Paul Whiteley

1147 posts · 598,593 views

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

Questioning Answers
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  • January 31, 2017
  • 03:18 AM
  • 432 views

S100B protein and autism continued

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Our findings showing an increase in peripheral concentrations of S100B and TNF-α provide limited support to the hypothesis about the roles of altered immune function and S100B in autism spectrum disorder (ASD)."So said the findings reported by Selin Aktan Guloksuz and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) continuing some discussions a few years back on a possible role for S100B in relation to at least some autism (see here).S100B - S100 calcium-binding protein B - is a compound invo........ Read more »

Guloksuz SA, Abali O, Aktas Cetin E, Bilgic Gazioglu S, Deniz G, Yildirim A, Kawikova I, Guloksuz S, & Leckman JF. (2017) Elevated plasma concentrations of S100 calcium-binding protein B and tumor necrosis factor alpha in children with autism spectrum disorders. Revista brasileira de psiquiatria (Sao Paulo, Brazil : 1999). PMID: 28099628  

  • January 30, 2017
  • 03:08 AM
  • 460 views

High frequency of (self-reported) ADHD symptoms in eating disorders

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"There is a high frequency of ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] symptoms in patients with binge eating/purging eating disorders that motivates further studies."That was the conclusion reached in the study by Nils Erik Svedlund and colleagues [1] (open-access) who, among other things, set out to "explore the prevalence and types of self-reported ADHD symptoms in a large, unselected group of ED [eating disorder] patients assessed in a specialized ED clinic." ........ Read more »

  • January 28, 2017
  • 04:15 AM
  • 460 views

"Should gluten-free foods be available on prescription?"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Continuing the theme of blogging outside of the core material typically included on this site, I couldn't resist a mention of the 'head-to-head' debate talked about in the article by Matthew Kurien and colleagues [1] published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).As per the title of this post, the name of the game was gluten-free products being available on prescription here in Blighty, and in particular, the prescribing of gluten-free products to patients diagnosed with coeliac disease. Th........ Read more »

Kurien M, Sleet S, Sanders DS, & Cave J. (2017) Should gluten-free foods be available on prescription?. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 28073799  

  • January 27, 2017
  • 03:07 AM
  • 197 views

Vitamin D deficiency and risk of dementia

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The results of this systematic review show that low vitamin D levels might contribute to the development of dementia."Whilst slightly off-topic when it comes to the core research material typically included on this blog, I did want to bring to your attention the systematic review and meta-analysis results published by Isolde Sommer and colleagues [1] (open-access) for your perusal. Although unable to "identify a single study investigating the association between sunlight exposure and demen........ Read more »

Sommer I, Griebler U, Kien C, Auer S, Klerings I, Hammer R, Holzer P, & Gartlehner G. (2017) Vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC geriatrics, 17(1), 16. PMID: 28086755  

  • January 26, 2017
  • 03:10 AM
  • 218 views

Andrew Whitehouse on challenging yet another autism status quo: diagnosis before intervention

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This paper provides an overview of the benefits and drawbacks of the current clinical pathway that places primacy on a diagnostic assessment for triggering the commencement of therapy. The paper then presents an alternative clinical pathway - the identification and provision of therapy to infants at risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] - and provides a critical review of current evidence supporting this model."So said the 'lecture paper' by Andrew Whitehouse [1] and, as per the titl........ Read more »

  • January 25, 2017
  • 08:10 AM
  • 214 views

A poo transplant for [some] autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I've talked about 'fecal microbial transplants' a.k.a the poo(p) transplant before on this blog (see here). That previous entry was about the more typical (and potentially life-saving) use of a poo transplant - where stool from one person is extracted, 'repackaged' and transferred to another person - albeit with caveats in terms of possible long-term side-effects. Now it appears that poo transplants are being investigated with something rather more central to the typical cont........ Read more »

  • January 25, 2017
  • 02:56 AM
  • 198 views

Autism and visual impairment reviewed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Of the various autism science journals out there in peer-reviewed (La-La!) land, one journal in particular is really starting to grow on me: [The] Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.I like this journal because it is basically systematic review and meta-analysis heaven when it comes to the quite voluminous autism research literature and seems to publish some real gems (see here for example).Another paper from this journal caught my eye recently by Maggie Butchart and colleagues ........ Read more »

