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  • June 18, 2015
  • 12:59 PM
  • 147 views

Not-so-guilty pleasure: Viewing cat videos boosts energy and positive emotions

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

If you get a warm, fuzzy feeling after watching cute cat videos online, the effect may be more profound than you think. The Internet phenomenon of watching cat videos, from Lil Bub to Grumpy Cat, does more than simply entertain; it boosts viewers’ energy and positive emotions and decreases negative feelings, according to a new study by an Indiana University Media School researcher.... Read more »

  • June 18, 2015
  • 04:43 AM
  • 167 views

Atypical enterovirus encephalitis and 'autism-like' (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The autism spectrum disorder or autism-like clinical symptoms are extremely rare, but they may be a clear manifestations of enterovirus encephalitis."That was the finding reported in a poster by Akcakaya and colleagues [1] submitted as part of the 11th European Paediatric Neurology Society Congress 2015. In it, they detail a case report of an adolescent young woman "who developed behavioural changes and autistic features such as impairment of communication, mutism and lack of eye contact" ........ Read more »

  • June 17, 2015
  • 01:54 PM
  • 104 views

Emergency Planning Is For Pets Too

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Failure to include pets in emergency planning puts human lives at risk.“There is no other factor contributing as much to human evacuation failure in disasters that is under the control of emergency management when a threat is imminent as pet ownership.” So say Sebastian Heath(FEMA) and Robert Linnabary(University of Tennessee) in a review of the ways in which pets should be included in emergency planning. Emergency management has five stages: planning, preparedness, mitigation, ........ Read more »

  • June 17, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 36 views

Did Caitlyn Jenner feel “morally tainted”? 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Caitlyn Jenner has been in the headlines pretty continuously since the publication of her Vanity Fair cover photo. And many of us have heard the voiceover quote from her about the number of years she has been in hiding, protecting secrets, and feeling imprisoned. “Bruce always had to tell a lie. He was always living […]

Related posts:
Got morals?
I’m disgusted (until I wash my hands and feel purified)
What’s a moral issue for us these days?


... Read more »

  • June 17, 2015
  • 05:02 AM
  • 148 views

Antipsychotic drugs as epigenetic modifiers?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Blaga Rukova and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) published last year (2014) caught my eye recently and their observations of: "major differences in methylation profiles between male schizophrenia patients in complete remission before and after treatment and healthy controls" as potential evidence that: "antipsychotic drugs may play a role in epigenetic modifications."The process of methylation, as in DNA methylation where methyl groups are added to specific segments........ Read more »

Rukova B, Staneva R, Hadjidekova S, Stamenov G, Milanova V, & Toncheva D. (2014) Whole genome methylation analyses of schizophrenia patients before and after treatment. Biotechnology, biotechnological equipment, 28(3), 518-524. PMID: 26019538  

  • June 16, 2015
  • 10:23 PM
  • 122 views

Know your brain: Default mode network

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

Where is the default mode network?The default mode network (sometimes called simply the default network) refers to an interconnected group of brain structures that are hypothesized to be part of a functional system. The default network is a relatively recent concept, and because of this there is not yet a complete consensus on which brain regions should be included in a definition of it. Regardless, some structures that are generally included are the medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate........ Read more »

Buckner RL, Andrews-Hanna JR, & Schacter DL. (2008) The brain's default network: anatomy, function, and relevance to disease. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1-38. PMID: 18400922  

  • June 16, 2015
  • 04:46 AM
  • 144 views

Gut bacteria and toddler temperament

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The 'terrible twos'. Y'know, that special time in a child's development when the words 'mine' and 'no' are much more than a daily occurrence and visions of supermarket / restaurant meltdowns complete with scathing looks from strangers still linger in the rose-tinted memories of parenting.There's still quite a bit of debate about the hows and whys of the terrible twos but new research by Lisa Christian and colleagues [1] implicates a hitherto unappreciated system potentially at work: our gut........ Read more »

