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Autism research and other musings

Paul Whiteley
637 posts

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  • July 4, 2015
  • 05:19 AM
  • 21 views

A viral 'cause' of obesity?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I must thank Leah Hardy (@LeahFHardy) for bringing to my attention the paper by Qinglong Shang and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) reporting that: "Ad36 [Human adenovirus 36] infection is associated with an increased risk of obesity development."Based on a meta-analysis of the available research literature examining whether Ad-36 - "a nonenveloped icosahedral virus comprised of double-stranded DNA and is one of 56 serotypes in 7 subgroups of human adenoviruses" - might........ Read more »

  • July 3, 2015
  • 04:56 AM
  • 32 views

Vitamin D metabolic gene variants and risk for autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was really rather happy to see the "preliminary evidence" reported by Rebecca Schmidt and colleagues [1] when it came to examining whether selected vitamin D metabolic gene variants might show linkage to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) based on data derived from the CHARGE initiative.For quite a while now I've discussed the various peer-reviewed science on the topic of vitamin D deficiency / insufficiency with autism in mind on this blog (see here and see here for example). Specifically, h........ Read more »

Schmidt RJ, Hansen RL, Hartiala J, Allayee H, Sconberg JL, Schmidt LC, Volk HE, & Tassone F. (2015) Selected vitamin D metabolic gene variants and risk for autism spectrum disorder in the CHARGE Study. Early human development, 91(8), 483-489. PMID: 26073892  

  • July 2, 2015
  • 02:34 AM
  • 45 views

Acute bipolar depression and immune alterations

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Individuals with acute bipolar depression show immune alterations. Some of the alterations are similar to those found in acute mania."That was the bottom line reported by Faith Dickerson and colleagues [1] following their analysis of blood samples provided by "82 individuals with acute bipolar depression, 147 with acute mania, and 280 controls." Looking for the presence of various antibodies to "human herpesviruses, gliadin, Toxoplasma gondii, and endogenous retroviruses as well as for C-reacti........ Read more »

Dickerson F, Katsafanas E, Schweinfurth LA, Savage CL, Stallings C, Origoni A, Khushalani S, Lillehoj E, & Yolken R. (2015) Immune alterations in acute bipolar depression. Acta psychiatrica Scandinavica. PMID: 26061032  

  • July 1, 2015
  • 06:24 AM
  • 48 views

Offspring autism risk and advancing parental age (differences)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Parental age at offspring conception/birth in relation to offspring autism risk has been a recurrent theme in autism research circles for quite a few years now. I've covered it more than once on this blog (see here for example) and the various suggestions that advancing parental age in particular, might elevate the risk of offspring autism.Set in this context, the paper by Sven Sandin and colleagues [1] (open-access) (a name not unfamiliar to this blog) adds to the research evidence based on the........ Read more »

Sandin S, Schendel D, Magnusson P, Hultman C, Surén P, Susser E, Grønborg T, Gissler M, Gunnes N, Gross R.... (2015) Autism risk associated with parental age and with increasing difference in age between the parents. Molecular psychiatry. PMID: 26055426  

  • June 30, 2015
  • 05:06 AM
  • 48 views

Low glycemic index diet reduces symptoms of mouse autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin: "Overall, the manuscript supports the idea that ASD [autism spectrum disorder] results from gene–environment interactions and that in the presence of a genetic predisposition to ASD, diet can make a large difference in the expression of the condition."The manuscript in question was by Antonio Currais and colleagues [1] reporting some rather interesting results based on the 'dangermouse' that is the BTBR mouse model of autism. Researchers from the Salk Inst........ Read more »

  • June 29, 2015
  • 04:57 AM
  • 72 views

Fermented foods and social anxiety?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Stumbling across a headline that reads: 'Study Finds Decreased Social Anxiety Among Young Adults Who Eat Fermented Foods' was bound to pique my blogging interest. When I eventually tracked down the source paper behind the headline I became more and more intrigued as today I bring to your attention the study findings reported by Matthew Hilimire and colleagues [1].Implementing "a cross-sectional approach to determine whether consumption of fermented foods likely to contain probiotics interac........ Read more »

Hilimire MR, DeVylder JE, & Forestell CA. (2015) Fermented foods, neuroticism, and social anxiety: An interaction model. Psychiatry research, 228(2), 203-8. PMID: 25998000  

