Paul Whiteley

819 posts · 320,984 views

Autism research, research blogging and health science stuff (picture is accurate)

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  • February 5, 2016
  • 03:01 AM

Vitamin D supplementation and 'clinical improvement' in autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Vitamin D deficiency might contribute to the aetiology of ASD [autism spectrum disorder]. Supplementation of vitamin D3, which is a safe and cost-effective form of treatment, may significantly improve the outcome of some children with ASD, especially younger children."More big words have appeared from a research group who seem to be particularly interested in how vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin/hormone) might have some important links to at least some cases of autism. The findings thi........ Read more »

Feng J, Shan L, Du L, Wang B, Li H, Wang W, Wang T, Dong H, Yue X, Xu Z.... (2016) Clinical improvement following vitamin D3 supplementation in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Nutritional neuroscience. PMID: 26783092  

  • February 4, 2016
  • 04:33 AM

Establishing environmental exposures as risk factors for bipolar disorder: Difficult.

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The findings reported by Ciro Marangoni and colleagues [1] made for some interesting reading recently and their systematic review of longitudinal studies looking at the various environmental exposures put forward as possible risk factors pertinent to the development of bipolar disorder (BD).Trawling through the peer-reviewed material on this topic, the authors were able to 'clump' the various proposed risk factors into one of three categories: "neurodevelopment (maternal influenza during pr........ Read more »

  • February 3, 2016
  • 04:29 AM

Estimated autism rate in 2 regions of Poland

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The average prevalence of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] was 35/10 000 children and was about 4-fold higher in males."I don't have too much to add to the findings reported by Karolina Skonieczna-Żydecka and colleagues [1] who estimated the prevalence of ASD in two regions of Poland: "West Pomeranian and Pomeranian regions." Based on the analysis of data from "Provincial Disability Services Commissions", researchers concluded that approximately 3 children in 1000 in those regions........ Read more »

Skonieczna-Żydecka K, Gorzkowska I, Pierzak-Sominka J, & Adler G. (2016) The Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders in West Pomeranian and Pomeranian Regions of Poland. Journal of applied research in intellectual disabilities : JARID. PMID: 26771078  

  • February 2, 2016
  • 04:29 AM

Risk of cancer in autism: probably not excessive as more data emerge

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin: "Taken together, there are no published evidence to suggest that there is a high overall concordance between ASD [autism spectrum disorders] and cancer or between ASD and specific cancers."Those words reported by Svend Erik Mouridsen and colleagues [1] (who knows a thing or two about autism research) should offer some relief to both people on the autism spectrum and their loved ones.Based on the analysis of over 100 adults "diagnosed with infantile autism (IA) in........ Read more »

  • February 1, 2016
  • 02:47 AM

On (pre)pregnancy obesity and inflammation and offspring autism risk

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

At the time of writing this [long read] post there has been a flurry of autism research articles making news.The headline: 'Scientists create the first ever autistic monkeys' referring to the work published by Liu and colleagues [1] who reported on "lentivirus-based transgenic cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) expressing human MeCP2 in the brain exhibit autism-like behaviours and show germline transmission of the transgene" started the ball rolling. Anyone who knows a little bit about aut........ Read more »

Li, M., Fallin, M., Riley, A., Landa, R., Walker, S., Silverstein, M., Caruso, D., Pearson, C., Kiang, S., Dahm, J.... (2016) The Association of Maternal Obesity and Diabetes With Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities. PEDIATRICS, 137(2), 1-10. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2015-2206  

Choi GB, Yim YS, Wong H, Kim S, Kim H, Kim SV, Hoeffer CA, Littman DR, & Huh JR. (2016) The maternal interleukin-17a pathway in mice promotes autismlike phenotypes in offspring. Science (New York, N.Y.). PMID: 26822608  

  • January 30, 2016
  • 04:00 AM

Autism in phenylketonuria (PKU)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Autism has been reported in untreated patients with phenylketonuria."Indeed it has, as the paper by Sameh Khemir and colleagues [1] revisits something of a long known about association whereby the archetypal inborn error of metabolism that is phenylketonuria (PKU) has been linked to the presentation of autism or autistic traits [2].Looking at 18 participants diagnosed with PKU, Khemir et al "report their clinical, biochemical and molecular peculiarities" (authors words not mine) and h........ Read more »

