"We find a high frequency of parkinsonism among ASD [autism spectrum disorder] individuals older than 39 years."So said the paper by Sergio Starkstein and colleagues  (open-access) and Q & A with authors who, during a "a hypothesis-generating, pilot study" with extras looked for parkinsonism motor signs in a small group of adults diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.Parkinsonism is an umbrella term that refers to any condition that leads to a combination of symptoms n........ Read more »
Where is the blood-brain barrier?The blood-brain barrier surrounds most of the blood vessels in the brain. It is a structure that is formed primarily due to the establishment of tight junctions between endothelial cells (i.e. cells that line the walls of blood vessels). There are also several other cells and proteins contributing to the blood-brain barrier complex; for example, processes called astrocytic end-feet extend from astrocytes to surround blood vessels and provide support to the endoth........ Read more »
Ballabh P, Braun A, & Nedergaard M. (2004) The blood-brain barrier: an overview: structure, regulation, and clinical implications. Neurobiology of disease, 16(1), 1-13. PMID: 15207256
New research from the USA suggests that college students are well aware that they should be personally responsible for their finances, including their card obligations, but this awareness rarely correlates with limiting the debts they accrue during their time in higher education.... Read more »
Ackert, L., & Church, B. (2015) Credit cards, financial responsibility, and college students: an experimental study. International Journal of Behavioural Accounting and Finance, 5(1), 1. DOI: 10.1504/IJBAF.2015.071041
It’s 2AM and you’re cramming for a test tomorrow. The Doritos are all gone and yours is the only light still on. You stare at a richly detailed diagram of the reproductive system and think, “Looks pretty straightforward. I’ll remember this tomorrow.” At show time, that detailed diagram is nothing but a fuzzy blur in…
Check out Questioning Improves Your Learning if You Ask the Right Questions, an original post on Thinker Academy.
... Read more »
Bugg, J., & McDaniel, M. (2012) Selective benefits of question self-generation and answering for remembering expository text. Journal of Educational Psychology, 104(4), 922-931. DOI: 10.1037/a0028661
Don’t be so quick to throw out your feline companions
I have to admit that as an animal lover, I was biased when I approached this research. A post titled “Cats = Schizophrenia” appeared on my Facebook page and my first though was “Bollocks! What is the science behind this?!” My search began.... Read more »
Fuller Torrey E, Simmons W, & Yolken RH. (2015) Is childhood cat ownership a risk factor for schizophrenia later in life?. Schizophrenia research, 165(1), 1-2. PMID: 25892720
Calcaterra V, Veggiotti P, Palestrini C, De Giorgis V, Raschetti R, Tumminelli M, Mencherini S, Papotti F, Klersy C, Albertini R.... (2015) Post-operative benefits of animal-assisted therapy in pediatric surgery: a randomised study. PloS one, 10(6). PMID: 26039494
I was intrigued by the findings reported by Samuele Cortese and colleagues  who, following systematic review and meta-analysis of the current peer-reviewed literature on the topic, found evidence for a "significant association between ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] and obesity/overweight." I believe the protocol for this review and meta-analysis has previously graced the peer-reviewed domain as per a previous paper from Cortese et al  (open-access).Based on data ........ Read more »
Cortese, S., Moreira-Maia, C., St. Fleur, D., Morcillo-Peñalver, C., Rohde, L., & Faraone, S. (2015) Association Between ADHD and Obesity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. American Journal of Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2015.15020266
We're all familiar with the use of music as a tool of persuasion in advertising. There's also research that's looked the social influence of lyrics – for example, there's evidence that songs with antisocial lyrics can increase hostile and aggressive feelings, whereas positive lyrics such as in Michael Jackson's Heal the World can reduce aggression. Positive music can also increase people's willingness to do good deeds. Yet studies also show that positive music can have paradoxically negat........ Read more »
Ziv, N. (2015) Music and compliance: Can good music make us do bad things?. Psychology of Music. DOI: 10.1177/0305735615598855
Here’s a study about road safety that doesn’t know it’s a nice indication of why litigators need good graphics. We have blogged before about the value of graphics so it’s good to see more research that is so sensible to highlight the value of the visual in the courtroom. Today’s researchers wanted to see which […]
A picture is worth a thousand words…
Surely we are not talking about the same person!
You can improve your litigation advocacy (for free!)
... Read more »
Hess G, & Peterson MN. (2015) "Bicycles May Use Full Lane" Signage Communicates U.S. Roadway Rules and Increases Perception of Safety. PloS one, 10(8). PMID: 26317355
"Has a doctor or health professional ever told you that (child) had attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or attention deficit disorder (ADD)?"That was the question posed, answered and reported on in a recent edition of the CDC Morbidty and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)  (page 925).Comparing positive responses to said question as part of the US National Health Interview Survey going back nearly 20 years (see attached graph), it appears that there is an upward trend in cases of pedi........ Read more »
Polanczyk GV, Willcutt EG, Salum GA, Kieling C, & Rohde LA. (2014) ADHD prevalence estimates across three decades: an updated systematic review and meta-regression analysis. International journal of epidemiology, 43(2), 434-42. PMID: 24464188
Although some relevant differences were not significant in this study, the effects reported in the previous studies, along with the time differentials in the conditions leads one to believe that, all other things being equal, retrieval practice is likely superior to concept mapping for learning (from texts).... Read more »
Lechuga, M., Ortega-Tudela, J., & Gómez-Ariza, C. (2015) Further evidence that concept mapping is not better than repeated retrieval as a tool for learning from texts. Learning and Instruction, 61-68. DOI: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2015.08.002
Want fries with that diet soda? You aren’t alone, and you may not be “saving” as many calories as you think by consuming diet drinks. A new study that examined the dietary habits of more than 22,000 U.S. adults found that diet-beverage consumers may compensate for the absence of calories in their drinks by noshing on extra food that is loaded with sugar, sodium, fat and cholesterol.... Read more »
An, R. (2015) Beverage Consumption in Relation to Discretionary Food Intake and Diet Quality among US Adults, 2003 to 2012. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2015.08.009
A paper just published in American Psychologist has the unusual distinction of seemingly being written by four members of the same family.
