Paul Whiteley

1147 posts · 598,587 views

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

Questioning Answers
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  • June 8, 2016
  • 03:08 AM
  • 433 views

Stressed medial students and Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Our findings indicate that the daily consumption of probiotics such as LcS [Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota] preserves the diversity of the gut microbiota and may relieve stress-associated responses of abdominal dysfunction in healthy subjects exposed to stressful situations."So said the findings reported by Akito Kato-Kataoka and colleagues [1] who following the use of a "double-blind, placebo-controlled trial" method were able to potentially offer "healthy medical students undert........ Read more »

  • June 7, 2016
  • 03:09 AM
  • 401 views

Interest in romantic relationships is high in autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

It's official: "the vast majority of high-functioning adults with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] are interested in romantic relationships." Yes, the scientific findings reported by Sandra Strunz and colleagues [1] have said as much.Sorry to be so sarcastic about them but coming from a place where the words 'the bleedin' obvious' are commonly used, I couldn't believe that in 2016 anyone would genuinely believe otherwise. Yes, I know the autism awareness et al message still has some........ Read more »

  • June 6, 2016
  • 03:00 AM
  • 384 views

C-reactive protein "may be a causal risk factor for schizophrenia"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Although the public perception of science is that researchers go around 'proving' or 'disproving' that A leads to B or X causes Y, it is still surprisingly rare to see the word 'causal' in many areas of peer-reviewed research. Aside from the fact that science generally works around the concept of 'probability' - producing data pertinent to discussions on whether something is more or less likely to be true/false - most science is not so forthright in its conclusions. Certainly science covering th........ Read more »

Inoshita M, Numata S, Tajima A, Kinoshita M, Umehara H, Nakataki M, Ikeda M, Maruyama S, Yamamori H, Kanazawa T.... (2016) A significant causal association between C-reactive protein levels and schizophrenia. Scientific reports, 26105. PMID: 27193331  

  • June 4, 2016
  • 03:40 AM
  • 412 views

Antibiotic brain part 2

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Mouse study finds link between gut bacteria and neurogenesis" went the press release accompanying the paper by Luisa Möhle and colleagues [1] (open-access). Describing the results of a mouse study - that's MOUSE study - researchers reported that "treatment of adult mice with antibiotics decreases hippocampal neurogenesis and memory retention."The antibiotic mix used on study mice was quite an aggressive one: "ampicillin plus sulbactam (1.5 g/l; Pfizer), vancomycin (500 mg/l; Cell Pharm), ........ Read more »

Luisa Möhle, Daniele Mattei, Markus M. Heimesaat, Stefan Bereswill, André Fischer, Marie Alutis, Timothy French, Dolores Hambardzumyan, Polly Matzinger, Ildiko R. Dunay.... (2016) Ly6Chi Monocytes Provide a Link between Antibiotic-Induced Changes in Gut Microbiota and Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis. Cell Reports. info:/10.1016/j.celrep.2016.04.074

  • June 3, 2016
  • 04:56 AM
  • 392 views

The effects of acute exercise on ME/CFS/SEID meta-analysed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Accepting that the science recipe that is a meta-analysis is only as good as the research ingredients that go into it, I was interested to see the results published by Bryan Loy and colleagues [1] who concluded that: "preliminary evidence indicates that acute exercise increases fatigue in people with ME/CFS/SEID more than in control groups, but effects were heterogeneous between studies."ME - myalgic encephalomyelitis - and CFS - chronic fatigue syndrome - are conditions that I'm interested........ Read more »

  • June 2, 2016
  • 04:14 AM
  • 385 views

Neonatal pain 'causing' autism? I'm not so sure...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I wasn't actually going to talk about the paper by Jin Hwan Lee and colleagues [1] on this blog and the suggestion that: "severe inflammatory pain in neonates and persistent inflammatory reactions may predispose premature infants to development delays and psychiatric disorders including ASD [autism spectrum disorder]." I changed my mind however when a piece appeared on-line titled: 'New Autism Dispute: Is Circumcision a Factor?' with mention of 'ritual circumcision and autism' being ma........ Read more »

  • June 1, 2016
  • 02:42 AM
  • 366 views

Language disorder and '2 children in every class'

