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  • June 23, 2014
  • 03:53 PM
  • 182 views

Pesticides and autism: chapter II

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I've labelled this entry a chapter II post reflecting some continued interest in how agricultural pesticide exposure might fit into autism research (see here for the chapter I post). In that previous post, I talked about various issues such as the old correlation-is-not-necessarily-causation mantra and indeed, how use of something like galantamine for cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) [1] might present something of a paradox for certain types of pesticides being involved in the condition, ........ Read more »

Janie F. Shelton, Estella M. Geraghty, Daniel J. Tancredi,, Lora D. Delwiche, Rebecca J. Schmidt, Beate Ritz, Robin L. Hansen, & Irva Hertz-Picciotto. (2014) Neurodevelopmental disorders and prenatal residential proximity to agricultural pesticides: The CHARGE study. Environmental Health Perspectives. info:/10.1289/ehp.1307044

  • June 23, 2014
  • 11:48 AM
  • 145 views

A man's fighting ability is written in his face

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

A composite of the most (A) and least (B) experienced UFC fighters (from Zilioli et al.)Men with faces that are wide relative to their length are more formidable fighters, on average. That's according to a new paper that also finds that observers use the width of a man's face to ascertain with accuracy his likely fighting ability. Samuele Zilioli and his collaborators believe their findings support the idea that humans have evolved specific "neurocognitive adaptations" for assessing the fig........ Read more »

Zilioli S, Sell AN, Stirrat M, Jagore J, Vickerman W, & Watson NV. (2014) Face of a fighter: Bizygomatic width as a cue of formidability. Aggressive behavior. PMID: 24910133  

  • June 23, 2014
  • 09:00 AM
  • 145 views

Smiles really might warm your heart (or brain)

by Katharine Blackwell in Contemplating Cognition

Those heartwarming touches can give us a warm feeling inside, and help us warm up to someone we don’t know well. On the other hand, a cold-hearted person will leave us cold, and if you give people the cold shoulder too often your significant other might get cold feet about marrying you. Fancy figures of speech, all, and perhaps not just pulled from the ether. We may describe positive social interactions this way because positive interactions really do make us warmer – and by contrast........ Read more »

  • June 23, 2014
  • 04:43 AM
  • 130 views

Is group brainstorming more effective if you do it standing up?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Experts say that spending more time standing at work is good for your physical well-being. Now there's another reason to ditch your office chair. According to psychologists in the US, standing improves group brainstorming sessions.Andrew Knight and Markus Baer recruited 214 undergrads to take part in a 30-minute brainstorming session in groups of three to five people. The challenge for the groups was to come up with ideas for a university recruitment video, which they then recorded at the end of........ Read more »

  • June 23, 2014
  • 04:30 AM
  • 199 views

Kata training and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The actor and musician Steven Seagal is probably not natural fodder for this blog about autism research but he does nevertheless make an appearance today. More readily known for his action films - my favourite was always 'Under Siege' - one of the appeals of Mr Seagal was his knowledge and use of martial arts in his various roles, as a function of his quite impressive real-life black belt in Aikido.Obi Wan... no Obi knot @ Wikipedia It is with martial arts in mind that today I'm talkin........ Read more »

  • June 22, 2014
  • 10:23 AM
  • 321 views

The Love Song of Philo T. Farnsworth

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Philo Farnsworth, if the name sounds vaguely familiar than you might just be a Futurama watcher. If you don't watch and know who I'm talking about or even better are a fan then, "YAY!" and for those of you who don't know, don't sweat it you're not alone. One of the forgotten greats, Farnsworth should be a household name, namely because one of his biggest inventions is in practically every home.... Read more »

The associated press. (2006) Elma Gardner Farnsworth, 98, Who Helped Husband Develop TV, Dies. The New York Times. info:/http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/03/arts/television/03farnsworth.html?_r

Edwin Cartlidge. (2007) The Secrete way of Amateur Fusion. Physics World. info:/http://physicsworldarchive.iop.org/index.cfm?action

  • June 21, 2014
  • 10:50 PM
  • 173 views

Meta-analysing cytokine involvement in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A fairly brief post today to draw your attention to the "systematic review and meta-analysis" paper by Masi and colleagues [1] on all-things cytokine in relation to autism. They concluded that there was "strengthening evidence of an abnormal cytokine profile in ASD [autism spectrum disorder] where inflammatory signals dominate". I should point out that other authors have reached similar conclusions in previous reviews [2] and here also [3]."The herring does not fry here" @ Wikiped........ Read more »

  • June 21, 2014
  • 10:00 PM
  • 197 views

History of neuroscience: Otto Loewi

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged







Otto Loewi







Today, the knowledge that neurons communicate with one another using chemicals known as neurotransmitters is a foundational part of our understanding of brain function. We use our awareness of neurochemical transmission to design drugs, investigate the causes of disease, and improve our comprehension of behavior (e.g. through experimental methods like microdialysis). In the first half of the twentieth century, however, the means by which neurons........ Read more »

  • June 21, 2014
  • 01:00 PM
  • 297 views

Global Warming doesn’t actually benefit Plants

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Things are heating up. It’s no secret that the mercury is rising and we are to blame. Sure, there is a lot of uncertainty, for example how long we have […]... Read more »

  • June 20, 2014
  • 01:00 PM
  • 195 views

Haters gonna… hate?

