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Autism research and other musings

Paul Whiteley
368 posts

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  • September 2, 2014
  • 04:33 AM
  • 2 views

The epigenetics of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"These data are consistent with evidence of multisystem dysregulation in CFS [Chronic Fatigue Syndrome] and implicate the involvement of DNA modifications in CFS pathology". So said the paper by Wilfred de Vega and colleagues [1] (open-access here) which, I think, represents a bit of a first for CFS with their examination of the possible role of epigenetic modifications in relation to the condition(s) [2].Ladies first @ Wikipedia I have to say that I was really quite excited ........ Read more »

  • September 1, 2014
  • 03:32 AM
  • 30 views

Lithium for mood disorder symptoms in autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Modern classroom? @ Wikipedia The paper published by Matthew Siegel and colleagues [1] talking about some preliminary observations on the use of lithium where symptoms of mood disorder might be present in cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) caught my eye recently. Concluding that: "lithium may be a medication of interest for those who exhibit two or more mood disorder symptoms, particularly mania or euphoria/elevated mood" the sentiments of more research-to-do in this area presents........ Read more »

Siegel M, Beresford CA, Bunker M, Verdi M, Vishnevetsky D, Karlsson C, Teer O, Stedman A, & Smith KA. (2014) Preliminary Investigation of Lithium for Mood Disorder Symptoms in Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology. PMID: 25093602  

  • August 30, 2014
  • 03:34 AM
  • 59 views

Under-recognised co-occurring conditions in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A brief post to direct you to the paper by Nicolaidis and colleagues [1] talking about primary care for adults on the autism spectrum and mention of an issue quite important to this blog: "the recognition of associated conditions"."When 900 years old you reach, look as good you will not".Alongside the announcement of what seems like an interesting workshop organised by the US IACC (Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee) titled: "IACC Workshop on Under-Recognized Co-Occurring Condit........ Read more »

Nicolaidis C, Kripke CC, & Raymaker D. (2014) Primary Care for Adults on the Autism Spectrum. The Medical clinics of North America, 98(5), 1169-1191. PMID: 25134878  

  • August 29, 2014
  • 03:52 AM
  • 103 views

Oxytocin and autism: the hype?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

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 characterize ASD........ Read more »

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: 25087908  

  • August 28, 2014
  • 04:29 AM
  • 83 views

Minocycline for schizophrenia?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"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 ........ Read more »

  • August 27, 2014
  • 03:56 AM
  • 101 views

Prenatal SSRI exposure and autistic traits

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

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 kingd........ Read more »

  • August 26, 2014
  • 03:55 AM
  • 76 views

76% of youths with autism meet ADHD diagnostic criteria?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

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 exampl........ Read more »

  • August 25, 2014
  • 04:40 AM
  • 80 views

mTOR-regulated autophagy and autism mouse models

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was intrigued to read the paper by Guomei Tang and colleagues [1] (open-access) and their assertion that: "mTOR [mammalian target of rapamycin]-regulated autophagy is required for developmental spine pruning, and activation of neuronal autophagy corrects synaptic pathology and social behavior deficits in ASD [autism spectrum disorder] models with hyperactivated mTOR"."Re-verify our range to target... one ping only".If that opening paragraph sounds like scientific gibberish,........ Read more »

Tang, G., Gudsnuk, K., Kuo, S., Cotrina, M., Rosoklija, G., Sosunov, A., Sonders, M., Kanter, E., Castagna, C., Yamamoto, A.... (2014) Loss of mTOR-Dependent Macroautophagy Causes Autistic-like Synaptic Pruning Deficits. Neuron. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.07.040  

  • August 23, 2014
  • 01:47 PM
  • 82 views

You heard me right... autism prevalence and meat consumption

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The paper presents some exploratory analyses demonstrating the correlation between particular aspects of meat consumption and autism prevalence". The paper by Wojciech & Ewa Pisula [1] (open-access) does indeed suggest that there may "a correlation between increasing meat consumption and autism prevalence"."Goonies never say die!"Readers are invited to draw their own conclusions on such a correlation. Personally, I'm not yet convinced that meat consumption is the primary driving force ........ Read more »

