Each year, an estimated 1.7 million people in the United States sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These injuries occur most frequently from falling, but can also result from military combat, car accidents, contact sports or domestic abuse. Recently, physicians and researchers have become increasingly concerned that even mild cases of repetitive brain trauma could have long-term, unanticipated consequences.
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Barekat, A., Gonzalez, A., Mauntz, R., Kotzebue, R., Molina, B., El-Mecharrafie, N., Conner, C., Garza, S., Melkani, G., Joiner, W.... (2016) Using Drosophila as an integrated model to study mild repetitive traumatic brain injury. Scientific Reports, 25252. DOI: 10.1038/srep25252
A new report finds there are 11 dog attacks on guide dogs every month in the UK, on average.The lifetime cost of a guide dog for the blind is approximately US$75,000Guide dogs provide essential assistance to people who are blind or partially sighted. When other dogs attack guide dogs, the consequences can be severe. The charity Guide Dogs has been keeping records of these attacks, and a new paper by Rachel Moxon (of Guide Dogs) et al details the problems faced over a 56 month period from 2010 to........ Read more »
Moxon, R., Whiteside, H., & England, G. (2016) Incidence and impact of dog attacks on guide dogs in the UK: an update. Veterinary Record, 178(15), 367-367. DOI: 10.1136/vr.103433
Picture an American high school staff-room, late in the academic year, where a teacher called Alice is listening to her colleagues ride their favourite hobby horse: picking out which students have the most promise.Eventually Alice leans forward and taps her laptop. “Less talk, guys, more data. If you want to know how a student will do when they get to college, look at their aptitude test scores.” Betty throws her a look. “That won’t work,” she says, ”girls go on to do better than the........ Read more »
Keiser, H., Sackett, P., Kuncel, N., & Brothen, T. (2016) Why women perform better in college than admission scores would predict: Exploring the roles of conscientiousness and course-taking patterns. Journal of Applied Psychology, 101(4), 569-581. DOI: 10.1037/apl0000069
I don't want to keep you too long today aside from directing you to the literature review by Hajar Mazahery and colleagues  (open-access available here) discussing the collected peer-review literature on the topic of vitamin D and autism to date.Anyone that stops by this blog might already know about my interest in the science around this issue (see here and see here for example) and how quite a few more resources really should be directed into this 'sunshine' research area. The Mazahery........ Read more »
Mazahery H, Camargo CA, Conlon C, Beck KL, Kruger MC, & von Hurst PR. (2016) Vitamin D and Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Literature Review. Nutrients, 8(4). PMID: 27110819
Here is a graphic tutorial on the large impact that small changes can make in a face's superficial architecture...... Read more »
We're constantly bombarded by advertisements telling us we are too fat, too thin, not curvy enough, not flat enough -- or more often than not -- simply not enough. It shouldn't be a surprise to see that effect our day to day life, like it or not -- and it has. Researchers have just published results from a national study on the factors linked to satisfaction with appearance and weight.
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Frederick, D., Sandhu, G., Morse, P., & Swami, V. (2016) Correlates of appearance and weight satisfaction in a U.S. National Sample: Personality, attachment style, television viewing, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. Body Image, 191-203. DOI: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2016.04.001
Dealing with psychotic patients takes more than looking at their diagnostic labels.... Read more »
Heering, H., van Haren, N., & Derks, E. (2013) A two-factor structure of first rank symptoms in patients with a psychotic disorder. Schizophrenia Research, 147(2-3), 269-274. DOI: 10.1016/j.schres.2013.04.032
Heering, H., Koevoets, G., Koenders, L., Machielsen, M., Meijer, C., Kubota, M., de Nijs, J., Cahn, W., Hulshoff Pol, H., de Haan, L.... (2015) Structural MRI Differences between Patients with and without First Rank Symptoms: A Delusion?. Frontiers in Psychiatry. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2015.00107
Nelson B, Whitford TJ, Lavoie S, & Sass LA. (2014) What are the neurocognitive correlates of basic self-disturbance in schizophrenia? Integrating phenomenology and neurocognition: Part 2 (aberrant salience). Schizophrenia research, 152(1), 20-7. PMID: 23863772
Perälä, J., Suvisaari, J., Saarni, S., Kuoppasalmi, K., Isometsä, E., Pirkola, S., Partonen, T., Tuulio-Henriksson, A., Hintikka, J., Kieseppä, T.... (2007) Lifetime Prevalence of Psychotic and Bipolar I Disorders in a General Population. Archives of General Psychiatry, 64(1), 19. DOI: 10.1001/archpsyc.64.1.19
The results fit with evolutionary theoryStories can change how we think about the world, about the people they describe, and even ourselves. According to new research, they also influence our attitude to the storyteller. An article published in the journal Personal Relationships suggests that people portrayed as stronger storytellers are considered as higher status than those that aren’t – and this status can make them more romantically attractive, at least in the eyes of women. Cue editing ........ Read more »
