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  • February 2, 2016
  • 04:29 AM
  • 315 views

Risk of cancer in autism: probably not excessive as more data emerge

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin: "Taken together, there are no published evidence to suggest that there is a high overall concordance between ASD [autism spectrum disorders] and cancer or between ASD and specific cancers."Those words reported by Svend Erik Mouridsen and colleagues [1] (who knows a thing or two about autism research) should offer some relief to both people on the autism spectrum and their loved ones.Based on the analysis of over 100 adults "diagnosed with infantile autism (IA) in........ Read more »

  • February 1, 2016
  • 03:41 PM
  • 306 views

Blood pressure medicine may improve conversational skills of individuals with autism

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

An estimated 1 in 68 children in the United States has autism. The neurodevelopmental disorder, which impairs communication and social interaction skills, can be treated with medications and behavioral therapies, though there is no cure. Now, University of Missouri researchers have found that a medication commonly used to treat high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats may have the potential to improve some social functions of individuals with autism.

... Read more »

  • February 1, 2016
  • 10:55 AM
  • 452 views

Working memory training could help beat anxiety

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

One thing anxiety does is to upset your brain's balance between focus and vigilance. Your control over what you pay attention to is sacrificed at the expense of worrisome thoughts and a rapid response to any potential danger.If this account is true, basic attention training should help, putting you back in charge of your own mind. A key component of attentional control is working memory – our ability to juggle task-relevant information in mind over short-periods of time. In a new paper in Biol........ Read more »

  • February 1, 2016
  • 02:47 AM
  • 365 views

On (pre)pregnancy obesity and inflammation and offspring autism risk

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

At the time of writing this [long read] post there has been a flurry of autism research articles making news.The headline: 'Scientists create the first ever autistic monkeys' referring to the work published by Liu and colleagues [1] who reported on "lentivirus-based transgenic cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) expressing human MeCP2 in the brain exhibit autism-like behaviours and show germline transmission of the transgene" started the ball rolling. Anyone who knows a little bit about aut........ Read more »

Li, M., Fallin, M., Riley, A., Landa, R., Walker, S., Silverstein, M., Caruso, D., Pearson, C., Kiang, S., Dahm, J.... (2016) The Association of Maternal Obesity and Diabetes With Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities. PEDIATRICS, 137(2), 1-10. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2015-2206  

Choi GB, Yim YS, Wong H, Kim S, Kim H, Kim SV, Hoeffer CA, Littman DR, & Huh JR. (2016) The maternal interleukin-17a pathway in mice promotes autismlike phenotypes in offspring. Science (New York, N.Y.). PMID: 26822608  

  • January 31, 2016
  • 02:57 PM
  • 495 views

The brains of patients with schizophrenia vary depending on the type of schizophrenia

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

I have a friend who lost an eye to his brother. Yes, you read that correctly, his brother tried to kill him and in the process he lost his eye. I’ve told this story before, but whenever new schizophrenia research comes out I feel the need to tell it again. While he has forgiven his brother (partly because not long after, he was diagnosed as schizophrenic), he will not be able to see him again until he is released from prison. A tragedy that could’ve been avoided had he been diagnosed sooner......... Read more »

  • January 31, 2016
  • 07:47 AM
  • 350 views

Better method for faster learning of math

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

Finger tracing can help school-going kids in learning mathematics better.

Published in:

Applied Cognitive Psychology

Learning and Instruction

Study Further:

Researchers from Sydney worked with 275 school-going children in the age range of 9 to 13 years. They found that tracing of mathematical points on fingers could help children in better understanding and solving the previously unknown problems of algebra and geometry. So, finger tracing of practice examples while........ Read more »

Ginns, P., Hu, F., Byrne, E., & Bobis, J. (2015) Learning By Tracing Worked Examples. Applied Cognitive Psychology. DOI: 10.1002/acp.3171  

