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Autism research and other musings

Paul Whiteley
527 posts

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  • March 2, 2015
  • 04:49 AM

Systemic low grade inflammation and bowel issues in autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper from Katarina Babinská and colleagues [1] (open-access here) presents an interesting, if preliminary take on two potentially important issues linked to at least some cases of autism: gastrointestinal (GI) issues and inflammation (see here and see here respectively).Detailing the examination of plasma levels of a compound called high mobility group box 1 protein (HMGB1), a protein which has the apparent ability to 'bend DNA' and has some pretty potent immune effects [2] (one paper........ Read more »

  • March 1, 2015
  • 03:52 AM

Vitamin D status affecting autoimmune disease risk?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I want to bring the paper from Tea Skaaby and colleagues [1] to your attention for today's brief blog post and their observation that there may be: "a possible protective role of a higher vitamin D status on autoimmune disease". Autoimmune disease by the way, reflects a breakdown in communication and tolerance of 'self' whereby the body attacks healthy tissue.Their findings, based on an analysis of "a total of 12,555 individuals from three population-based studies with measurements of vitam........ Read more »

  • February 27, 2015
  • 07:04 PM

ME/CFS is real: confirmation if it is needed...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Scientists discover robust evidence that chronic fatigue syndrome is a biological illness" went the title of the press release for the study by Mady Hornig and colleagues [1] (open-access) detailing an immune 'signature' and also possible staging of the illness.I couldn't help but wince at some of the media headlines reporting on this study as 'proof' that chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) is a real illness. As I've indicated before on this blog (see here) anyon........ Read more »

Mady Hornig, José G. Montoya, Nancy G. Klimas, Susan Levine, Donna Felsenstein, Lucinda Bateman, Daniel L. Peterson, C. Gunnar Gottschalk, Andrew F. Schultz, Xiaoyu Che.... (2015) Distinct plasma immune signatures in ME/CFS are present early in the course of illness. Science Advances, 1(1). info:/

  • February 27, 2015
  • 04:37 AM

Hyperprolactinemia and risperidone use in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The findings reported by Yaowaluck Hongkaew and colleagues [1] (open-access) on prolactin levels being "positively and significantly associated with risperidone dose" in cases of children and adolescents diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the point of discussion today.Prolactin by the way, is the hormone most commonly associated with stimulating breast development and milk production in women. To quote from the US National Institute of Health (NIH) entry on prolactin: "There is ........ Read more »

Hongkaew Y, Ngamsamut N, Puangpetch A, Vanwong N, Srisawasdi P, Chamnanphon M, Chamkrachchangpada B, Tan-Kam T, Limsila P, & Sukasem C. (2015) Hyperprolactinemia in Thai children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder treated with risperidone. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment, 191-6. PMID: 25653528  

  • February 26, 2015
  • 02:43 AM

Carnitine and autism continued

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper from everyone's favourite Saudi - Egyptian autism research tag-team that is Gehan Mostafa and Laila AL-Ayadhi [1] (open-access) on plasma polyunsaturated fatty acids and serum carnitine levels in a cohort of children diagnosed with autism / autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is served up for your reading delight today.Regular readers of this blog might have heard me talk before about the pretty interesting research findings to come from this research partnership (see here and see here........ Read more »

  • February 25, 2015
  • 05:31 AM

Analysing the salivary proteome in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper from Armand Ngounou Wetie and colleagues [1] (open-access here) reporting pilot results from a mass spectrometry based proteomic analysis of saliva in cases of autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with asymptomatic controls is served up for your reading delight today. There has already been some media attention about this paper (see here).It's an interesting paper for quite a few reasons; not least the continuing voyage of the analytical technique known as mass spectr........ Read more »

Ngounou Wetie AG, Wormwood KL, Russell S, Ryan JP, Darie CC, & Woods AG. (2015) A Pilot Proteomic Analysis of Salivary Biomarkers in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. PMID: 25626423  

