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  • July 2, 2014
  • 03:40 AM
  • 134 views

Quality of life and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The BBC ran an interesting article on their website recently titled: Happiness and disability. Discussions about the disability paradox - whereby some people with often significant and persistent disability report experiencing a good or excellent quality of life (QoL) - got me thinking about QoL and in particular, how it might relate to the very wide and very heterogeneous autism spectrum. I might add that I am not insinuating that everyone diagnosed on the autism spectrum are 'disabled' but rat........ Read more »

  • July 1, 2014
  • 01:18 PM
  • 161 views

St. Johns Wart and the Dangers of “Alternative” Medicine

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Grapefruit juice, I hate the stuff. But did you know that if you drink as little as 8 oz. of it when you take certain medications it could dramatically increase […]... Read more »

Davis SA, Feldman SR, & Taylor SL. (2014) Use of St. John's Wort in Potentially Dangerous Combinations. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.). PMID: 24956073  

Bailey, D., Malcolm, J., Arnold, O., & David Spence, J. (2002) Grapefruit juice-drug interactions. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 46(2), 101-110. DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2125.1998.00764.x  

  • July 1, 2014
  • 01:18 PM
  • 111 views

St. Johns Wort and the Dangers of “Alternative” Medicine

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Grapefruit juice, I hate the stuff. But did you know that if you drink as little as 8 oz. of it when you take certain medications it could dramatically increase […]... Read more »

Davis SA, Feldman SR, & Taylor SL. (2014) Use of St. John's Wort in Potentially Dangerous Combinations. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.). PMID: 24956073  

Bailey, D., Malcolm, J., Arnold, O., & David Spence, J. (2002) Grapefruit juice-drug interactions. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 46(2), 101-110. DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2125.1998.00764.x  

  • July 1, 2014
  • 12:18 PM
  • 103 views

When work conditions are tough, Machiavellians thrive

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

When budgets are cut or time is short, watch out for those who excel at work. Their contribution could be admirable, but a new study suggests you may alternatively be witnessing a “Machiavellian” in action – someone exploiting the situation for their own interests.Daniel Kuyumcu and Jason Dahling assessed the Machiavellianism of 110 psychology students, all of whom worked at least 15 hours part-time. Questionnaire items included: "I am willing to sabotage the efforts of other people if the........ Read more »

  • July 1, 2014
  • 04:48 AM
  • 130 views

Mercury exposure and autism or ADHD meta-analysed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Yoshimasu and colleagues [1] is the talking point today, and their assertion following meta-analysis that: "Moderate adverse effects were observed only between environmental inorganic or organic mercury exposures and ASD/ADHD".Eruption... @ Wikipedia For clarity, ASD means autism spectrum disorder and ADHD refers to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Inorganic and organic mercury refer to some of the different forms of mercury. Meta-analysis, as I've said befor........ Read more »

  • July 1, 2014
  • 04:19 AM
  • 105 views

With climate change, uncertainty is no-one’s friend

by Andy Extance in Simple Climate

Heard people say climate science is uncertain? Research by psychologist Stephan Lewandowsky from the University of Bristol and his colleagues finds this is more, not less, reason to fight global warming. ... Read more »

  • July 1, 2014
  • 01:56 AM
  • 129 views

Heroes and Villains: Banal or Special People? Part 1 of 2

by Scott McGreal in Eye on Psych

Situationists have claimed that heroism and evil are equally "banal", i.e. people choose between good and evil mainly due to situational pressures rather than their personal traits. However, the situationist analysis is inconsistent. Evil is attributed to external forces, whereas heroism results from character. ... Read more »

  • June 30, 2014
  • 04:03 PM
  • 101 views

Exploding the 10,000 hours myth - it's no guarantee for greatness

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Swedish psychologist K. Anders Ericsson has studied elite performers in music, chess and sport for decades, and he says the main distinguishing characteristic of experts is the amount of deliberate practice they've invested - typically over 10,000 hours.This is painstaking practice performed for the sole purpose of improving one's skill level. Best-selling authors like Gladwell, Daniel Pink, Matthew Syed and others, have taken Ericsson's results and distilled them into the uplifting message that........ Read more »

Hambrick, D., Oswald, F., Altmann, E., Meinz, E., Gobet, F., & Campitelli, G. (2014) Deliberate practice: Is that all it takes to become an expert?. Intelligence, 34-45. DOI: 10.1016/j.intell.2013.04.001  