Opportunistic biases: Their origins, effects, and an integrated solution was authored by Jamie DeCoster, Erin A. Sparks, Jordan C. Sparks, Glenn G. Sparks and Cheri W. Sparks. Four Sparks!
In science it's not unusual to have couples who work together and collaborate in writing papers. Sometimes this is evident from the author list, if they're marr... Read more »
DeCoster J, Sparks EA, Sparks JC, Sparks GG, & Sparks CW. (2015) Opportunistic biases: Their origins, effects, and an integrated solution. The American psychologist, 70(6), 499-514. PMID: 26348333
Two of my readers have kindly provided some very interesting comments and questions on my Evolutionary Theory of Consciousness paper (ETC). Because their comments and questions are very relevant and thought-provoking, I am publishing my reply as a separate post.…Read more ›... Read more »
Edelman DB, Baars BJ, & Seth AK. (2005) Identifying hallmarks of consciousness in non-mammalian species. Consciousness and cognition, 14(1), 169-87. PMID: 15766896
Verzijden, M., Abbott, J. K.,, von Philipsborn, A., & Loeschcke, V. (2015) Male Drosophila melanogaster learn to prefer an arbitrary trait associated with female mating status. Current Zoology. (2015) Male Drosophila melanogaster learn to prefer an arbitrary trait associated with female mating status. Current Zoology, 61(6). info:/
They don’t use gondolas or croon like Sinatra. But scientists have known for a long time that male mice belt out something like love songs to females when the time seems right to them. What they didn’t know – until a University of Delaware researcher developed a sophisticated array of microphones and a sound analysis chamber – was that female mice were singing back.... Read more »
Neunuebel, J., Taylor, A., Arthur, B., & Egnor, S. (2015) Female mice ultrasonically interact with males during courtship displays. eLife. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.06203
Question: Does tobacco smoking during pregnancy elevate the risk of offspring autism?Answer: According to the meta-analysis published by Shiming Tang and colleagues  (open-access), probably not.I have to say that I was interested in the paper from Tang et al. Interested not only because of their findings suggestive that smoking during pregnancy did not seem to elevate the risk of offspring autism, but also that their report seemed to pretty much replicate a previous meta-analysis by Brittany ........ Read more »
Tang, S., Wang, Y., Gong, X., & Wang, G. (2015) A Meta-Analysis of Maternal Smoking during Pregnancy and Autism Spectrum Disorder Risk in Offspring. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12(9), 10418-10431. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph120910418
As a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease, scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have created smarter immune cells that produce and deliver a healing protein to the brain while also teaching neurons to begin making the protein for themselves.... Read more »
Zhao, Y., Haney, M., Gupta, R., Bohnsack, J., He, Z., Kabanov, A., & Batrakova, E. (2014) GDNF-Transfected Macrophages Produce Potent Neuroprotective Effects in Parkinson's Disease Mouse Model. PLoS ONE, 9(9). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106867
Absolute Pitch (AP) or Perfect Pitch, as some prefer to call it, is common throughout the animal world, and dogs are no exception (Levitin & Rogers, 2005).*... Read more »
Levitin, D., & Rogers, S. (2005) Absolute pitch: perception, coding, and controversies. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9(1), 26-33. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2004.11.007
It’s possible to earn great success in your professional career, rise to great heights, but all the while experience the "imposter phenomenon": the sense that your position is undeserved, your unmasking possible at any time. For people like this, who doubt their own abilities, it would seem wise to rely on others who are confident they can get things done. But new research published in Personality and Individual Differences suggests the opposite: the more prone managers are to that imposter fe........ Read more »
Bechtoldt, M. (2015) Wanted: Self-doubting employees—Managers scoring positively on impostorism favor insecure employees in task delegation. Personality and Individual Differences, 482-486. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2015.07.002
Today's post is a bit of a mash-up insofar as including two papers into (brief) discussions. The first paper is from Pamela Gaye Ambler and colleagues  who bring in a number of important issues associated with quite a bit of autism: anxiety and aggression during adolescence and how this can manifest during school time. The second paper from Will Mandy and colleagues  (open-access available here) provides some interesting discussion on a "manualised intervention" called STEP-ASD design........ Read more »
Ambler, P., Eidels, A., & Gregory, C. (2015) Anxiety and aggression in adolescents with autism spectrum disorders attending mainstream schools. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 97-109. DOI: 10.1016/j.rasd.2015.07.005
Mandy W, Murin M, Baykaner O, Staunton S, Cobb R, Hellriegel J, Anderson S, & Skuse D. (2015) Easing the transition to secondary education for children with autism spectrum disorder: An evaluation of the Systemic Transition in Education Programme for Autism Spectrum Disorder (STEP-ASD). Autism : the international journal of research and practice. PMID: 26304678
There’s an enduring puzzle about religion and government, and it’s about what effect religions have on government welfare policies. That’s down to an intriguing observation: that more religious countries tend to have a weaker welfare state. Quite why this is so is a matter of dispute. After all, given religion’s association with altruism, you might [Read More...]... Read more »
Be'ery G, & Ben-Nun Bloom P. (2015) God and the Welfare State - Substitutes or Complements? An Experimental Test of the Effect of Belief in God's Control. PloS one, 10(6). PMID: 26061050
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