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  • September 3, 2015
  • 02:06 PM
  • 23 views

Do antipsychotic medications affect cortical thinning?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

People diagnosed with schizophrenia critically rely upon treatment with antipsychotic medications to manage their symptoms and help them function at home and in the workplace. But despite their benefits, antipsychotic medications might also have some negative effects on brain structure or function when taken for long periods of time.... Read more »

  • September 3, 2015
  • 04:34 AM
  • 33 views

What will happen to my child when I'm gone?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

From time to time I cover some uncomfortable topics on this blog as a function of what hand the autism research cards deal. Today is another one of those times as I bring to your attention the paper by Cathy Cox and colleagues [1] and their analysis of death concerns and psychological wellbeing in mothers of children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).What they observed based on completion of a "fear of death scale" and "measures of death-thought accessibility, positive and negativ........ Read more »

  • September 2, 2015
  • 02:23 PM
  • 55 views

Feeling blue and seeing blue: Sadness may impair color perception

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The world might seem a little grayer than usual when we’re down in the dumps and we often talk about “feeling blue” — new research suggests that the associations we make between emotion and color go beyond mere metaphor. The results of two studies indicate that feeling sadness may actually change how we perceive color. Specifically, researchers found that participants who were induced to feel sad were less accurate in identifying colors on the blue-yellow axis than those who were led to ........ Read more »

Thorstenson CA, Pazda AD, & Elliot AJ. (2015) Sadness Impairs Color Perception. Psychological science. PMID: 26307592  

  • September 2, 2015
  • 12:48 PM
  • 35 views

Managing Fatigue in Match-Play Tennis

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The 2015 U.S. Tennis Open is in full swing and I ran into an interesting recent manuscript summarizing fatigue in tennis.Fatigue has multiple elements including changes in muscle performance, blood markers of lactic acid and other compounds as well as brain central perception factors.Long multi-set matches can last four or five hours. Obviously, at the end of this type of exertion, players have had to adjust to effects of significant fatigue.Reid and Duffield review the key elements of fatigue i........ Read more »

Reid M, & Duffield R. (2014) The development of fatigue during match-play tennis. British journal of sports medicine. PMID: 24668384  

  • September 2, 2015
  • 02:13 AM
  • 52 views

Sub-threshold autistic traits and creativity

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was intrigued by the results reported by Catherine Best and colleagues [1] recently and the suggestion that yet another sweeping generalisation attributed to autism (or at least autistic traits) might turn out to be not as accurate or universal as we might have all been led to believe.Based on the analysis of data from over 300 people who completed an on-line questionnaire (anonymously) measuring autistic traits, researchers reported that creative ideas as measured by a divergent thinking task........ Read more »

  • September 1, 2015
  • 01:34 PM
  • 55 views

Researchers help identify neural basis of multitasking

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

What makes someone better at switching between different tasks? Looking for the mechanisms behind cognitive flexibility, researchers have used brain scans to shed new light on this question. By studying networks of activity in the brain’s frontal cortex, a region associated with control over thoughts and actions, the researchers have shown that the degree to which these networks reconfigure themselves while switching from task to task predicts people’s cognitive flexibility.... Read more »

  • September 1, 2015
  • 08:38 AM
  • 45 views

This Month in Blastocystis Research (AUG 2015)

by Christen Rune Stensvold in Blastocystis Parasite Blog

When is a parasite not a parasite? Where lies the border between parasites and mutalists? Are we letting some of our common colonisers down by mere predjudice? Find out in This Month of Blastocystis Research (AUG 2015).... Read more »

Andersen LO, Bonde I, Nielsen HB, & Stensvold CR. (2015) A retrospective metagenomics approach to studying Blastocystis. FEMS microbiology ecology, 91(7). PMID: 26130823  

Lukeš J, Stensvold CR, Jirků-Pomajbíková K, & Wegener Parfrey L. (2015) Are Human Intestinal Eukaryotes Beneficial or Commensals?. PLoS pathogens, 11(8). PMID: 26270819  

Scanlan PD, Stensvold CR, Rajilić-Stojanović M, Heilig HG, De Vos WM, O'Toole PW, & Cotter PD. (2014) The microbial eukaryote Blastocystis is a prevalent and diverse member of the healthy human gut microbiota. FEMS microbiology ecology, 90(1), 326-30. PMID: 25077936  

  • September 1, 2015
  • 03:07 AM
  • 63 views

Let's talk about sex and autism (reviewed)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The review from Nicola Beddows and Rachel Brooks [1] highlighting the important issue of sexual behaviour with autism in mind is brought to your attention today.Trawling through the peer-reviewed literature looking at reports of inappropriate sexual behaviour present in adolescents diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the authors concluded that various behaviours were included and that there were a variety of possible reasons for said behaviours. Indeed they report that: "Despi........ Read more »

  • August 31, 2015
  • 02:24 PM
  • 67 views

Television viewing linked to higher injury risk in hostile people

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

People with hostile personality traits who watch more television than their peers may be at a greater risk for injury, potentially because they are more susceptible to the influence of television on violence and risk-taking behaviors, a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health analysis discovered.... Read more »

Fabio, A., Chen, C., Dearwater, S., Jacobs, D., Erickson, D., Matthews, K., Iribarren, C., Sidney, S., & Pereira, M. (2015) Television viewing and hostile personality trait increase the risk of injuries. International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion, 1-10. DOI: 10.1080/17457300.2015.1061560  

