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Autism research and other musings

Paul Whiteley
576 posts

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  • April 25, 2015
  • 03:27 AM
  • 39 views

Kids with autism: a highly [psychotropic] medicated group?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"In keeping with international studies this sample of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] was a highly medicated group."So said the results of the study reported by Kerry-Ann Louw and colleagues [1] back in 2013 who noted that approximately one quarter of their cohort were currently in receipt of "psychotropic medications". I don't want to linger too much on this topic given that such findings tally with other peer-reviewed reports including those with much larger partici........ Read more »

  • April 24, 2015
  • 04:44 AM
  • 55 views

DSM-5 impacting on autism numbers

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Consistent with previous reviews, the majority of included studies indicated between 50 and 75 % of individuals will maintain diagnoses."That was one of the conclusions reached by Isaac Smith and colleagues [1] following their systematic review of studies comparing DSM-IV and DSM-5 criteria for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and what the changes mean for eligibility for the label.Authors further reported that: "the greatest decreases [were] among high-functioning populations with IQs over ........ Read more »

  • April 23, 2015
  • 01:46 AM
  • 59 views

Does maternal asthma 'prime' for offspring neurodevelopmental disorder?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper from Jared Schwartzer and colleagues [1] (open-access) including a couple of familiar names on the authorship list (Charity Onore and Paul Ashwood) caught my attention recently. Based on mouse studies and the artificial induction of maternal allergy/asthma in pregnant mice, researchers reported that: "Activation of the maternal immune system with an allergy/asthma insult significantly perturbed developmental growth and species-typical behaviors in offspring." Further that the........ Read more »

  • April 22, 2015
  • 04:39 AM
  • 48 views

MMR vaccine was not associated with increased risk of autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"In this large sample of privately insured children with older siblings, receipt of the MMR [measles-mumps-rubella] vaccine was not associated with increased risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder], regardless of whether older siblings had ASD. These findings indicate no harmful association between MMR vaccine receipt and ASD even among children already at higher risk for ASD."That was the conclusion reached in the study by Anjali Jain and colleagues [1] (open-access) based on........ Read more »

  • April 21, 2015
  • 04:31 AM
  • 60 views

Jessica Biesiekierski on non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

It's not often that I dedicate a blog post to a specific individual and their views and opinions on a particular topic. Today however, I'm doing just that to provide you with a link to the paper from Jessica Biesiekierski on the topic of non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) [1] (open-access).The reason? Well, aside from being one of the primary protagonists in the research topic of gluten-related ills outside of the autoimmune condition known as coeliac (celiac) disease (itself the to........ Read more »

Biesiekierski, J., & Iven, J. (2015) Non-coeliac gluten sensitivity: piecing the puzzle together. United European Gastroenterology Journal, 3(2), 160-165. DOI: 10.1177/2050640615578388  

  • April 20, 2015
  • 04:51 AM
  • 69 views

Tics are common in adults with autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The title of this post comes from a quote included in the paper by Ursula Kahl and colleagues [1] based on their study of the "phenomenology and characteristics" of tics in adults diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with a small control group of adults with Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS). A tic by the way, is a "sudden, fast, repeated movement or sound."This is not the first time that tics have been examined with the autism spectrum in mind. The paper from C........ Read more »

Kahl, U., Schunke, O., Schöttle, D., David, N., Brandt, V., Bäumer, T., Roessner, V., Münchau, A., & Ganos, C. (2015) Tic Phenomenology and Tic Awareness in Adults With Autism. Movement Disorders Clinical Practice. DOI: 10.1002/mdc3.12154  

  • April 18, 2015
  • 05:22 AM
  • 91 views

Autistic traits in adult-onset psychiatric disorders?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"To conclude, the presentation of ALTs [autistic-like traits/symptoms] at the sub-threshold or threshold level may be closely associated with BPD [bipolar disorder] and SZ [schizophrenia]."That was the conclusion reached in the paper by Junko Matsuo and colleagues [1] (open-access here) based on their analysis of nearly 300 adults aged between 25-59 years including those diagnosed with "MDD [major depressive disorder], n=125; bipolar disorder, n=56; schizophrenia,&n........ Read more »

Matsuo J, Kamio Y, Takahashi H, Ota M, Teraishi T, Hori H, Nagashima A, Takei R, Higuchi T, Motohashi N.... (2015) Autistic-Like Traits in Adult Patients with Mood Disorders and Schizophrenia. PloS one, 10(4). PMID: 25838109  

