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  • September 23, 2016
  • 02:42 AM
  • 340 views

Epilepsy and systemic autoimmune diseases: birds of a feather?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A couple of years back on this blog I talked about some rather intriguing research suggesting that epilepsy and autoimmune disease might not be unstrange diagnostic bedfellows (see here) and that a "potential role of autoimmunity must be given due consideration in epilepsy." [1]Today, I'm continuing that research theme as the findings from Zhang Lin and colleagues [2] caught my eye concluding that: "There is an association between epilepsy and SAD [systemic autoimmune diseases], which ........ Read more »

  • September 22, 2016
  • 03:14 AM
  • 338 views

"Paediatricians are seeing more children with developmental-behavioural conditions"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The findings reported by Harriet Hiscock and colleagues [1] are brought to the blogging table today, specifically that suggestion that paediatricians, at least in Australia, might be encountering an increased number of "developmental/behavioural conditions" as part of their workload.Looking at the clinical experiences of some 180 paediatricians who took part in the study in late 2013 and comparing them with data from 2008, researchers probed a number of practices relating to "(i) conditions seen........ Read more »

  • September 21, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 379 views

Interracial marriage is more accepted in 2016, except for those who find it “icky”

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We’ve written about American attitudes toward interracial marriage a fair amount here and (at least once) questioned poll results suggesting dramatic improvement in attitudes toward  interracial marriage among Americans (an 87% approval rating?!). While interracial relationships may be more acceptable to many more Americans, there is also the recent report of an attack on an […]

Related posts:

So we cannot talk about race but we overwhelmingly approve interracial marriage?

S........ Read more »

  • September 21, 2016
  • 02:41 AM
  • 322 views

Respite care and parent stress with autism in mind

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"While most studies found that respite care was associated with lower stress, several found that respite care was associated with higher stress."That sentence is perhaps the most important finding recorded in the 'integrative review' published by Kim Whitmore [1] looking at "the relationship between respite care and stress among caregivers of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."Covering a "final sample of 11 primary research reports" the author provides yet another example of how ........ Read more »

  • September 20, 2016
  • 03:11 AM
  • 371 views

First trimester maternal vitamin D status and offspring autism risk?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Vitamin D - the sunshine vitamin/hormone - is seemingly everywhere these days in research terms. At the time of writing this post we have news that vitamin D might cut the risk of severe asthma attacks if taken alongside prescribed asthma medication. The week before that it was the suggestion that vitamin D might be part of the explanation as to why childhood learning difficulties were more commonly found in children conceived during the winter months. Vitamin D is seemingly shouldering quite a ........ Read more »

  • September 19, 2016
  • 03:30 PM
  • 361 views

Harnesses are a Great Choice to Walk Your Dog

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A new study compares a harness to a neck collar and finds both are good for canine welfare.Milo. Photo: Sabrina MignaccaHarnesses are often said to be better for your dog than walking on a collar, but no one had investigated it. Now, a team of scientists at Hartpury College (Grainger, Wills & Montrose 2016) has published a study of the effects of walking a dog on a harness and on a neck collar.The same dogs were walked on a neck collar and on a harness on separate occasions, and their behavi........ Read more »

  • September 19, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 339 views

This and that: Heat, attraction, smoking pot,  smartphones, tattoos and stature

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

It’s time again for a combination post of things that didn’t make the cut for a full post but that we thought interesting (or odd) enough to want to share with you. We hope you enjoy this latest collection of factoids that will make you memorable when (and if) you re-share them. Hot, hot, hot: […]

Related posts:
Tattoos as a restorative act (for college-aged women anyway) 
Can you assess juror morality by counting tattoos?
“Glasses can’t hide neck tattoos”


... Read more »

Noelke, C., McGovern, M., Corsi, D., Jimenez, M., Stern, A., Wing, I., & Berkman, L. (2016) Increasing ambient temperature reduces emotional well-being. Environmental Research, 124-129. DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2016.06.045  

  • September 19, 2016
  • 02:59 AM
  • 355 views

Constipation in schizophrenia

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Constipation and dyspepsia are disturbing gastrointestinal symptoms that are often ignored in research on physical comorbidities of schizophrenia."Go on."The prevalence of constipation was 31.3%, and of dyspepsia 23.6%."So said the findings reported by Tomi Virtanen and colleagues [1] who assessed "dyspepsia and constipation in a sample of outpatients with schizophrenia spectrum psychoses." Alongside the general practitioner assessment of such functional bowel complaints, researchers also ........ Read more »

  • September 17, 2016
  • 08:27 AM
  • 363 views

Comorbidities surrounding paediatric chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS / ME)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This large nationwide registry linkage study confirms that the clinical picture in CFS/ME [chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis] is complex."That sentence, taken from the paper by Inger Bakken and colleagues [1] (open-access available here), is perhaps the under-statement of the year as authors sought to "describe comorbidities diagnosed in primary care in children diagnosed with CFS/ME in specialist health care" and "describe the timing of the diagnoses from prim........ Read more »

  • September 16, 2016
  • 09:45 PM
  • 462 views

Contiguity Effective for Deductive Inference

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

Even if the benefits of retrieval practice were limited to improvements in recall (as prior research has demonstrated), such improvements do not stand in the way of improvements to higher-order reasoning, such as inference-making. (And shaping the path for students, such as improving informational contiguity can have a positive effect too.)... Read more »

  • September 16, 2016
  • 04:24 AM
  • 394 views

Anxiety disorders and mortality risk: implications for autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Anxiety disorders significantly increased mortality risk. Comorbidity of anxiety disorders and depression played an important part in the increased mortality."So said the findings reported by Sandra Meier and colleagues [1] looking to assess any relationship between the presence of an anxiety disorder and mortality risk. Based on data from one of those oh-so-useful Scandinavian population registries (Denmark this time), researchers reported that: "The risk of death by natural and unnatural........ Read more »

Meier SM, Mattheisen M, Mors O, Mortensen PB, Laursen TM, & Penninx BW. (2016) Increased mortality among people with anxiety disorders: total population study. The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science. PMID: 27388572  

  • September 15, 2016
  • 02:22 PM
  • 364 views

MRI scanner sees emotions flickering across an idle mind

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

As you relax and let your mind drift aimlessly, you might remember a pleasant vacation, an angry confrontation in traffic or maybe the loss of a loved one. And now a team of researchers say they can see those various emotional states flickering across the human brain.

