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  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 »
Lappe, M. (2016) The maternal body as environment in autism science. Social Studies of Science. DOI: 10.1177/0306312716659372
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  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 »
Johnson M, Fransson G, Östlund S, Areskoug B, & Gillberg C. (2016) Omega 3/6 fatty acids for reading in children: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in 9-year-old mainstream schoolchildren in Sweden. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines. PMID: 27545509
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.
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Braham, E., & Libertus, M. (2016) Intergenerational associations in numerical approximation and mathematical abilities. Developmental Science. DOI: 10.1111/desc.12436
"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  (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 »
Tseng PT, Zeng BS, Chen YW, Wu MK, Wu CK, & Lin PY. (2016) A meta-analysis and systematic review of the comorbidity between irritable bowel syndrome and bipolar disorder. Medicine, 95(33). PMID: 27537599
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.
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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
"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  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 »
Richards M, Mossey J, & Robins DL. (2016) Parents' Concerns as They Relate to Their Child's Development and Later Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP. PMID: 27541581
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.
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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
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
"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  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 »
Suh J, Orinstein A, Barton M, Chen CM, Eigsti IM, Ramirez-Esparza N, & Fein D. (2016) Ratings of Broader Autism Phenotype and Personality Traits in Optimal Outcomes from Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 27538964
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.
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Kramer, R., & Ritchie, K. (2016) Disguising Superman: How Glasses Affect Unfamiliar Face Matching. Applied Cognitive Psychology. DOI: 10.1002/acp.3261
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
"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  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 »
Declercq F, Meganck R, & Audenaert K. (2016) A Case Study of Paternal Filicide-Suicide: Personality Disorder, Motives, and Victim Choice. The Journal of psychology, 1-13. PMID: 27537187
'Scientists study link between unhealthy pregnancy diet and ADHD' went one media headline covering the paper by Jolien Rijlaarsdam and colleagues .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 »
Rijlaarsdam J, Cecil CA, Walton E, Mesirow MS, Relton CL, Gaunt TR, McArdle W, & Barker ED. (2016) Prenatal unhealthy diet, insulin-like growth factor 2 gene (IGF2) methylation, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms in youth with early-onset conduct problems. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines. PMID: 27535767
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:/
Neblo, M. (2003) Choices, Values, and Frames, edited by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, New York: Cambridge University Press. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 22(3), 491-493. DOI: 10.1002/pam.10145
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
I was rather interested to read the findings reported by Richelle Mychasiuk & Jong Rho  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 »
Mychasiuk R, & Rho JM. (2016) Genetic modifications associated with ketogenic diet treatment in the BTBRT Tf/J mouse model of autism spectrum disorder. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. PMID: 27529337
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 »
Baldwin, P., Velasquez, K., Koenig, H., Salas, R., & Boelens, P. (2016) Neural correlates of healing prayers, depression and traumatic memories: A preliminary study. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 123-129. DOI: 10.1016/j.ctim.2016.07.002
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 »
Edmiston, P., & Lupyan, G. (2015) Visual interference disrupts visual and only visual knowledge. Journal of Vision, 15(12), 10. DOI: 10.1167/15.12.10
Today I'm directing your reading attention to a really, really interesting paper by Lynn Waterhouse and colleagues  (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 »
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 […]
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 »
Gibson, R., Chennu, S., Fernández-Espejo, D., Naci, L., Owen, A., & Cruse, D. (2016) Somatosensory attention identifies both overt and covert awareness in disorders of consciousness. Annals of Neurology. DOI: 10.1002/ana.24726
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