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Autism research and other musings

Paul Whiteley
969 posts

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  • July 26, 2016
  • 03:41 AM
  • 49 views

Probiotics degrading gluten peptides - part 2

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I going to assume that readers have some background knowledge about probiotics, gut bacteria, bacterial dysbiosis and coeliac disease before reading this post. I'd love to be able to give detailed descriptions of each here but fear that this would turn a short post into a much longer one...So... in a previous post titled: 'Probiotics degrading gluten peptides?' I covered the potentially important suggestion that certain types of bacteria might have the ability to breakdown (degrade) immunog........ Read more »

  • July 25, 2016
  • 03:37 AM
  • 61 views

Risk of cancer in mums of children with autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I very carefully approach the findings reported by Jennifer Fairthorne and colleagues [1] today detailing "the occurrence of hospital admissions and treatment/services for cancer in mothers of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] with or without ID [intellectual disability] compared with other mothers." Appreciating that families touched by autism probably have enough on their plate without additional talk about the 'big C', I do however think that this kind of r........ Read more »

  • July 23, 2016
  • 04:17 AM
  • 100 views

On probiotics and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Granted, I am taking a slight departure from the material typically discussed on this blog by introducing the paper by Yan Zhang and colleagues [1] who reported the findings of a meta-analysis examining "the efficacy of different probiotic types, doses and treatment durations in IBS [irritable bowel syndrome] patients diagnosed by Rome III criteria via a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs)." The results however - "Probiotics are an effective pharmacological t........ Read more »

  • July 22, 2016
  • 03:01 AM
  • 104 views

Surgery for "chronic idiopathic constipation" and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I can't profess to be an expert on the techniques called sigmoidectomy and appendicostomy so won't even try and pretend that I am. From what I gather from Dr Google, the latter is a surgical technique generally performed to "help deliver enemas more easily" to relieve constipation, whilst the former involves the surgical removal of some or all of the sigmoid colon. Both are only generally indicated when traditional methods of treating constipation for example, fail.The reason I'm briefly ta........ Read more »

De La Torre L, Cogley K, Calisto J, Nace G, & Correa C. (2016) Primary sigmoidectomy and appendicostomy for chronic idiopathic constipation. Pediatric surgery international. PMID: 27372298  

  • July 21, 2016
  • 02:59 AM
  • 120 views

Sensory processing issues are present throughout the autism spectrum

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I want to make an initial point about the paper by Corentin Gonthier and colleagues [1] and their research findings titled: 'Sensory Processing in Low-Functioning Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Distinct Sensory Profiles and Their Relationships with Behavioral Dysfunction', I'm not a great fan of the use of the term 'functioning' when it comes to autism. Yes, I know what message it's trying to convey in terms of 'severity' of autism and/or accompanying learning (intellectual) disabili........ Read more »

  • July 20, 2016
  • 02:55 AM
  • 116 views

Autism 'disclosure cards' and negative judgements?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I have to say that I initially felt slightly uncomfortable reading the study results published by Jillian Austin and colleagues [1] providing "preliminary validation for the use of autism disclosure cards in buffering negative judgment." Uncomfortable because, despite the fact that it is human nature for people to stop, stare and perhaps question something when it seems 'out of the ordinary', the idea that when children with autism specifically 'misbehave' in a public place their parents need to........ Read more »

  • July 19, 2016
  • 02:51 AM
  • 119 views

1 in 3 people with CFS might benefit from methylphenidate?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm cautious about the findings reported by Daniel Blockmans & Philippe Persoons [1] talking about how long-term use of the stimulant medication methylphenidate (MPH) might be something to consider for at least some people diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Cautious because the sole use of a questionnaire looking "for possible improvement of concentration difficulties and fatigue" following the use of MPH on this research occasion is not exactly a top tier scientific method...Non........ Read more »

  • July 18, 2016
  • 02:45 AM
  • 104 views

Reconsidering the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) for autism screening?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin: "The AQ's [Autism Spectrum Quotient] utility for screening referrals was limited in this sample. Recommendations supporting the AQ's role in the assessment of adult ASD [autism spectrum disorder], e.g. UK NICE guidelines, may need to be reconsidered."Taken from the paper published by Ashwood and colleagues [1], the findings from this team don't make for great reading if you happen to be a fan of the AQ as a potential screening instrument for adult autism. Indeed,........ Read more »

