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  • July 31, 2015
  • 10:40 AM
  • 15 views

What Happens When People Text on an Obstacle Course

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Exercise scientist Conrad Earnest was dodging some oblivious pedestrians in England when inspiration struck. He was trying to walk down the sidewalk, but all around him people were weaving back and forth as they focused on their smartphone screens. Earnest suggested to two of his students that they study the dangers of texting while walking. Specifically, they could ask whether texters are more likely to trip and fall—perhaps wishful thinking on Earnest's part as he walked among them.

The... Read more »

  • July 31, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 9 views

Workplace rudeness: Death of a thousand cuts 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

It makes sense. If someone is rude to you, you might become grumpy and be rude in response, or rude to those who cross your path in the wake of the mistreatment. You may think of this as a small issue but new research shows us that rude behaviors are actually harmful—and, in fact, as […]

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The Workplace Ostracism Scale: Making the subjective objective?
Fat bias in the workplace
Who benefits from racism in the workplace?


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  • July 31, 2015
  • 03:34 AM
  • 25 views

Careful now: oral colostrum MAF and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I should perhaps begin this slightly longer than usual post by reiterating my well-trodden caveat on this blog about not giving anything that looks, sounds or smells like medical or clinical advice during my musings. This is a blog [mainly] about peer-reviewed science, nothing more. Added to that, I'm not your Dr Ross and you are not my patient.So... I've been seeing quite a bit about Gc-MAF (Gc Macrophage Activating Factor) in the news recently. The various headlines about autism and Gc-MAF (see here and see here) have made up the bulk of media coverage but other reports of scientific retractions (see here) have similarly filled some column inches in recent times.Whilst treading carefully in this area, Gc-MAF has cropped up on this blog a few times based on some of the peer-reviewed literature with autism in mind (see here and see here for further information including what Gc-MAF is). Even Drs Hornig & Lipkin have mentioned Gc-MAF and its precursors in other non peer-reviewed literature (see here). Indeed, given the straddling of autism research and studies on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) by Drs Hornig and Lipkin, it is timely that I discuss the paper from Toshio Inui and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) detailing a few case studies suggesting that: "oral colostrum MAF can be used for serious infection and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) without adverse effects."OK. First things first. Oral colostrum MAF is, we are told, a "new form of macrophage-activating factor (MAF) made from colostrum in collaboration with the Tokushima University." Macrophages are known as the 'big eaters' of the immune system getting rid of various molecular debris including viruses, bacteria and the odd 'worn out cell'. The Star Wars version (yes, you heard/read me right) of the role of macrophages can be read in this article [2] by Debra Laskin. Gc-MAF as the name implies is an 'activating factor' for macrophages, also seemingly affected by something called nagalase."This new form, referred to as colostrum MAF, is manufactured using bovine colostrum instead of human serum. It is administered orally in an acid-resistant enteric capsule to activate macrophages in the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) and as a powder in the mouth to activate macrophages in the lymphoid tissue of the mouth and throat."Given the immune system / macrophage slant to colostrum MAF, the authors moved into the area of CFS and the idea that: "infections and immune dysfunction are thought to play a critical role in the development of the disease." I'll chip in here and reiterate that science does seem to be moving closer to the idea that CFS (and myalgic encephalomyelitis, ME) has origins in organic disease albeit still a little undecided as to what factors are involved. On that basis, two of the three case reports detailed in the Inui paper are on adults with CFS and their experiences of colostrum MAF.Focusing on those two case reports - both females - they were reported to show some pretty interesting effects concurrent to the use of colostrum MAF. Statements like "reduced malaise" and "being able to do her usual work with more energy like most other people do" are included in the text, even accompanied by "improvements in hair growth on her head." The authors attempt to link such changes to increased phagocytosis. They suggest further work is needed to "elucidate the mechanisms by which MAF has beneficial effects."These are interesting results but I'm afraid that I need a little more convincing on safety and efficacy yet. Case reports, as I've mentioned in the context of autism (a heterogeneous condition), can provide some really informative data about a specific person diagnosed with a particular condition as a starting point for further investigations more generalised to more people in those specific circumstances. That same logic applies to the Inui findings and the need for further controlled studies on the potential effects of colostrum MAF including specific measures of fatigue and other symptom changes as a result of any intervention(s). This also includes the need for a little more information about the biology behind any reported changes and longer-term, what any effects might be bearing in mind where it comes from. Without casting aspersions, one needs to remember how powerful even a placebo can be (see here).Insofar as the comments about hair regrowth in relation to CFS, whilst I have heard that hair loss is not uncommon (see here) I can't yet find anything in the peer-reviewed domain specifically about this phenomenon. This doesn't mean that co-occurring issues alongside a diagnosis of CFS might not involve such a symptom but as far as I am aware, it is not a primary part of the [current] diagnostic criteria. In order to avoid any mis-interpretations about colostrum MAF being the next hair growth agent of choice, in future studies I would like to see a little more 'controlled' scientific engagement over such processes.It is as easy to get carried away with the Inui results as it is to pooh-pooh the findings, particularly in light of all that media coverage of Gc-MAF recently. Throughout the whole history of this compound and now colostrum MAF, there has been a tendency to make some pretty big claims often at the expense of really methodologically sound objective science. Given however the ways and means that a condition like CFS can impact on a person - disable a person - I would suggest that this might be an occasion where sound independent research can come take a lead and put some scientific flesh on the bones on any effect or not.Music: Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe.----------[1] Inui T. et al. Oral Colostrum Macrophage-activating Factor for Serious Infection and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Three Case Reports. Anticancer Res. 2015 Aug;35(8):4545-9.[2] Laskin DL. Macrophages and inflammatory mediators in chemical toxicity: a battle of forces. Chem Res Toxicol. 2009 Aug;22(8):1376-85.----------... Read more »

