Questioning Answers

Visit Blog Website

1200 posts · 645,219 views

Autism research and other musings

Paul Whiteley
1,200 posts

Sort by: Latest Post, Most Popular

View by: Condensed, Full

  • April 14, 2016
  • 03:45 PM
  • 569 views

#Breadgate and nutritional psychiatry

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The review paper by Paola Bressan & Peter Kramer [1] (open-access) titled: 'Bread and Other Edible Agents of Mental Disease' has been getting a few people a little hot under the collar recently. With it's own Twitter hashtag #breadgate it looks like the idea that certain foods might have something of a bearing on "human behaviour and mental health" has not been received particularly well. I might add that this not the first time that such ideas have been entertained (see here)........ Read more »

Bressan P, & Kramer P. (2016) Bread and Other Edible Agents of Mental Disease. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 130. PMID: 27065833  

  • April 14, 2016
  • 02:51 AM
  • 577 views

Risk of type 2 diabetes in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Adolescents and young adults with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] were more likely to develop type 2 DM [type 2 diabetes mellitus] during the follow-up. In addition, those with ASD using atypical antipsychotics exhibited a high risk. Therefore, further research is necessary to investigate the common pathophysiology of ASD and type 2 DM."So said the findings reported by Mu-Hong Chen and colleagues [1] as, yet again, Taiwan and their very useful National Health Insurance R........ Read more »

  • April 13, 2016
  • 03:25 AM
  • 500 views

Vitamin D deficiency and psychosis

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

In amongst my various ramblings about how vitamin D - the sunshine vitamin/hormone - might show more than a few connections to conditions/labels outside of just the English disease (see here), I've covered some science on a possible connection with psychosis (see here) and schizophrenia (see here). There are still gaps in terms of the hows and whys of vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency when it comes to this area of psychiatry, but I believe there is enough science in this area to initially w........ Read more »

Lally, J., Gardner-Sood, P., Firdosi, M., Iyegbe, C., Stubbs, B., Greenwood, K., Murray, R., Smith, S., Howes, O., & Gaughran, F. (2016) Clinical correlates of vitamin D deficiency in established psychosis. BMC Psychiatry, 16(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12888-016-0780-2  

  • April 12, 2016
  • 02:51 AM
  • 470 views

Evidence of blurring on the autism spectrum edges

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin: "multiple types of genetic risk for ASDs [autism spectrum disorders] influence a continuum of behavioral and developmental traits, the severe tail of which can result in diagnosis with an ASD or other neuropsychiatric disorder."That was the bottom line of the findings reported by Elise Robinson and colleagues [1] looking at data from "several large ASD consortium and population-based resources" (N~38,000) including the fabulous resource that is ALSPAC. Specifically an........ Read more »

Robinson EB, St Pourcain B, Anttila V, Kosmicki JA, Bulik-Sullivan B, Grove J, Maller J, Samocha KE, Sanders SJ, Ripke S.... (2016) Genetic risk for autism spectrum disorders and neuropsychiatric variation in the general population. Nature genetics. PMID: 26998691  

  • April 11, 2016
  • 02:19 AM
  • 537 views

Levels of paranoia are higher in autism: systematic review

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Paranoia, defined as the unfounded or exaggerated idea that something or someone is deliberately trying to psychologically, physically or financially harm you, is not an uncommon transient sentiment among the general population at one time or another. On a more pathological level, paranoid schizophrenia perhaps represents the archetypal label where paranoia assumes an altogether more persistent and 'life-changing' effect; also potentially escalating into more extreme behaviour/s.The idea th........ Read more »

  • April 9, 2016
  • 03:59 AM
  • 492 views

Is empathising rather than systemising linked to maths achievement?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Contrary to our hypothesis, we found no relationship between systemizing and math achievement after controlling for domain general abilities and no relationship between the systemizing brain type (greater discrepancy between systemizing and empathizing) and math achievement."That quote taken from the study published by Emily Escovar and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) provides some blogging fodder today. Based on some ideas proposed in autism research circles that "mathematics ........ Read more »

  • April 8, 2016
  • 03:03 AM
  • 479 views

Time to screen for vitamin D and calcium levels in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The data highlight a gap in calcium and vitamin D supplement prescribing practices among providers caring for children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] as well as a gap in the practice of checking 25(OH)D levels."So said research published by Shylaja Srinivasan and colleagues [1] (open-access) with findings tied into an important issue in autism research and clinical practice: potential inequalities when it comes to the provision of suitable healthcare and accessing appropriat........ Read more »

