By guest blogger Richard StephensA few years ago the New Yorker ran a social media campaign asking what word should be deleted from the English language. Nominations ranged from the political (Obama) to the superfluous (actually) and from the expression of hyperbole (awesome) to an outdated word for trousers (slacks). Intriguingly, the most popular suggestion – the so-called “runaway un-favourite” – might surprise a few people and especially those who enjoy baking. Psychologist Paul H. T........ Read more »
Thibodeau, P. (2016) A Moist Crevice for Word Aversion: In Semantics Not Sounds. PLOS ONE, 11(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153686
"Psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders cluster among siblings of probands with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."That was the research bottom line presented in the paper by Elina Jokiranta-Olkoniemi and colleagues  who extracted data from the Finnish Prenatal Study of Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders (FIPS-A). FIPS-A has been mentioned previously on this blog (see here) but this time around the aim was to look not at the various risk factors potentially associated........ Read more »
Jokiranta-Olkoniemi, E., Cheslack-Postava, K., Sucksdorff, D., Suominen, A., Gyllenberg, D., Chudal, R., Leivonen, S., Gissler, M., Brown, A., & Sourander, A. (2016) Risk of Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Among Siblings of Probands With Autism Spectrum Disorders. JAMA Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.0495
The Harvard-based Nurses' Health Study has been a remarkably productive longitudinal health study.My wife has been a subject in this study and frequently completes interval questionnaires regarding her health status.A recent publication looked at the relationship between religious service attendance and mortality in the Nurses's Health Study cohort.This manuscript tried to provide a more valid look at the relationship between religiosity/spirituality and health. Previous studies have found a lin........ Read more »
Li, S., Stampfer, M., Williams, D., & VanderWeele, T. (2016) Association of Religious Service Attendance With Mortality Among Women. JAMA Internal Medicine. DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.1615
How did socially imposed monogamy in humans arise from polygynous societies? Sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention may have played a role.... Read more »
Bauch, C., & McElreath, R. (2016) Disease dynamics and costly punishment can foster socially imposed monogamy. Nature Communications, 11219. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms11219
Our world is in crisis! Ten years ago, Time Magazine featured the headline: “Be Worried. Be Very Worried.” (about global warming). But things only got worse since. Leaked TTIP documents point to a race to the bottom in ecological standards between the EU and the U.S. New NASA figures show that April 2016 was the seventh […]... Read more »
"The likelihood of being diagnosed with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] was significantly increased among children of two immigrant parents... and children of an immigrant father."So said the findings published by Venla Lehti and colleagues  continuing a research theme from this authorship group (see here) on how immigration might, for various reasons, bring about an increased or decreased risk of certain behavioural and/or psychiatric outcomes. This time a........ Read more »
Lehti V, Chudal R, Suominen A, Gissler M, & Sourander A. (2016) Association between immigrant background and ADHD: a nationwide population-based case-control study. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines. PMID: 27133554
Last month, Robert Vander Velde discussed a striking similarity between the linear version of our model of two anti-correlated goods and the Haert et al. (2002) optional public good game. Robert didn’t get a chance to go into the detailed math behind the scenes, so I wanted to do that today. The derivations here will […]... 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
Researchers have uncovered a new molecular pathway for stimulating the body to burn fat -- a discovery that could help fight obesity and cardiovascular disease.By focusing on a protein known as folliculin, and knocking out the gene that produces it in fat cells, the researchers triggered a series of biomolecular signals that switched the cells from storing fat to burning it.
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Yan, M., Audet-Walsh., Manteghi, S., Rosa Dufour, C., Walker, B., Baba, M., St-Pierre, J., Giguère, V., & Pause, A. (2016) Chronic AMPK activation via loss of FLCN induces functional beige adipose tissue through PGC-1α/ERRα. Genes , 30(9), 1034-1046. DOI: 10.1101/gad.281410.116
In a recent paper in the Lancet Infectious Diseases, Pritt et al have identified a new genospecies of Borrelia which is attributed to have caused several cases of Lyme disease, marked by a high degree of spirochetemia. In their research article abstract, they state: Methods At the Mayo clinic, from 2003 to 2014, we tested […]... Read more »
Pritt BS, Mead PS, Johnson DK, Neitzel DF, Respicio-Kingry LB, Davis JP, Schiffman E, Sloan LM, Schriefer ME, Replogle AJ.... (2016) Identification of a novel pathogenic Borrelia species causing Lyme borreliosis with unusually high spirochaetaemia: a descriptive study. The Lancet. Infectious diseases. PMID: 26856777
A recent column in Nature by Daniel Sarewitz laments the ever increasing torrent of academic publications. Quantity goes up, but quality does not follow suit. There are more scientists than ever. And they publish more than ever. However, that doesn’t mean they publish more high quality research. This harks back to the work of Derek J. […]... Read more »
Kidwell MC, Lazarević LB, Baranski E, Hardwicke TE, Piechowski S, Falkenberg LS, Kennett C, Slowik A, Sonnleitner C, Hess-Holden C.... (2016) Badges to Acknowledge Open Practices: A Simple, Low-Cost, Effective Method for Increasing Transparency. PLoS biology, 14(5). PMID: 27171007
A group of individuals with chronic ankle instability have sensorimotor system deficits compared with a group of healthy controls and copers; however, the authors found no mechanical differences between any of the groups.... Read more »
