Paul Whiteley

1147 posts · 598,587 views

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

Questioning Answers
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  • August 16, 2016
  • 04:36 AM
  • 385 views

Group A Streptococcal infections and paediatric neuropsychiatric disorders: Taiwan style

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

There they go again. Taiwan and their 'big data' publishing, yet again, some rather interesting population-based research trends derived from data from the National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD).This time around it is the paper by Han-Cheng Wang and colleagues [1] and the hypothesis to evaluate the "association between group A streptococcal (GAS) infections and the risks of developing tic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disord........ Read more »

  • August 15, 2016
  • 04:09 AM
  • 453 views

Offending behaviour and ADHD

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Although some associations between ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] and offending may be accounted for by co-morbidity with substance use disorders, early onset of offending and repeated violent offending appear to be directly related to ADHD."That was the conclusion reached by Jan Román-Ithier and colleagues [1] reporting on their study designed to "examine correlates of childhood ADHD symptoms among prisoners." Based on a sample adult prison population (N=1179) where........ Read more »

  • August 13, 2016
  • 03:26 AM
  • 516 views

Inflammation is part of Gulf War Syndrome

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Although mostly trying to avoid any politics-talk on this blog I am going to make some reference to it in this post set in the context of the Persian Gulf War otherwise known at the First Iraq War.The recent publication of the Chilcot report describing the case for the UK's involvement in the 2003 Iraq War (the second Iraq War) has further lit up an already illuminating year in British politics, by perhaps adding fuel to the notion that 'finishing the job' might have been an ........ Read more »

Johnson GJ, Slater BC, Leis LA, Rector TS, & Bach RR. (2016) Blood Biomarkers of Chronic Inflammation in Gulf War Illness. PloS one, 11(6). PMID: 27352030  

  • August 12, 2016
  • 04:22 AM
  • 464 views

Anti-psychotics for non-psychotic issues

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A bit of a lazy post for you today with lots of quotes based on the findings reported by Ragnar Nesvåg and colleagues [1] asking some important questions about 'off-label' use of antipsychotics.Drawing on population-based data from Norway concerning "which substances, and for which mental disorder diagnoses, antipsychotic drugs were prescribed to 0–18-year-old boys and girls" the conclusions drawn make for some interesting reading.So: "In total, 0.18% of Norwegian children and adolescent........ Read more »

Nesvåg, R., Hartz, I., Bramness, J., Hjellvik, V., Handal, M., & Skurtveit, S. (2016) Mental disorder diagnoses among children and adolescents who use antipsychotic drugs. European Neuropsychopharmacology. DOI: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2016.07.001  

  • August 11, 2016
  • 04:35 AM
  • 502 views

Induced labour and autism (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"In this nationwide sample of live births we observed no association between induction of labor and offspring ASD [autism spectrum disorder] within sibling comparison. Our findings suggest that concern for ASD should not factor into the clinical decision about whether to induce labor."So said the findings reported by Anna Sara Oberg and colleagues [1] supposedly providing some reassurance to mums-to-be and other groups around the likelihood of offspring autism when birth or l........ Read more »

Oberg, A., D’Onofrio, B., Rickert, M., Hernandez-Diaz, S., Ecker, J., Almqvist, C., Larsson, H., Lichtenstein, P., & Bateman, B. (2016) Association of Labor Induction With Offspring Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders. JAMA Pediatrics. DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.0965  

  • August 10, 2016
  • 04:24 AM
  • 407 views

No association between [current] mycotoxin exposure and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Although research stories stating a link (an association if you will) between condition A and factor X make for interesting reading, not all science is so blessed with such news-worthy findings. That's not to say that 'negative findings' are any less important than the 'hey, we found this...' studies, just that they don't perhaps tend to grab the headlines as much as those finding something.In saying all that I'm standing up for negative findings today and some rather interesting science reporte........ Read more »

  • August 9, 2016
  • 02:56 AM
  • 409 views

Anxiety spreads across various psychiatric labels

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Comorbid anxiety symptoms are ubiquitous among psychiatric patients with mood or schizophrenia spectrum disorders, and in almost half of them, reportedly severe."So said the findings reported by Karpov and colleagues [1] who sought to put some further research flesh on to the bones of the idea that clinically relevant anxiety symptoms might not be unstrange bedfellows with a variety of other psychiatric labels.Based on the analysis of various patient groups included in the "Helsinki University ........ Read more »