Khemir S, Halayem S, Azzouz H, Siala H, Ferchichi M, Guedria A, Bedoui A, Abdelhak S, Messaoud T, Tebib N.... (2016) Autism in Phenylketonuria Patients: From Clinical Presentation to Molecular Defects. Journal of child neurology. PMID: 26759449  

  • January 29, 2016
  • 02:56 AM

Mortality and autism: comorbidity counts

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I don't enjoy talking about mortality and autism on this blog but once again I'm drawn to discuss this important topic based on some recent findings published by Diana Schendel and colleagues [1]. I say these are important findings on the basis of how researchers took into account the possible role played by psychiatric and neurological comorbidity occurring alongside autism when it comes to the quite alarming mortality statistics.Drawing on the findings reported in their paper and an interview ........ Read more »

  • January 28, 2016
  • 02:55 AM

ICF core sets for autism continued: what do experts think about autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Consider this post an extension of a previous discussion thread (see here) continuing the voyage of developing "International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF; and Children and Youth version, ICF(-CY)) Core Sets for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)."This time around it is another paper by Elles de Schipper and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) providing the blogging fodder and specifically the stage two of their four stage project building up those core sets........ Read more »

de Schipper E, Mahdi S, de Vries P, Granlund M, Holtmann M, Karande S, Almodayfer O, Shulman C, Tonge B, Wong VV.... (2016) Functioning and disability in autism spectrum disorder: A worldwide survey of experts. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. PMID: 26749373  

  • January 27, 2016
  • 03:03 AM

Feigning ADHD?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Feign: "to pretend to feel or be affected by (something)."I tread very carefully today with this post based on the findings reported by Paul Marshall and colleagues [1] who concluded that: "a significant percentage of those making a suspect effort will be diagnosed with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] using the most commonly employed assessment methods."Their findings, based on the examination of "how many adult patients would plausibly receive a diagnosis of attention-........ Read more »

  • January 26, 2016
  • 03:11 AM

Quality of life of parents of children with autism systematically reviewed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This review verified previous reports on lower QoL [quality of life] among parents of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and highlighted potential areas of support."So said the findings reported by Eleni Vasilopoulou & Joy Nisbet [1] who surveyed the available peer-reviewed literature looking at "QoL among parents of children with ASD (<18 years)". They also reported on various factors potentially contributory to the reported lower QoL including "child ........ Read more »

  • January 25, 2016
  • 03:03 AM

Gastrointestinal symptoms and autism yet again

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

It's been a few weeks since I last posted on the quite well-known [evidence-based] overlap that is autism and gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. Today I'm remedying the situation by briefly discussing the findings reported by Francesca Fulceri and colleagues [1].Drawing on data from 230 preschoolers including "four groups of children... ASD individuals suffering from GI symptoms (ASD/GI+), ASD subjects without GI symptoms (ASD/GI-), TD peers with (TD/GI+) and without (TD/GI-) GI symptoms" rese........ Read more »

Fulceri F, Morelli M, Santocchi E, Cena H, Del Bianco T, Narzisi A, Calderoni S, & Muratori F. (2015) Gastrointestinal symptoms and behavioral problems in preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Digestive and liver disease : official journal of the Italian Society of Gastroenterology and the Italian Association for the Study of the Liver. PMID: 26748423  

  • January 23, 2016
  • 05:35 AM

22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome and 'a highly increased risk of schizophrenia spectrum disorders'

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

22q11.2 deletion syndrome has turned out to be something of real interest to this blog. Not only because of the reported connection to the presentation of autism (see here) including some suggestion of a role for the immune system (see here) but also because of the idea that certain somatic comorbidity linked to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract might also figure as part of the presentation of at least some cases of Del22 (see here). Said GI issues have also cropped up across quite a few other lab........ Read more »

