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Autism research and other musings

Paul Whiteley
417 posts

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  • October 25, 2014
  • 03:47 AM
  • 18 views

Autism and intolerance of uncertainty

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Good morning, gentlemen, the temperature is 110 degrees'Change' is often mentioned as something potentially problematic for many on the autism spectrum, and how unexpected change can sometimes have profound effects in terms of those so-called 'challenging behaviours' or when it comes to the presentation of important comorbidity such as anxiety. Like many others from the outside looking in, I was always taught that change as a more general concept was the important issue in autism, but recently t........ Read more »

  • October 24, 2014
  • 02:51 AM
  • 28 views

Autism, siblings and DSM-5 Social Communication Disorder

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quick post to bring to your attention the paper by Meghan Miller and colleagues [1] who concluded that: "Pragmatic language problems are present in some siblings of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] as early as 36 months of age". Further: "As the new DSM-5 diagnosis of Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder (SCD) is thought to occur more frequently in family members of individuals with ASD, it is possible that some of these siblings will meet criteria for SCD as th........ Read more »

  • October 23, 2014
  • 04:46 AM
  • 58 views

Postpartum depression and the broader autism phenotype?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The findings suggest that pregnant women with BAP [broader autism phenotype] have an elevated risk for PPD [postpartum depression]".That was the conclusion reached by Ryosuke Asano and colleagues [1] based on their analysis of data derived from the Hamamatsu Birth Cohort (HBC) Study [2]. The idea being that the more subtle presentation of issues linked to a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (the BAP) might predispose to a great likelihood of other behavioural or psychiat........ Read more »

Asano, R., Tsuchiya, K., Takei, N., Harada, T., Kugizaki, Y., Nakahara, R., Nakayasu, C., Okumura, A., Suzuki, Y., Takagai, S.... (2014) Broader autism phenotype as a risk factor for postpartum depression: Hamamatsu Birth Cohort (HBC) Study. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 8(12), 1672-1678. DOI: 10.1016/j.rasd.2014.08.010  

  • October 22, 2014
  • 04:26 AM
  • 52 views

Autism, parental concerns and socioeconomic status

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'd like to think that there are some rather important messages to be taken from the paper by Xiang Sun and colleagues [1] on level of parental concern, socioeconomic status (SES) and risk of autism. Not only did the authors conclude that: "a higher SES was not associated with the risk of having ASC [autism spectrum conditions]" they also found that: "No child met ASC criteria where parents expressed no concerns".Do you prefer "fashion victim" or "ensembly challenged"?SES - including variab........ Read more »

  • October 21, 2014
  • 04:53 AM
  • 57 views

Antibiotics and childhood obesity: a weighty correlation

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

It's been a few weeks since the publication of the paper by L. Charles Bailey and colleagues [1] correlating early multiple exposure to broad spectrum antibiotics with obesity in infancy. On purpose I've left it a while before talking about this research so as to let the scientific dust settle a little and get a flavour for some of the discussions about this research (see here and see here).You're a true vulgarian, aren't you?A few details about the Bailey study first:Looking at the el........ Read more »

Bailey LC, Forrest CB, Zhang P, Richards TM, Livshits A, & DeRusso PA. (2014) Association of Antibiotics in Infancy With Early Childhood Obesity. JAMA pediatrics. PMID: 25265089  

  • October 20, 2014
  • 04:36 AM
  • 65 views

Reasons for visiting ER by those with autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

ER - Emergency Room - or as we call it here in Blighty Accident & Emergency (A & E), is never a particularly desirable place to visit given the emphasis on illness or injury of yourself or loved one. That being said, staff there do a sterling job sometimes under very stressful circumstances, responding to all-manner of complaints, some of which are life-threatening.The paper by Dorothea Iannuzzi and colleagues [1] sought to identify some of the medical reasons why ER visit........ Read more »

Iannuzzi DA, Cheng ER, Broder-Fingert S, & Bauman ML. (2014) Brief Report: Emergency Department Utilization by Individuals with Autism. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 25261249  