Christian LM, Galley JD, Hade EM, Schoppe-Sullivan S, Kamp Dush C, & Bailey MT. (2015) Gut microbiome composition is associated with temperament during early childhood. Brain, behavior, and immunity, 118-27. PMID: 25449582  

  • June 16, 2015
  • 04:46 AM
  • 123 views

Gut bacteria and toddler temperament

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The 'terrible twos'. Y'know, that special time in a child's development when the words 'mine' and 'no' are much more than a daily occurrence and visions of supermarket / restaurant meltdowns complete with scathing looks from strangers still linger in the rose-tinted memories of parenting.There's still quite a bit of debate about the hows and whys of the terrible twos but new research by Lisa Christian and colleagues [1] implicates a hitherto unappreciated system potentially at work: our gut........ Read more »

Christian LM, Galley JD, Hade EM, Schoppe-Sullivan S, Kamp Dush C, & Bailey MT. (2015) Gut microbiome composition is associated with temperament during early childhood. Brain, behavior, and immunity, 118-27. PMID: 25449582  

  • June 16, 2015
  • 04:02 AM
  • 9 views

What your favourite Harry Potter House says about your personality

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Harry Potter fans strongly self-identify with the different Houses within Hogwarts, the story’s magical school. Now new research shows that a fan’s preferred House tells us something about their personality.Laura Crysel and colleagues used an online Harry Potter community to get access to the more committed fans found there, and asked them to complete a personality test. Each fan reported their favoured House, and the results showed that significant average personality differences existed be........ Read more »

  • June 15, 2015
  • 07:24 AM
  • 120 views

When these people look in the mirror they see a monster staring back

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

One of the participants in an upsetting series of new interviews says she once stared into the mirror for eleven hours straight. She was looking, searching, trying to find a perspective where she felt good enough about herself to be able to go outside.The woman in question, Louise, has Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), which is defined by psychiatrists as a disabling and distressing preoccupation with what she sees as her perceived physical flaw or flaws.For their study, Joanna Silver and Jacqui F........ Read more »

  • June 15, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 90 views

Feeling biased? Just go to sleep and wake up bias-free! 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

At least that’s what the headlines say. But the quieter truth of what the research says is enough for me: the intervention reduced implicit bias and the results held when re-measured one week later. Wow. This is pretty amazing stuff that needs to be used for good and not evil. Can you imagine? This means […]

Related posts:
Biased hearts, biased cameras and biased verdicts
Jury Selection: Art? Science? Or just a ‘gut’ feeling?
How ‘myside bias’ is related to your intelligence
........ Read more »

Hu X, Antony JW, Creery JD, Vargas IM, Bodenhausen GV, & Paller KA. (2015) Unlearning implicit social biases during sleep. Science (New York, N.Y.), 348(6238), 1013-5. PMID: 26023137  

  • June 15, 2015
  • 04:53 AM
  • 145 views

Seeking out autism medical comorbidity clusters

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was rather interested in the findings reported by Kimberly Aldinger and colleagues [1] (open-access here) recently and an intriguing attempt to find out whether "there are predictive patterns of medical conditions that co-occur with ASD [autism spectrum disorder], which could inform medical evaluation and treatment in ASD, as well as potentially identify etiologically meaningful subgroups."Comorbidity (if I can still call it that) is of great interest to this blog and the idea that a........ Read more »

  • June 14, 2015
  • 11:00 PM
  • 137 views

The Pre-Testing Effect (and Posterizing)

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

In their book Make It Stick, authors Peter Brown, Henry Roediger III, and Mark McDaniel have this to say as an introduction to the study we'll look at in this post (along with a few other studies about the benefits of generating solutions [emphasis mine]):... Read more »

Richland, L., Kornell, N., & Kao, L. (2009) The pretesting effect: Do unsuccessful retrieval attempts enhance learning?. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 15(3), 243-257. DOI: 10.1037/a0016496  

