Posts

April 20, 2015

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8:51 AM | Tics are common in adults with autism
The title of this post comes from a quote included in the paper by Ursula Kahl and colleagues [1] based on their study of the "phenomenology and characteristics" of tics in adults diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with a small control group of adults with Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS). A tic by the way, is a "sudden, fast, repeated movement or sound."This is not the first time that tics have been examined with the autism spectrum in mind. The paper from […]

Kahl, U., Schunke, O., Schöttle, D., David, N., Brandt, V., Bäumer, T., Roessner, V., Münchau, A. & Ganos, C. (2015). Tic Phenomenology and Tic Awareness in Adults With Autism, Movement Disorders Clinical Practice, DOI: 10.1002/mdc3.12154

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April 18, 2015

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9:22 AM | Autistic traits in adult-onset psychiatric disorders?
"To conclude, the presentation of ALTs [autistic-like traits/symptoms] at the sub-threshold or threshold level may be closely associated with BPD [bipolar disorder] and SZ [schizophrenia]."That was the conclusion reached in the paper by Junko Matsuo and colleagues [1] (open-access here) based on their analysis of nearly 300 adults aged between 25-59 years including those diagnosed with "MDD [major depressive disorder], n=125; bipolar disorder, n=56; […]

Matsuo J, Kamio Y, Takahashi H, Ota M, Teraishi T, Hori H, Nagashima A, Takei R, Higuchi T, Motohashi N & Kunugi H (2015). Autistic-Like Traits in Adult Patients with Mood Disorders and Schizophrenia., PloS one, 10 (4) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25838109

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April 17, 2015

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7:52 AM | Higher cancer mortality rates associated with mental illness
The findings reported by Steve Kisely and colleagues [1] were of some interest recently and their assertion that despite cancer incidence being "the same as the general population for most psychiatric disorders" or even slightly reduced when a diagnosis of schizophrenia was for example received, mortality due to cancer was "increased in psychiatric patients."Such findings were based on their examination of: "Mental health records [that] were linked with cancer registrations and death […]

Kisely S, Forsyth S & Lawrence D (2015). Why do psychiatric patients have higher cancer mortality rates when cancer incidence is the same or lower?, The Australian and New Zealand journal of psychiatry, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25829481

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April 16, 2015

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9:21 AM | Paternal sperm epigenetic differences and offspring autism risk
"These data suggest that epigenetic differences in paternal sperm may contribute to autism risk in offspring."So said the preliminary study results published by Jason Feinberg and colleagues [1]  (open-access) looking at "paternal semen biosamples obtained from an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) enriched-risk pregnancy cohort, the Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation (EARLI) cohort." Researchers analysed 44 semen samples to ascertain whether DNA methylation differences - one […]

Jason I Feinberg, Kelly M Bakulski, Andrew E Jaffe, Rakel Tryggvadottir, Shannon C Brown, Lynn R Goldman, Lisa A Croen, Irva Hertz-Picciotto, Craig J Newschaffer, M Daniele Fallin & Andrew P Feinberg (2015). Paternal sperm DNA methylation associated with early signs of autism risk in an autism-enriched cohort, International Journal of Epidemiology, Other:

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April 15, 2015

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7:31 AM | Maternal diabetes and offspring autism risk... again
"In this large, multiethnic clinical cohort of singleton children born at 28 to 44 weeks’ gestation, exposure to maternal GDM [gestational diabetes mellitus] diagnosed by 26 weeks’ gestation was associated with risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] in offspring."That was the conclusion reached by Anny Xiang and colleagues [1] (open-access) following their analysis of some 3300 children diagnosed with ASD as part of a wider cohort of over 300,000 children […]

Xiang, A., Wang, X., Martinez, M., Walthall, J., Curry, E., Page, K., Buchanan, T., Coleman, K. & Getahun, D. (2015). Association of Maternal Diabetes With Autism in Offspring, JAMA, 313 (14) 1425. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2015.2707

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April 14, 2015

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8:08 AM | Immune signature in ME/CFS detected in cerebrospinal fluid
The research tag-team that is Mady Hornig and Ian Lipkin are fairly frequently mentioned on this blog. If it's not to do with their studies in autism research (see here for a recent mention) it is with their ground-breaking work looking at chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) in mind (see here for example).Indeed their latest paper [1] extends some recent findings (see here) on immune involvement in relation to CFS/ME [2] with a focus on examinations in cerebrospinal […]

Hornig, M., Gottschalk, G., Peterson, D., Knox, K., Schultz, A., Eddy, M., Che, X. & Lipkin, W. (2015). Cytokine network analysis of cerebrospinal fluid in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, Molecular Psychiatry, DOI: 10.1038/mp.2015.29

