Using online social media does not lead to long-term problems with our ability to concentrate, according to new research. We are social animals, so it is really no surprise that billions of us now use online tools to communicate, educate and inform each other. The advent of social media and social networking has nevertheless been phenomenally rapid.
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"Hypertension in pregnancy was associated with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] in this population even after controlling for known confounders."So said the findings reported by Eileen Curran and colleagues  who, once again (see here), relied on "data from the Millennium Cohort Study" to produce some potentially important information about how adverse pregnancy conditions may/may not impact on offspring behaviour and development.Hypertension (a.k.a high blood pressure) during pre........ Read more »
Eileen A. Curran, Ali S. Khashan, Gerard W. O’Keeffe, & Louise C. Kenny. (2016) 35 Hypertension in pregnancy and autism spectrum disorder in a British cohort. regnancy Hypertension: An International Journal of Women's Cardiovascular Health., 153. info:/
In answer to the question that titles this post on whether parental age differences at offspring conception might matter when it comes to offspring risk of autism or schizophrenia, the answer is very possibly. As the paper by Byars & Boomsma  (open-access) reports: "Our study shows that autistic and schizophrenic disorder risks tend to be higher, in more dissimilarly aged parents, relative to parents with the most similar ages." This age disparity issue has been mentioned previously in th........ Read more »
Byars SG, & Boomsma JJ. (2016) Opposite differential risks for autism and schizophrenia based on maternal age, paternal age, and parental age differences. Evolution, medicine, and public health, 2016(1), 286-98. PMID: 27637201
There are many reports of drug use leading to mental health problems, and we all know of someone having a few too many drinks to cope with a bad day. Many people who are diagnosed with a mental health disorder indulge in drugs, and vice versa. As severity of both increase, problems arise and they become more difficult to treat. But why substance involvement and psychiatric disorders often co-occur is not well understood.
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Carey, C., Agrawal, A., Bucholz, K., Hartz, S., Lynskey, M., Nelson, E., Bierut, L., & Bogdan, R. (2016) Associations between Polygenic Risk for Psychiatric Disorders and Substance Involvement. Frontiers in Genetics. DOI: 10.3389/fgene.2016.00149
"Biomarker studies of PUFA [polyunsaturated fatty acid] and treatment studies of n-3 [omega-3] PUFA in bipolar disorder show promise for indicating a way forward in the study of PUFA in bipolar disorder."I don't want to labour any points raised by the review of studies published by Erika Saunders and colleagues  looking at fatty acids and bipolar disorder but there does seem to be a familiar ring to the current evidence base on how for at least 'some' cases of bipolar diso........ Read more »
Saunders EF, Ramsden CE, Sherazy MS, Gelenberg AJ, Davis JM, & Rapoport SI. (2016) Omega-3 and Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Bipolar Disorder: A Review of Biomarker and Treatment Studies. The Journal of clinical psychiatry. PMID: 27631140
Scientists have discovered a new pathway in the brain that can be manipulated to alleviate depression. The pathway offers a promising new target for developing a drug that could be effective in individuals for whom other antidepressants have failed. New antidepressant options are important because a significant number of patients don't adequately improve with currently available antidepressant drugs.
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Brooker SM, Gobeske KT, Chen J, Peng CY, & Kessler JA. (2016) Hippocampal bone morphogenetic protein signaling mediates behavioral effects of antidepressant treatment. Molecular psychiatry. PMID: 27698430
The quote: "a low prevalence of definite pathology in children with autism spectrum disorder undergoing brain MRI [magnetic resonance imaging]" heading up today's post is taken from the paper by Alison Cooper and colleagues  who among other things, examined whether MRI picked up anything 'useful' when it came to autism / autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in their cohort. MRI, by the way, refers to the fantastic imaging technology that provides those rather detailed pictures of our inner bod........ Read more »
Cooper AS, Friedlaender E, Levy SE, Shekdar KV, Bradford AB, Wells KE, & Mollen C. (2016) The Implications of Brain MRI in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of child neurology. PMID: 27629267
Patients who return to pre-injury activities one year after an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction reported being more motivated prior to and during the rehabilitation process to return to these activities than athletes who did not return to pre-injury activities.... Read more »
Sonesson S, Kvist J, Ardern C, Österberg A, & Silbernagel KG. (2016) Psychological factors are important to return to pre-injury sport activity after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: expect and motivate to satisfy. Knee surgery, sports traumatology, arthroscopy : official journal of the ESSKA. PMID: 27562372
Can we and should we formally 'teach' humour to people diagnosed on the autism spectrum? Indeed, do we actually need to?Yes said the results of the study published by Ching-Lin Wu and colleagues  although I personally am not so impressed.Discussing how their results "supported the effectiveness of the 15-hour training" regime, Wu et al report that for a small group of adolescents diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) "and average intelligence" moves to implement "a humor-knowl........ Read more »
Wu, C., Liu, Y., Kuo, C., Chen, H., & Chang, Y. (2016) Effectiveness of humor training among adolescents with autism. Psychiatry Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2016.09.016
Another short post today opening with the conclusion reached in the paper by Andrew Cashin and colleagues : "From the findings, it can be stated with confidence that people with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] have a high rate of comorbidity and increased risk for chronic disease."Yes, not new news to many that physical health is generally 'under-rated' when it comes to adult autism (see here and see here for examples). The question remains however: what are we all going to........ Read more »
Cashin A, Buckley T, Trollor JN, & Lennox N. (2016) A scoping review of what is known of the physical health of adults with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of intellectual disabilities : JOID. PMID: 27623754
Nature or nurture? The quest to understand why humans kill one another has occupied the minds of philosophers, sociologists and psychologists for centuries. Are we innately violent, as Englishman Thomas Hobbes postulated in the 1650s, or is our behaviour influenced more by the environment we grow up in, as Jean-Jacques Rousseau theorised a century later?
