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  • April 14, 2014
  • 03:58 AM
  • 66 views

Neurology of inflammatory bowel diseases

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Ben-Or and colleagues [1] talking about a neurologic profile present in a small participant cohort of children and adolescents diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) caught my eye recently. Their findings reporting that over two-thirds of their paediatric participant group diagnosed with IBD also "exhibited neurologic manifestations" provides some compelling preliminary evidence for further investigation in this area.Outside of reports of headache and dizziness, the pres........ Read more »

  • April 12, 2014
  • 11:54 PM
  • 74 views

Early brain development and heat shock proteins

by in Neuroscientifically Challenged

The brain development of a fetus is really an amazing thing. The first sign of an incipient nervous system emerges during the third week of development; it is simply a thickened layer of tissue called the neural plate. After about 5 more days, the neural plate has formed an indentation called the neural groove, and the sides of the neural groove have curled up and begun to fuse together (see pic to the right). This will form the neural tube, which will eventually become the brain and spinal cord........ Read more »

  • April 11, 2014
  • 06:25 PM
  • 78 views

Dad's obesity and risk of offspring autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

In this post I'm talking about the paper by Pål Surén and colleagues [1] and their suggestion that "paternal obesity is an independent risk factor for ASDs [autism spectrum disorders] in children". I do so not with the intent of stigmatising parents and specifically parents with weight issues, which tend to be present for many more reasons than just food and exercise (see here), but merely to highlight how parental physical health may show some relationship to offspring cog........ Read more »

Suren, P., Gunnes, N., Roth, C., Bresnahan, M., Hornig, M., Hirtz, D., Lie, K., Lipkin, W., Magnus, P., Reichborn-Kjennerud, T.... (2014) Parental Obesity and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder. PEDIATRICS. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2013-3664  

  • April 11, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 67 views

Smiling and credibility: Is it different for male and female witnesses at trial?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Women smile more than men. Men are typically seen as more credible than women. So these researchers decided to see if there was a relationship between smiling and assessments of credibility on actual witnesses in the courtroom.  The researchers used the Witness Credibility Scale to assess actual witnesses overall credibility. They thought that if smiling […]

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  • April 11, 2014
  • 03:48 AM
  • 135 views

Brain Scans: Don’t Throw Out The Baby With The Dead Salmon

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Is neuro-skepticism in danger of going too far? Is it time to take a critical look at critiques of neuroscience? Martha Farah of the University of Pennsylvania says yes, in a Hastings Center Report just published: Brain Images, Babies, and Bathwater: Critiquing Critiques of Functional Neuroimaging Farah covers a broad spectrum of criticisms, ranging from […]The post Brain Scans: Don’t Throw Out The Baby With The Dead Salmon appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • April 10, 2014
  • 03:56 AM
  • 90 views

Gluten exposure and "feelings of depression"?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Could exposure to dietary gluten affect a person's moods or emotional state?Well, if the paper by Simone Peters and colleagues [1] (open-access here) is to be believed the answer may very well be yes, at least in some cases, as they report a link between gluten consumption and feelings of depression under [short-term] experimental conditions. If replicated, such a finding may have profound consequences for how we view our relationship between food and mental health and wellbeing.Bread Ma'am?&nbs........ Read more »

  • April 10, 2014
  • 12:29 AM
  • 96 views

Atheists and Their Capacity for Awe at Life

by Scott McGreal in Eye on Psych

Many people think of awe as a particularly religious emotion and therefore seem to assume that people with no religious beliefs at all, e.g. atheists are closed to the experience of awe. This assumption is quite false and reflects a wider prejudice against atheists. Research has shown that people who reject supernatural beliefs actually are capable of experiencing a sense of awe. In fact, the experience of awe may be particularly beneficial for those who do not believe in an afterlife.... Read more »

  • April 9, 2014
  • 08:45 PM
  • 93 views

Why do I procrastinate? I'll figure it out later

by in Neuroscientifically Challenged

If you are a chronic procrastinator, you're not alone. Habitual procrastination plagues around 15-20% of adults and 50% of college students. And, depending on the nature of the responsibilities one is neglecting, procrastination can have consequences. In a chronic procrastinator, repeated failure to efficiently complete important tasks can lead to lower feelings of self-worth. In certain contexts, it can also result in very tangible penalties. For example, a survey in 2002 found that 29% of Amer........ Read more »

  • April 9, 2014
  • 11:18 AM
  • 64 views

Telomere length: a new measure of chronic stress in wildlife? | @GrrlScientist

by GrrlScientist in GrrlScientist

Telomeres, the DNA-protein caps that prevent chromosomal fraying, are positively affected by social stress, according to two independent studies that were just published within days of each other. One study -- which has received widespread media coverage -- found a positive relationship between social environment and telomere length in children, adding support to previous work in people. A second study -- which few have heard about -- found that accelerated telomere erosion is associated with so........ Read more »

Shalev Idan, Entringer Sonja, Wadhwa Pathik D., Wolkowitz Owen M., Puterman Eli, Lin Jue, & Epel Elissa S. (2013) Stress and telomere biology: A lifespan perspective. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 38(9), 1835-1842. DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2013.03.010  

  • April 9, 2014
  • 10:36 AM
  • 62 views

Did You Hear That? Specific Brain Activity Linked With Imagined Hearing

by amikulak in Daily Observations

Being able to distinguish what is real and what is not may seem pretty basic, but the inability to perform this task could be a marker of many psychiatric disorders. […]... Read more »