Karpov, B., Joffe, G., Aaltonen, K., Suvisaari, J., Baryshnikov, I., Näätänen, P., Koivisto, M., Melartin, T., Oksanen, J., Suominen, K.... (2016) Anxiety symptoms in a major mood and schizophrenia spectrum disorders. European Psychiatry, 1-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2016.04.007  

  • August 8, 2016
  • 03:46 AM
  • 365 views

On staff training in the UK autism services sector

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I tread carefully in discussing the findings reported by Karola Dillenburger and colleagues [1] (open-access) on the question of "knowledge and training with regards to autism" received by "health, social care, and education staff who work within the statutory autism services sector in the UK." The observation that "an acute lack of autism-specific training that has detrimental impacts" was apparent is a worrying sign indeed.Although not intimately involved in the autism services sector, I ........ Read more »

Dillenburger K, McKerr L, Jordan JA, & Keenan M. (2016) Staff Training in Autism: The One-Eyed Wo/Man…. International journal of environmental research and public health, 13(7). PMID: 27438846  

  • August 7, 2016
  • 11:53 AM
  • 432 views

The (surprising) rate of ADHD in Taiwan

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The idea that use of the diagnostic label called attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is on the increase, and pretty significantly so, is quite common-place these days (see here). Appreciating that not everyone is convinced that the increase is necessarily genuine (see here) I would like to discuss some interesting data coming out of the 'big data' country that is Taiwan in the form of the findings reported by Wang and colleagues [1].As regular readers might already know, Taiwan is th........ Read more »

  • August 5, 2016
  • 02:59 AM
  • 440 views

Hospitalisation for mania following antibiotic exposure?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Individuals hospitalized with acute mania have a markedly increased rate of bacterial infections, as evidenced by the recent prescription of antimicrobial agents. The prevention and effective treatment of bacterial infections may be important interventions for the management of individuals with mania."That was the research bottom-line reported by Robert Yolken and colleagues [1] (yes, that Robert Yolken) who continued a theme of how immune function/response might be something pretty important w........ Read more »

Yolken R, Adamos M, Katsafanas E, Khushalani S, Origoni A, Savage C, Schweinfurth L, Stallings C, Sweeney K, & Dickerson F. (2016) Individuals hospitalized with acute mania have increased exposure to antimicrobial medications. Bipolar disorders. PMID: 27425597  

  • August 4, 2016
  • 03:11 AM
  • 469 views

Take your vitamin D says the UK Government

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Vitamin D supplements 'advised for everyone'" was just one media headline following the publication of a report (see here) - "a government commissioned report" - by the advisory board of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) here in Blighty recently.After oodles and oodles of peer-reviewed research (quite a bit of it covered in that SACN report) potentially linking issues with vitamin D availability to everything from depression (see here) to schizophrenia (see here) a........ Read more »

Muscogiuri G, Altieri B, Annweiler C, Balercia G, Pal HB, Boucher BJ, Cannell JJ, Foresta C, Grübler MR, Kotsa K.... (2016) Vitamin D and chronic diseases: the current state of the art. Archives of toxicology. PMID: 27425218  

  • August 3, 2016
  • 03:57 AM
  • 443 views

Omega-3 fatty acids, gut bacteria and mouse behaviour

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I read with great interest the paper by Ruairi Robertson and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) recently, talking about how "neurobehavioural changes induced by altering n-3 PUFA [omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids] status are closely associated with comprehensive alterations in gut microbiota composition, HPA-axis activity and inflammation" in mice.Coming out of the 'bacterial research powerhouse' that is University College Cork, such research potentially unites some im........ Read more »

  • August 1, 2016
  • 10:43 PM
  • 451 views

Autism, urinary porphyrins and mercury

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I appreciate that the title of this post is probably going to result in an immediate 'click away' for some folk but for those who've endured it I'd like to talk briefly about the findings reported by Eman Khaled and colleagues [1]. Namely the observation that: "ASD [autism spectrum disorder] children in the present study had increased blood Hg [mercury] and Pb [lead] levels compared with healthy control children indicating that disordered porphyrin metabolism might ........ Read more »