  • April 17, 2015
  • 03:52 AM
  • 81 views

Higher cancer mortality rates associated with mental illness

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The findings reported by Steve Kisely and colleagues [1] were of some interest recently and their assertion that despite cancer incidence being "the same as the general population for most psychiatric disorders" or even slightly reduced when a diagnosis of schizophrenia was for example received, mortality due to cancer was "increased in psychiatric patients."Such findings were based on their examination of: "Mental health records [that] were linked with cancer registrations and death r........ Read more »

  • April 16, 2015
  • 05:21 AM
  • 73 views

Paternal sperm epigenetic differences and offspring autism risk

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"These data suggest that epigenetic differences in paternal sperm may contribute to autism risk in offspring."So said the preliminary study results published by Jason Feinberg and colleagues [1]  (open-access) looking at "paternal semen biosamples obtained from an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) enriched-risk pregnancy cohort, the Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation (EARLI) cohort." Researchers analysed 44 semen samples to ascertain whether DNA methylation differences - one typ........ Read more »

Jason I Feinberg, Kelly M Bakulski, Andrew E Jaffe, Rakel Tryggvadottir, Shannon C Brown, Lynn R Goldman, Lisa A Croen, Irva Hertz-Picciotto, Craig J Newschaffer, M Daniele Fallin.... (2015) Paternal sperm DNA methylation associated with early signs of autism risk in an autism-enriched cohort. International Journal of Epidemiology. info:/10.1093/ije/dyv028

  • April 15, 2015
  • 03:31 AM
  • 66 views

Maternal diabetes and offspring autism risk... again

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"In this large, multiethnic clinical cohort of singleton children born at 28 to 44 weeks’ gestation, exposure to maternal GDM [gestational diabetes mellitus] diagnosed by 26 weeks’ gestation was associated with risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] in offspring."That was the conclusion reached by Anny Xiang and colleagues [1] (open-access) following their analysis of some 3300 children diagnosed with ASD as part of a wider cohort of over 300,000 children "born in 19........ Read more »

Xiang, A., Wang, X., Martinez, M., Walthall, J., Curry, E., Page, K., Buchanan, T., Coleman, K., & Getahun, D. (2015) Association of Maternal Diabetes With Autism in Offspring. JAMA, 313(14), 1425. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2015.2707  

  • April 14, 2015
  • 04:08 AM
  • 82 views

Immune signature in ME/CFS detected in cerebrospinal fluid

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The research tag-team that is Mady Hornig and Ian Lipkin are fairly frequently mentioned on this blog. If it's not to do with their studies in autism research (see here for a recent mention) it is with their ground-breaking work looking at chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) in mind (see here for example).Indeed their latest paper [1] extends some recent findings (see here) on immune involvement in relation to CFS/ME [2] with a focus on examinations in cerebrospinal flu........ Read more »

  • April 13, 2015
  • 01:38 AM
  • 85 views

Interoception and body awareness in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Interoception: the sense of the physiological condition of the body" [1].This was an important concept detailed in the paper by Lisa Fiene and Charlotte Brownlow [2] with autism in mind. Looking at how adults diagnosed with an ASD (autism spectrum disorder) "interpret elements of the interoceptive sense, which includes thirst, hunger, temperature, satiety" researchers questioned those on the spectrum (n=74) and asymptomatic controls (n=228) with "self-reported perceptions of body awareness........ Read more »

  • April 10, 2015
  • 05:48 AM
  • 120 views

More ophthalmic findings in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Ophthalmic pathology was noted in 26.9 % of patients with ASD [autism spectrum disorder], of which 22 % had significant refractive errors and 8.6 % had strabismus."That was the conclusion reached in the paper by Emrah Utku Kabatas and colleagues [1] based on the premise that: "Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) frequently have ophthalmologic disorders"; that is, issues with the anatomy and function of the eyes.We've been here before. I'll take you back to the post that I wr........ Read more »

Kabatas EU, Ozer PA, Ertugrul GT, Kurtul BE, Bodur S, & Alan BE. (2015) Initial Ophthalmic Findings in Turkish Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 25800865  

