I'm gonna be fairly brief today and draw your attention to yet another systematic review and meta-analysis this time looking at how "probiotic supplementation can have a positive effect on mood and psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety."  Probiotics by the way, include a variety of bacteria and related lifeforms that are thought to confer some health advantage.The review/re-analysis by Jennifer McKean and colleagues found 7 studies on this topic in the peer-reviewed resea........ Read more »
McKean J, Naug H, Nikbakht E, Amiet B, & Colson N. (2016) Probiotics and Subclinical Psychological Symptoms in Healthy Participants: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.). PMID: 27841940
Franz Joseph Gall (1758-1828), a founding father of phrenology
Phrenology was the pseudoscience of identifying a person's character and mental abilities on the basis of skull morphology (“bumps on the head”). The enterprise was based on four assumptions (Gross, 2009):
intellectual abilities and personality traits are differentially developed in each individual
these abilities and traits
... Read more »
Eling, P., Finger, S., & Whitaker, H. (2016) On the Origins of Organology: Franz Joseph Gall and a Girl Named Bianchi. Cortex. DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2016.11.010
"CRP [C-reactive protein] concentrations are increased in bipolar disorder regardless of mood state, but are higher during mania than in depression and euthymia, suggesting an increased inflammatory burden in mania."So said the systematic review and meta-analysis published by Brisa Fernandes and colleagues  who surveyed the peer-reviewed literature on the topic of "measured serum and plasma CRP concentrations in adult patients with bipolar disorder (as defined by DSM-IV-TR) and........ Read more »
Fernandes BS, Steiner J, Molendijk ML, Dodd S, Nardin P, Gonçalves CA, Jacka F, Köhler CA, Karmakar C, Carvalho AF.... (2016) C-reactive protein concentrations across the mood spectrum in bipolar disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The lancet. Psychiatry. PMID: 27838212
Are the eyes the windows to intelligence? In an interesting paper, Georgia psychologists Jason S. Tsukahara and colleagues report that there's a positive correlation between pupil size and cognitive ability.
It's well known that our pupil size varies over time due to changes in both emotional state and cognitive 'effort'. As Tsukahara et al. put it
Starting in the 1960s it became apparent to psychologists that the size of the pupil is related to more than just the amount of light enterin... Read more »
Tsukahara JS, Harrison TL, & Engle RW. (2016) The relationship between baseline pupil size and intelligence. Cognitive psychology, 109-123. PMID: 27821254
The results published by Robert Joseph and colleagues  provide some blogging fodder today, observing that as part of the ELGAN (Extremely Low Gestational Age Newborns) Research Study, gestational age might matter when it comes to offspring risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).Gestational age is a measure of how far along a pregnancy is but in the context of the Joseph study refers to premature birth or those "born at least 3 months early." Researchers included data for nearly 1000........ Read more »
Joseph, R., Korzeniewski, S., Allred, E., O’Shea, T., Heeren, T., Frazier, J., Ware, J., Hirtz, D., Leviton, A., & Kuban, K. (2016) Extremely low gestational age and very low birth weight for gestational age are risk factors for ASD in a large cohort study of 10-year-old children born at 23-27 weeks gestation. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2016.11.1009
It does not come as a surprise that background music in a café helps create the ambience and affects how much customers enjoy sipping their cappuccinos. But recent research suggests that the choice of lyrics can even impact the social behavior of customers. The researcher Nicolas Ruth and his colleagues from the University of Würzburg (Bavaria, Germany) assembled a playlist of 18 songs with pro-social lyrics which they had curated by surveying 74 participants in an online questionnaire as to w........ Read more »
Ruth, N. (2016) "Heal the World": A field experiment on the effects of music with prosocial lyrics on prosocial behavior. Psychology of Music. DOI: 10.1177/0305735616652226
Consider this short blog post an extension of some previous discussions (see here and see here) on a rather peculiar 'association' between urinary tract infections (UTIs) and psychosis. UTIs basically refer to an infection in any part of the urinary system (kidneys, bladder, etc) typically treated with antibiotics. Psychosis is a state that causes a person to perceive or interpret things around them in an atypical way, usually accompanied by delusions or hallucinations. For a while now........ Read more »
Carson, C., Phillip, N., & Miller, B. (2016) Urinary tract infections in children and adolescents with acute psychosis. Schizophrenia Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.schres.2016.11.004
Papers such as the one published by Nikko Da Paz & Jan Wallander  I think represent one of the most important areas of autism research and practice when it comes to the practical translation of science to real-life. Tackling a very important topic - caring for the carers - the authors provide a "narrative review" of the peer-reviewed science literature looking at how "treatments that directly target parents' psychological well-being" in the context of autism are doing so far.Personally, I........ Read more »
Da Paz NS, & Wallander JL. (2016) Interventions that target improvements in mental health for parents of children with autism spectrum disorders: A narrative review. Clinical psychology review, 1-14. PMID: 27816800
A remarkable paper claims that staying off Facebook for a week could make you happier: The Facebook Experiment, by Morten Tromholt of Denmark.
