"Our findings showing an increase in peripheral concentrations of S100B and TNF-α provide limited support to the hypothesis about the roles of altered immune function and S100B in autism spectrum disorder (ASD)."So said the findings reported by Selin Aktan Guloksuz and colleagues  (open-access available here) continuing some discussions a few years back on a possible role for S100B in relation to at least some autism (see here).S100B - S100 calcium-binding protein B - is a compound invo........ Read more »
Guloksuz SA, Abali O, Aktas Cetin E, Bilgic Gazioglu S, Deniz G, Yildirim A, Kawikova I, Guloksuz S, & Leckman JF. (2017) Elevated plasma concentrations of S100 calcium-binding protein B and tumor necrosis factor alpha in children with autism spectrum disorders. Revista brasileira de psiquiatria (Sao Paulo, Brazil : 1999). PMID: 28099628
by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room
In 2015, we wrote a one of our combination (“tidbit”) posts that included a bit of information on how extended eye contact can cause hallucinations. As it turns out, it also makes it hard to think (which seems reasonable if you are having hallucinations). The researchers we are covering today say that maintaining eye contact […]... Read more »
Kajimura, S., & Nomura, M. (2016) When we cannot speak: Eye contact disrupts resources available to cognitive control processes during verb generation. Cognition, 352-357. DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2016.10.002
"There is a high frequency of ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] symptoms in patients with binge eating/purging eating disorders that motivates further studies."That was the conclusion reached in the study by Nils Erik Svedlund and colleagues  (open-access) who, among other things, set out to "explore the prevalence and types of self-reported ADHD symptoms in a large, unselected group of ED [eating disorder] patients assessed in a specialized ED clinic." ........ Read more »
Svedlund, N., Norring, C., Ginsberg, Y., & von Hausswolff-Juhlin, Y. (2017) Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) among adult eating disorder patients. BMC Psychiatry, 17(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12888-016-1093-1
It’s natural to feel we have a deep understanding of the world. Unfortunately, we most often don’t. On the whole, we tend to think we understand how things work in much more detail than we actually do. Scientists continue to show us just how complex the world really is. And the devices we build are […]
Check out Want a Deep Understanding? First, Know How Little You Know, an original post on Thinker Academy.
... Read more »
Keil FC. (2003) Folkscience: coarse interpretations of a complex reality. Trends in cognitive sciences, 7(8), 368-373. PMID: 12907233
Continuing the theme of blogging outside of the core material typically included on this site, I couldn't resist a mention of the 'head-to-head' debate talked about in the article by Matthew Kurien and colleagues  published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).As per the title of this post, the name of the game was gluten-free products being available on prescription here in Blighty, and in particular, the prescribing of gluten-free products to patients diagnosed with coeliac disease. Th........ Read more »
Kurien M, Sleet S, Sanders DS, & Cave J. (2017) Should gluten-free foods be available on prescription?. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 28073799
But we still don’t recommend it in polite company (aka, the courtroom)! An international team of researchers (from the Netherlands, Hong Kong, the United States and the United Kingdom) have just published an article examining two perspectives on profanity and honesty. The researchers say that, on one hand, profanity is considered a violation of social […]... Read more »
Feldman, G., Lian, H., Kosinski, M., & Stillwell, D. (2017) Frankly, We Do Give a Damn: The relationship between profanity and honesty. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1177/1948550616681055
"The results of this systematic review show that low vitamin D levels might contribute to the development of dementia."Whilst slightly off-topic when it comes to the core research material typically included on this blog, I did want to bring to your attention the systematic review and meta-analysis results published by Isolde Sommer and colleagues  (open-access) for your perusal. Although unable to "identify a single study investigating the association between sunlight exposure and demen........ Read more »
Sommer I, Griebler U, Kien C, Auer S, Klerings I, Hammer R, Holzer P, & Gartlehner G. (2017) Vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC geriatrics, 17(1), 16. PMID: 28086755
