Paul Whiteley

1230 posts · 705,319 views

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

Questioning Answers
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  • May 19, 2016
  • 04:09 AM
  • 486 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
  • 03:57 AM
  • 563 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
  • 03:43 AM
  • 602 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  

  • May 16, 2016
  • 03:40 AM
  • 558 views

More [metabolomic] evidence for dysbiosis and some autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Xiyue Xiong and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) took my attention recently and some further evidence contributory to the idea that the trillions of wee beasties that call our gastrointestinal (GI) tract home - collectively known as the gut microbiome - might have some important links to at least 'some' autism.Describing the results of "a GC/MS based metabolomic approach"  - GC-MS being gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and metabolomic(s) being the analysis o........ Read more »

  • May 14, 2016
  • 04:29 AM
  • 479 views

On autism symptoms in ADHD (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Continuing a research theme (see here), the paper by Jessica Green and colleagues [1] again focuses the spotlight on how the various childhood developmental diagnoses often enjoy mingling together when it comes to their real-life presentation; real ESSENCE in action. Such overlaps can and do present challenges to diagnosticians to unpick often complicated presentations (no, your 'Am I autistic?' screen is not really a good idea) and onwards the best way forward to manage symptoms ........ Read more »

Green JL, Sciberras E, Anderson V, Efron D, & Rinehart N. (2016) Association between autism symptoms and functioning in children with ADHD. Archives of disease in childhood. PMID: 27117836  

  • May 13, 2016
  • 03:21 AM
  • 499 views

Autism and the [different] expression of pain

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Two papers provide some brief discussion today. The first by Janice Goldschmidt [1] titled: 'What Happened to Paul? Manifestation of Abnormal Pain Response for Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorder' provides an account of a young man with autism who during a "pilot nutrition intervention designed to teach cooking skills to young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)" fell quite seriously. We are told that: "After his accident, which resulted in broken and dislocated bones in his ankle, ........ Read more »

  • May 12, 2016
  • 04:00 AM
  • 512 views

Shared genetics? Autism, gastrointestinal issues and serotonin

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I note the paper by Kara Gross Margolis and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) has been garnering a few media headlines with the suggestion that: "Gastrointestinal [GI] problems in autistic children may be linked to the same genetic mutations that cause other characteristics of autism spectrum disorder."The study, focusing on the idea that SERT (the serotonin transporter) encoded by the SLC6A4 gene might show some connection to 'some' autism [2], looked to model........ Read more »

Margolis KG, Li Z, Stevanovic K, Saurman V, Israelyan N, Anderson GM, Snyder I, Veenstra-VanderWeele J, Blakely RD, & Gershon MD. (2016) Serotonin transporter variant drives preventable gastrointestinal abnormalities in development and function. The Journal of clinical investigation. PMID: 27111230  

  • May 11, 2016
  • 03:57 AM
  • 517 views

Vitamin D and autism: the story so far...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I don't want to keep you too long today aside from directing you to the literature review by Hajar Mazahery and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) discussing the collected peer-review literature on the topic of vitamin D and autism to date.Anyone that stops by this blog might already know about my interest in the science around this issue (see here and see here for example) and how quite a few more resources really should be directed into this 'sunshine' research area. The Mazahery........ Read more »

Mazahery H, Camargo CA, Conlon C, Beck KL, Kruger MC, & von Hurst PR. (2016) Vitamin D and Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Literature Review. Nutrients, 8(4). PMID: 27110819  

  • May 10, 2016
  • 05:29 AM
  • 583 views

What does a gluten-free diet do to the gut microbiome?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

In answer to the question posed in the title of this post: "A GFD [gluten-free diet] changes the gut microbiome composition and alters the activity of microbial pathways."So said the findings reported by Marc Jan Bonder and colleagues [1] (open-access) who presented results based on the "changes in the gut microbiomes of 21 healthy volunteers who followed a GFD for four weeks." Said research volunteers (12 women and 9 men) initially followed a GFD for 4 weeks following some baseli........ Read more »

Bonder MJ, Tigchelaar EF, Cai X, Trynka G, Cenit MC, Hrdlickova B, Zhong H, Vatanen T, Gevers D, Wijmenga C.... (2016) The influence of a short-term gluten-free diet on the human gut microbiome. Genome medicine, 8(1), 45. PMID: 27102333  

  • May 9, 2016
  • 03:58 AM
  • 521 views

Water, carbamazepine and mother-embryo transmission

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"These results provide the first evidence that carbamazepine in drinking water and at typical environmental concentrations is transmitted from mother to embryo."So said the findings reported by Gaurav Kaushik and colleagues [1] who continued a research theme looking at the possibility of an environmental 'exposome' also potentially overlapping with [some] autism (see here). The autism connection came from the a paper by Thomas & Klaper [2] who previously reported that putting fish in a ........ Read more »

  • May 7, 2016
  • 04:54 AM
  • 574 views

The darker side to swimming with dolphins?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Described under the heading of a 'Challenging Case', the paper by Randall Phelps and colleagues [1] titled 'The Curse of the Dolphins: Cognitive Decline and Psychosis' highlights an intriguing case report potentially suggestive of a darker side to the idea of swimming with dolphins.Yes, you did hear me right - dolphins - those aquatic mammals regarded as one of the earth's most intelligent creatures and the suggestion that swimming with them might somehow 'impact' on aspects of a person's functi........ Read more »

