Posts

August 29, 2014

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10:30 AM | Best of Our Blogs: August 29, 2014
We’re gearing up for a long weekend. For those who have the day off on Labor Day, how will you spend your time? I’ve noticed recently that doing no-thing does not feel restful, healing, nor meditative. It feels uncomfortable and anxiety provoking. Forced to lay still in my yoga class, I realized that all that busy-ness […]
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7:52 AM | Oxytocin and autism: the hype?
Consider some excerpts from two recent papers looking at oxytocin (OXT) - the "love hormone"(!) - and the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs)...“It’s not the years, honey. It’s the mileage”"These findings indicate that dysregulated OXT biology is not uniquely associated with ASD social phenotypes as widely theorized, but instead variation in OXT biology contributes to important individual differences in human social functioning, including the severe social impairments which […]

Parker, K., Garner, J., Libove, R., Hyde, S., Hornbeak, K., Carson, D., Liao, C., Phillips, J., Hallmayer, J. & Hardan, A. & (2014). Plasma oxytocin concentrations and OXTR polymorphisms predict social impairments in children with and without autism spectrum disorder, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1402236111

Guastella AJ, Gray KM, Rinehart NJ, Alvares GA, Tonge BJ, Hickie IB, Keating CM, Cacciotti-Saija C & Einfeld SL (2014). The effects of a course of intranasal oxytocin on social behaviors in youth diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders: a randomized controlled trial., Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25087908

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7:52 AM | Oxytocin and autism: the hype?
Consider some excerpts from two recent papers looking at oxytocin (OXT) - the "love hormone"(!) - and the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs)...“It’s not the years, honey. It’s the mileage”"These findings indicate that dysregulated OXT biology is not uniquely associated with ASD social phenotypes as widely theorized, but instead variation in OXT biology contributes to important individual differences in human social functioning, including the severe social impairments which […]

Parker, K., Garner, J., Libove, R., Hyde, S., Hornbeak, K., Carson, D., Liao, C., Phillips, J., Hallmayer, J. & Hardan, A. & (2014). Plasma oxytocin concentrations and OXTR polymorphisms predict social impairments in children with and without autism spectrum disorder, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1402236111

Guastella AJ, Gray KM, Rinehart NJ, Alvares GA, Tonge BJ, Hickie IB, Keating CM, Cacciotti-Saija C & Einfeld SL (2014). The effects of a course of intranasal oxytocin on social behaviors in youth diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders: a randomized controlled trial., Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25087908

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1:00 AM | Science Book a Day Interviews Richard Robinson
Special thanks to Steve Jenkins for answering 5 questions about his recently featured book – My Manager and Other Animals Richard is best known for building and voicing puppets for various television series such as Spitting […]
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12:32 AM | Are Eating Disorders Racist? And Other Questions for Kati Morton
Therapist Kati Morton answers questions on YouTube from her Tumblr readers, including "Are eating disorders racist?"

August 28, 2014

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5:00 PM | Ignore The IQ Test: Your Level Of Intelligence Is Not Fixed For Life
You can do better. Answer sheet via Wichy/ShutterstockBy Bryan Roche, National University of Ireland Maynooth read more
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3:45 PM | Juneau Where I Am: <i>Scientific American</i> Alaska Cruise, Part 2
Scientific American Bright Horizons Cruise 22 arrives in Juneau, Alaska -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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8:29 AM | Minocycline for schizophrenia?
"Minocycline may improve the psychopathology of schizophrenia, especially the negative symptoms, and seems to be well tolerated".A Bachelors Drawer (apparently) @ Wikipedia That was the finding from the systematic review and meta-analysis undertaken by Oya and colleagues [1] looking at the collected literature on the use of "minocycline augmentation therapy in patients with schizophrenia receiving antipsychotic agents". Augmentation therapy by the way, refers to the addition of minocycline […]

Oya K, Kishi T & Iwata N (2014). Efficacy and tolerability of minocycline augmentation therapy in schizophrenia: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials., Human psychopharmacology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25087702

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August 27, 2014

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11:35 PM | (False?) Positive Psychology Meets Genomics
Academic bunfight ahoy! A new paper from Nick Brown – famed debunker of the “Positivity Ratio” – and his colleagues, takes aim at another piece of research on feel-good emotions. The target is a 2013 paper published in PNAS from positive psychology leader Barbara Fredrickson and colleagues: A functional genomic perspective on human well-being. The […]The post (False?) Positive Psychology Meets Genomics appeared first on Neuroskeptic.

