Paul Whiteley

1222 posts · 666,754 views

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

Questioning Answers
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  • January 4, 2013
  • 06:53 AM

A wish-list for gluten and casein free diet autism research

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I think that this is possibly the first time that I've actually talked about one of my own research papers as being central to a post on this blog. I'm not altogether sure of the wisdom and etiquette of how and indeed whether to do this - see this commentary bearing in mind I'm blogging post peer review publication - so fingers crossed that this works...Hopefully not... @ Paul Whiteley  It's actually been a year or two since I've been part of a peer-reviewed publication, mostly du........ Read more »

Paul Whiteley, Paul Shattock, Ann-Mari Knivsberg, Anders Seim, Karl L. Reichelt, Lynda Todd, Kevin Carr, & Malcolm Hooper. (2013) Gluten- and casein-free dietary intervention for autism spectrum conditions. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 344. info:/

  • January 1, 2013
  • 02:44 PM

More air pollution and autism risk findings

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Happy New Year! Καλή Χρονιά (in Greek). Welcome back to Questioning Answers. We continue our journey across the autism research landscape.So correlation... Yep I know correlation is not the same as causation. Cause-and-effect is a notoriously difficult relationship to map out when talking about conditions like autism with all their heterogeneity (autisms if you please) and that old genes vs. environment grudge match.But that doesn't mean correlational studies are all bunk.Mind the........ Read more »

Becerra TA, Wilhelm M, Olsen J, Cockburn M, & Ritz B. (2012) Ambient Air Pollution and Autism in Los Angeles County, California. Environmental health perspectives. PMID: 23249813  

  • December 21, 2012
  • 04:04 AM

2012 autism research review on Questioning Answers

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Hello... is anyone there?What y'mean those stories about the end of the world weren't true after all? They what... they forgot about the leap years? And the whole idea, which just happened to converge on the date of the Winter Solstice, was a little far-fetched?I digress.Speaking of time, once again we reach the end of another year and have a nostalgic look back at some of the highlights of the blogging year that was 2012 on Questioning Answers. Because the World is still here, all 7+ billion of........ Read more »

  • December 18, 2012
  • 05:08 AM

Mortality and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I know the topic of this post is not exactly great dinner table conversation, particularly at this time of year during the season of goodwill to all.  Nevertheless I'm posting today on the paper by Deborah Bilder and colleagues* looking at mortality and causes of death in relation to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) simply because there are important lessons which can be learned and applied with relative ease as a result of some of their collected data.Regular readers might know that one of m........ Read more »

  • December 16, 2012
  • 06:01 AM

The hyposerotonemic mouse and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Dear readers, please don't be put of this post by the title. All it refers to is a mouse described by Kane and colleagues* (open-access) which was engineered with a null mutation in the TPH2 gene governing the production of tryptophan hydroxylase, a required step in the synthesis of the aromatic amino acid tryptophan to everyone's favourite neurotransmitter, serotonin (or as we Brits like to call it 5-HT). Said mouse was unable to produce serotonin and hence lacked it - hyposerotonemia - despite........ Read more »

  • December 14, 2012
  • 03:24 PM

Bumetanide for autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Lemonnier and colleagues* (open-access) reporting results from a randomised, placebo-controlled trial of the diuretic drug bumetanide in cases of autism has received quite a bit of publicity over the past few days. As with other big autism research news, the study was accompanied by quite a good write-up in Nature (see here) which very conveniently allows me to skip over the ins and outs of the study and pick out a few notable points in this brief post.As always with the 'no medical........ Read more »

Lemonnier, E., Degrez, C., Phelep, M., Tyzio, R., Josse, F., Grandgeorge, M., Hadjikhani, N., & Ben-Ari, Y. (2012) A randomised controlled trial of bumetanide in the treatment of autism in children. Translational Psychiatry, 2(12). DOI: 10.1038/tp.2012.124  

  • December 13, 2012
  • 04:55 AM

Cord blood testosterone and autistic-like traits: no link?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Prof. Andrew Whitehouse has featured quite a bit on this blog. The most recent occasion (aside from this post) was a piece of research on maternal vitamin D status and early adult offspring scores on the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) which concluded no overall link despite some interesting details. Indeed quite a bit of his work derived from the Raine study focuses on recording factors during pregnancy and the very earliest days in the big, wide world and seeing how they might relate to results ........ Read more »

Whitehouse AJ, Mattes E, Maybery MT, Dissanayake C, Sawyer M, Jones RM, Pennell CE, Keelan JA, & Hickey M. (2012) Perinatal testosterone exposure and autistic-like traits in the general population: a longitudinal pregnancy-cohort study. Journal of neurodevelopmental disorders, 4(1), 25. PMID: 23110806  

