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  • March 27, 2015
  • 06:02 AM
  • 6 views

Inflammation impairs social cognitive processing

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin: "acute inflammation can lead to decreases in the ability to accurately and reliably comprehend emotional information from others."It comes from the article published by Mona Moieni and colleagues [1] who examined a concept familiar to many people with a connection to autism either personally or professionally: Theory of Mind (ToM). Rather interestingly, Moieni et al "examined whether exposure to an experimental inflammatory challenge led to changes in ToM." Inflammato........ Read more »

  • March 27, 2015
  • 01:22 AM
  • 10 views

Is a trauma focus truly needed in PTSD treatment?

by Eva Alisic in Trauma Recovery

For treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder to be effective, is it really necessary to focus on the trauma itself? ... Read more »

Barlow DH, Bullis JR, Comer JS, & Ametaj AA. (2013) Evidence-based psychological treatments: an update and a way forward. Annual review of clinical psychology, 1-27. PMID: 23245338  

Watts BV, Schnurr PP, Mayo L, Young-Xu Y, Weeks WB, & Friedman MJ. (2013) Meta-analysis of the efficacy of treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder. The Journal of clinical psychiatry. PMID: 23842024  

Wampold BE, Imel ZE, Laska KM, Benish S, Miller SD, Flückiger C, Del Re AC, Baardseth TP, & Budge S. (2010) Determining what works in the treatment of PTSD. Clinical psychology review, 923-33. PMID: 20638168  

  • March 26, 2015
  • 06:27 PM
  • 14 views

Stereotype lowers math performance in women, no one noticed

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Stereotypes about people can affect how we look at a person, but sometimes it causes other problems. Gender stereotypes about women’s ability in mathematics negatively impact their performance. And in a significant twist, both men and women wrongly believe those stereotypes will not undermine women’s math performance — but instead motivate them to perform better.... Read more »

Boucher, K., Rydell, R., & Murphy, M. (2015) Forecasting the experience of stereotype threat for others. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 56-62. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2015.01.002  

  • March 26, 2015
  • 02:20 PM
  • 25 views

High-fat diet causes brain inflammation and alters behavior

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

We hear in the media all the time, obesity is effecting our health. In most cases when we talk obesity we are talking about heart disease, sedentary activity, or chronic overeating. But what if a high-fat diet — regardless of obesity — has more than just an affect on your waistline? What if the consumption of fatty foods can change your behavior and your brain?... Read more »

Bruce-Keller, A., Salbaum, J., Luo, M., Blanchard, E., Taylor, C., Welsh, D., & Berthoud, H. (2015) Obese-type Gut Microbiota Induce Neurobehavioral Changes in the Absence of Obesity. Biological Psychiatry, 77(7), 607-615. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.07.012  

  • March 26, 2015
  • 07:50 AM
  • 30 views

Watching a paradigm shift in neuroscience

by Björn Brembs in bjoern.brembs.blog

When I finished my PhD 15 years ago, the neurosciences defined the main function of brains in terms of processing input to compute output: “brain function is ultimately best understood in terms of input/output transformations and how they are produced” […] ↓ Read the rest of this entry...... Read more »

  • March 26, 2015
  • 07:39 AM
  • 26 views

Autism increases risk of nonaffective psychotic disorder and bipolar disorder

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Published at the same time and in the same journal as the 'MoBa does bowel issues in autism' paper from Bresnahan and colleagues [1], the study results from Jean-Paul Selten et al [2] reporting that "A diagnosis of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] is associated with a substantially increased risk for NAPD [nonaffective psychotic disorder] and BD [bipolar disorder]" has, at the time of writing this post, received little or no press attention in comparison despite ........ Read more »

  • March 26, 2015
  • 12:38 AM
  • 43 views

The Smell of Stress and Fear

by Aurametrix team in Olfactics and Diagnostics

Can we recognize if people around us are stressed, anxious or fearful without observing their facial expressions, body language and actions or hearing their voice and messages? Can we understand if we are stressed ourselves without assessing our heart rate, blood pressure, noticing dry throat, sweating, drops or surges in energy? Yes, we can - by using our nose - as humans, too, recognize and transmit their emotions through chemical senses.When we are stressed or panic we become more sensit........ Read more »

Haegler, K., Zernecke, R., Kleemann, A., Albrecht, J., Pollatos, O., Brückmann, H., & Wiesmann, M. (2010) No fear no risk! Human risk behavior is affected by chemosensory anxiety signals. Neuropsychologia, 48(13), 3901-3908. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.09.019  