  • February 24, 2015
  • 04:38 AM

Maternal recall vs. medical records: implications for autism research

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I don't want to dwell too much on the findings reported by Paula Krakowiak and colleagues [1] talking about the accuracy of "maternally-reported diabetes and hypertensive disorders, and reliability of BMI [body mass index] measurements during periconception and pregnancy compared with medical records when mothers are interviewed 2-5 years after delivery" but they are potentially important.With authors such as Krakowiak and Irva Hertz-Picciotto on the paper in question, those who f........ Read more »

  • February 23, 2015
  • 04:34 AM

Late, delayed and mis-diagnosis of autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

It's inevitable that with all the mountains of autism research published on a daily basis, certain themes will occur at certain times. My post today is reflective of one of those themes and how, on occasion, the autism diagnostic process does not run as smoothly as we would all like to think.I start this post with a link to an article discussing some forthcoming research to be published titled: 'The autistic pupils ‘traumatised’ by delayed diagnosis'. Describing the results of a survey of pa........ Read more »

Aggarwal S, & Angus B. (2015) Misdiagnosis versus missed diagnosis: diagnosing autism spectrum disorder in adolescents. Australasian psychiatry : bulletin of Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. PMID: 25653302  

  • February 21, 2015
  • 05:39 AM

Coeliac disease: genes, autoimmunity, gut bacteria and bafflement?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Some things in life really do baffle me. When it comes to this blog, nothing seems to baffle me more than some of the talk about the triad that is autoimmunity, coeliac disease and gluten (see here for an example).My bafflement continued upon reading the papers by Emilsson and colleagues [1] and by Olivares and colleagues [2]. Respectively suggesting that: "spouses of individuals with celiac disease are at increased risk of non-celiac autoimmune disease" and "a specific disease-biased host genot........ Read more »

Emilsson L, Wijmenga C, Murray JA, & Ludvigsson JF. (2015) Autoimmune Disease in First-degree Relatives and Spouses of Individuals with Celiac Disease. Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology : the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association. PMID: 25645875  

  • February 20, 2015
  • 03:43 AM

Behavioural sleep intervention for ADHD?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was really quite interested to read about the study from Harriet Hiscock and colleagues [1] (open-access) suggesting that: "A brief behavioural sleep intervention modestly improves the severity of ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] symptoms in a community sample of children with ADHD." I had heard that these results would be forthcoming based on the publication of the study trial protocol [2] a few years back, alongside the trial entry listed in the ISRCTN registry ........ Read more »

  • February 19, 2015
  • 03:39 AM

Metal sensitisation and chronic fatigue syndrome?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I have to admit that I pondered longer than usual over whether I should talk about the paper by Vera Stejskal [1] (open-access here) and the idea that: "Patients with CFS [chronic fatigue syndrome] and fibromyalgia are frequently sensitized to metals found in the environment or used in dentistry and surgery."It was't that I doubted that metals - certain types present in the wrong place or wrong concentration - can affect physical and psychological health and wellbeing as per the exampl........ Read more »

  • February 18, 2015
  • 03:59 AM

Autism and the inter-pregnancy interval (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper from Maureen Durkin and colleagues [1] adds to something of a growing research evidence base suggesting that the temporal spacing between pregnancies / births - the inter-pregnancy interval (IPI) - may have something of an effect on the risk of receipt of a diagnosis of autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD).We've been here before. In fact, a couple of times I've talked about the IPI in relation to autism risk (see here and see here) not including other, similar research findings in ........ Read more »

  • February 17, 2015
  • 03:57 AM

Congenital rubella, autism and remote stroke

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Case reports. I know they rank pretty low in the order of what counts as objective scientific evidence [1] despite their often interesting findings. That being said, when it comes to a diagnosis like autism, with all its associated heterogeneity and elevated risk of various comorbidity probably better encapsulated in a more 'plural autisms' understanding, case reports can offer something of an important view into the many and varied ways in which someone might arrive on the autism spectrum and t........ Read more »

  • February 16, 2015
  • 03:11 AM

Poo transplant and weight gain: a case study

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The case report detailed by Neha Alang and Colleen Kelly [1] (open-access) reporting on "new-onset obesity after receiving stool from a healthy but overweight donor" has already garnered some significant press attention (see the BBC entry for example). Reporting on that seemingly most undesirable but in some cases life-saving of measures - the fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) - whereby some of those trillions of wee beasties which inhabit our deepest, darkest recesses are transfe........ Read more »