  • July 30, 2015
  • 04:06 AM
  • 40 views

Inflammatory bowel disease and autism: increased prevalence

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin today's post:"Across each population with different kinds of ascertainment, there was a consistent and statistically significant increased prevalence of IBD [inflammatory bowel disease] in patients with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] than their respective controls and nationally reported rates for pediatric IBD."That was the conclusion reached in the paper published by Finale Doshi-Velez and colleagues [1] including one very notable name on the authorship list, Isaac Kohane (he of comorbidity clusters and autism research fame).Drawing on data from various sources - "rates of IBD among patients with and without ASD were measured in 4 study populations with distinct modes of ascertainment: a health care benefits company, 2 pediatric tertiary care centers, and a national ASD repository" - researchers set about establishing whether there were any differences between those with autism and those without autism in terms of IBD frequency. IBDs by the way, were characterised using ICD-9-CM codes and primarily included diagnoses of Crohn's disease and/or ulcerative colitis.Researchers reported that "the rates of IBD-related ICD-9-CM codes for patients with ASD were significantly higher than that of their respective controls" despite the actual numbers diagnosed with an IBD being quite low (23 out of a cumulative population of nearly 10,000 participants). For those 23 people on the autism spectrum however, formal diagnosis of an inflammatory bowel disease is probably a very real thing to them and their families.As mentioned in previous discussions on this blog, to talk about inflammatory bowel disease and autism can stir up some quite intense emotions and debates (see here) despite the fact that a diagnosis of autism is seemingly not protective against presenting with such issues (see here). Alongside the acceptance that more functional bowel issues such as constipation and diarrhoea are quite a frequent feature for quite a few cases of autism (see here), research attention needs to turn towards the underlying reasons why such functional bowel problems present and whether they may be reflective of something more pathological than just as a consequence of poor eating habits (see here) or any psychological / behavioural comorbidity (see here).I'd wager that there is a lot more to see in this area of research particularly in light of ideas about the gut-brain axis being something potentially important to [some] autism (see here) alongside the idea that there may be specific neurological consequences of IBDs (see here). The idea that parental experiences of IBDs may also not be associated with offspring autism risk (see here) invites some interesting research discussing the ways and means that IBD risk comes to be heightened in relation to autism...Music and have you heard that bird is the word?----------[1] Doshi-Velez F. et al. Prevalence of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Among Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2015 Jul 25.----------Doshi-Velez F, Avillach P, Palmer N, Bousvaros A, Ge Y, Fox K, Steinberg G, Spettell C, Juster I, & Kohane I (2015). Prevalence of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Among Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Inflammatory bowel diseases PMID: 26218138... Read more »

Doshi-Velez F, Avillach P, Palmer N, Bousvaros A, Ge Y, Fox K, Steinberg G, Spettell C, Juster I, & Kohane I. (2015) Prevalence of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Among Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Inflammatory bowel diseases. PMID: 26218138  

  • July 29, 2015
  • 02:09 PM
  • 54 views

The “Invisible Web” Undermines Health Information Privacy

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

What do the third parties do with your data? We do not really know because the laws and regulations are rather fuzzy here. We do know that Google, Facebook and Twitter primarily make money by advertising so they could potentially use your info and customize the ads you see. Just because you visited a page on breast cancer does not mean that the "Invisible Web" knows your name and address but they do know that you have some interest in breast cancer. It would make financial sense to send breast cancer related ads your way: books about breast cancer, new herbal miracle cures for cancer or even ads by pharmaceutical companies. It would be illegal for your physician to pass on your diagnosis or inquiry about breast cancer to an advertiser without your consent but when it comes to the "Invisible Web" there is a continuous chatter going on in the background about your health interests without your knowledge.
... Read more »