... Read more »

  • September 15, 2016
  • 04:25 AM
  • 377 views

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)-predominant fatty acid supplements and the treatment of depression

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Further RCTs [randomised-controlled trials] should be conducted on study populations with diagnosed or clinically significant depression of adequate duration using EPA [eicosapentaenoic acid] -predominant omega-3 HUFA [highly unsaturated fatty acids] formulations."So went the conclusions of the review article published by Brian Hallahan and colleagues [1] who searched the peer-reviewed science literature for clinical trials "evaluating efficacy of omega-3 high........ Read more »

Hallahan B, Ryan T, Hibbeln JR, Murray IT, Glynn S, Ramsden CE, SanGiovanni JP, & Davis JM. (2016) Efficacy of omega-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids in the treatment of depression. The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science. PMID: 27103682  

  • September 14, 2016
  • 10:30 AM
  • 335 views

Are rabbits lagging behind in basic pet care practices?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A recent study highlights pet rabbit management practices. Although some owners take extra steps to protect their rabbit, many do not.Guest post by James Oxley (Independent Researcher, UK; Twitter) and Clare Ellis (Moulton College, UK; Twitter; Web).Rabbits sometimes get labelled as an easy pet to keep, and some owners may not consider that common pet care practices used for dogs and cats may also be beneficial for rabbits. In fact, a recent study by Oxley et al. has highlighted h........ Read more »

Oxley, J., Previti, A., Alibrandi, A., Briefer, E., & Passantino, A. (2015) A Preliminary internet survey of pet rabbit owners’ characteristics. World Rabbit Science, 23(4), 289. DOI: 10.4995/wrs.2015.3771  

  • September 14, 2016
  • 04:26 AM
  • 347 views

Unexpected improvement in core autism symptoms following a probiotic?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Enzo Grossi and colleagues [1] (open-access) is definitely worthy of a post today and the suggestion that the "appropriate use of probiotics" might be something to consider for at least some diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum.Accepting that I'm slightly curious as to what would be considered 'inappropriate use of probiotics', the Grossi paper describes the clinical journey of a boy aged 12 diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) accompanied by learning (intellectual)........ Read more »

  • September 13, 2016
  • 03:48 PM
  • 385 views

Entitlement -- a damning recipe for happiness

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Entitlement--a personality trait driven by exaggerated feelings of deservingness and superiority--may lead to chronic disappointment, unmet expectations and a habitual, self-reinforcing cycle of behavior with dire psychological and social costs, according to new research. In a new theoretical model, researchers have mapped how entitled personality traits may lead to a perpetual loop of distress.

... Read more »

  • September 13, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 401 views

Impaneling a jury? Remember this (and that) during voir dire! 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Here’s a round-up of articles that could be “all about voir dire” or simply interesting things to ponder as you go about your daily tasks. You may not think of Lemony Snicket as an expert on voir dire but he may have a point with the quote illustrating this post when it comes to voir […]

Related posts:
Should political orientation matter in voir dire?
Voir Dire Fundamentals: Look for trouble, not for friends
Voir Dire Strategy: Who’s the authoritarian?


... Read more »

  • September 13, 2016
  • 04:27 AM
  • 345 views

A 'characteristic chemical signature' to chronic fatigue syndrome?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Today I'm (belatedly) talking about the paper by Robert Naviaux and colleagues [1] (open-access) and some further peer-reviewed discussion concerning the metabolomics of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Suggesting that "targeted, broad-spectrum metabolomics of plasma not only revealed a characteristic chemical signature but also revealed an unexpected underlying biology" when it comes to CFS, it is not surprising that this work has attracted some media interest (indeed, quite a lot of m........ Read more »

Naviaux RK, Naviaux JC, Li K, Bright AT, Alaynick WA, Wang L, Baxter A, Nathan N, Anderson W, & Gordon E. (2016) Metabolic features of chronic fatigue syndrome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 27573827  

  • September 12, 2016
  • 02:19 PM
  • 334 views

Learning to turn down your amygdala can modify your emotions

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Training the brain to treat itself is a promising therapy for traumatic stress. The training uses an auditory or visual signal that corresponds to the activity of a particular brain region, called neurofeedback, which can guide people to regulate their own brain activity. However, treating stress-related disorders requires accessing the brain's emotional hub, the amygdala, which is located deep in the brain and difficult to reach with typical neurofeedback methods.

... Read more »

  • September 12, 2016
  • 04:31 AM
  • 321 views

The force is strong with autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Tablet and phone games could help diagnose autism, study suggests" went the BBC headline covering the paper by Anna Anzulewicz and colleagues [1] (open-access). The idea being that the way that touch screens are used on tablet and smart phones could potentially 'separate out' those with autism from those with not-autism.Based on a small participant number of "37 children 3–6 years old with autism and 45 age- and gender-matched children developing typically" researchers set about examinin........ Read more »

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