Alang, N., & Kelly, C. (2015) Weight Gain After Fecal Microbiota Transplantation. Open Forum Infectious Diseases, 2(1). DOI: 10.1093/ofid/ofv004  

  • February 14, 2015
  • 04:53 AM

Nutritional medicine as mainstream in psychiatry

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Have you remembered? Flowers from the nearest petrol / gas station or something a little more amorous for February 14th?So as not to take up too much of your time today, I want to briefly draw your attention to the paper (personal view) from Jerome Sarris and colleagues [1] carrying the same title as that of this blog post: 'Nutritional medicine as mainstream in psychiatry' published in The Lancet Psychiatry.Aside from applauding the notion that nutrition is potentially of some importance to "bo........ Read more »

Jerome Sarris, Alan C Logan, Tasnime N Akbaraly, G Paul Amminger, Vicent Balanzá-Martínez, Marlene P Freeman, Joseph Hibbeln, Yutaka Matsuoka, David Mischoulon, Tetsuya Mizoue.... (2015) Nutritional medicine as mainstream in psychiatry. Lancet Psychiatry. info:/

  • February 13, 2015
  • 04:46 AM

Autism, CNVs and sensitivity to maternal infection?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

An intriguing quote to begin today's post: "Our findings support a gene-environment interaction model of autism impairment, in that individuals with ASD-associated CNVs are more susceptible to the effects of maternal infection and febrile episodes in pregnancy on behavioral outcomes and suggest that these effects are specific to ASD [autism spectrum disorder] rather than to global neurodevelopment."The findings come from the paper by Varvara Mazina and colleagues [1] who sought to "exp........ Read more »

Mazina V, Gerdts J, Trinh S, Ankenman K, Ward T, Dennis MY, Girirajan S, Eichler EE, & Bernier R. (2015) Epigenetics of Autism-related Impairment: Copy Number Variation and Maternal Infection. Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP. PMID: 25629966  

  • February 12, 2015
  • 04:58 AM

15q11.2 microdeletion, developmental delay and congenital heart disease

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Our results support the hypothesis that 15q11.2 (BP1-BP2) microdeletion is associated with developmental delay, abnormal behaviour, generalized epilepsy and congenital heart disease."So it was written in the paper from Vanlerberghe and colleagues [1] following their analysis of 52 "unrelated patients" diagnosed with 15q11.2 microdeletion, a 'novel' microdeletion syndrome according to other research [2].Your REAL problem's the monkey.Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is mentioned in the Vanler........ Read more »

  • February 11, 2015
  • 05:22 AM

Like buses. Vitamin D and autism again.

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I don't know if everyone will have heard the term 'like buses' to infer that you seem to spend ages waiting for something (like a bus) and then two or more turn up at once. So it is with research, and the continuing interest that autism research seems to have with the sunshine vitamin/hormone that is vitamin D.Following on from my recent discussions on the paper by Fernell and colleagues [1] (see here) talking about early low vitamin D potentially being 'connected' to cases of autism or autism s........ Read more »

  • February 10, 2015
  • 04:09 PM

New name: Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The name is: Systematic Exertion Intolerance Disease (SEID).A very quick post to direct you to the public release of the findings from the US Institute of Medicine (IoM) looking at the name and current criteria used to diagnose Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) (see here). The proposed diagnostic criteria for CFS/ME, sorry SEID can be viewed here.Some of the background to these findings can be seen here and some of the media about the new IoM recommendations can ........ Read more »

  • February 10, 2015
  • 04:53 AM

Increased risk of chronic kidney disease in schizophrenia

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"After adjusting for demographic characteristics, select comorbid medical disorders and NSAIDs [non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs] usage, the current results reveal that patients with schizophrenia have an increased risk of nearly 40% (HR=1.36; 95% CI 1.13 to 1.63; p<0.001) of developing CKD [chronic kidney disease] within a 3-year follow-up period after their schizophrenia diagnosis."That was the rather surprising finding reported by Nian-Sheng Tzeng and colleagues........ Read more »

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