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Autism research and other musings

Paul Whiteley
1,200 posts

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  • October 15, 2016
  • 04:50 AM
  • 360 views

Atopic dermatitis and the "increased risk of developing ADHD and ASD later in life"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm not gonna dwell too much on the findings reported by Lee and colleagues [1] talking about how "toddlers who suffer from AD [atopic dermatitis] at the age younger than 3 years are at a higher risk of developing ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] and ASD [autism spectrum disorder] during later childhood" because science already seems to understand that there may be an important connection between early allergic disease and later offspring behavioural/........ Read more »

  • October 14, 2016
  • 02:58 AM
  • 354 views

Yet more on potential biomarkers and chronic fatigue syndrome

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

'Thick and fast' is probably the best way that I can describe the flurry of peer-reviewed scientific papers recently appearing (see here and see here for examples) talking about how chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) (also linked to the diagnosis of myalgic encephalomyelitis, ME) might have some important biological processes attached to it.Now we can add the findings reported by Federica Ciregia and colleagues [1] (open-access) to the list and their observations that "the identification of bio........ Read more »

  • October 13, 2016
  • 02:56 AM
  • 412 views

ADHD and conduct disorder long-term

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Today I'm once again blogging about peer-reviewed research suggesting that when it comes to the long-term effects of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) on a person, there is some pretty solid evidence that addressing symptoms early could "potentially avert a wide range of future adverse outcomes."The paper making such a conclusion is the one from Holly Erskine and colleagues [1] who conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis pertinent to this topic; also taking into accoun........ Read more »

Erskine HE, Norman RE, Ferrari AJ, Chan GC, Copeland WE, Whiteford HA, & Scott JG. (2016) Long-Term Outcomes of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Conduct Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 55(10), 841-50. PMID: 27663939  

  • October 12, 2016
  • 03:02 AM
  • 356 views

Obesity in adolescent chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"At 13 years, adolescents who had received a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) who were attending specialist CFS/ME services were more than two times more likely to be obese than adolescents in the general population."At first reading, I wasn't particularly surprised by the findings reported by Norris and colleagues [1] (open-access) drawing on data partly derived from everyone's favourite UK longitudinal birth cohort: ALSPAC (Avon Longitudinal Study of Par........ Read more »

Norris T, Hawton K, Hamilton-Shield J, & Crawley E. (2016) Obesity in adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome: an observational study. Archives of disease in childhood. PMID: 27655658  

  • October 11, 2016
  • 03:01 AM
  • 410 views

Taekwondo training and balance in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"TKD [Taekwondo] training can help children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] improve their balance."Go on."Our findings suggest that TKD can be a fun, feasible, and effective therapeutic option for balance improvement of children with ASD."So said the results of the study by Yumi Kim [1] (open-access) looking at whether the Korean martial art might be able to help with aspects of some of the very important movement issues that can be associated with a diagnosis of autism.B........ Read more »

Kim Y, Todd T, Fujii T, Lim JC, Vrongistinos K, & Jung T. (2016) Effects of Taekwondo intervention on balance in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of exercise rehabilitation, 12(4), 314-9. PMID: 27656628  

  • October 10, 2016
  • 04:39 AM
  • 396 views

"Learning difficulties linked with winter conception"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Having recently mentioned the BBC headline that makes up the title of this entry in a related post (see here) I'm pleased to be finally able to bring the paper by Daniel Mackay and colleagues [1] (open-access) to your attention.Observing that in Scotland at least, "that season of conception is strikingly associated with the subsequent risk of special educational needs in the offspring" there are various potential implications to come from such data covering both learning (intellectual) disabilit........ Read more »

  • October 8, 2016
  • 03:27 AM
  • 390 views

Pregnancy hypertension and offspring autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Hypertension in pregnancy was associated with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] in this population even after controlling for known confounders."So said the findings reported by Eileen Curran and colleagues [1] who, once again (see here), relied on "data from the Millennium Cohort Study" to produce some potentially important information about how adverse pregnancy conditions may/may not impact on offspring behaviour and development.Hypertension (a.k.a high blood pressure) during pre........ Read more »

Eileen A. Curran, Ali S. Khashan, Gerard W. O’Keeffe, & Louise C. Kenny. (2016) 35 Hypertension in pregnancy and autism spectrum disorder in a British cohort. regnancy Hypertension: An International Journal of Women's Cardiovascular Health., 153. info:/

