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  • May 15, 2017
  • 04:33 AM
  • 125 views

Intestinal dysbiosis, irritable bowel syndrome and ME/CFS

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I don't want to spend too much time talking about yet another paper from the research tag-team that is Hornig & Lipkin [1] (open-access) on the topic of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). But this latest addition to their research repertoire (see here) is deserving of several comments.Not least are the observations made by the authors - including one Brent Williams who some might remember from autism research history (see here) and Jose Montoya who has als........ Read more »

Nagy-Szakal D, Williams BL, Mishra N, Che X, Lee B, Bateman L, Klimas NG, Komaroff AL, Levine S, Montoya JG.... (2017) Fecal metagenomic profiles in subgroups of patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. Microbiome, 5(1), 44. PMID: 28441964  

  • May 13, 2017
  • 04:42 AM
  • 163 views

Welcoming zonulin into autism research

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I was VERY happy to read the paper published by Erman Esnafoglu and colleagues [1] suggesting that: "zonulin, which regulates intestinal permeability, plays a role in the development of symptoms of ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."Zonulin - something that "can be used as a biomarker of impaired gut barrier function for several autoimmune, neurodegenerative, and tumoral diseases" [2] - is a compound that I've been interested in for a while on this and other blogs (see here). The primary ........ Read more »

Esnafoglu, E., Cırrık, S., Ayyıldız, S., Erdil, A., Ertürk, E., Daglı, A., & Noyan, T. (2017) Increased Serum Zonulin Levels as an Intestinal Permeability Marker in Autistic Subjects. The Journal of Pediatrics. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2017.04.004  

  • May 12, 2017
  • 08:30 AM
  • 165 views

Could Parasites Be Causing Prostate Cancer?

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

New study shows that a common parasite called Toxoplasma gondii forms tissue cysts and causes inflammation in mouse prostates. ... Read more »

  • May 12, 2017
  • 03:02 AM
  • 165 views

Physical exercise as a nootropic of choice

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Nootropic, defined as a 'smart drug' or cognitive enhancer, is generally taken to mean a substance/compound/medicine that has some positive effect(s) on aspects of cognition. I've talked about the possibility that various compounds might fit this bill on this blog (see here for example) but today I'm discussing another quite important potential nootropic: exercise.It was the paper by Joseph Michael Northery and colleagues [1] (open-access) that added exercise to the nootropic categoris........ Read more »

  • May 11, 2017
  • 03:08 AM
  • 166 views

Could an "ill-state" associated with anorexia nervosa mimic the symptoms of autism?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The question posed in the title of this post 'Could an "ill-state" associated with anorexia nervosa mimic the symptoms of autism?' stems from the findings reported by Heather Westwood and colleagues [1] (open-access).They continued a research theme looking at the potential 'overlap' when it comes to autism and eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa (AN) (see here). Notably, researchers questioned whether the finding that some 50% of their cohort "scored above the clinical cut-off on the ........ Read more »

  • May 10, 2017
  • 04:30 AM
  • 161 views

Eating Disorders Persist Over Entire Season

by Nicole Cattano in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

Female athletes with an eating disorder will most likely continue to have the eating disorder throughout their competitive season.... Read more »

  • May 10, 2017
  • 02:35 AM
  • 163 views

Conviction for violence and autism: comorbidity counts

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I tread carefully when discussing the results published by Ragini Heeramun and colleagues [1] on the topic of "whether autism is associated with convictions for violent crimes" and "the associated risk and protective factors." Carefully because, as I've indicated on other occasions (see here), people commit crimes not labels, and sweeping generalisations about labels, specific types of crime and/or the concept of 'dangerousness' tend to do very little to help anyone in the long term.St........ Read more »

Heeramun, R., Magnusson, C., Gumpert, C., Granath, S., Lundberg, M., Dalman, C., & Rai, D. (2017) Autism and Convictions for Violent Crimes: Population-Based Cohort Study in Sweden. Journal of the American Academy of Child . DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2017.03.011  