  • June 27, 2015
  • 08:18 AM
  • 78 views

Probiotics, schizophrenia and inflammation

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I have to say that I was initially pretty interested to read the paper by Jakub Tomasik and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) discussing results examining the "possible immunomodulatory effects of probiotic supplementation in chronic schizophrenia patients."Interested because not only was this a partnership paper including Robert Yolken and Faith Dickerson on the authorship list (names who have appeared a few times on this blog) but also because of the subject matter extending som........ Read more »

  • June 26, 2015
  • 04:31 AM
  • 77 views

Early sex differences are not autism-specific

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The title of this post mirrors the title of the paper published by Daniel Messinger and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) that reported on "younger sibling sex differences and proband sex differences on the odds of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] in a large sample of prospectively followed high-risk siblings."Researchers found that alongside "a three-to-one male:female odds ratio in ASD recurrence... the emergence of ASD symptoms in high-risk siblings—both with and without eventual AS........ Read more »

Messinger DS, Young GS, Webb SJ, Ozonoff S, Bryson SE, Carter A, Carver L, Charman T, Chawarska K, Curtin S.... (2015) Early sex differences are not autism-specific: A Baby Siblings Research Consortium (BSRC) study. Molecular autism, 32. PMID: 26045943  

  • June 25, 2015
  • 04:47 AM
  • 75 views

Stalking and 'unexpected subthreshold autism spectrum'

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I deliberated for quite a while as to whether or not I should write this post on the back of the findings reported by Liliana Dell’Osso and colleagues [1] detailing the experiences of a "25-year-old man with a diagnosis of delusional disorder, erotomanic type" who was hospitalised when presenting with psychotic symptoms "in the framework of a repeated stalking behavior towards his ex girlfriend." Said man was assessed for "adult autism spectrum symptoms" via the Ritvo Autism and Aspe........ Read more »

  • June 24, 2015
  • 04:51 AM
  • 82 views

Infant sleep duration a risk factor for autism spectrum behaviours in girls?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

To quote from the study results published by Janet Saenz and colleagues [1] (open-access available here): "less sleep duration in infant girls across a period of 5 days was predictive of higher ASD [autism spectrum disorder] scores on the BITSEA [Brief Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment] in toddlerhood."Based on a sample of 47 children - 29 males and 18 females - researchers initially studied sleep patterns for participants at 3-4 months of age using actigrap........ Read more »

  • June 23, 2015
  • 05:01 AM
  • 97 views

Toxoplasma seropositivity and pediatric cognitive functions

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A brief post for you today as I keep a promise made in a previous entry to cover the paper by Angelico Mendy and colleagues [1] who concluded that: "Toxoplasma seropositivity may be associated with reading and memory impairments in school-aged children."Based on the analysis of over 1700 children/young adults aged 12-16 years old "who participated to the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey" researchers examined the possibility of a relationship between various psychometri........ Read more »

  • June 22, 2015
  • 02:54 AM
  • 111 views

Office workers of the world stand up!

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin: "for those occupations which are predominantly desk based, workers should aim to initially progress towards accumulating 2 h/day of standing and light activity (light walking) during working hours, eventually progressing to a total accumulation of 4 h/day (prorated to part-time hours)."That was the recommendation made in the consensus statement published by John Buckley and colleagues [1] aiming to: "provide guidance for employers and staff working in office environments to........ Read more »

John P Buckley, Alan Hedge, Thomas Yates, Robert J Copeland, Michael Loosemore, Mark Hamer, Gavin Bradley, & David W Dunstan. (2015) The sedentary office: a growing case for change towards better health and productivity. Expert statement commissioned by Public Health England and the Active Working Community Interest Company. British Journal of Sports Medicine. info:/10.1136/bjsports-2015-094618

  • June 19, 2015
  • 04:27 AM
  • 153 views

Autoimmune disease or anti-nuclear antibodies and non-coeliac wheat sensitivity

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Higher proportions of patients with NCWS [wheat sensitivity among people without celiac disease] or celiac disease develop autoimmune disorders, are ANA [anti-nuclear antibodies] positive, and showed DQ2/DQ8 haplotypes compared to patients with IBS [irritable bowel syndrome]."Those were the conclusions reached in the paper by Antonio Carroccio and colleagues [1] who sought to evaluate: "the prevalence of autoimmune diseases among patients with NCWS, and investigate........ Read more »