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I read with great interest the paper by Courtenay Frazier Norbury and colleagues [1] concluding that: "At school entry, approximately two children in every class of 30 pupils will experience language disorder severe enough to hinder academic progress."With the aim of characterising "the impact of varying NVIQ [nonverbal IQ] criteria on prevalence, clinical presentation and functional impact of language disorder in the first UK population study of language impairment at school entr........ Read more »

  • May 31, 2016
  • 04:18 AM
  • 383 views

Cows milk protein intolerance and chronic fatigue syndrome

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Cow's milk protein intolerance is a common problem in young people with chronic fatigue syndrome, and is a treatable contributor to their symptoms."So said the paper by Peter Rowe and colleagues [1] who looked prospectively for signs of cow's milk protein intolerance (CMPI) in "55 adolescents and young adults with chronic fatigue syndrome" over the course of 2 years. Defining CMPI using 4 factors: "(1) no evidence of immediate or anaphylactic reactions to milk, (2) at least 2 of the following 3........ Read more »

  • May 30, 2016
  • 03:04 AM
  • 406 views

Organic pollutants and behavioural severity in autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This study supports the hypothesis that environmental exposure to organic pollutants may play a significant role in the behavioral presentation of autism."Accepting that correlation is not the same as causation, the results published by Andrew Boggess and colleagues [1] (open-access here) make for some blogging fodder today and the idea that serum levels of various compounds headed under the description of organic pollutants (persistent or otherwise) might show some important connecti........ Read more »

  • May 28, 2016
  • 04:29 AM
  • 450 views

Urban neighbourhood, food and risk of psychosis?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

It's another research mash-up today as I bring to your attention two papers talking about potential correlates associated with psychosis and/or psychotic symptoms.First up are the findings reported by Joanne Newbury and colleagues [1] (open-access here) who observed that urban residency and certain factors associated with urban residency might link into a higher risk of childhood psychotic symptoms. A second paper by Tomasz Pawełczyk and colleagues [2] provides some further food for thought and........ Read more »

  • May 27, 2016
  • 03:07 AM
  • 537 views

Wandering and autism continued... yet again

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I know that I'm probably starting to sound like a broken record on the topic of wandering (elopement) and autism on this blog (see here and see here and see here) but I am yet again going to briefly talk about peer-reviewed research in this area simply because it's just too damned important not to.This time around the results from Catherine Rice and colleagues [1] are the source of my musings and the conclusion that: "wandering among children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder], regard........ Read more »

  • May 26, 2016
  • 02:55 AM
  • 439 views

CRISPR-Cas9 and autism research

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

If you feel brave enough, today I will direct your reading attention to the paper by Michael Williams and colleagues [1] detailing the application of a particularly important genome editing technique called CRISPR-Cas9 [2] to autism-related science.Titled: "A Retroviral CRISPR-Cas9 System for Cellular Autism-Associated Phenotype Discovery in Developing Neurons" the Williams paper probably won't win any awards for plain English but don't be fooled about just how important this pape........ Read more »

Williams MR, Fricano-Kugler CJ, Getz SA, Skelton PD, Lee J, Rizzuto CP, Geller JS, Li M, & Luikart BW. (2016) A Retroviral CRISPR-Cas9 System for Cellular Autism-Associated Phenotype Discovery in Developing Neurons. Scientific reports, 25611. PMID: 27161796  

  • May 25, 2016
  • 02:52 AM
  • 346 views

The persistence of self-injury in relation to autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Some behaviours associated with a diagnosis of autism don't make for great dinner table discussion. Self-injurious behaviours (SIBs), as exemplified by head banging, hair pulling and eye gouging must rank as some of the more distressing facets of [some] autism insofar as their potential effect on the person and also the people around them.These and other types of behaviour commonly headed under the category of so-called 'challenging behaviours' have tended not to be too evident when it come........ Read more »

  • May 24, 2016
  • 03:07 AM
  • 365 views

Around 1 in 5 with autism will experience seizure or seizure disorder

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Jennifer Jaskiewicz and colleagues [1] recently offered a further important insight into the relationship between autism and seizure or seizure disorder (i.e. epilepsy).Based on the examination of records of nearly 50,000 children and young adults diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with approximately quarter of a million 'not-autism' participants, authors reported some interesting trends. Concluding that some 19% of participants with autism experienced "s........ Read more »