  • April 7, 2016
  • 04:18 AM
  • 540 views

On genes, environment, broccoli and autism (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Picture: Carl Warner: http://www.carlwarner.com/I'm serving up two peer-reviewed papers for your reading delight today which draw attention to the ideas that (a) the 'causes' of autism are likely complex and as heterogeneous as the label itself, (b) gene x environment interactions affecting risk of autism are starting to get some good scientific research airtime and (c) don't 'dis the broccoli [chemical] autism connection just yet...The first paper by Brandon Pearson and colleagues [1] (ope........ Read more »

  • April 6, 2016
  • 03:13 AM
  • 547 views

Age at autism diagnosis has not decreased in the UK over the past decade

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This study of over 2000 children shows that the median age of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] diagnosis in the UK has not reduced in the last decade."That was the rather important message included in the study by Denise Brett and colleagues [1] (open-access) reporting combined results from the Daslne (Database of Children with ASD Living in the North East of England) and ASD-UK (Autism Spectrum Database-UK) initiatives. Including data from over 2100 children and families, researchers s........ Read more »

  • April 5, 2016
  • 02:49 AM
  • 508 views

Folate receptor autoantibodies (FRAAs) and a 'type' of autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This study suggests that FRAAs [folate receptor α (FRα) autoantibodies] are associated with specific physiological and behavioral characteristics in children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and provides support for the notion that these biomarkers may be useful for subgrouping children with ASD, especially with respect to targeted treatments."So said the study findings published by Richard Frye and colleagues [1] (open-access) who continued a research theme looking at ........ Read more »

Frye, R., Delhey, L., Slattery, J., Tippett, M., Wynne, R., Rose, S., Kahler, S., Bennuri, S., Melnyk, S., Sequeira, J.... (2016) Blocking and Binding Folate Receptor Alpha Autoantibodies Identify Novel Autism Spectrum Disorder Subgroups. Frontiers in Neuroscience. DOI: 10.3389/fnins.2016.00080  

  • April 4, 2016
  • 02:37 AM
  • 463 views

Relative age and ADHD

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"ADHD children may just be immature, research suggests".So went the recent BBC headline with reference to the findings reported by Mu-Hong Chen and colleagues [1] (open-access) and the idea that: "Relative age, as an indicator of neurocognitive maturity, is crucial in the risk of being diagnosed with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] and receiving ADHD medication among children and adolescents."Chen et al are not unfamiliar names discussed on this blog (see here........ Read more »

  • April 2, 2016
  • 04:05 AM
  • 521 views

Joint attention interventions for children with autism (mostly) work

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Today (April 2nd) is World Autism Awareness Day. The theme this year is on inclusion and as the United Nations note: "Mainstreaming disability" insofar as recognising that: "Autism and other forms of disability are part of the human experience that contributes to human diversity." A noble cause indeed; not forgetting that for many on the autism spectrum, long-term outcome remains poor (see here) and awareness about human diversity really needs to go hand-in-hand with real action to change prospe........ Read more »

  • April 1, 2016
  • 04:22 AM
  • 505 views

Meta-meta-analysing MTHFR and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"In conclusion, [the] present meta-analysis strongly suggested a significant association of the MTHFR C677T polymorphism with autism."So said the findings reported by Vandana Rai [1] as yet more discussion emerges on the possible role of issues with the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene in relation to at least some autism. The reason I've titled this post as a 'meta-meta-analysis' is because we've previously seen meta-analysis done on this polymorphism (SNP) in rela........ Read more »

  • March 31, 2016
  • 04:20 PM
  • 543 views

The even newer CDC autism prevalence rate

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"For 2012, the combined estimated prevalence of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] among the 11 ADDM [Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring] Network sites was 14.6 per 1,000 (one in 68) children aged 8 years."So said the report by Deborah Christensen and colleagues [1] continuing a research theme as the CDC map the estimated prevalence of autism in the United States over the years (see here and see here). This time around, as last time covering 2010, the figure se........ Read more »

  • March 31, 2016
  • 04:23 AM
  • 586 views

Substance use disorder and autism: a case report

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Minus any sweeping generalisations, I want to bring your attention to the recent paper by Ashy Rengit and colleagues [1] today, continuing a theme of case reports discussing autism co-occurring with a substance use disorder (SUD). A SUD is generally defined as where the use of one or more substances (drugs) with psychoactive properties leads to significant impairment or distress for a person. Although some people might envisage the use of illicit drugs as being the only way to receivin........ Read more »

