Posts

October 29, 2014

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8:36 AM | The stability of an Asperger syndrome diagnosis
"Asperger Syndrome, when considered as an ASD/PDD [autism spectrum disorder/pervasive developmental disorder] diagnosis, was fairly stable into adulthood, but there was a significant increase over time in cases no longer meeting criteria for an ASD diagnosis according to the DSM-IV, or AS according to the Gillberg criteria".The night is darkest just before the dawn.That was one of the primary conclusions made in the paper by Adam Helles and colleagues [1] who prospectively followed a group […]

Adam Helles, Carina I. Gillberg, Christopher Gillberg & Eva Billstedt (2014). sperger syndrome in males over two decades: stability and predictors of diagnosis, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Other:

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October 28, 2014

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10:06 PM | Rapa Expedition: Diving the Marotiri Maelstrom
Kike Ballesteros and Alan Friedlander dive the dangerous and unpredictable Marotiri Shoals, battling the elements to collect scientific data. Curious onlookers, in the form of large predators, come to join them.
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8:59 PM | Rapa Expedition: Human Impacts on Wild Sharks
With many sharks sighted in Marotiri with fishing hooks protruding from their bodies, it seems that almost nothing is untouched by man. However, human impact can also be positive—will the Expedition be able to help these sharks?
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8:56 PM | Rapa Expedition: What Do Sharks Do When We’re Not Looking?
To film animal behavior out of the view of human eyes, the team deploys cameras to drift in the open ocean and record whatever comes their way.
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7:42 AM | Zinc and depression
"Low dietary zinc intake is associated with a greater incidence of depression in both men and women, as shown in two prospective cohorts".At the risk of overdoing the whole 'you are what you eat' sentiment, today I'm addressing a portion of the peer-reviewed research literature linking issues with zinc availability to depression. That opening quote by the way, comes from the paper by Khanrin Phungamla Vashum and colleagues [1] who looked at self-reported dietary intake of zinc based on […]

Vashum KP, McEvoy M, Milton AH, McElduff P, Hure A, Byles J & Attia J (2014). Dietary zinc is associated with a lower incidence of depression: findings from two Australian cohorts., Journal of affective disorders, 166 249-57. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25012438

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October 27, 2014

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5:56 PM | Rapa Expedition: The Untamed Ocean Hits Marotiri
The Pristine Seas team finally arrives at the rocky islets of Marotiri, a violent melee of rocks and waves, hiding a stark environment below.
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8:37 AM | Diagnosing autism late: after psychosis
The case report from Marly Simoncini and colleagues [1] (open-access) is the topic of today's post. Describing the case of Mr. A, a young man who attempted suicide during a psychotic episode, the paper tracks the developmental history and diagnostic evaluation of this person culminating in a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) "that had been completely overlooked".The best thing we can do is go on with our daily routineThe paper is open-access and I would encourage readers to take […]

Simoncini, M., Miniati, M., Vanelli, F., Callari, A., Vannucchi, G., Mauri, M. & Dell’Osso, L. (2014). Lifetime Autism Spectrum Features in a Patient with a Psychotic Mixed Episode Who Attempted Suicide, Case Reports in Psychiatry, 2014 1-4. DOI: 10.1155/2014/459524

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October 25, 2014

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5:23 PM | Rapa Expedition: Mystery at the Bottom of the Sea
As the Pristine Seas team examines the corals and algae of far southern French Polynesia, an army of sea urchins and a wall of seaweed pose an intriguing mystery.
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7:47 AM | Autism and intolerance of uncertainty
Good morning, gentlemen, the temperature is 110 degrees'Change' is often mentioned as something potentially problematic for many on the autism spectrum, and how unexpected change can sometimes have profound effects in terms of those so-called 'challenging behaviours' or when it comes to the presentation of important comorbidity such as anxiety. Like many others from the outside looking in, I was always taught that change as a more general concept was the important issue in autism, but recently […]

Boulter C, Freeston M, South M & Rodgers J (2014). Intolerance of uncertainty as a framework for understanding anxiety in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders., Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 44 (6) 1391-402. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24272526

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October 24, 2014

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5:58 PM | Rapa Expedition: Surrounded by Sharks at Last
After days of diving on fairly fishless reefs, the Pristine Seas team gets a thrill encountering large numbers of sharks swarming around soaring coral towers.
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6:51 AM | Autism, siblings and DSM-5 Social Communication Disorder
A quick post to bring to your attention the paper by Meghan Miller and colleagues [1] who concluded that: "Pragmatic language problems are present in some siblings of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] as early as 36 months of age". Further: "As the new DSM-5 diagnosis of Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder (SCD) is thought to occur more frequently in family members of individuals with ASD, it is possible that some of these siblings will meet criteria for SCD as […]