Bowker S, Terada M, Thomas AC, Pietrosimone BG, Hiller CE, & Gribble PA. (2016) Neural Excitability and Joint Laxity in Chronic Ankle Instability, Coper, and Control Groups. Journal of athletic training. PMID: 27065189
Flying a plane is no trivial task, but adverse weather conditions are where things get seriously challenging. Tragically, a contributing factor to many fatal accidents is when the pilot has misjudged the appropriateness of the flying conditions. Now in a somewhat worrying paper in Applied Cognitive Psychology Stephen Walmsley and Andrew Gilbey of Massey University have shown that pilots’ judgment of weather conditions, and their decisions on how to respond to them, are coloured by three classi........ Read more »
Walmsley, S., & Gilbey, A. (2016) Cognitive Biases in Visual Pilots' Weather-Related Decision Making. Applied Cognitive Psychology. DOI: 10.1002/acp.3225
The paper by Xiyue Xiong and colleagues  (open-access available here) took my attention recently and some further evidence contributory to the idea that the trillions of wee beasties that call our gastrointestinal (GI) tract home - collectively known as the gut microbiome - might have some important links to at least 'some' autism.Describing the results of "a GC/MS based metabolomic approach" - GC-MS being gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and metabolomic(s) being the analysis o........ Read more »
Xiong X, Liu D, Wang Y, Zeng T, & Peng Y. (2016) Urinary 3-(3-Hydroxyphenyl)-3-hydroxypropionic Acid, 3-Hydroxyphenylacetic Acid, and 3-Hydroxyhippuric Acid Are Elevated in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. BioMed research international, 9485412. PMID: 27123458
It's rare for scientists to get what they describe as "clean" results without spending a lot of time repeating the same experiment over and over again. But when researchers saw the mice they were working with doubling their weight within a month or two, they knew they were on to something.
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Djogo, T., Robins, S., Schneider, S., Kryzskaya, D., Liu, X., Mingay, A., Gillon, C., Kim, J., Storch, K., Boehm, U.... (2016) Adult NG2-Glia Are Required for Median Eminence-Mediated Leptin Sensing and Body Weight Control. Cell Metabolism, 23(5), 797-810. DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2016.04.013
Getting warm has a dramatic antidepressant effect, according to a new report published in the prestigious journal JAMA Psychiatry. But is it hot science or a hot mess?
The researchers, led by Clemens Janssen of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studied 29 people with depression who were not receiving any other treatments. Half were randomized to receive whole-body hyperthermia (WBH), using a setup which raised their core body temperature to 38.5 degrees (37 degrees is normal).
The o... Read more »
Janssen CW, Lowry CA, Mehl MR, Allen JJ, Kelly KL, Gartner DE, Medrano A, Begay TK, Rentscher K, White JJ.... (2016) Whole-Body Hyperthermia for the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA psychiatry. PMID: 27172277
As a follow up to my previous post, I would like to say something about several mouse studies from Stephen Barthold's group. These papers are often cited by those who believe that retreatment is needed in patients who continue to experience symptoms following treatment of Lyme disease with conventional antibiotic regimens. The assumption is that post-treatment symptoms stem from spirochetes surviving the initial antibiotic therapy.In the 2008 and 2010 studies (described in detail her........ Read more »
Hodzic E, Imai D, Feng S, & Barthold SW. (2014) Resurgence of persisting non-cultivable Borrelia burgdorferi following antibiotic treatment in mice. PLOS One, 9(1). PMID: 24466286
T. gondii cyst in a mouse brain.
For a simple protozoan, Toxoplasma gondii has experienced something of a meteoric rise in popularity over the past several years. Actually, to be fair T. gondii has garnered quite a bit of interest since the 1930s, when it was discovered the parasite could be transmitted from a mother to a fetus in the womb, sometimes resulting in severe congenital disorders. Curiosity about T. gondii grew significantly in the early 2000s, ........ Read more »
No two bacteria are identical - even when they are genetically the same. A new study from researchers reveals the conditions under which bacteria become individualists and how they help their group grow when times get tough. Whether you are a human or a bacterium, your environment determines how you can develop.
... Read more »
Schreiber, F., Littmann, S., Lavik, G., Escrig, S., Meibom, A., Kuypers, M., & Ackermann, M. (2016) Phenotypic heterogeneity driven by nutrient limitation promotes growth in fluctuating environments. Nature Microbiology, 16055. DOI: 10.1038/nmicrobiol.2016.55
A remarkable case report describes the brain activity in a man at the moment that he underwent a revelatory experience.
According to the authors, Israeli researchers Arzy and Schurr, the man was 46 years old. He was Jewish, but he had never been especially religious. His supernatural experience occured in hospital where he was undergoing tests to help treat his right temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), a condition which he had suffered from for forty years. As part of the testing procedure, the pat... Read more »
Arzy S, & Schurr R. (2016) "God has sent me to you": Right temporal epilepsy, left prefrontal psychosis. Epilepsy , 7-10. PMID: 27176877
Continuing a research theme (see here), the paper by Jessica Green and colleagues  again focuses the spotlight on how the various childhood developmental diagnoses often enjoy mingling together when it comes to their real-life presentation; real ESSENCE in action. Such overlaps can and do present challenges to diagnosticians to unpick often complicated presentations (no, your 'Am I autistic?' screen is not really a good idea) and onwards the best way forward to manage symptoms ........ Read more »
Green JL, Sciberras E, Anderson V, Efron D, & Rinehart N. (2016) Association between autism symptoms and functioning in children with ADHD. Archives of disease in childhood. PMID: 27117836
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