What makes this study so interesting is that it was a randomized controlled trial (RCT) and so was able, at least in theory, to determine whether quitting Facebook actually causes changes in well-being. Previously, there has been lots of research reporting correlations between social network use and happiness, but correlation isn't causation.
... Read more »
Tromholt M. (2016) The Facebook Experiment: Quitting Facebook Leads to Higher Levels of Well-Being. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 19(11), 661-666. PMID: 27831756
You are not seeing double. Over the last month we’ve kept reading and reading and reading but many of the articles we read for the blog were fun but just not substantive enough for a full blog post. So. Think of this as the director’s cut version of the blog—full of things you wish we’d […]
Science knowledge, objectifying women, earning power, and social media colors
Spiders, dogs, assassins, beards and the demons of sleep paralysis (things you want to know........ Read more »
Lanaj K, Johnson RE, & Wang M. (2016) When lending a hand depletes the will: The daily costs and benefits of helping. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 101(8), 1097-110. PMID: 27149605
Dixson BJ, Sulikowski D, Gouda-Vossos A, Rantala MJ, & Brooks RC. (2016) The masculinity paradox: facial masculinity and beardedness interact to determine women's ratings of men's facial attractiveness. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 29(11), 2311-2320. PMID: 27488414
With all rights reserved for Keith Geraghty and his publication in the Journal of Health Psychology  (open-access) I want to reproduce his abstract relevant to the PACE trial commenting on the ups-and-downs of this study looking at the use of CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) and GET (graded exercise therapy) for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) (also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, ME):"Science is not always plain sailing and sometimes the voyage is across an angry sea. A recent ........ Read more »
Geraghty KJ. (2016) 'PACE-Gate': When clinical trial evidence meets open data access. Journal of health psychology. PMID: 27807258
I talked about ESSENCE - Early Symptomatic Syndromes Eliciting Neurodevelopmental Clinical Examinations - only yesterday (see here) and here I am covering the topic again on this blog. There is good reason however that this concept appears once more, as I draw your attention to the paper by Anne-Katrin Kantzer and colleagues  and the specific observation that: "Co-existence with other conditions was the rule" when it comes to the diagnosis of autism.OK, it's nothing new to say that the l........ Read more »
Kantzer, A., Fernell, E., Westerlund, J., Hagberg, B., Gillberg, C., & Miniscalco, C. (2016) Young children who screen positive for autism: Stability, change and “comorbidity” over two years. Research in Developmental Disabilities. DOI: 10.1016/j.ridd.2016.10.004
ESSENCE referred to in the title of this post concerns 'Early Symptomatic Syndromes Eliciting Neurodevelopmental Clinical Examinations', a concept championed by the ever-intrepid Prof. Christopher Gillberg and colleagues. Combined with some rather important discussions about the research validity of the concept of a singular 'autism' (see here) [part of the ESSENCE issues described] I'm drawn to quite a few of the proposals put forward by this research group it has to be said.It is with ESSENCE ........ Read more »
Baeza-Velasco C, Grahame R, & Bravo JF. (2016) A connective tissue disorder may underlie ESSENCE problems in childhood. Research in developmental disabilities. PMID: 27802895
It's been quite a week hasn't it? Indeed for quite a few people it's been a stressful few days so perhaps timely that I'm talking about the 'attenuation of stress' in today's post.Despite the relatively small sample size included in the paper by by AP Allen and colleagues  there is something rather tantalising about their results suggesting that in healthy volunteers "consumption of B. longum [Bifidobacterium longum 1714] 1714 is associated with reduced stress and improved memo........ Read more »
Allen AP, Hutch W, Borre YE, Kennedy PJ, Temko A, Boylan G, Murphy E, Cryan JF, Dinan TG, & Clarke G. (2016) Bifidobacterium longum 1714 as a translational psychobiotic: modulation of stress, electrophysiology and neurocognition in healthy volunteers. Translational psychiatry, 6(11). PMID: 27801892
