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  • January 31, 2015
  • 05:40 AM
  • 2 views

Suramin and the Fragile X (Fmr1 knockout) mouse model (and autism)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Fancy some weekend reading? Well, you could do a lot worse than having a gander through the paper by Jane Naviaux and colleagues [1] (open-access) discussing the results of a whole host of analyses following the use of the antipurinergic agent suramin on a mouse model of Fragile X syndrome.Overprotective mother, forbidden road trip...Regular readers might remember some previous discussions about suramin - a pharmaceutic designed to treat African sleeping sickness - and autism which hav........ Read more »

Jane C Naviaux, Lin Wang, Kefeng Li, A Taylor Bright, William A Alaynick, Kenneth R Williams, Susan B Powell, & Robert K Naviaux. (2015) Antipurinergic therapy corrects the autism-like features in the fragile X (Fmr1 knockout) mouse model. Molecular Autism. info:/1186/2040-2392-6-1

  • January 30, 2015
  • 05:32 PM
  • 15 views

Same sex relationships and stress: A new perspective

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Studies of stress and its effects on health have typically focused on the worries of an individual: money, love, health, work. When we turn our attention on relationship stress, the focus is generally on your typical couple. However, new research studies how minority stress -- which results from being stigmatized and disadvantaged in society -- affects same-sex couples' stress levels and overall health.... Read more »

  • January 30, 2015
  • 07:11 AM
  • 42 views

Why you might want to beware the introvert on your team

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Introverts have received a lot of positive press in recent years thanks to the run-away success of Susan Cain's book Quiet: The Power of Introverts. Cain tells us these are people who like their own space, but also happen to be empathic and sensitive and deep-thinkers. A new paper on peer appraisals by team-members bucks this hug-an-introvert trend.Amir Erez and his co-authors report that introverts tend to give especially low performance ratings to their team-mates who are extravert and over-be........ Read more »

  • January 30, 2015
  • 05:02 AM
  • 28 views

Diverse developmental trajectories in early years autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Findings confirm the heterogeneous nature of developmental trajectories in ASD [autism spectrum disorder]." That was the bottom line of the study by Peter Szatmari and colleagues [1] (open-access) tracking the developmental trajectory - autistic symptom severity and adaptive functioning - for a sample of "421 newly diagnosed preschool children with ASD 2 to 4 years old." Some accompanying media for the study can be found here.The Szatmari paper is open-access so it doesn't need any gr........ Read more »

  • January 30, 2015
  • 03:56 AM
  • 40 views

How to feel older and/or worse?

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Growing with time and becoming old is a common phenomenon. Every person grows older with time, but some people may have the wish to grow old faster. So, this article is for those people. On the contrary, if you want to feel young and good, do the opposite as mentioned in this article.
Think that you are old

It has been found that self-perceived age is strongly related to cardiovascular health. It is important to think that you are older. Researchers have found that older people, who think th........ Read more »

Rippon, I., & Steptoe, A. (2014) Feeling Old vs Being Old. JAMA Internal Medicine. DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.6580  

  • January 29, 2015
  • 04:29 PM
  • 40 views

Mental illness treatment, there’s NOT an app for that

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

It’s more socially acceptable to talk about mental illness, which is important since the number of people who have it — or should we say, are getting treatment for mental illness — has steadily increased over the years. While it still may be taboo to talk about, mental illness is a very real thing needing very real treatment, however new research now shows that texting may be a more suitable treatment aid for those with mental illness than mobile applications.... Read more »

Campbell, B., Caine, K., Connelly, K., Doub, T., & Bragg, A. (2014) Cell phone ownership and use among mental health outpatients in the USA. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 19(2), 367-378. DOI: 10.1007/s00779-014-0822-z  

  • January 29, 2015
  • 12:56 PM
  • 37 views

Political gridlock: Blame the men

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

It feels like the government moves at a snails pace sometimes, it takes forever for any change to come about and even then it is typically not even “change.” This couldn’t be more evident than during the political gridlock that led to the 2013 US federal government shutdown, the leading voices for compromise were the handful of female U.S. senators — only 20 percent of the overall legislative body.... Read more »

  • January 29, 2015
  • 10:10 AM
  • 61 views

Heaven or Hallucination?