  • July 29, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 49 views

Should Vets Give Treats to Pets?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Do treats at the vet mean fewer bites and a less fearful pet? Many companion animals are scared of visits to the vet. There is an established procedure for treating fear called desensitization and counter-conditioning (DS/CC) which involves feeding nice food in order to make something less scary. Yet many vets do not give treats to animals. A new paper by Karolina Westlund (Karolinska Institute) considers this reluctance, and looks at the evidence for and against.Westlund says, “Veterinarians and veterinary assistants have a choice whether or not to use treats when interacting with their patients; indeed a DS/CC procedure could be started the moment the animal enters the waiting room, and continue during weighing, consultation and examination. Could it be that staff assess the potential costs involved in feeding treats, but not the costs involved in not doing so?”If your pet has ever had to have a general anaesthetic, you’ll have heard the advice not to feed anything after 8pm the night before. The worry is that something called the gastro-oesophageal reflex might make the contents of the stomach leak up into the trachea, potentially causing aspiration pneumonia. However, this is a rare occurrence (she cites a figure of between 0.04% and 0.26% of postoperative cases). Westlund says many vets never give treats to pets during routine vet exams, just in case it turns out the animal needs anaesthesia or sedation. However, she says vets should consider the benefits as well as the risks. Giving treats would help make the animal less stressed, which in itself reduces the need for sedation. It also makes it safer for vets, who are less likely to get bitten. Another important benefit she mentions is it can give vets an opportunity to educate owners about how to deal with fear. This will be especially helpful for people whose animals are afraid of other things too (such as fireworks). Also, some people stop taking their animals to the vet altogether simply because the cat or dog is so afraid that it becomes difficult for them to do so. Another reason vets can be reluctant to feed treats is in case of causing a tummy upset, but Westlund suggests having a range of treats and checking with owners about food allergies first. Vets may also be concerned about promoting treats given the problems of overweight and obesity in pets. She suggests calling them ‘wholesome treats’ or ‘tasty food’ instead. This also provides another opportunity for client education. Westlund concludes that “the benefits to the animal, staff and owner outweigh the risks.” She also makes specific suggestions to help vets with concerns.For many pets, treats at the vet will help them feel more comfortable. For animals with a bigger fear of the vet and/or being handled, a suitably qualified dog trainer or animal behaviourist would be able to develop a plan to resolve the problem.How do your pets find visits to the vet?Reference Westlund, K. (2015). To feed or not to feed: counterconditioning in the veterinary clinic Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2015.05.008 Normal 0 false false false EN-CA X-NONE X-NONE ... Read more »

  • July 29, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 3 views

70% of evangelicals do not see religion and science as in  conflict

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

At least those are the findings of the Religious Understandings of Science (RUS) study which is based on a “nationally representative survey of more than 10,000 Americans”. Sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), this study (completed in early 2014) hit the media about a year later. Sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund […]

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Choosing science over beliefs: Frequency of dog bites and feelings of safety
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Ecklund, EH, & Scheitle, C. (2014) Religious Communities, Science, Scientists, and Perceptions:A Comprehensive Survey. Annual Meetings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. . info:/