  • June 30, 2014
  • 04:37 AM
  • 126 views

AAP policy statement on iodine deficiency and pollutants

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The quite recent policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) drafted by Rogan and colleagues [1] is the source for today's short(ish) post. Highlighting a growing concern on the issue of iodine deficiency in women of reproductive age, the policy document also raises awareness of "commonly encountered environmental chemicals" potentially exacerbating such deficiency, and in particular "thiocyanate, nitrate and perchlorate". These chemicals are specifically mentioned because of ........ Read more »

  • June 29, 2014
  • 01:12 PM
  • 153 views

Science Fiction vs. Fact: Zombies

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Zombies, those brain loving little guys [and girls] are everywhere. From shows like The Walking Dead – a zombie show where they call them anything but zombies– to video games, music videos, […]... Read more »

Lafferty KD. (2006) Can the common brain parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, influence human culture?. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 273(1602), 2749-55. PMID: 17015323  

Vyas A, Kim SK, Giacomini N, Boothroyd JC, & Sapolsky RM. (2007) Behavioral changes induced by Toxoplasma infection of rodents are highly specific to aversion of cat odors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(15), 6442-7. PMID: 17404235  

Thomas, F., Schmidt-Rhaesa, A., Martin, G., Manu, C., Durand, P., & Renaud, F. (2002) Do hairworms (Nematomorpha) manipulate the water seeking behaviour of their terrestrial hosts?. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 15(3), 356-361. DOI: 10.1046/j.1420-9101.2002.00410.x  

W. Wesołowska T. Wesołowski. (2014) Do Leucochloridium sporocysts manipulate the behaviour of their snail hosts?. Journal of Zoology , 292(3), 151-155. info:/10.1111/jzo.12094

  • June 29, 2014
  • 07:39 AM
  • 137 views

A gluten-free diet for asymptomatic patients with coeliac disease

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The tip of the iceberg? @ Wikipedia Today I'd like to focus on the paper by Kalle Kurppa and colleagues [1] and their suggestion that: "GFDs [gluten-free diets] benefit asymptomatic EMA-positive [endomysial antibody] patients" with coeliac (celiac) disease in mind.Asymptomatic, when it comes to a condition like coeliac disease (CD) - an autoimmune condition linked to the consumption of gluten - is not necessarily all that surprising given the numbers of cases w........ Read more »

Kurppa K, Paavola A, Collin P, Sievänen H, Laurila K, Huhtala H, Päivi Saavalainen, Mäki M, & Kaukinen K. (2014) Benefits of a Gluten-free diet for Asymptomatic Patients with Serologic Markers of Celiac Disease. Gastroenterology. PMID: 24837306  

  • June 29, 2014
  • 06:36 AM
  • 154 views

Another Education Neuromyth Debunked

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

What does neuroscience have to say about the educational value of lectures? Not much, says pedagogist Ken Masters in a lively article just published in Medical Teacher: Nipping an education myth in the bud: Poh’s brain activity during lectures Masters lays into an emerging slice of neurononsense. The claim is that neuroscientists have shown that, […]The post Another Education Neuromyth Debunked appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • June 28, 2014
  • 03:25 AM
  • 122 views

On parental inflammatory bowel disease and offspring autism risk

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Ane Birgitte Telén Andersen and colleagues [1] (open-access here) concluding "no evidence of an increased risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorders] among children born to parents with IBD [inflammatory bowel disease]" caught my eye recently.Qays and Layla @ Wikipedia Based on an analysis of one of those Danish Registries which seem to be providing all-manner of important correlations and non-correlations, the authors looked for the presence of parental IBDs such a........ Read more »

  • June 27, 2014
  • 12:00 PM
  • 107 views

THE FUTURE OF FOOD?

by Lucy Gee in Antisense Science

In the world food has always been a necessity, but for most it represents a ritual, a pleasure, our culture. For many of us it’s synonymous with celebration and often associated with some of the happier moments in our lives – but do we need it? One man, Rob Rhinehart has embarked on a new life, without the need for solid food. He has created a product named Soylent (I know what you’re thinking, like that sci-fi book right? We’ve all heard of Soylent Green), which is an en........ Read more »

Epstein LH, Carr KA, Cavanaugh MD, Paluch RA, & Bouton ME. (2011) Long-term habituation to food in obese and nonobese women. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 94(2), 371-6. PMID: 21593492  