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I'm cheating a little bit today as minus too much critical commentary or discussion, I'm drawing your attention to the paper by Tony Salvatore and colleagues  (open-access) on a most important topic: suicide risk and autism.Written by authors who between them seem to know quite a bit about autism and also managing suicide prevention particularly under crisis conditions, I reckon this review article is one of the best we have so far in this area. I say that on the basis that not only are estim........ Read more »
Chang, B., Franklin, J., Ribeiro, J., Fox, K., Bentley, K., Kleiman, E., & Nock, M. (2016) Biological risk factors for suicidal behaviors: a meta-analysis. Translational Psychiatry, 6(9). DOI: 10.1038/tp.2016.165
"The results indicate that there is an elevated injury risk among Swedish schoolchildren with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] but not for children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."So went the findings reported by Carl Bonander and colleagues  providing yet more important data on how a diagnosis of ADHD might be something that confers quite a bit of additional risk for all-manner of different negative outcomes.I've hinted at this important topic before as per........ Read more »
Bonander C, Beckman L, Janson S, & Jernbro C. (2016) Injury risks in schoolchildren with attention-deficit/hyperactivity or autism spectrum disorder: Results from two school-based health surveys of 6- to 17-year-old children in Sweden. Journal of safety research, 49-56. PMID: 27620934
They've finally arrived. The results of the English Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2014 have been published by NHS Digital (yes, our Nation's healthcare services has a digital arm) and when it comes to autism (adult autism 18 years+), some rather peculiar statistics have been produced.OK, for those who want/need a quick heads-up on all-things Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (APMS), I'll refer you to a previous post I wrote covering this prevalence survey with autism in mind........ Read more »
Brugha TS, McManus S, Smith J, Scott FJ, Meltzer H, Purdon S, Berney T, Tantam D, Robinson J, Radley J.... (2012) Validating two survey methods for identifying cases of autism spectrum disorder among adults in the community. Psychological medicine, 42(3), 647-56. PMID: 21798110
"School-based interventions should address malleable factors such as the number of peer connections and received friendships that predict the best social outcomes for children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."So said the study findings reported by Jill Locke and colleagues  looking at "the stable (unlikely to change) and malleable (changeable) characteristics of socially successful children with ASD."Mindful that the phrase 'socially successful children' is perhaps not one that I'm p........ Read more »
Locke J, Williams J, Shih W, & Kasari C. (2016) Characteristics of socially successful elementary school-aged children with autism. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines. PMID: 27620949
Please use your full stops wisely.I believe that this is the first time that I've talked about postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS) on this blog as I bring to your attention some rather intriguing findings reported by Hugo Penny and colleagues  on how PoTS and gluten-related disorders might not be unstrange diagnostic bedfellows.PoTS by the way, describes symptoms where standing upright / sitting down induces dizziness, fainting and other symptoms. As well as being quite prevalent in a c........ Read more »
Penny, H., Aziz, I., Ferrar, M., Atkinson, J., Hoggard, N., Hadjivassiliou, M., West, J., & Sanders, D. (2016) Is there a relationship between gluten sensitivity and postural tachycardia syndrome?. European Journal of Gastroenterology , 1. DOI: 10.1097/MEG.0000000000000740
What do you see in the picture? An elephant, right?
Some will say that they see an African elephant, or perhaps an elephant in the savannah protecting from the sun in the shade of a tree. But who sees an elephant and a majestic flowering baobab surrounded by savannah shrubs in a dry grass meadow?
If your answer is the latter, congratulations, you are a quite unique case. If in the picture you just see “an elephant” then you are just like most of the people around you.
This pheno........ Read more »
"Elevated peripheral pro-NT [neurotensin] levels reflect more severe forms of active celiac disease, indicating a potential role of NT in intestinal inflammation."The suggestion, from Caroline Montén and colleagues , that the neuropeptide called neurotensin might play a role in paediatric coeliac disease is an interesting one that caught my eye recently. Interesting not only because of the potential implications for the archetypal 'gluten-causing' autoimmune condition cal........ Read more »
Montén C, Torinsson Naluai Å, & Agardh D. (2016) Role of pro-neurotensin as marker of paediatric celiac disease. Clinical and experimental immunology. PMID: 27612962
by Piter Kehoma Boll One of the most difficult concepts to explain in biology is certainly life itself. But I am not here today to talk about the definition of life, but rather of another puzzling concept: behavior. Behavior is the … Continue reading →... Read more »
Bergner, R. (2016) What is behavior? And why is it not reducible to biological states of affairs?. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 36(1), 41-55. DOI: 10.1037/teo0000026
Levitis, D., Lidicker, W., & Freund, G. (2009) Behavioural biologists do not agree on what constitutes behaviour. Animal Behaviour, 78(1), 103-110. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.03.018
Why do more men die when they attempt suicide than women? The answer could lie in four traits, finds scientists. There are over 6,000 British lives lost to suicide each year, and nearly 75 per cent of those are male. However, research has found women are more likely to suffer from depression, and to attempt to take their own life.
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Deshpande, G., Baxi, M., Witte, T., & Robinson, J. (2016) A Neural Basis for the Acquired Capability for Suicide. Frontiers in Psychiatry. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2016.00125
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