Brown, N., MacDonald, D., Samanta, M., Friedman, H. & Coyne, J. (2014). A critical reanalysis of the relationship between genomics and well-being, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1407057111

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4:00 PM | Why Osteopaths Want To Be Called Doctor: Marginal Members Emphasize Group Identity
In the United States northeast, there is a joke that there is an easy way to spot someone who went to Harvard or Yale; it will be the person asking which college you attended. You can substitute Mensa or lots of other groups that have status for members but a new psychology paper says what most knew; entrenched members of groups are more relaxed about their status than marginal ones.read more
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2:35 PM | We All Need to Take it Easy Sometimes
This past few weeks has been pretty chaotic for me. Money has been an issue, I moved to a new city, my nephew was born, I got a new writing job, I had my 29th birthday, I had to housesit for a while and on top of everything else I’ve been working myself into a […]
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7:56 AM | Prenatal SSRI exposure and autistic traits
A quote to start today's post: "Our results suggest an association between prenatal SSRI exposure and autistic traits in children". That was a primary finding reported by Hanan El Marroun and colleagues [1] who looked at whether maternal depressive symptoms or a class of quite commonly used pharmaceutics - the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) - used to manage depressive symptoms, during pregnancy might impact on offspring development."Everything the light touches is our […]

Marroun, H., White, T., van der Knaap, N., Homberg, J., Fernandez, G., Schoemaker, N., Jaddoe, V., Hofman, A., Verhulst, F., Hudziak, J. & Stricker, B. (2014). Prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and social responsiveness symptoms of autism: population-based study of young children, The British Journal of Psychiatry, 205 (2) 95-102. DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.113.127746

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August 26, 2014

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9:48 PM | Headspace: Mental, Physical, and Social Health for Youth
A brief look at Australia's Headspace national youth mental health service.
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9:00 PM | To trust or not to trust, all in the blink of an eye
We’ve known for a while that having certain facial features will lead people to judge you as either trustworthy or untrustworthy. And in fact our brains make those complex judgments much faster than we could have ever imagined. Now scientists have worked out how we do it. It’s all about physiognomy Back in 1772, Swiss […]
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6:35 PM | When Happiness Isn’t a Choice
American poet T. S. Eliot wrote: I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting. Wait without […]
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6:31 PM | Disillusioned Churchgoers Undergo A Moral Identity Crisis
Dsillusioned churchgoers may find it increasingly difficult to remain associated with their church, yet many also find it difficult to leave.  They have not only a moral identity crisis but deep identity crises as their most important relationships and beliefs are put at risk.  The authors of a paper in the Journal of Consumer Research conducted interviews with people who identify as former churchgoers and asked them to reflect on their experiences in leaving the church and the […]
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6:00 PM | This Strange Phenomenon Allows Scientists To Control People's Daydreams
Ever heard of the Perky Effect? It sounds cutesy-poo, but it's an effect that has led to a decades-long investigation that reveals a startling truth. Even if you don't consciously control your dreams, you probably think you control your daydreams. But that might not actually be true.Read more...
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5:00 PM | Quote Therapy – Cindy Crawford
“Sometimes knowing what you don’t want or what doesn’t work gets you one step closer to what you do want and what does work.” Cindy Crawford
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4:31 PM | Do Moviegoers Prefer Fact Or Fiction? The Surprising Answer
Do you feel sadder watching a documentary about war or a drama about a young person dying of cancer? If you poll most people, they will say there are stronger emotional reactions when stories are based on true events rather than fiction, but a new analysis in the Journal of Consumer Research finds that is not so.read more
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2:21 PM | Eating Disorders Correlated To Increased Risk Of Autoimmune Diseases
Researchers recently set out to determine the prevalence and incidence of autoimmune diseases in people with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.  Patients (N=2342) treated at the Eating Disorder Unit of Helsinki University Central Hospital between 1995 and 2010 were compared with general population controls (N=9368) matched for the age, sex and place of residence. Data of 30 autoimmune diseases were from the Hospital Discharge Register from 1969 to 2010.read more
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1:30 PM | This Personality Test Is Creative Writing In Disguise
The Rotter Incomplete Sentence Blank can tell you what you're like in 40 sentences, most of which will be written by you. The responses to very short prompts are scored according to how positive or negative they are. (I wish they had some scoring guidelines for how sarcastic they are, though.)Read more...
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12:00 PM | The Social Norms Of Electronic Cigarette Use By Teenagers
Electronic cigarettes are battery operated inhalation devices that provide vaporized nicotine to users without the harm of tobacco smoke. They are often marketed as a healthier alternative to cigarettes and have filled shelves of convenience stores since late 2011.  read more
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10:30 AM | Best of Our Blogs: August 26, 2014
“Most people are manipulated by the approval of others, the paycheck that supports them, and the lifestyle that has handcuffed them to the brass ring of perceived success. On this path we eventually live like slaves to a man-made system. We chase the goals of others instead of pursuing our own dreams. We anesthetize our […]
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7:55 AM | 76% of youths with autism meet ADHD diagnostic criteria?
Autism is not normally a stand-alone diagnosis. I've mentioned that point a few times on this blog, stressing how a clinical diagnosis of autism appears to increase the risk of various other behavioural, psychiatric and somatic diagnoses also [variably] being present over a lifetime. Part of that comorbidity has been talked about in discussions about ESSENCE (see here) and the excellent document produced by Treating Autism on medical comorbidities occurring alongside autism (see here) for […]