Wojciech Pisula, & Ewa Pisula. (2014) Autism prevalence and meat consumption - a hypothesis that needs to be tested. Medical Hypotheses. info:/10.1016/j.mehy.2014.08.007

  • August 22, 2014
  • 03:47 AM
  • 96 views

Serum microRNA profiles and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I cannot pretend to be an expert on microRNA (miRNA). Indeed, it was only after reading the paper by Mahesh Mundalil Vasu and colleagues [1] (open-access) talking about serum microRNA profiles in children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), that I started my learning journey about these small non-coding RNAs. So please, go easy with me on this one...Hamlet @ Wikipedia Quite a good [short] introduction to microRNAs can be found here. If you want something a littl........ Read more »

Mundalil Vasu, M., Anitha, A., Thanseem, I., Suzuki, K., Yamada, K., Takahashi, T., Wakuda, T., Iwata, K., Tsujii, M., Sugiyama, T.... (2014) Serum microRNA profiles in children with autism. Molecular Autism, 5(1), 40. DOI: 10.1186/2040-2392-5-40  

  • August 21, 2014
  • 03:56 AM
  • 94 views

Autism, ADHD and allergy: Taiwan and big data (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Children with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] or ASD [autism spectrum disorder] had an increased risk of allergic comorbidities, and those with both ADHD and ASD had the highest"."You built a time machine.. out of a DeLorean"That was the conclusion arrived at in the paper by Ting-Yang Lin and colleagues [1]. For regular readers of this blog, this was yet another example of how Taiwan leads the way when it comes to the concept of 'big data' specifically employ........ Read more »

Lin, T., Lin, P., Su, T., Chen, Y., Hsu, J., Huang, K., Chang, W., Chen, T., Pan, T., Chen, M.... (2014) Autistic spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and allergy: Is there a link? A nationwide study. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 8(10), 1333-1338. DOI: 10.1016/j.rasd.2014.07.009  

  • August 20, 2014
  • 04:35 AM
  • 107 views

ADHD in DSM-5: what did you think would happen?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Our results, combined with previous findings, suggest a 27% increase in the expected prevalence of ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] among young adults, comparing DSM-IV to DSM-5 criteria". So said the paper by Matte and colleagues [1] who as part of their study looked at "the prevalence of ADHD according to DSM-5 criteria".Europa @ Wikipedia The changes to the diagnosis of ADHD in DSM-5 can be seen here. The main difference between DSM-IV and DSM-5 diagnosis s........ Read more »

Matte, B., Anselmi, L., Salum, G., Kieling, C., Gonçalves, H., Menezes, A., Grevet, E., & Rohde, L. (2014) ADHD in DSM-5: a field trial in a large, representative sample of 18- to 19-year-old adults. Psychological Medicine, 1-13. DOI: 10.1017/S0033291714001470  

  • August 19, 2014
  • 04:23 AM
  • 97 views

Family processes and trajectory in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Woodman and colleagues [1] looking at trajectory and autism in adolescents and adults is the source material for today's post (another micropost). Concluding that: "Overall, autism symptoms and maladaptive behaviors were observed to improve over the study period" of about 8 years, the authors also reported that "greater improvements were associated with higher levels of maternal praise (based on maternal speech samples) and higher quality mother-child relationships". If I remember c........ Read more »

  • August 18, 2014
  • 04:10 AM
  • 92 views

ADHD in the prison population: a micropost

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Compared with published general population prevalence, there is a fivefold increase in prevalence of ADHD in youth prison populations (30.1%) and a 10-fold increase in adult prison populations (26.2%)"."Mianly dry" apparently @ Paul WhiteleyThat was the primary conclusion reached in the meta-analysis by Young and colleagues [1] looking at the collected peer-reviewed literature on "the variable prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in incarcerated populations".There ........ Read more »

