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  • September 6, 2016
  • 02:51 AM
  • 165 views

"The maternal body as environment in autism science"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Although I'm not really one for deep philosophical discussions or anything related (unless linked to a specific galaxy far, far away...), I was recently interested to read the paper by Martine Lappé [1] talking about how "complex narratives of autism’s causes and social anxieties surrounding child development have helped situate autism risk in women’s bodies before and during pregnancy."I'm as guilty as anyone for discussing the pretty constant stream of peer-reviewed research evidence........ Read more »

  • September 5, 2016
  • 03:08 AM
  • 196 views

Fatty acids and reading ability replicated

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm a fan of scientific replication on this blog. Y'know, when one group comes out with some new marvellous research findings and another [independent] group says 'yep, we found that too'.It is with that sentiment in mind that I'm talking about the results published by Mats Johnson and colleagues [1] who suggested that "3 months of Omega 3/6 treatment improved reading ability" following a "3-month parallel, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial" with schoolchildren aged 9-10 years o........ Read more »

  • September 4, 2016
  • 03:25 PM
  • 219 views

Parents' math skills 'rub off' on their children

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Parents who excel at math produce children who excel at math. This is according to a recently released study, which shows a distinct transfer of math skills from parent to child. The study specifically explored intergenerational transmission--the concept of parental influence on an offspring's behavior or psychology--in mathematical capabilities.

... Read more »

  • September 3, 2016
  • 05:06 AM
  • 233 views

Bipolar disorder in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): real gut-brain axis stuff

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Our results support a significantly higher prevalence rate of BD [bipolar disorder] in IBS [irritable bowel syndrome] patients than in controls."So said the results of the meta-analysis and systematic review published by Ping-Tao Tseng and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) based on the suggestion that "both IBS and BD may, at least partially, share a similar mechanism of pathophysiology" specifically with immune function in mind.Building on previous research sugges........ Read more »

  • September 2, 2016
  • 02:21 PM
  • 248 views

Babies chew on subtle social, cultural cues at mealtime

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

At the dinner table, babies do a lot more than play with their sippy cups, new research suggests. Babies pay close attention to what food is being eaten around them - and especially who is eating it. The study adds evidence to a growing body of research suggesting even very young children think in sophisticated ways about subtle social cues.

... Read more »

Liberman, Z., Woodward, A., Sullivan, K., & Kinzler, K. (2016) Early emerging system for reasoning about the social nature of food. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(34), 9480-9485. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1605456113  

  • September 2, 2016
  • 03:52 AM
  • 220 views

Parental concerns about offspring autism: listen up!

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The developmental concerns expressed by parents of undiagnosed toddlers were highly consistent with the diagnosis the child later received."So said the findings reported by Megan Richards and colleagues [1] who continue a research theme suggesting that when it comes to 'developmental concerns' about offspring behaviour, parents are generally pretty good at spotting potential red flags and professionals should perhaps take further note.Based on data derived from "a toddler screening study" some ........ Read more »

  • September 1, 2016
  • 01:36 PM
  • 231 views

Trauma's epigenetic fingerprint observed in children of Holocaust survivors

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The children of traumatized people have long been known to be at increased risk for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and mood and anxiety disorders. However, there are very few opportunities to examine biologic alterations in the context of a watershed trauma in exposed people and their adult children born after the event.

... Read more »

Yehuda, R., Daskalakis, N., Bierer, L., Bader, H., Klengel, T., Holsboer, F., & Binder, E. (2016) Holocaust Exposure Induced Intergenerational Effects on FKBP5 Methylation. Biological Psychiatry, 80(5), 372-380. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.08.005  

  • September 1, 2016
  • 10:22 AM
  • 206 views

Cuttlefish Can Count to Five

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Don't look now, but this spineless sea creature may be able to count better than your toddler.

Cuttlefish need to be savvy if they want to eat. They're always on the lookout for shrimp, fish or crabs. When a cuttlefish spots a potential victim, it shoots out two specialized, sucker-bearing tentacles and nabs it. Since these hunters have to make constant judgments about which prey are worth targeting, it would make sense for them to have advanced cognitive skills—say, the ability to cou........ Read more »

Yang TI, & Chiao CC. (2016) Number sense and state-dependent valuation in cuttlefish. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 283(1837). PMID: 27559063  

  • September 1, 2016
  • 03:54 AM
  • 209 views

Autism, optimal outcome and the broader autism phenotype

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Overall, OO [optimal outcome] individuals are not showing BAP [broader autism phenotype] characteristics, but may be subject to other mild ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder]-like characteristics."So said the findings reported by Joyce Suh and colleagues [1] who continue a research voyage based on the examination of a group of children who were very much once on the autism spectrum but no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for the label: those with so-........ Read more »

  • August 31, 2016
  • 02:55 PM
  • 253 views

Scientists show that a 'Superman' disguise could actually work

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Ever think it's silly that people don't recognize Clark Kent is actually Superman? Well as it turns out, glasses are actually a fairly good way to disguise yourself. In fact, researchers have shown that small alterations to a person's appearance, such as wearing glasses, can significantly hinder positive facial identification.

