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  • April 18, 2015
  • 02:14 PM
  • 5 views

Kids with ADHD must squirm to learn

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

For decades, frustrated parents and teachers have barked at fidgety children with ADHD to “Sit still and concentrate!” But new research shows that if you want ADHD kids to learn, you have to let them squirm. The foot-tapping, leg-swinging and chair-scooting movements of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder are actually vital to how they remember information and work out complex cognitive tasks.... Read more »

  • April 18, 2015
  • 05:22 AM
  • 15 views

Autistic traits in adult-onset psychiatric disorders?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"To conclude, the presentation of ALTs [autistic-like traits/symptoms] at the sub-threshold or threshold level may be closely associated with BPD [bipolar disorder] and SZ [schizophrenia]."That was the conclusion reached in the paper by Junko Matsuo and colleagues [1] (open-access here) based on their analysis of nearly 300 adults aged between 25-59 years including those diagnosed with "MDD [major depressive disorder], n=125; bipolar disorder, n=56; schizophrenia,&n........ Read more »

Matsuo J, Kamio Y, Takahashi H, Ota M, Teraishi T, Hori H, Nagashima A, Takei R, Higuchi T, Motohashi N.... (2015) Autistic-Like Traits in Adult Patients with Mood Disorders and Schizophrenia. PloS one, 10(4). PMID: 25838109  

  • April 17, 2015
  • 07:47 PM
  • 30 views

Study links brain anatomy, academic achievement, and family income

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Many years of research have shown that for students from lower-income families, standardized test scores and other measures of academic success tend to lag behind those of wealthier students. Well now a new study offers another dimension to this so-called “achievement gap”After imaging the brains of high- and low-income students, they found that the higher-income students had thicker brain cortex in areas associated with visual perception and knowledge accumulation.... Read more »

Allyson Mackey et al. (2015) Students’ Family Income Linked With Brain Anatomy, Academic Achievement. Psychological Science. info:/

  • April 17, 2015
  • 10:03 AM
  • 41 views

Mapping the language system: Part 2

by Dan Mirman in Minding the Brain

This is the second of a multi-part post about a pair of papers that just came out (Mirman et al., 2015, in press). Part 1 was about the behavioral data: we started with 17 behavioral measures from 99 participants with aphasia following left hemisphere stroke. Using factor analysis, we reduced those 17 measures to 4 underlying factors: Semantic Recognition, Speech Production, Speech Recognition, and Semantic Errors. For each of these factors, we then used voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping (........ Read more »

Hickok G. (2012) Computational neuroanatomy of speech production. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 13(2), 135-145. PMID: 22218206  

Hickok, Gregory S, & Poeppel, David. (2007) The cortical organization of speech processing. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 8(May), 393-402. info:/

Zhang Y., Kimberg D.Y., Coslett H.B., Schwartz M.F., & Wang Z. (2014) Multivariate lesion-symptom mapping using support vector regression. Human Brain Mapping, 35(12), 5861-5876. PMID: 25044213  

  • April 17, 2015
  • 06:08 AM
  • 53 views

Marathon runners forget how painful it was

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Image: Flickr/GregThe sense of accomplishment from running a marathon is hugely uplifting. But let's not romanticise it, there's also a lot of pain involved. Despite this, many people pull on their running shoes time and again. A new study helps make sense of their behaviour – it turns out most marathon runners forget just how painful it was the last time. Przemyslaw Bąbel recruited 62 runners (39 men) who took part in the 11th Cracovia Marathon in Cracow, Poland in 2012. Moments after they c........ Read more »

  • April 17, 2015
  • 03:52 AM
  • 35 views

Higher cancer mortality rates associated with mental illness

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The findings reported by Steve Kisely and colleagues [1] were of some interest recently and their assertion that despite cancer incidence being "the same as the general population for most psychiatric disorders" or even slightly reduced when a diagnosis of schizophrenia was for example received, mortality due to cancer was "increased in psychiatric patients."Such findings were based on their examination of: "Mental health records [that] were linked with cancer registrations and death r........ Read more »

  • April 16, 2015
  • 09:48 AM
  • 41 views

Mapping the language system: Part 1

by Dan Mirman in Minding the Brain

My colleagues and I have a pair of papers coming out in Nature Communications and Neuropsychologia that I'm particularly excited about. The data came from Myrna Schwartz's long-running anatomical case series project in which behavioral and structural neuroimaging data were collected from a large sample of individuals with aphasia following left hemisphere stroke. We pulled together data from 17 measures of language-related performance for 99 participants, each of those participants was also........ Read more »

