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  • November 3, 2015
  • 03:01 AM

Immunosuppression as a therapeutic pathway of clozapine?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Our data suggest that the superior therapeutic effect of clozapine may be a result of its presently shown immunosuppressive action."So said the findings reported by Markus Larsson and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) who set about investigating "the effects of chronic treatment with antipsychotic drugs on brain levels of cytokines and KYNA [kynurenic acid]" in a rat model. The rationale for the study came in part from the idea that schizophrenia (or least some schizoph........ Read more »

Larsson MK, Schwieler L, Goiny M, Erhardt S, & Engberg G. (2015) Chronic Antipsychotic Treatment in the Rat - Effects on Brain Interleukin-8 and Kynurenic Acid. International journal of tryptophan research : IJTR, 49-52. PMID: 26448689  

  • November 2, 2015
  • 07:02 AM

Here’s why that movie wasn’t called ’12 Angry Women’ 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Well, okay—part of why it was not called ’12 Angry Women’ is because at the time the movie was made (1957), in most venues women were not permitted to serve on juries. But the research we’re featuring today says that even while on jury duty, it’s hard to be a woman. Today’s researchers had 210 […]

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Women as Expert Witnesses: The good, the sad, and the ugly
“It was ‘a man’s work’ and I just didn’t like working with those incompetent women….”
Sh........ Read more »

  • November 2, 2015
  • 05:52 AM

The ideal therapist doubts their professional skills, but loves themselves as a person

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Given a choice, you might think it better to undertake psychotherapy with a confident therapist than a self-doubting one. After all, you want a firm hand to guide you through a storm. But in fact, there's evidence that therapy clients do better when their therapist has professional self-doubts. In a new paper published in Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Helene Nissen-Lie and her colleagues tested their idea that therapist self-doubt might not always be helpful, and specifically that the i........ Read more »

Nissen-Lie, H., Rønnestad, M., Høglend, P., Havik, O., Solbakken, O., Stiles, T., & Monsen, J. (2015) Love Yourself as a Person, Doubt Yourself as a Therapist?. Clinical Psychology . DOI: 10.1002/cpp.1977  

  • November 2, 2015
  • 02:57 AM

Organic diet and urinary pesticide concentrations

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Eating Organic Lowers Pesticide Levels in Children" went the headline reporting on the small study by Asa Bradman and colleagues [1] (open-access available here). Detailing what happened to urinary pesticides levels following trials of combinations of conventionally grown food consumption vs. organic food consumption over 16 days, researchers reported some potentially interesting findings.Measuring 23 metabolites "reflecting potential exposure to organophosphorous (OP), pyrethroid, and other pe........ Read more »

  • November 1, 2015
  • 03:20 PM

Kids meals, toys, and TV advertising: A triple threat to child health

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Fast food companies advertise children’s meals on TV with ads that feature toy premiums, and it has been suggested that the use of these toy premiums may prompt children to request eating at fast food restaurants. In a new study, researchers found that the more children watched television channels that aired ads for children’s fast food meals, the more frequently their families visited those fast food restaurants.... Read more »

  • October 31, 2015
  • 03:49 PM

Lack of ZZZZs may zap cell growth, brain activity

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Lack of adequate sleep can do more than just make you tired. It can short-circuit your system and interfere with a fundamental cellular process that drives physical growth, physiological adaptation and even brain activity, according to a new study. Albrecht von Arnim, a molecular biologist based in the Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology, studied plants but said the concepts may well translate to humans.... Read more »

Missra, A., Ernest, B., Lohoff, T., Jia, Q., Satterlee, J., Ke, K., & von Arnim, A. (2015) The Circadian Clock Modulates Global Daily Cycles of mRNA Ribosome Loading. The Plant Cell, 27(9), 2582-2599. DOI: 10.1105/tpc.15.00546  

  • October 31, 2015
  • 03:57 AM

Making physical activity more attractive to teens with autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I don't want to keep you too long today, what with it being All Hallows' Eve and all the formalities that accompany this festival. I would however like to pass the paper by Heidi Stanish and colleagues [1] your way and some details on the hows and whys of "physical activity enjoyment, perceived barriers, beliefs, and self-efficacy" when it comes to teens diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).Based on questionnaire responses from 35 adolescents with ASD and 60 not-ASD controls (I'm not........ Read more »

