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  • April 21, 2016
  • 02:23 AM
  • 256 views

The inter-pregnancy interval and risk of autism reviewed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Short IPIs [interpregnancy intervals] are associated with a significantly increased risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder]. Long IPIs also appear to increase the risk of ASD.So said the results of the systematic review undertaken by Agustín Conde-Agudelo and colleagues [1] into how birth spacing might impact on the risk of a child developing an ASD. Drawing on data from 7 studies that "reported an association between short IPIs and increased risk of ASD" including over 1.1 ........ Read more »

  • April 20, 2016
  • 11:30 AM
  • 109 views

Enrichment Tips for Cats (That Many People Miss)

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Cats have a moderately-enriched life, but people need more knowledge about their felines in order to do better, according to a new study.There are many ways we can improve our cats’ lives: toys that let the cat simulate stalking prey, social interaction with people, providing spaces high-up for cats to go. This is called environmental enrichment, and is especially important for indoor cats. A new study by Ana Margarida Alho et al (University of Lisbon) finds that although most cats do quite we........ Read more »

  • April 20, 2016
  • 10:24 AM
  • 251 views

We think scientists are more likely than others to engage in necrobestiality (and other "impure" activities)

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

For hundreds of years, scientists were just one fixture in the firmament of the intellectual class, as colourful and strident in their own way as the philosophers and poets. But come the 20th Century and the public began to regard scientists with fear and awe, thanks to the advent of immense technologies such as the atomic bomb. In response, the profession consciously rebranded as anonymous public servants in white coats: dutiful, considered and above all, safe. But new research published in PLO........ Read more »

  • April 20, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 96 views

Eureka! Epiphanies and aha! moments: Trust them  

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

When I was younger, I would have moments of clarity I referred to as epiphanies. I learned pretty quickly that if I did not somehow reinforce that epiphany in my mind, I would forget it—only to (sometimes) realize it again at some point in the future. So now, when I am working on a project […]

Related posts:
Never trust a man with a wide face
The Trust in Science and Scientists Inventory Scale 
Everyone knows you just can’t trust an atheist!


... Read more »

  • April 20, 2016
  • 02:30 AM
  • 248 views

Talking therapies impacting on the epigenetics of panic disorder?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The psychologist Oliver James has made some waves recently, coinciding with the publication of his new book, with the suggestion that nurture might be 'outdoing' nature when it comes to various concepts from intelligence to mental health. At times the recent 'debates' in this area have not been pretty as arguments about 'what the science actually says' with regards to [structural] genetics vs. environment have tended to get a little heated, and the word 'blame' being ban........ Read more »

Ziegler C, Richter J, Mahr M, Gajewska A, Schiele MA, Gehrmann A, Schmidt B, Lesch KP, Lang T, Helbig-Lang S.... (2016) MAOA gene hypomethylation in panic disorder-reversibility of an epigenetic risk pattern by psychotherapy. Translational psychiatry. PMID: 27045843  

  • April 19, 2016
  • 12:27 PM
  • 225 views

How well can we detect each other's loneliness?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Experts have likened loneliness to a disease that changes the brain. Sadly, these changes often affect people in ways that further isolates them – for example, lonely people are more sensitive to negative facial expressions. If we're to break this cycle and provide friendship to the lonely, a starting point is to recognise that a person is feeling isolated. A new study in Journal of Research in Personality tests whether and how well we can do this.Maike Luhmann and his colleagues ask........ Read more »

  • April 19, 2016
  • 02:13 AM
  • 241 views

Bumetanide for schizophrenia? A case report

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Bumetanide - a medicine known as a diuretic - has appeared before on this blog (see here for example) in relation to some preliminary suggestions that at least some types of autism might be sensitive to intervention using this particular compound [1]. The names Lemonnier (Eric) & Ben-Ari (Yehezkel) are a big part of the research group interested in bumetanide and its use outside of more traditional indications; particularly, the focus on its action on NKCC1 onwards to an effect on ........ Read more »

Lemonnier E, Lazartigues A, & Ben-Ari Y. (2016) Treating Schizophrenia With the Diuretic Bumetanide: A Case Report. Clinical neuropharmacology, 39(2), 115-117. PMID: 26966887  

  • April 18, 2016
  • 09:55 PM
  • 14 views

Wanna Lose Weight? Get Some Sleep!

by Jeremiah Stanghini in Jeremiah Stanghini

There was some research published within the last year that you might be particularly interested in, should you be in the middle of or about to go on a diet (or you’re interested in your health in general): This article provides an integrative review of … Continue reading →... Read more »

Lundahl A, & Nelson TD. (2015) Sleep and food intake: A multisystem review of mechanisms in children and adults. Journal of Health Psychology. info:/10.1177/1359105315573427

  • April 18, 2016
  • 03:32 PM
  • 244 views

Are Territory Disputes Between Male Butterflies Influenced by Motivation?