  • December 11, 2012
  • 06:49 AM

GcMAF, nagalase and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I think it might be worth starting this blog post with (a) reference to my very well-trodden caveat of not making any medical recommendations on this blog and (b) a little bit of a description of some of the key terms connected with the paper by Jeff Bradstree and colleagues* (open-access) on nagalase, GcMAF and autism bearing in mind my amateur status in this area. I might also add, don't shoot the messenger.I'm the big eater @ Wikipedia  Macrophages. It all begins with monocytes, whi........ Read more »

James Jeffrey Bradstreet, Emar Vogelaar, & Lynda Thyer. (2012) Initial observations of elevated alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminidase activity associated with autism and observed reductions from GC protein—macrophage activating factor injections. Autism Insights. info:/

  • December 9, 2012
  • 10:13 AM

Autism, stress and cortisol

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Stress is something that everyone, young and old, faces on a daily basis. Partnered with anxiety, stress has become part and parcel of the dictionary of modern day living despite the fact that even in times gone by, I'm pretty sure stress and anxiety were just as rife as they are today, if only under a different set of circumstances.The stress Father @ Wikipedia My own personal view of stress is that it can be a double-edged sword. Particularly in these austere times that we all find oursel........ Read more »

Spratt EG, Nicholas JS, Brady KT, Carpenter LA, Hatcher CR, Meekins KA, Furlanetto RW, & Charles JM. (2012) Enhanced cortisol response to stress in children in autism. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 42(1), 75-81. PMID: 21424864  

  • December 7, 2012
  • 04:57 PM

Immune function: a critical role in autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The headline to this post is not my own but rather taken from the conclusions of the study published by Vishal Saxena and colleagues* (open-access) who undertook some computational analyses of some of the various genomic findings detailed in cases of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).Rather than me bore you with all the details of their study, I'll instead refer you to the ScienceDaily entry for this study (see here) which gives a far better overview than I possibly could. In essence it all boile........ Read more »

Vishal Saxena, Shweta Ramdas, Courtney Rothrock Ochoa, David Wallace, Pradeep Bhide, & Isaac Kohane. (2012) Structural, genetic, and functional signatures of disordered neuro-immunological development in autism spectrum disorder. PLoS ONE. info:/

  • December 5, 2012
  • 04:53 AM

The eyes have it for autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Twenty-twenty @ Wikipedia There were a few reasons why I wanted to talk about the paper from Ikeda and colleagues* on ophthalmologic (eye) disorders noted in cases of autism.First and foremost is my continued, unwavering, interest in all things comorbidity with autism in mind. Probably the next reason was the quite astonishing rate of ophthalmologic disorder reported by Ikeda, in "40% of patients with autism or a related disorder".A final reason? Well without wishing to plug anyone, a ........ Read more »

Ikeda J, Davitt BV, Ultmann M, Maxim R, & Cruz OA. (2012) Brief Report: Incidence of Ophthalmologic Disorders in Children with Autism. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 22350452  

  • December 3, 2012
  • 03:05 PM

Autism prevalence increasing in New Jersey

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin with from the paper by Walter Zahorodny and colleagues* with special thanks to Natasa for the full-text of the paper on the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in New Jersey: "Regardless of whether one acknowledges an increased ASD prevalence, all the epidemiological and administrative studies confirm that ASD is now among the most common, severe, developmental disorders".Edison in his NJ workshop @ Wikipedia  For me this quote encapsulates everything about the v........ Read more »

Zahorodny, W., Shenouda, J., Howell, S., Scotto Rosato, N., Peng, B., & Mehta, U. (2012) Increasing autism prevalence in metropolitan New Jersey. Autism. DOI: 10.1177/1362361312463977  

  • December 2, 2012
  • 04:38 AM

The continuous nature of autism symptoms

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The proposed revisions to the DSM re-definition of autism becoming an actuality are fast approaching over the clinical horizon as we are told that the die has now been cast. Although there is still considerable debate about what the changes will do to the numbers of people eligible to receive a formal diagnosis of the label autism as per previous revisions, one of the more well-received changes to the criteria is the formal acceptance that autism is a spectral condition, and that the severity of........ Read more »

Kamio, Y., Inada, N., Moriwaki, A., Kuroda, M., Koyama, T., Tsujii, H., Kawakubo, Y., Kuwabara, H., Tsuchiya, K., Uno, Y.... (2012) Quantitative autistic traits ascertained in a national survey of 22 529 Japanese schoolchildren. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. DOI: 10.1111/acps.12034  

  • November 30, 2012
  • 06:50 AM

T.gondii and dietary gluten joining forces?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Looking back at the way this blog has taken shape over the nearly two years that its been running, certain topics have tended to predominate which I freely admit that I knew very little about before getting into this blogging malarky.Cold cat @ Wikipedia  Had anyone suggested that one day I would be reading and writing about critters like Toxoplasma gondii (T.gondii to its friends), I previously would have replied 'yer what?' with puzzling facial expression to match.Nevertheless I have foun........ Read more »

Emily G. Severance, Geetha Kannan, Kristin L. Gressitt, Jianchun Xiao, Armin Alaedini, Mikhail V. Pletnikov, & Robert H. Yolken. (2012) Anti-Gluten Immune Response following Toxoplasma gondii Infection in Mice. PLoS ONE. info:/doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050991