  • August 16, 2014
  • 03:21 AM
  • 115 views

The epidemiology of autism spectrum disorders

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A very short post for readers to ponder based on the paper by Amanda Baxter and colleagues [1] who talked about the global epidemiology of the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs)."In 2010 there were an estimated 52 million cases of ASDs, equating to a prevalence of 7.6 per 1000 or one in 132 persons".Aside from emphasising the word 'estimated' (I highlighted that), be prepared to see the Baxter paper and that quote cited quite a bit in the peer-reviewed literature in times to come.----------[1........ Read more »

A. J. Baxter, T. S. Brugha, H. E. Erskine, R. W. Scheurer, T. Vos, & J. G. Scott. (2014) The epidemiology and global burden of autism spectrum disorders. Psychological Medicine. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S003329171400172X

  • August 15, 2014
  • 04:07 AM
  • 108 views

Psychotic experience following childhood neurodevelopmental diagnosis

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Golam Khandaker and colleagues [1] suggesting a higher risk of psychotic episodes (PEs) in early adolescence among those with a diagnosed childhood neurodevelopmental disorder (ND) makes for some interesting reading. Detailing several diagnoses as falling under the banner of neurodevelopmental disorder (autism spectrum, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia, dysorthographia, dyscalculia), researchers concluded that: "The risk of PEs was higher in those with, compared with those witho........ Read more »

  • August 14, 2014
  • 04:09 AM
  • 104 views

Learning disability in autism: how prevalent is it?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Results showed that 36.8 % of the children met the criteria for ID [intellectual disability], with 60.2 % of these in the mild range (IQ 50-69) and 39.8 % in the moderate range (IQ 35-49)".That was the finding reported by Mélina Rivard and colleagues [1] looking at the co-occurrence of intellectual disability (also called learning disability here in Blighty) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) "in young children". Based on an analysis of over 200 children diagnosed with an ASD, resear........ Read more »

  • August 13, 2014
  • 04:11 AM
  • 88 views

Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) survivors and greater risk of autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"In term NICU [neonatal intensive care unit] survivors, ASD [autism spectrum disorder] occurs with a greater frequency than in the general population and often develops alongside comorbid conditions". That was the conclusion from the study by Alexander Winkler-Schwartz and colleagues [1] looking at term at-risk infants who survived NICU."You were only meant to blow the bloody doors off"'Surviving' their earliest days spent in NICU brings a bit of lump to my throat. As a paren........ Read more »

  • August 12, 2014
  • 04:04 AM
  • 82 views

Neonatal jaundice and increased risk of ADHD

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The findings from Chang-Ching Wei and colleagues [1] suggesting an over-representation of the diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) following a history of neonatal jaundice provides fodder for today's brief post. Based in Taiwan, one of the most impressive countries when it comes to the use and analysis of 'big data' (see here), researchers were able to identify some 25,000 participants diagnosed with neonatal jaundice and compare them with almost 70,000 non-jaundiced........ Read more »

  • August 11, 2014
  • 03:43 AM
  • 109 views

Risk of neurodevelopmental disorder in cases of hypospadias

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This is the first study to identify an increased risk for neurodevelopmental disorders in patients with hypospadias, as well as an increased risk for ASD [autism spectrum disorders] in their brothers, suggesting a common familial (genetic and/or environmental) liability".Rainy days and Mondays... @ Wikipedia That was the conclusion reached in the study by Agnieszka Butwicka and colleagues [1] looking at various neurodevelopmental outcomes associated with a diagnosis of ........ Read more »

Butwicka A, Lichtenstein P, Landén M, Nordenvall AS, Nordenström A, Nordenskjöld A, & Frisén L. (2014) Hypospadias and increased risk for neurodevelopmental disorders. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines. PMID: 25048198  

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