Questioning Answers

Visit Blog Website

1222 posts · 667,035 views

Autism research and other musings

Paul Whiteley
1,222 posts

Sort by: Latest Post, Most Popular

View by: Condensed, Full

  • May 10, 2016
  • 04:29 AM
  • 532 views

What does a gluten-free diet do to the gut microbiome?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

In answer to the question posed in the title of this post: "A GFD [gluten-free diet] changes the gut microbiome composition and alters the activity of microbial pathways."So said the findings reported by Marc Jan Bonder and colleagues [1] (open-access) who presented results based on the "changes in the gut microbiomes of 21 healthy volunteers who followed a GFD for four weeks." Said research volunteers (12 women and 9 men) initially followed a GFD for 4 weeks following some baseli........ Read more »

Bonder MJ, Tigchelaar EF, Cai X, Trynka G, Cenit MC, Hrdlickova B, Zhong H, Vatanen T, Gevers D, Wijmenga C.... (2016) The influence of a short-term gluten-free diet on the human gut microbiome. Genome medicine, 8(1), 45. PMID: 27102333  

  • May 9, 2016
  • 02:58 AM
  • 473 views

Water, carbamazepine and mother-embryo transmission

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"These results provide the first evidence that carbamazepine in drinking water and at typical environmental concentrations is transmitted from mother to embryo."So said the findings reported by Gaurav Kaushik and colleagues [1] who continued a research theme looking at the possibility of an environmental 'exposome' also potentially overlapping with [some] autism (see here). The autism connection came from the a paper by Thomas & Klaper [2] who previously reported that putting fish in a ........ Read more »

  • May 7, 2016
  • 03:54 AM
  • 531 views

The darker side to swimming with dolphins?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Described under the heading of a 'Challenging Case', the paper by Randall Phelps and colleagues [1] titled 'The Curse of the Dolphins: Cognitive Decline and Psychosis' highlights an intriguing case report potentially suggestive of a darker side to the idea of swimming with dolphins.Yes, you did hear me right - dolphins - those aquatic mammals regarded as one of the earth's most intelligent creatures and the suggestion that swimming with them might somehow 'impact' on aspects of a person's functi........ Read more »

Phelps R, Tsai A, Hagen A, Pinter J, Smith R, & Stein MT. (2016) The Curse of the Dolphins: Cognitive Decline and Psychosis. Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP. PMID: 27096574  

  • May 6, 2016
  • 02:51 AM
  • 489 views

Autism prevalence in the Somali population in Minneapolis continued

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A very quick post today to direct you to the paper by Amy Hewitt and colleagues [1] who seem to have finally published their findings on autism prevalence in the Somali population in Minneapolis in the peer-reviewed domain. I had previously covered their report on this blog (see here) and the suggestion that: "Somali (1 in 32) and White (1 in 36) children were about equally likely to be identified with ASD [autism spectrum disorder], but more likely to be identified with ASD than Black and ........ Read more »

Hewitt, A., Hall-Lande, J., Hamre, K., Esler, A., Punyko, J., Reichle, J., & Gulaid, A. (2016) Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Prevalence in Somali and Non-Somali Children. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-016-2793-6  

  • May 5, 2016
  • 02:53 AM
  • 516 views

NAC for 'social impairment' in youth with autism... probably not

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The results of this trial indicate that NAC [N-acetylcysteine]  treatment was well tolerated, had the expected effect of boosting GSH [glutathione] production, but had no significant impact on social impairment in youth with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."So said the results reported by Logan Wink and colleagues [1] (open-access) who, continuing an autism research theme, looked at whether this important L-cysteine prodrug might have more to give when it comes to a........ Read more »

  • May 4, 2016
  • 02:34 AM
  • 519 views

The developmental correlates of asthma (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Can I just get it out of the way? May the 4th be with you.OK. The results from Mark Strom & Jonathan Silverberg [1] caught my eye recently and further evidence of a 'correlation' between asthma and developmental and/or behavioural outcomes. This time around it was "caregiver-reported speech disorders in US children" and how the appearance of asthma, hay fever and/or food allergy might show some important relationships with something like speech disorder. This follows other, similar work from........ Read more »

Strom MA, & Silverberg JI. (2016) Asthma, hay fever and food allergy are associated with caregiver-reported speech disorders in US children. Pediatric allergy and immunology : official publication of the European Society of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology. PMID: 27091599  