  • January 22, 2016
  • 02:48 AM

Fatigue and severe behaviour problems associated with autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Challenging behaviours or behavioural crisis in relation to autism is a topic that has graced this blog before (see here). Covering a whole spectrum of issues ranging from aggression (self and/or directed against others) to various other quite undesirable presentations (such as smearing) quite a lot of behaviour can potentially fall into this description.Without heading too far into the possible [often very individual] reasons as to why challenging behaviours occur and their meaning (see he........ Read more »

  • January 21, 2016
  • 02:51 AM

Pendulum swings... prenatal antidepressant exposure not linked to autism or ADHD

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Multiple studies have examined the risk of prenatal antidepressant exposure and risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), with inconsistent results."And..."These results suggest that prior reports of association between prenatal antidepressant exposure and neurodevelopmental disease are likely to represent a false-positive finding, which may arise in part through confounding by indication."'These results' refers to the findings reported by Castr........ Read more »

  • January 20, 2016
  • 03:11 AM

Middle ear infections and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm gonna be fairly brief today in drawing your attention to the paper published by Daniel Adams and colleagues [1] reporting that: "Children with ASD [autism spectrum disorders] are more likely to have middle ear infections and otitis-related complications."The results, which we've known were coming (see here), detail findings based on a retrospective case-cohort study where the health insurance records of children of US military families were initially screened for the presence of au........ Read more »

Adams, D., Susi, A., Erdie-Lalena, C., Gorman, G., Hisle-Gorman, E., Rajnik, M., Elrod, M., & Nylund, C. (2016) Otitis Media and Related Complications Among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-015-2689-x  

  • January 19, 2016
  • 04:29 AM

Get your (autism genetics) kicks on root 66?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

With the ever-increasing volumes of research being published in the peer-reviewed domain these days, one sometimes has to be a little creative to ensure that your research paper stands out and is not lost in the scientific noise. Quite a good way of getting noticed is to make sure that your paper catches the attention of your reader base. Y'know, give it a snappy title; something that social media might pick up on...So it was that my attention was taken when coming across the paper by Diaz-........ Read more »

  • January 18, 2016
  • 04:29 AM

Supporting siblings of children with autism too

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A weekend not wasted...The idea that a diagnosis/label of autism may have repercussions for quite a few more people than just the person diagnosed is not a new one.Without trying to generalise nor stigmatise, the process of working up to and receiving a diagnosis on the autism spectrum can often have profound consequences for family life. Parents typically shoulder quite a lot of the additional duties that follow from a diagnosis (and indeed before diagnosis) but other family members also have t........ Read more »

  • January 16, 2016
  • 05:28 AM

Vitamin D and cognitive function (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Today I'd like to draw your attention to the paper by Natasja van Schoor and colleagues [1] and some further potential support for the idea that vitamin D levels might have some important connections to cognitive functioning.I've tackled this subject before on this blog (see here) and specifically the idea that functional vitamin D levels below a certain point might 'correlate' with poorer cognitive functioning. This time around van Schoor et al report findings based on data ........ Read more »

  • January 15, 2016
  • 02:57 AM

What exercise might do to the gut microbiome and gut permeability in CFS/ME

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"These findings suggest a role for an altered gut microbiome and increased bacterial translocation following exercise in ME/CFS [myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome] patients that may account for the profound post-exertional malaise experienced by ME/CFS patients."That was the conclusion reached by Sanjay Shukla and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) who analysed the "microbiomes of blood and stool samples" for a small group of "clinically characterized ME/CFS p........ Read more »

  • January 14, 2016
  • 02:41 AM

Toy preference and parent-infant communication?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was intrigued to read the findings reported by Anna Sosa [1] who reported that "play with books and traditional toys was superior to play with electronic toys in promoting high-quality communication."This was a study looking at communication between parents and their infants aged 10-16 months old as a function of toy type, where electronic toys - "3 battery-operated toys with buttons and switches that can be manipulated to produce lights, words, phrases, and songs" - were pitted against '........ Read more »

Sosa AV. (2015) Association of the Type of Toy Used During Play With the Quantity and Quality of Parent-Infant Communication. JAMA Pediatrics. info:/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.3753

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