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  • March 1, 2015
  • 03:52 AM
  • 7 views

Vitamin D status affecting autoimmune disease risk?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I want to bring the paper from Tea Skaaby and colleagues [1] to your attention for today's brief blog post and their observation that there may be: "a possible protective role of a higher vitamin D status on autoimmune disease". Autoimmune disease by the way, reflects a breakdown in communication and tolerance of 'self' whereby the body attacks healthy tissue.Their findings, based on an analysis of "a total of 12,555 individuals from three population-based studies with measurements of vitam........ Read more »

  • February 28, 2015
  • 10:04 AM
  • 46 views

Meditating For Alice In Wonderland Syndrome

by Chiara Civardi in United Academics

Dear Alice’s fan, this poem by Shel Silverstein is titled ‘Alice’ and now it’s your turn: are you ready to go down the rabbit hole again and be guided in our mind’s wonderland? So, let’s see what the blow up-potion and the shrinking-cake are made of.... Read more »

  • February 27, 2015
  • 07:04 PM
  • 39 views

ME/CFS is real: confirmation if it is needed...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Scientists discover robust evidence that chronic fatigue syndrome is a biological illness" went the title of the press release for the study by Mady Hornig and colleagues [1] (open-access) detailing an immune 'signature' and also possible staging of the illness.I couldn't help but wince at some of the media headlines reporting on this study as 'proof' that chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) is a real illness. As I've indicated before on this blog (see here) anyon........ Read more »

Mady Hornig, José G. Montoya, Nancy G. Klimas, Susan Levine, Donna Felsenstein, Lucinda Bateman, Daniel L. Peterson, C. Gunnar Gottschalk, Andrew F. Schultz, Xiaoyu Che.... (2015) Distinct plasma immune signatures in ME/CFS are present early in the course of illness. Science Advances, 1(1). info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1400121

  • February 27, 2015
  • 12:02 PM
  • 45 views

Good News, Northerners: Birds from Harsher Climates Are Smarter

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



You won't see a chickadee shoveling out a parking space and claiming it with a folding chair, no matter how good your binoculars are. But birds, too, have to be resourceful when they live in inhospitable climates. Travel just 600 meters up a mountain, and you'll find chickadees vastly more clever than their peers living a more comfortable life below.

How do you test the cleverness of birds? Using tubes with tasty worms inside, naturally. Biologists don't like to call animals "smart," thou... Read more »

  • February 27, 2015
  • 11:17 AM
  • 57 views

How Deep Mind learns to win

by neuroecology in Neuroecology

About a year ago, DeepMind was bought for half a billion dollars by Google for creating software that could learn to beat video games. Over the past year, DeepMind has detailed how they did it. Let us say that you were … Continue reading →... Read more »

Mnih V, Kavukcuoglu K, Silver D, Rusu AA, Veness J, Bellemare MG, Graves A, Riedmiller M, Fidjeland AK, Ostrovski G.... (2015) Human-level control through deep reinforcement learning. Nature, 518(7540), 529-533. PMID: 25719670  

Volodymyr Mnih, Koray Kavukcuoglu, David Silver, Alex Graves, Ioannis Antonoglou, Daan Wierstra, & Martin Riedmiller. (2013) Playing Atari with Deep Reinforcement Learning. arXiv. arXiv: 1312.5602v1

  • February 27, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 13 views

Like thrillers? Scary movies? How do you feel about immigrants?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

So here’s a strange study. Or perhaps an unexpected outcome. We enjoy a good suspenseful thriller but never knew it might be messing with our political beliefs. Wait until you see this! The researchers were curious about how various forms of physiological reactivity (aka anxiety) would affect a political belief about one particular issue: attitudes […]

Related posts:
“70% of Americans see immigration as threat to American way of life”
Are they “illegal aliens” or “undocumente........ Read more »

Renshon, J., Lee, J., & Tingley, D. (2014) Physiological Arousal and Political Beliefs. Political Psychology. DOI: 10.1111/pops.12173  