Mirman, D., Chen, Q., Zhang, Y., Wang, Z., Faseyitan, O.K., Coslett, H.B., & Schwartz, M.F. (2015) Neural Organization of Spoken Language Revealed by Lesion-Symptom Mapping. Nature Communications, 6(6762), 1-9. info:/

  • April 16, 2015
  • 05:21 AM
  • 41 views

Paternal sperm epigenetic differences and offspring autism risk

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"These data suggest that epigenetic differences in paternal sperm may contribute to autism risk in offspring."So said the preliminary study results published by Jason Feinberg and colleagues [1]  (open-access) looking at "paternal semen biosamples obtained from an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) enriched-risk pregnancy cohort, the Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation (EARLI) cohort." Researchers analysed 44 semen samples to ascertain whether DNA methylation differences - one typ........ Read more »

Jason I Feinberg, Kelly M Bakulski, Andrew E Jaffe, Rakel Tryggvadottir, Shannon C Brown, Lynn R Goldman, Lisa A Croen, Irva Hertz-Picciotto, Craig J Newschaffer, M Daniele Fallin.... (2015) Paternal sperm DNA methylation associated with early signs of autism risk in an autism-enriched cohort. International Journal of Epidemiology. info:/10.1093/ije/dyv028

  • April 15, 2015
  • 04:58 PM
  • 49 views

Autistic Traits Aren't Linked To Brain Anatomy?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

According to a large study just published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, there's no correlation between brain anatomy and self-reported autistic traits.





Dutch researchers P. Cedric M. P. Koolschijn and colleagues looked at two samples of young Dutch adults: an 'exploration' sample of 204, and a separate 'validation' group of 304 individuals.

Most of the participants did not have autism. The researchers looked for associations between various aspects of brain ... Read more »

  • April 15, 2015
  • 10:01 AM
  • 23 views

Do movie super-heroines empower women?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

The super-heroines who feature in the X-Men series and other comic-book films challenge traditional gender stereotypes in the sense that they are powerful, strong and smart. You'd think watching them in action might have an empowering influence on female viewers. But there's a catch – heroine characters like Mystique, Storm and PsyLocke (pictured) are also hypersexualised. Their clothing is tight and revealing, they are typically buxom and ultra thin-waisted, and they often use their sex appea........ Read more »

  • April 15, 2015
  • 08:58 AM
  • 61 views

Take Charge of Your Learning Strategies

by Winston Sieck in Thinker Academy

Do you feel in charge of your own learning? Do you learn well with good teachers and bad? Or even if there isn’t one at all? With the wealth of information available today, you have more opportunity than ever to know nearly anything that is known. You can go out and learn virtually anything you […]
Check out Take Charge of Your Learning Strategies, an original post on Thinker Academy.
... Read more »

  • April 15, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 46 views

Earliest Memories of Pets

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Do our earliest childhood memories of pets influence our attitudes to animals?  Think back to your first memory of a pet, whether it was your own or someone else’s. Is it a happy memory, or a sad one? Were you interacting with the animal, or just watching? And is it possible that early memories like this influence your attitudes as an adult?This question was posed by Philip Marshall(Texas Tech University) et al, who compared earliest memories of a pet, a friend and an automobile. 223........ Read more »

Marshall, P.D., Ireland, M.E., & Dalton, A.A. (2015) Earliest memories of pets predict adult attitudes: phenomenological, structural and textual analyses. Human Animal Interaction Bulletin, 3(1), 28-51. info:/

  • April 15, 2015
  • 03:31 AM
  • 34 views

Maternal diabetes and offspring autism risk... again

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"In this large, multiethnic clinical cohort of singleton children born at 28 to 44 weeks’ gestation, exposure to maternal GDM [gestational diabetes mellitus] diagnosed by 26 weeks’ gestation was associated with risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] in offspring."That was the conclusion reached by Anny Xiang and colleagues [1] (open-access) following their analysis of some 3300 children diagnosed with ASD as part of a wider cohort of over 300,000 children "born in 19........ Read more »

Xiang, A., Wang, X., Martinez, M., Walthall, J., Curry, E., Page, K., Buchanan, T., Coleman, K., & Getahun, D. (2015) Association of Maternal Diabetes With Autism in Offspring. JAMA, 313(14), 1425. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2015.2707  

