Paul Whiteley

688 posts · 232,707 views

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

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  • September 2, 2015
  • 02:13 AM
  • 0 views

Sub-threshold autistic traits and creativity

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was intrigued by the results reported by Catherine Best and colleagues [1] recently and the suggestion that yet another sweeping generalisation attributed to autism (or at least autistic traits) might turn out to be not as accurate or universal as we might have all been led to believe.Based on the analysis of data from over 300 people who completed an on-line questionnaire (anonymously) measuring autistic traits, researchers reported that creative ideas as measured by a divergent thinking task........ Read more »

  • September 1, 2015
  • 03:07 AM
  • 35 views

Let's talk about sex and autism (reviewed)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The review from Nicola Beddows and Rachel Brooks [1] highlighting the important issue of sexual behaviour with autism in mind is brought to your attention today.Trawling through the peer-reviewed literature looking at reports of inappropriate sexual behaviour present in adolescents diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the authors concluded that various behaviours were included and that there were a variety of possible reasons for said behaviours. Indeed they report that: "Despi........ Read more »

  • August 31, 2015
  • 04:16 AM
  • 48 views

Mesenchymal stem cell transplantation and a mouse model of autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I once again tread carefully in this brief post talking about stem cells and autism on the back of what seems to be some growing research interest in this area (see here).The paper by Hadar Segal-Gavish and colleagues [1] adds to this increasing interest with their efforts detailing what happened to a mouse model of autism (the BTBR mouse) following "intracerebroventricular MSC [mesenchymal stem cells] transplantation."Looking at what happened when MSC transplantation was used, th........ Read more »

Segal-Gavish H, Karvat G, Barak N, Barzilay R, Ganz J, Edry L, Aharony I, Offen D, & Kimchi T. (2015) Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation Promotes Neurogenesis and Ameliorates Autism Related Behaviors in BTBR Mice. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. PMID: 26257137  

  • August 29, 2015
  • 05:17 AM
  • 77 views

Maternal obesity and offspring autism meta-analysed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

So: "The meta-analysis results support an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder in children of women who were obese during pregnancy. However, further study is warranted to confirm these results."That was the conclusion reached by Ya-Min Li and colleagues [1] looking at the collected peer-reviewed data currently available on how maternal weight might impact on offspring neurodevelopmental outcomes. Without wishing to blame or stigmatise (this is a blog based on the examination of cold,........ Read more »

  • August 28, 2015
  • 04:05 AM
  • 92 views

Autoantibodies not implicated in cases of autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Contrary results are a common feature of the autism peer-reviewed research landscape. No sooner does one group publish the next 'big thing' when it comes to the singular term 'autism' than seemingly opposite results follow suit.So it is with the paper under discussion today by Simran Kalra and colleagues [1] (open-access) who concluded that: "The idea that autoantibodies represent an underlying cause or are biomarkers for autism pathophysiology is not supported by this report."Autoantibodies by ........ Read more »

  • August 27, 2015
  • 03:58 AM
  • 83 views

Fish oils preventing psychosis: long-term effects?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This is the first study to show, to the best of our knowledge, that a 12-week intervention with omega-3 PUFAs [polyunsaturated fatty acids] prevented transition to full-threshold psychotic disorder and led to sustained symptomatic and functional improvements in young people with an at-risk mental state for 7 years (median)."So said the quite remarkable findings reported by Paul Amminger and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) who followed up their previous research study [2] l........ Read more »

  • August 26, 2015
  • 03:51 AM
  • 61 views

Atopic dermatitis and autism: systematically reviewed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I briefly want to bring the paper from Lucia Billeci and colleagues [1] to your attention today and the suggestion that following their systematic review of the current peer-reviewed literature, there seemed to be something of "an association between ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and AD [atopic dermatitis]."Atopic, by the way, refers to sensitivity to allergens, and in the case of AD, how such sensitivity manifests on the skin causing itchiness, redness and the skin to ........ Read more »

Billeci L, Tonacci A, Tartarisco G, Ruta L, Pioggia G, & Gangemi S. (2015) Association Between Atopic Dermatitis and Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Systematic Review. American journal of clinical dermatology. PMID: 26254000  