Butchart, M., Long, J., Brown, M., McMillan, A., Bain, J., & Karatzias, T. (2017) Autism and Visual Impairment: a Review of the Literature. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI: 10.1007/s40489-016-0101-1  

  • January 24, 2017
  • 04:49 AM
  • 197 views

Fatty acids 'for autism'? Meta-analysis says probably not but...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Because of the limited number of included studies and small sample sizes, no firm conclusions can be drawn. However, the limited data currently available suggest that ω-3 FA [fatty acid] supplementation does not enhance the performance of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."Those were the conclusions reached in the systematic review and meta-analysis paper published by Andrea Horvath and colleagues [1] looking at the collected peer-reviewed literature on the topic up t........ Read more »

  • January 23, 2017
  • 02:45 AM
  • 210 views

Autism diagnoses (and diagnostic stability) in Germany

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"From 2006 to 2012, the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder diagnoses in 0- to 24-year-olds increased from 0.22% to 0.38%."That was one of the details included in the rather interesting paper by Christian Bachmann and colleagues [1] who provided some introductory information on the the trends in autism diagnoses in Germany. I say 'introductory information' because it appears that autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has not exactly received the research attention in Germany that it p........ Read more »

Christian J Bachmann, Bettina Gerste, & Falk Hoffmann. (2016) Diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders in Germany: Time trends in administrative prevalence and diagnostic stability. Autism: International Journal of Research . info:/10.1177/1362361316673977

  • January 21, 2017
  • 03:25 AM
  • 234 views

"no evidence that the probiotic formulation is effective in treating low mood"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm a great believer in balance when it comes to this blog and its content. As enthusiastic as I might be about a particular topic or topics, I don't want to lose sight of the fact that peer-reviewed science is a messy business and often filled with contrary findings.With 'contrary' in mind, I want to talk today about a paper by Amy Romijn and colleagues [1] detailing the results of a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial of a probiotic mix which contained "freeze-dried L. helv........ Read more »

  • January 20, 2017
  • 03:10 AM
  • 213 views

Diagnosing ME/CFS the machine learning way?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

In today's post I want to draw your attention to the findings reported by Diana Ohanian and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) talking about "the use of machine learning to further explore the unique nature"of various conditions/labels including those typically headed under the label of chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME).Including one 'Jason LA' on the authorship list, researchers set about looking at "what key symptoms differentiate Myalgic Encephalomyelitis ........ Read more »

  • January 19, 2017
  • 03:04 AM
  • 218 views

The correlates of regressive autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"A more homogeneous subgroup with regression between 18 and 36 months (n = 48) had higher rates of intellectual disability, epilepsy, and special education, more socially restrictive educational settings, and more severe ASD [autism spectrum disorder] communication deficits and schizophrenia spectrum symptoms than non-regressed youth (n = 136)."So said the findings reported by Kenneth Gadow and colleagues [1] taking on one of the more important issues in relation to autism: dev........ Read more »

  • January 18, 2017
  • 03:13 AM
  • 235 views

Physical activity levels and autism (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Adolescents with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] spent less time in MVPA [moderate and vigorous physical activity] compared to TD [typically developing] adolescents (29 min/day vs. 50 min/day, p < 0.001) and fewer met the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (14 vs. 29%, p > 0.05)."So said the study results published by Heidi Stanish and colleagues [1] adding yet more to another growth autism research area - physical activity and exercise - ........ Read more »

  • January 17, 2017
  • 04:28 AM
  • 233 views

Vitamin D supplementation and self-perceived fatigue

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Vitamin D treatment significantly improved fatigue in otherwise healthy persons with vitamin D deficiency."Supplementation details, described in the paper by Albina Nowak and colleagues [1] (open-access available here), were a single dose of 100,000 IU [international units] of vitamin D or a placebo (mannitol) administered to 120 adult participants who presented with "fatigue and vitamin D deficiency (serum 25(OH)D < 20 μg/L)." This was a double-blind trial and self-perceived fatigue ........ Read more »

