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Autism research and other musings

Paul Whiteley
604 posts

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  • May 28, 2015
  • 03:28 AM
  • 1 view

The autisms, case reports and two 'intervention' options

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm looking at two papers today which I'd like to think cover the title of this post pretty well dealing with the plurality of autism - the autisms - and the idea that intervention or management-wise, there is no 'one size fits all' when it comes to the autisms.First up are the findings reported by Ziats and colleagues [1] who presented results for a child - "A 4-year-old male with autism and two episodes of neurodevelopmental regression" - who was also found to have a "mutation in the TMLHE gen........ Read more »

  • May 27, 2015
  • 03:08 AM
  • 27 views

Predicting the onset of schizophrenia?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"A lower level of inflammatory response indicated by PTX3 [pentraxin-3] might be implicated in developing schizophrenia."That was the primary conclusion reported by Natalya Weber and colleagues [1] (open-access here) who "tested preonset serum specimens from 160 US military service members who were later diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and 160 matched controls without psychiatric disorders."PTX-3 by the way, is a compound of some note when it comes to the concept of in........ Read more »

Weber NS, Larsen RA, Yolken RH, Cowan DN, Boivin MR, & Niebuhr DW. (2015) Predictors of the Onset of Schizophrenia in US Military Personnel. The Journal of nervous and mental disease, 203(5), 319-24. PMID: 25919381  

  • May 26, 2015
  • 05:08 AM
  • 35 views

Health and adults on the autism spectrum

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Nearly all medical conditions were significantly more common in adults with autism, including immune conditions, gastrointestinal and sleep disorders, seizure, obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and diabetes."So said the study results from Lisa Croen and colleagues [1] who set out to "describe the frequency of psychiatric and medical conditions among a large, diverse, insured population of adults with autism in the United States." Said participant group was derived from the interrogation of d........ Read more »

Croen LA, Zerbo O, Qian Y, Massolo ML, Rich S, Sidney S, & Kripke C. (2015) The health status of adults on the autism spectrum. Autism : the international journal of research and practice. PMID: 25911091  

  • May 25, 2015
  • 02:42 AM
  • 50 views

Ginkgo biloba for ADHD?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I approach the paper by Fereshteh Shakibaei and colleagues [1] with some degree of caution save any suggestions that I am somehow 'promoting' the herb Ginkgo biloba for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or anything else. I'm not, but I am interested in the results of their placebo-controlled trial suggesting that "The G. biloba is an effective complementary treatment for ADHD" and their subsequent calls for further research into this potentially promising intervention.As ........ Read more »

  • May 23, 2015
  • 03:53 AM
  • 82 views

Psychological morbidity of coeliac disease

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Anxiety, depression and fatigue are common complaints in patients with untreated celiac disease and contribute to lower quality of life."That was one of the conclusions reached in the paper by Fabiana Zingone and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) following their review of the research literature "on psychological morbidity of celiac disease." Celiac (coeliac) disease (CD), by the way, is the autoimmune condition classically treated via the use of a gluten-free diet (GFD). Readers........ Read more »

Zingone F, Swift GL, Card TR, Sanders DS, Ludvigsson JF, & Bai JC. (2015) Psychological morbidity of celiac disease: A review of the literature. United European gastroenterology journal, 3(2), 136-45. PMID: 25922673  

  • May 22, 2015
  • 02:24 AM
  • 97 views

Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) and autism: 2 year outcomes

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"These results provide evidence that gains from early intensive intervention are maintained 2 years later. Notably, core autism symptoms improved in the ESDM [Early Start Denver Model] group over the follow-up period relative to the COM [community-intervention-as-usual] group."Those were some of the conclusions reported in amongst the potentially very important results from Annette Estes and colleagues [1] looking at "the sustained effects of early intervention" followin........ Read more »

Annette Estes, Jeffrey Munson, Sally J. Rogers, Jessica Greenson, Jamie Winter, & Geraldine Dawson. (2015) Long-Term Outcomes of Early Intervention in 6-Year-Old Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. info:/10.1016/j.jaac.2015.04.005

  • May 21, 2015
  • 05:09 AM
  • 87 views

Respiratory illness and schizophrenia

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Schizophrenia is associated with impaired lung function and increased risk for pneumonia, COPD [Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] and chronic bronchitis."That was the primary conclusion reached in the paper by Krista Partti and colleagues [1] who aimed to "compare the respiratory health of people with psychosis with that of the general population." Their findings, based on data from "a nationally representative sample of 8028 adult Finns" (Finns as in inhabitants of Finland) invo........ Read more »

