Aerobic exercise increases brain blood flow and has demonstrated beneficial effects on cognition.The effects of weight training exercise on the brain is less frequently studied. Hence, we know little about the effect and mechanism of weight training on brain function and performance.A recent study provides some needed insight on this topic.A study by C Suo and colleagues from Australia examined the effects of resistance training and cognitive skills training on brain structure and function.The k........ Read more »
Suo C, Singh MF, Gates N, Wen W, Sachdev P, Brodaty H, Saigal N, Wilson GC, Meiklejohn J, Singh N.... (2016) Therapeutically relevant structural and functional mechanisms triggered by physical and cognitive exercise. Molecular psychiatry, 21(11), 1645. PMID: 27090304
If a primary goal of medicine is to relieve pain and suffering then the paper by Andrew Stickley and colleagues  might provide an important insight into how medicine might be missing some important groups when it comes to the experience of pain "assessed by the degree to which it interfered with work activity in the previous month."Drawing on data from the English 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (APMS) (a resource that has cropped up on this blog before), auth........ Read more »
The quote titling this brief post - "increasing evidence for an association between vitamin D insufficiency and depression" - comes from the review by Parker and colleagues  who seem to be no strangers to reviewing evidence on a possible link between the sunshine vitamin/hormone and depression .Affiliated to the Black Dog Institute in Oz ('black dog' being used as a metaphor for depression for quite a few years), the authors surveyed the quite voluminous peer-reviewed research literat........ Read more »
What can we learn from Halloween? A lot, judging by numerous scientific studies and less scientific surveys. Halloween could help to collect a wide range of extreme facial expressions, including highly negative situations when children discover their parents ate up all their Halloween candy. This is what was done in the recent study and an ongoing youtube challenge. Smile! You are being watched [...] ... 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 (Washington, D.C.), 16(6), 807-14. PMID: 27337681
Diener, E., Fraser, S., Beaman, A., & Kelem, R. (1976) Effects of deindividuation variables on stealing among Halloween trick-or-treaters. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 33(2), 178-183. DOI: 10.1037//0022-35220.127.116.11
Woolley, J., Boerger, E., & Markman, A. (2004) A visit from the Candy Witch: factors influencing young children's belief in a novel fantastical being. Developmental Science, 7(4), 456-468. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2004.00366.x
Jamison, J., & Karlan, D. (2016) CANDY ELASTICITY: HALLOWEEN EXPERIMENTS ON PUBLIC POLITICAL STATEMENTS. Economic Inquiry, 54(1), 543-547. DOI: 10.1111/ecin.12233
"To date, there is no evidence that hyperbaric oxygen therapy improves core symptoms and associated symptoms of ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."So said the results of the review by Xiong and colleagues  (open-access available here) completed under the auspices of the Cochrane Collaboration, leaders in the science and publication of systematic reviews (see here for another example).Looking at the collected peer-reviewed science on the topic of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) for aut........ Read more »
Xiong T, Chen H, Luo R, & Mu D. (2016) Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. PMID: 27737490
In the spirit of Halloween we bring you the science fact and fiction behind the undead. Zombies, those brain loving little guys, (and girls) are everywhere. Sure, we are all familiar with the classic zombie, but did you know that we aren't the only zombie lovers out there? It turns out that nature has its own special types of zombies, but this isn't a science fiction movie, this is science fact! Sometimes fact can be scarier than fiction, so let's dive in.
