Paul Whiteley

1175 posts · 620,507 views

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

Questioning Answers
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  • August 23, 2012
  • 07:45 AM

De novo mutations, older dads and autism (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Those with an interest in autism (and/or schizophrenia) will have probably already seen the headlines discussing the study by Augustine Kong and colleagues* on  the rate of de novo genetic mutations and a father's age as being potentially important for conditions like autism and schizophrenia. For those like me who are still struggling with all things mutation, quite a nice summary of the current research is offered in this Nature commentary accompanying the study.I'm going to briefly focus........ Read more »

Augustine Kong,, Michael L. Frigge,, Gisli Masson,, Soren Besenbacher,, Patrick Sulem,, Gisli Magnusson,, Sigurjon A. Gudjonsson,, Asgeir Sigurdsson,, Aslaug Jonasdottir,, Adalbjorg Jonasdottir,.... (2012) Rate of de novo mutations and the importance of father’s age to disease risk. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature11396  

  • August 21, 2012
  • 05:02 AM

Resurrecting XMRV in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The letters X-M-R-V in relation to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) have had their fair share of controversy in recent years. For those who don't know about XMRV - xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus - there is ample discussion about this topic on the web or you can browse my past posts covering the story here and here. I'm sure that a feature film or TV mini-series will be made eventually about XMRV and CFS including the back-story of Dr Judy Mikovtis and the whole WPI saga. I'll ........ Read more »

  • August 20, 2012
  • 05:26 AM

Autism and microglia

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

An interesting paper has appeared by Beumer and colleagues* with the grandiose title: The immune theory of psychiatric diseases: a key role for activated microglia and circulating monocytes. It's an intriguing paper linking specific actions of the immune system on brain areas in connection to various conditions including depression and schizophrenia via a biological entity that seems to be gaining some research interest: microglia.On the basis of this publication I therefore resis........ Read more »

  • August 17, 2012
  • 06:44 AM

Vitamin D and autoimmunity and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Heavens above @ Paul WhiteleyThey're at it again. The very marvellous Saudi-Egyptian autism research tag-team that is Gehan Mostafa and Laila Al-Ayadhi and another very, very interesting article titled: Reduced serum concentrations of 25-hydroxy vitamin D in children with autism: relation to autoimmunity* (full-text here).I'd kinda been waiting for an article like this to come along given the shifting Eye of Sauron onto a possible role for the sunshine vitamin in cases of autism. You can fi........ Read more »

  • August 16, 2012
  • 05:54 AM

Are gut problems in autism linked to anxiety and sensory issues?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'd been waiting to get hold of the recent article by Dr Micah Mazurek and colleagues titled: Anxiety, sensory over-responsivity, and gastrointestinal problems in children with autism spectrum disorders* (abstract here) for quite a few days before posting about it.This paper was always going to catch my eye given the focus on gastrointestinal (GI) problems comorbid to cases of autism. That and the authors connecting issues with anxiety and sensory issues to the presence of such functional G........ Read more »

Mazurek MO, Vasa RA, Kalb LG, Kanne SM, Rosenberg D, Keefer A, Murray DS, Freedman B, & Lowery LA. (2012) Anxiety, Sensory Over-Responsivity, and Gastrointestinal Problems in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of abnormal child psychology. PMID: 22850932  

  • August 14, 2012
  • 08:17 PM

Propionic acid and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Another post, another organic acid (!) but please don't click away just yet as I attempt once again not to blind you with science. The topic of the day today is propionic acid (PPA) otherwise known as propanoic acid and the very tentative suggestions of some link to autism. Search on-line for propionic acid and you're quite likely to get lots of industrial chemical information about it including a materials safety data sheet (MSDS) (here) implying that this stuff is toxic, combust........ Read more »

