The paper by Alyse Brown and colleagues  (open-access available here) is probably not going to gain any significant media headlines (unlike other recent studies - see here and see here) but does cover a rather important question regarding the autism research landscape: how representative is autism research?Specifically looking at the collected research on visual processing (distinct from physical issues with the eyes that still require greater awareness) with autism in mind, the authors ........ Read more »
Brown AC, Chouinard PA, & Crewther SG. (2017) Vision Research Literature May Not Represent the Full Intellectual Range of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 57. PMID: 28261072
mTORC1 and mTORC2 are two distinct mammalian TOR (target of rapamycin) complexes that regulate cell growth and metabolism. In cancer, genetic alterations lead to activation of mTOR signalling impacting tumour metabolism. Upregulated glutaminolysis is part of the metabolic reaction occurring in cancer that liberates high levels of ammonium, a toxic waste product. Although the importance of glutamine as a tumour nutrient is recognized, little is known about the potential effects of ammonium produc........ Read more »
Merhi A, Delrée P, & Marini AM. (2017) The metabolic waste ammonium regulates mTORC2 and mTORC1 signaling. Scientific reports, 44602. PMID: 28303961
Although it is not necessarily new news that (a) autism rarely exists in some sort of diagnostic vacuum, and (b) that some of the comorbidity 'over-represented' when it comes to autism can actually be more disabling than autism itself, there are still more investigations to be done.The paper by Vicki Bitsika & Christopher Sharpley  represents an example of how autism science is starting to go past the whole 'is there a connection between...' bit when it comes to autism and various comorbi........ Read more »
Bitsika, V., & Sharpley, C. (2017) The association between parents’ ratings of ASD symptoms and anxiety in a sample of high-functioning boys and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 38-45. DOI: 10.1016/j.ridd.2017.02.010
I wanted to briefly talk about the paper by Francesca Garofoli and colleagues  on congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection and autism not because it contains any novel data (see here), but because it reminds us that the potential 'pathways' to a diagnosis of autism are multiple and not necessarily 'pre-programmed' as per the 'it's all genetic' arguments that frequently figure in various domains.Congenital CMV infection refers to the transmission of CMV - "a common virus that belongs to the ........ Read more »
Garofoli F, Lombardi G, Orcesi S, Pisoni C, Mazzucchelli I, Angelini M, Balottin U, & Stronati M. (2017) An Italian Prospective Experience on the Association Between Congenital Cytomegalovirus Infection and Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 28258350
I was rather interested to read the paper by Michela Traglia and colleagues  (open-access available here) concluding that: "maternal and fetal genetic make-up are important determinants of mid-gestational maternal circulating levels of some environmental organohalogens." Interested because, in these days of gene-environment interactions being applied to just about everything, the detail that is missing - which genes might potentially be linked to which environmental factors - has not yet........ Read more »
Traglia M, Croen LA, Lyall K, Windham GC, Kharrazi M, DeLorenze GN, Torres AR, & Weiss LA. (2017) Independent Maternal and Fetal Genetic Effects on Mid-gestational Circulating Levels of Environmental Pollutants. G3 (Bethesda, Md.). PMID: 28235828
What IS that? A photo by Stefan Kraft at Wikimedia Commons.1. Platypuses are so strange, that when British scientists first encountered one, they thought it was a joke: A Governor of New South Wales, Australia, sent a platypus pelt and sketch to British scientists in 1798. Even in their first published scientific description of the species, biologists thought that this duck-beaked, beaver-bodied, web-footed specimen may be some Frankenstein-like creation stitched together as a hoax. But this is ........ Read more »
Warren, W., Hillier, L., Marshall Graves, J., Birney, E., Ponting, C., Grützner, F., Belov, K., Miller, W., Clarke, L., Chinwalla, A.... (2008) Genome analysis of the platypus reveals unique signatures of evolution. Nature, 453(7192), 175-183. DOI: 10.1038/nature06936
I'd encourage readers interested in the background to the response paper by Michael Sharpe and colleagues  to have a look at a previous blogging occasion when the topic of the PACE trial, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and 'recovery' were discussed (see here).Suffice to say that this latest paper is a reply to one published by Carolyn Wilshire and colleagues  who concluded that: "The claim that patients [with CFS] can recover as a result of CBT [cognitive behaviour therapy] ........ Read more »
M Sharpe, T Chalder, AL Johnson, KA Goldsmith, & PD White. (2017) Do more people recover from chronic fatigue syndrome with cognitive behaviour therapy or graded exercise therapy than with other treatments?. Fatigue: Biomedicine, Health , 1-5. info:/10.1080/21641846.2017.1288629