  • June 27, 2014
  • 08:46 AM
  • 163 views

Objects Bring Fear the Closer They Appear

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Quick: which of these things should you worry about if it’s coming toward you? a.) grizzly bear b.) pedestrian c.) frowny face emoticon You many not have time to assess all the risks (is the bear running? does the frowny face have greater-than-symbol eyebrows?). But without thinking about it, you’ll have a bad feeling about […]The post Objects Bring Fear the Closer They Appear appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »

Hsee, C., Tu, Y., Lu, Z., & Ruan, B. (2014) Approach aversion: Negative hedonic reactions toward approaching stimuli. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106(5), 699-712. DOI: 10.1037/a0036332  

  • June 27, 2014
  • 07:27 AM
  • 151 views

What is “Cultural IQ” training and does it really work?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

IQ was once the only game in town. Now it rubs shoulders with a gaggle of human ability measures such as Emotional Intelligence, Empathy Quotient, and Rationality Quotient. The increasingly interconnected and diverse world of work has magnified interest in another newcomer: CQ, or cultural intelligence. With it come courses promising to prepare their students to work with colleagues, partners and customers who have different values and norms. A new paper investigates how effective this training ........ Read more »

  • June 27, 2014
  • 05:08 AM
  • 130 views

Scurvy, vitamin C and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'd been thinking about writing this post on scurvy, vitamin C and autism for quite a while. The paper by Kitcharoensakkul and colleagues [1] really made the decision for me, following their discussions on three young children with walking difficulties who were eventually diagnosed with scurvy, one of whom was diagnosed with autism. The authors concluded: "These clinical manifestations and radiologic findings highlight the importance for rheumatologists to have a higher index of suspicion f........ Read more »

Kitcharoensakkul M, Schulz CG, Kassel R, Khanna G, Liang S, Ngwube A, Baszis KW, Hunstad DA, & White AJ. (2014) Scurvy revealed by difficulty walking: three cases in young children. Journal of clinical rheumatology : practical reports on rheumatic , 20(4), 224-8. PMID: 24847751  

  • June 26, 2014
  • 09:26 AM
  • 105 views

Why use fruit flies to study a gene involved in language?

by Björn Brembs in bjoern.brembs.blog

This is the story behind our work on the function of the FoxP gene in the fruit fly Drosophila (more background info). As so many good things, it started with beer. Troy Zars and I were having a beer on […] ↓ Read the rest of this entry...... Read more »

Mendoza, E., Colomb, J., Rybak, J., Pflüger, H., Zars, T., Scharff, C., & Brembs, B. (2014) Drosophila FoxP Mutants Are Deficient in Operant Self-Learning. PLoS ONE, 9(6). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0100648  

  • June 26, 2014
  • 04:44 AM
  • 115 views

Increased rates of suicidal ideation in adults with Asperger syndrome

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Our findings lend support to anecdotal reports of increased rates of suicidal ideation in adults with Asperger's syndrome, and depression as an important potential risk factor for suicidality in adults with this condition".Sunrise @ Wikipedia That was the very stark conclusion reached by the study by Sarah Cassidy and colleagues [1] (open-access) looking at self-reported rates of suicide ideation and suicide plans/attempts in a sample of adults newly diagnosed with Asperger syndr........ Read more »

Sarah Cassidy, Paul Bradley, Janine Robinson, Carrie Allison, Meghan McHugh, & Simon Baron-Cohen. (2014) Suicidal ideation and suicide plans or attempts in adults with Asperger's syndrome attending a specialist diagnostic clinic: a clinical cohort study. Lancet Psychiatry. info:/doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(08)61345-8

  • June 25, 2014
  • 01:00 PM
  • 96 views

How can we increase altruism towards future generations?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

By guest blogger Dan JonesLike many parents, I often wonder what kind of world my two-year-old son will grow up to inhabit. Will the planet be ravaged by extreme climatic events, depleted of vital forests and biodiversity? Although some of our fears about the future may be overblown, if we don’t want to leave the planet in ruins for future generations, we need to think about how we act today — and maybe change our ways.Some changes are likely to involve minor sacrifices or small inconvenienc........ Read more »

Oliver P. Hauser, David G. Rand, Alexander Peysakhovich, & Martin A. Nowak. (2014) Cooperating with the future. Nature. info:/

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