  • August 25, 2015
  • 03:06 AM
  • 82 views

MOCOS: a new candidate for autism resarch

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'll freely admit that until reading the paper by François Féron and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) I had never heard of MOCOS (MOlybdenum COfactor Sulfurase) before.Described as "an enzyme of the purine metabolism that sulfurates the molybdenum cofactor, thus allowing the two downstream enzymes—xanthine dehydrogenase (XDH) and aldehyde oxidase (AOX1)—to be active", researchers reported that in nasal stem cells provided by a small group of adults diagnosed with an autism ........ Read more »

Féron F, Gepner B, Lacassagne E, Stephan D, Mesnage B, Blanchard MP, Boulanger N, Tardif C, Devèze A, Rousseau S.... (2015) Olfactory stem cells reveal MOCOS as a new player in autism spectrum disorders. Molecular psychiatry. PMID: 26239292  

  • August 24, 2015
  • 05:09 AM
  • 83 views

Social Anxiety Disorder and autism (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

So: "A large subset (50 %) of the adults with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] met diagnostic criteria for SAD [social anxiety disorder]."That was the conclusion reached in the paper by Brenna Maddox & Susan White [1] looking at the overlap between autism and SAD in a small-ish participant group. Social anxiety disorder by the way, refers to 'a persistent and overwhelming fear of social situations'. Alongside a growing body of peer-reviewed research talking about the often ........ Read more »

  • August 22, 2015
  • 05:19 AM
  • 119 views

Maternal folate status and offspring autism risk: where are we up to?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'd like to briefly draw your attention to the review published by Elizabeth DeVilbiss and colleagues [1] today, covering "what is known about the role of folate in the aetiology of neurodevelopmental disorders."Folate, is a topic that has graced this blog a few times with autism in mind (see here for example) based on various ideas that folate status during pregnancy might have the ability to modify offspring risk of autism [2] alongside the idea that autoimmune processes might act on fola........ Read more »

  • August 21, 2015
  • 03:11 AM
  • 248 views

Digestive enzymes and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The ASD [autism spectrum disorder] group receiving digestive enzyme therapy for 3 months had significant improvement in emotional response, general impression autistic score, general behavior and gastrointestinal symptoms. Our study demonstrated the usefulness of digestive enzyme in our population of ASD patients."So said the results of a randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial published by Khaled Saad and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) on the use of a specific dige........ Read more »

Saad K, Eltayeb AA, Mohamad IL, Al-Atram AA, Elserogy Y, Bjørklund G, El-Houfey AA, & Nicholson B. (2015) A Randomized, Placebo-controlled Trial of Digestive Enzymes in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Clinical psychopharmacology and neuroscience : the official scientific journal of the Korean College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 13(2), 188-93. PMID: 26243847  

  • August 20, 2015
  • 03:37 AM
  • 106 views

Canada and the autism prevalence rate (yet again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"At the end of 2013, the prevalence among children born in 2006 was 1 case of autism spectrum disorder per 46 children or 215.77 per 10 000."That was the conclusions reached in the study by Lorine Pelly and colleagues [1] looking at "the incidence and 1-year cohort prevalence for autism spectrum disorders in children less than 15 years of age and living in the Avalon Peninsula at the time of diagnosis." The Avalon Peninsula by the way, is located in Canada.Looking at data derived from the "........ Read more »

  • August 19, 2015
  • 02:52 AM
  • 86 views

Breast milk protects against GI symptoms in high risk autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Happy house @ Paul Whiteley"Late weaning and EBM [exclusive breast milk] were associated with protection against GI [gastrointestinal] symptoms in High-risk infants."That was one of the conclusions presented in the paper by Alexander Penn and colleagues [1] who asked some pretty important questions when it comes to the increasingly strong relationship between bowel issues and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (see here)."Using questionnaires, diet history and gastrointestinal problems were tra........ Read more »

Penn AH, Carver LJ, Herbert CA, Lai TS, McIntire MJ, Howard JT, Taylor SF, Schmid-Schönbein GW, & Dobkins KR. (2015) Breast Milk Protects Against Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Infants at High Risk for Autism During Early Development. Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition. PMID: 26230900  