  • June 14, 2015
  • 03:23 PM
  • 115 views

Power of the media’s impact on medicine use revealed

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

More than 60,000 Australians are estimated to have reduced or discontinued their use of prescribed cholesterol-lowering statin medications following the airing of a two-part series critical of statins by ABC TV’s science program, Catalyst, a University of Sydney study reveals. The analysis of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medication records of 191,000 people revealed that there was an immediate impact after Catalyst was aired in October 2013, with 14,000 fewer people dispensed statins per........ Read more »

Schaffer, A., Buckley, N., Dobbins, T., Banks, E., & Pearson, S. (2015) The crux of the matter: Did the ABC's Catalyst program change statin use in Australia?. The Medical Journal of Australia, 202(11), 591-594. DOI: 10.5694/mja15.00103  

  • June 13, 2015
  • 06:00 PM
  • 100 views

Study: Higher Income is Related to Less Daily Sadness but Not More Daily Happiness

by Simon Moesgaard-Kjeldsen in Reflectd

A new large-scale study of over 12,000 participants shows that higher income is associated with less daily sadness but not more daily happiness... Read more »

  • June 13, 2015
  • 01:44 PM
  • 120 views

Hormone that differentiates sugar, diet sweeteners could exist in humans

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

We’ve all been there: We eat an entire sleeve of fat-free, low-calorie cookies and we’re stuffing ourselves with more food 15 minutes later. One theory to explain this phenomenon is that artificial sweeteners don’t contain the calories or energy that evolution has trained the brain to expect from sweet-tasting foods, so they don’t fool the brain […]... Read more »

Monica Dus et al. (2015) Nutrient Sensor in the Brain Directs the Action of the Brain-Gut Axis in Drosophila. Neuron. info:/10.1016/j.neuron.2015.05.032

  • June 13, 2015
  • 10:30 AM
  • 111 views

In Praise of (the Right Kind of) Praise

by Winston Sieck in Thinker Academy

Sure, you praise your kids. And they look at you with beaming little faces. Such a warm feeling, if only for a moment. But, is that all there is to praise? What’s simmering in the brain behind those sparkling eyes? It may well depend on the precise nature of the praise you gave. There are […]
Check out In Praise of (the Right Kind of) Praise, an original post on Thinker Academy.
... Read more »

  • June 13, 2015
  • 02:59 AM
  • 147 views

Autism, higher education and employment: what happens long-term?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Note: I wish I knew who to attribute this fantastic picture to.I want to draw your attention to the paper by Julie Lounds Taylor and colleagues [1] in today's post and some slightly worrying findings based on their longitudinal investigation of postsecondary (higher) education and employment experiences for a group of 73 adults diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum.To quote: "Although two-thirds of adults with autism spectrum disorder participated in competitive employment/postseco........ Read more »

  • June 12, 2015
  • 04:39 AM
  • 141 views

Infections and cognitive ability

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Today I'm serving up the study findings reported by Michael Benrós and colleagues [1] (open-access) describing how: "Independent of a wide range of possible confounders, significant associations between infections and cognitive ability were observed" in their study of over 160,000 male conscripts during the years 2006–2012 who were tested for cognitive ability. Some further write-up of the study can also be found here.Using the Danish Conscription Registry (existing a........ Read more »

  • June 11, 2015
  • 05:11 AM
  • 153 views

Higher vitamin D = reduced risk of depression?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"These results support the hypothesis that higher serum 25(OH)D concentrations protect against depression even after adjustment for a large number of sociodemographic, lifestyle and metabolic factors."That was the conclusion reached by Tuija Jääskeläinen and colleagues [1] who analysed data from several thousands of people (men and women aged between 30 -79 years old) included as part of the Finnish Health 2000 survey. Alongside assaying for serum levels of 25(OH)D - 25-hydroxy vitamin D........ Read more »

Jääskeläinen T, Knekt P, Suvisaari J, Männistö S, Partonen T, Sääksjärvi K, Kaartinen NE, Kanerva N, & Lindfors O. (2015) Higher serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations are related to a reduced risk of depression. The British journal of nutrition, 113(9), 1418-26. PMID: 25989997  

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