Prehn-Kristensen A, Wiesner C, Bergmann TO, Wolff S, Jansen O, Mehdorn HM, Ferstl R, & Pause BM. (2009) Induction of empathy by the smell of anxiety. PloS one, 4(6). PMID: 19551135  

  • March 25, 2015
  • 05:57 PM
  • 32 views

MoBa does bowel issues in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

'MoBa' in the title of this post, refers to the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study and a handy resource which has already impacted on autism research (see here for example).Now MoBa has turned its epidemiological clout to an issue which less and less is encountering scientific resistance: are gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms over-represented when it comes to a diagnosis of autism? Further, when do such bowel issues start to present?The answer, shown in the paper by Michaeline B........ Read more »

Bresnahan, M., Hornig, M., Schultz, A., Gunnes, N., Hirtz, D., Lie, K., Magnus, P., Reichborn-Kjennerud, T., Roth, C., Schjølberg, S.... (2015) Association of Maternal Report of Infant and Toddler Gastrointestinal Symptoms With Autism. JAMA Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.3034  

  • March 25, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 54 views

Can Street Dogs Become Good Pets?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

From free-ranging dog to new home. It sounds like a fairy-tale, but how does it work out?A recent survey by Yasemin Salgiri Demirbas (Ankara University) et al investigates how well free-roaming urban dogs fit into a family home once they are adopted. The results show the dogs adapt well to their new homes.The scientists say, “Every year in Turkey, thousands of free-ranging dogs are brought to dog shelters. These dogs are mongrel dogs with stray origins.” There is often a bias against adoptin........ Read more »

Salgirli Demirbas, Y., Emre, B., & Kockaya, M. (2014) Integration ability of urban free-ranging dogs into adoptive families' environment. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 9(5), 222-227. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2014.04.006  

  • March 25, 2015
  • 07:13 AM
  • 41 views

Flawed Shades Of Gray

by RAZ Rebecca A. Zarate in United Academics

The Munker-White Illusion: flawed expectations of brightness and shadow.... Read more »

Li, Tavantzis, and Yazdanbakhsh. (2009) Lightness of Munker-White illusion and Simultaneous-Contrast illusion: Establishing an ordinal lightness relation among minimum and split-frame presentations. Review of Psychology, 16(1), 3-8. info:/

Purves D, Shimpi A, & Lotto RB. (1999) An empirical explanation of the cornsweet effect. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 19(19), 8542-51. PMID: 10493754  

  • March 25, 2015
  • 05:33 AM
  • 40 views

Autism and depression: interlinked?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"A possible implication is that interventions aimed at either autism symptoms or symptoms of depression may improve the other."That was the intriguing statement made by Per Normann Andersen and colleagues [1] who "investigated the course of and association among changes in autism symptoms, depression symptoms and executive functions (EF) in children with high-functioning autism (HFA)." Aside from frowning a little at the mention of the concept of 'high-functioning' I assume to denote those ........ Read more »

  • March 24, 2015
  • 02:42 PM
  • 39 views

FDA struggles to define what “natural” means for food labels

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

After decades of debate there remains no generally accepted definition of a “natural” food product. Despite a gamut of products with the label prominently displayed, it has caused a headache in lawsuits for the government who have yet to define “natural”. According to new research, while regulatory agencies have refused to settle the issue, they may be under new pressure from those consumer lawsuits.... Read more »

  • March 24, 2015
  • 01:44 PM
  • 39 views

Milk, not just for your bones, for your brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Milk, depending on who you ask it’s either great or the devil. In the US drinking milk is common; not so much in other parts of the world. This has lead to questions about why we even drink milk and how real its reported health claims actually are. Well new research has found a correlation between milk consumption and the levels of a naturally-occurring antioxidant called glutathione in the brain in older, healthy adults.... Read more »

Choi, I., Lee, P., Denney, D., Spaeth, K., Nast, O., Ptomey, L., Roth, A., Lierman, J., & Sullivan, D. (2014) Dairy intake is associated with brain glutathione concentration in older adults. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 101(2), 287-293. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.114.096701  

  • March 24, 2015
  • 05:37 AM
  • 43 views

More extremes of a limiting diet and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

In a previous post a while back, I discussed some examples in the peer-reviewed literature of where a self-limiting diet in the extreme can lead to with autism in mind. Today, I'm adding a further example of what food faddism might mean, to further forward the point that "a low threshold for vitamin level testing should be undertaken in autistic spectrum disorder cases, highlighting the importance of enquiring about dietary habits."That last quote comes from the paper in question by Emma Du........ Read more »