  • January 31, 2016
  • 07:09 AM
  • 385 views

Coal tar, dyes, and the unlikely origins of psychotherapeutic drugs

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged










While it may be difficult to imagine in a day and age when psychiatric medicines are advertised as a way to treat nearly every mental disorder, only 65 years ago targeted and effective psychiatric medicines were still just an unrealized aspiration. In fact, until the middle of the 20th century, the efficacy and safety of many common approaches to treating mental illness were highly questionable. For example, one method of treating schizophrenia that was common in the 1940s........ Read more »

López-Muñoz, F., Alamo, C., cuenca, E., Shen, W., Clervoy, P., & Rubio, G. (2005) History of the Discovery and Clinical Introduction of Chlorpromazine. Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, 17(3), 113-135. DOI: 10.1080/10401230591002002  

  • January 31, 2016
  • 07:06 AM
  • 377 views

Bad side of selfie and its posting on Instagram

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

Selfie obsession can badly affect the relationship with partner.

Published in:

Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

Study Further:

“Selfie” is one of the latest things of our era. It is also amusing for many people. In a study, researchers from Florida State University were trying to find the effect and outcomes of selfies and their posting on Instagram. They surveyed 420 Instagram users in the age range of 18 years to 62 years.

Researchers f........ Read more »

  • January 30, 2016
  • 07:47 AM
  • 269 views

Suicide of a person can result in more suicides

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

A person’s suicide can increase the chances of suicide attempt of his or her family member or friend.

Published in:

BMJ Open

Study Further:

Suicide is one of the most harmful things in the life of people left behind. Researchers from the University College London found that people, who have faced the suicide of a family member or friend, have 65% more chances of attempting suicide as compared to those people, who have faced the sudden death of their loved ones du........ Read more »

  • January 30, 2016
  • 04:00 AM
  • 307 views

Autism in phenylketonuria (PKU)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Autism has been reported in untreated patients with phenylketonuria."Indeed it has, as the paper by Sameh Khemir and colleagues [1] revisits something of a long known about association whereby the archetypal inborn error of metabolism that is phenylketonuria (PKU) has been linked to the presentation of autism or autistic traits [2].Looking at 18 participants diagnosed with PKU, Khemir et al "report their clinical, biochemical and molecular peculiarities" (authors words not mine) and h........ Read more »

Khemir S, Halayem S, Azzouz H, Siala H, Ferchichi M, Guedria A, Bedoui A, Abdelhak S, Messaoud T, Tebib N.... (2016) Autism in Phenylketonuria Patients: From Clinical Presentation to Molecular Defects. Journal of child neurology. PMID: 26759449  

  • January 29, 2016
  • 11:11 AM
  • 271 views

White light in street gives a feeling of safety

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

Pedestrians feel safer while walking, if the streets are illuminated with white light.

Published in:

Safety Science

Study Further:

Researchers from the University of Granada surveyed 275 pedestrians in “nocturnal urban environment”, i.e. participants of the study were given a test after walking in illuminated streets in a city.

Researchers were trying to know the thoughts of pedestrians about different kinds of public lights on streets, i.e. color of lig........ Read more »

  • January 29, 2016
  • 08:36 AM
  • 347 views

Depression can easily pass down from a mother to her daughter

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

Emotions can easily move down from mother to her daughter, i.e. daughters have more chances of getting from their mother a brain structure that is involved in emotion, especially depression.

Published in:

Journal of Neuroscience

Study Further:

Researchers from University of California – San Francisco (UCSF) studied the brains of 35 families by using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). They found that the corticolimbic system, a structure of the brain circuitry, can........ Read more »

Yamagata, B., Murayama, K., Black, J., Hancock, R., Mimura, M., Yang, T., Reiss, A., & Hoeft, F. (2016) Female-Specific Intergenerational Transmission Patterns of the Human Corticolimbic Circuitry. Journal of Neuroscience, 36(4), 1254-1260. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4974-14.2016  

  • January 29, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 323 views

When terrified, liberals end up thinking a lot more like  conservatives

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

It’s a basic tenet of the reptile theory that you want to frighten your jurors to make them vote for your client in deliberation. [The ABA has put out an open-access primer on the reptile theory and you can see that here.] It is also been shown repeatedly that conservatives are more fearful than liberals, […]