  • April 9, 2015
  • 03:31 AM
  • 114 views

Effects of prenatal organophosphate pesticide exposure on a mouse model of autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Pesticides and autism is a topic previously covered on this blog (see here for example). The idea that some of the various preparations that we use to control the pests which have an ability to blight our crops or cause serious health issues could be linked to an increased risk of autism is an area likely to invoke some divisions within elements of the autism and wider scientific community.Part of the problem with the available evidence suggesting a link between autism and pesticide exposure is ........ Read more »

  • April 8, 2015
  • 01:34 AM
  • 109 views

Cleanrooms and autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Scott Faber and colleagues [1] (open-access) is the topic of today's post and the idea that a cleanroom sleeping environment might impact on some important issues accompanying at least some autism.Just in case you hadn't come across the concept of a cleanroom, the concept is that a space is provided where various systems are put in place to control environmental pollutants such as dust, microbes and various chemical emissions. More readily associated with the construction of microch........ Read more »

  • April 7, 2015
  • 02:45 AM
  • 116 views

Candida albicans triggering coeliac disease?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Will the bafflement around coeliac (celiac) disease ever stop?I want you to cast your eye over the paper from Marion Corouge and colleagues [1] (open-access) and the interesting hypothesis that: "CI [Candida albicans infection] may trigger CeD [coeliac disease] onset in genetically-susceptible individuals."Continuing a theme of 'bafflement' when it comes to the autoimmune condition known as coeliac disease (see here), Corouge et al reported that a protein, ........ Read more »

Corouge M, Loridant S, Fradin C, Salleron J, Damiens S, Moragues MD, Souplet V, Jouault T, Robert R, Dubucquoi S.... (2015) Humoral Immunity Links Candida albicans Infection and Celiac Disease. PloS one, 10(3). PMID: 25793717  

  • April 6, 2015
  • 04:18 AM
  • 144 views

Assisted Reproductive Technology conception and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I noticed recently that the paper by Christine Fountain and colleagues [1] reporting that "incidence of diagnosed autism was twice as high for ART [assisted reproductive technology] as non-ART births" has been making some media headlines.Based on an analysis of an impressive participant number "using linked records from the California Birth Master Files for 1997 through 2007, the California Department of Developmental Services autism caseload for 1997 through 2011, and the Centers for ........ Read more »

  • April 4, 2015
  • 04:55 AM
  • 136 views

No evidence for efficacy of omega-3 fatty acids on [autism] core symptom domains

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

To quote from the study by Deepali Mankad and colleagues [1] (open-access): "This study does not support high dose supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids in young children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."Only yesterday I was discussing the results from Bos and colleagues [2] (see here) and the idea that inattention might be a target behaviour for supplementation with PUFAs [polyunsaturated fatty acids] with (and without) ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] in mind. The........ Read more »

Mankad, D., Dupuis, A., Smile, S., Roberts, W., Brian, J., Lui, T., Genore, L., Zaghloul, D., Iaboni, A., Marcon, P.... (2015) A randomized, placebo controlled trial of omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of young children with autism. Molecular Autism, 6(1). DOI: 10.1186/s13229-015-0010-7  

  • April 3, 2015
  • 04:29 AM
  • 153 views

Improving inattention in boys with and without ADHD

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The [truncated] PubMed listing of the abstract by Dienke Bos and colleagues [1] does little justice to the results reported by this group looking at the effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on the behaviour of boys both diagnosed with ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) and those who are described as 'typically developing'.Luckily the paper is open-access (see here) and one can get a true flavour of what happened to this cohort of boys with and without a diagnosis of AD........ Read more »

Bos DJ, Oranje B, Veerhoek ES, Van Diepen RM, Weusten JM, Demmelmair H, Koletzko B, de Sain-van der Velden MG, Eilander A, Hoeksma M.... (2015) Reduced symptoms of inattention after Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation in boys with and without Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. PMID: 25790022  

  • April 2, 2015
  • 03:12 AM
  • 129 views

Physical activity and sleep in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Sleep issues are not an uncommon feature for quite a few people on the autism spectrum (see here).Autism research has provided some pretty strong evidence to support that last sentence and how sleep, or a lack of it in terms of quality and/or quantity, might not be optimal for people on the autism spectrum (as it isn't for those not on the spectrum).The hows and whys of sleep affecting the behavioural presentation of autism are still a little in the air outside of what is known more generally ab........ Read more »

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