The evolving epidemic of opioid overdose and overdose deaths is receiving increased public and research attention.Opioids overdoses and overdose deaths are often unintentional or accidental. It has been known that concurrent use of opioids with alcohol or benzodiazepines (i.e. Valium or Xanax) increases risk for overdose toxicity.A recent study published in the British Medical Journal confirmed the association of concurrent benzodiazepine prescription with opioid overdose.This research team exam........ Read more »
Sun EC, Dixit A, Humphreys K, Darnall BD, Baker LC, & Mackey S. (2017) Association between concurrent use of prescription opioids and benzodiazepines and overdose: retrospective analysis. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 28292769
"While pregnant women should continue to avoid handling soiled cat litter, given possible T. gondii exposure, our study strongly indicates that cat ownership in pregnancy or early childhood does not confer an increased risk of later adolescent PEs [psychotic experiences]."So said the findings reported by Francesca Solmi and colleagues  (open-access) who brought a smile to any reader of the title of their paper: "Curiosity killed the cat: no evidence of an association between cat ownershi........ Read more »
Solmi F, Hayes JF, Lewis G, & Kirkbride JB. (2017) Curiosity killed the cat: no evidence of an association between cat ownership and psychotic symptoms at ages 13 and 18 years in a UK general population cohort. Psychological medicine, 1-9. PMID: 28222824
"In our cohort, high levels of antibodies to herpes simplex virus 2 at midpregnancy were associated with an elevated risk of autism spectrum disorder in male offspring. These findings provide support for the hypothesis that gestational infection may contribute to the pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorder and have the potential to drive new efforts to monitor women more closely for cryptic gestational infection and to implement suppressive therapy during pregnancy."That was the conclusion reac........ Read more »
Milada Mahic, Siri Mjaaland, Hege Marie Bøvelstad, Nina Gunnes, Ezra Susser, Michaeline Bresnahan, Anne-Siri Øyen, Bruce Levin, Xiaoyu Che, Deborah Hirtz.... (2017) Maternal Immunoreactivity to Herpes Simplex Virus 2 and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Male Offspring. mSphere. info:/10.1128/mSphere.00016-17
I just read a concerning paper about an experimental stem cell treatment for children with autism.
The authors are Himanshu Bansal and colleagues of India. The senior author, Prasad S Koka, is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Stem Cells where the paper appeared, which raises questions about whether the manuscript received a thorough peer review. Koka is actually an author on all five of the research papers published in that issue of the journal. But that's a minor issue compared ... Read more »
Bansal H, Verma P, Agrawal A, Leon J, Sundell IB, Koka PS. (2016) A Short Study Report on Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate Cell Therapy in Ten South Asian Indian Patients with Autism. Journal of Stem Cells, 11(1). info:/
OK I'm a little confused right now.Not so long ago I talked about the paper from Horvath and colleagues  (see here) concluding that "the limited data currently available suggest that ω-3 FA [omega-3 fatty acid] supplementation does not enhance the performance of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]." Such a conclusion was based on the application of a systematic review and meta-analysis of the available peer-reviewed literature up to August 2016.Now however, another sy........ Read more »
Mazahery H, Stonehouse W, Delshad M, Kruger MC, Conlon CA, Beck KL, & von Hurst PR. (2017) Relationship between Long Chain n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Case-Control and Randomised Controlled Trials. Nutrients, 9(2). PMID: 28218722
"A personal history and a maternal history of autoimmune disease were associated with an increased risk of ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder]. The previously reported association between type 1 diabetes and ADHD was confirmed. In addition, specific parental autoimmune diseases were associated with ADHD in offspring."So said the study results published by Nielsen and colleagues  including "a study population of 983,680 individuals followed from 1995 to 2012." Reliant once aga........ Read more »
Nielsen PR, Benros ME, & Dalsgaard S. (2017) Associations Between Autoimmune Diseases and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Nationwide Study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 56(3), 234-2400. PMID: 28219489
Emotional intelligence (EI) is characterized by the ability to recognize emotional states in self and in others.This emotional recognition may be helpful in guiding behavior and in improving interpersonal relationships.It seems logical on a face validity level to assume that higher levels of EI would be good in the selection of students for medical school.However, there are few studies assessing EI in physicians. There are fewer studies that examine whether EI influences physician behavior, pati........ Read more »
Shahid, R., Stirling, J., & Adams, W. (2016) Assessment of Emotional Intelligence in Pediatric and Med-Peds Residents. Journal of Contemporary Medical Education, 4(4), 153. DOI: 10.5455/jcme.20170116015415
Balance assessments were not associated with anterior cruciate ligament injury risk among elite female handball and soccer athletes.