  • October 18, 2014
  • 05:30 AM
  • 71 views

More epigenetics, EN-2 and autism... the plot thickens

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I don't mind admitting that I was to some extent 'winging it' with my previous post on epigenetics and Engrailed-2 (EN-2) as a consequence of the findings reported by Jill James and colleagues [1] with autism in mind. Although an avid follower of the science of epigenetics when (cautiously) applied to autism, I am by no means any authority on the subject matter particularly when it comes to the nitty-gritty details. You can probably therefore expect similar things in my latest discussi........ Read more »

  • October 17, 2014
  • 05:22 AM
  • 84 views

Altered ghrelin levels in boys with autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Honey, it's the '90s, remember?"Saudi Arabia and autism research? It must be at least one author from the research tag-team that is Mostafa and Al-Ayadhi.Indeed, in today's post it is Laila Al-Ayadhi featured on the paper by Felwah S. Al-Zaid and colleagues [1] (open-access) who concluded on: "a potential role for the hormone ghrelin in the pathogenesis of autism".Ghrelin, by the way, is often called the 'hunger hormone' as a result of its effects in relation to energy homoeostasis. A........ Read more »

  • October 16, 2014
  • 04:59 AM
  • 90 views

MicroRNAs and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"No one User wrote me! I'm worth millions of their man-years!"Not so long ago I posted an entry talking about microRNAs and autism (see here). As well as including some rather interesting, if preliminary findings, that particular piece of work also served to introduce yet another layer of complexity to our genome and its expression: microRNAs.I was therefore always going to be more than a little intrigued by the results published by Ekua Brenu and colleagues [1] and their observations on ci........ Read more »

  • October 15, 2014
  • 05:16 AM
  • 65 views

Hookworm infection and microchallenge for coeliac disease?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm getting rather baffled by some of the literature appearing with the autoimmune condition coeliac (celiac) disease in mind. The paper by Kalliokoski and colleagues [1] started the bafflement ball rolling with their suggestion that: "administration of IgA-deficient celiac disease patient serum or total IgG induces both deterioration of the intestinal mucosa and clinical features of celiac disease in mice". Then came the paper from Namatovu and colleagues [2] who concluded that: ........ Read more »

Croese J, Giacomin P, Navarro S, Clouston A, McCann L, Dougall A, Ferreira I, Susianto A, O'Rourke P, Howlett M.... (2014) Experimental hookworm infection and gluten microchallenge promote tolerance in celiac disease. The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology. PMID: 25248819  

  • October 14, 2014
  • 07:10 AM
  • 79 views

Prenatal genetic testing and autism: a delicate subject

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I realise that the paper by Lei-Shih Chen and colleagues [1] covers a most sensitive topic when it comes to the autism spectrum, exploring: "the attitudes toward PGT [prenatal genetic testing] and termination decisions of 42 parents of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]". Indeed, this is not the first time that this research group has looked at this area of autism research [2] and it seems like they will be talking about it further too (see here).I chose to discuss the most recent........ Read more »

  • October 13, 2014
  • 05:30 PM
  • 83 views

Yes folks... broccoli chemical impacts on autism presentation

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Please do not adjust your set. Broccoli, or least a chemical found in broccoli called sulforaphane has, under placebo-controlled, double-blind experimental conditions, been reported to impact on the presentation of autism according to the paper by Kanwaljit Singh and colleagues [1] (open-access).Eat your greens @ Fir0002/FlagstaffotosI had to do a bit of a double-take myself when I first read about these results (see here). Indeed, even the authors themselves seemed to be a l........ Read more »

Kanwaljit Singh, Susan L. Connors, Eric A. Macklin, Kirby D. Smith, Jed W. Fahey, Paul Talalay, & Andrew W. Zimmerman. (2014) Sulforaphane treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). PNAS. info:/10.1073/pnas.1416940111

  • October 13, 2014
  • 04:46 AM
  • 77 views

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for anxiety in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'll readily admit that despite having a tinge of psychology running through my research career, I'm not overly enthused about the impact of the discipline on the autism spectrum down the years. I'm not necessarily just talking about the Freudian effect which set autism research back decades and shamefully added needless worry and stigma to those on the spectrum and their loved ones, but also the grand over-arching psychological theories which seemed, for example, to completely miss the 'heterog........ Read more »