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

By Nick Gremban Male speckled wood butterflies will “perch” on leavesand ends of twigs to look out over their territory for females. However, they have been known to be quite aggressivewith any intruding males! Photo by Alvesgaspar atWikimedia Commons, modified by Nick Gremban.Think about any territorial animal. Now think about its aggressiveness while it is defending its territory. Was your animal a butterfly? No? You mean the colorful wings and the natural association with flowers d........ Read more »

Bergman, M., Olofsson, M., & Wiklund, C. (2010) Contest outcome in a territorial butterfly: the role of motivation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 277(1696), 3027-3033. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2010.0646  

  • April 18, 2016
  • 08:01 AM
  • 205 views

Looking for a Husband or a Wife? It’s Time to Learn About Altruism

by Jeremiah Stanghini in Jeremiah Stanghini

Human companionship. It’s something that we all crave. In fact, a quick look at Google’s autocomplete shows that two of the top three results for “how to get a” return “girlfriend” and “guy to like you.” It’s pretty clear that sharing our life with … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • April 18, 2016
  • 07:20 AM
  • 216 views

Good news! Planning naughty lapses can help you achieve your goals

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

It's OK: I planned this! There's a school of thought that says if you want to reach your goals, your commitment must be total. To save more money, you must never go on a splurge. To lose weight, you must never indulge. But this path is joyless and risky, say the authors of a new paper in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. If you follow the total approach, then one lapse and you fee like a failure, your motivation dips and before you know it, your goal is in tatters. Much better, they ........ Read more »

  • April 18, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 204 views

How you do not want jurors to look at you: The  universal “not face” 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney had a bad day at the Olympics in 2012 and the facial expression illustrating this post went viral. She was “not impressed” said the internet—and today’s researchers would say the internet was half right. What McKayla Maroney was really showing us, according to today’s research, was the universal “not face”. Researchers […]

Related posts:
“I can tell how she feels by looking at her face…”
You can tell a lot from looking at someone’........ Read more »

  • April 18, 2016
  • 02:23 AM
  • 208 views

'Autism genes' are not just 'genes for autism'

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Ya Wen and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) caught my attention recently with the suggestion that: "ASD [autism spectrum disorder]-associated genes may contribute not only to core features of ASD themselves but also to vulnerability to other chronic and systemic problems potentially including cancer, metabolic conditions and heart diseases." Further: "ASDs may thus arise, or emerge, from underlying vulnerabilities related to pleiotropic genes associated wit........ Read more »

  • April 16, 2016
  • 05:20 AM
  • 253 views

Long terms effects of communication by gesture and autism: a case report

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

As per previous entries on this blog, I'm not at all adverse to the idea that case reports (the so-called N=1) can offer some important insights into a heterogeneous (dare I say 'plural') condition like autism. Today, I'm once again heading down this route as I bring to your attention the letter from Webster and colleagues [1] talking about a 40 year follow-up note "About a Boy with Autism Taught to Communicate by Gestures when Aged Six."Harking back to a paper published by some of the authors i........ Read more »

  • April 15, 2016
  • 07:34 AM
  • 235 views

Are the police better than us at spotting thieves before they commit a crime?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Are professionals better than the rest of us at spotting wrong-doing? The historical evidence is gloomy: one study suggested job interviewers perform no better than novices at spotting cheaters. Several reviews have concluded that police officers and detectives have less than stellar abilities to catch lies in interrogations, with some research even suggesting chance levels of performance. However recent research has begun to rehabilitate expert abilities at interview lie detection. And now a st........ Read more »

  • April 15, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 168 views

Negotiating with a manipulative party? Try doing it in text and you  may fare better

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We’ve written a lot about those with what are called the “dark triad” of personality characteristics. Narcissists. Psychopaths. Machiavellians. These are not people we recommend doing business with—either personally or professionally. Their only interest is self-interest. So this is an interesting study as it shares a possible way to inoculate yourself against these untrustworthy folks […]

Related posts:
Negotiating salary: Ask for a precise number!
The Dirty Dozen Scale 
“I ........ Read more »

  • April 15, 2016
  • 05:01 AM
  • 241 views

The transgenerational effects of prenatal immune activation?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Ulrike Weber-Stadlbauer and colleagues [1] provides some food for thought today with the suggestion that the concept of prenatal immune activation might have consequences further than just to exposed offspring.For those not familiar with the concept of prenatal immune activation, it refers to the process(es) that occur following "exposure to infectious or inflammatory insults" during the nine months that made us. As you'll probably be aware, our nine months of watery 'captivity' is ........ Read more »

  • April 14, 2016
  • 03:45 PM
  • 253 views

#Breadgate and nutritional psychiatry

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The review paper by Paola Bressan & Peter Kramer [1] (open-access) titled: 'Bread and Other Edible Agents of Mental Disease' has been getting a few people a little hot under the collar recently. With it's own Twitter hashtag #breadgate it looks like the idea that certain foods might have something of a bearing on "human behaviour and mental health" has not been received particularly well. I might add that this not the first time that such ideas have been entertained (see here)........ Read more »

Bressan P, & Kramer P. (2016) Bread and Other Edible Agents of Mental Disease. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 130. PMID: 27065833  

  • April 14, 2016
  • 07:52 AM
  • 241 views

10 things I learned while working for the Dutch science funding council (NWO)

by Richard Kunert in Brain's Idea

  The way science is currently funded is very controversial. During the last 6 months I was on a break from my PhD and worked for the organisation funding science in the Netherlands (NWO). These are 10 insights I gained. 1) Belangenverstrengeling This is the first word I learned when arriving in The Hague. There is […]... Read more »

  • April 14, 2016
  • 02:51 AM
  • 240 views

Risk of type 2 diabetes in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Adolescents and young adults with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] were more likely to develop type 2 DM [type 2 diabetes mellitus] during the follow-up. In addition, those with ASD using atypical antipsychotics exhibited a high risk. Therefore, further research is necessary to investigate the common pathophysiology of ASD and type 2 DM."So said the findings reported by Mu-Hong Chen and colleagues [1] as, yet again, Taiwan and their very useful National Health Insurance R........ Read more »

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