Sugimori, E., Mitchell, K., Raye, C., Greene, E., & Johnson, M. (2014) Brain Mechanisms Underlying Reality Monitoring for Heard and Imagined Words. Psychological Science, 25(2), 403-413. DOI: 10.1177/0956797613505776  

  • April 9, 2014
  • 08:30 AM
  • 63 views

How Clever Do You Think Your Dog Is?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Maybe as smart as a four year old child?Photo: DragoNika / ShutterstockCanine researchers have been investigating dogs’ cognitive abilities: whether they can solve puzzles, recognize our emotions, and so on. But are ordinary people aware of these findings, and do they have a realistic view of dogs? A paper by Tiffani Howell (Monash University) et al investigates owner’s beliefs about their dog’s intelligence.The research, published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, involved a web surv........ Read more »

Howell, T., Toukhsati, S., Conduit, R., & Bennett, P. (2013) The Perceptions of Dog Intelligence and Cognitive Skills (PoDIaCS) Survey. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 8(6), 418-424. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2013.05.005  

  • April 9, 2014
  • 07:51 AM
  • 58 views

Do As I Do: Copy Cat Social Imitation in Dog Training

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Join us for another guest post, this time from Claudia Fugazza of the Family Dog Project in Budapest. Claudia's here to discuss her recent publication in Applied Animal Behaviour Science on the efficiency of new methods in dog training.Hi Mia and Julie,Formal training methods used until now rely mainly on the well-known rules of individual associative learning. These methods work perfectly well for a very wide range of animals — pigeons, rats, dogs and even crabs — and human and non-human an........ Read more »

  • April 9, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 60 views

Too trusting? You are likely also cursed with intelligence and good judgment!

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We often associate people who are especially trusting with gullibility, low self-esteem, and lower intellectual function. However, we seem to have it backwards according to new research (which successfully replicates the results of studies from 2010 and 2012).  Intelligent people are more likely to trust others while those lower in intelligence are less likely to […]

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  • April 8, 2014
  • 11:05 AM
  • 79 views

Information theory of behavior

by neuroecology in Neuroecology

Biology can tell us what but theory tells us why. There is a new issue of Current Opinion in Neurobiology that focuses on the theory and computation in neuroscience. There’s tons of great stuff there, from learning and memory to the meaning of a spike to the structure of circuitry. I have an article in this issue and […]... Read more »

Sharpee, T., Calhoun, A., & Chalasani, S. (2014) Information theory of adaptation in neurons, behavior, and mood. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 47-53. DOI: 10.1016/j.conb.2013.11.007  

  • April 8, 2014
  • 03:35 AM
  • 95 views

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and various factors

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Kate Lievesley and colleagues [1] documenting various "predisposing, precipitating and perpetuating factors in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in children and adolescents" caught my eye recently. Based on a review of the research literature around the topic of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) [in childhood], the authors set about detailing some of the important factors linked to the condition and in doing so, highlighted how physiology and psychology might combine when it........ Read more »

  • April 7, 2014
  • 08:33 PM
  • 107 views

Is ketamine really a plausible treatment for depression?

by in Neuroscientifically Challenged

Last week, a publication in the Journal of Psychopharmacology made international news by reporting that patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) showed improvement after being given the dissociative hallucinogenic drug ketamine. Ketamine, which is traditionally used as an anesthetic in humans and other animals, is probably better known for its use as a party drug (in this context it is often called "special K"). However, a growing body of evidence has begun to suggest that ketamine may........ Read more »

  • April 7, 2014
  • 04:12 PM
  • 105 views

Did I Do That? Distinguishing Real from Imagined Actions

by Rebecca Schwarzlose in Garden of the Mind

If you’re like most people, you spend a great deal of your time remembering past events and planning or imagining events that may happen in the future. While these activities have their uses, they also make it terribly hard to keep track of what you have and haven’t actually seen, heard, or done. Distinguishing between memories of real experiences and memories of imagined or dreamt experiences is called reality monitoring and it’s something we do (or struggle to do) all of the ........ Read more »

Brandt, V., Bergström, Z., Buda, M., Henson, R., & Simons, J. (2014) Did I turn off the gas? Reality monitoring of everyday actions. Cognitive, Affective, , 14(1), 209-219. DOI: 10.3758/s13415-013-0189-z  

  • April 7, 2014
  • 09:00 AM
  • 44 views

Keeping past and future at a distance

by Katharine Blackwell in Contemplating Cognition

If I wanted to guess whether my students were more preoccupied with the present or the past, embodied cognition – the notion that the way we think is determined by the way our bodies work, and the scourge of artificial intelligence theorists everywhere – says I should place my money on the future.... Read more »

Caruso EM, Van Boven L, Chin M, & Ward A. (2013) The temporal Doppler effect: when the future feels closer than the past. Psychological Science, 24(4), 530-536. PMID: 23474832  

  • April 7, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 72 views

Just because I think they’re out to get me doesn’t mean they aren’t

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Not long ago we blogged about the reality that half of Americans believe in at least one public health conspiracy. The same researchers have now looked into other conspiracy theories and found similar trends: half of Americans believe at least one conspiracy theory. So. Let’s take a look at what the researchers say about the sort […]

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  • April 6, 2014
  • 12:41 PM
  • 96 views

Look! A Morsel of Good Vaccination News

by Eric Horowitz in peer-reviewed by my neurons

It’s been a bad few weeks for vaccination. Whooping cough continues to make a comeback; it was revealed that some New York City schools have third-world vaccination rates; and a study led by Brendan Nyhan found that four different interventions were unable to shift vaccination intentions. So it may come as a surprise that a […]... Read more »

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