"This paper provides an overview of the benefits and drawbacks of the current clinical pathway that places primacy on a diagnostic assessment for triggering the commencement of therapy. The paper then presents an alternative clinical pathway - the identification and provision of therapy to infants at risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] - and provides a critical review of current evidence supporting this model."So said the 'lecture paper' by Andrew Whitehouse  and, as per the titl........ Read more »
Whitehouse AJ. (2017) Elizabeth Usher Memorial Lecture: Rethinking the clinical pathway for autism spectrum disorder and challenging the status quo. International journal of speech-language pathology, 1-10. PMID: 28084105
Horse ‘licking and chewing’: is it a sign of learning, submission or stress?Guest post by Georgina (Gina) Bishopp (Hartpury College, UK). A little while ago I was having a lesson on my horse when my instructor beamed up at me and exclaimed, “There you go, she is licking and chewing – she’s really listening to you now, keep going!” and with excitement I continued on eagerly with the exercise we were practising. It wasn’t until the exhilaration of the moment had waned did I thin........ Read more »
Goodwin, D. (2010) The importance of ethology in understanding the behaviour of the horse. Equine Veterinary Journal, 31(S28), 15-19. DOI: 10.1111/j.2042-3306.1999.tb05150.x
Warren-Smith AK, & McGreevy PD. (2008) Preliminary investigations into the ethological relevance of round-pen (round-yard) training of horses. Journal of applied animal welfare science : JAAWS, 11(3), 285-98. PMID: 18569224
I've talked about 'fecal microbial transplants' a.k.a the poo(p) transplant before on this blog (see here). That previous entry was about the more typical (and potentially life-saving) use of a poo transplant - where stool from one person is extracted, 'repackaged' and transferred to another person - albeit with caveats in terms of possible long-term side-effects. Now it appears that poo transplants are being investigated with something rather more central to the typical cont........ Read more »
Kang, D., Adams, J., Gregory, A., Borody, T., Chittick, L., Fasano, A., Khoruts, A., Geis, E., Maldonado, J., McDonough-Means, S.... (2017) Microbiota Transfer Therapy alters gut ecosystem and improves gastrointestinal and autism symptoms: an open-label study. Microbiome, 5(1). DOI: 10.1186/s40168-016-0225-7
by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room
We read so much for this blog (and just out of general curiosity) that we often find these small bits of information which don’t justify an entire blog post but that we want to share with you because they are just too good to ignore. Here’s another one of those combination posts that you simply […]... Read more »
Kaye LK, Malone SA, & Wall HJ. (2016) Emojis: Insights, Affordances, and Possibilities for Psychological Science. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. PMID: 28108281
Of the various autism science journals out there in peer-reviewed (La-La!) land, one journal in particular is really starting to grow on me: [The] Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.I like this journal because it is basically systematic review and meta-analysis heaven when it comes to the quite voluminous autism research literature and seems to publish some real gems (see here for example).Another paper from this journal caught my eye recently by Maggie Butchart and colleagues ........ Read more »
Butchart, M., Long, J., Brown, M., McMillan, A., Bain, J., & Karatzias, T. (2017) Autism and Visual Impairment: a Review of the Literature. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI: 10.1007/s40489-016-0101-1
Competition for government research grants to fund scientific research remains fierce in the United States. The budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which constitute the major source of funding for US biological and medical research, has been increased only modestly during the past decade but it is not even keeping up with inflation. This problem is compounded by the fact that more scientists are applying for grants now than one or two decades ago, forcing the NIH to enforce strict........ Read more »
After a late dinner, a jungle-dwelling whip spider can't rely on an Uber driver to get her home. She has to find the way herself, in the pitch-black, picking her way over thick undergrowth to reach the tree she lives on. It's a trick she can even manage when plucked from her home tree and tossed into the forest at random, up to 10 meters away. Now scientists think whip spiders don't use her eyes for this homing feat—they use their feet.