October 23, 2014

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8:46 AM | Postpartum depression and the broader autism phenotype?
"The findings suggest that pregnant women with BAP [broader autism phenotype] have an elevated risk for PPD [postpartum depression]".That was the conclusion reached by Ryosuke Asano and colleagues [1] based on their analysis of data derived from the Hamamatsu Birth Cohort (HBC) Study [2]. The idea being that the more subtle presentation of issues linked to a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (the BAP) might predispose to a great likelihood of other behavioural or […]

Asano, R., Tsuchiya, K., Takei, N., Harada, T., Kugizaki, Y., Nakahara, R., Nakayasu, C., Okumura, A., Suzuki, Y., Takagai, S. & Mori, N. (2014). Broader autism phenotype as a risk factor for postpartum depression: Hamamatsu Birth Cohort (HBC) Study, Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 8 (12) 1672-1678. DOI: 10.1016/j.rasd.2014.08.010

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October 22, 2014

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8:41 PM | Rapa Expedition: Fish Finding Their Footing
The Pristine Seas Expedition gets its first dive in at Rapa, and brings us photos from beneath the waves of the far-flung island.
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6:42 PM | Whistleblower Who Exposed White House Tampering with Climate Science Dies
Rick Piltz passed away last Saturday. He spent decades working in the federal government and state government in Texas, and was a prominent whistleblower during the Bush administration. He later... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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8:26 AM | Autism, parental concerns and socioeconomic status
I'd like to think that there are some rather important messages to be taken from the paper by Xiang Sun and colleagues [1] on level of parental concern, socioeconomic status (SES) and risk of autism. Not only did the authors conclude that: "a higher SES was not associated with the risk of having ASC [autism spectrum conditions]" they also found that: "No child met ASC criteria where parents expressed no concerns".Do you prefer "fashion victim" or "ensembly challenged"?SES - including […]

Sun, X., Allison, C., Auyeung, B., Baron-Cohen, S. & Brayne, C. (2014). Parental concerns, socioeconomic status, and the risk of autism spectrum conditions in a population-based study, Research in Developmental Disabilities, 35 (12) 3678-3688. DOI: 10.1016/j.ridd.2014.07.037

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7:08 AM | Learned Optimism: The Cup Half Full
If you’ve ever taken an intro psychology class, one thing that you’re bound to encounter is ‘the cup’. Now, this cup is unique in the fact that scholars and non scholars alike seem to wage a fierce debate over the contents of said cup. One side says that this proverbial cup is half empty... The post Learned Optimism: The Cup Half Full appeared first on .

October 21, 2014

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10:02 PM | Rapa Expedition: An Ancient Secret for Protecting the Future
People have survived for centuries on the tiny island of Rapa, carefully managing their resources through an ancient system known as rahui. What lessons does it hold for the rest of the world today?
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8:53 AM | Antibiotics and childhood obesity: a weighty correlation
It's been a few weeks since the publication of the paper by L. Charles Bailey and colleagues [1] correlating early multiple exposure to broad spectrum antibiotics with obesity in infancy. On purpose I've left it a while before talking about this research so as to let the scientific dust settle a little and get a flavour for some of the discussions about this research (see here and see here).You're a true vulgarian, aren't you?A few details about the Bailey study first:Looking at the […]

Bailey LC, Forrest CB, Zhang P, Richards TM, Livshits A & DeRusso PA (2014). Association of Antibiotics in Infancy With Early Childhood Obesity., JAMA pediatrics, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25265089

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October 20, 2014

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2:25 PM | Stunning New Gorilla Documentary Brings DiCaprio and Netflix Together
Lionardo DiCaprio, the American film-star and outspoken environmentalist, has teamed up with online streaming giant Netflix to release one of this year’s most exciting documentaries: VIRUNGA.  Director Orlando von Einsiedel spent 11 months in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2011 and 2012, filming the rangers in Virunga National Park who watch over the park’s rare…
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1:39 PM | Rapa Expedition: Off the Ship, Into the Jungle
With winds so strong the waterfalls were flowing upwards, the Pristine Seas crew lands at Rapa Iti and must hike the final miles to make it to the Island Council meeting for permission to begin the expedition.
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8:36 AM | Reasons for visiting ER by those with autism
ER - Emergency Room - or as we call it here in Blighty Accident & Emergency (A & E), is never a particularly desirable place to visit given the emphasis on illness or injury of yourself or loved one. That being said, staff there do a sterling job sometimes under very stressful circumstances, responding to all-manner of complaints, some of which are life-threatening.The paper by Dorothea Iannuzzi and colleagues [1] sought to identify some of the medical reasons why ER […]