  • July 29, 2015
  • 03:42 AM
  • 58 views

Gluten psychosis

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The present case-report confirms that psychosis may be a manifestation of NCGS [non-coeliac gluten sensitivity], and may also involve children; the diagnosis is difficult with many cases remaining undiagnosed."Elena Lionetti and colleagues [1] (open-access) provide an interesting read in today's post on how diet and psychiatry might once again be linked. Presenting a case report of a 14-year old girl coming to the attention of clinical services "for psychotic symptoms that were apparently associated with gluten consumption", the authors describe the experiences of an otherwise well child quite quickly developing various psychiatric symptoms. Although initially thought to be autoimmune encephalitis (see here) it became apparent that dietary gluten might be a culprit behind the psychiatric presentation and not necessarily because of the classical gluten-related autoimmune condition called coeliac (celiac) disease (CD) either."To our knowledge, this is the first description of a pre-pubertal child presenting with a severe psychotic manifestation that was clearly related to the ingestion of gluten-containing food and showing complete resolution of symptoms after starting treatment with the gluten-free diet." Well actually, it's not; as previous ramblings on this blog come to mind (see here) albeit not with the same serological profile as discussed in the Lionetti paper. Interestingly however is the 'autoimmune' link noted in the paper by Eaton and colleagues [2] potentially overlapping with the Lionetti case report: "The only abnormal parameters were anti-thyroglobulin and thyroperoxidase antibodies (103 IU/mL, and 110 IU/mL; v.n. 0–40 IU/mL)." In light of other 'psychiatric' manifestations correlating with autoimmune issues with thyroid function in mind (see here) I'm beginning to wonder whether there might be a few research studies to do in this area...Hopefully without plagiarising the Lionetti report, another long quote is coming up: "In our case report, the correlation of psychotic symptoms with gluten ingestion and the following diagnosis of NGCS were well demonstrated; the girl was, indeed, not affected by CD, because she showed neither the typical CD-related autoantibodies (anti-tTG and EMA) nor the signs of intestinal damage at the small intestinal biopsy. Features of an allergic reaction to gluten were lacking as well, as shown by the absence of IgE or T-cell-mediated abnormalities of immune response to wheat proteins. The double-blind gluten challenge, currently considered the gold standard for the diagnosis of NCGS, clearly showed that the elimination and reintroduction of gluten was followed by the disappearance and reappearance of symptoms." I might add that mention of 'leaky gut' in the Lionetti paper might offer a further expansion for the role of intestinal hyperpermeability in psychiatry (see here).Need I say any more aside from: (i) this being further evidence that Dohan might have been on to something and (ii) more scientifically controlled research is most definitely warranted. Oh, and that the spectrum of possible behavioural and/or psychiatric effects from gluten in some people may be expanding...Music: Shake Some Action.----------[1] Lionetti E. et al. Gluten Psychosis: Confirmation of a New Clinical Entity. Nutrients. 2015;7(7): 5532-5539.[2] Eaton WW. et al. Improvement in Psychotic Symptoms After a Gluten-Free Diet in a Boy With Complex Autoimmune Illness. Am J Psychiatry. 2015; 172: 219-221.----------Lionetti, E., Leonardi, S., Franzonello, C., Mancardi, M., Ruggieri, M., & Catassi, C. (2015). Gluten Psychosis: Confirmation of a New Clinical Entity Nutrients, 7 (7), 5532-5539 DOI: 10.3390/nu7075235... Read more »

Lionetti, E., Leonardi, S., Franzonello, C., Mancardi, M., Ruggieri, M., & Catassi, C. (2015) Gluten Psychosis: Confirmation of a New Clinical Entity. Nutrients, 7(7), 5532-5539. DOI: 10.3390/nu7075235  

