2015) Spreading of pathology in neurodegenerative diseases: a focus on human studies. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 16(2), 109-120. DOI: 10.1038/nrn3887  

  • January 25, 2015
  • 03:36 PM
  • 14 views

Will the ocean follow the land? Marine ecosystems at a tipping point to follow terrestrial defaunation

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Data suggests that marine life may soon follow the mass extinctions seen in terrestrial ecosystems - similarities and differences discussed here!... Read more »

McCauley, D., Pinsky, M., Palumbi, S., Estes, J., Joyce, F., & Warner, R. (2015) Marine defaunation: Animal loss in the global ocean. Science, 347(6219), 1255641-1255641. DOI: 10.1126/science.1255641  

  • January 25, 2015
  • 09:13 AM
  • 22 views

Whose Culture is it Anyway? Disentangling Culture and Eating Disorders - Part 3

by Andrea in Science of Eating Disorders

The articles I’ve looked at so far in this series (Becker, in part 1, and Keel and Klump in part 2) give us some insight into the idea that the link between “Western” societies and eating disorders is more complex than a simple matter of media exposure. But, having read these studies, I was still left a bit wanting in terms of unpacking that black box of “culture” that gets tossed around in scholarly and popular literature. What, exactly, are we talking about when w........ Read more »

  • January 24, 2015
  • 01:39 PM
  • 54 views

Lucid dreaming: The similarities between dreaming and wakefulness

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

To control one’s dreams and to live out there what is impossible in real life — a truly tempting idea. Some people — so-called lucid dreamers — can do this. Researchers have discovered that the brain area which enables self-reflection is larger in lucid dreamers. Thus, lucid dreamers are possibly also more self-reflecting when they are awake.... Read more »

Filevich E, Dresler M, Brick TR, & Kühn S. (2015) Metacognitive mechanisms underlying lucid dreaming. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 35(3), 1082-8. PMID: 25609624  

  • January 24, 2015
  • 09:39 AM
  • 38 views

Urban Legends In The World of Clinical Trials

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Ethnographer Jill A. Fisher offers a fascinating look at the rumors and urban legends that circulate among the volunteers who get paid to take part in medical research: Stopped hearts, amputated toes and NASA




Fisher visited six clinical trial facilities across the USA. All of these facilities were exclusively devoted to running phase I trials, testing new drugs to see if they are safe in humans. She spent a total of 450 hours in the field, getting to know the 'guinea pigs', and the staf... Read more »

  • January 24, 2015
  • 05:34 AM
  • 44 views

Hartnup disease in coeliac disease: lessons for 'some' autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Thomas Ciecierega and colleagues [1] (open-access) talking about 'refractory' coeliac disease (CD) - a lack of, or diminished response to a gluten-free diet (the primary management option for CD) - and the subsequent diagnosis of Hartnup disease in a young girl is fodder for today's brief post.I already had a big bowl of curly-toed weirdo for breakfast.Describing how authors first diagnosed her with CD but witnessed "only mild clinical and laboratory improvement"........ Read more »

  • January 23, 2015
  • 07:16 PM
  • 69 views

Mothers don’t speak clearly to their babies

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

People have a distinctive way of talking to babies and small children: We speak more slowly, using a sing-song voice, and tend to use cutesy words like "tummy". While we might be inclined to think that we talk this way because it is easier for children to understand, new research suggests that, surprisingly, mothers may actually speak less clearly to their infants than they do to adults.... Read more »

Andrew Martin, Thomas Schatz, Maarten Versteegh, Kouki Miyazawa, Reiko Mazuka, Emmanuel Dupoux, and Alejandrina Cristia. (2015) Kouki Miyazawa, Reiko Mazuka, Emmanuel Dupoux, and Alejandrina Cristia. Mothers Speak Less Clearly to Infants Than to Adults: A Comprehensive Test of the Hyperarticulation Hypothesis. Psychological Science. info:/10.1177/0956797614562453

  • January 23, 2015
  • 03:25 PM
  • 56 views

Exotic Pets: Emerging Risk Factor for Salmonellosis in Children

by Pranab Chatterjee in Scepticemia

The increasing trend of having exotic reptiles as pets may lead to an increase in reptile associated infections such as Salmonellosis, especially in the children in the household. ... Read more »

  • January 23, 2015
  • 01:53 PM
  • 55 views

First Partially Successful Vaccine Developed Against Prion Disease in Deer

by Pranab Chatterjee in Scepticemia

The first partially successful vaccine against a prion disease (Chronic Wasting Disease in white tailed deer) is good news, but the journey has just begun. ... Read more »

  • January 23, 2015
  • 01:21 PM
  • 50 views

Friday Fellow: ‘Ladislau’s Flatworm’

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Friday fellow is back! After almost a year, I decided to go on with it. Actually, I interrupted it because of several other activities there were requiring my attention. Now let’s move on! Today I will … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 23, 2015
  • 11:53 AM
  • 3 views

Why the risk of losing is more fun than an easy win

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

I've started playing in a higher division in my local table-tennis league. I'm winning games less, but enjoying the experience more. I'm far from alone in preferring the danger of possible defeat to the comfort of easy wins. Psychologically this is curious because, at whatever level, virtually everyone who plays competitive games finds winning more pleasurable than losing, and most people like to feel good at what they do. In a new study, Sami Abuhamdeh and his colleagues have shone a light on t........ Read more »

  • January 23, 2015
  • 10:43 AM
  • 58 views

Dung DNA Gives Clues to the Shy Okapi's Lifestyle

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Try to read up on the okapi and you won't find much. This African mammal is most often seen next to the adjective "elusive." But even if we can't find any okapi, we can learn about their lifestyle through their DNA—and we can find their DNA in their feces.

The okapi is an ungulate, like a cow. Or really like a giraffe, its closest relative. It has an elegant face, a long bluish tongue, and a zebra-striped rear end. It lives in the dense rainforest of the Democratic Republic of Congo, che........ Read more »

  • January 23, 2015
  • 06:30 AM
  • 59 views

NAC risperidone = decreased irritability in autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

It's been a while since I talked about NAC - N-acetylcysteine - on this blog with either autism or schizophrenia in mind (see here and see here respectively). Today I'm going to remedy that situation by bringing the paper by Nikoo and colleagues [1] to your attention, and their observation: "N-acetylcysteine can be considered as an adjuvant therapy for ADs [autistic disorders] with beneficial therapeutic outcomes." Adjuvant therapy by the way, refers to a sort of add-on therapy.We have........ Read more »

  • January 22, 2015
  • 05:50 PM
  • 142 views

Belief’s effect on biochemistry in cases of addiction

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Ever wonder what makes people susceptible to addiction? Think about it, some people can stop addictive painkillers without a problem and others, well others are not so lucky. So the big question is are there more than biophysical factors at play in addiction? A new study shows that cognitive beliefs play a significant role in a person’s neurological response to an addictive substance and that belief can diminish the neurological effects of an addictive drug.... Read more »

Gu, X., Lohrenz, T., Salas, R., Baldwin, P., Soltani, A., Kirk, U., Cinciripini, P., & Montague, P. (2015) Belief about nicotine selectively modulates value and reward prediction error signals in smokers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201416639. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1416639112  

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