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Autism research and other musings

Paul Whiteley
1,200 posts

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  • February 15, 2017
  • 04:30 AM
  • 326 views

"Androgens were not associated with autistic traits at 12 months of age"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

EARLI - the Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation study - has been mentioned on this blog before (see here) with the aim of the initiative to "examine possible environmental risk factors for autism and study whether there is any interplay between environmental factors and genetic susceptibility."In this post I'm bringing the paper by Bo Park and colleagues [1] (open-access) to your attention and the observation(s) that umbilical cord blood levels of testosterone and other relate........ Read more »

Park, B., Lee, B., Burstyn, I., Tabb, L., Keelan, J., Whitehouse, A., Croen, L., Fallin, M., Hertz-Picciotto, I., Montgomery, O.... (2017) Umbilical cord blood androgen levels and ASD-related phenotypes at 12 and 36 months in an enriched risk cohort study. Molecular Autism, 8(1). DOI: 10.1186/s13229-017-0118-z  

  • February 14, 2017
  • 03:27 AM
  • 330 views

Relative age and ADHD medication

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Youngest children in class 'more likely to be given ADHD drugs'" went the NHS Choices headline that led me to the short report produced by Martin Whitely and colleagues [1] (open-access).ADHD - attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder - is something of interest to this blog; not least the idea that relative age (age relative to peers in the same school year group) might be an important variable when it comes to at least some diagnoses of the condition (see here).The Whitely paper draws on ........ Read more »

Martin Whitely, Leanne Lester, John Phillimore, & Suzanne Robinson. (2017) Influence of birth month on the probability of Western Australian children being treated for ADHD. The Medical Journal of Australia. info:/

  • February 13, 2017
  • 04:28 AM
  • 339 views

Depression, SMILES and Modified Mediterranean diet (advice)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

SMILES in the title of this post refers to the SMILES trial - Supporting the Modification of lifestyle In Lowered Emotional States - and results recently published by Felice Jacka and colleagues [1] (open-access) pertinent to the idea that "dietary improvement" might be something to consider when a diagnosis of major depressive episode (MDE) is received.Having previously published their study protocol [2], researchers set about looking at whether under "single blind, randomised controlled" ........ Read more »

Jacka, F., O’Neil, A., Opie, R., Itsiopoulos, C., Cotton, S., Mohebbi, M., Castle, D., Dash, S., Mihalopoulos, C., Chatterton, M.... (2017) A randomised controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the ‘SMILES’ trial). BMC Medicine, 15(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12916-017-0791-y  

  • February 11, 2017
  • 04:43 AM
  • 333 views

Pregnancy exposure to SSRIs and offspring autism risk: debate continues

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"It remains unclear whether the association between first trimester SSRI [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor] exposure and child autism that was present in the case-control studies even after adjustment for MMI [maternal mental illness] is a true association or a product of residual confounding."So said the results of the systematic review and meta-analysis undertaken by Hilary Brown and colleagues [1] looking at a potentially important association between pregnancy use of a class ........ Read more »

  • February 10, 2017
  • 03:27 AM
  • 278 views

A few-foods diet for ADHD: a systematic review of meta-analyses of double-blind, placebo-controlled trials

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"... the effect sizes of a few-foods diet are medium to large, justifying implementation of a diagnostic FFD [few-foods diet] in subgroups of children with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder], thus offering innovative treatment opportunities for ADHD."So said the "Systematic Review of Meta-Analyses of Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trials" published by Lidy Pelsser and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) looking at various dietary interventions that have ........ Read more »

  • February 9, 2017
  • 03:01 AM
  • 296 views

On dietary and nutritional therapies for ME/CFS

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

ME/CFS in case you don't already know refers to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and, according to the findings reported by Nadia Campagnolo and colleagues [1], is in need of quite a bit more scientific investigation when it comes to the application of dietary changes and nutritional supplements to potentially alter the course of the condition(s).Surveying the peer-reviewed literature "from 1994 to May 2016" the authors looked for peer-reviewed studies where "CFS/ME........ Read more »

Campagnolo N, Johnston S, Collatz A, Staines D, & Marshall-Gradisnik S. (2017) Dietary and nutrition interventions for the therapeutic treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis: a systematic review. Journal of human nutrition and dietetics : the official journal of the British Dietetic Association. PMID: 28111818  

