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 »
Erb, S., Schappi, J., & Rasenick, M. (2016) Antidepressants Accumulate in Lipid Rafts Independent of Monoamine Transporters to Modulate Redistribution of the G protein, Gα . Journal of Biological Chemistry. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M116.727263
The paper by Traolach Brugha and colleagues  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  (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
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.
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Ameis, S., Lerch, J., Taylor, M., Lee, W., Viviano, J., Pipitone, J., Nazeri, A., Croarkin, P., Voineskos, A., Lai, M.... (2016) A Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study in Children With ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, OCD, and Matched Controls: Distinct and Non-Distinct White Matter Disruption and Dimensional Brain-Behavior Relationships. American Journal of Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2016.15111435
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 »
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).
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Dückers ML, Alisic E, & Brewin CR. (2016) A vulnerability paradox in the cross-national prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder. The British Journal of Psychiatry. PMID: 27445357
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
"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  (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 »
Zheng Z, Zhu T, Qu Y, & Mu D. (2016) Blood Glutamate Levels in Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PloS one, 11(7). PMID: 27390857
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 »
Caminero, A., Galipeau, H., McCarville, J., Johnston, C., Bernier, S., Russell, A., Jury, J., Herran, A., Casqueiro, J., Tye-Din, J.... (2016) Duodenal bacteria from patients with celiac disease and healthy subjects distinctly affect gluten breakdown and immunogenicity. Gastroenterology. DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2016.06.041
I very carefully approach the findings reported by Jennifer Fairthorne and colleagues  today detailing "the occurrence of hospital admissions and treatment/services for cancer in mothers of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] with or without ID [intellectual disability] compared with other mothers." Appreciating that families touched by autism probably have enough on their plate without additional talk about the 'big C', I do however think that this kind of r........ Read more »
Fairthorne, J., de Klerk, N., Leonard, H., & Whitehouse, A. (2016) Mothers of Children with Autism have Different Rates of Cancer According to the Presence of Intellectual Disability in Their Child. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-016-2847-9
Capitalizing on experimental genetic techniques, researchers have demonstrated that temporarily turning off an area of the brain changes patterns of activity across much of the remaining brain. The research suggests that alterations in the functional connectivity of the brain in humans may be used to determine the sites of pathology in complex disorders such as schizophrenia and autism.
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Grayson, D., Bliss-Moreau, E., Machado, C., Bennett, J., Shen, K., Grant, K., Fair, D., & Amaral, D. (2016) The Rhesus Monkey Connectome Predicts Disrupted Functional Networks Resulting from Pharmacogenetic Inactivation of the Amygdala. Neuron, 91(2), 453-466. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.06.005
The brain's reward centers in severely obese women continue to respond to food cues even after they've eaten and are no longer hungry, in contrast to their lean counterparts. The study compared attitudes and the brain activity of 15 severely obese women (those with a body mass index greater than 35) and 15 lean women (those with a BMI under 25).
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Puzziferri, N., Zigman, J., Thomas, B., Mihalakos, P., Gallagher, R., Lutter, M., Carmody, T., Lu, H., & Tamminga, C. (2016) Brain imaging demonstrates a reduced neural impact of eating in obesity. Obesity, 24(4), 829-836. DOI: 10.1002/oby.21424
Granted, I am taking a slight departure from the material typically discussed on this blog by introducing the paper by Yan Zhang and colleagues  who reported the findings of a meta-analysis examining "the efficacy of different probiotic types, doses and treatment durations in IBS [irritable bowel syndrome] patients diagnosed by Rome III criteria via a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs)." The results however - "Probiotics are an effective pharmacological t........ Read more »
Zhang Y, Li L, Guo C, Mu D, Feng B, Zuo X, & Li Y. (2016) Effects of probiotic type, dose and treatment duration on irritable bowel syndrome diagnosed by Rome III criteria: a meta-analysis. BMC gastroenterology, 16(1), 62. PMID: 27296254
Ever feel like someone is hiding something? Or maybe you suddenly feel like you can't trust a co-worker. The feeling may seem logical, but is empathy the result of gut intuition or careful reasoning? Research suggests that, contrary to popular belief, the latter may be more the case.