Joshi G, Faraone SV, Wozniak J, Tarko L, Fried R, Galdo M, Furtak SL & Biederman J (2014). Symptom Profile of ADHD in Youth With High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Comparative Study in Psychiatrically Referred Populations., Journal of attention disorders, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25085653

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6:00 AM | Talking to the voices in our heads | Sam Wilkinson and Felicity Deamer
A promising approach to treating people who hear voices, also known as auditory hallucinations, is to get the patient or therapist to interact with the speaker Somebody hears a voice, but nobody is speaking. It seems reasonable to assume that there is something going on in the head of this person that is similar to what is going on in the head of somebody actually hearing someone speak. The challenge is to explain why this is happening in the absence of a speaker.One popular strategy is to […]

August 25, 2014

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10:35 PM | Fungicide Vinclozolin Linked To Great Granddaughter's Stress
Feeling stressed out? Blame your great-grandparents. Psychologists have linked ancestral exposure by a common fungicide, vinclozolin, to the stress levels of rats generations later. Epigenetically. Vinclozolin is a fungicide commonly used by farmers to ward off rots, molds and blights. read more
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8:10 PM | Why Pseudoscience Belongs in the Psychology Classroom If...
Why Pseudoscience Belongs in the Psychology Classroom If instructors want students to think like scientists, they have to teach them about decidedly nonscientific ways of thinking, argues Scott O. Lilienfeld, Emory University, in his APS—David Myers Lecture for the Science and Craft of Teaching Psychology at the 2014 APS Annual Convention.
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7:20 PM | How Much Innuendo Do Kids Understand?
Almost all of us have, as adults, gone back to the stuff we watched as a kid and realized it contained some "dirty" stuff that went over our heads. Innuendo in kids comedies is pretty common. But how much innuendo do kids understand?Read more...
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3:00 PM | The "Lady Macbeth Effect" Explains Why Bad People Wash Too Much
Can you cleanse yourself of your sins by literally washing your body? It's debatable. But washing your body can cleanse you of the guilt you feel over those sins. The problem is that might not be a good thing.Read more...
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2:00 PM | Jealousy: Hard-Wired, Learned, or Both?
Last month I shared a post about how to stop judging other people. The post generated some interesting comments. One particular reader suggested that perhaps the sensation of “jealousy” might have a similar survival-based purpose. I was most intrigued by her idea! The truth is, I am personally more apt to look to animal behavior rather […]
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