Paul Whiteley

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

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  • October 5, 2015
  • 02:34 AM

The ASQ-3 and autism screening: has the UK already started?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

'Can Screening with the Ages and Stages Questionnaire Detect Autism?' was the research question posed and partially answered in the paper by Sarah Hardy and colleagues [1] recently.Drawing on data from a very healthy sized cohort (~2800 toddlers) who were "screened with the ASQ-3 [Ages and Stages Questionnaire] and M-CHAT-R across 20 pediatric sites" in the United States, researchers suggested that there may be more to see when it comes to the use of ASQ-3 and the complicated topic of ........ Read more »

Hardy S, Haisley L, Manning C, & Fein D. (2015) Can Screening with the Ages and Stages Questionnaire Detect Autism?. Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP, 36(7), 536-43. PMID: 26348972  

  • October 3, 2015
  • 03:39 AM

One more time... the interpregnancy interval and risk of offspring autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Children born after an IPI [interpregnancy interval] of <12 months or ≥72 months had a 2- to 3-fold increased ASD [autism spectrum disorder] risk compared with children born after an interval of 36 to 47 months."So said the study results published by Ousseny Zerbo and colleagues [1] looking at the increasingly interesting area of the autism research landscape: the interpregnancy interval (the time from the birth of an index child to the next conception/pregnancy of........ Read more »

Zerbo, O., Yoshida, C., Gunderson, E., Dorward, K., & Croen, L. (2015) Interpregnancy Interval and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders. PEDIATRICS. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2015-1099  

  • October 2, 2015
  • 02:37 AM

ADHD primes for psychosis and/or schizophrenia?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

My efforts turn once again to Taiwan today and the results reported by Yu-Chiau Shyu and colleagues [1] that: "Compared to the control group, the ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] group showed significantly increased risk of developing any psychotic disorder... and schizophrenia."As per the multitude of other instances where Taiwan is mentioned as a research powerhouse, the source data for the Shyu findings was the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database&n........ Read more »

  • October 1, 2015
  • 04:35 AM

Immune endophenotypes in paediatric autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Today I'm serving up the paper by Milo Careaga and colleagues [1] for your blogging delight, who concluded that: "Children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] may be phenotypically characterized based upon their immune profile." Further that there may be: "several possible immune subphenotypes within the ASD population that correlate with more severe behavioral impairments."With many thanks to Natasa for the paper, participants - 50 boys with a median age of 3.2 years diagnosed wi........ Read more »

Milo Careaga, Sally Rogers, Robin L. Hansen, David G. Amaral, Judy Van de Water, & Paul Ashwood. (2015) Immune endophenotypes in children with autism spectrum disorder. Biological Psychiatry. info:/10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.08.036

  • September 30, 2015
  • 02:53 AM

Regular exercise and motor skills training for autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I approach the study results presented by Serge Brand and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) with some caution given the preliminary nature of the findings suggesting that: "regular AET [aerobic exercise training] and MST [motor skill training] impact positively on sleep, MSs, and mood among children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]." The caution is due to the fact that the Brand results report on an uncontrolled pilot study (we've all done them) and included only........ Read more »

  • September 29, 2015
  • 05:26 AM

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection and cognitive ability

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

So: "our findings indicate that infection with HSV-1 [Herpes simplex virus] is associated with reduced cognitive functioning in healthy individuals."That was the conclusion reached in the study by Eyal Fruchter and colleagues [1] who based on a "representative, random sample of 612 soldiers before active duty in the Israeli military (Israeli defense force — IDF)" looked at cognitive functioning and language abilities as a function of HSV status ("62.2% HSV positive (n = 381) and 38.8%........ Read more »

  • September 28, 2015
  • 03:11 AM

Autism traits in older adults with depressive disorders

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"ASD [autism spectrum disorder] might be overlooked in older adults and especially within geriatric psychiatry when diagnosing and treating depression and anxiety in older patients one should be attentive to ASD."So concluded Hilde Geurts and colleagues [1] as a function of their results looking for the presence of autistic traits in older adults with and without depressive disorders participating in the Netherlands study of depression in older persons (NESDO) initiative. Based on........ Read more »