  • October 7, 2016
  • 03:11 AM
  • 384 views

Is parental age difference important for offspring autism and schizophrenia risk?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

In answer to the question that titles this post on whether parental age differences at offspring conception might matter when it comes to offspring risk of autism or schizophrenia, the answer is very possibly. As the paper by Byars & Boomsma [1] (open-access) reports: "Our study shows that autistic and schizophrenic disorder risks tend to be higher, in more dissimilarly aged parents, relative to parents with the most similar ages." This age disparity issue has been mentioned previously in th........ Read more »

  • October 6, 2016
  • 03:01 AM
  • 392 views

Omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and bipolar disorder

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Biomarker studies of PUFA [polyunsaturated fatty acid] and treatment studies of n-3 [omega-3] PUFA in bipolar disorder show promise for indicating a way forward in the study of PUFA in bipolar disorder."I don't want to labour any points raised by the review of studies published by Erika Saunders and colleagues [1] looking at fatty acids and bipolar disorder but there does seem to be a familiar ring to the current evidence base on how for at least 'some' cases of bipolar diso........ Read more »

  • October 5, 2016
  • 04:34 AM
  • 386 views

"a low prevalence of definite pathology in children with autism spectrum disorder undergoing brain MRI"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The quote: "a low prevalence of definite pathology in children with autism spectrum disorder undergoing brain MRI [magnetic resonance imaging]" heading up today's post is taken from the paper by Alison Cooper and colleagues [1] who among other things, examined whether MRI picked up anything 'useful' when it came to autism / autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in their cohort. MRI, by the way, refers to the fantastic imaging technology that provides those rather detailed pictures of our inner bod........ Read more »

Cooper AS, Friedlaender E, Levy SE, Shekdar KV, Bradford AB, Wells KE, & Mollen C. (2016) The Implications of Brain MRI in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of child neurology. PMID: 27629267  

  • October 4, 2016
  • 04:34 AM
  • 389 views

Humour training for autism - is it needed and is it useful?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Can we and should we formally 'teach' humour to people diagnosed on the autism spectrum? Indeed, do we actually need to?Yes said the results of the study published by Ching-Lin Wu and colleagues [1] although I personally am not so impressed.Discussing how their results "supported the effectiveness of the 15-hour training" regime, Wu et al report that for a small group of adolescents diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) "and average intelligence" moves to implement "a humor-knowl........ Read more »

  • October 3, 2016
  • 03:05 AM
  • 369 views

The physical health of adults with autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Another short post today opening with the conclusion reached in the paper by Andrew Cashin and colleagues [1]: "From the findings, it can be stated with confidence that people with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] have a high rate of comorbidity and increased risk for chronic disease."Yes, not new news to many that physical health is generally 'under-rated' when it comes to adult autism (see here and see here for examples). The question remains however: what are we all going to........ Read more »

  • October 1, 2016
  • 04:46 AM
  • 433 views

One of the best articles to discuss suicide risk and autism so far...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm cheating a little bit today as minus too much critical commentary or discussion, I'm drawing your attention to the paper by Tony Salvatore and colleagues [1] (open-access) on a most important topic: suicide risk and autism.Written by authors who between them seem to know quite a bit about autism and also managing suicide prevention particularly under crisis conditions, I reckon this review article is one of the best we have so far in this area. I say that on the basis that not only are estim........ Read more »

Chang, B., Franklin, J., Ribeiro, J., Fox, K., Bentley, K., Kleiman, E., & Nock, M. (2016) Biological risk factors for suicidal behaviors: a meta-analysis. Translational Psychiatry, 6(9). DOI: 10.1038/tp.2016.165  

  • September 30, 2016
  • 03:08 AM
  • 405 views

Injury risk and ADHD

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The results indicate that there is an elevated injury risk among Swedish schoolchildren with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] but not for children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."So went the findings reported by Carl Bonander and colleagues [1] providing yet more important data on how a diagnosis of ADHD might be something that confers quite a bit of additional risk for all-manner of different negative outcomes.I've hinted at this important topic before as per........ Read more »

  • September 29, 2016
  • 06:58 AM
  • 427 views

The Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (APMS) 2014 and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