Jennifer Jaskiewicz, Apryl Susi, Elizabeth Hisle-Gorman, David Dennison, Gregory Gorman, Cade Nylund, & Christine Erdie-Lalena. (2016) Quantification of Risks of Seizure in Autism. Neurology. info:/

  • May 23, 2016
  • 02:48 AM
  • 371 views

Sex-specific immune response to Candida albicans in schizophrenia and beyond

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I have quite a bit of time for the various members of the Stanley Division of Developmental Neurovirology at Johns Hopkins on this blog. Not least because of the interesting work of one researcher in particular - Emily Severance - as a name behind some potentially very important research on how food, infection and immune function might come together in complicated conditions such as [some] schizophrenia and [some] bipolar disorder (see here and see here).Continuing their 'gut-brain' theme (........ Read more »

Severance, E., Gressitt, K., Stallings, C., Katsafanas, E., Schweinfurth, L., Savage, C., Adamos, M., Sweeney, K., Origoni, A., Khushalani, S.... (2016) Candida albicans exposures, sex specificity and cognitive deficits in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. npj Schizophrenia, 16018. DOI: 10.1038/npjschz.2016.18  

  • May 21, 2016
  • 02:57 AM
  • 526 views

Add-on nutraceuticals for depression?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

It came as no surprise to me that the systematic review and meta-analysis article by Jerome Sarris and colleagues [1] found what it did in relation to the use of [certain] adjunctive (add-on) nutraceuticals alongside antidepressants to reduce depressive symptoms: some of them might actually be clinically useful.With no medical or clinical advice given or intended, the authors report that "adjunctive use of SAMe, methylfolate, omega-3, and vitamin D with antidepressants" might be something to con........ Read more »

Sarris J, Murphy J, Mischoulon D, Papakostas GI, Fava M, Berk M, & Ng CH. (2016) Adjunctive Nutraceuticals for Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses. The American journal of psychiatry. PMID: 27113121  

  • May 20, 2016
  • 02:53 AM
  • 416 views

On the question of valproate use and pregnancy

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I very much want to stress the point that 'no medical or clinical advice is given or intended' on this blog before proceeding further with discussions based on the commentary paper by Richard Balon & Michelle Riba titled: 'Should Women of Childbearing Potential Be Prescribed Valproate?' [1].Valproate, as in preparations like sodium valproate, has been a particular talking point in recent years as a consequence of something of an emerging body of peer-reviewed science suggesting that its use ........ Read more »

  • May 19, 2016
  • 03:09 AM
  • 400 views

Brain GABA levels and autism meta-analysed

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Remmelt Schür and colleagues [1] provides some (brief) blogging fodder today and the observation that following a "systematic literature review and meta-analysis of 1 H-MRS studies" brain GABA levels were found to be significantly lower in cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) than compared to control (not autism) populations.GABA - gamma-Aminobutyric acid - has been something of interest for quite a few years in autism research circles (see here). It's particular role ........ Read more »

  • May 18, 2016
  • 02:57 AM
  • 468 views

Siblings of probands with autism: preferential screening suggested?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders cluster among siblings of probands with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."That was the research bottom line presented in the paper by Elina Jokiranta-Olkoniemi and colleagues [1] who extracted data from the Finnish Prenatal Study of Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders (FIPS-A). FIPS-A has been mentioned previously on this blog (see here) but this time around the aim was to look not at the various risk factors potentially associated........ Read more »

Jokiranta-Olkoniemi, E., Cheslack-Postava, K., Sucksdorff, D., Suominen, A., Gyllenberg, D., Chudal, R., Leivonen, S., Gissler, M., Brown, A., & Sourander, A. (2016) Risk of Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Among Siblings of Probands With Autism Spectrum Disorders. JAMA Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.0495  

  • May 17, 2016
  • 02:43 AM
  • 504 views

Immigrant background and risk of offspring ADHD

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The likelihood of being diagnosed with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] was significantly increased among children of two immigrant parents... and children of an immigrant father."So said the findings published by Venla Lehti and colleagues [1] continuing a research theme from this authorship group (see here) on how immigration might, for various reasons, bring about an increased or decreased risk of certain behavioural and/or psychiatric outcomes. This time a........ Read more »

Lehti V, Chudal R, Suominen A, Gissler M, & Sourander A. (2016) Association between immigrant background and ADHD: a nationwide population-based case-control study. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines. PMID: 27133554  

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