  • August 13, 2012
  • 05:37 AM

No single SNP associated with autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A quote to begin this relatively short post:"Despite genotyping over a million SNPs covering the genome, no single SNP shows significant association with ASD or selected phenotypes at a genome-wide level."One of the conclusions reached in this article by Richard Anney and colleagues* (full-text). SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphism(s) are the tiny rearrangements in our genetic code which have all but replaced the older research fashion of one gene - one condition from times gone by. The theory ........ Read more »

Anney R, Klei L, Pinto D, Almeida J, Bacchelli E, Baird G, Bolshakova N, Bölte S, Bolton PF, Bourgeron T.... (2012) Individual common variants exert weak effects on the risk for autism spectrum disorderspi. Human molecular genetics. PMID: 22843504  

  • August 10, 2012
  • 09:38 AM

Folate and autism: more questions than answers

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Athenian sunset @ Paul WhiteleyI don't know if you could tell but my previous few blog posts were a sort of stand-in whilst I took a few days off. Not exactly repeats of favourite soap operas or anything like that, but more like watching some pre-recorded non-league football (soccer) compared to the Premiership live. Suffice to say that I'm back now and ready to press on with some 'proper' posts.Whilst away I've been thinking quite a bit about the paper from Rebecca Schmidt and colleagues* ........ Read more »

  • July 19, 2012
  • 04:33 AM

Mouse modeling, immune function and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Contrary to the title of this post and any images that it may conjure up of mice parading down a runway in this season's 'hottest looks' whilst pouting to the clicks and flashes of multiple cameras, I'm back to mouse models and autism again(!) and an interesting piece of research by Hsiao and colleagues*.I am kinda standing on the shoulders of giants with this paper given that it comes from the laboratory of Paul Patterson who has already run with a short description about it on his blog (see he........ Read more »

Hsiao EY, McBride SW, Chow J, Mazmanian SK, & Patterson PH. (2012) Modeling an autism risk factor in mice leads to permanent immune dysregulation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 22802640  

  • July 18, 2012
  • 04:39 AM

Anxious children and autism traits?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm always been quite intrigued by studies examining the various behaviours linked to autism presenting in other conditions not necessarily linked to autism as a discrete entity. The various studies done on eating disorders* spring to mind as quite a good example.This type of research - when it shows some positive correlation - kinda reiterates that when we talk about autism, we aren't so much talking about a single homogeneous condition, but perhaps rather a range of conditions which share some........ Read more »

van Steensel FJ, Bögels SM, & Wood JJ. (2012) Autism Spectrum Traits in Children with Anxiety Disorders. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 22733297  

  • July 13, 2012
  • 07:37 AM

Brain glutathione redox status, Brussels sprouts and autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Sprouts, sprouts, sprouts @ WikipediaGlutathione in relation to autism spectrum conditions is a bit of a favourite topic of mine. I've talked about glutathione a few times on this blog (here and here) and how the various reports on a reduced level of functioning of this fantastic part of our antioxidant system seem to show more than a passing connection to cases of autism. That and the fact that consumption of a favourite foodstuff of mine, the Brussels sprout, might have quite a positive influe........ Read more »

  • July 12, 2012
  • 07:20 AM

Autism and the family tree

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A blog post discussing the suggestion that a family history of schizophrenia and/or bipolar disorder may be a risk factor for autism... Read more »

  • February 15, 2012
  • 01:19 PM

The glutamate:glutamine ratio and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

On the issue of the glutamate-glutamine ratio in cases of autism... Read more »

  • February 13, 2012
  • 10:11 AM

High lactate levels reported in about 1 in 5 children with ASD

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Elevated lactate levels seem to be a feature of some cases of autism... Read more »

Oliveira, G., Diogo, L., Grazina, M., Garcia, P., Psych, A., Marques, C., Miguel, T., Borges, L., Vicente, A., & Oliveira, C. (2007) Mitochondrial dysfunction in autism spectrum disorders: a population-based study. Developmental Medicine , 47(3), 185-189. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2005.tb01113.x  

  • January 10, 2012
  • 09:33 PM

Autism and Sutterella

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The first report on the identification of Sutterella spp following analysis of gut bacteria from children with autism... Read more »

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