  • May 3, 2016
  • 02:58 AM
  • 490 views

Machine learning applied to autism screening going big time?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Machine learning, when machines, er.. learn, is of growing interest to the autism research field. The names Wall and Duda have filled quite a few posts on this blog (see here and see here for example) on this topic and their suggesting that applying machine learning algorithms to something like autism screening and detection could cut down on time taken and resources used.As per the publication of the paper by Daniel Bone and colleagues [1] it appears that others working in autism research are a........ Read more »

  • May 2, 2016
  • 02:55 AM
  • 537 views

On defining chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Most people who know a little bit about chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) will probably understand the potential importance of the findings reported by Leonard Jason and colleagues [1] (open-access available here). Suggesting that there may be "four groupings of patients" when it comes to how we "name and define the illnesses", this research group who surveyed over 500 people "in the United States, Great Britain, and Norway" report on one of the biggest challenge........ Read more »

Jason LA, McManimen S, Sunnquist M, Brown A, Furst J, Newton JL, & Strand EB. (2016) Case definitions integrating empiric and consensus perspectives. Fatigue : biomedicine, health , 4(1), 1-23. PMID: 27088059  

  • April 30, 2016
  • 02:45 AM
  • 477 views

The 'anti-neuroinflammatory activity' of oxytocin

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Whilst the package inserts of the various drugs that modern medicine has at its disposal provides important information on potential mode of action, there is a growing realisation that drugs generally have quite a few more molecular targets than are perhaps listed. Take for example the quite commonly used (in some parts of the world anyway) compound called melatonin  that in some instances can provide almost miraculous relief when it comes to sleeping issues under certain circumstances. A d........ Read more »

  • April 29, 2016
  • 02:33 AM
  • 502 views

Organophosphate exposure and ADHD?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Children with higher urinary DMP [dimethylphosphate] concentrations may have a twofold to threefold increased risk of being diagnosed with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder]."So said the results presented in the paper by Yu and colleagues [1] who looking at "97 doctor-diagnosed ADHD cases and 110 non-ADHD controls who were 4-15 years of age" examined urine and blood samples for various factors including "biomarkers of OP [organophosphate] pesticide exposure." Th........ Read more »

  • April 28, 2016
  • 02:55 AM
  • 481 views

What parents of children with autism expect from their child's therapists

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Parents ultimately wanted therapists to produce positive outcomes for their children and were willing to sacrifice other desired qualities, as long as the therapy program was effective."and"The SLPs [Speech-Language Pathologists] expressed strong support for evidence-based practice (EBP) and indicated that they thought parents expected their children would be provided with evidence-based interventions."Those quotes come from two papers recently published in the same journal; the first........ Read more »

  • April 27, 2016
  • 03:07 AM
  • 545 views

The A Word: the science behind...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The A WordI'm not typically inclined to talk about TV programmes on this blog (well, not usually) but today I'm making an exception based on the conclusion of the BBC drama series 'The A Word' last evening.For those who might not know, this [fictional] series charts the ups and downs of a family living in the Lake District whose lives are in one way or another touched by autism as a function of a 5-year old boy diagnosed with the condition. The show had a notable addition to the cast with a very........ Read more »

  • April 26, 2016
  • 03:10 AM
  • 471 views

Bacterial origin and transferability of depression?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Zheng and colleagues [1] caught my eye recently and the interesting ideas that "dysbiosis of the gut microbiome may have a causal role in the development of depressive-like behaviors" and "transplantation of GF [germ-free] mice with ‘depression microbiota’ derived from MDD [major depressive disorder] patients resulted in depression-like behaviors compared with colonization with ‘healthy microbiota’ derived from healthy control individuals."Bearing in........ Read more »

  • April 25, 2016
  • 02:15 AM
  • 453 views

Parenting a child with autism or ADHD: what the science says...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm talking about parenting again today. Two papers are served up for your reading interest today, providing an important 'science-based' perspective on the general experience of parenting a child who is also diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).The first paper by Britt Laugesen and colleagues [1] "aimed to identify and synthesize the best available evidence on parenting experiences of living with a child with attention-deficit hyper........ Read more »

Laugesen B, Lauritsen MB, Jørgensen R, Sørensen EE, Rasmussen P, & Grønkjær M. (2016) Living with a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a systematic review. International journal of evidence-based healthcare. PMID: 27058250  

Khan, T., Ooi, K., Ong, Y., & Jacob, S. (2016) A meta-synthesis on parenting a child with autism. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 745. DOI: 10.2147/NDT.S100634  

