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  • June 1, 2017
  • 04:43 AM

Differentiating between autism and ADHD the machine learning way (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

So: "These results support the potential of creating a quick, accurate and widely accessible method for differentiating risks between ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder]."That was a conclusion reached in the paper by Marlena Duda and colleagues [1] (open-access) building on their previous foray into this important research area (see here). Last time around [2] this research group - the Duda/Wall et al research combination - set t........ Read more »

  • May 31, 2017
  • 08:02 AM

Your best bet for an expert witness is a friendly  nerd rather than an attractive scientist

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

And it doesn’t really matter if the expert is male or female, if they are young or old, and they can be any ethnicity! In other words, said the researchers—the variables we have read so much about (i.e., gender, age, ethnicity) are not as notable as whether someone “looks like” our stereotype of a “good […]... Read more »

Gheorghiu, A., Callan, M., & Skylark, W. (2017) Facial appearance affects science communication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)., 201620542. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1620542114  

  • May 31, 2017
  • 05:44 AM

On migration status and offspring autism severity

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Black women from East Africa had more than 3.5 times the odds of autism spectrum disorder with intellectual disability in their children than Caucasian nonimmigrant women."So said the study results reported by Jenny Fairthorn and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) providing yet more evidence for the need for much greater scrutiny as to why children of immigrant parents from East Africa are seemingly at higher risk of 'more severe' autism than other groups (see here and see here).B........ Read more »

  • May 30, 2017
  • 04:57 AM

Healthcare use before, during and after a diagnosis of CFS/ME

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Adults and children with CFS/ME [chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis] have greater health care needs than the rest of the population for at least ten years before their diagnosis, and these higher levels of health care resource use continue for at least ten years after diagnosis."So concluded the study published by Simon Collin and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) who once again (see here) relied on data derived from the "Clinical Practice Research Datalink........ Read more »

  • May 29, 2017
  • 08:02 AM

Witness preparation: To vocal fry or not to vocal  fry?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

If you are young(er) you likely know precisely what vocal fry means and if you are old(er)—probably not so much. It is a cultural phenomenon seen primarily (but not only) in young(er) women as described at the Mental Floss website: “Vocal fry describes a specific sound quality caused by the movement of the vocal folds. […]... Read more »

  • May 29, 2017
  • 05:08 AM

Assisted reproductive technology and risk of offspring autism meta-analysed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Our study indicated that the use of ART [assisted reproductive technology] may [be] associated with higher risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] in the offspring. However, further prospective, large, and high-quality studies are still required."So said the results of the meta-analysis published by Liang Lui and colleagues [1] (open-access) surveying the peer-reviewed research literature - "11 records (3 cohort studies and 8 case-control studies)" - between 2006 and 201........ Read more »

  • May 28, 2017
  • 10:36 AM

Unattractive People Are Seen As Better Scientists

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Good looking, sociable people don't make good scientists, according to popular stereotypes.

This is one of the findings of an interesting new study of how scientists are perceived, from British researchers Ana I. Gheorghiu and colleagues.

Gheorghiu et al. took 616 pictures of scientists, which they downloaded from the faculty pages at various universities. They gave the portraits to two sets of raters. The first group were asked to rate the attractiveness of the portraits and to say whet... Read more »

Gheorghiu AI, Callan MJ, & Skylark WJ. (2017) Facial appearance affects science communication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 28533389  

  • May 28, 2017
  • 08:39 AM

How Men Age, a book review

by Farid Pazhoohi in Epistemophil

Nothing would be more interesting than reading a book on men aging by the author who is an expert on comparative male life histories. Richard G. Bribiescas is a Professor of Anthropology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University, and has conducted research in evolutionary biology and endocrinology of human, as well as comparative studies […]... Read more »

Pazhoohi, F. (2017) Book Review: How Men Age: What Evolution Reveals about Male Health and Mortality. Frontiers in Psychology. info:/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00894

  • May 27, 2017
  • 04:59 AM

Low dose suramin and autism: a small RCT with potentially big results

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

'Low dose' has been a feature of my autism research reading this week; first starting with the results from Dan Quintana and colleagues [1] talking about some important effects following intranasal delivery of low dose oxytocin and then moving on to the primary reason for this entry with results from Robert Naviaux and colleagues [2] (open-access) continuing a research theme looking at suramin and autism (see here for some background).For those interested in the oxytocin-autism research bas........ Read more »

Naviaux, R., Curtis, B., Li, K., Naviaux, J., Bright, A., Reiner, G., Westerfield, M., Goh, S., Alaynick, W., Wang, L.... (2017) Low-dose suramin in autism spectrum disorder: a small, phase I/II, randomized clinical trial. Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology. DOI: 10.1002/acn3.424  

  • May 26, 2017
  • 12:34 PM

The Ugliness Penalty: Does It Literally Pay to Be Pretty?

by Melissa Chernick in Science Storiented

There are economic studies that show that attractive people earn more money and, conversely, unattractive earn less money. I’m pretty sure that I’ve heard something along those lines before, but I had no idea they were called the “beauty premium” and the “ugliness penalty.” How wonderful and sad at the same time. But while these seem like pretty commonplace ideas, there is no real evidence as to why they exist. A new paper published in the Journal of Business and Psychology tested th........ Read more »