  • July 28, 2015
  • 03:35 AM
  • 74 views

Adult outcomes following childhood psychiatric problems

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A long quote to begin:"If the goal of public health efforts is to increase opportunity and optimal outcomes, and to reduce distress, then there may be no better target than the reduction of childhood psychiatric distress—at the clinical and subthreshold levels."That was the bottom line reported by William Copeland and colleagues [1] (open-access) who set out to test whether psychiatric problems presenting in childhood can "adversely affect adult functioning even if the problems themselves do not persist." The Copeland study also has an accompanying editorial in the publishing journal [2].Based on data derived from a prospective study of nearly 1500 participants "from 11 predominantly rural counties of North Carolina" researchers looked for the presence of "common psychiatric diagnoses and subthreshold psychiatric problems" by means of structured assessments during childhood (9-16 years of age). "The common childhood psychiatric disorders assessed included anxiety disorders (separation anxiety, generalized anxiety, social phobia, specific phobia, agoraphobia, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder), mood disorders (major depression, dysthymia, mania, and hypomania), conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and substance disorders."Just over 1200 of these research participants were then followed into adulthood - young adulthood - and assessed "for adverse outcomes related to health, the legal system, personal finances, and social functioning." This included responses on the the Young Adult Psychiatric Assessment (YAPA) and accessing official criminal records.Results: of the original childhood cohort, just over a quarter of children/young adults "met criteria for a common behavioral or emotional disorder at some point in childhood/adolescence (9-16 years of age)." Whilst this might sound a lot, other studies have reached similar conclusions (see here). Added to that, about a third of participants at this stage of development "displayed subthreshold psychiatric problems only."For those followed into adulthood: "Participants with a childhood disorder had 6 times higher odds... of at least 1 adverse adult outcome (ie, indicator) compared with those with no history of psychiatric problems." In more detail: "41.5% of participants who were subthreshold cases only and 59.5% of participants who were psychiatric cases reported an adult outcome" where an 'adult outcome' was classified as one of those 'adverse outcomes' in the areas inspected. "Psychiatric and subthreshold cases made up close to 80% of participants with an adult indicator (42.3% of psychiatric cases, 35.7% of subthreshold cases, and 22.0% of noncases) and close to 90% of participants with 2 or more such indicators (48.2% of psychiatric cases, 39.4% of subthreshold cases, and 12.3% of noncases)."Drilling down into the details of what diagnosis or subthreshold diagnosis specifically translated into adverse adult outcomes, the authors reported that "childhood depression and conduct disorder were associated with a higher likelihood of having an adverse outcome, and only conduct disorder predicted having 2 or more adverse outcomes." These results held true even when various covariates were taken into account such as low socio-economic status, unstable family structure and maltreatment.The accompanying editorial does make a case for not jumping to too many conclusions on the basis of the Copeland findings in terms of their meaning. "It is possible that some or all of the causes of psychopathology across the lifespan operate early in life" is one sentiment expressed. Being careful not to make any sweeping generalisations, I would tend to suggest that the evidence does seem to be pointing to early life psychopathology as expressing quite a effect when it comes to later life outcome. Taking for example the idea that a neurodevelopmental disorder might for example, influence the risk of psychosis in later life (see here) is one area where supporting peer-reviewed evidence has been produced. A possible link between the diagnosis of autism (Asperger syndrome) and an elevated risk of bipolar disorder (see here) in adult life is another.Irrespective of the hows and whys, the data from Copeland adds to the idea that significantly more efforts are perhaps required to 'tackle' childhood psychopathology with the hope of reducing adverse adult outcomes and improving quality of life across the lifespan. Accepting that societal factors might also need some inspection alongside the idea that economics might enter into the equation at some point [3], questions remain about the best way to achieve this aim and how one goes about providing an evidence-based approach to analysing the success or not of any approach to this matter.Music: LCD Soundsystem - Someone Great.----------[1] Copeland WE. et al. Adult Functional Outcomes of Common Childhood Psychiatric Problems: A Prospective, Longitudinal Study. JAMA Psychiatry. 2015. July 15.[2] Lahey BB. Why Are Children Who Exhibit Psychopathology at High Risk for Psychopathology and Dysfunction in Adulthood? JAMA Psychiatry. 2015. July 15.[3] Chorozoglou M. et al. Preschool hyperactivity is associated with long-term economic burden: evidence from a longitudinal health economic analysis of costs incurred across childhood, adolescence and young adulthood. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 2015. June 13.----------Copeland WE, Wolke D, Shanahan L, & Costello EJ (2015). Adult Functional Outcomes of Common Childhood Psychiatric Problems: A Prospective, Longitudinal Study. JAMA psychiatry PMID: 26176785... Read more »

  • July 27, 2015
  • 05:36 PM
  • 86 views

Distrust of atheists is widespread and pervasive: more evidence

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

A new opinion poll has some bad news for atheists. Some 40% of the US population would not consider voting for an atheist presidential candidate, regardless of their policies. That’s fewer than would vote for a gay or lesbian – or even (gasp!) a Muslim! It’s pretty much in accordance with a previous poll which showed that atheism is a bigger no-no for presidential candidates than homosexuality, extra-marital affairs, or drug use.... Read more »

  • July 27, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 61 views

Things you always wondered about—probably  not so much

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Here again is a collection of tidbits we don’t deem worthy of a complete blog post but which might be of interest or even amusing to you. Social media is how we get our news these days While you may think Twitter is receding in importance, the numbers beg to differ. A new Pew Research […]

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  • July 27, 2015
  • 06:35 AM
  • 77 views