  • May 9, 2017
  • 04:24 AM
  • 172 views

"Medical Conditions in the First Years of Life Associated with Future Diagnosis of ASD"

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I rank the paper by Stacey Alexeeff and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) as being in the 'pretty important' category when it comes to hierarchy in autism research. Not only because of their use of data derived from Kaiser Permanente (KP) (quite a large US healthcare provider that has some autism research history) including some "3911 ASD [autism spectrum disorder] cases and 38,609 controls" but also because some of the findings reiterate what is already 'known' abo........ Read more »

Alexeeff SE, Yau V, Qian Y, Davignon M, Lynch F, Crawford P, Davis R, & Croen LA. (2017) Medical Conditions in the First Years of Life Associated with Future Diagnosis of ASD in Children. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. PMID: 28434058  

  • May 8, 2017
  • 04:30 AM
  • 153 views

Athletic Trainers in High Schools Could Help to Bridge the Gap in Racial Disparities in Adolescent Athlete Health Care

by Jane McDevitt in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

White athletes had more concussion knowledge compared to African Americans; however, African Americans that had access to an athletic trainer had greater knowledge of concussion sign and symptoms than those without an athletic trainer.... Read more »

  • May 8, 2017
  • 03:04 AM
  • 149 views

Vitamin D genes and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"Vitamin D deficiency is a putative environmental risk factor for autism spectrum disorder (ASD)."And..."We provide straightforward genetic evidences for the first time that VDRGs [vitamin D-related genes] with a strong degree of DNM [de novo mutations] burden in ASD and DNMs of VDRGs could be involved in the mechanism underlying in ASD pathogenesis."That was the research bottom line reported on by Jinchen Li and colleagues [1] examining an important part of the whole 'vitami........ Read more »

Li J, Wang L, Yu P, Shi L, Zhang K, Sun ZS, & Xia K. (2017) Vitamin D-related genes are subjected to significant de novo mutation burdens in autism spectrum disorder. American journal of medical genetics. Part B, Neuropsychiatric genetics : the official publication of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics. PMID: 28407358  

  • May 6, 2017
  • 05:03 AM
  • 163 views

Congenital heart disease and autism and ADHD: Taiwan wades in

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The incidence rates of perinatal comorbidities, EDD [early developmental disorders], ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder], and ASD [autism spectrum disorder] were higher in the CHD [congenital heart disease] group than in the control group."So said the findings reported by Pei-Chen Tsao and colleagues [1] investigating an issue that has cropped up more than once on this blog in relation to the developmental/behavioural correlates possibly associated with........ Read more »

  • May 5, 2017
  • 07:00 AM
  • 86 views

Friday Fellow: Toxo

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll If I had to bet on a parasite that you who are reading this probably have in your body, I’d go for today’s fellow, the protist Toxoplasma gondii, sometimes simply called toxo. Found worldwide, the toxo is … Continue reading →... Read more »

Tenter, A., Heckeroth, A., & Weiss, L. (2000) Toxoplasma gondii: from animals to humans. International Journal for Parasitology, 30(12-13), 1217-1258. DOI: 10.1016/S0020-7519(00)00124-7  

  • May 5, 2017
  • 02:55 AM
  • 178 views

Trends in ADHD medication use in the US and Europe: is this a bad thing?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I don't want to dwell too much on the findings reported by Christian Bachmann and colleagues [1] observing that in five Western countries - Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) - ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) medication use between 2005/2006-2012 was on the increase. But I do think it is important to mention some of the implications from such figures and some of the positives and negatives associated with such generated........ Read more »

Bachmann CJ, Wijlaars LP, Kalverdijk LJ, Burcu M, Glaeske G, Schuiling-Veninga CC, Hoffmann F, Aagaard L, & Zito JM. (2017) Trends in ADHD medication use in children and adolescents in five western countries, 2005-2012. European neuropsychopharmacology : the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology. PMID: 28336088  