  • June 18, 2015
  • 04:43 AM
  • 159 views

Atypical enterovirus encephalitis and 'autism-like' (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The autism spectrum disorder or autism-like clinical symptoms are extremely rare, but they may be a clear manifestations of enterovirus encephalitis."That was the finding reported in a poster by Akcakaya and colleagues [1] submitted as part of the 11th European Paediatric Neurology Society Congress 2015. In it, they detail a case report of an adolescent young woman "who developed behavioural changes and autistic features such as impairment of communication, mutism and lack of eye contact" ........ Read more »

  • June 17, 2015
  • 05:02 AM
  • 141 views

Antipsychotic drugs as epigenetic modifiers?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Blaga Rukova and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) published last year (2014) caught my eye recently and their observations of: "major differences in methylation profiles between male schizophrenia patients in complete remission before and after treatment and healthy controls" as potential evidence that: "antipsychotic drugs may play a role in epigenetic modifications."The process of methylation, as in DNA methylation where methyl groups are added to specific segments........ Read more »

Rukova B, Staneva R, Hadjidekova S, Stamenov G, Milanova V, & Toncheva D. (2014) Whole genome methylation analyses of schizophrenia patients before and after treatment. Biotechnology, biotechnological equipment, 28(3), 518-524. PMID: 26019538  

  • June 16, 2015
  • 04:46 AM
  • 140 views

Gut bacteria and toddler temperament

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The 'terrible twos'. Y'know, that special time in a child's development when the words 'mine' and 'no' are much more than a daily occurrence and visions of supermarket / restaurant meltdowns complete with scathing looks from strangers still linger in the rose-tinted memories of parenting.There's still quite a bit of debate about the hows and whys of the terrible twos but new research by Lisa Christian and colleagues [1] implicates a hitherto unappreciated system potentially at work: our gut........ Read more »

Christian LM, Galley JD, Hade EM, Schoppe-Sullivan S, Kamp Dush C, & Bailey MT. (2015) Gut microbiome composition is associated with temperament during early childhood. Brain, behavior, and immunity, 118-27. PMID: 25449582  

  • June 16, 2015
  • 04:46 AM
  • 114 views

Gut bacteria and toddler temperament

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The 'terrible twos'. Y'know, that special time in a child's development when the words 'mine' and 'no' are much more than a daily occurrence and visions of supermarket / restaurant meltdowns complete with scathing looks from strangers still linger in the rose-tinted memories of parenting.There's still quite a bit of debate about the hows and whys of the terrible twos but new research by Lisa Christian and colleagues [1] implicates a hitherto unappreciated system potentially at work: our gut........ Read more »

Christian LM, Galley JD, Hade EM, Schoppe-Sullivan S, Kamp Dush C, & Bailey MT. (2015) Gut microbiome composition is associated with temperament during early childhood. Brain, behavior, and immunity, 118-27. PMID: 25449582  

  • June 15, 2015
  • 04:53 AM
  • 133 views

Seeking out autism medical comorbidity clusters

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was rather interested in the findings reported by Kimberly Aldinger and colleagues [1] (open-access here) recently and an intriguing attempt to find out whether "there are predictive patterns of medical conditions that co-occur with ASD [autism spectrum disorder], which could inform medical evaluation and treatment in ASD, as well as potentially identify etiologically meaningful subgroups."Comorbidity (if I can still call it that) is of great interest to this blog and the idea that a........ Read more »

  • June 13, 2015
  • 02:59 AM
  • 142 views

Autism, higher education and employment: what happens long-term?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Note: I wish I knew who to attribute this fantastic picture to.I want to draw your attention to the paper by Julie Lounds Taylor and colleagues [1] in today's post and some slightly worrying findings based on their longitudinal investigation of postsecondary (higher) education and employment experiences for a group of 73 adults diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum.To quote: "Although two-thirds of adults with autism spectrum disorder participated in competitive employment/postseco........ Read more »

  • June 12, 2015
  • 04:39 AM
  • 137 views

Infections and cognitive ability

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Today I'm serving up the study findings reported by Michael Benrós and colleagues [1] (open-access) describing how: "Independent of a wide range of possible confounders, significant associations between infections and cognitive ability were observed" in their study of over 160,000 male conscripts during the years 2006–2012 who were tested for cognitive ability. Some further write-up of the study can also be found here.Using the Danish Conscription Registry (existing a........ Read more »

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