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

Alex Malarkey, “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven” has admitted that his story was, um, malarkey. Consequently, the book has been pulled and the million or so people who purchased it are feeling as deflated as a New England Patriots football. But others claim to have visited Heaven. My latest article on THE SCOPE discusses the research behind these experiences. Is it really Heaven or a hallucination?... Read more »

Borjigin, J., Lee, U., Liu, T., Pal, D., Huff, S., Klarr, D., Sloboda, J., Hernandez, J., Wang, M., & Mashour, G. (2013) Surge of neurophysiological coherence and connectivity in the dying brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(35), 14432-14437. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1308285110  

  • January 29, 2015
  • 04:38 AM
  • 55 views

Autism spectrum symptomatology in individuals with Down syndrome

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was not surprised to read the findings of the paper from Marie Moore Channell and colleagues [1] (open-access) who "identified patterns of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] symptomatology, measured by the SRS [Social Responsiveness Scale], in individuals with DS [Down syndrome] who do not have comorbid ASD."You're not going Turbo, are you?Harking back to the paper by Georgina Warner and colleagues [2] discussed not-so-long-ago on this blog (see here), the idea that variou........ Read more »

Marie Moore Channell, B Allyson Phillips, Susan J Loveall, Frances A Conners, Paige M Bussanich, & Laura Grofer Klinger. (2015) Patterns of autism spectrum symptomatology in individuals with Down syndrome without comorbid autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders. info:/10.1186/1866-1955-7-5

  • January 28, 2015
  • 07:15 PM
  • 36 views

Team of Rivals: Does Science Need "Adversarial Collaboration"?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

When scientists disagree about something, what often happens is that the two sides of the argument form separate communities, with scientists collaborating with others on their "team" while avoiding working with their "opponents". But is there a better way?



A paper just published today presents the results of an experiment that was conducted as an 'adversarial collaboration'. This is where some researchers sit down with some members of the "other side" and agree upon a plan for a study to... Read more »

Matzke D, Nieuwenhuis S, van Rijn H, Slagter HA, van der Molen MW, & Wagenmakers EJ. (2015) The effect of horizontal eye movements on free recall: A preregistered adversarial collaboration. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 144(1). PMID: 25621378  

  • January 28, 2015
  • 01:45 PM
  • 31 views

Does this mean we need to pay no attention to 1 in  10 research findings?

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

If so, we can certainly suggest a few to be disregarded! We don’t write about most of the articles we consider for this blog (the reject pile grows taller every day). And when we do write about questionable pieces we let you know if we think it’s a little ridiculous or if it’s a prospective […]

Related posts:
Mock Jury Research: How do we make it more useful?
Red, redux: Men won’t pay attention to Tammy in red
It’s 2014: Where are all the female subjects in surgical research? ........ Read more »

  • January 28, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 29 views

How Can We Improve Working Dog Programs?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A new paper suggests ways to develop the welfare and performance of working canines.A search-and-rescue dog takes part in a training exerciseHave you ever stopped to think about the amazing variety of jobs that dogs do: herding sheep, chasing criminals, sniffing out cancer, assisting people with disabilities, supporting the military in the field, detecting explosives or narcotics, visiting sick people in hospital, pulling sleds, search and rescue, and so on. They bring a wide variety of ski........ Read more »

  • January 28, 2015
  • 05:03 AM
  • 36 views

Urinary histidine as a marker of 'dioxin-induced' neurodevelopmental issues?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Muneko Nishijo and colleagues [1] (open-access) caught my eye recently and their continuing investigations into the potential effects of perinatal dioxin exposure on offspring neurodevelopmental outcomes. For a bit of background on this initiative based in Vietnam, I would refer readers to a previous post on this blog (see here).Your weakness is copper? Y-you're kidding right?In case you can't be bothered to follow that previous link, the idea was that exposure to TCDD [2,........ Read more »