They've finally arrived. The results of the English Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2014 have been published by NHS Digital (yes, our Nation's healthcare services has a digital arm) and when it comes to autism (adult autism 18 years+), some rather peculiar statistics have been produced.OK, for those who want/need a quick heads-up on all-things Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (APMS), I'll refer you to a previous post I wrote covering this prevalence survey with autism in mind........ Read more »

Brugha TS, McManus S, Smith J, Scott FJ, Meltzer H, Purdon S, Berney T, Tantam D, Robinson J, Radley J.... (2012) Validating two survey methods for identifying cases of autism spectrum disorder among adults in the community. Psychological medicine, 42(3), 647-56. PMID: 21798110  

  • September 29, 2016
  • 03:06 AM
  • 408 views

On "socially successful elementary school-aged children with autism"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"School-based interventions should address malleable factors such as the number of peer connections and received friendships that predict the best social outcomes for children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."So said the study findings reported by Jill Locke and colleagues [1] looking at "the stable (unlikely to change) and malleable (changeable) characteristics of socially successful children with ASD."Mindful that the phrase 'socially successful children' is perhaps not one that I'm p........ Read more »

Locke J, Williams J, Shih W, & Kasari C. (2016) Characteristics of socially successful elementary school-aged children with autism. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines. PMID: 27620949  

  • September 28, 2016
  • 02:55 AM
  • 448 views

Postural tachycardia syndrome and gluten?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Please use your full stops wisely.I believe that this is the first time that I've talked about postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS) on this blog as I bring to your attention some rather intriguing findings reported by Hugo Penny and colleagues [1] on how PoTS and gluten-related disorders might not be unstrange diagnostic bedfellows.PoTS by the way, describes symptoms where standing upright / sitting down induces dizziness, fainting and other symptoms. As well as being quite prevalent in a c........ Read more »

Penny, H., Aziz, I., Ferrar, M., Atkinson, J., Hoggard, N., Hadjivassiliou, M., West, J., & Sanders, D. (2016) Is there a relationship between gluten sensitivity and postural tachycardia syndrome?. European Journal of Gastroenterology , 1. DOI: 10.1097/MEG.0000000000000740  

  • September 27, 2016
  • 02:55 AM
  • 438 views

Neurotensin, intestinal inflammation and autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Elevated peripheral pro-NT [neurotensin] levels reflect more severe forms of active celiac disease, indicating a potential role of NT in intestinal inflammation."The suggestion, from Caroline Montén and colleagues [1], that the neuropeptide called neurotensin might play a role in paediatric coeliac disease is an interesting one that caught my eye recently. Interesting not only because of the potential implications for the archetypal 'gluten-causing' autoimmune condition cal........ Read more »

Montén C, Torinsson Naluai Å, & Agardh D. (2016) Role of pro-neurotensin as marker of paediatric celiac disease. Clinical and experimental immunology. PMID: 27612962  

  • September 26, 2016
  • 02:48 AM
  • 404 views

On HERV-H, autism, ADHD and methylphenidate?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Today's post is a bit of a mash-up including two paper: the first from Emanuela  Balestrieri and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) talking about "increased HERV-H [Human Endogenous Retroviruses - H] transcriptional activity in all autistic patients" included in their cohort (author's words not mine) and the second from D'Agati and colleagues [2] (open-access available here) describing "the reduction of HERV-H expression and the significant improvement of ADHD&n........ Read more »

Balestrieri E, Cipriani C, Matteucci C, Capodicasa N, Pilika A, Korca I, Sorrentino R, Argaw-Denboba A, Bucci I, Miele MT.... (2016) Transcriptional activity of human endogenous retrovirus in Albanian children with autism spectrum disorders. The new microbiologica, 39(3), 228-31. PMID: 27602423  

  • September 24, 2016
  • 03:26 AM
  • 414 views

Correcting ophthalmic problems in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

'Does Correction of Strabismus Improve Quality of Life in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder?' went the title of the paper by Pinar Ozer and colleagues [1]. Yes, it may very well do was the answer (but with certain caveats and the requirement for a lot more research in this area).Strabismus, a condition where the eyes don't line up in the same direction, can sometime have some quite noticeable effects on a person's vision and indeed, has been linked to various other non-vision related sympto........ Read more »

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