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Lafferty KD. (2006) Can the common brain parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, influence human culture?. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 273(1602), 2749-55. PMID: 17015323
Vyas A, Kim SK, Giacomini N, Boothroyd JC, & Sapolsky RM. (2007) Behavioral changes induced by Toxoplasma infection of rodents are highly specific to aversion of cat odors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(15), 6442-7. PMID: 17404235
Passamonti L, Crockett MJ, Apergis-Schoute AM, Clark L, Rowe JB, Calder AJ, & Robbins TW. (2012) Effects of acute tryptophan depletion on prefrontal-amygdala connectivity while viewing facial signals of aggression. Biological psychiatry, 71(1), 36-43. PMID: 21920502
Thomas, F., Schmidt-Rhaesa, A., Martin, G., Manu, C., Durand, P., & Renaud, F. (2002) Do hairworms (Nematomorpha) manipulate the water seeking behaviour of their terrestrial hosts?. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 15(3), 356-361. DOI: 10.1046/j.1420-9101.2002.00410.x
W. Wesołowska T. Wesołowski. (2014) Do Leucochloridium sporocysts manipulate the behaviour of their snail hosts?. Journal of Zoology , 292(3), 151-155. info:/10.1111/jzo.12094
Appreciating that the autism spectrum is truly a wide and heterogeneous one (or even several?), I'd like to direct your attention today to the findings reported by Jocelyn Bessette Gorlin and colleagues  on the topic of "the experiences of families living with a child with severe autism."In particular, I'd like to highlight the six areas that emerged from the "29 interviews with 22 participants from 11 families" related to family experiences and how, minus any sweeping generalisations, m........ Read more »
Bessette Gorlin J, McAlpine CP, Garwick A, & Wieling E. (2016) Severe Childhood Autism: The Family Lived Experience. Journal of pediatric nursing. PMID: 27720503
So: "Results indicate that individuals diagnosed with PDD [pervasive developmental disorder] by DSM-IV-TR criteria may not be diagnosed using DSM-5 criteria."That was the conclusion reached by Ferhat Yaylaci & Suha Miral  following their study of 150 children (3-15 years old) diagnosed with PDD "by DSM-IV-TR" whose symptoms/presentation were "reviewed through psychiatric assessment based on DSM-IV-TR and DSM-5 criteria." The percentage figure they arrived at (19.3%) indicat........ Read more »
Yaylaci, F., & Miral, S. (2016) A Comparison of DSM-IV-TR and DSM-5 Diagnostic Classifications in the Clinical Diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-016-2937-8
I'd like to think that the review article by Annik Simons and colleagues  (open-access) highlights some pretty strong evidence to suggest there being at least some connection between some autism and some of the collected inborn errors of metabolism. Indeed, when people generally talk about 'not knowing what causes autism' if we perhaps consider a more plural view of 'the autisms', there is a case to be made to say we might know what causes 'some' autism and some of it might lie in this area.......... Read more »
Simons A, Eyskens F, Glazemakers I, & van West D. (2016) Can psychiatric childhood disorders be due to inborn errors of metabolism?. European child . PMID: 27695954
The title of this post is partially taken from the BBC take on the findings reported by Andrew Pickles and colleagues  detailing a long-term follow up (and slight adjustment to the calculation of behavioural scores) of the Preschool Autism Communication Trial (PACT). PACT by the way, is a strategy based on the important tenet of shared attention where: "The approach aims to help parents adapt their communication style to their child’s impairments and respond to their child with enhance........ Read more »
Pickles, A., Le Couteur, A., Leadbitter, K., Salomone, E., Cole-Fletcher, R., Tobin, H., Gammer, I., Lowry, J., Vamvakas, G., Byford, S.... (2016) Parent-mediated social communication therapy for young children with autism (PACT): long-term follow-up of a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31229-6
"We aimed to investigate the risk of substance use-related problems in ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."Findings: "The risk of substance use-related problems was the highest among individuals with ASD and ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder]."So said the findings reported by Agnieszka Butwicka and colleagues  (open-access) looking again at an important but slightly uncomfortable topic: substance use-related problems or substance use disorder (SUD) with autism in ........ Read more »
Butwicka, A., Långström, N., Larsson, H., Lundström, S., Serlachius, E., Almqvist, C., Frisén, L., & Lichtenstein, P. (2016) Increased Risk for Substance Use-Related Problems in Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Population-Based Cohort Study. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-016-2914-2
"Alternative medicine treatment put four-year-old boy in A&E [accident & emergency / emergency room]" went the recent BBC headline talking about the case report published by Drs Catriona Boyd and Abdul Moodambail .Describing the experiences of a 4-year old boy who attended A&E (the emergency room) following an extended period of "vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, polyuria, polydipsia and loss of 3kg in weight" in previous weeks, the authors report how after an unremar........ Read more »
Boyd, C., & Moodambail, A. (2016) Severe hypercalcaemia in a child secondary to use of alternative therapies. BMJ Case Reports. DOI: 10.1136/bcr-2016-215849
There is significant interest in activities that may boost academic achievement in the classroom.I previously posted on evidence that exercise prior to a learning task improved reading comprehension scores.You can access that post by clicking HERE.Now a study has compared two types of activities after a memorization task in male students.In this study, 60 male students completed a learning task and then were randomized into one of three activities for one hour. The three activities were playing ........ Read more »
Kindermann, H., Javor, A., & Reuter, M. (2016) Playing counter-strike versus running: The impact of leisure time activities and cortisol on intermediate-term memory in male students. Cognitive Systems Research, 1-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.cogsys.2016.01.002
In a previous post on this blog I talked about an important paper by Vannucchi and colleagues  summarising the state of the peer-reviewed research (up to 2014) on bipolar disorder and Asperger syndrome (AS). Today, I'm adding to the conversation on this important topic by introducing two papers to the discussions: the first by Xenia Borue and colleagues  and the second by Ahmad Abu-Akel and colleagues  covering the longitudinal course of bipolar disorder (BD) in rela........ Read more »
Borue, X., Mazefsky, C., Rooks, B., Strober, M., Keller, M., Hower, H., Yen, S., Gill, M., Diler, R., Axelson, D.... (2016) Longitudinal Course of Bipolar Disorder in Youth With High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child . DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2016.08.011
Abu-Akel, A., Clark, J., Perry, A., Wood, S., Forty, L., Craddock, N., Jones, I., Gordon-Smith, K., & Jones, L. (2016) Autistic and Schizotypal Traits and Global Functioning in Bipolar I Disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders. DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2016.09.059
There are plenty of reasons it's important to maintain a healthy weight, and now you can add one more to the list: It may be good for your brain. Researchers have found that having a higher body mass index, or BMI, can negatively impact cognitive functioning in older adults.