Ashwood KL, Gillan N, Horder J, Hayward H, Woodhouse E, McEwen FS, Findon J, Eklund H, Spain D, Wilson CE.... (2016) Predicting the diagnosis of autism in adults using the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) questionnaire. Psychological medicine, 1-10. PMID: 27353452  

  • July 16, 2016
  • 06:48 AM
  • 120 views

Increased microbial translocation in ME/CFS

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The cause of ME/CFS [myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome] is unknown, but gut dysbiosis could be contributing to some of the symptoms and their severity. Developing therapeutic interventions aimed at reducing local inflammation, restoring gastrointestinal tract immunity and integrity and modifying the intestinal microbiome may ameliorate ME/CFS symptoms in a number of affected patients."Those were the important conclusions reported by Ludovic Giloteaux and colleagues [1........ Read more »

  • July 15, 2016
  • 02:54 AM
  • 150 views

Another study to watch... vitamin D and/or fatty acid supplements for autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Hot on the heels of a recent post about a study to watch for (see here) details of yet another "randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial" have been published in the form of the trial protocol by Hajar Mazahery and colleagues [1].This time around the aim is to "investigate the effect of vitamin D, n-3 LCPUFAs [omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids] or a combination of both on core symptoms of ASD [autism spectrum disorder]" and hopefully with it, the generat........ Read more »

  • July 14, 2016
  • 03:09 AM
  • 139 views

Gastrin-releasing peptide and autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Gastrin-releasing peptide was safe and well tolerated by most subjects and may be effective for core symptoms of autism."So said the results of the study - open trial - by Michele Michelin Becker and colleagues [1] continuing a research theme from this author [2] on the potential need for further scientific scrutiny when it comes to the use of gastrin-releasing peptides (GRP) and autism. Emphasising again that results were based on the use of an open trial (everyone knew what was bein........ Read more »

  • July 13, 2016
  • 04:35 AM
  • 132 views

Immune reactivity to gluten and (some) autism continued

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Not so long ago I blogged about the research paper from Faezeh Ghalichi and colleagues [1] (see here) describing the result of their relatively small scale (non-blinded, not placebo-controlled) trial on the use of a gluten-free diet (GFD) with a cohort of children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).The results, taking into account certain methodological issues, were generally quite favourable when it came to the analysed behavioural measurements used and importantly on the presence........ Read more »

Faezeh Ghalichi, Alireza Ostadrahimi, Ayyoub Malek, & Jamal Ghaemmaghami. (2016) The effect of gluten free diet on markers of celiac disease and association with behavioral symptoms in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Progress in Nutrition, 18(2). info:/

  • July 12, 2016
  • 02:53 AM
  • 141 views

Bowel issues in autism may cluster with other symptoms

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Clinicians should be aware that gastrointestinal problems, anxiety, and autonomic dysfunction may cluster in children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and should be addressed in a multidisciplinary treatment plan."So said the findings by Bradley Ferguson and colleagues [1] who, continuing an autism research theme (see here), "examined the relationship between gastrointestinal symptomatology, examining upper and lower gastrointestinal tract symptomatology separately, and autonomic n........ Read more »

Ferguson BJ, Marler S, Altstein LL, Lee EB, Akers J, Sohl K, McLaughlin A, Hartnett K, Kille B, Mazurek M.... (2016) Psychophysiological Associations with Gastrointestinal Symptomatology in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. PMID: 27321113  

  • July 11, 2016
  • 02:53 AM
  • 142 views

Expanding MAR autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

MAR autism - maternal autoantibody-related autism - is a term that has graced this blog before (see here). Describing a state where autoantibodies directed against foetal brain proteins have been detected in some mothers who have children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the suggestion is that such evidence further substantiates a role for various maternal immune functions and processes when it comes to offspring risk of at least some types of autism.Although interesting, t........ Read more »