The important Doctor-Patient relationshipIn a slight departure from the typical material discussed on this blog, I want to briefly direct readers to the paper by (Prof) Paul Aveyard and colleagues  and results suggesting that: "A behaviourally-informed, very brief, physician-delivered opportunistic intervention is acceptable to patients and an effective way to reduce population mean weight."The title of this post comes from some of the media coverage of the Aveyard study summarising how ........ Read more »
Aveyard, P., Lewis, A., Tearne, S., Hood, K., Christian-Brown, A., Adab, P., Begh, R., Jolly, K., Daley, A., Farley, A.... (2016) Screening and brief intervention for obesity in primary care: a parallel, two-arm, randomised trial. The Lancet. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31893-1
Gender stereotypes are powerful things and when your client has broken gender stereotypes and broken trust with others, they need to go beyond mere apology. First, a bit about what gender stereotypes are: Women are expected to be benevolent and concerned about others while men are expected to be confident, competitive and independent. Go against […]
Simple Jury Persuasion: When your Muslim female client wears a head-covering
Simple Jury Persuasion: “I transgressed. Pleas........ Read more »
In a year of impossible things...I was rather interested to read the recent paper by Renee Goodwin and colleagues  observing that: "Atopy appears to be associated with increased vulnerability to affective and anxiety problems, compared to youth without atopy."Atopy, referring to a predisposition to developing allergic diseases such as eczema, asthma and/or hayfever, is something on the 'up' in research terms when it comes to aspects of psychiatry and/or developmental outcomes (see here f........ Read more »
Goodwin RD, Robinson M, Sly PD, & Holt PG. (2016) Childhood atopy and mental health: a prospective, longitudinal investigation. Psychological medicine, 1-9. PMID: 27762174
A person’s subjective social status reflects how they rank themselves relative to others in their community. Social status can be considered to be a psychological dimension of social class and socioeconomic status, and it has been shown to be positively related to mental health: The higher one’s perceived social status, the better one’s mental health. However, the process underlying this relation is unclear. In some recent research, my colleagues and I considered social contact........ Read more »
Rubin, M., Evans, O., & Wilkinson, R. (2016) A Longitudinal Study of the Relations Among University Students' Subjective Social Status, Social Contact with University Friends, and Mental Health and Well-Being. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 35(9), 722-737. DOI: 10.1521/jscp.2016.35.9.722
Cats make good use of added vertical space, study shows.A study by Emma Desforges (Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition) et al finds that adding a vertical screen is good enrichment for cats. And while the study used cats that live at the Waltham research centre, the results suggest pet cats could benefit too.The scientists took an Ikea bookcase called Kallax in which the shelves are subdivided. They put half the backing on one side and half on the other, so that some shelves faced one way and the r........ Read more »
Desforges, E., Moesta, A., & Farnworth, M. (2016) Effect of a shelf-furnished screen on space utilisation and social behaviour of indoor group-housed cats (Felis silvestris catus). Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 60-68. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2016.03.006
"Many individuals with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] have a distinctive behavioral presentation that is recognizable within moments, a phenomenon we call "frank" ASD." So said the paper by Ashley de Marchena & Judith Miller  who carried out an "empirical study of frank ASD" and by the looks of my Twitter feed when I initially posted about this study, there are quite a few varied opinions about the concept of 'frank' autism.Although 'frank autism' makes up a significant portion ........ Read more »
de Marchena, A., & Miller, J. (2016) “Frank” presentations as a novel research construct and element of diagnostic decision-making in autism spectrum disorder. Autism Research. DOI: 10.1002/aur.1706
Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use ResearchBlogging.org to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.
If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.
Research Blogging is powered by SMG Technology.
To learn more, visit seedmediagroup.com.