Iannuzzi DA, Cheng ER, Broder-Fingert S & Bauman ML (2014). Brief Report: Emergency Department Utilization by Individuals with Autism., Journal of autism and developmental disorders, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25261249

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October 18, 2014

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9:47 PM | Rapa Expedition: Polynesian Words of Inspiration
In anticipation of Pristine Seas crew's arrival at Rapa Iti, team member Poema du Prel from Tahiti shares her reflections on the mission, and words of inspiration in two languages from her spiritual grandfather.
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9:30 AM | More epigenetics, EN-2 and autism... the plot thickens
I don't mind admitting that I was to some extent 'winging it' with my previous post on epigenetics and Engrailed-2 (EN-2) as a consequence of the findings reported by Jill James and colleagues [1] with autism in mind. Although an avid follower of the science of epigenetics when (cautiously) applied to autism, I am by no means any authority on the subject matter particularly when it comes to the nitty-gritty details. You can probably therefore expect similar things in my latest […]

James SJ, Shpyleva S, Melnyk S, Pavliv O & Pogribny IP (2014). Elevated 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in the Engrailed-2 (EN-2) promoter is associated with increased gene expression and decreased MeCP2 binding in autism cerebellum., Translational psychiatry, 4 PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25290267

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October 17, 2014

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7:05 PM | Eat More, Go Faster!
Paul Rose muses on the differences between ancient navigation and his own modern equipment and methods on the Pristine Seas expedition to Rapa.
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5:12 PM | Report Estimates Enormous Economic Value of Living Elephants
When a young elephant dies at the hands of an ivory poacher, according to a recent report, the commercial loss to the tourism industry is more than $1.6 million–­–the amount the animal would have contributed to the economy had it lived a full and happy life.
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9:22 AM | Altered ghrelin levels in boys with autism
"Honey, it's the '90s, remember?"Saudi Arabia and autism research? It must be at least one author from the research tag-team that is Mostafa and Al-Ayadhi.Indeed, in today's post it is Laila Al-Ayadhi featured on the paper by Felwah S. Al-Zaid and colleagues [1] (open-access) who concluded on: "a potential role for the hormone ghrelin in the pathogenesis of autism".Ghrelin, by the way, is often called the 'hunger hormone' as a result of its effects in relation to energy homoeostasis. […]

Al-Zaid FS, Alhader AA & Al-Ayadhi LY (2014). Altered ghrelin levels in boys with autism: a novel finding associated with hormonal dysregulation., Scientific reports, 4 6478. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25257829

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October 16, 2014

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7:54 PM | When Doctors and Nurses Work Together
A group of doctors and nurses at Yale-New Haven Hospital has been quietly working to change the culture of “defensive medicine” that so many have come to accept as inevitable.
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3:39 PM | Rapa Expedition: Here Be Monsters!
As we kick off our new expedition to the tiny island of Rapa in French Polynesia, we’re really don't know exactly what we'll find. It’s the purest form of exploration, enhanced by sheer curiosity and excitement—the very reason that we are ocean explorers.
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8:59 AM | MicroRNAs and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
"No one User wrote me! I'm worth millions of their man-years!"Not so long ago I posted an entry talking about microRNAs and autism (see here). As well as including some rather interesting, if preliminary findings, that particular piece of work also served to introduce yet another layer of complexity to our genome and its expression: microRNAs.I was therefore always going to be more than a little intrigued by the results published by Ekua Brenu and colleagues [1] and their observations on […]

Brenu EW, Ashton KJ, Batovska J, Staines DR & Marshall-Gradisnik SM (2014). High-Throughput Sequencing of Plasma MicroRNA in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis., PloS one, 9 (9) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25238588

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October 15, 2014

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9:16 AM | Hookworm infection and microchallenge for coeliac disease?
I'm getting rather baffled by some of the literature appearing with the autoimmune condition coeliac (celiac) disease in mind. The paper by Kalliokoski and colleagues [1] started the bafflement ball rolling with their suggestion that: "administration of IgA-deficient celiac disease patient serum or total IgG induces both deterioration of the intestinal mucosa and clinical features of celiac disease in mice". Then came the paper from Namatovu and colleagues [2] who concluded that: […]

Croese J, Giacomin P, Navarro S, Clouston A, McCann L, Dougall A, Ferreira I, Susianto A, O'Rourke P, Howlett M & McCarthy J (2014). Experimental hookworm infection and gluten microchallenge promote tolerance in celiac disease., The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25248819

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