How rudeness spreads like a contagion

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

University of Florida researchers have finally put a long-standing hypothesis about rudeness to the test. The history to this is a study published in 1999 [pdf] that showed rudeness can create a vicious circle between individuals – if you’re rude to someone, they’re more likely to be rude back at you. What the authors of that paper also speculated though, and the new research investigates, is that an initial act of rudeness creates a "secondary spiral" where offended parties end up dumping on the innocent – meaning, effectively, that rudeness can spread like a contagion.For the new research, Trevor Foulk and his team began by studying the interactions of 90 graduate students during negotiation training, which was conducted in pairs. After each negotiation, students rated the rudeness and likability of their negotiation partner and then played a series of nine trials that each involved splitting a cash sum with that same partner, either fairly, selfishly, or spitefully accepting a poor prize in order to deny the other any cash at all. Each participant then repeated the same procedure – negotiation followed by financial game – with ten more partners.To walk through the main finding, let’s take a rude student called Alan. The data showed that if Bella interacted with rude Alan, she would find him less likeable and be likelier to spite him financially. But furthermore, in Bella’s next negotiation session with Carl, he would more likely find her rude, unlikeable and in need of spiting. In other words, one person’s rudeness could spread through many negotiation pairs.A second study suggested why rudeness has this effect. Here, during a “word-or-nonword” recognition task, the student participants were especially fast at recognising rude-related words, such as boorish or pushy, but only when the start of the experiment had been marred by the experimenter rudely humiliating a latecomer (actually another experimenter undercover). This shows how experiencing rudeness brings it to the front of our minds, which may colour how we interpret other people’s behaviours, thus influencing our own behaviour.A final study demonstrates this principle, and highlights how these biased interpretations thrive in ambiguous situations. Again, one set of participants witnessed a rude event: a video of an altercation between co-workers in the fictional bookshop within which the tasks were set. Participants then completed a version of the cash allocation task used in the first study: this time sharing proceeds with a customer who’d emailed the bookshop with a query about an undelivered book.When the query was written in a neutral tone, participants were fair with the cash, but other participants who received an overtly hostile query chose to spite the customer in roughly one in four trials. Whether they’d experienced prior rudeness didn’t sway these choices. A third query version was rude but ambiguously hostile: “I REALLY need those books. I hope this isn’t asking too much!??????” When dealing with this ambiguous customer, participants who hadn’t experienced rudeness gave them the benefit of the doubt, treating them comparably to the neutral customer. But participants who had viewed the earlier rude encounter opted for spite, as if they were dealing with a hostile customer.Serious workplace problems such as workplace bullying have been shown to act like contagion, systemically infecting organisations if unchecked. This study shows us that smaller behaviours can also make the rounds, and much like the common cold, require only one moment of exposure to kick things off. The difference is that we can’t fully control whether we pass on a cold, but we always have a choice with rudeness: when Bella opts for civility, the secondary spiral spins its last._________________________________ Foulk, T., Woolum, A., & Erez, A. (2015). Catching Rudeness Is Like Catching a Cold: The Contagion Effects of Low-Intensity Negative Behaviors. Journal of Applied Psychology DOI: 10.1037/apl0000037 --further reading--The harm caused by witnessing rudeness“Just try to ignore it”: How neurotic people respond to extreme rudeness at workGuilt is catchingSelf-esteem is catchingPost written by Alex Fradera (@alexfradera) for the BPS Research Digest.Our free fortnightly email will keep you up-to-date with all the psychology research we digest: Sign up!
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  • July 27, 2015
  • 03:08 AM
  • 79 views

Incontinence and paediatric autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Urinary incontinence - "the unintentional passing of urine" - is a fairly common issue affecting millions of people of all ages worldwide. Achieving full bladder and bowel control is seen as a typical part of growing up but for some children, particularly those diagnosed with a behavioural or developmental condition, issues with incontinence can persist much later into life [1].The findings reported by Alexander von Gontard and colleagues [2] bring the issue of incontinence into the autism research spotlight with their observations that: "children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] are at a greater risk of being affected by different forms of incontinence and LUTS [lower urinary tract symptoms]."Based on responses to a questionnaire "referring to incontinence and the International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire-Pediatric LUTS (ICIQ-CLUTS)" researchers were able to compare results for 40 children diagnosed with ASD (mean age 11 years) with 43 aged-matched asymptomatic controls. Assessing various different types of incontinence, results suggested that nearly a third of participants with ASD showed nocturnal enuresis (night-time urinary incontinence) and nearly a quarter with daytime urinary incontinence. Control responses were 0% and ~5% respectively. Presentation of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) in general were more frequently noted in the ASD group including "urgency and postponement".Given that psychological symptoms can to some extent also overlap with incontinence issues, researchers also reported that "children with ASD showed higher rates of clinically relevant psychological symptoms (externalizing and internalizing symptoms), and according to the psychiatric interview, they had higher rates of comorbid psychological disorders." The conclusion: "children with ASD are at a greater risk of being affected by different forms of incontinence and LUTS. Therefore, screening for incontinence and, if indicated, treatment of these disorders is recommended."This is not the first time that incontinence issues have been reported as occurring alongside a diagnosis of autism. Geier and colleagues [3] observed a fairly high number of their cohort with autism (mean age ~ 6 years) as also presenting with incontinence issues. Other studies have suggested a connection between certain medication use and the onset of incontinence in cases of autism [4]. Incontinence has tended to be something of unspoken issue in autism research and practice down the years as reports of children 'still in nappies' have circulated. I can't say for sure why such issues seemed to have been just left as part of the expected outcome for children with 'special needs' as the earlier article from von Gontard [1] described them, but it strikes me that we should perhaps be doing more to tackle such issues when present. The idea that continence problems might also have specific presentation profile(s) when noted in cases of autism is also interesting in light of other work [5] suggesting that screening for autism in case of "functional defecation disorders" might be indicated. Added to research on slow bowel transit time and autism (see here) and the closer inspection of general incontinence issues allied to autism is very much indicated.Music: The Beatles - Hello Goodbye. Well, make up your mind...----------[1] von Gontard A. Urinary incontinence in children with special needs. Nat Rev Urol. 2013 Nov;10(11):667-74.[2] von Gontard A. et al. Incontinence in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Pediatric Urology. 2015. May 22.[3] Geier DA. et al. A prospective Cross-sectional Cohort Assessment of Health, Physical, and Behavioral Problems in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Maedica (Buchar). 2012 Sep;7(3):193-200.[4] Kumazaki H. et al. Risperidone-associated urinary incontinence in patients with autistic disorder with mental retardation. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2014 Oct;34(5):624-6.[5] Peeters B. et al. Autism spectrum disorders in children with functional defecation disorders. J Pediatr. 2013 Sep;163(3):873-8.----------von Gontard A, Pirrung M, Niemczyk J, & Equit M (2015). Incontinence in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of pediatric urology PMID: 26052001... Read more »

