April 15, 2015

7:31 AM | Maternal diabetes and offspring autism risk... again
"In this large, multiethnic clinical cohort of singleton children born at 28 to 44 weeks’ gestation, exposure to maternal GDM [gestational diabetes mellitus] diagnosed by 26 weeks’ gestation was associated with risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] in offspring."That was the conclusion reached by Anny Xiang and colleagues [1] (open-access) following their analysis of some 3300 children diagnosed with ASD as part of a wider cohort of over 300,000 children […]

Xiang, A., Wang, X., Martinez, M., Walthall, J., Curry, E., Page, K., Buchanan, T., Coleman, K. & Getahun, D. (2015). Association of Maternal Diabetes With Autism in Offspring, JAMA, 313 (14) 1425. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2015.2707


April 10, 2015

10:25 PM | How to Fight Inflammation
Stress releases inflammatory chemicals. This alters the way your immune system responds to stress long-term. Your body requires acute inflammation to bolster your immune system and help you recover from a short-term illness or injury. Chronic inflammation is more insidious and creeps up on you […]

March 27, 2015

10:20 PM | Immune Defense: Inflammatory Language Guest Post
Melanie Stegman, Ph.D., Creative Director of Immune Defense (a novel video game) and Owner of Molecular Jig Games is the winner of this year's Inflammatory Language Contest. In her words...The game is meant to be an introduction, a tool to spark interest and provide basic vocabulary so that players can follow up on Wikipedia or PubMedCentral, or also, so that a teacher could design a lesson based on the game as an introduction. To play the game people can do it two ways: […]
9:58 PM | Fixing 'leaky' blood vessels to combat severe respiratory ailments and, perhaps, Ebola
When you get an infection, your immune system responds with an influx of inflammatory cells that target the underlying bacteria or viruses. These immune cells migrate from your blood into the infected tissue in order to release a cocktail of pro-inflammatory proteins and help eliminate the infectious threat. During this inflammatory response, the blood vessel barrier becomes “leaky.” This allows for an even more rapid influx of additional immune cells. Once the infection resolves, […]
10:02 AM | Inflammation impairs social cognitive processing
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." […]

Moieni M, Irwin MR, Jevtic I, Breen EC & Eisenberger NI (2015). Inflammation impairs social cognitive processing: a randomized controlled trial of endotoxin., Brain, behavior, and immunity, PMID:


March 26, 2015

6:20 PM | High-fat diet causes brain inflammation and alters behavior
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 […]

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

3:57 PM | Winner of 3rd Annual Inflammatory Language Contest!
The Febrile Muse has chosen Immune Defense, a novel molecular game by Melanie Stegman, Ph.D., Creative Director of Immune Defense and Owner of Molecular Jig Games.  Many people were involved in the creation of this game. For more details, go to Immune Defense Game. In addition, congratulations to the creators on their successful IndieGoGo project,  to develop it further!There will soon be a follow-up post by Dr. Stegman that includes game details and screen […]

March 25, 2015

9:33 AM | Autism and depression: interlinked?
"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 […]

Andersen PN, Skogli EW, Hovik KT, Egeland J & Øie M (2015). Associations Among Symptoms of Autism, Symptoms of Depression and Executive Functions in Children with High-Functioning Autism: A 2 Year Follow-Up Study., Journal of autism and developmental disorders, PMID:


March 21, 2015

10:30 AM | Psychology Around the Net: March 21, 2015
Learn more about the stigma of mental illness, how to use your memory to make better connections, the rampant misuse of ADHD medications among college students, and more in this week’s Psychology Around the Net! Combating the Stigma of Mental Illness: When as many as “as many as 25 percent of adults and 40.3 percent […]
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