Rengit AC, McKowen JW, O'Brien J, Howe YJ, & McDougle CJ. (2016) Brief Report: Autism Spectrum Disorder and Substance Use Disorder: A Review and Case Study. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 26944591  

  • March 30, 2016
  • 03:06 AM
  • 568 views

Bisphenol A (BPA) and autism continued

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Descriptive analyses indicated that prenatal exposure to maternal BPA [Bisphenol A] concentrations were related to higher levels of anxiety, depression, aggression, and hyperactivity in children. BPA exposure in childhood was associated with higher levels of anxiety, depression, hyperactivity, inattention, and conduct problems."That was the conclusion reached in the systematic review by Maede Ejaredar and colleagues [1], that provides one of two studies brought to the blogging ta........ Read more »

Ejaredar M, Lee Y, Roberts DJ, Sauve R, & Dewey D. (2016) Bisphenol A exposure and children's behavior: A systematic review. Journal of exposure science . PMID: 26956939  

Kondolot, M., Ozmert, E., Ascı, A., Erkekoglu, P., Oztop, D., Gumus, H., Kocer-Gumusel, B., & Yurdakok, K. (2016) Plasma Phthalate and Bisphenol A Levels and Oxidant-Antioxidant Status in Autistic Children. Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology. DOI: 10.1016/j.etap.2016.03.006  

  • March 29, 2016
  • 02:54 AM
  • 482 views

On the use of risperidone and young children with autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Without trying to scaremonger, it is already well known that certain anti-psychotics potentially indicated for some of the more 'challenging behaviours' associated with conditions like autism for example, carry their own important side-effects. Risperidone, one of the more commonly used medicines, has quite an extensive list of possible side-effects, some of which have been previously mentioned on this blog (see here). Increased appetite and weight gain are some of the more commonly observed sid........ Read more »

Scahill, L., Jeon, S., Boorin, S., McDougle, C., Aman, M., Dziura, J., McCracken, J., Caprio, S., Arnold, L., Nicol, G.... (2016) Weight Gain and Metabolic Consequences of Risperidone in Young Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child . DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2016.02.016  

  • March 28, 2016
  • 04:31 AM
  • 514 views

The genetics of self-injurious behaviour accompanying autism? Not quite...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'd like to start by making one thing abundantly clear about today's post: I am not insinuating that self-injurious behaviour (SIB) accompanying autism is solely under genetic (or epigenetic) control.As I've discussed before on this blog, there are potentially many, many reasons why SIB under the umbrella of the so-called 'challenging behaviours' occurs (see here). As and when it does happen, the onus is on those significant others to turn detective before anyone immediately reaches for somethin........ Read more »

Shirley, M., Frelin, L., López, J., Jedlicka, A., Dziedzic, A., Frank-Crawford, M., Silverman, W., Hagopian, L., & Pevsner, J. (2016) Copy Number Variants Associated with 14 Cases of Self-Injurious Behavior. PLOS ONE, 11(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149646  

  • March 26, 2016
  • 04:58 AM
  • 599 views

The 'disrupted connectivity hypothesis of autism': where next?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

'The disrupted connectivity hypothesis of autism spectrum disorders: Time for the next phase in research' went the title of the paper by Roma Vasa and colleagues [1].Disrupted connectivity by the way, refers to the idea that "deficiencies in the way the brain coordinates and synchronizes activity amongst different regions may account for the clinical symptoms of ASD [autism spectrum disorders]." Picture if you will, the brain as a serious of telephone wires all connecting different parts of........ Read more »

  • March 25, 2016
  • 05:13 AM
  • 541 views

Multiple 'depressions' and multiple trajectories? Sounds very familiar.

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm a fan of the idea that the categorical labelling system currently used in psychiatric and psychological circles probably isn't fit for purpose these days. Y'know, the idea that compartmentalising people into diagnostic boxes with an overarching title whilst useful for general identity and statistical classification, does little to inform about individual experiences or the important cross-over in presentation between and across different labels. Don't even get me started on how the use of su........ Read more »

join us!

Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use ResearchBlogging.org to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.

If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.

Register Now

Research Blogging is powered by SRI Technology.

To learn more, visit http://selfregulationinstitute.org/.