Phelps R, Tsai A, Hagen A, Pinter J, Smith R, & Stein MT. (2016) The Curse of the Dolphins: Cognitive Decline and Psychosis. Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP. PMID: 27096574  

  • May 6, 2016
  • 03:51 AM
  • 538 views

Autism prevalence in the Somali population in Minneapolis continued

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

A very quick post today to direct you to the paper by Amy Hewitt and colleagues [1] who seem to have finally published their findings on autism prevalence in the Somali population in Minneapolis in the peer-reviewed domain. I had previously covered their report on this blog (see here) and the suggestion that: "Somali (1 in 32) and White (1 in 36) children were about equally likely to be identified with ASD [autism spectrum disorder], but more likely to be identified with ASD than Black and ........ Read more »

Hewitt, A., Hall-Lande, J., Hamre, K., Esler, A., Punyko, J., Reichle, J., & Gulaid, A. (2016) Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Prevalence in Somali and Non-Somali Children. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-016-2793-6  

  • May 5, 2016
  • 03:53 AM
  • 566 views

NAC for 'social impairment' in youth with autism... probably not

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The results of this trial indicate that NAC [N-acetylcysteine]  treatment was well tolerated, had the expected effect of boosting GSH [glutathione] production, but had no significant impact on social impairment in youth with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."So said the results reported by Logan Wink and colleagues [1] (open-access) who, continuing an autism research theme, looked at whether this important L-cysteine prodrug might have more to give when it comes to a........ Read more »

  • May 4, 2016
  • 03:34 AM
  • 577 views

The developmental correlates of asthma (again)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Can I just get it out of the way? May the 4th be with you.OK. The results from Mark Strom & Jonathan Silverberg [1] caught my eye recently and further evidence of a 'correlation' between asthma and developmental and/or behavioural outcomes. This time around it was "caregiver-reported speech disorders in US children" and how the appearance of asthma, hay fever and/or food allergy might show some important relationships with something like speech disorder. This follows other, similar work from........ Read more »

Strom MA, & Silverberg JI. (2016) Asthma, hay fever and food allergy are associated with caregiver-reported speech disorders in US children. Pediatric allergy and immunology : official publication of the European Society of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology. PMID: 27091599  

  • May 3, 2016
  • 03:58 AM
  • 554 views

Machine learning applied to autism screening going big time?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Machine learning, when machines, er.. learn, is of growing interest to the autism research field. The names Wall and Duda have filled quite a few posts on this blog (see here and see here for example) on this topic and their suggesting that applying machine learning algorithms to something like autism screening and detection could cut down on time taken and resources used.As per the publication of the paper by Daniel Bone and colleagues [1] it appears that others working in autism research are a........ Read more »

  • May 2, 2016
  • 03:55 AM
  • 588 views

On defining chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME)

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Most people who know a little bit about chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) will probably understand the potential importance of the findings reported by Leonard Jason and colleagues [1] (open-access available here). Suggesting that there may be "four groupings of patients" when it comes to how we "name and define the illnesses", this research group who surveyed over 500 people "in the United States, Great Britain, and Norway" report on one of the biggest challenge........ Read more »

Jason LA, McManimen S, Sunnquist M, Brown A, Furst J, Newton JL, & Strand EB. (2016) Case definitions integrating empiric and consensus perspectives. Fatigue : biomedicine, health , 4(1), 1-23. PMID: 27088059  

  • April 30, 2016
  • 03:45 AM
  • 526 views

The 'anti-neuroinflammatory activity' of oxytocin

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Whilst the package inserts of the various drugs that modern medicine has at its disposal provides important information on potential mode of action, there is a growing realisation that drugs generally have quite a few more molecular targets than are perhaps listed. Take for example the quite commonly used (in some parts of the world anyway) compound called melatonin  that in some instances can provide almost miraculous relief when it comes to sleeping issues under certain circumstances. A d........ Read more »

  • April 29, 2016
  • 03:33 AM
  • 559 views

Organophosphate exposure and ADHD?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Children with higher urinary DMP [dimethylphosphate] concentrations may have a twofold to threefold increased risk of being diagnosed with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder]."So said the results presented in the paper by Yu and colleagues [1] who looking at "97 doctor-diagnosed ADHD cases and 110 non-ADHD controls who were 4-15 years of age" examined urine and blood samples for various factors including "biomarkers of OP [organophosphate] pesticide exposure." Th........ Read more »

  • April 28, 2016
  • 03:55 AM
  • 528 views

What parents of children with autism expect from their child's therapists

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Parents ultimately wanted therapists to produce positive outcomes for their children and were willing to sacrifice other desired qualities, as long as the therapy program was effective."and"The SLPs [Speech-Language Pathologists] expressed strong support for evidence-based practice (EBP) and indicated that they thought parents expected their children would be provided with evidence-based interventions."Those quotes come from two papers recently published in the same journal; the first........ Read more »

  • April 27, 2016
  • 04:07 AM
  • 592 views

The A Word: the science behind...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The A WordI'm not typically inclined to talk about TV programmes on this blog (well, not usually) but today I'm making an exception based on the conclusion of the BBC drama series 'The A Word' last evening.For those who might not know, this [fictional] series charts the ups and downs of a family living in the Lake District whose lives are in one way or another touched by autism as a function of a 5-year old boy diagnosed with the condition. The show had a notable addition to the cast with a very........ Read more »

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