  • August 18, 2015
  • 03:41 AM
  • 104 views

Neonatal hyperbilirubinemia and autism risk (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Tall ships @ Paul WhiteleyThe paper by Luis Lozada and colleagues [1] (open-access) brings back into focus a topic that has graced this blog before (see here) with their observation that: "Children who develop ASD [autism spectrum disorder] are more likely to have an admission with a diagnosis of jaundice in the neonatal period and more likely to require treatment for this jaundice."Jaundice, by the way, refers to a condition marked by yellowing of the skin and eyes as a result of........ Read more »

Lozada, L., Nylund, C., Gorman, G., Hisle-Gorman, E., Erdie-Lalena, C., & Kuehn, D. (2015) Association of Autism Spectrum Disorders With Neonatal Hyperbilirubinemia. Global Pediatric Health. DOI: 10.1177/2333794X15596518  

  • August 17, 2015
  • 03:10 AM
  • 107 views

Sibling death by defenestration: a case report

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The case report published by Osman Sabuncuoglu and colleagues [1] (open-access) highlighting the extremes of certain high-risk behaviours potentially associated with autism is the topic of today's brief post.Detailing the very saddest of outcomes whereby a young boy diagnosed with autism and "aggression, violence and poor behavioral control" threw his 18-month old sister out of a window (defenestration) causing her death, the authors draw attention to several issues tied into the extremes o........ Read more »

Osman Sabuncuoglu, Mustafa Yasin IRMAK, Nagehan Ucok Demir, Duygu Murat, Can Tumba, & Yuksel Yilmaz. (2015) Sibling death after being thrown from window by brother with autism: defenestration an emerging high-risk behavior. Case Reports in Psychiatry. info:/

  • August 15, 2015
  • 03:20 AM
  • 132 views

Delivering medicines in psychiatry the transdermal way: application to autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The real iron manPharmaceutical technology, and specifically the various research strategies looking at the way that medicines are delivered to the body, is probably not a topic high on most people's list of interests. This area is generally not 'sexy' research insofar as producing headlines about almost miracle interventions for condition X or label Y. Instead, we take for granted that the tablet or capsule we have been given has been formulated and tested or that the nicotine patch that you ma........ Read more »

  • August 14, 2015
  • 04:25 AM
  • 168 views

Coenzyme Q10 and NADH supplementation for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome continued

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

In a previous post on this blog I briefly discussed the research paper from Jesus Castro-Marrero and colleagues [1] suggesting that "oral CoQ10 [Coenzyme Q10] (200 mg/day) plus NADH [nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH)] (20 mg/day) supplementation" might be something useful for some people diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).Enter then a new paper from Castro-Marrero and colleagues [2] (open-access available here) building on the original fin........ Read more »

  • August 13, 2015
  • 02:53 AM
  • 134 views

Psychiatric comorbidity accompanying irritable bowel syndrome

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

OK, a few choice words to start: the National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD), nationwide cohort study, large participant numbers.That's right. Yet again Taiwan continues to give when it comes to research based on that very useful national health insurance program. Regular readers will already know that I'm a fan of this resource. This time around the results come in the form of the paper published by Yao-Tung Lee and colleagues [1] (open-access) who suggested that: "Clinicians s........ Read more »

  • August 12, 2015
  • 03:28 AM
  • 135 views

Patients with psychiatric disorders who request euthanasia

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'll freely admit that the paper by Lieve Thienpont and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) made me feel rather uncomfortable. With the objective of identifying "patterns in euthanasia requests and practices relating to psychiatric patients", authors detailed the experiences of 100 Belgian patients requesting euthanasia - 'the act of deliberately ending a person's life to relieve suffering' - through a retrospective case note review. Euthanasia is legal in Belgium under certain........ Read more »

  • August 11, 2015
  • 03:44 AM
  • 162 views

Schizophrenia and CRP meta-analysed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"CRP [C-reactive protein] levels were moderately increased in persons with SZ [schizophrenia] regardless of the use of antipsychotics and did not change between the first episode of psychosis and with progression of SZ."That was the conclusion reached by Fernandes and colleagues [1] as part of their meta-analysis "of all cross-sectional studies of serum and plasma CRP levels in SZ compared to healthy subjects."CRP, just in case you didn't know, is one of the molecules of........ Read more »

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