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Autism research and other musings

Paul Whiteley
1,225 posts

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  • May 3, 2017
  • 02:53 AM
  • 184 views

ADHD and suicide

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"There is a positive association between ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] and suicidality in both sexes and in all age groups."So said the results of the systematic review published by Balazs & Kereszteny [1] (open-access available here) who surveyed the recent peer-reviewed literature on the topic between 2011 and 2015. Reporting results based on findings included in 26 papers, authors concluded that suicidality - ideation, behavior, attempts, and suicide ........ Read more »

  • May 2, 2017
  • 03:00 AM
  • 199 views

Mitochondrial mutations are not common in chronic fatigue syndrome but...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"We report the complete mtDNA [mitochondrial DNA] sequence of 93 CFS [chronic fatigue syndrome] patients from the UK and RSA, without finding evidence of clinically proven mtDNA mutations."So said the results reported by Elizna Schoeman and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) who drew on other research previously covered on this blog (see here) suggesting that "symptoms of mitochondrial diseases and CFS frequently overlap and can easily be mistaken" to look-see whether iss........ Read more »

Schoeman EM, Van Der Westhuizen FH, Erasmus E, van Dyk E, Knowles CV, Al-Ali S, Ng WF, Taylor RW, Newton JL, & Elson JL. (2017) Clinically proven mtDNA mutations are not common in those with chronic fatigue syndrome. BMC medical genetics, 18(1), 29. PMID: 28302057  

  • May 1, 2017
  • 05:22 AM
  • 203 views

On abuse exposure and mate selection

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Andrea Roberts and colleagues [1] is offered up for brief discussion today, and a slightly uncomfortable but nonetheless potentially important set of results that "provide evidence that childhood abuse affects mate selection, with implications for offspring health."I tread very carefully with this topic but was intrigued by the findings looking at whether 'offspring health' in the context of the presence of autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) might be at least sometimes mediate........ Read more »

  • April 29, 2017
  • 05:18 AM
  • 233 views

When grandmothers smoked during pregnancy...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Please, do not smoke during pregnancyALSPAC - the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children - continues to give in research terms as today I want to mention the findings reported by Jean Golding and colleagues [1] (open-access) observing "an association between maternal grandmother smoking in pregnancy and grand daughters having adverse scores in Social Communication and Repetitive Behaviour measures that are independently predictive of diagnosed autism."The study results have garnere........ Read more »

Golding J, Ellis G, Gregory S, Birmingham K, Iles-Caven Y, Rai D, & Pembrey M. (2017) Grand-maternal smoking in pregnancy and grandchild's autistic traits and diagnosed autism. Scientific reports, 46179. PMID: 28448061  

  • April 28, 2017
  • 03:04 AM
  • 237 views

Autism, pregnancy maternal immune activation and vitamin D?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Today's post is a bit of a mash-up, drawing on two articles quite recently published in the peer-reviewed science domain.The first is by Stephanie Vuillermot and colleagues [1] (open-access) suggesting that "early dietary supplementation with vitamin D may open new avenues for a successful attenuation or even prevention of neurodevelopmental disorders following maternal inflammation during pregnancy." These findings have also received some media attention (see here for example) and continue........ Read more »

  • April 27, 2017
  • 02:57 AM
  • 255 views

Is screen time a risk factor for ADHD?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The findings reported by Vivien Suchert and colleagues [1] observing that "screen time, but not other non-screen-based sedentary activities should be considered as being a risk factor for ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder]" taps into long-running debates on whether our societal obsession with watching, clicking and swiping might not be 'a totally positive thing' when it comes to psychological development, health and wellbeing.Yes, I know this is a complicated area ful........ Read more »

  • April 26, 2017
  • 03:02 AM
  • 258 views

Hornig, Lipkin and chronic fatigue syndrome again

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Drs Mady Hornig and Ian Lipkin once again provide some fodder for this blog, continuing one of their important research themes on how chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) (sometimes also referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis, ME) might show some important immune-related issues [1].This research tag-team and the teams of dedicated scientists who surround them are making some real progress with regards to the idea that ME/CFS is a physical condition (not psychosomatic and not 'biopsychosocial') ........ Read more »