  • February 27, 2015
  • 04:37 AM
  • 37 views

Hyperprolactinemia and risperidone use in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The findings reported by Yaowaluck Hongkaew and colleagues [1] (open-access) on prolactin levels being "positively and significantly associated with risperidone dose" in cases of children and adolescents diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the point of discussion today.Prolactin by the way, is the hormone most commonly associated with stimulating breast development and milk production in women. To quote from the US National Institute of Health (NIH) entry on prolactin: "There is ........ Read more »

Hongkaew Y, Ngamsamut N, Puangpetch A, Vanwong N, Srisawasdi P, Chamnanphon M, Chamkrachchangpada B, Tan-Kam T, Limsila P, & Sukasem C. (2015) Hyperprolactinemia in Thai children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder treated with risperidone. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment, 191-6. PMID: 25653528  

  • February 26, 2015
  • 03:04 PM
  • 72 views

Dr. Frankenstein might be impressed, the human head transplant

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Sure it sounds like something from the book Frankenstein, but Sergio Canavero of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group has made it known that he intends to announce at this summer’s American Academy of Neurological and Orthopedic Surgeons meeting, that he believes he has put together a group of techniques that should make it possible to attach a human donor body to a head.... Read more »

  • February 26, 2015
  • 11:02 AM
  • 59 views

Some student-professor pairings lead to "unusually effective teaching" (and it's possible to predict which ones)

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Video trailers can be used to predict whichlecturers are the best teachers, and whichstudents they are especially suited to.In the near future, students could be presented with a series of video trailers of different professors at their university. Based on their ratings of these videos, the students will be paired with the professors who provide the best fit. The outcome will be superior learning, and greater student satisfaction.That's the promise of a new study that asked 145 psychology under........ Read more »

Gross, J., Lakey, B., Lucas, J., LaCross, R., R. Plotkowski, A., & Winegard, B. (2015) Forecasting the student-professor matches that result in unusually effective teaching. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 85(1), 19-32. DOI: 10.1111/bjep.12049  

  • February 26, 2015
  • 02:43 AM
  • 59 views

Carnitine and autism continued

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper from everyone's favourite Saudi - Egyptian autism research tag-team that is Gehan Mostafa and Laila AL-Ayadhi [1] (open-access) on plasma polyunsaturated fatty acids and serum carnitine levels in a cohort of children diagnosed with autism / autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is served up for your reading delight today.Regular readers of this blog might have heard me talk before about the pretty interesting research findings to come from this research partnership (see here and see here........ Read more »

  • February 25, 2015
  • 09:30 AM
  • 74 views

Examining Evidence for Leaderboards and Learning

by Richard Landers in NeoAcademic

As I described in my last post, gamification is often misused and abused, applied in ways and in situations where it is unlikely to do much good. When we deploy new learning technologies, the ultimate goal of that change should always be clear, first and foremost. So how do you actually go about setting that sort of […]The post Examining Evidence for Leaderboards and Learning appeared first on NeoAcademic.Related articles from NeoAcademic:Psychological Theory and Gamification of Learning........ Read more »

  • February 25, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 49 views

Why You Need to Socialize Your Puppy

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

The importance of socialization can’t be stressed enough.These days, more and more people understand that puppies need to be socialized. But sometimes people wonder, how do we know this? It’s based on classic research in canine science.Many papers contribute to our understanding of puppies. In 1950, J.P. Scott and Mary-‘Vesta Marston published a study of 17 litters, including the earliest age at which they opened their eyes for the first time, began to walk, and engaged in play. They hypot........ Read more »

  • February 25, 2015
  • 06:01 AM
  • 32 views

The six forms of resistance shown by participants in Milgram's notorious "obedience studies"