von Gontard A, Pirrung M, Niemczyk J, & Equit M. (2015) Incontinence in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of pediatric urology. PMID: 26052001  

  • July 26, 2015
  • 07:39 PM
  • 100 views

Sleep not just protects memories against forgetting, it also makes them more accessible

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Sleeping not only protects memories from being forgotten, it also makes them easier to access, according to new research from the University of Exeter and the Basque Centre for Cognition, Brain and Language. The findings suggest that after sleep we are more likely to recall facts which we could not remember while still awake.... Read more »

Dumay, N. (2015) Sleep not just protects memories against forgetting, it also makes them more accessible. Cortex. info:/http://hdl.handle.net/10871/17864

  • July 26, 2015
  • 03:12 PM
  • 79 views

Cell phone notifications may be driving you to distraction

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Whether you are alerted to an incoming phone call or text by a trendy ringtone, an alarm bell or a quiet vibration, just receiving a notification on your cell phone can cause enough of a distraction to impair your ability to focus on a given task. In fact, the distraction caused by a simple notification — whether it is a sound or a vibration — is comparable to the effects seen when users actively use their cell phones to make calls or send text messages, the researchers found.... Read more »

Stothart, C., Mitchum, A., & Yehnert, C. (2015) The Attentional Cost of Receiving a Cell Phone Notification. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. DOI: 10.1037/xhp0000100  

  • July 26, 2015
  • 11:18 AM
  • 90 views

Stop Wasting Time Abroad: How to Ensure Contact with New Cultures Boosts Your Creativity

by Louise Rasmussen in Head Smart

Yuck! Splashes of chicken blood and insects fly everywhere. The old Chinese woman waves the butcher knife and squirming corpse triumphantly. She flashes a toothless grin. You’re speechless. Flabbergasted. Grossed out big time. You thought you’d take a leisurely stroll in a quaint out-door market. You expected to see some strange veggies. Marvel at oddly […]
Check out Stop Wasting Time Abroad: How to Ensure Contact with New Cultures Boosts Your Creativity, an original post on Global Cognition.
... Read more »

  • July 26, 2015
  • 12:22 AM
  • 83 views

The relationship between self-reported sleep disturbance and polysomnography in traumatic brain injury

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

Check it out. My work during postdoc that was just published early online in Brain Injury. Feel free to contact me for a PDF copy.AbstractPRIMARY OBJECTIVE: To characterize sleep architecture and self-reported sleep quality, fatigue and daytime sleepiness in individuals with TBI. Possible relationships between sleep architecture and self-reported sleep quality, fatigue and daytime sleepiness were examined.METHODS: Forty-four community-dwelling adults with TBI completed the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Multidimensional Assessment of Fatigue (MAF) and Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS). They underwent two nights of in-laboratory nocturnal polysomnography (NPSG). Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients and hierarchical linear regression was used to analyse the data.RESULTS: Based on the PSQI cut-off score of ≥ 10, 22 participants were characterized as poor sleepers. Twenty-seven participants met criteria for clinically significant fatigue as measured by the GFI of the MAF. Fourteen participants met criteria for excessive daytime sleepiness as measured by the ESS. Poor sleep quality was associated with poor sleep efficiency, short duration of stage 2 sleep and long duration of rapid eye movement sleep. There was little-to-no association between high levels of fatigue or daytime sleepiness with NPSG sleep parameters.CONCLUSIONS: A high proportion of the sample endorsed poor sleep quality, fatigue and daytime sleepiness. Those who reported poorer sleep quality evidenced a shorter proportion of time spent in stage 2 sleep. These findings suggest that disruptions in stage 2 sleep might underlie the symptoms of sleep disturbance experienced following TBI.Reference:Lu W, Cantor JB, Aurora RN, Gordon WA, Krellman JW, Nguyen M, Ashman TA, Spielman L, & Ambrose AF (2015). The relationship between self-reported sleep disturbance and polysomnography in individuals with traumatic brain injury. Brain injury, 1-9 PMID: 26204319... Read more »