  • January 28, 2015
  • 04:52 AM
  • 8 views

A face that could get away with anything

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

First impressions lead to a multitude of assumptions, and trustworthiness is one of them: faces with v-shaped eyebrows and frowning mouths are consistently judged as less trustworthy than others with ^-shaped brows and mouths with upturned corners (this may be related to the former betraying a hidden anger and the latter having positive undertones). Now a study by Brian Holtz suggests that a person's looks can colour perceptions, not only of how trustworthy their character mi........ Read more »

  • January 27, 2015
  • 10:44 AM
  • 54 views

How do we integrate information?

by neuroecology in Neuroecology

Left or right? Apple or orange? Selma or Birdman? One way to make these decisions is precisely what intuition tell us it should be: we weigh up the pros and cons of each choice. Then, when we have sufficient evidence for one over the … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • January 27, 2015
  • 04:50 AM
  • 8 views

No one noticed when this man's speech was fed to him by a 12-year-old. Welcome to the Cyranoid Illusion

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Imagine if the words that came out of your mouth were spoken by another person. Would anyone notice? This idea was explored by social psychologist Stanley Milgram, famous for his studies into obedience, but he never published his results.Milgram called the hybrid of one person's body and another person's mind, a Cyranoid, after the play Cyrano de Bergerac, in which the handsome Christian woos a woman using the graceful words provided by plain-looking Cyrano. Now the concept has been resurrected ........ Read more »

  • January 27, 2015
  • 04:33 AM
  • 40 views

Siblings, genetics and the autisms (plural)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Ryan Yuen and colleagues [1] suggesting that most siblings with autism do not share the same genetic variations thought to contribute to the condition has garnered quite a few media headlines of late (see here and see here).Applying the concept of whole-genome sequencing whereby the complete genetic blueprint of a person is mapped to provide "the most comprehensive collection of an individual's genetic variation" [2], 340 genomes from 85 families with two children with a d........ Read more »

Yuen, R., Thiruvahindrapuram, B., Merico, D., Walker, S., Tammimies, K., Hoang, N., Chrysler, C., Nalpathamkalam, T., Pellecchia, G., Liu, Y.... (2015) Whole-genome sequencing of quartet families with autism spectrum disorder. Nature Medicine. DOI: 10.1038/nm.3792  

  • January 26, 2015
  • 07:02 AM
  • 62 views

His brain made him do it” and so I feel much less empathy for him 

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We’ve written about the brain based defenses a lot here. And here’s an article that may shed light on how the presentation of neural defenses could backfire on defense attorneys. First, let’s look at the research. The researchers wondered how the biological explanation of mental illness might affect the empathy of mental health clinicians toward […]

Related posts:
Which jurors most “feel” your client’s pain?
Empathy: Paving the road to preferential treatment with good intenti........ Read more »

Lebowitz MS, & Ahn WK. (2014) Effects of biological explanations for mental disorders on clinicians' empathy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(50), 17786-90. PMID: 25453068  

  • January 26, 2015
  • 06:27 AM
  • 71 views

We're more likely to cheat when we're anxious

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

When we’re stressed out and feeling threatened, our priority becomes self-preservation. According to new research, this defensive mode even affects our morality, making us more likely to cheat and excuse our own unethical behaviour.Maryam Kouchaki and Sreedhari Desai demonstrated this through six experiments. In the clearest example, 63 student participants spent three minutes listening to either calm music, or in the anxiety condition, to Bernard Herrmann's Psycho score. Those freaked out by ........ Read more »

  • January 26, 2015
  • 06:23 AM
  • 67 views

Is it necessary to use brain imaging to understand teen girls' sexual decision making?

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

“It is feasible to recruit and retain a cohort of female participants to perform a functional magnetic resonance imaging [fMRI] task focused on making decisions about sex, on the basis of varying levels of hypothetical sexual risk, and to complete longitudinal prospective diaries following this task. Preliminary evidence suggests that risk level differentially impacts brain activity related to sexual decision making in these women [i.e., girls aged 14-15 yrs], which may be related to pas........ Read more »

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