Partti K, Vasankari T, Kanervisto M, Perälä J, Saarni SI, Jousilahti P, Lönnqvist J, & Suvisaari J. (2015) Lung function and respiratory diseases in people with psychosis: population-based study. The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science. PMID: 25858177  

  • May 20, 2015
  • 04:49 AM
  • 61 views

Severe obesity pre-pregnancy and offspring developmental outcome

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Children whose mothers were severely obese before pregnancy had increased risk for adverse developmental outcomes."That was the conclusion reached in the paper by Heejoo Jo and colleagues [1] based on results derived from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II (IFPS II) "a US nationally distributed longitudinal study of maternal health and infant health and feeding practices." Said data included information on "maternal prepregnancy BMI [body mass index] and child psychosocia........ Read more »

  • May 19, 2015
  • 04:50 AM
  • 56 views

Social anxiety affecting autism intervention outcome?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Anxiety is an unpleasant state of inner turmoil" according to one definition. In other descriptions, words such as 'worry' and 'dread' are used (see here) describing how beyond the typical feelings of apprehension about a new situation for example, anxiety can turn into something altogether more serious and life-disrupting for some.There are various types of anxiety disorder (see here) to consider, but for the purposes of this post I'm going to focus on social anxiety disorder in the context of........ Read more »

  • May 18, 2015
  • 05:04 AM
  • 63 views

Pregnancy vitamin D levels and offspring ADHD

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Higher maternal circulating levels of 25(OH)D3 in pregnancy are associated with lower risk of developing ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder]-like symptoms in childhood."Eva Morales and colleagues [1] came to that conclusion in their study - prospective study - looking at how estimated pregnancy vitamin D levels might have impacted on teacher-assessed ADHD-like symptoms in offspring when aged between 4 and 5 years old. Based on participants involved in the INMA project look........ Read more »

Morales E, Julvez J, Torrent M, Ballester F, Rodríguez-Bernal CL, Andiarena A, Vegas O, Castilla AM, Rodriguez-Dehli C, Tardón A.... (2015) Vitamin D in Pregnancy and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder-like Symptoms in Childhood. Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.). PMID: 25867115  

  • May 16, 2015
  • 03:57 AM
  • 93 views

Poverty affects autism ADHD?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A brief post for you today to bring to your attention the paper by Eirini Flouri and colleagues [1] who suggested that although socio-economic disadvantage (SED) was probably not a risk factor for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) when comorbid, "it was associated with elevated emotional problems among children with ASD + ADHD."Based on data derived from "209 children with ASD who took part in the UK's Millennium Cohort Study", an initia........ Read more »

  • May 15, 2015
  • 05:42 AM
  • 69 views

Autism's environmental exposome (part 2)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Back in June 2012, I posted an entry on this blog titled: 'Autism's environmental exposome: fish and pharmaceuticals' covering some work by Michael Thomas & Rebecca Klaper [1] (open-access). In it, authors suggested that unmetabolized psychoactive pharmaceuticals (UPPs) - residues from certain medicines - present in drinking (or in the case of this work, swimming) water may "induce autism-like gene expression patterns in fish."The UPPs in question were "FLX [fluoxetine], VNX [........ Read more »

Gaurav Kaushik, Michael A Thomas, & Ken A Aho. (2015) Psychoactive pharmaceuticals as environmental contaminants may disrupt highly inter-connected nodes in an Autism-associated protein-protein interaction network. BMC Bioinformatics. info:other/

  • May 14, 2015
  • 04:49 AM
  • 80 views

Anxiety and depression linked to functional bowel issues: lessons for [some] autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Pablo Picasso (1905) @ WikipediaIMFAR (International Meeting For Autism Research) 2015 kicks off in earnest today (see here) so in order to keep tabs on the various discussions over the web (#IMFAR2015) alongside the usual workload I'm offering a relatively short blog entry.The paper served up today is by Maria Ines Pinto-Sánchez and colleagues [1] who reported that: "The prevalence of both anxiety and depression is influenced by gender, presence of organic diseases, and FGIDs [f........ Read more »