  • October 30, 2015
  • 07:02 AM

Fracking and pregnancy issues (prematurity and high risk pregnancies) 

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Risks associated with fracking have been inconsistently documented with the EPA concluding in June 2015 that fracking does not always harm water supplies. “We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States. Of the potential mechanisms identified in this report, we found […]

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Hydro-fracking and the Environment
Motherhood and Employment: Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace
Negotiat........ Read more »

Casey JA, Savitz DA, Rasmussen SG, Ogburn EL, Pollak J, Mercer DG, & Schwartz BS. (2015) Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Birth Outcomes in Pennsylvania, USA. Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.). PMID: 26426945  

  • October 30, 2015
  • 05:42 AM

Googling stuff can cause us to overestimate our own knowledge

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

By guest blogger Simon OxenhamThe internet has changed the way we do many things, from organising a get-together to looking up a recipe. Tasks that little over a decade ago would have involved dozens of phone calls or a trip to the library, can now be completed in a heartbeat. There has been much animated debate about the potential relative harms or benefits of all this, but convincing evidence has not been forthcoming. Now a new study of 119 men and 83 women recruited through Amazon’s Mechani........ Read more »

  • October 30, 2015
  • 04:22 AM

People commit crimes not their clinical labels

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Oregon Killer’s Mother Wrote of Troubled Son and Gun Rights" and "The Myth of the ‘Autistic Shooter’".Those were just two of the headlines that I read recently about the tragedy that rocked the town of Roseburg in the United States and the inevitable attempts to understand such a senseless act.Accepting that our thoughts and prayers should focus on the those murdered, and the long and painful journey that now faces families and loved ones (including that of the perpetrator's family), ment........ Read more »

  • October 29, 2015
  • 03:33 PM

Feeling like you're an expert can make you closed-minded

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

"Not listening ..."What happens to us as we accrue knowledge and experience, as we become experts in a field? Competence follows. Effortlessness follows (pdf). But certain downsides can follow too. We reported recently on how experts are vulnerable to an overclaiming error – falsely feeling familiar with things that seem true of a domain but aren’t. Now a new paper in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology explores how feelings of expertise can lead us to be more dogmatic towards........ Read more »

  • October 29, 2015
  • 01:59 PM

What blocks pro-vaccine beliefs?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Despite rhetoric that pits “anti-vaxxers” versus “pro-vaxxers,” most new parents probably qualify as vaccine-neutral–that is, they passively accept rather than actively demand vaccination. Unless there is an active threat of polio or whooping cough, they have to remind themselves that injecting their crying infant with disease antigens is a good thing.... Read more »

Miton, & Mercier. (2015) Cognitive Obstacles to Pro-Vaccination Beliefs. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. info:/

  • October 29, 2015
  • 06:54 AM

Ophidianthropy: The Delusion of Being Transformed into a Snake

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Scene from Sssssss (1973).“When Dr. Stoner needs a new research assistant for his herpetological research, he recruits David Blake from the local college.  Oh, and he turns him into a snake for sh*ts and giggles.”Movie Review by Jason Grey Horror movies where people turn into snakes are relatively common (30 by one count), but clinical reports of delusional transmogrification into snakes are quite rare. This is in contrast to clinical lycanthropy, the delusion of turning into a wolf.W........ Read more »

  • October 29, 2015
  • 02:21 AM

Is a GFCF diet for autism inherently unhealthy? (part 2)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Consider today's entry as a sort of continuation of a previous post looking at the 'horror' that is a gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) diet for autism (see here).This time around I'm bringing the paper by Salvador Marí-Bauset and colleagues [1] to your attention and the idea that things might not necessarily be all bad when it comes to the use of a GFCF diet in terms of nutritional quality nor anthropometric values. Indeed, subject to the correct dietetic input, that there may be some impor........ Read more »

Marí-Bauset S, Llopis-González A, Zazpe I, Marí-Sanchis A, & Suárez-Varela MM. (2015) Nutritional Impact of a Gluten-Free Casein-Free Diet in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 26428353  

  • October 28, 2015
  • 08:20 PM

How common is sexting among married couples?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Earlier this year, we looked at a study that suggested sexting can be healthy in a relationship, but that study primarily looked at non-married couples and the average age for the behavior was, as you may expect, young adult. Which may lead you to think that married couples don’t sext. In fact, married couples do report sexting, but it is much less common than in young adult relationships and consists more of intimate talk with their partners than sending nude or nearly nude photos via mobile ........ Read more »