Whip spiders hunt by night and hunker down at dawn ........ Read more »
Bingman VP, Graving JM, Hebets EA, & Wiegmann DD. (2016) Importance of the antenniform legs, but not vision, for homing by the neotropical whip spider, Paraphrynus laevifrons. The Journal of experimental biology. PMID: 28011820
"Because of the limited number of included studies and small sample sizes, no firm conclusions can be drawn. However, the limited data currently available suggest that ω-3 FA [fatty acid] supplementation does not enhance the performance of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."Those were the conclusions reached in the systematic review and meta-analysis paper published by Andrea Horvath and colleagues  looking at the collected peer-reviewed literature on the topic up t........ Read more »
Horvath A, Łukasik J, & Szajewska H. (2017) ω-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation Does Not Affect Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. The Journal of nutrition. PMID: 28077731
We all want our expert witnesses to be influential with jurors. But when you have an expert testifying about forensic science (like fingerprint or DNA identification) what part of the testimony is going to influence jurors the most? Will it be the science? The technology used by the witness to interpret and understand the data? […]... Read more »
Koehler, J., Schweitzer, N., Saks, M., & McQuiston, D. (2016) Science, technology, or the expert witness: What influences jurors’ judgments about forensic science testimony?. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 22(4), 401-413. DOI: 10.1037/law0000103
"From 2006 to 2012, the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder diagnoses in 0- to 24-year-olds increased from 0.22% to 0.38%."That was one of the details included in the rather interesting paper by Christian Bachmann and colleagues  who provided some introductory information on the the trends in autism diagnoses in Germany. I say 'introductory information' because it appears that autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has not exactly received the research attention in Germany that it p........ Read more »
Christian J Bachmann, Bettina Gerste, & Falk Hoffmann. (2016) Diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders in Germany: Time trends in administrative prevalence and diagnostic stability. Autism: International Journal of Research . info:/10.1177/1362361316673977
Among monogamous animals, some individuals are more faithful than others. Could these differences in fidelity be, in part, because of differences in our brains? And if so, why does this diversity in brain and behavior exist?A snuggly prairie vole family. Photo from theNerdPatrol at Wikimedia Commons.Prairie voles are small North American rodents that form monogamous pair bonds, share parental duties, and defend their homes. Although prairie voles form monogamous pairs, that does not mean they ar........ Read more »
Okhovat, M., Berrio, A., Wallace, G., Ophir, A., & Phelps, S. (2015) Sexual fidelity trade-offs promote regulatory variation in the prairie vole brain. Science, 350(6266), 1371-1374. DOI: 10.1126/science.aac5791
I'm a great believer in balance when it comes to this blog and its content. As enthusiastic as I might be about a particular topic or topics, I don't want to lose sight of the fact that peer-reviewed science is a messy business and often filled with contrary findings.With 'contrary' in mind, I want to talk today about a paper by Amy Romijn and colleagues  detailing the results of a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial of a probiotic mix which contained "freeze-dried L. helv........ Read more »
Romijn AR, Rucklidge JJ, Kuijer RG, & Frampton C. (2017) A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum for the symptoms of depression. The Australian and New Zealand journal of psychiatry, 2147483647. PMID: 28068788
In today's post I want to draw your attention to the findings reported by Diana Ohanian and colleagues  (open-access available here) talking about "the use of machine learning to further explore the unique nature"of various conditions/labels including those typically headed under the label of chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME).Including one 'Jason LA' on the authorship list, researchers set about looking at "what key symptoms differentiate Myalgic Encephalomyelitis ........ Read more »
Ohanian D, Brown A, Sunnquist M, Furst J, Nicholson L, Klebek L, & Jason LA. (2016) Identifying Key Symptoms Differentiating Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome from Multiple Sclerosis. Neurology (E-Cronicon), 4(2), 41-45. PMID: 28066845
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