Krakowiak P, Walker CK, Tancredi D, Hertz-Picciotto I, & Van de Water J. (2016) Autism-specific maternal anti-fetal brain autoantibodies are associated with metabolic conditions. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. PMID: 27312731  

  • July 10, 2016
  • 04:53 AM
  • 167 views

Project TENDR and chemical exposures

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Yes, I know I'm writing on a Sunday again, but it will be a short-ish post I promise you. The reason for the entry is this brief communication [1] reporting: "The TENDR [Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks] authors agree that widespread exposures to toxic chemicals in our air, water, food, soil, and consumer products can increase the risks for cognitive, behavioral, or social impairment, as well as specific neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and attention deficit........ Read more »

Bennett, D., Bellinger, D., Birnbaum, L., Bradman, A., Chen, A., Cory-Slechta, D., Engel, S., Fallin, M., Halladay, A., Hauser, R.... (2016) Project TENDR: Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks The TENDR Consensus Statement. Environmental Health Perspectives, 124(7). DOI: 10.1289/EHP358  

  • July 9, 2016
  • 04:11 AM
  • 160 views

Pregnancy paracetamol use and "autism spectrum symptoms" (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Continuing something of a research theme whereby pregnancy paracetamol (acetaminophen) use has been *correlated* with a few offspring developmental outcomes (see here and see here), the paper by Claudia Avella-Garcia and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) makes for some blogging fodder today.Including data from some 2,600 mother-child pairs living in Spain, researchers prospectively gathered data on maternal paracetamol use ("never, sporadic, persistent") during pregnancy alongside deve........ Read more »

Avella-Garcia CB, Julvez J, Fortuny J, Rebordosa C, García-Esteban R, Galán IR, Tardón A, Rodríguez-Bernal CL, Iñiguez C, Andiarena A.... (2016) Acetaminophen use in pregnancy and neurodevelopment: attention function and autism spectrum symptoms. International journal of epidemiology. PMID: 27353198  

  • July 8, 2016
  • 03:00 AM
  • 195 views

Cow's milk allergy and risk of psychiatric disorder

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Psychiatric disorders are frequent and severe in pre-school children with cow's milk allergy."That research 'bottom line' reported by Topal and colleagues [1] looking at the possibility of behavioural correlations accompanying an immune response to milk caught my eye recently. Building on the idea that atopic or allergic disease might elevate the risk of various behavioural outcomes (see here) or vice-versa, researchers set about comparing rates of various behavioural conditions using the "Earl........ Read more »

Topal E, Catal F, Soylu N, Ozcan OO, Celiksoy MH, Babayiğit A, Erge D, Karakoç HT, & Sancak R. (2016) Psychiatric disorders and symptoms severity in pre-school children with cow's milk allergy. Allergologia et immunopathologia. PMID: 27240441  

  • July 7, 2016
  • 02:53 AM
  • 225 views

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) associated with autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) refers to a collection of conditions also headed under the label of connective tissue disorder. EDS affects the 'cellular glue' that basically gives biological tissues their shape and stability such as cartilage. There are various types of EDS and symptoms can vary from person-to-person but one of the most frequent characteristics of the syndrome is joint hypermobility.I've speculated a few times on this blog about the possibility that EDS and/or joint hypermobility ........ Read more »

  • July 6, 2016
  • 03:00 AM
  • 195 views

Pregnancy infection and offspring autism risk meta-analysed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Another day, another short post about a meta-analysis; this time based on the suggestion that maternal infection during the critical 'nine months that made us' might elevate the risk of offspring autism and reported on by Hai-yin Jiang and colleagues [1].Based on the collected analysis of 15 peer-reviewed studies covering some 40,000 people diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the authors concluded that yes, "maternal infection during pregnancy was associated with an ........ Read more »

  • July 5, 2016
  • 02:50 AM
  • 175 views

Autism and asthma meta-analysed.. or is it?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"In conclusion, the results of this meta-analysis do not suggest an association between asthma and ASD [autism spectrum disorder]. Further prospective studies ascertaining the association between asthma and ASD are warranted."So said the results of the meta-analysis by Zhen Zheng and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) and with it some research that made me think a little. Think because, on more than one occasion, I've talked about research suggesting that there might be a link betw........ Read more »

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