DONAHUE, J., & GREEN, M. (2016) A good story: Men's storytelling ability affects their attractiveness and perceived status. Personal Relationships. DOI: 10.1111/pere.12120
In answer to the question posed in the title of this post: "A GFD [gluten-free diet] changes the gut microbiome composition and alters the activity of microbial pathways."So said the findings reported by Marc Jan Bonder and colleagues  (open-access) who presented results based on the "changes in the gut microbiomes of 21 healthy volunteers who followed a GFD for four weeks." Said research volunteers (12 women and 9 men) initially followed a GFD for 4 weeks following some baseli........ Read more »
Bonder MJ, Tigchelaar EF, Cai X, Trynka G, Cenit MC, Hrdlickova B, Zhong H, Vatanen T, Gevers D, Wijmenga C.... (2016) The influence of a short-term gluten-free diet on the human gut microbiome. Genome medicine, 8(1), 45. PMID: 27102333
A new study on the epigenetics of lactose intolerance may provide an approach to understanding schizophrenia and other complex, serious illnesses. While that may seem odd, both lactose intolerance and schizophrenia are inherited. In addition, neither condition emerges in the first years of life, but rather both appear years or even decades later.
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Labrie, V., Buske, O., Oh, E., Jeremian, R., Ptak, C., Gasiūnas, G., Maleckas, A., Petereit, R., Žvirbliene, A., Adamonis, K.... (2016) Lactase nonpersistence is directed by DNA-variation-dependent epigenetic aging. Nature Structural . DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.3227
By Hayley TrzinskiImage by Hayley TrzinskiThe Princess and the Frog is a very fun and imaginative children’s story… but not when pesticides are involved. Have you ever wondered how dangerous pesticides can be? Well, pesticides can harm more than just pests and weeds, and in the case of frogs, many pesticides and herbicides are causing problems. Atrazine, a chemical commonly used as an herbicide, can cause reproduction in male African clawed frogs to be impossible. In some cases, atrazine i........ Read more »
Hayes, T., Khoury, V., Narayan, A., Nazir, M., Park, A., Brown, T., Adame, L., Chan, E., Buchholz, D., Stueve, T.... (2010) Atrazine induces complete feminization and chemical castration in male African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(10), 4612-4617. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0909519107
Mnif, W., Hassine, A., Bouaziz, A., Bartegi, A., Thomas, O., & Roig, B. (2011) Effect of Endocrine Disruptor Pesticides: A Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 8(12), 2265-2303. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph8062265
by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room
Here’s a sad study that tells us stereotypes are alive and well in American court systems. Let’s say you are unfortunate enough to be on trial for murder. According to this study, how wide your face is can be the difference between life and death if you are convicted–even if you are actually innocent. We’ve […]
You can tell a lot from looking at someone’s face…
Never trust a man with a wide face
I can tell from your face that you are suicid........ Read more »
Wilson JP, & Rule NO. (2015) Facial Trustworthiness Predicts Extreme Criminal-Sentencing Outcomes. Psychological Science, 26(8), 1325-31. PMID: 26162847
Sleeping reptiles show brain patterns resembling sleep cycles in mammals and birds.... Read more »
Ólafsdóttir, H., Barry, C., Saleem, A., Hassabis, D., & Spiers, H. (2015) Hippocampal place cells construct reward related sequences through unexplored space. eLife. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.06063
Shein-Idelson, M., Ondracek, J., Liaw, H., Reiter, S., & Laurent, G. (2016) Slow waves, sharp waves, ripples, and REM in sleeping dragons. Science, 352(6285), 590-595. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf3621
"These results provide the first evidence that carbamazepine in drinking water and at typical environmental concentrations is transmitted from mother to embryo."So said the findings reported by Gaurav Kaushik and colleagues  who continued a research theme looking at the possibility of an environmental 'exposome' also potentially overlapping with [some] autism (see here). The autism connection came from the a paper by Thomas & Klaper  who previously reported that putting fish in a ........ Read more »
Kaushik G, Huber DP, Aho K, Finney B, Bearden S, Zarbalis KS, & Thomas MA. (2016) Maternal exposure to carbamazepine at environmental concentrations can cross intestinal and placental barriers. Biochemical and biophysical research communications. PMID: 27105911
Tablet and laptop users beware. Using digital platforms such as tablets and laptops for reading may make you more inclined to focus on concrete details rather than interpreting information more abstractly, according to a new study. The findings serve as another wake-up call to how digital media may be affecting our likelihood of using abstract thought.