  • May 26, 2017
  • 08:02 AM

Cassandra’s Regret: The Psychology of Not Wanting to  Know

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Do you want to know the future? You may want to say it all depends on which aspects of your future. Typically, while we seek information routinely to make decisions in our day-to-day lives, we don’t always want to know for sure what will happen in our futures. These researchers remind us about the story […]... Read more »

Gigerenzer G, & Garcia-Retamero R. (2017) Cassandra's regret: The psychology of not wanting to know. Psychological Review, 124(2), 179-196. PMID: 28221086  

  • May 26, 2017
  • 04:06 AM

On ADHD medication and motor vehicle crashes

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Among patients with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder], rates of MVCs [motor vehicle crashes] were lower during periods when they received ADHD medication."That was the research bottom-line discussed by Zheng Chang and colleagues [1] who continue a theme on how managing/treating the symptoms of ADHD can often have some profound effects on those diagnosed with ADHD and also the wider population.The outcome measure on this occasion was MVCs; in particular: "E........ Read more »

  • May 26, 2017
  • 12:07 AM

Gaslighting in the Medical Literature

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Have you felt that your sense of reality has been challenged lately? That the word “truth” has no meaning any more? Does the existence of alternative facts make you question your own sanity? In modern usage, the term gaslighting refers to “a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented to the victim with the intent of making him/her doubt his/her own memory and perception”.Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted ........ Read more »

Barton R, & Whitehead JA. (1969) The gas-light phenomenon. Lancet (London, England), 1(7608), 1258-60. PMID: 4182427  

Kutcher SP. (1982) The gaslight syndrome. Canadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de psychiatrie, 27(3), 224-7. PMID: 7093877  

Lund CA, & Gardiner AQ. (1977) The gaslight phenomenon--an institutional variant. The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science, 533-4. PMID: 588872  

Smith CG, & Sinanan K. (1972) The "gaslight phenomenon" reappears. A modification of the Ganser syndrome. The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science, 120(559), 685-6. PMID: 5043219  

  • May 25, 2017
  • 04:02 AM

Blood heavy metal levels and autism (yet again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Data showed that the children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] had significantly (p < 0.001) higher levels of mercury and arsenic and a lower level of cadmium."And... "It is desirable to continue future research into the relationship between ASD and heavy metal exposure."Those sentences come from the study by Huamei Li and colleagues [1] continuing a research theme regarding (generally) elevated levels of heavy metals being detected in those on the autism spectrum (see here). Ye........ Read more »

  • May 24, 2017
  • 08:02 AM

The Invisibility Cloak Illusion: We are more observant (and  yet, less observed) than all others

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

This is the sort of article that can either amuse or terrify you. It will amuse you if you are charmed by all the ways in which we see ourselves as superior to others. And it will terrify you if you do not want to know that you are always being observed closely by everyone […]... Read more »

  • May 24, 2017
  • 05:33 AM

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as a risk factor for bipolar disorder

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Only irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) emerged as a risk factor for BD [bipolar disorder] supported by convincing evidence."So said the results of the umbrella review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses by Beatrice Bortolato and colleagues [1] looking at the various environmental risk factors potentially linked to the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. I might add that this is a topic that has been discussed before on this blog (see here and see here for examples).If the systematic ........ Read more »

  • May 23, 2017
  • 01:38 PM

Dismantle the Poverty Trap by Nurturing Community Trust

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

Understanding the precise reasons for why people living in poverty often make decisions that seem short-sighted, such as foregoing more education or taking on high-interest short-term loans, is the first step to help them escape poverty. The obvious common-sense fix is to ensure that the basic needs of all citizens – food, shelter, clothing, health and personal safety – are met, so that they no longer have to use all new funds for survival. This is obviously easier in the developed w........ Read more »

Jachimowicz, J., Chafik, S., Munrat, S., Prabhu, J., & Weber, E. (2017) Community trust reduces myopic decisions of low-income individuals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201617395. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1617395114  

  • May 23, 2017
  • 03:54 AM

"there is no single way for a brain to be normal" (or how 'neurotypical' is a nonsense)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm not usually so forthright with my posts on this blog, but today I'm being a little more bullish as I talk about an editorial from Simon Baron-Cohen [1] titled: "Neurodiversity – a revolutionary concept for autism and psychiatry."The crux of the SBC paper is the suggestion that use of the term 'disorder' specifically with autism in mind might have certain connotations - "Disorder should be used when there is nothing positive about the condition" - and until the "biomedical mechanistic cause........ Read more »

  • May 22, 2017
  • 04:00 PM

Unraveling the Mysteries of Mischievous Microbiome

by Aurametrix team in Aurametrix Blog

Science explains why some people smell worse than others despite keeping themselves squeaky clean. The body is crawling with bacteria increasing the risk for diseases for which we have unreserved levels of sympathy. It can also lead to ​unlikable conditions such as unpredictable and embarrassing outbursts of body odor - so bad it ruins social lives and careers.  But there is no cure for metabolic body odor ... Read more »

  • May 22, 2017
  • 06:13 AM

"a gluten-related subgroup of schizophrenia"?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin this post: "this preliminary study demonstrates that altered AGDA [antibodies against gliadin-derived antigen] levels in the circulation are associated with schizophrenia and could serve as biomarkers for the identification of a schizophrenia subgroup that may need an alternative therapy or precision treatment."So said the findings reported by McLean and colleagues [1] (open-access) looking at an area of some interest to this blog (see here) on how dietary gluten might........ Read more »

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