  • March 23, 2015
  • 03:02 PM
  • 47 views

The neurological basis for anorexia nervosa

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Most of us know about dieting, and if not first hand, have seen in the news or from friends how hard sticking to a diet long-term can be. This is because adults (regardless of their weight_ resolve to lose weight. Yet, more often than not, that chocolate lava cake is too enticing and that resolve vanishes. This behavior is normal because hunger increases the intensity of food rewards. Yet, individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN), despite their state of starvation, are able to ignore such food-rel........ Read more »

Wierenga, C., Bischoff-Grethe, A., Melrose, A., Irvine, Z., Torres, L., Bailer, U., Simmons, A., Fudge, J., McClure, S., Ely, A.... (2015) Hunger Does Not Motivate Reward in Women Remitted from Anorexia Nervosa. Biological Psychiatry, 77(7), 642-652. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.09.024  

  • March 23, 2015
  • 05:48 AM
  • 51 views

Early life probiotics reducing the risk of subsequent neuropsychiatric disorder?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

With my continued interest in all-things gut microbiome on this blog (see here for example) it is little wonder that I was taken to blog about the study findings from Anna Pärtty and colleagues [1] reporting that: "Probiotic supplementation early in life may reduce the risk of neuropsychiatric disorder development later in childhood." Probiotic by the way, refers to various 'live' organisms (bacteria, yeasts) thought to confer some positive effect on health and/or wellbeing.Not only does such a........ Read more »

  • March 21, 2015
  • 04:22 AM
  • 61 views

Toxoplasma gondii and schizophrenia (again and again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The findings reported by Ainsah Omar and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) adding further weight to the notion of a "strong association between the active Tg [Toxoplasma gondii] infection and schizophrenia" are set out for your reading consumption today.Continuing a research topic that has already enjoyed quite a bit of air time on this blog (see here and see here) whereby the parasite T. gondii known to cause the condition toxoplasmosis might also be implicate........ Read more »

Omar A, Bakar OC, Adam NF, Osman H, Osman A, Suleiman AH, Manaf MR, & Selamat MI. (2015) Seropositivity and Serointensity of Toxoplasma gondii Antibodies and DNA among Patients with Schizophrenia. The Korean journal of parasitology, 53(1), 29-34. PMID: 25748706  

  • March 20, 2015
  • 06:19 PM
  • 72 views

Can Monkeys Get Depressed?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

According to a new study from Chinese neuroscientists Fan Xu and colleagues, some monkeys can experience depression in a similar way to humans.


The researchers studied cynomolgus monkeys, also known as crab-eating macaques (Macaca fascicularis), a species native to Southeast Asia. Cynomolgus monkeys are highly social animals. Xu et al. previously showed that isolating a monkey from its companions caused it to develop depression-like behaviors. In their new paper, the authors say that they'v... Read more »

Xu F, Wu Q, Xie L, Gong W, Zhang J, Zheng P, Zhou Q, Ji Y, Wang T, Li X.... (2015) Macaques exhibit a naturally-occurring depression similar to humans. Scientific reports, 9220. PMID: 25783476  

  • March 20, 2015
  • 10:48 AM
  • 73 views

Understanding the Origin of Psychopathic Tendencies Through Chimpanzees

by amikulak in Daily Observations

Psychopathy, a personality disorder characterized by antisocial behavior, lack of empathy, and disinhibition, is typically investigated among clinical and forensic samples, and sometimes among the general population. But a team […]... Read more »

Latzman, R., Drislane, L., Hecht, L., Brislin, S., Patrick, C., Lilienfeld, S., Freeman, H., Schapiro, S., & Hopkins, W. (2015) A Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) Model of Triarchic Psychopathy Constructs: Development and Initial Validation. Clinical Psychological Science. DOI: 10.1177/2167702615568989  

  • March 20, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 13 views

“Classical music will protect you from Alzheimer’s” and  other lies on the internet

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

This week I read several sensationalized reports of research findings from some scientists in Finland. “Classical music can help slow down the onset of dementia” and “Listening To Classical Music Could Improve Genes Responsible For Certain Brain Functions”. The articles reported that listening to a 20 minute Mozart violin concerto could stave off dementia and […]

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Brown, M. J., Henriquez, E., & Groscup, J. (2008) The effects of eyeglasses and race on juror decisions involving a violent crime. American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 26(2), 25-43. info:/

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