  • October 28, 2015
  • 12:05 PM

Survey that revealed widespread iffy research practices in psychology was itself iffy

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Four years ago we were the first to break the disconcerting news that a survey of thousands of US psychologists had found their use of "questionable research practices" was commonplace: that is, their tendency to do things like failing to report all the measures they'd taken, or collecting more data after looking to see if their results were significant.The story went viral, further aggravating the storm cloud sitting over the discipline at that time (it wasn't long since one of social psycholog........ Read more »

Fiedler, K., & Schwarz, N. (2015) Questionable Research Practices Revisited. Social Psychological and Personality Science. DOI: 10.1177/1948550615612150  

  • October 28, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

Make Your Dog Happy: Enrichment

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Easy ways to provide enrichment for your dog.Although we love our canine friends, many dogs have a relatively boring life in which they spend a lot of time hanging around the house or yard, perhaps on their own. Dogs that are bored or under-exercised can easily find their own entertainment, which might not be so pleasing to their human companions. Luckily there are many easy ways to add enrichment to our dog’s lives.Walks: If you are one of those people who walks your dog whatever the weather,........ Read more »

Christian HE, Westgarth C, Bauman A, Richards EA, Rhodes RE, Evenson KR, Mayer JA, & Thorpe RJ Jr. (2013) Dog ownership and physical activity: a review of the evidence. Journal of physical activity , 10(5), 750-9. PMID: 23006510  

Farrell, J., Hope, A., Hulstein, R., & Spaulding, S. (2015) Dog-Sport Competitors: What Motivates People to Participate with Their Dogs in Sporting Events?. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People , 28(1), 61-71. DOI: 10.2752/089279315X1412935072201  

Tavares, S., Magalhães, A., & de Sousa, L. (2015) Labrador retrievers are more attracted to water than to social stimuli: A pilot study. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2015.07.041  

  • October 28, 2015
  • 07:02 AM

Simple Jury Persuasion: The “feelings-as-information” theory 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

You know this theory from painful and frustrating first-hand experiences. You present evidence and the jury ‘hears’ something else and bases their decisions on what they believe you said (or meant) rather than on the evidence as presented. While you (and we) know this happens over and over again, this week we finally ran across […]

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Simple Jury Persuasion: Winning Minds and Touching Hearts
Simple Jury Persuasion: Make Your Expert Optimally Persuasive
Simple Jury Persua........ Read more »

Schwarz, N. In P. Van Lange, A. Kruglanski, . (2012) Feelings-as-information theory. Handbook of theories of social psychology., 289-308. DOI: 10.4135/9781446249215.n15  

  • October 28, 2015
  • 04:32 AM

Autism symptoms in children with ADHD

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Children with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity] had more ASD [autism spectrum disorder] symptoms than non-ADHD controls."So said the findings from Jessica Leigh Green and colleagues [1] following their investigation of over 300 6-10 year olds looking at the prevalence of autistic symptoms "in a community-based sample of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and non-ADHD controls." Conners 3 and the DISC-IV represented the analytical starting poin........ Read more »

Green JL, Rinehart N, Anderson V, Nicholson JM, Jongeling B, & Sciberras E. (2015) Autism spectrum disorder symptoms in children with ADHD: A community-based study. Research in developmental disabilities, 175-184. PMID: 26433184  

  • October 27, 2015
  • 01:23 PM

First brain scan study to feature THAT dress

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Figure and caption from Schlaffke et al., 2015.Earlier this year a dress nearly broke the internet. A photo of the striped frock (which is actually blue and black) was posted on Tumblr and it quickly became apparent that it looked very different to different people, spawning furious arguments and lively scientific commentary.Specifically, people disagreed vehemently over whether it was white and gold (that's my perception) or blue and black. Now, writing in the journal Cortex, researchers i........ Read more »

Schlaffke, L., Golisch, A., Haag, L., Lenz, M., Heba, S., Lissek, S., Schmidt-Wilcke, T., Eysel, U., & Tegenthoff, M. (2015) The brain's dress code: How The Dress allows to decode the neuronal pathway of an optical illusion. Cortex, 271-275. DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2015.08.017  

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