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  • August 3, 2016
  • 03:57 AM

Omega-3 fatty acids, gut bacteria and mouse behaviour

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I read with great interest the paper by Ruairi Robertson and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) recently, talking about how "neurobehavioural changes induced by altering n-3 PUFA [omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids] status are closely associated with comprehensive alterations in gut microbiota composition, HPA-axis activity and inflammation" in mice.Coming out of the 'bacterial research powerhouse' that is University College Cork, such research potentially unites some im........ Read more »

  • August 2, 2016
  • 02:03 PM

Cardiac complications from energy drinks?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The high levels of caffeine in energy drinks may lead to cardiac complications. A new case report adds to previous reports of adverse cardiovascular events related to consuming energy drinks, including abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias).

... Read more »

Sattari M, Sattari A, & Kazory A. (2016) Energy Drink Consumption and Cardiac Complications: A Case for Caution. Journal of addiction medicine, 10(4), 280-2. PMID: 27471919  

  • August 2, 2016
  • 11:24 AM

Measuring Contemptuousness: The  Dispositional Contempt Scale 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

You know contempt when you see it (usually) and you know contempt when you feel it (almost always). But what does contempt look like according to researchers? They call it “an emotional reaction when a person or a group violates one’s standards and one looks down on them with the tendency to distance and/or derogate […]

Related posts:
The Islamophobia Scale: Measuring our fear of Muslims
Measuring beliefs in the paranormal: The Australian Sheep Goat Scale
The Disgust Scale: How have........ Read more »

Schriber, R., Chung, J., Sorensen, K., & Robins, R. (2016) Dispositional Contempt: A First Look at the Contemptuous Person. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1037/pspp0000101  

  • August 2, 2016
  • 11:23 AM

“Typical-looking faces” are seen as more trustworthy 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Typical looking faces are not the most attractive in the view of others but they are the most trustworthy. This reminds us of the post we wrote a while back about how to appear intelligent, trustworthy and attractive when you need corrective lenses (i.e., wear rimless glasses). In this case, (published in the journal Psychological […]

Related posts:
When you wear glasses you are less attractive but more smart and trustworthy
How leaders look: Competent and trustworthy, but not dominant
........ Read more »

  • August 1, 2016
  • 10:43 PM

Autism, urinary porphyrins and mercury

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I appreciate that the title of this post is probably going to result in an immediate 'click away' for some folk but for those who've endured it I'd like to talk briefly about the findings reported by Eman Khaled and colleagues [1]. Namely the observation that: "ASD [autism spectrum disorder] children in the present study had increased blood Hg [mercury] and Pb [lead] levels compared with healthy control children indicating that disordered porphyrin metabolism might ........ Read more »

  • August 1, 2016
  • 03:53 PM

Some Surprising Authors of Psychology Papers

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

In a fascinating new paper, Scott O. Lilienfeld and Steven Jay Lynn discuss 78 Surprising Authors of Psychological Publications. The paper is a list of celebrities and other notable figures who, at one time or another, have published an academic paper in psychology.

Did you know that Lisa Kudrow, aka Phoebe from Friends, was co-author on a 1994 paper about 'Handedness and Headache' published in the journal Cephalalgia? Well, thanks to Lilienfeld and Lynn, now you do. Other actors who have a... Read more »

Lilienfeld SO, & Lynn SJ. (2016) You'll Never Guess Who Wrote That: 78 Surprising Authors of Psychological Publications. Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, 11(4), 419-41. PMID: 27474131  

  • August 1, 2016
  • 04:10 AM

Physical activity in children and youth: themes and consensus

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

'Physical activity boosts kids' brain power and academic prowess' went the press release accompanying the consensus statement published by Jens Bangsbo and colleagues [1] (open-access).The consensus statement brought together researchers from around the world "and from a variety of academic disciplines" to emphasise how undertaking all-manner of different kinds of exercise "are still a good investment in academic achievement" when it comes to children aged between 6-18 years of age.The stat........ Read more »

Bangsbo J, Krustrup P, Duda J, Hillman C, Andersen LB, Weiss M, Williams CA, Lintunen T, Green K, Hansen PR.... (2016) The Copenhagen Consensus Conference 2016: children, youth, and physical activity in schools and during leisure time. British journal of sports medicine. PMID: 27354718  

  • July 31, 2016
  • 06:39 AM

The End of Ego-Depletion Theory?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

It's not been a good month for the theory of ego-depletion - the idea that self-control is a limited resource that can be depleted by overuse. Two weeks ago, researchers reported evidence of bias in the published literature examinig the question of whether glucose can reverse ego-depletion.

Now, the very existence of the ego-depletion phenomenon has been questioned by an international collaboration of psychologists who conducted a preregistered replication attempt (RRR). The results have just... Read more »

Hagger, M., & Chatzisarantis, N. (2016) A Multilab Preregistered Replication of the Ego-Depletion Effect. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11(4), 546-573. DOI: 10.1177/1745691616652873  

  • July 30, 2016
  • 07:30 PM

Problem Solving, Instruction: Chicken, Egg

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

When research has more fairly compared PS-I with I-PS, it has concluded that, in general, the sequence doesn't matter all that much, though there are some positive trends on conceptual and transfer assessments for PS-I.... Read more »

  • July 30, 2016
  • 03:58 PM

Fish oil vs. lard -- why some fat can help or hinder your diet

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A diet high in saturated fat can make your brain struggle to control what you eat. If people are looking to lose weight, stay clear of saturated fat. Consuming these types of fatty food affects a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which helps regulate hunger.