  • May 4, 2017
  • 03:15 AM
  • 199 views

Self-reported sexual attraction and autism

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The findings reported by Tamara May and colleagues [1] are discussed today, looking at self-reported sexual attraction and past sexual relationships among adolescents diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with not-autism controls.Asking 14-15 year olds who took part in The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (94 diagnosed with autism and some 3400 controls) some rather personal questions, researchers reported that: "ASD males reported fewer prior boyfriends/gi........ Read more »

  • May 3, 2017
  • 02:53 AM
  • 192 views

ADHD and suicide

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"There is a positive association between ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder] and suicidality in both sexes and in all age groups."So said the results of the systematic review published by Balazs & Kereszteny [1] (open-access available here) who surveyed the recent peer-reviewed literature on the topic between 2011 and 2015. Reporting results based on findings included in 26 papers, authors concluded that suicidality - ideation, behavior, attempts, and suicide ........ Read more »

  • May 2, 2017
  • 03:00 AM
  • 206 views

Mitochondrial mutations are not common in chronic fatigue syndrome but...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"We report the complete mtDNA [mitochondrial DNA] sequence of 93 CFS [chronic fatigue syndrome] patients from the UK and RSA, without finding evidence of clinically proven mtDNA mutations."So said the results reported by Elizna Schoeman and colleagues [1] (open-access available here) who drew on other research previously covered on this blog (see here) suggesting that "symptoms of mitochondrial diseases and CFS frequently overlap and can easily be mistaken" to look-see whether iss........ Read more »

Schoeman EM, Van Der Westhuizen FH, Erasmus E, van Dyk E, Knowles CV, Al-Ali S, Ng WF, Taylor RW, Newton JL, & Elson JL. (2017) Clinically proven mtDNA mutations are not common in those with chronic fatigue syndrome. BMC medical genetics, 18(1), 29. PMID: 28302057  

  • May 1, 2017
  • 05:22 AM
  • 208 views

On abuse exposure and mate selection

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The paper by Andrea Roberts and colleagues [1] is offered up for brief discussion today, and a slightly uncomfortable but nonetheless potentially important set of results that "provide evidence that childhood abuse affects mate selection, with implications for offspring health."I tread very carefully with this topic but was intrigued by the findings looking at whether 'offspring health' in the context of the presence of autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) might be at least sometimes mediate........ Read more »

  • April 29, 2017
  • 05:18 AM
  • 240 views

When grandmothers smoked during pregnancy...

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Please, do not smoke during pregnancyALSPAC - the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children - continues to give in research terms as today I want to mention the findings reported by Jean Golding and colleagues [1] (open-access) observing "an association between maternal grandmother smoking in pregnancy and grand daughters having adverse scores in Social Communication and Repetitive Behaviour measures that are independently predictive of diagnosed autism."The study results have garnere........ Read more »

Golding J, Ellis G, Gregory S, Birmingham K, Iles-Caven Y, Rai D, & Pembrey M. (2017) Grand-maternal smoking in pregnancy and grandchild's autistic traits and diagnosed autism. Scientific reports, 46179. PMID: 28448061  

  • April 28, 2017
  • 03:04 AM
  • 243 views

Autism, pregnancy maternal immune activation and vitamin D?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Today's post is a bit of a mash-up, drawing on two articles quite recently published in the peer-reviewed science domain.The first is by Stephanie Vuillermot and colleagues [1] (open-access) suggesting that "early dietary supplementation with vitamin D may open new avenues for a successful attenuation or even prevention of neurodevelopmental disorders following maternal inflammation during pregnancy." These findings have also received some media attention (see here for example) and continue........ Read more »

  • April 27, 2017
  • 02:57 AM
  • 262 views

Is screen time a risk factor for ADHD?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The findings reported by Vivien Suchert and colleagues [1] observing that "screen time, but not other non-screen-based sedentary activities should be considered as being a risk factor for ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder]" taps into long-running debates on whether our societal obsession with watching, clicking and swiping might not be 'a totally positive thing' when it comes to psychological development, health and wellbeing.Yes, I know this is a complicated area ful........ Read more »

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