... Read more »
Steffen K, Nilstad A, Krosshaug T, Pasanen K, Killingmo A, & Bahr R. (2017) No association between static and dynamic postural control and ACL injury risk among female elite handball and football players: a prospective study of 838 players. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 51(4), 253-259. PMID: 28148513
"In 3.5-year-old children, CDA [coeliac disease autoimmunity] is associated with increased reports of child depression and anxiety, aggressive behavior, and sleep problems when mothers are unaware of their child’s CDA status."So said the findings reported by Laura Smith and colleagues  (open-access available here) adding to an emerging body of peer-reviewed research suggesting that the archetypal 'gluten is the baddie' autoimmune condition known as coeliac disease might, when not manag........ Read more »
Smith LB, Lynch KF, Kurppa K, Koletzko S, Krischer J, Liu E, Johnson SB, Agardh D, & TEDDY study group. (2017) Psychological Manifestations of Celiac Disease Autoimmunity in Young Children. Pediatrics. PMID: 28219962
"Mothers (OR 2.95, 95% CI 2.81-3.09) and fathers (OR 2.41, 95% CI 2.25-2.58) of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] were more likely to have a diagnosis of depression than parents of children without ASD."The paper by Cohrs and Leslie  is probably not going to win any awards for novelty when it comes to their findings that: "Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in children can have secondary effects on the child's parents." It does however represent another important piece of evidence........ Read more »
Cohrs AC, & Leslie DL. (2017) Depression in Parents of Children Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Claims-Based Analysis. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 28214978
Amyloid brain plaques are well-known pathological changes associated with Alzheimer's disease. Changes preceding amyloid plaque build up are less well studied and understood. Some of this relates to limitations to current imaging technology.Klementieva and colleagues from Sweden and Spain recently published an important reserach topic in this area.Their studied used a rat model of Alzheimer's disease and imaging techniques that included infrared microspectroscopy and gel electrophoresis.The........ Read more »
Klementieva, O., Willén, K., Martinsson, I., Israelsson, B., Engdahl, A., Cladera, J., Uvdal, P., & Gouras, G. (2017) Pre-plaque conformational changes in Alzheimer’s disease-linked Aβ and APP. Nature Communications, 14726. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14726
"This study examined the effect of common mitochondrial treatments on specific mitochondrial components in a group of children diagnosed with ASD [autism spectrum disorder], some of which also were diagnosed with co-morbid mitochondrial disease."That was the premise of the study results published by Leanna Delhey and colleagues  (open-access available here) and follows previous discussions suggesting that mitochondrial disease might not be totally unfamiliar to at least some autism ........ Read more »
Delhey LM, Nur Kilinc E, Yin L, Slattery JC, Tippett ML, Rose S, Bennuri SC, Kahler SG, Damle S, Legido A.... (2017) The Effect of Mitochondrial Supplements on Mitochondrial Activity in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of clinical medicine, 6(2). PMID: 28208802
I'd like to briefly draw your attention to the results - systematic review and meta-analysis results - published by Joseph Firth and colleagues  observing that "certain vitamin and mineral supplements may reduce psychiatric symptoms in some people with schizophrenia" and specifically that certain B vitamins might be something to consider.Such results come from a research team who are making significant waves in the field of meta-analyses and systematic reviews for all manner of different [imp........ Read more »
Firth J, Stubbs B, Sarris J, Rosenbaum S, Teasdale S, Berk M, & Yung AR. (2017) The effects of vitamin and mineral supplementation on symptoms of schizophrenia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychological medicine, 1-13. PMID: 28202095
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