Related posts:
The evidence is mounting: The brains of liberals and conservatives differ
Are conservatives happier than liberals? Research says:  No.
Mean-spirited blog comments........ Read more »

  • January 29, 2016
  • 03:54 AM
  • 290 views

How do people with Dark Triad personality traits fare at speed dating?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

People who score highly in the Dark Triad personality traits – narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism – are vain, selfish, callous and manipulative. They're not the kind of people you want to spend much time with. This raises the obvious question – to put it bluntly, why over evolutionary timescales haven't these people died out? One possibility is that their traits actually confer short-term advantages in the mating game. Dark Triad people are obnoxious once you get to know them, su........ Read more »

Jauk, E., Neubauer, A., Mairunteregger, T., Pemp, S., Sieber, K., & Rauthmann, J. (2016) How Alluring Are Dark Personalities? The Dark Triad and Attractiveness in Speed Dating. European Journal of Personality. DOI: 10.1002/per.2040  

  • January 29, 2016
  • 02:56 AM
  • 318 views

Mortality and autism: comorbidity counts

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I don't enjoy talking about mortality and autism on this blog but once again I'm drawn to discuss this important topic based on some recent findings published by Diana Schendel and colleagues [1]. I say these are important findings on the basis of how researchers took into account the possible role played by psychiatric and neurological comorbidity occurring alongside autism when it comes to the quite alarming mortality statistics.Drawing on the findings reported in their paper and an interview ........ Read more »

  • January 28, 2016
  • 08:36 AM
  • 285 views

Students from political sciences are, usually, overconfident

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

Students of political sciences show higher level of overconfidence, whereas students from humanities are on the inverse side.

Published in:

PLoS ONE

Study Further:

In a study, researchers from the University of St. Gallen and the University of Zurich in Switzerland surveyed over 700 first-year students. They also asked them to go through various experiments during a session lasting about an hour and a half. In the experiments, there was a simple task of guessing the ye........ Read more »

Schulz, J., & Thöni, C. (2016) Overconfidence and Career Choice. PLOS ONE, 11(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0145126  

  • January 28, 2016
  • 06:58 AM
  • 370 views

There are at least 216 foreign words for positive emotional states and concepts that we don't have in English

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

One criticism levelled at positive psychology is that it takes an overly Western-centric view of the lighter side of human experience. Addressing that problem, Tim Lomas at the University of East London has begun a deep investigation into all the non-English words for positive emotions and concepts that don't have a direct translation in English.Publishing his initial findings in the The Journal of Positive Psychology, Lomas' hope is not only that we might learn more about the positive psyc........ Read more »

  • January 28, 2016
  • 02:55 AM
  • 342 views

ICF core sets for autism continued: what do experts think about autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Consider this post an extension of a previous discussion thread (see here) continuing the voyage of developing "International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF; and Children and Youth version, ICF(-CY)) Core Sets for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)."This time around it is another paper by Elles de Schipper and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) providing the blogging fodder and specifically the stage two of their four stage project building up those core sets........ Read more »

de Schipper E, Mahdi S, de Vries P, Granlund M, Holtmann M, Karande S, Almodayfer O, Shulman C, Tonge B, Wong VV.... (2016) Functioning and disability in autism spectrum disorder: A worldwide survey of experts. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. PMID: 26749373  

  • January 27, 2016
  • 05:50 PM
  • 369 views

Holding Back: Inhibition

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

I remember years ago being required to write math problems containing unnecessary information so that students would have to choose the information that they needed. But just making kids do something is not the same thing as teaching them something. It is, rather, a total cave to assessment obsession—we just found a way to call assessment "instruction".... Read more »

  • January 27, 2016
  • 05:00 PM
  • 240 views

Getting rid of the Ghost People

by Eva Alisic in Trauma Recovery

Patrick became a child soldier at the age of 13, abducted by Ugandan rebels.

Schultz and Weisaeth (2015) describe his story, his mental health problems, and his treatment, a local cleansing ritual. They conclude that the ritual is safe, effective, and perhaps even more powerful than Western-style therapy. ... Read more »

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