I'm actually getting a little bored of talking about the various peer-reviewed research looking at a possible connection between asthma and autism on this blog. It's not that it isn't an interesting topic but rather that the data is coming in thick and fast suggesting that behaviour and physiology are not completely separate anymore.I did however want to direct you to the paper by Alessandro Tonacci and colleagues  who, following a systematic review "according to the PRISMA guidelines" s........ Read more »
Tonacci A, Billeci L, Ruta L, Tartarisco G, Pioggia G, & Gangemi S. (2016) A systematic review of the association between allergic asthma and autism. Minerva pediatrica. PMID: 27706122
A quote to begin: "... in this small trial of children with non-syndromic ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and language impairment, treatment with high-dose folinic acid for 12 weeks resulted in improvement in verbal communication as compared with placebo, particularly in those participants who were positive for FRAAs [folate receptor-α autoantibody]."Those were the findings reported by Richard Frye and colleagues  (open-access) continuing a research theme from this group l........ Read more »
Frye, R., Slattery, J., Delhey, L., Furgerson, B., Strickland, T., Tippett, M., Sailey, A., Wynne, R., Rose, S., Melnyk, S.... (2016) Folinic acid improves verbal communication in children with autism and language impairment: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Molecular Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1038/mp.2016.168
The best time to start disaster preparation for your pet is now.Recently, like many people in this part of the world, we heard there was a big storm on the way. The third of three windstorms was said to be the most powerful. Since we live in an area with many beautiful trees and the power lines are above ground, it does not take much to knock out the power.In the end, we were lucky. The storm was not as strong as predicted, and it changed track and went further north. But it’s a reminder that ........ Read more »
Heath SE, & Linnabary RD. (2015) Challenges of Managing Animals in Disasters in the U.S. Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 5(2), 173-92. PMID: 26479228
Yamazaki, S. (2015) A Survey of Companion-Animal Owners Affected by the East Japan Great Earthquake in Iwate and Fukushima Prefectures, Japan. Anthrozoös, 28(2), 291-304. DOI: 10.1080/08927936.2015.11435403
"In this study, we again show that acetaminophen use is associated with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."That was one of the results reported by Stephen Schultz & Georgianna Gould  (open-access available here) as part of their survey of the US "National Database for Autism Research (NDAR) of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)" looking at "whether ASD is associated with acetaminophen use." Acetaminophen by the way, is another name for paracetamol, the over-the-counter ........ Read more »
Schultz ST, & Gould GG. (2016) Acetaminophen Use for Fever in Children Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism-open access, 6(2). PMID: 27695658
'The times they are a changin'' said a Nobel prize winner and that's also a sentiment that seems true when it comes to chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyeltis (CFS/ME) too (see here for example).Anyone who has followed the tos-and-fros of the PACE trial - the one that suggested that CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and GET (graded exercise therapy) might provide some significant relief of symptoms associated with CFS/ME - will probably have heard the ........ Read more »
Geraghty KJ, & Esmail A. (2016) Chronic fatigue syndrome: is the biopsychosocial model responsible for patient dissatisfaction and harm?. The British journal of general practice : the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners, 66(649), 437-8. PMID: 27481982
Meta-analyses eh? You spend ages waiting for one and two come along in quick succession. Well today I'm posting about yet another meta-analysis of the peer-reviewed scientific literature suggesting that "excessive maternal BMI [body mass index] is associated with an increased ASD [autism spectrum disorder] risk in offspring." The review by Ying Wang et al follows hot on the heels of the meta-analysis by Li and colleagues  (see here for my take) but further looked a........ Read more »
Wang, Y., Tang, S., Xu, S., Weng, S., & Liu, Z. (2016) Maternal Body Mass Index and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Offspring: A Meta-analysis. Scientific Reports, 34248. DOI: 10.1038/srep34248
Social interactions are highly sought-after and rewarding in many animals... Even when social interactions involve only one of our senses, they are still rewarding. For example, we like looking at photos of our friends on Facebook, or hearing the voice of a faraway relative via telephone. It’s the same with other animals; not only is socialization rewarding and can be used as an incentive for learning, but just the sights, sounds, and even smells of others are also rewarding. Hernandez et ........ Read more »
Hernandez AM, Perez EC, Mulard H, Mathevon N, & Vignal C. (2016) Mate call as reward: Acoustic communication signals can acquire positive reinforcing values during adulthood in female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Journal of comparative psychology (Washington, D.C. : 1983), 130(1), 36-43. PMID: 26881942
Although it has already been known for some time that the brain does not remain rigid in its structure even in adulthood, scientists have recently made a surprising discovery. The brain is not only able to adapt to changing conditions in long-term processes, but it can do this every month.