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Geoff Kaufman, & Mary Flanagan. (2016) High-Low Split: Divergent Cognitive Construal Levels Triggered by Digital and Non-digital Platforms. Association for Computing Machinery. DOI: 10.1145/2858036.2858550
The “musical” nature of birdsong has long been appreciated by humans - a new study suggests birds themselves might be attending to soemthing else..... Read more »
Bregman, M., Patel, A., & Gentner, T. (2016) Songbirds use spectral shape, not pitch, for sound pattern recognition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(6), 1666-1671. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1515380113
Hoeschele, M., Merchant, H., Kikuchi, Y., Hattori, Y., & ten Cate, C. (2015) Searching for the origins of musicality across species. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370(1664), 20140094-20140094. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0094
Described under the heading of a 'Challenging Case', the paper by Randall Phelps and colleagues  titled 'The Curse of the Dolphins: Cognitive Decline and Psychosis' highlights an intriguing case report potentially suggestive of a darker side to the idea of swimming with dolphins.Yes, you did hear me right - dolphins - those aquatic mammals regarded as one of the earth's most intelligent creatures and the suggestion that swimming with them might somehow 'impact' on aspects of a person's functi........ Read more »
Phelps R, Tsai A, Hagen A, Pinter J, Smith R, & Stein MT. (2016) The Curse of the Dolphins: Cognitive Decline and Psychosis. Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP. PMID: 27096574
The idea that the body affects the mind is not new. The eminent American psychologist William James famously proposed that it is actually the physical sensation of fear that causes us to feel afraid. In more recent years, researchers have extended this principle, exploring the possibility that physical sensations play an important role in moral decisions and other processes usually seen as more purely cognitive or cerebral, such as memory.It's already known that physical markers of arousal such ........ Read more »
Fiacconi, C., Peter, E., Owais, S., & Köhler, S. (2016) Knowing by heart: Visceral feedback shapes recognition memory judgments. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 145(5), 559-572. DOI: 10.1037/xge0000164
Brain scans show the human brain under LSD and explain how hallucinations occur.... Read more »
Carhart-Harris, R., Muthukumaraswamy, S., Roseman, L., Kaelen, M., Droog, W., Murphy, K., Tagliazucchi, E., Schenberg, E., Nest, T., Orban, C.... (2016) Neural correlates of the LSD experience revealed by multimodal neuroimaging. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(17), 4853-4858. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1518377113
Carhart-Harris, R., Leech, R., Hellyer, P., Shanahan, M., Feilding, A., Tagliazucchi, E., Chialvo, D., & Nutt, D. (2014) The entropic brain: a theory of conscious states informed by neuroimaging research with psychedelic drugs. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00020
Hagmann, P., Cammoun, L., Gigandet, X., Meuli, R., Honey, C., Wedeen, V., & Sporns, O. (2008) Mapping the Structural Core of Human Cerebral Cortex. PLoS Biology, 6(7). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0060159
A very quick post today to direct you to the paper by Amy Hewitt and colleagues  who seem to have finally published their findings on autism prevalence in the Somali population in Minneapolis in the peer-reviewed domain. I had previously covered their report on this blog (see here) and the suggestion that: "Somali (1 in 32) and White (1 in 36) children were about equally likely to be identified with ASD [autism spectrum disorder], but more likely to be identified with ASD than Black and ........ Read more »
Hewitt, A., Hall-Lande, J., Hamre, K., Esler, A., Punyko, J., Reichle, J., & Gulaid, A. (2016) Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Prevalence in Somali and Non-Somali Children. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-016-2793-6
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