  • November 29, 2012
  • 04:37 PM

Metal measuring and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Now and again, two papers of a similar ilk are published temporally close together in the great autism research melting pot so as to cumulatively make for interesting reading.Congratulations, it's a baby T-1000 @ Wikipedia  In the case of this post, I am referring to the paper by Jim Adams and colleagues* and the paper by Yahya Al-Farsi and colleagues** which both examined the burden of metals present in cases of autism from the perspective of two very different geographical areas of the wo........ Read more »

Adams, J., Audhya, T., McDonough-Means, S., Rubin, R., Quig, D., Geis, E., Gehn, E., Loresto, M., Mitchell, J., Atwood, S.... (2012) Toxicological Status of Children with Autism vs. Neurotypical Children and the Association with Autism Severity. Biological Trace Element Research. DOI: 10.1007/s12011-012-9551-1  

Al-Farsi, Y., Waly, M., Al-Sharbati, M., Al-Shafaee, M., Al-Farsi, O., Al-Khaduri, M., Gupta, I., Ouhtit, A., Al-Adawi, S., Al-Said, M.... (2012) Levels of Heavy Metals and Essential Minerals in Hair Samples of Children with Autism in Oman: a Case–Control Study. Biological Trace Element Research. DOI: 10.1007/s12011-012-9553-z  

  • November 28, 2012
  • 03:25 PM

Targeting mitochondrial dysfunction in ME/CFS?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Consider this post a bit of a follow-up to a previous one based on some interesting observations by Booth and colleagues looking at mitochondrial dysfunction in cases of myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).Join the Stone Age dots? @ Wikipedia  Same authorship group but this time around presenting the results of an audit of patients who underwent examination based on the ATP profile (no endorsement given) and what they did about it published by Sarah ........ Read more »

Myhill S,, Booth NE,, & McLaren-Howard J. (2013) Targeting mitochondrial dysfunction in the treatment of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) – a clinical audit. International Journal of Clinical , 6(1), 1-15. info:/

  • November 26, 2012
  • 06:39 PM

CHARGE, traffic pollution and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The headline reads "Traffic fumes linked to autism". The by-line describes how babies who were exposed to traffic air pollution during their first year of life "are more likely to become autistic". Welcome to the study by Heather Volk and colleagues* on traffic pollution, particulate matter and risk of autism.Motorbiking... @ Wikipedia  Before heading into the paper, the discerning autism research reader will no doubt remember that this is a topic which has already cropped up in autism rese........ Read more »

  • November 25, 2012
  • 04:51 PM

Matrix metalloproteinases and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Peptidases. The enzymes that split apart peptide bonds, have always been of some interest to me. Not only resulting from my continued interest in peptides as being one potential suggestion why a gluten- and/or casein-free diet might affect symptom presentation in some cases of autism but also because of their relationship to the building blocks of functional life, the amino acids, which are really starting to make some waves in autism research.Just split @ Wikipedia  With all this........ Read more »

Abdallah MW, Pearce BD, Larsen N, Greaves-Lord K, Nørgaard-Pedersen B, Hougaard DM, Mortensen EL, & Grove J. (2012) Amniotic Fluid MMP-9 and Neurotrophins in Autism Spectrum Disorders: An Exploratory Study. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. PMID: 23008271  

  • November 23, 2012
  • 03:15 PM

Stop that phenylalanine now!

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm going slightly off-piste with this post not strictly related to autism; however remaining true to my interest in all things amino acids, and in particular one of those most interesting aromatic amino acids, phenylalanine.Phenylalanine @ WikipediaA few months back Chemistry World carried a very interesting article by Jon Evans* on how the amino acid phenylalanine might very well have the capacity to form amyloid-like fibrils classically related to conditions like Alzheimers disease. The artic........ Read more »

Adler-Abramovich L, Vaks L, Carny O, Trudler D, Magno A, Caflisch A, Frenkel D, & Gazit E. (2012) Phenylalanine assembly into toxic fibrils suggests amyloid etiology in phenylketonuria. Nature chemical biology. PMID: 22706200  

  • November 21, 2012
  • 06:25 PM

More mice, more autism-like behaviours corrected

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm sure that by now you're all used to hearing about mouse models and autism and the relative ease it seems, that researchers are able to reverse autistic behaviours in certain strains of mice. I've posted entries about such marvels of modern-day science a few times including reference to the work of Paul Patterson and bone marrow transplants and the reports on the use of arbaclofen in the Fragile X syndrome (FXS) / autism behaviours mouse model. All this bearing in mind that mice are mice and ........ Read more »

Gkogkas, C., Khoutorsky, A., Ran, I., Rampakakis, E., Nevarko, T., Weatherill, D., Vasuta, C., Yee, S., Truitt, M., Dallaire, P.... (2012) Autism-related deficits via dysregulated eIF4E-dependent translational control. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature11628  

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