  • May 13, 2015
  • 05:01 AM
  • 79 views

Childhood inattention and later academic outcome

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Across the full range of scores at a population level, each 1-point increase in inattention at age 7 years is associated with worse academic outcomes at age 16."That was one of the conclusions reached in the study by Kapil Sayal and colleagues [1] (open-access) drawing on data derived from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children or ALSPAC to those in the know. This initiative has also recently produced some other intriguing results on the potential long-term effects of bullying for ........ Read more »

Sayal K, Washbrook E, & Propper C. (2015) Childhood behavior problems and academic outcomes in adolescence: longitudinal population-based study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 54(5), 360-36800. PMID: 25901772  

  • May 12, 2015
  • 05:13 AM
  • 84 views

Consider congenital cytomegalovirus infection when it comes to autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The finding lends some further support for congenital CMV [cytomegalovirus] being one of the many aetiologies underlying autism spectrum disorder with intellectual disability."That was the conclusion reached by Mona-Lisa Engman and colleagues [1] from Sweden following their study looking to "evaluate the prevalence of congenital cytomegalovirus infection (CMV) in a representative sample of children with autism spectrum disorder." Carrying some rather distinguished company as part........ Read more »

Engman ML, Sundin M, Miniscalco C, Westerlund J, Lewensohn-Fuchs I, Gillberg C, & Fernell E. (2015) Prenatal acquired cytomegalovirus infection should be considered in children with autism. Acta paediatrica (Oslo, Norway : 1992). PMID: 25900322  

  • May 11, 2015
  • 04:59 AM
  • 77 views

Trends in the diagnosis of autism in Australia

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The frequency of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] diagnoses in Australia has increased substantially from previously published estimates."That was one of the conclusions reached in the study by Catherine Bent and colleagues [1] (open-access here) who aimed to "investigate the frequency and age at diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children aged under 7 years living in Australia."Drawing on "de-identified data" extracted from Helping Children with Autism Package (HCWAP)&........ Read more »

  • May 9, 2015
  • 05:27 AM
  • 97 views

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) findings in severe autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency of neuroradiologic abnormalities in low-functioning autistic children compared to Intellectual Quotient and age-matched nonsyndromic children, using the same set of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sequences."Accepting that the term 'low-functioning autism' is not one that I would personally use (indeed I'm not exactly enamoured by the term 'high-functioning' either), the results of the study by Alessandra Erbetta and colleagues [1] are b........ Read more »

  • May 8, 2015
  • 05:09 AM
  • 123 views

MoBa does prenatal antidepressant use and offspring anxiety

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

MoBa, otherwise known as the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, has found it's way onto this blog a few times over the years. If it's not to do with results concerning prenatal paracetamol (acetaminophen) exposure and possible offspring neurodevelopmental outcomes (see here), it's about confirming that bowel issues are indeed over-represented in cases of autism (see here) and lots more besides.We can now add the results from Ragnhild Eek Brandlistuen and colleagues [1] (open-access) t........ Read more »

Brandlistuen, R., Ystrom, E., Eberhard-Gran, M., Nulman, I., Koren, G., & Nordeng, H. (2015) Behavioural effects of fetal antidepressant exposure in a Norwegian cohort of discordant siblings. International Journal of Epidemiology. DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyv030  

  • May 7, 2015
  • 04:44 AM
  • 133 views

Parent training vs parent education for disruptive behaviour in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I have to say that historically I've never been a great fan of the words 'parent training' when applied to the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). For me, the idea that parents of children with autism need 'training' to parent their child with autism always seemed a little condescending with overtones harking back to the bad old days of 'blame the mother' [1].My attitude to the idea of parent training has however softened in recent years on the back of some peer-reviewed evidence suggesting t........ Read more »

  • May 6, 2015
  • 04:40 AM
  • 111 views

Features of dyspraxia in childhood epilepsy

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) or dyspraxia is a condition affecting 'planning of movements and coordination'. No-one really knows exactly how and why DCD comes about but various risk factors are associated with the condition (see here) including the possibility of acquired problems through head injury or a stroke for example.I was recently interested to read the paper published by Colin Reilly and colleagues [1] and their findings that: "Parent-reported symptoms of DCD are very ........ Read more »

Reilly C, Atkinson P, Das KB, Chin RF, Aylett SE, Burch V, Gillberg C, Scott RC, & Neville BG. (2015) Features of developmental coordination disorder in active childhood epilepsy: a population-based study. Developmental medicine and child neurology. PMID: 25882788  

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