  • April 25, 2017
  • 03:15 AM
  • 288 views

Who'd have thunk it: physical activity inversely associated with BMI and body fat percentage

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"In this sample of middle-aged adults, drawn from the general population, physical activity was inversely associated with BMI [body mass index] and body fat percentage. For people with the same BMI, those who were more active had a lower body fat percentage."Those were the conclusions made by Kathryn Bradbury and colleagues [1] (open-access) drawing on data derived from "cross-sectional analysis of participants recruited into UK Biobank in 2006–2010." Said results continue a res........ Read more »

  • April 24, 2017
  • 03:05 AM
  • 251 views

Sensory issues in adult ADHD controlling for autistic symptoms...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was intrigued to read the paper by Bijlenga and colleagues [1] reporting on "the prevalence of sensory hyper- and hyposensitivity among adults with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder], controlling for autistic symptoms."The authors concluded that among their cohort of over 100 adults diagnosed with ADHD, both sensory hyper- and hyposensitivity symptoms as described by response to the Adolescent/Adult Sensory Profile-NL (AASP-NL), were over-represented compared w........ Read more »

Bijlenga D, Tjon-Ka-Jie JY, Schuijers F, & Kooij JJ. (2017) Atypical sensory profiles as core features of adult ADHD, irrespective of autistic symptoms. European psychiatry : the journal of the Association of European Psychiatrists, 51-57. PMID: 28371743  

  • April 22, 2017
  • 06:14 AM
  • 279 views

Autistic adults as critical autism experts (with research caveats)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Findings suggest that autistic adults should be considered autism experts and involved as partners in autism research."That was the conclusion reached in the paper by Kristen Gillespie-Lynch and colleagues [1] (open-access) reporting on the results of an online survey assessing "autism knowledge and stigma among 636 adults with varied relationships to autism, including autistic people and nuclear family members." Among the various groups of people who contributed to the survey, several vie........ Read more »

Gillespie-Lynch, K., Kapp, S., Brooks, P., Pickens, J., & Schwartzman, B. (2017) Whose Expertise Is It? Evidence for Autistic Adults as Critical Autism Experts. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00438  

  • April 21, 2017
  • 04:32 AM
  • 284 views

Parental exposures and risk of offspring autism: some curious details

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Overall, our results were consistent with no positive association between parental asthmagen exposure and ASD [autism spectrum disorder] in the children."So said the findings reported by Alison Singer and colleagues [1] (open-access) continuing a research theme from this group [2] looking at whether "parental workplace exposures to risk factors for asthma (“asthmagens”)" might have relevance to offspring risk for autism.Based on data derived from some of those oh-so-important Scan........ Read more »

  • April 20, 2017
  • 04:37 AM
  • 273 views

"a gradual decline in recorded diagnoses of CFS/ME since 2001"?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The quote forming the title of today's post comes from the paper by Simon Collin and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) who, based on analysis of the UK "Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), formerly known as the General Practice Research Database (GPRD)" set out to look at the "Incidence of CFS/ME [chronic fatigue syndrome/ myalgic encephalomyelitis], FM [fibromyalgia], post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS), and asthenia/debility." I say incidence but that last sentence s........ Read more »

  • April 19, 2017
  • 04:31 AM
  • 284 views

Allergy and ADHD meta-analysed and guess what...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Reports of frequent manifestation of allergic diseases in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been the subject of mounting clinical interest."OK, go on."The objective of this study was to compile and assess available studies on the association between ADHD and allergic diseases in children."And your findings... "children with ADHD are more likely to have asthma, allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, and allergic conjunctivitis than their counterparts. Intervention........ Read more »

  • April 18, 2017
  • 04:21 AM
  • 302 views

"Asthma was associated with increased risk for schizophrenia"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

'Big data' Taiwan is once again the topic of a post on this blog as the results published by Wei-Chen Wang and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) receive an airing, specifically that: "Asthma was associated with increased risk for schizophrenia."There are some common themes attached to these findings. Taiwan is already a research-favourite place on this blog as a result of their use of the National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD) for various research purposes. I can't na........ Read more »