  • April 14, 2015
  • 04:08 AM
  • 42 views

Immune signature in ME/CFS detected in cerebrospinal fluid

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The research tag-team that is Mady Hornig and Ian Lipkin are fairly frequently mentioned on this blog. If it's not to do with their studies in autism research (see here for a recent mention) it is with their ground-breaking work looking at chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) in mind (see here for example).Indeed their latest paper [1] extends some recent findings (see here) on immune involvement in relation to CFS/ME [2] with a focus on examinations in cerebrospinal flu........ Read more »

  • April 13, 2015
  • 03:37 PM
  • 65 views

The placebome: Where genetics and the placebo effect meet

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Placebos have helped to ease symptoms of illness for centuries and have been a fundamental component of clinical research to test new drug therapies for more than 70 years. But why some people respond to placebos and others do not remains under debate.... Read more »

Kathryn T. Hall et al. (2015) Genetics and the placebo effect: the placebome. Trends in Molecular Medicine. info:/10.1016/j.molmed.2015.02.009

  • April 13, 2015
  • 06:43 AM
  • 57 views

Let there be light: how light can affect our mood

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

If you're looking for an indication of how intricately human physiology is tied to the environment our species evolved in, you need look no further than our circadian clock. For, the internal environment of our body is regulated by 24-hour cycles that closely mirror the time it takes for the earth to rotate once on its axis. Moreover, these cycles are shaped by changes in the external environment (e.g. fluctuating levels of daylight) associated with that rotation. Indeed, this 24-hour cycle regu........ Read more »

LeGates, T., Fernandez, D., & Hattar, S. (2014) Light as a central modulator of circadian rhythms, sleep and affect. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 15(7), 443-454. DOI: 10.1038/nrn3743  

  • April 13, 2015
  • 05:09 AM
  • 27 views

Psychologists can influence people's moral choices by tracking their gaze

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Where we look betrays what we're thinking. For instance, given a choice between two snacks, people spend longer looking at the alternative that they ultimately choose. A new study digs deeper into this process and asks: is gaze direction also related to moral choices, and does it actually influence those choices?Twenty students donned an eye tracker and made a series of moral judgments. On each trial, the students heard a statement over headphones (e.g. "murder is sometimes justifiable") and the........ Read more »

Pärnamets, P., Johansson, P., Hall, L., Balkenius, C., Spivey, M., & Richardson, D. (2015) Biasing moral decisions by exploiting the dynamics of eye gaze. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201415250. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1415250112  

  • April 13, 2015
  • 01:38 AM
  • 49 views

Interoception and body awareness in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Interoception: the sense of the physiological condition of the body" [1].This was an important concept detailed in the paper by Lisa Fiene and Charlotte Brownlow [2] with autism in mind. Looking at how adults diagnosed with an ASD (autism spectrum disorder) "interpret elements of the interoceptive sense, which includes thirst, hunger, temperature, satiety" researchers questioned those on the spectrum (n=74) and asymptomatic controls (n=228) with "self-reported perceptions of body awareness........ Read more »

  • April 11, 2015
  • 11:31 AM
  • 18 views

Brain Sarcasm Centre "Totally Found"

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A new study published in the journal Neurocase made headlines this week. Headlines like: "Sarcasm Center Found In Brain's White Matter". The paper reports that damage to a particular white matter pathway in the brain, the right sagittal stratum, is associated with difficulty in perceiving a sarcastic tone of voice.





The authors,  studied 24 patients who had suffered white matter damage after a stroke. In some cases, the lesions included the sagittal stratum in the right hemisphere, and... Read more »

Davis CL, Oishi K, Faria AV, Hsu J, Gomez Y, Mori S, & Hillis AE. (2015) White matter tracts critical for recognition of sarcasm. Neurocase, 1-8. PMID: 25805326  

  • April 10, 2015
  • 05:48 AM
  • 85 views

More ophthalmic findings in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Ophthalmic pathology was noted in 26.9 % of patients with ASD [autism spectrum disorder], of which 22 % had significant refractive errors and 8.6 % had strabismus."That was the conclusion reached in the paper by Emrah Utku Kabatas and colleagues [1] based on the premise that: "Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) frequently have ophthalmologic disorders"; that is, issues with the anatomy and function of the eyes.We've been here before. I'll take you back to the post that I wr........ Read more »

Kabatas EU, Ozer PA, Ertugrul GT, Kurtul BE, Bodur S, & Alan BE. (2015) Initial Ophthalmic Findings in Turkish Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 25800865  

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