  • July 25, 2015
  • 03:51 AM
  • 89 views

Medical comorbidity and adult autism (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Regular readers are probably tired of reading blog titles like the one for today on this site. It's not as if the idea that a diagnosis of autism might predispose someone to quite a few more comorbid conditions (see here and see here) hasn't been discussed on quite a few occasions.But just in case the message hasn't got through, I draw your attention to the paper by Kyle Jones and colleagues [1] concluding that: "Adults in this cohort of autism spectrum disorder first ascertained in the 1980s experience a high number of chronic medical conditions, regardless of intellectual ability."The cohort in question was part of the 1980s Utah/UCLA autism epidemiologic study and some further follow-up of some of the people who participated in this quite early research foray into the epidemiology of autism. I say 'some' of the cohort because, as has been discussed previously on this blog (see here), sadly not everyone has survived over the years. Part and parcel of that 'excess mortality' in this cohort discussed by Bilder and colleagues [2] was thought due to "the presence of comorbid medical conditions" among other things.The recent Jones paper "queried medical symptoms, disorders, hospitalizations, surgeries, and medication use" for 92 participants from the original cohort, mostly aged in their mid-30s. The found that: "The most common medical conditions were seizures, obesity, insomnia, and constipation." Further: "The median number of medical conditions per person was 11." Interestingly, researchers suggested that various factors might further increase the risk of such medical comorbidity including gender (females over males) and the presence of obesity. I say that bearing in mind the relatively small participant numbers included for study (69 of the 92 participants were male).What's more to say on the basis of these and other findings? Well, the need for greater appreciation that autism seems to go much further than the presentation of core symptoms might be one thing (see here). As per my various ramblings on physical health and activity with the autism spectrum in mind (see here) tackling issues such as obesity might be another thing (see here) bearing in mind how various eating/feeding issues for example, might complicate matters when it comes to autism and obesity (see here). The same also goes for sleep (see here).In the words of Jones et al: "Understanding of these conditions commonly experienced should direct community-based and medical primary care for this population." Once again, I cannot disagree with such sentiments.Music: Glen Campbell - Wichita Lineman.----------[1] Jones KB. et al. A description of medical conditions in adults with autism spectrum disorder: A follow-up of the 1980s Utah/UCLA Autism Epidemiologic Study. Autism. 2015. July 10.[2] Bilder D. et al. Excess mortality and causes of death in autism spectrum disorders: a follow up of the 1980s Utah/UCLA autism epidemiologic study. J Autism Dev Disord. 2013 May;43(5):1196-204.----------Jones, K., Cottle, K., Bakian, A., Farley, M., Bilder, D., Coon, H., & McMahon, W. (2015). A description of medical conditions in adults with autism spectrum disorder: A follow-up of the 1980s Utah/UCLA Autism Epidemiologic Study Autism DOI: 10.1177/1362361315594798... Read more »

  • July 24, 2015
  • 02:21 PM
  • 120 views

Brain structure reveals ability to regulate emotions

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

We all vary in how often we become happy, sad or angry, and also in how strongly these emotions are expressed. This variability is a part of our personality and can be seen as a positive aspect that increases diversity in society. However, there are people that find it so difficult to regulate their emotions that it has a serious impact on their work, family and social life. These individuals may be given an emotional instability diagnosis such as borderline personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder.... Read more »

Petrovic, P., Ekman, C., Klahr, J., Tigerstrom, L., Ryden, G., Johansson, A., Sellgren, C., Golkar, A., Olsson, A., Ohman, A.... (2015) Significant gray matter changes in a region of the orbitofrontal cortex in healthy participants predicts emotional dysregulation. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsv072  

  • July 24, 2015
  • 12:26 PM
  • 116 views

An Anxious Moment Makes People Clean Obsessively

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Whether you're a person biting her nails during a phone interview or a polar bear pacing its cage, anxious animals often do the same thing over and over. Extreme cases of repetitive behavior show up in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder or autism. Now researchers have shown that even a simple, anxiety-inducing experiment can make an average person act in a repetitive and ritualized way.

"A lot of social theorists have talked about the link between anxiety and ritualization," says M... Read more »

Lang M, Krátký J, Shaver JH, Jerotijević D, & Xygalatas D. (2015) Effects of Anxiety on Spontaneous Ritualized Behavior. Current biology : CB, 25(14), 1892-7. PMID: 26096971  

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