  • April 23, 2016
  • 03:12 AM
  • 523 views

Parents on the autism spectrum and 'parenting efficacy'

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

There are some aspects of the autism research landscape that make for uncomfortable reading. I've covered a few of them on this blog (see here and see here for example) simply because of my belief that science should not be afraid to ask about and try and answer difficult questions.I'd place the paper by Winnie Yu Pow Lau and colleagues [1] in that uncomfortable reading zone as a consequence of their findings related to parenting efficacy as a function of parents who themselves have been di........ Read more »

Lau, W., Peterson, C., Attwood, T., Garnett, M., & Kelly, A. (2016) Parents on the autism continuum: Links with parenting efficacy. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 57-64. DOI: 10.1016/j.rasd.2016.02.007  

  • April 21, 2016
  • 11:23 PM
  • 545 views

Developmental regression in autism affects screening results

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

In today's short post I'd like to bring the findings reported by Lotta Höglund Carlsson and colleagues [1] to your attention and a reminder that developmental regression accompanying autism onset is an important feature for quite a few people.With the aim of looking at the "national, routine 18-month developmental surveillance at Child Healthcare Centres (CHC) on children later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)" in Stockholm County, Sweden, authors reported on the results of sa........ Read more »

Höglund Carlsson, L., Westerlund, J., Barnevik Olsson, M., Eriksson, M., Hedvall, �., Gillberg, C., & Fernell, E. (2016) Autism spectrum disorders before diagnosis: results from routine developmental surveillance at 18 months. Acta Paediatrica. DOI: 10.1111/apa.13418  

  • April 21, 2016
  • 02:23 AM
  • 505 views

The inter-pregnancy interval and risk of autism reviewed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Short IPIs [interpregnancy intervals] are associated with a significantly increased risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder]. Long IPIs also appear to increase the risk of ASD.So said the results of the systematic review undertaken by Agustín Conde-Agudelo and colleagues [1] into how birth spacing might impact on the risk of a child developing an ASD. Drawing on data from 7 studies that "reported an association between short IPIs and increased risk of ASD" including over 1.1 ........ Read more »

  • April 20, 2016
  • 02:30 AM
  • 567 views

Talking therapies impacting on the epigenetics of panic disorder?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The psychologist Oliver James has made some waves recently, coinciding with the publication of his new book, with the suggestion that nurture might be 'outdoing' nature when it comes to various concepts from intelligence to mental health. At times the recent 'debates' in this area have not been pretty as arguments about 'what the science actually says' with regards to [structural] genetics vs. environment have tended to get a little heated, and the word 'blame' being ban........ Read more »

Ziegler C, Richter J, Mahr M, Gajewska A, Schiele MA, Gehrmann A, Schmidt B, Lesch KP, Lang T, Helbig-Lang S.... (2016) MAOA gene hypomethylation in panic disorder-reversibility of an epigenetic risk pattern by psychotherapy. Translational psychiatry. PMID: 27045843  

  • April 19, 2016
  • 02:13 AM
  • 604 views

Bumetanide for schizophrenia? A case report

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Bumetanide - a medicine known as a diuretic - has appeared before on this blog (see here for example) in relation to some preliminary suggestions that at least some types of autism might be sensitive to intervention using this particular compound [1]. The names Lemonnier (Eric) & Ben-Ari (Yehezkel) are a big part of the research group interested in bumetanide and its use outside of more traditional indications; particularly, the focus on its action on NKCC1 onwards to an effect on ........ Read more »

Lemonnier E, Lazartigues A, & Ben-Ari Y. (2016) Treating Schizophrenia With the Diuretic Bumetanide: A Case Report. Clinical neuropharmacology, 39(2), 115-117. PMID: 26966887  

  • April 18, 2016
  • 02:23 AM
  • 531 views

'Autism genes' are not just 'genes for autism'

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Ya Wen and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) caught my attention recently with the suggestion that: "ASD [autism spectrum disorder]-associated genes may contribute not only to core features of ASD themselves but also to vulnerability to other chronic and systemic problems potentially including cancer, metabolic conditions and heart diseases." Further: "ASDs may thus arise, or emerge, from underlying vulnerabilities related to pleiotropic genes associated wit........ Read more »

join us!

Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use ResearchBlogging.org to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.

If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.

Register Now

Research Blogging is powered by SRI Technology.

To learn more, visit http://selfregulationinstitute.org/.