A quote to begin: "The AQ's [Autism Spectrum Quotient] utility for screening referrals was limited in this sample. Recommendations supporting the AQ's role in the assessment of adult ASD [autism spectrum disorder], e.g. UK NICE guidelines, may need to be reconsidered."Taken from the paper published by Ashwood and colleagues , the findings from this team don't make for great reading if you happen to be a fan of the AQ as a potential screening instrument for adult autism. Indeed,........ Read more »
Ashwood KL, Gillan N, Horder J, Hayward H, Woodhouse E, McEwen FS, Findon J, Eklund H, Spain D, Wilson CE.... (2016) Predicting the diagnosis of autism in adults using the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) questionnaire. Psychological medicine, 1-10. PMID: 27353452
Fear memory encoding, the process responsible for persistent reactions to trauma-associated cues, is influenced by a sparse but potent population of inhibitory cells called parvalbumin-interneurons (PV-INs) in the amygdala, according to a new study.
... Read more »
Lucas, E., Jegarl, A., Morishita, H., & Clem, R. (2016) Multimodal and Site-Specific Plasticity of Amygdala Parvalbumin Interneurons after Fear Learning. Neuron. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.06.032
Where is the periaqueductal gray?
The periaqueductal gray, or PAG, is an area of gray matter found in the midbrain. The PAG surrounds the cerebral aqueduct (hence the name periaqueductal) and occupies a column of brainstem that stretches about 14 mm long. There are no obvious visible anatomical divisions within the PAG, but researchers have divided the PAG into four columns based on differences in connectivity and function: the dorsomedial, dorsolater........ Read more »
Behbehani, M. (1995) Functional characteristics of the midbrain periaqueductal gray. Progress in Neurobiology, 46(6), 575-605. DOI: 10.1016/0301-0082(95)00009-K
by Jinhyun Cho in Language on the Move
I recently volunteered to give a presentation on the profession of translation and interpreting as a parent helper for a...... Read more »
Cho, J. (2015) Sleepless in Seoul: Neoliberalism, English fever, and linguistic insecurity among Korean interpreters. Multilingua, 34(5), 687-710. DOI: 10.1515/multi-2013-0047
Researchers have found evidence that bone marrow transplantation may one day be beneficial to a subset of patients suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal neurodegenerative disorder more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
... Read more »
Burberry, A., Suzuki, N., Wang, J., Moccia, R., Mordes, D., Stewart, M., Suzuki-Uematsu, S., Ghosh, S., Singh, A., Merkle, F.... (2016) Loss-of-function mutations in the C9ORF72 mouse ortholog cause fatal autoimmune disease. Science Translational Medicine, 8(347), 347-347. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf6038
Retraction Watch reports on a strange case of alleged plagiarism.
In February 2016, F1000Research published a paper called How blockchain-timestamped protocols could improve the trustworthiness of medical science. The authors, Greg Irving and John Holden, demonstrated the use of the bitcoin blockchain as a way of publicly verifying the existence of a certain document at a certain point in time. This approach, they say, could be used to make preregistered research protocols more secure. A prob... Read more »
Irving G, & Holden J. (2016) How blockchain-timestamped protocols could improve the trustworthiness of medical science. F1000Research, 222. PMID: 27239273
"The cause of ME/CFS [myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome] is unknown, but gut dysbiosis could be contributing to some of the symptoms and their severity. Developing therapeutic interventions aimed at reducing local inflammation, restoring gastrointestinal tract immunity and integrity and modifying the intestinal microbiome may ameliorate ME/CFS symptoms in a number of affected patients."Those were the important conclusions reported by Ludovic Giloteaux and colleagues [1........ Read more »
Giloteaux L, Goodrich JK, Walters WA, Levine SM, Ley RE, & Hanson MR. (2016) Reduced diversity and altered composition of the gut microbiome in individuals with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. Microbiome, 4(1), 30. PMID: 27338587
Conducted at the BioMag laboratory at the Helsinki University Hospital, a new patient study could open a new opportunity to rehabilitate patients with spinal cord damage. In a new study which two patients with spinal cord injuries received a form of treatment that combined transcranial magnetic stimulation with simultaneous peripheral nerve stimulation given repeatedly for nearly six months.