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

When discussing Milgram's notorious experiments, in which participants were instructed to give increasingly dangerous electric shocks to another person, most commentators take a black or white approach.Participants are categorised as obedient or defiant, and the headline result is taken as the surprising number of people – the majority – who obeyed by going all the way and administering the highest, lethal voltage.A new study takes a different stance by looking at the different acts of resis........ Read more »

  • February 25, 2015
  • 05:31 AM
  • 46 views

Analysing the salivary proteome in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper from Armand Ngounou Wetie and colleagues [1] (open-access here) reporting pilot results from a mass spectrometry based proteomic analysis of saliva in cases of autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with asymptomatic controls is served up for your reading delight today. There has already been some media attention about this paper (see here).It's an interesting paper for quite a few reasons; not least the continuing voyage of the analytical technique known as mass spectr........ Read more »

Ngounou Wetie AG, Wormwood KL, Russell S, Ryan JP, Darie CC, & Woods AG. (2015) A Pilot Proteomic Analysis of Salivary Biomarkers in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. PMID: 25626423  

  • February 25, 2015
  • 12:02 AM
  • 64 views

Can’t stand the sounds of chewing, loud breathing, or pen clicking? Dutch psychiatrists propose that may be the symptom of a new disorder

by Megan Cartwright in Science-Based Writing

Dutch psychiatrists have proposed that misophonia – a hypersensitivity to common, irritating noises like eating, loud breathing, and pen clicking – be classified as its own psychiatric disorder. After evaluating 42 Dutch patients with the disorder, the psychiatrists concluded that … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • February 24, 2015
  • 10:15 PM
  • 64 views

Most supernatural beliefs are about avoiding harm, not bringing benefit

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

A survey of supernatural beliefs across cultures around the world has found that beliefs involving hazards and harms were about 50% more common than beliefs about benefits, opportunities and other good things. Daniel Fessler, at the University of California, and colleagues searched a representative dataset of 60 cultures held at the Human Relations Area Files [Read More...]... Read more »

  • February 24, 2015
  • 10:31 AM
  • 24 views

Recruiters think they can tell your personality from your resume. They can't

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Recruiters are poor at inferring an applicant’s personality from their resume, but that doesn’t stop them from jumping to conclusions on the back of their flawed assumptions. That’s according to a new study that involved over a hundred professional recruiters evaluating pairs of resumes.The US-based recruiters estimated applicant personality from the limited information in short two-page resumes. Their estimates were poorly correlated with the self-ratings made by the MBA students who’d ........ Read more »

Burns, G., Christiansen, N., Morris, M., Periard, D., & Coaster, J. (2014) Effects of Applicant Personality on Resume Evaluations. Journal of Business and Psychology, 29(4), 573-591. DOI: 10.1007/s10869-014-9349-6  

  • February 24, 2015
  • 05:53 AM
  • 67 views

Only Non-Depressed See Monster In The Mirror

by chiara civardi in United Academics

Try this experiment and you will have goosebumps all over your body: stare at your face in the mirror in a dimly lit room. Keep staring at yourself for a few minutes. Hey, wait! What was that? Did you see it? Was it a monster, an animal, your deformed face, someone else you know, or a stranger?... Read more »

  • February 24, 2015
  • 04:38 AM
  • 51 views

Maternal recall vs. medical records: implications for autism research

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I don't want to dwell too much on the findings reported by Paula Krakowiak and colleagues [1] talking about the accuracy of "maternally-reported diabetes and hypertensive disorders, and reliability of BMI [body mass index] measurements during periconception and pregnancy compared with medical records when mothers are interviewed 2-5 years after delivery" but they are potentially important.With authors such as Krakowiak and Irva Hertz-Picciotto on the paper in question, those who f........ Read more »

  • February 23, 2015
  • 03:54 PM
  • 42 views

Mistargeted Messages Could Spur Help-Seeking for Depression

by amikulak in Daily Observations

From decades of research, scientists have developed effective, empirically-validated interventions for treating major depression and, yet, many people suffering from depression don’t receive these treatments. While there can be many reasons […]... Read more »

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