  • February 8, 2017
  • 04:33 AM
  • 321 views

On atopic disease and ADHD: 'strong evidence' for an association

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This current systematic review provides strong evidence that ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] is associated with atopic diseases and that individuals have a 30% to 50% greater chance of developing ADHD compared to controls."So said the results of the systematic review and meta-analysis published by Jurjen van der Schans and colleagues [1] looking at the collected peer-reviewed science literature on how conditions such as asthma, eczema and rhinitis might increase t........ Read more »

  • February 7, 2017
  • 04:35 AM
  • 365 views

Psychiatric disorders among male juvenile detainees in South Korea

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Juvenile detainees evidence high rates of psychiatric disorders and comorbidities. Assessment of and intervention in psychiatric disorders, especially alcohol use disorder and comorbid alcohol use disorder with disruptive behavior disorders, may help prevent further offenses."So concluded Johanna Inhyang Kim and colleagues [1] (open-access) following their investigation into the prevalence of DSM-IV psychiatric criteria in a sample of 173 male juvenile detainees aged between 15-19 years ol........ Read more »

  • February 6, 2017
  • 04:41 AM
  • 318 views

Natural course of "chronic disabling fatigue" in adolescents

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"We use the term 'chronic disabling fatigue' (CDF) because CFS/ME [chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis] was not verified by clinical diagnosis."That was one of the important details included in the findings reported by Tom Norris and colleagues [1] (open-access) who "aimed to describe the epidemiology and natural course of CFS/ME in adolescents aged 13–18 years." Relying on data derived from The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) (so........ Read more »

Norris T, Collin SM, Tilling K, Nuevo R, Stansfeld SA, Sterne JA, Heron J, & Crawley E. (2017) Natural course of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis in adolescents. Archives of disease in childhood. PMID: 28104625  

  • February 4, 2017
  • 04:27 AM
  • 364 views

ADHD, obesity and bariatric surgery?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The findings suggest that a considerable number of patients before and after bariatric surgery screened positive for ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder]. It can be hypothesized that some core ADHD symptoms improve after surgery."Bariatric surgery, where several surgical options are available to aid weight loss in those who present with 'dangerous' obesity, was the topic of the paper by Nielsen and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) who set out to compare "pre- and........ Read more »

  • February 3, 2017
  • 03:03 AM
  • 362 views

"Schizophrenia confers a high endogenous risk for diabetes"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Schizophrenia confers a high endogenous risk for diabetes, and the risk is further increased by both first-generation and second-generation antipsychotics."So concluded Anto Rajkumar and colleagues [1] who relied on participant data in the thousands derived from several of those very helpful Scandinavian population registries (this time in Denmark) to add some further science to the idea that psychiatric diagnoses like schizophrenia seem to carry an elevated risk for all-manner of somatic ........ Read more »

  • February 2, 2017
  • 03:25 AM
  • 598 views

Hyperuricemia present in both medicated and unmedicated kids with autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was intrigued to read the findings reported by Natchaya Vanwong and colleagues [1] talking about the presence of hyperuricemia - an excess of uric acid in the blood - in their cohort of children and young adults diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Intrigued not only because the authors discuss how the use of the atypical antipsychotic risperidone might *correlate* with elevations of uric acid but also how: "Hyperuricemia was present in 44.70% of risperidone-naïve patients w........ Read more »

  • February 1, 2017
  • 03:21 AM
  • 601 views

Autism and a 'clear' reduction of behavioural severity in cases diagnosed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This study provides the first clear evidence of a reduction over time in the behavioral severity of individuals diagnosed with Autistic Disorder during a period of stability in diagnostic criteria."So said the study findings reported by Andrew Whitehouse and colleagues [1] (a man not afraid to make waves when it comes to thinking about autism or about approaches to intervention) looking at "whether there were changes over time in the qualitative and quantitative phenotype of individuals wh........ Read more »

Whitehouse AJ, Cooper MN, Bebbington K, Alvares G, Lin A, Wray J, & Glasson EJ. (2017) Evidence of a reduction over time in the behavioral severity of autistic disorder diagnoses. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. PMID: 28102641  