  • September 26, 2015
  • 03:47 AM

T. gondii infection and autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was interested to read the paper by Joseph Prandota and colleagues [1] who observed that: "latent chronic T. gondii [Toxoplasma gondii] infection have an important impact on triggering and development of ASD [autism spectrum disorders], at least in a subset of autistic children, and this requires some modification(s) of its diagnostic procedures and treatment regimens." Big words, I'm sure you'll agree.From the start I'll indicate that I'm interested in T. gondii on this bl........ Read more »

Joseph Prandota, Noha Abdel Fattah Elleboudy, Khadiga Ahmed Ismail, Osama Kamal Zaki, & Hanan Hussein Shehata. (2015) Increased Seroprevalence of Chronic Toxoplasmosis in Autistic Children: Special Reference to the Pathophysiology of IFN-γ and NO Overproduction. International Journal of Neurology Research, 1(3), 102-122. info:/10.17554/j.issn.2313-5611.2015.01.30

  • September 25, 2015
  • 04:30 AM

Baby teeth and autism research

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This report provides evidence that teeth can be useful biomarkers of early life exposure for use in epidemiologic case-control studies seeking to identify differential unbiased exposures during development between those with and without specific disorders such as autism."That was one of the conclusions reached in the paper by Raymond Palmer and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) who played science tooth fairy with 71 deciduous teeth (baby teeth) provided by children with autism fr........ Read more »

Palmer, R., Heilbrun, L., Camann, D., Yau, A., Schultz, S., Elisco, V., Tapia, B., Garza, N., & Miller, C. (2015) Organic Compounds Detected in Deciduous Teeth: A Replication Study from Children with Autism in Two Samples. Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 1-9. DOI: 10.1155/2015/862414  

  • September 24, 2015
  • 04:28 AM

HERVs as a mechanism of genetic deletion formation: relevance to some autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

My stark lack of knowledge in the area of genetics and specifically that linked to the human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) that litter the genome is likely to shine through in this post so be ready with that pinch of salt.The starting point for today's post is the paper by Ines Quintela and colleagues [1] detailing a case report of "a 9-year-old female patient with autistic disorder, total absence of language, intellectual disability, anxiety disorder and disruptive, and compulsive e........ Read more »

  • September 23, 2015
  • 05:10 AM

Parental autoimmunity and offspring autism risk... yet again

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Here we go again."A positive association between maternal autoimmune diseases and the risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] in offspring was identified assuming a fixed effect model." Further: "Maternal autoimmune disease is likely to be an independent risk factor of ASD in offspring."Those were the findings and conclusions published by Shao-wei Chen and colleagues [1] as part of their systematic review and meta-analysis of the available peer-reviewed literature looking at how ma........ Read more »

  • September 22, 2015
  • 02:50 AM

The ketogenic diet and autism: where are we up to?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Today I'm bringing the paper by Kamila Castro and colleagues [1] to the blogging table and their systematic review of the available peer-reviewed literature on the use of a ketogenic diet (KD) when it comes to real life autism and various mouse models trying to map the label.Drawing on data derived from 8 studies - "three studies with animals and five studies with humans" - that met the relevant inclusion criteria for study, authors concluded that although the evidence looks promising for t........ Read more »

Kamila Castro, Larissa Slongo Faccioli, Diego Baronio, Carmem Gottfried, Ingrid Schweigert Perry, & Rudimar dos Santos Riesgo. (2015) Effect of a ketogenic diet on autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 31-38. info:/10.1016/j.rasd.2015.08.005

  • September 21, 2015
  • 03:15 AM

Autism manifests across a range of genetic and metabolic syndromes

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) phenomenology is reported to be more common in individuals with some genetic syndromes than in the general population."That was the starting point for the systematic review and meta-analysis published by Caroline Richards and colleagues [1] who set about 'synthesising' the various peer-reviewed data "to provide accurate estimates about ASD phenomenology in genetic and metabolic syndromes." A scan of the cumulative literature in this area ("168 papers reportin........ Read more »

Caroline Richards, Christopher Jones, Laura Groves, Jo Moss, & Chris Oliver. (2015) Prevalence of autism spectrum disorder phenomenology in genetic disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Psychiatry. info:/