  • August 1, 2016
  • 04:10 AM
  • 407 views

Physical activity in children and youth: themes and consensus

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

'Physical activity boosts kids' brain power and academic prowess' went the press release accompanying the consensus statement published by Jens Bangsbo and colleagues [1] (open-access).The consensus statement brought together researchers from around the world "and from a variety of academic disciplines" to emphasise how undertaking all-manner of different kinds of exercise "are still a good investment in academic achievement" when it comes to children aged between 6-18 years of age.The stat........ Read more »

Bangsbo J, Krustrup P, Duda J, Hillman C, Andersen LB, Weiss M, Williams CA, Lintunen T, Green K, Hansen PR.... (2016) The Copenhagen Consensus Conference 2016: children, youth, and physical activity in schools and during leisure time. British journal of sports medicine. PMID: 27354718  

  • July 30, 2016
  • 03:32 AM
  • 522 views

More scientific flesh on the bones of non-coeliac gluten/wheat sensitivity

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was really, really pleased to read the paper by Melanie Uhde and colleagues [1] (open-access) I don't mind telling you. Covering a topic close to my blogging and research heart - sensitivity to wheat or gluten but not coeliac disease - the authors provide some much needed scientific clarification when it comes to how gluten or wheat might impact on some of those "who reported symptoms in response to wheat intake and in whom coeliac disease and wheat allergy were ruled out." Some media int........ Read more »

  • July 29, 2016
  • 04:20 AM
  • 506 views

Pregnancy multivitamins 'are a waste of money' (except when they're not)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Science headlines eh? Who would trust them and their sometimes inflated press releases?I start today with a science headline taken from the BBC website reading: "Pregnancy multivitamins 'are a waste of money'" based on the findings of a review article [1] published in the journal Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin.In it we are told that complex multi-vitamin and mineral supplements are 'unlikely to be needed and are an unnecessary expense' during the nine months that made us. Further that certain vi........ Read more »

Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin. (2016) Vitamin supplementation in pregnancy. Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin. DOI: 10.1136/dtb.2016.7.0414  

  • July 28, 2016
  • 03:49 AM
  • 459 views

Autism in adults in the UK continued

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Traolach Brugha and colleagues [1] makes for some blogging fodder today and the suggestion that: "The combined prevalence of autism in adults of all ages in England was 11/1000."Just before going through the Brugha paper it is perhaps appropriate to put it into some context based on other work from this group previously covered on this blog (see here) and the findings again by Brugha and colleagues [2] (a further report on their findings that time around can be seen h........ Read more »

Brugha TS, Spiers N, Bankart J, Cooper SA, McManus S, Scott FJ, Smith J, & Tyrer F. (2016) Epidemiology of autism in adults across age groups and ability levels. The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science. PMID: 27388569  

  • July 27, 2016
  • 03:44 AM
  • 446 views

Blood glutamate levels in autism meta-analysed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The meta-analysis provided evidence for higher blood glutamate levels in ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."That was the research bottom-line reported by Zhen Zheng and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) who surveyed the current peer-reviewed science literature in this area and found something to see based on: "Twelve studies involving 880 participants and 446 incident cases."Drawing on the idea that glutamate is a rather important amino acid that plays a role in various biological p........ Read more »

  • July 26, 2016
  • 03:41 AM
  • 420 views

Probiotics degrading gluten peptides - part 2

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I going to assume that readers have some background knowledge about probiotics, gut bacteria, bacterial dysbiosis and coeliac disease before reading this post. I'd love to be able to give detailed descriptions of each here but fear that this would turn a short post into a much longer one...So... in a previous post titled: 'Probiotics degrading gluten peptides?' I covered the potentially important suggestion that certain types of bacteria might have the ability to breakdown (degrade) immunog........ Read more »

  • July 25, 2016
  • 03:37 AM
  • 454 views

Risk of cancer in mums of children with autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I very carefully approach the findings reported by Jennifer Fairthorne and colleagues [1] today detailing "the occurrence of hospital admissions and treatment/services for cancer in mothers of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] with or without ID [intellectual disability] compared with other mothers." Appreciating that families touched by autism probably have enough on their plate without additional talk about the 'big C', I do however think that this kind of r........ Read more »

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