Nowak A, Boesch L, Andres E, Battegay E, Hornemann T, Schmid C, Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Suter PM, & Krayenbuehl PA. (2016) Effect of vitamin D3 on self-perceived fatigue: A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial. Medicine, 95(52). PMID: 28033244  

  • January 16, 2017
  • 03:11 AM
  • 265 views

Autism-like traits and/or autism elevated in psychosis

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Rates of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and ASD traits are elevated in a psychosis population."The paper by Debbie Kincaid and colleagues [1] provides yet more [short] blogging material pertinent to the increasing interest in how psychosis may be yet another comorbidity over-represented when it comes to autism (see here) and vice-versa. I know this is another topic that has to be treated with some caution in terms of concepts like stigma but more discussions - science discussions........ Read more »

  • January 14, 2017
  • 04:35 AM
  • 321 views

No significant difference in circulating cytokines in autism vs controls?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"As compared with 54 typically developing controls, we found no evidence of differences in the blood profile of immune mediators supportive of active systemic inflammation mechanisms in participants with autism."That was the unexpected research bottom-line published by Carlos Pardo and colleagues [1] (open-access) examining whether various immune-related chemicals - "cytokines, chemokines, or growth factors in serum and cerebrospinal fluid" - might be linked to autism following longitudinal........ Read more »

  • January 13, 2017
  • 03:13 AM
  • 250 views

Exercise as an intervention for anxiety?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Our data suggest that exercise is more effective than control at reducing anxiety symptoms."So said the meta-analysis published by Brendan Stubbs and colleagues [1] who surveyed the peer-reviewed literature "investigating the benefits of exercise compared to usual treatment or control conditions in people with an anxiety and/or stress-related disorders." From the 6 randomised, controlled trials found "from inception until December 2015" exercise (various types of exercise regime) did seem to ha........ Read more »

  • January 12, 2017
  • 04:28 AM
  • 225 views

On autism risk and immigrant status

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Fifteen studies suggest a higher prevalence rate of ASDs [autism spectrum disorder] among children of immigrants in comparison to native children."Those fifteen studies formed a large part of the seventeen studies included in the review by Rafal Kawa and colleagues [1] who set out to look at the collected peer-reviewed literature on the topic of the "prevalence and risk for ASD in Europe among immigrants and ethnic minorities." Carried out as part of a European Union (EU) initiative t........ Read more »

Kawa R, Saemundsen E, Lóa Jónsdóttir S, Hellendoorn A, Lemcke S, Canal-Bedia R, García-Primo P, & Moilanen I. (2016) European studies on prevalence and risk of autism spectrum disorders according to immigrant status-a review. European journal of public health. PMID: 28013245  

  • January 11, 2017
  • 03:24 AM
  • 259 views

"the patient improved significantly when a gluten-free diet was started"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The quote making up the title of this post comes from the case report described by Albino J Oliveira-Maia and colleagues [1] talking yet again about how coeliac disease - the archetypal autoimmune condition where dietary gluten is the baddie - may have effects well beyond just the physical.Describing the experiences of a woman who was admitted to a psychiatry inpatient unit on the basis of "suicidal behaviours" who also "developed an agitated catatonic state", a mix of "antidepressants, anx........ Read more »

Oliveira-Maia AJ, Andrade I, & Barahona-Corrêa JB. (2016) Case of coeliac disease presenting in the psychiatry ward. BMJ case reports. PMID: 28003229  

  • January 10, 2017
  • 03:19 AM
  • 236 views

PACE trial recovery data and chronic fatigue syndrome

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

PACE mentioned in the title of this post refers to the PACE trial [1] which concluded that: "CBT [cognitive behaviour therapy] and GET [graded exercise therapy] can safely be added to SMC [specialist medical care] to moderately improve outcomes for chronic fatigue syndrome, but APT [adaptive pacing therapy] is not an effective addition."The recent paper by Carolyn Wilshire and colleagues [2] who drew on "relevant normative data and other research" continue........ Read more »

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