... Read more »

Viggiano, E., Mollica, M., Lionetti, L., Cavaliere, G., Trinchese, G., De Filippo, C., Chieffi, S., Gaita, M., Barletta, A., De Luca, B.... (2016) Effects of an High-Fat Diet Enriched in Lard or in Fish Oil on the Hypothalamic Amp-Activated Protein Kinase and Inflammatory Mediators. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience. DOI: 10.3389/fncel.2016.00150  

  • July 30, 2016
  • 03:32 AM

More scientific flesh on the bones of non-coeliac gluten/wheat sensitivity

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was really, really pleased to read the paper by Melanie Uhde and colleagues [1] (open-access) I don't mind telling you. Covering a topic close to my blogging and research heart - sensitivity to wheat or gluten but not coeliac disease - the authors provide some much needed scientific clarification when it comes to how gluten or wheat might impact on some of those "who reported symptoms in response to wheat intake and in whom coeliac disease and wheat allergy were ruled out." Some media int........ Read more »

  • July 29, 2016
  • 04:20 AM

Pregnancy multivitamins 'are a waste of money' (except when they're not)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Science headlines eh? Who would trust them and their sometimes inflated press releases?I start today with a science headline taken from the BBC website reading: "Pregnancy multivitamins 'are a waste of money'" based on the findings of a review article [1] published in the journal Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin.In it we are told that complex multi-vitamin and mineral supplements are 'unlikely to be needed and are an unnecessary expense' during the nine months that made us. Further that certain vi........ Read more »

Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin. (2016) Vitamin supplementation in pregnancy. Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin. DOI: 10.1136/dtb.2016.7.0414  

  • July 28, 2016
  • 03:23 PM

Why do antidepressants take so long to work?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Medication roulette, if you have ever had to deal with depression or other types of mental illness you know what I'm talking about. You take a pill that could help or could cause all sorts of horrid side effects. You cross your fingers as you take that first pill and in the 4-6 weeks it takes to start working you cross your fingers, hope, wish and probably even dread the outcome. But why does it take so long for antidepressants to start working in the first place and what could be done to c........ Read more »

  • July 28, 2016
  • 03:49 AM

Autism in adults in the UK continued

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Traolach Brugha and colleagues [1] makes for some blogging fodder today and the suggestion that: "The combined prevalence of autism in adults of all ages in England was 11/1000."Just before going through the Brugha paper it is perhaps appropriate to put it into some context based on other work from this group previously covered on this blog (see here) and the findings again by Brugha and colleagues [2] (a further report on their findings that time around can be seen h........ Read more »

Brugha TS, Spiers N, Bankart J, Cooper SA, McManus S, Scott FJ, Smith J, & Tyrer F. (2016) Epidemiology of autism in adults across age groups and ability levels. The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science. PMID: 27388569  

  • July 27, 2016
  • 03:39 PM

Common brain changes found in children with autism, ADHD and OCD

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A team of Toronto scientists has found similarities in brain impairments in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). The study involved brain imaging of white matter in 200 children with autism, ADHD, OCD or no diagnosis.

... Read more »

  • July 27, 2016
  • 02:38 PM

Deer Line Up North-South, Whether Relaxing or Running

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

If you're ever lost in a remote European forest, you might be able to get your bearings by finding a herd of roe deer. These animals like to align themselves roughly north-south, whether they're standing still or fleeing danger.

Roe deer are small, reddish or grayish grazers common in Europe and Asia. Petr Obleser, of the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, and his coauthors studied the behavior of these skittish herbivores to look for evidence that they can sense the earth's ma........ Read more »

Obleser, P., Hart, V., Malkemper, E., Begall, S., Holá, M., Painter, M., Červený, J., & Burda, H. (2016) Compass-controlled escape behavior in roe deer. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 70(8), 1345-1355. DOI: 10.1007/s00265-016-2142-y  

  • July 27, 2016
  • 01:33 PM

Posttraumatic stress disorder a greater risk in rich countries

by Eva Alisic in Trauma Recovery

One would think that people with few friends and living in poverty are more at risk for PTSD than those with a strong support network and many resources. And that's true.

However, it is a different story when you look at the country-, rather than the individual level. Countries with more resources, such as the USA and the Netherlands, have higher levels of PTSD than countries with fewer resources (e.g. Colombia, South Africa).
... Read more »

  • July 27, 2016
  • 11:30 AM

Your Cat Would Like Food Puzzle Toys

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Food puzzles will help satisfy your cat’s hunting instinct, but most cats are missing out.A new paper on food puzzle toys for cats has plenty of ideas to get everyone started on these wonderful enrichment items. The research, led by Mikel Delgado (University of California, Berkeley; Feline Minds), combines a review of the scientific literature on food toys as feline enrichment with practical tips gained from the authors’ work as feline behaviour practitioners.Food puzzles are toys that make ........ Read more »

Dantas, L., Delgado, M., Johnson, I., & Buffington, C. (2016) Food puzzles for cats: feeding for physical and emotional wellbeing. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. DOI: 10.1177/1098612X16643753  

  • July 27, 2016
  • 03:44 AM

Blood glutamate levels in autism meta-analysed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The meta-analysis provided evidence for higher blood glutamate levels in ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."That was the research bottom-line reported by Zhen Zheng and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) who surveyed the current peer-reviewed science literature in this area and found something to see based on: "Twelve studies involving 880 participants and 446 incident cases."Drawing on the idea that glutamate is a rather important amino acid that plays a role in various biological p........ Read more »

  • July 26, 2016
  • 03:41 AM

Probiotics degrading gluten peptides - part 2

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I going to assume that readers have some background knowledge about probiotics, gut bacteria, bacterial dysbiosis and coeliac disease before reading this post. I'd love to be able to give detailed descriptions of each here but fear that this would turn a short post into a much longer one...So... in a previous post titled: 'Probiotics degrading gluten peptides?' I covered the potentially important suggestion that certain types of bacteria might have the ability to breakdown (degrade) immunog........ Read more »

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