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Bourassa, K., & Sbarra, D. (2016) Body mass and cognitive decline are indirectly associated via inflammation among aging adults. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2016.09.023
Neu5Gc, a non-human sialic acid sugar molecule common in red meat that increases the risk of tumor formation in humans, is also prevalent in pig organs, with concentrations increasing as the organs are cooked, a study has found. The research suggests that Neu5Gc may pose a significant health hazard among those who regularly consume organ meats from pigs.
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Ji, S., Wang, F., Chen, Y., Yang, C., Zhang, P., Zhang, X., Troy, F., & Wang, B. (2016) Developmental changes in the level of free and conjugated sialic acids, Neu5Ac, Neu5Gc and KDN in different organs of pig: a LC-MS/MS quantitative analyses. Glycoconjugate Journal. DOI: 10.1007/s10719-016-9724-9
A fairly quick post for your reading delight today as I bring the paper by Miller and colleagues  to your attention suggesting that: "Early intervention targeting language and motor skills may improve later achievement in this population."'This population' referred to a small cohort (N=26) of children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who were examined "at the approximate ages of two, four, and ten" years with regards to their academic achievement and the variables that might b........ Read more »
Miller LE, Burke JD, Troyb E, Knoch K, Herlihy LE, & Fein DA. (2016) Preschool predictors of school-age academic achievement in autism spectrum disorder. The Clinical neuropsychologist, 1-22. PMID: 27705180
Pathogen epitopes are fragments of bacterial or viral proteins. Attached to the surface structure of cells, they prompt the body's immune system to mount a response against foreign substances. Researchers have determined that nearly a third of all existing human epitopes consist of two different fragments. Known as 'spliced epitopes', these types of epitopes have long been regarded as rare. The fact that they are so highly prevalent might, among other things, explain why the immun........ Read more »
Liepe, J., Marino, F., Sidney, J., Jeko, A., Bunting, D., Sette, A., Kloetzel, P., Stumpf, M., Heck, A., & Mishto, M. (2016) A large fraction of HLA class I ligands are proteasome-generated spliced peptides. Science, 354(6310), 354-358. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf4384
I'm actually getting a little bored of talking about the various peer-reviewed research looking at a possible connection between asthma and autism on this blog. It's not that it isn't an interesting topic but rather that the data is coming in thick and fast suggesting that behaviour and physiology are not completely separate anymore.I did however want to direct you to the paper by Alessandro Tonacci and colleagues  who, following a systematic review "according to the PRISMA guidelines" s........ Read more »
Tonacci A, Billeci L, Ruta L, Tartarisco G, Pioggia G, & Gangemi S. (2016) A systematic review of the association between allergic asthma and autism. Minerva pediatrica. PMID: 27706122
There are three kinds of glial cells in the brain, oligodendrocyte, astrocyte and microglia. Oligodendrocytes myelinate neuronal axons to increase conduction velocity of neuronal impulses. A Japanese research team found a characteristic feature of oligodendrocytes that selectively myelinate a particular set of neuronal axons.
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Osanai, Y., Shimizu, T., Mori, T., Yoshimura, Y., Hatanaka, N., Nambu, A., Kimori, Y., Koyama, S., Kobayashi, K., & Ikenaka, K. (2016) Rabies virus-mediated oligodendrocyte labeling reveals a single oligodendrocyte myelinates axons from distinct brain regions. Glia. DOI: 10.1002/glia.23076
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