... Read more »

  • August 31, 2016
  • 11:30 AM
  • 132 views

Brain Scans Show Your Dog Loves You And Food

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

An fMRI study shows different dogs have different preferences for food and social interaction.A recent fMRI study investigates individual differences in dogs’ preferences for food and social interaction with their owner. The results have been widely – and erroneously – reported as showing that dogs prefer praise to food. In fact, the results paint a far more interesting picture of how brain activity predicts canine choice.I think most people feel subjectively that their dog loves them. The........ Read more »

Cook PF, Prichard A, Spivak M, & Berns GS. (2016) Awake Canine fMRI Predicts Dogs' Preference for Praise Versus Food. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience. PMID: 27521302  

  • August 31, 2016
  • 03:43 AM
  • 173 views

Filicide and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The choice of the victim was in line with emerging evidence indicating that children with disabilities in general and with autism in particular are frequent victims of filicide-suicide."The case report presented by Declercq and colleagues [1] reflects yet another uncomfortable topic discussed on this blog and how the 'deliberate act of murdering ones own child' is something unfortunately not unfamiliar when it comes to the label of autism. Declercq et al provide quite a raw account of........ Read more »

  • August 30, 2016
  • 03:47 AM
  • 167 views

A prenatal 'unhealthy' diet and offspring ADHD?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

'Scientists study link between unhealthy pregnancy diet and ADHD' went one media headline covering the paper by Jolien Rijlaarsdam and colleagues [1].The name of the research game was again to draw on data derived from ALSPAC (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children) (yes, again) to look-see "the degree to which prenatal high-fat and -sugar diet might relate to ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] symptoms via IGF2 DNA methylation for early-onset persistent (EOP........ Read more »

  • August 29, 2016
  • 08:01 AM
  • 175 views

Web of lies, policies and politicians

by Sergio Graziosi in Writing my own user manual - Sergio Graziosi's Blog

In the previous post in this miniseries I’ve used the example of Brexit referendum to explore how allowing lies to be systematically upheld in public discourse is poisonous for democracy itself. The bleak conclusion was that people voted Brexit on…Read more ›... Read more »

Aktipis, C.A., & Kurzban, R.O. (2004) Is Homo Economicus extinct? Vernon Smith, Daniel Kahneman and the evolutionary perspective. Advances in Austrian Economics, 135-153. info:/

  • August 29, 2016
  • 04:30 AM
  • 231 views

Osteoarthritis May Be Associated With More Than Just Joint Pain

by Jane McDevitt in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

Former elite athletes with osteoarthritis are more likely to have symptoms of common mental disorders (distress, sleep problems, adverse alcohol use) compared to those without osteoarthritis.... Read more »

Schuring N, Aoki H, Gray J, Kerkhoffs GM, Lambert M, & Gouttebarge V. (2016) Osteoarthritis is associated with symptoms of common mental disorders among former elite athletes. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy. PMID: 27488101  

  • August 29, 2016
  • 03:37 AM
  • 169 views

The ketogenic diet and the BTBRT Tf/J mouse model of autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was rather interested to read the findings reported by Richelle Mychasiuk & Jong Rho [1] suggesting that the expression of certain genes might be affected by adoption of a ketogenic diet in one of the more familiar mouse models of autism (the BTBRT+Tf/J 'dangermouse').The ketogenic diet (KD), consisting of "a high-fat low-carbohydrate anti-seizure and neuroprotective diet" has been of some interest to autism research over the years (see here). Its potential usefulness has also been explore........ Read more »

  • August 28, 2016
  • 06:29 PM
  • 227 views

Healing Prayer and the Brain: Not a Match Made in Heaven

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Activity of the medial prefrontal cortex after psycho-spiritual healing (Baldwin et al., 2016).Everything we do and feel and experience changes the brain. Psychotherapy, juggling, taxi driving, poverty, reading, drugs, art, music, anger, love. If it didn't we'd be dead. Why should prayer be any different? The trick is to accurately determine the structural or physiological changes that are unique to a specific activity. And when assessing the effectiveness of clinical interventions, how the chan........ Read more »

  • August 28, 2016
  • 02:29 PM
  • 192 views

A visual nudge can disrupt recall of what things look like

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Interfering with your vision makes it harder to describe what you know about the appearance of even common objects, according to researchers. This connection between visual knowledge and visual perception challenges widely held theories that visual information about the world -- that alligators are green and have long tails, for example -- is stored abstractly, as a list of facts, divorced from the visual experience of seeing an alligator.... Read more »

  • August 27, 2016
  • 05:05 AM
  • 188 views

On autism spectrum disorder [research] validity

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Today I'm directing your reading attention to a really, really interesting paper by Lynn Waterhouse and colleagues [1] (open-access) whose review findings suggest that: "the ASD [autism spectrum disorder] diagnosis lacks biological and construct validity."The paper is a bit of a long read but most definitely worth it as the quite complicated subject of exactly what goal the label of autism actually serves is discussed. The results of various questions posed by the authors suggest: "No ........ Read more »

Waterhouse, L., London, E., & Gillberg, C. (2016) ASD Validity. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI: 10.1007/s40489-016-0085-x  

  • August 26, 2016
  • 07:02 AM
  • 236 views

Juvenile offenders, divorce likelihood, assessing conscious awareness  and myth-busting in 2016

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Here’s another collection of tidbits that did not stimulate full posts but that we found interesting enough to share with you so that you can investigate them more for yourself if you so desire. While this post contains more serious information than we usually share in these sorts of posts, it is useful information to […]

Related posts:
Myth-busting: ”Today’s adults have a shorter attention span than a goldfish” 
So is that juvenile offender a “wayward youth” or a “superpr........ Read more »

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