  • September 19, 2015
  • 04:01 AM

Gluten free diet adherence reduces depression in coeliac disease

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was really quite interested in the paper by Seref Simsek and colleagues [1] looking at how adherence to a gluten-free diet (GFD) in cases of paediatric coeliac disease might also confer psychological benefits too. To quote: "[a] Significant decrease was observed in the depression scores... of celiac patients who were able to actually adhere to the GFD compared with nonadherent patients."So: "The aim of this study was to investigate the level of depression and quality of life in child........ Read more »

Simsek S, Baysoy G, Gencoglan S, & Uluca U. (2015) Effects of Gluten-Free Diet on Quality of Life and Depression in Children With Celiac Disease. Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition, 61(3), 303-306. PMID: 26322559  

  • September 18, 2015
  • 04:58 AM

Elevated offspring autism in women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Compared to children from the general population, children born to women with SLE [systemic lupus erythematosus] have an increased risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder], although in absolute terms it represents a rare outcome."That was the bottom line reported in the results published by Évelyne Vinet and colleagues [1]. Based on data derived from the "Offspring of SLE mothers Registry (OSLER)", researchers identified children born to mothers with SLE alongside a matc........ Read more »

  • September 17, 2015
  • 04:41 AM

An extremely low prevalence of autism in Quito, Ecuador

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The title of this post is taken from the paper by Laura Dekkers and colleagues [1] (open-access) who sought to "get an estimate of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] diagnoses in children and adolescents aged between of five and fifteen at regular schools in Quito."So, the starting point: "Ecuador has more than 14 million inhabitants... of which over 1.6 million are estimated to live in the capital city of Quito." As part of the "law requiring inclusive education", the authors decided to s........ Read more »

Dekkers, L., Groot, N., Díaz Mosquera, E., Andrade Zúñiga, I., & Delfos, M. (2015) Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Ecuador: A Pilot Study in Quito. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-015-2559-6  

  • September 16, 2015
  • 04:39 AM

Parkinsonism in adults with autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"We find a high frequency of parkinsonism among ASD [autism spectrum disorder] individuals older than 39 years."So said the paper by Sergio Starkstein and colleagues [1] (open-access) and Q & A with authors who, during a "a hypothesis-generating, pilot study" with extras looked for parkinsonism motor signs in a small group of adults diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.Parkinsonism is an umbrella term that refers to any condition that leads to a combination of symptoms n........ Read more »

Starkstein, S., Gellar, S., Parlier, M., Payne, L., & Piven, J. (2015) High rates of parkinsonism in adults with autism. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 7(1). DOI: 10.1186/s11689-015-9125-6  

  • September 15, 2015
  • 04:19 AM

ADHD and obesity meta-analysed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was intrigued by the findings reported by Samuele Cortese and colleagues [1] who, following systematic review and meta-analysis of the current peer-reviewed literature on the topic, found evidence for a "significant association between ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] and obesity/overweight." I believe the protocol for this review and meta-analysis has previously graced the peer-reviewed domain as per a previous paper from Cortese et al [2] (open-access).Based on data ........ Read more »

Cortese, S., Moreira-Maia, C., St. Fleur, D., Morcillo-Peñalver, C., Rohde, L., & Faraone, S. (2015) Association Between ADHD and Obesity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. American Journal of Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2015.15020266  

  • September 14, 2015
  • 04:55 AM

US Childhood ADHD / ADD figures on the up

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Has a doctor or health professional ever told you that (child) had attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or attention deficit disorder (ADD)?"That was the question posed, answered and reported on in a recent edition of the CDC Morbidty and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) [1] (page 925).Comparing positive responses to said question as part of the US National Health Interview Survey going back nearly 20 years (see attached graph), it appears that there is an upward trend in cases of pedi........ Read more »

  • September 12, 2015
  • 04:56 AM

Smoking during pregnancy and autism risk: no association (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Question: Does tobacco smoking during pregnancy elevate the risk of offspring autism?Answer: According to the meta-analysis published by Shiming Tang and colleagues [1] (open-access), probably not.I have to say that I was interested in the paper from Tang et al. Interested not only because of their findings suggestive that smoking during pregnancy did not seem to elevate the risk of offspring autism, but also that their report seemed to pretty much replicate a previous meta-analysis by Brittany ........ Read more »

Tang, S., Wang, Y., Gong, X., & Wang, G. (2015) A Meta-Analysis of Maternal Smoking during Pregnancy and Autism Spectrum Disorder Risk in Offspring. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12(9), 10418-10431. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph120910418  

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