... Read more »
Shulga, A., Lioumis, P., Zubareva, A., Brandstack, N., Kuusela, L., Kirveskari, E., Savolainen, S., Ylinen, A., & Mäkelä, J. (2016) Long-term paired associative stimulation can restore voluntary control over paralyzed muscles in incomplete chronic spinal cord injury patients. Spinal Cord Series and Cases, 16016. DOI: 10.1038/scsandc.2016.16
In a new article I evaluate a recently developed test for music listening skills. To my great surprise the test behaves very well. This could open the path to better understand the psychology underlying music listening. Why am I surprised? I got my first taste of how difficult it is to replicate published scientific results […]... Read more »
Kunert R, & Scheepers C. (2014) Speed and accuracy of dyslexic versus typical word recognition: an eye-movement investigation. Frontiers in psychology, 1129. PMID: 25346708
Kunert R, Willems RM, & Hagoort P. (2016) Language influences music harmony perception: effects of shared syntactic integration resources beyond attention. Royal Society open science, 3(2), 150685. PMID: 26998339
Kunert R, Willems RM, & Hagoort P. (2016) An Independent Psychometric Evaluation of the PROMS Measure of Music Perception Skills. PloS one, 11(7). PMID: 27398805
Law LN, & Zentner M. (2012) Assessing musical abilities objectively: construction and validation of the profile of music perception skills. PloS one, 7(12). PMID: 23285071
Nichols SA, McLeod JS, Holder RL, & McLeod HS. (2009) Screening for dyslexia, dyspraxia and Meares-Irlen syndrome in higher education. Dyslexia, 15(1), 42-60. PMID: 19089876
When the dust settles on the tragedy of the latest mass shooting, gun clubs usually see a spike in their memberships as people look to arm and defend themselves. At the same time, many others argue for greater gun controls, and from their perspective, recreational target shooting is very much part of the problem, not the answer.Anecdotally, this is borne out by the many killers who often turn out to have been target shooters. Indeed, in Germany after the teenage perpetrators of two spree atrocit........ Read more »
Erle, T., Barth, N., Kälke, F., Duttler, G., Lange, H., Petko, A., & Topolinski, S. (2016) Are target-shooters more aggressive than the general population?. Aggressive Behavior. DOI: 10.1002/ab.21657
Hot on the heels of a recent post about a study to watch for (see here) details of yet another "randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial" have been published in the form of the trial protocol by Hajar Mazahery and colleagues .This time around the aim is to "investigate the effect of vitamin D, n-3 LCPUFAs [omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids] or a combination of both on core symptoms of ASD [autism spectrum disorder]" and hopefully with it, the generat........ Read more »
Mazahery H, Conlon C, Beck KL, Kruger MC, Stonehouse W, Camargo CA Jr, Meyer BJ, Tsang B, Mugridge O, & von Hurst PR. (2016) Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid supplements in children with autism spectrum disorder: a study protocol for a factorial randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Trials, 17(1), 295. PMID: 27334138
Today was my presentation day at ECMTB/SMB 2016. I spoke in David Basanta’s mini-symposium on the games that cancer cells play and postered during the poster session. The mini-symposium started with a brief intro from David, and had 25 minute talks from Jacob Scott, myself, Alexander Anderson, and John Nagy. David, Jake, Sandy, and John […]... Read more »
Hauert, C., De Monte, S., Hofbauer, J., & Sigmund, K. (2002) Replicator dynamics for optional public good games. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 218(2), 187-94. PMID: 12381291
Neutrophils are the most abundant white blood cells in the bloodstream. As the first immune cells to be recruited to infected tissues, they play a key role in the fighting microbial intruders. It's long been known that they engulf microbes by phagocytosis, which results in the microbes being imprisoned within phagosomes inside the neutrophil. Deadly proteases, antimicrobial proteins, and reactive oxygen species are released into the phagosome to kill the microbes.Another means ........ Read more »
Scharrig E, Carestia A, Ferrer MF, Cédola M, Pretre G, Drut R, Picardeau M, Schattner M, & Gómez RM. (2015) Neutrophil extracellular traps are involved in the innate immune response to infection with Leptospira. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 9(7). PMID: 26161745
Move over silicon, tomorrow's computers could be made of something completely different. A team of international researchers managed to find a molecule that, to their opinion, could give the impetus to the development of organic electronics.