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Ma-Kellams, C., & Lerner, J. (2016) Trust Your Gut or Think Carefully? Examining Whether an Intuitive, Versus a Systematic, Mode of Thought Produces Greater Empathic Accuracy. SSRN Electronic Journal. DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.2782596
People who perform regular altruistic acts like giving blood also tend to have more sex.Viewed through the lens of evolutionary psychology, altruism takes some explaining. In a dog eat dog world, it seems like a risky, indulgent habit. Yet we are only alive today because our distant ancestors were successful at reproducing – and the fact many of us have inherited their altruistic tendencies suggests that being altruistic gave them some kind of survival or reproductive advantage.One idea i........ Read more »
I can't profess to be an expert on the techniques called sigmoidectomy and appendicostomy so won't even try and pretend that I am. From what I gather from Dr Google, the latter is a surgical technique generally performed to "help deliver enemas more easily" to relieve constipation, whilst the former involves the surgical removal of some or all of the sigmoid colon. Both are only generally indicated when traditional methods of treating constipation for example, fail.The reason I'm briefly ta........ Read more »
De La Torre L, Cogley K, Calisto J, Nace G, & Correa C. (2016) Primary sigmoidectomy and appendicostomy for chronic idiopathic constipation. Pediatric surgery international. PMID: 27372298
Look at some of the most high-profile plagiarism scandals, such as Joe Biden's supposed borrowing from Neil Kinnock, novelist Kaavya Viswanathan's "unintentional" plagiarism of Megan McCafferty and Meg Cabot, science writer Jonah Lehrer's lifting words from this blog, and this week, Melania Trump's echoing of phrases used previously by Michelle Obama (though a speech-writer has taken the blame for this).Notice a pattern?In each case, the alleged plagiarists copied others of the same se........ Read more »
Hollins, T., Lange, N., Dennis, I., & Longmore, C. (2015) Social influences on unconscious plagiarism and anti-plagiarism. Memory, 24(7), 884-902. DOI: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1059857
I want to make an initial point about the paper by Corentin Gonthier and colleagues  and their research findings titled: 'Sensory Processing in Low-Functioning Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Distinct Sensory Profiles and Their Relationships with Behavioral Dysfunction', I'm not a great fan of the use of the term 'functioning' when it comes to autism. Yes, I know what message it's trying to convey in terms of 'severity' of autism and/or accompanying learning (intellectual) disabili........ Read more »
Gonthier C, Longuépée L, & Bouvard M. (2016) Sensory Processing in Low-Functioning Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Distinct Sensory Profiles and Their Relationships with Behavioral Dysfunction. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 27364513
The world around is complex and changing constantly. To put it in order, we devise categories into which we sort new concepts. To do this we apply different strategies. A team of researchers wanted to find out which areas of the brain regulate these strategies. The results of their study using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) show that there are indeed particular brain areas, which become active when a certain strategy of categorisation is applied.
... Read more »
Lech, R., Güntürkün, O., & Suchan, B. (2016) An interplay of fusiform gyrus and hippocampus enables prototype- and exemplar-based category learning. Behavioural Brain Research, 239-246. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2016.05.049
The behavioural reasons why guide dogs sometimes end their working lives early, and what it means for pet dogs.A study by Geoffrey Caron-Lormier (University of Nottingham) et al looks at twenty years of data from Guide Dogs (UK). During this time, 7,770 working guide dogs, who had worked with blind or partially sighted people, were withdrawn from service. By far the most common reason was retirement, which applied to 6,465 dogs (83%). The authors looked at the reasons why other dogs were withdra........ Read more »
Caron-Lormier, G., Harvey, N., England, G., & Asher, L. (2016) Using the incidence and impact of behavioural conditions in guide dogs to investigate patterns in undesirable behaviour in dogs. Scientific Reports, 23860. DOI: 10.1038/srep23860
It happens to all of us – we're meant to be focused on the page in the book, but our mind is turned inwards thinking about other stuff (Must remember to charge my phone, What time did I say I'd meet Sarah?) Thankfully a new study in Memory and Cognition identifies a straightforward way to reduce how much your mind wanders off topic when you're studying. You just need to ensure the materials you're learning are in your sweet spot – not too easy and not too difficult.For one experiment, Judy X........ Read more »
Xu, J., & Metcalfe, J. (2016) Studying in the region of proximal learning reduces mind wandering. Memory , 44(5), 681-695. DOI: 10.3758/s13421-016-0589-8
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