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Haters gonna hate, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock since the internet has been born you’ve probably heard this phrase. Well now there is a new study that shows […]... Read more »

  • June 20, 2014
  • 04:59 AM
  • 196 views

Vitamin D and autism: same old story?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I have to say that I wasn't all that surprised when I read the conclusions to the study by Eva Kočovská and colleagues [1] (open-access here) talking about significantly lower levels of 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 (25(OH)D3) levels detected in their small cohort of young adults diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with various control populations.A deficiency or insufficiency of vitamin D - the sunshine vitamin/hormone - in relation to quite a few cases of autism is somethin........ Read more »

Kočovská E, Andorsdóttir G, Weihe P, Halling J, Fernell E, Stóra T, Biskupstø R, Gillberg IC, Shea R, Billstedt E.... (2014) Vitamin D in the General Population of Young Adults with Autism in the Faroe Islands. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 24927807  

  • June 19, 2014
  • 03:31 PM
  • 296 views

Addiction, anhedonia, and reward processing in smokers

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged










In those who are addicted to drugs (or any other substance or behavior), the desire to re-experience the intoxicating effects they initially felt when they used the drug can be overwhelming. It can lead to compulsive drug-seeking, obsessive thinking, and irrational behavior. In addition to these new thought patterns and behaviors, however, addiction is also is associated with a diminished ability to experience pleasure from non-drug rewards. This reduced pleasure is termed........ Read more »

  • June 19, 2014
  • 01:00 PM
  • 226 views

Warning: Serious Side Effects may be Overstated

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Black box warnings, I’m all too familiar with them. A quick look in the medicine cabinet and you would see why. In fact I’m surprised the door shuts some days. […]... Read more »

  • June 19, 2014
  • 09:16 AM
  • 233 views

Everyday Aggression: We Hurt Those Closest to Us

by amikulak in Daily Observations

When we think of aggression, we might think of road rage or a bar fight, situations in which people are violent toward strangers.  But research suggests that aggression is actually […]... Read more »

South Richardson, D. (2014) Everyday Aggression Takes Many Forms. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23(3), 220-224. DOI: 10.1177/0963721414530143  

  • June 19, 2014
  • 08:30 AM
  • 194 views

Can Mindfulness Help You Shed Pounds?

by Pranita Sohony in Workout Trends

It is 8.30 in the morning. I have 12 Unread Mails, 5 files on my desk, 3 meetings to attend, 1 cheese wrap in my hand, and ‘Zero’ attention to what I am eating! How familiar is this story? Isn’t that your story at office every morning? Do you even remember what you had for […]
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Framson, C., Kristal, A., Schenk, J., Littman, A., Zeliadt, S., & Benitez, D. (2009) Development and Validation of the Mindful Eating Questionnaire. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109(8), 1439-1444. DOI: 10.1016/j.jada.2009.05.006  

  • June 19, 2014
  • 04:26 AM
  • 189 views

More suramin and autism [mouse] findings

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The headline: 'Century-old drug reverses signs of autism in mice' brought the paper by Jane Naviaux and colleagues [1] (open-access) to my attention and some slightly familiar work (see here) on the use of suramin in a mouse model of autism, or rather a mouse model of maternal immune activation. Indeed, I seem to remember that the previous study by this group [2] courted similar publicity, with some familiar headlines...Not lecturing... @ Wikipedia The latest offering from Naviaux et a........ Read more »

  • June 19, 2014
  • 04:06 AM
  • 114 views

Are voluntary and involuntary memories encoded by different brain systems?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Some memories we aim to remember, others just show up. One proposal is that uninvited memories, such as those that intrude in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), are encoded and stored in a distinct memory system. But a new neuroimaging study led by Shana Hall suggests that similar brain areas are involved whether our memories come spontaneously or by intent.During a functional imaging brain scan, 26 participants made perceptual judgments about a sequence of 100 sounds piped into headphones. ........ Read more »

Hall, S., Rubin, D., Miles, A., Davis, S., Wing, E., Cabeza, R., & Berntsen, D. (2014) The Neural Basis of Involuntary Episodic Memories. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 1-15. DOI: 10.1162/jocn_a_00633  

  • June 19, 2014
  • 12:30 AM
  • 184 views

Join The Thrill, Lift The FIFA World Cup Together !

by Shyamali Sharma in Workout Trends

A spoiled weekend… My friend asked me to come over to her place last weekend and texted me, “ I am all alone and bored to death, please come over!” It was already half past eight in the evening but I decided to go. On my way to her place, my idea of chilling was […]
The post Join The Thrill, Lift The FIFA World Cup Together ! appeared first on .
... Read more »

  • June 18, 2014
  • 03:54 PM
  • 124 views

Would you walk past a money tree?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

We're oblivious to a lot of what passes in front of our eyes. The classic example is people's failure to notice a woman walk through a scene in a gorilla suit. In that study, observers were busy counting basketball passes between players so the gorilla was irrelevant to what they were doing.In a new paper, Ira Hyman and his colleagues say they've extended this phenomenon of "inattentional blindness" by showing that people are frequently blind even to objects that are relevant to what they're doi........ Read more »

  • June 18, 2014
  • 08:30 AM
  • 271 views

The Effects of Canine Personality and Joint Activities on the Dog-Owner Relationship

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A new study in Denmark by Iben Meyer and Bjørn Forkman (University of Copenhagen) investigates the influence of owner characteristics and canine personality on the relationship between dogs and their owners.Photo: Martin Valigursky / ShutterstockThe study of 421 dog owners aged 18 to 75 used data from dog personality tests taken between six months and two-and-a-half years earlier, and a questionnaire of owners that included the Monash Dog Owner Relationship Scale. The dogs were all pedigrees si........ Read more »

Meyer, I., & Forkman, B. (2014) Dog and owner characteristics affecting the dog–owner relationship. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2014.03.002  

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