... Read more »
Barth, C., Steele, C., Mueller, K., Rekkas, V., Arélin, K., Pampel, A., Burmann, I., Kratzsch, J., Villringer, A., & Sacher, J. (2016) In-vivo Dynamics of the Human Hippocampus across the Menstrual Cycle. Scientific Reports, 32833. DOI: 10.1038/srep32833
In the previous two posts I’ve gone through the depressing exercise of exploring the misconstrued world-view that led the UK to leave the EU. The picture that emerges is not limited to the UK, but is a paradigm example of…Read more ›... Read more »
Nickerson, R. (1998) Confirmation bias: A ubiquitous phenomenon in many guises. Review of General Psychology, 2(2), 175-220. DOI: 10.1037//1089-2618.104.22.168
Lord, C., Ross, L., & Lepper, M. (1979) Biased assimilation and attitude polarization: The effects of prior theories on subsequently considered evidence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37(11), 2098-2109. DOI: 10.1037//0022-3522.214.171.1248
Corner, A., Whitmarsh, L., & Xenias, D. (2012) Uncertainty, scepticism and attitudes towards climate change: biased assimilation and attitude polarisation. Climatic Change, 114(3-4), 463-478. DOI: 10.1007/s10584-012-0424-6
Where is the suprachiasmatic nucleus?
the suprachiasmatic nucleus is represented by a small green area within the hypothalamus (indicated by red arrow).
The suprachiasmatic nuclei are two small, paired nuclei that are found in the hypothalamus. Each suprachiasmatic nucleus only contains approximately 10,000 neurons. The nuclei rest on each side of the third ventricle, just above the optic chiasm. The location provides the rationale for........ Read more »
Colwell, C. (2011) Linking neural activity and molecular oscillations in the SCN. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 12(10), 553-569. DOI: 10.1038/nrn3086
I'm not gonna dwell too much on the findings reported by Lee and colleagues  talking about how "toddlers who suffer from AD [atopic dermatitis] at the age younger than 3 years are at a higher risk of developing ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] and ASD [autism spectrum disorder] during later childhood" because science already seems to understand that there may be an important connection between early allergic disease and later offspring behavioural/........ Read more »
Lee CY, Chen MH, Jeng MJ, Hsu JW, Tsai SJ, Bai YM, Hung GY, Yen HJ, Chen TJ, & Su TP. (2016) Longitudinal association between early atopic dermatitis and subsequent attention-deficit or autistic disorder: A population-based case-control study. Medicine, 95(39). PMID: 27684861
'Thick and fast' is probably the best way that I can describe the flurry of peer-reviewed scientific papers recently appearing (see here and see here for examples) talking about how chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) (also linked to the diagnosis of myalgic encephalomyelitis, ME) might have some important biological processes attached to it.Now we can add the findings reported by Federica Ciregia and colleagues  (open-access) to the list and their observations that "the identification of bio........ Read more »
Ciregia F, Kollipara L, Giusti L, Zahedi RP, Giacomelli C, Mazzoni MR, Giannaccini G, Scarpellini P, Urbani A, Sickmann A.... (2016) Bottom-up proteomics suggests an association between differential expression of mitochondrial proteins and chronic fatigue syndrome. Translational psychiatry, 6(9). PMID: 27676445
"Social priming" has been the punching-bag of psychology for the past few years.