  • August 31, 2015
  • 01:43 PM
  • 73 views

The Last Day of Summer

by Aurametrix team in Environmental health

Is that it? Summer is finally over. And so is the sweet melancholy of August, listening to nature sounds - soothing ocean waves or a chorus of crickets while sitting on a porch, sun drying you with warm rays... It's the end of the holiday break.Tomorrow is September, the second most stressful month of the year. It is known for stock market volatility and big financial crashes, strategic planning meetings, storms and tornadoes, hectic days at work, the season of "back to school" and the time for ........ Read more »

  • August 31, 2015
  • 10:09 AM
  • 71 views

Cow Pies Can Make You Smarter and Less Stressed

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

It seems like everyone is running around buying school supplies and books, registering for classes, and fretting about how hard it is going to be to learn another whole year’s worth of stuff. The secret to success, it turns out, may lie in cow dung.A cow pie. Photo taken by Jeff Vanuga at the USDA available at Wikimedia Commons.Recent research has highlighted the important role that microbes living in animal digestive tracts have on host animals’ health and behavior. This influence of our gu........ Read more »

  • August 31, 2015
  • 04:16 AM
  • 64 views

Mesenchymal stem cell transplantation and a mouse model of autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I once again tread carefully in this brief post talking about stem cells and autism on the back of what seems to be some growing research interest in this area (see here).The paper by Hadar Segal-Gavish and colleagues [1] adds to this increasing interest with their efforts detailing what happened to a mouse model of autism (the BTBR mouse) following "intracerebroventricular MSC [mesenchymal stem cells] transplantation."Looking at what happened when MSC transplantation was used, th........ Read more »

Segal-Gavish H, Karvat G, Barak N, Barzilay R, Ganz J, Edry L, Aharony I, Offen D, & Kimchi T. (2015) Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation Promotes Neurogenesis and Ameliorates Autism Related Behaviors in BTBR Mice. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. PMID: 26257137  

  • August 30, 2015
  • 02:34 PM
  • 68 views

The alien within: Fetal cells influence maternal health during pregnancy (and long after)

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Parents go to great lengths to ensure the health and well-being of their developing offspring. The favor, however, may not always be returned. Dramatic research has shown that during pregnancy, cells of the fetus often migrate through the placenta, taking up residence in many areas of the mother’s body, where their influence may benefit or undermine maternal health.... Read more »

  • August 29, 2015
  • 01:48 PM
  • 96 views

Confidence in parenting could help break cycle of abuse

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

To understand how confidence in parenting may predict parenting behaviors in women who were abused as children, psychologists have found that mothers who experienced more types of maltreatment as children are more critical of their ability to parent successfully. Intervention programs for moms at-risk, therefore, should focus on bolstering mothers’ self-confidence–not just teach parenting skills, the researchers said.... Read more »

  • August 29, 2015
  • 05:17 AM
  • 92 views

Maternal obesity and offspring autism meta-analysed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

So: "The meta-analysis results support an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder in children of women who were obese during pregnancy. However, further study is warranted to confirm these results."That was the conclusion reached by Ya-Min Li and colleagues [1] looking at the collected peer-reviewed data currently available on how maternal weight might impact on offspring neurodevelopmental outcomes. Without wishing to blame or stigmatise (this is a blog based on the examination of cold,........ Read more »

  • August 28, 2015
  • 01:59 PM
  • 91 views

Fish oil-diet benefits may be mediated by gut microbes

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Diets rich in fish oil versus diets rich in lard produce very different bacteria in the guts of mice, reports a new study. The researchers transferred these microbes into other mice to see how they affected health. The results suggest that gut bacteria share some of the responsibility for the beneficial effects of fish oil and the harmful effects of lard.... Read more »

  • August 28, 2015
  • 04:05 AM
  • 99 views

Autoantibodies not implicated in cases of autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Contrary results are a common feature of the autism peer-reviewed research landscape. No sooner does one group publish the next 'big thing' when it comes to the singular term 'autism' than seemingly opposite results follow suit.So it is with the paper under discussion today by Simran Kalra and colleagues [1] (open-access) who concluded that: "The idea that autoantibodies represent an underlying cause or are biomarkers for autism pathophysiology is not supported by this report."Autoantibodies by ........ Read more »

  • August 27, 2015
  • 01:45 PM
  • 99 views

HIV particles do not cause AIDS, our own immune cells do

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers have revealed that HIV does not cause AIDS by the virus’s direct effect on the host’s immune cells, but rather through the cells’ lethal influence on one another. HIV can either be spread through free-floating virus that directly infect the host immune cells or an infected cell can pass the virus to an uninfected cell.... Read more »

  • August 27, 2015
  • 08:10 AM
  • 95 views

What Does Jimmy Carter Have Against Worms?

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

You may have heard last week that former President Jimmy Carter wants to wipe the guinea worm out. Read why and how he is achieving this goal.... Read more »

  • August 27, 2015
  • 03:58 AM
  • 95 views

Fish oils preventing psychosis: long-term effects?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This is the first study to show, to the best of our knowledge, that a 12-week intervention with omega-3 PUFAs [polyunsaturated fatty acids] prevented transition to full-threshold psychotic disorder and led to sustained symptomatic and functional improvements in young people with an at-risk mental state for 7 years (median)."So said the quite remarkable findings reported by Paul Amminger and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) who followed up their previous research study [2] l........ Read more »

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