  • January 31, 2017
  • 03:18 AM
  • 562 views

S100B protein and autism continued

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Our findings showing an increase in peripheral concentrations of S100B and TNF-α provide limited support to the hypothesis about the roles of altered immune function and S100B in autism spectrum disorder (ASD)."So said the findings reported by Selin Aktan Guloksuz and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) continuing some discussions a few years back on a possible role for S100B in relation to at least some autism (see here).S100B - S100 calcium-binding protein B - is a compound invo........ Read more »

Guloksuz SA, Abali O, Aktas Cetin E, Bilgic Gazioglu S, Deniz G, Yildirim A, Kawikova I, Guloksuz S, & Leckman JF. (2017) Elevated plasma concentrations of S100 calcium-binding protein B and tumor necrosis factor alpha in children with autism spectrum disorders. Revista brasileira de psiquiatria (Sao Paulo, Brazil : 1999). PMID: 28099628  

  • January 30, 2017
  • 03:08 AM
  • 623 views

High frequency of (self-reported) ADHD symptoms in eating disorders

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"There is a high frequency of ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] symptoms in patients with binge eating/purging eating disorders that motivates further studies."That was the conclusion reached in the study by Nils Erik Svedlund and colleagues [1] (open-access) who, among other things, set out to "explore the prevalence and types of self-reported ADHD symptoms in a large, unselected group of ED [eating disorder] patients assessed in a specialized ED clinic." ........ Read more »

  • January 28, 2017
  • 04:15 AM
  • 605 views

"Should gluten-free foods be available on prescription?"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Continuing the theme of blogging outside of the core material typically included on this site, I couldn't resist a mention of the 'head-to-head' debate talked about in the article by Matthew Kurien and colleagues [1] published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).As per the title of this post, the name of the game was gluten-free products being available on prescription here in Blighty, and in particular, the prescribing of gluten-free products to patients diagnosed with coeliac disease. Th........ Read more »

Kurien M, Sleet S, Sanders DS, & Cave J. (2017) Should gluten-free foods be available on prescription?. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 28073799  

  • January 27, 2017
  • 03:07 AM
  • 332 views

Vitamin D deficiency and risk of dementia

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The results of this systematic review show that low vitamin D levels might contribute to the development of dementia."Whilst slightly off-topic when it comes to the core research material typically included on this blog, I did want to bring to your attention the systematic review and meta-analysis results published by Isolde Sommer and colleagues [1] (open-access) for your perusal. Although unable to "identify a single study investigating the association between sunlight exposure and demen........ Read more »

Sommer I, Griebler U, Kien C, Auer S, Klerings I, Hammer R, Holzer P, & Gartlehner G. (2017) Vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC geriatrics, 17(1), 16. PMID: 28086755  

  • January 26, 2017
  • 03:10 AM
  • 361 views

Andrew Whitehouse on challenging yet another autism status quo: diagnosis before intervention

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This paper provides an overview of the benefits and drawbacks of the current clinical pathway that places primacy on a diagnostic assessment for triggering the commencement of therapy. The paper then presents an alternative clinical pathway - the identification and provision of therapy to infants at risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] - and provides a critical review of current evidence supporting this model."So said the 'lecture paper' by Andrew Whitehouse [1] and, as per the titl........ Read more »

  • January 25, 2017
  • 08:10 AM
  • 341 views

A poo transplant for [some] autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I've talked about 'fecal microbial transplants' a.k.a the poo(p) transplant before on this blog (see here). That previous entry was about the more typical (and potentially life-saving) use of a poo transplant - where stool from one person is extracted, 'repackaged' and transferred to another person - albeit with caveats in terms of possible long-term side-effects. Now it appears that poo transplants are being investigated with something rather more central to the typical cont........ Read more »

  • January 25, 2017
  • 02:56 AM
  • 338 views

Autism and visual impairment reviewed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Of the various autism science journals out there in peer-reviewed (La-La!) land, one journal in particular is really starting to grow on me: [The] Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.I like this journal because it is basically systematic review and meta-analysis heaven when it comes to the quite voluminous autism research literature and seems to publish some real gems (see here for example).Another paper from this journal caught my eye recently by Maggie Butchart and colleagues ........ Read more »

Butchart, M., Long, J., Brown, M., McMillan, A., Bain, J., & Karatzias, T. (2017) Autism and Visual Impairment: a Review of the Literature. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI: 10.1007/s40489-016-0101-1  

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