  • October 11, 2014
  • 12:06 PM
  • 95 views

Efficacy of foetal stem cell transplantation in autism...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The recent news that researchers might be one step closer to 'curing' type 1 diabetes following the publication of the paper by Pagliuca and colleagues [1] brought back into focus how stem cell therapy might hold some promise for all manner of conditions. The idea that researchers could generate "hundreds of millions of glucose-responsive β cells from hPSC [human pluripotent stem cells] in vitro" still faces a few challenges, including overcoming the immune assault central to the autoimmun........ Read more »

Bradstreet JJ, Sych N, Antonucci N, Klunnik M, Ivankova O, Matyashchuk I, Demchuk M, & Siniscalco D. (2014) Efficacy of fetal stem cell transplantation in autism spectrum disorders: an open-labeled pilot study. Cell transplantation. PMID: 25302490  

  • October 11, 2014
  • 04:48 AM
  • 97 views

Yet more air pollution and autism risk research

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Air pollution and autism risk. It's a topic which has cropped up a few times on this blog (see here and see here and see here) with the majority of the research (but not all) suggesting that there may be something to see when it comes to such a correlation.Enter then the paper by Amy Kalkbrenner and colleagues [1] to proceedings, and their conclusion: "Our study adds to previous work in California showing a relation between traffic-related air pollution and autism, and adds similar findings in a........ Read more »

  • October 10, 2014
  • 04:40 AM
  • 97 views

Vitamin D supplement improves autistic behaviours?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I don't want to get too ahead of myself with this post talking about the paper by Feiyong Jia and colleagues [1] (open-access) who concluded: "Vitamin D supplementation may be effective in ameliorating the autistic behavioral problems in children with autism spectrum disorders [ASDs]".The idea however that issues with vitamin D seemingly present in quite a few cases of ASD [2] (see here too) but not all [3] might actually have more direct consequences for behavioural presentation ........ Read more »

  • October 9, 2014
  • 04:41 AM
  • 103 views

Physical activity and fitness levels and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Although at present having to be slightly more cautious following some recent surgery (general anaesthetic is awesome by the way!), I normally consider myself to be quite an active person. Through previous discussions on this blog covering topics on the positive effects of walking (see here) and the physical+ benefits of the martial arts (see here) I'd like to think that there are quite a few ways and means that the population at large can easily increase their daily physical activity levels. Th........ Read more »

  • October 8, 2014
  • 04:34 AM
  • 104 views

Alcohol and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I tread very carefully with this post today looking at some of the peer-reviewed research on the topic of alcohol use (and abuse) and autism without wishing to stigmatise nor generalise.I was brought to this important topic as a result of the recent paper by Tabata and colleagues [1] who discussed three case reports of alcoholism associated with a diagnosis of autism. For each person described in that report, a common theme describing alcohol being used as a means to "reduce anxiety" related to ........ Read more »

Tabata K, Yoshida T, & Naoe J. (2014) Three cases of alcoholism with autism spectrum disorder. Alcohol and alcoholism (Oxford, Oxfordshire). PMID: 25221235  

  • October 7, 2014
  • 05:02 AM
  • 105 views

Infection during pregnancy and offspring autism risk

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Lee and colleagues [1] forms the starting material for today's blog post looking at hospitalisation for infection during pregnancy as potentially being a risk factor for receipt of a subsequent diagnosis for autism in offspring."Chaos is what killed the dinosaurs, darling"Based on data derived from one of those very useful Scandinavian health registries, authors observed "approximately a 30% increase in ASD [autism spectrum disorder] risk associated with any inpatient diag........ Read more »

Lee BK, Magnusson C, Gardner RM, Blomström S, Newschaffer CJ, Burstyn I, Karlsson H, & Dalman C. (2014) Maternal hospitalization with infection during pregnancy and risk of autism spectrum disorders. Brain, behavior, and immunity. PMID: 25218900  

  • October 6, 2014
  • 04:36 AM
  • 107 views

Correcting vitamin D levels improves fatigue severity?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was interested to read the paper by Satyajeet Roy and colleagues [1] (open-access here) concluding that: "Normalization of vitamin D levels with ergocalciferol therapy significantly improves the severity of... fatigue symptoms". Ergocalciferol by the way, means vitamin D2, which is distinct from cholecalciferol (vitamin D3), the seemingly more desirable form of vitamin D supplementation (see here)."It's beyond my control"The Roy paper is open-access but a few details might be useful:........ Read more »

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