Wang WC, Lu ML, Chen VC, Ng MH, Huang KY, Hsieh MH, Hsieh MJ, McIntyre RS, Lee Y, & Lee CT. (2017) Asthma, corticosteroid use and schizophrenia: A nationwide population-based study in Taiwan. PloS one, 12(3). PMID: 28350822  

  • April 17, 2017
  • 03:00 PM
  • 322 views

The continuing trials and tribulations of PACE

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I honestly hadn't intended talking about the PACE trial - "pacing, graded activity, and cognitive behaviour therapy: a randomised evaluation" in relation to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) - quite so much on this blog. Others have done it so much better than I ever could.My interest however keeps being piqued in relation to the results originally produced suggesting that: "CBT [cognitive behaviour therapy] and GET [graded exercise therapy] can safely be added to SMC to mo........ Read more »

White, P., Chalder, T., Sharpe, M., Angus, B., Baber, H., Bavinton, J., Burgess, M., Clark, L., Cox, D., DeCesare, J.... (2017) Response to the editorial by Dr Geraghty. Journal of Health Psychology, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1177/1359105316688953  

  • April 13, 2017
  • 04:40 AM
  • 317 views

Video Interaction for Promoting Positive Parenting in autism: yes but not quite...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Video feedback may help babies ‘at risk of autism’" went one write-up of the study results published by Jonathan Green and colleagues [1] (open-access available here). Continuing a theme of kids at risk of autism potentially 'avoiding' an autism diagnosis (see here) following the use of "a 12-session parent-mediated social communication intervention delivered between 9 and 14 months of age (Intervention in the British Autism Study of Infant Siblings-Video Interaction for Promoting Positive ........ Read more »

Green J, Pickles A, Pasco G, Bedford R, Wan MW, Elsabbagh M, Slonims V, Gliga T, Jones EJ, Cheung CH.... (2017) Randomised trial of a parent-mediated intervention for infants at high risk for autism: longitudinal outcomes to age 3 years. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines. PMID: 28393350  

  • April 12, 2017
  • 04:39 AM
  • 327 views

On a 'bidirectional relationship' between depression and autoimmune disorders

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"We replicated the finding that autoimmune disorders are frequently comorbid with depression, using a longitudinal national birth cohort and self-report data, which is increasingly used in the study of depression."So said the findings reported by Jack Euesden and colleagues [1] (open-access) adding further to a growing peer-reviewed literature base [2] citing a 'connection' between immune function/dysfunction and the presentation of psychiatric/behavioural features (see here). And yes,........ Read more »

  • April 11, 2017
  • 04:02 AM
  • 302 views

Risk of death by injury and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Individuals with autism appear to be at substantially heightened risk for death from injury."That was the research bottom line published by Joseph Guan & Guohua Li [1] from Columbia University Medical Center, who trawled the accumulated data included in the US National Vital Statistics System screening death certificates issued between 1999 and 2014. Of the approximate 32 million death certificates issued, researchers found that some 1300 people diagnosed as on the autis........ Read more »

Guan, J., & Li, G. (2017) Injury Mortality in Individuals With Autism. American Journal of Public Health. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.303696  

  • April 10, 2017
  • 04:27 AM
  • 303 views

"Predisposition" to autoimmunity and inflammatory activation linked to autistic regression?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Ori Scott and colleagues [1] provides some very welcome interest in the concept of regression in relation to autism. As I've indicated quite a few times on this blog, regression accompanying cases of autism has [finally] been accepted by the research community at large (see here for example) but there is still some way to go with regards to the hows-and-whys of regression. There are some clues (see here) but more data is required. What the evidence available so far suggests is ........ Read more »

  • April 8, 2017
  • 04:13 AM
  • 328 views

One more time folks... pregnancy folate and autism risk

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Folate yet again on this blog? Sorry but that's just how the peer-reviewed papers have fallen..."Maternal folate supplementation during pregnancy may reduce the risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] in the offspring, especially in the Western population."So said the meta-analysis by Yu and colleagues [1] reporting on a topic that has seen quite a lot of research interest down the years (see here). Authors this time around cumulatively examined data for some 4,500 cases of autism compared w........ Read more »

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