... Read more »
Karpov, Y., Erdmann, T., Raguzin, I., Al-Hussein, M., Binner, M., Lappan, U., Stamm, M., Gerasimov, K., Beryozkina, T., Bakulev, V.... (2016) High Conductivity in Molecularly p-Doped Diketopyrrolopyrrole-Based Polymer: The Impact of a High Dopant Strength and Good Structural Order. Advanced Materials. DOI: 10.1002/adma.201506295
This is the fifth and final post in a series on strange substances accidentally or intentionally added to street drugs. When you're done here, check out the posts on alcohol, meth, opioids, and pot/LSD.If a drug is being sold illegally, chances are its sellers have added crap to it in order to make more money. Cocaine is no exception to this deception. Substances added to nose candy because they resemble the drug but otherwise don't mimic or influence its effects include talc powder, flour, corn........ Read more »
Tallarida CS, Tallarida RJ, & Rawls SM. (2015) Levamisole enhances the rewarding and locomotor-activating effects of cocaine in rats. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 145-150. PMID: 25683823
Eyes shut tight, face contorted into a grimace. Are they ecstatic or anguished? Ignorant of the context, it can be hard to tell. Recent research that involved participants looking at images of the facial expressions of professional tennis players supported this intuition – participants naive to the context were unable to tell the difference between the winners and losers.From a scientific perspective, the problem with the tennis study is that the findings might have been affected by the player........ Read more »
Wenzler, S., Levine, S., van Dick, R., Oertel-Knöchel, V., & Aviezer, H. (2016) Beyond Pleasure and Pain: Facial Expression Ambiguity in Adults and Children During Intense Situations. Emotion. DOI: 10.1037/emo0000185
Another prominent psychology theory has come under scrutiny by researchers who say the published results look unrealistic.
In a new paper, Miguel A. Vadillo et al. take aim at the idea that the body's reserves of willpower rely on glucose.
The background here is the 'ego depletion' model, a psychological theory which holds that self-control is effortful and draws on a limited resource, which can eventually be depleted if it's overused. Many researchers have proposed that glucose is thi... Read more »
Vadillo, M., Gold, N., & Osman, M. (2016) The Bitter Truth About Sugar and Willpower: The Limited Evidential Value of the Glucose Model of Ego Depletion. Psychological Science. DOI: 10.1177/0956797616654911
Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome (BHD) is caused by mutations in the gene encoding folliculin (FLCN). How this leads to the BHD clinical manifestations is not yet clear. Since homozygous mutations of FLCN are lethal in mice, rats and dogs at early embryonic stage (Hasumi et al., 2009), zebrafish is a valuable alternative model to study the developmental functions of FLCN. Newly published research from Kenyon et al. (2016) examines the role of FLCN in zebrafish development using morpholino oligonuc........ Read more »
Kenyon EJ, Luijten MN, Gill H, Li N, Rawlings M, Bull JC, Hadzhiev Y, van Steensel MA, Maher E, & Mueller F. (2016) Expression and knockdown of zebrafish folliculin suggests requirement for embryonic brain morphogenesis. BMC developmental biology, 16(1), 23. PMID: 27391801
"Gastrin-releasing peptide was safe and well tolerated by most subjects and may be effective for core symptoms of autism."So said the results of the study - open trial - by Michele Michelin Becker and colleagues  continuing a research theme from this author  on the potential need for further scientific scrutiny when it comes to the use of gastrin-releasing peptides (GRP) and autism. Emphasising again that results were based on the use of an open trial (everyone knew what was bein........ Read more »
Becker MM, Riesgo RS, Roesler R, Bosa C, Ohlweiler L, Backes B, Endres RG, Zanon RB, Marchezan J, & Schwartsmann G. (2016) Improvement in Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children With the Use of Gastrin-Releasing Peptide: An Open Trial. Clinical neuropharmacology. PMID: 27332629
This week, I am at the University of Nottingham for the joint meeting of the Society of Mathematical Biology and the European Conference on Mathematical and Theoretical Biology — ECMTB/SMB 2016. It is a huge meeting, with over 800 delegates in attendance, 308 half-hour mini-symposium talks, 264 twenty-minute contributed talks, 190 posters, 7 prize talks, […]... Read more »
Gog, J.R., Ballesteros, S., Viboud, C., Simonsen, L., Bjornstad, O.N., Shaman, J., Chao, D.L., Khan, F., & Grenfell, B.T. (2014) Spatial Transmission of 2009 Pandemic Influenza in the US. PLoS Computational Biology, 10(6). PMID: 24921923
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