The term "social priming" refers to the idea that subtle cues can exert large, unconscious influences on human behaviour. The classic example of a social priming effect was the "professor priming" study in which volunteers who completed a task in which they had to describe a typical professor, subsequently performed better on a general knowledge task. In other words, as the authors put it, "priming a stereotype o... Read more »
Today I'm once again blogging about peer-reviewed research suggesting that when it comes to the long-term effects of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) on a person, there is some pretty solid evidence that addressing symptoms early could "potentially avert a wide range of future adverse outcomes."The paper making such a conclusion is the one from Holly Erskine and colleagues  who conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis pertinent to this topic; also taking into accoun........ Read more »
Erskine HE, Norman RE, Ferrari AJ, Chan GC, Copeland WE, Whiteford HA, & Scott JG. (2016) Long-Term Outcomes of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Conduct Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 55(10), 841-50. PMID: 27663939
A new study finds that training shelter cats leads to more contentment and better health.The study, by Nadine Gourkow and Clive Phillips (University of Queensland), tested the effects of training sessions on cats that were frustrated when they arrived at an animal shelter. The cats in the training group became more content and were healthier compared to the cats who just experienced normal shelter conditions.Prof. Clive Phillips says,“Confining a cat into a small cage after it has been roaming........ Read more »
Gourkow, N., & Phillips, C. (2016) Effect of cognitive enrichment on behavior, mucosal immunity and upper respiratory disease of shelter cats rated as frustrated on arrival. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 103-110. DOI: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2016.07.012
"At 13 years, adolescents who had received a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) who were attending specialist CFS/ME services were more than two times more likely to be obese than adolescents in the general population."At first reading, I wasn't particularly surprised by the findings reported by Norris and colleagues  (open-access) drawing on data partly derived from everyone's favourite UK longitudinal birth cohort: ALSPAC (Avon Longitudinal Study of Par........ Read more »
Norris T, Hawton K, Hamilton-Shield J, & Crawley E. (2016) Obesity in adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome: an observational study. Archives of disease in childhood. PMID: 27655658
"TKD [Taekwondo] training can help children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] improve their balance."Go on."Our findings suggest that TKD can be a fun, feasible, and effective therapeutic option for balance improvement of children with ASD."So said the results of the study by Yumi Kim  (open-access) looking at whether the Korean martial art might be able to help with aspects of some of the very important movement issues that can be associated with a diagnosis of autism.B........ Read more »
Kim Y, Todd T, Fujii T, Lim JC, Vrongistinos K, & Jung T. (2016) Effects of Taekwondo intervention on balance in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of exercise rehabilitation, 12(4), 314-9. PMID: 27656628
Having recently mentioned the BBC headline that makes up the title of this entry in a related post (see here) I'm pleased to be finally able to bring the paper by Daniel Mackay and colleagues  (open-access) to your attention.Observing that in Scotland at least, "that season of conception is strikingly associated with the subsequent risk of special educational needs in the offspring" there are various potential implications to come from such data covering both learning (intellectual) disabilit........ Read more »
Mackay DF, Smith GC, Cooper SA, Wood R, King A, Clark DN, & Pell JP. (2016) Month of Conception and Learning Disabilities: A Record-Linkage Study of 801,592 Children. American journal of epidemiology. PMID: 27651381
Four treatment strategies for chronic symptoms after a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) improved symptoms; however, those with therapist-directed cognitive rehabilitation demonstrated superior improvements in functional cognitive scores compared with standard of care and computer-based rehabilitation.... Read more »
Cooper DB, Bowles AO, Kennedy JE, Curtiss G, French LM, Tate DF, & Vanderploeg RD. (2016) Cognitive Rehabilitation for Military Service Members With Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A Randomized Clinical Trial. The Journal of head trauma rehabilitation. PMID: 27603763
Using online social media does not lead to long-term problems with our ability to concentrate, according to new research. We are social animals, so it is really no surprise that billions of us now use online tools to communicate, educate and inform each other. The advent of social media and social networking has nevertheless been phenomenally rapid.
... Read more »
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