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April 13, 2015

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5:38 AM | Interoception and body awareness in autism
"Interoception: the sense of the physiological condition of the body" [1].This was an important concept detailed in the paper by Lisa Fiene and Charlotte Brownlow [2] with autism in mind. Looking at how adults diagnosed with an ASD (autism spectrum disorder) "interpret elements of the interoceptive sense, which includes thirst, hunger, temperature, satiety" researchers questioned those on the spectrum (n=74) and asymptomatic controls (n=228) with "self-reported perceptions of body […]

Fiene L & Brownlow C (2015). Investigating interoception and body awareness in adults with and without autism spectrum disorder., Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25808391

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April 10, 2015

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9:48 AM | More ophthalmic findings in autism
"Ophthalmic pathology was noted in 26.9 % of patients with ASD [autism spectrum disorder], of which 22 % had significant refractive errors and 8.6 % had strabismus."That was the conclusion reached in the paper by Emrah Utku Kabatas and colleagues [1] based on the premise that: "Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) frequently have ophthalmologic disorders"; that is, issues with the anatomy and function of the eyes.We've been here before. I'll take you back to the post that I […]

Kabatas EU, Ozer PA, Ertugrul GT, Kurtul BE, Bodur S & Alan BE (2015). Initial Ophthalmic Findings in Turkish Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder., Journal of autism and developmental disorders, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25800865

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3:30 AM | Syn Bio and twitter
Well I've so far avoided getting on twitter (or facebook) as I have enough time sinks already. This probably makes me a fossil. I recently hosted a planning meeting to start organizing a bid for a Synthetic Biology Centre. My colleague Louise Brown is very active on twitter, and commemorated the occasion with this tweet.  In case you don't want to follow the link, here's the photo of us
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3:05 AM | JAMS turns 4, Blog turns 3
Well, I'm a month or so late, but JAMS (Joint Academic Microbial Seminars) had its 4th birthday, and celebrated in its usual fashion by holding an afternoon symposium, followed by dinner at the Australian Museum.Excellent speakers as usual, the highlight for me was Kat Holt's talk on using genomics to understand the epidemiology and evolution of bacterial pathogens causing diseases such as typhoid and dysentery.A talk on typhoid and dysentery is of course a perfect lead in to dinner, which was […]

April 09, 2015

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7:31 AM | Effects of prenatal organophosphate pesticide exposure on a mouse model of autism
Pesticides and autism is a topic previously covered on this blog (see here for example). The idea that some of the various preparations that we use to control the pests which have an ability to blight our crops or cause serious health issues could be linked to an increased risk of autism is an area likely to invoke some divisions within elements of the autism and wider scientific community.Part of the problem with the available evidence suggesting a link between autism and pesticide exposure is […]

De Felice, A., Scattoni, M., Ricceri, L. & Calamandrei, G. (2015). Prenatal Exposure to a Common Organophosphate Insecticide Delays Motor Development in a Mouse Model of Idiopathic Autism, PLOS ONE, 10 (3) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0121663

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April 08, 2015

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5:34 AM | Cleanrooms and autism?
The paper by Scott Faber and colleagues [1] (open-access) is the topic of today's post and the idea that a cleanroom sleeping environment might impact on some important issues accompanying at least some autism.Just in case you hadn't come across the concept of a cleanroom, the concept is that a space is provided where various systems are put in place to control environmental pollutants such as dust, microbes and various chemical emissions. More readily associated with the construction of […]

Faber, S., Zinn, G., Boggess, A., Fahrenholz, T., Kern, J. & Kingston, H. (2015). A cleanroom sleeping environment’s impact on markers of oxidative stress, immune dysregulation, and behavior in children with autism spectrum disorders, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 15 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s12906-015-0564-0

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April 07, 2015

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6:45 AM | Candida albicans triggering coeliac disease?
Will the bafflement around coeliac (celiac) disease ever stop?I want you to cast your eye over the paper from Marion Corouge and colleagues [1] (open-access) and the interesting hypothesis that: "CI [Candida albicans infection] may trigger CeD [coeliac disease] onset in genetically-susceptible individuals."Continuing a theme of 'bafflement' when it comes to the autoimmune condition known as coeliac disease (see here), Corouge et al reported that a […]

Corouge M, Loridant S, Fradin C, Salleron J, Damiens S, Moragues MD, Souplet V, Jouault T, Robert R, Dubucquoi S & Sendid B (2015). Humoral Immunity Links Candida albicans Infection and Celiac Disease., PloS one, 10 (3) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25793717

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April 06, 2015

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8:18 AM | Assisted Reproductive Technology conception and autism
I noticed recently that the paper by Christine Fountain and colleagues [1] reporting that "incidence of diagnosed autism was twice as high for ART [assisted reproductive technology] as non-ART births" has been making some media headlines.Based on an analysis of an impressive participant number "using linked records from the California Birth Master Files for 1997 through 2007, the California Department of Developmental Services autism caseload for 1997 through 2011, and the Centers for […]

Fountain C, Zhang Y, Kissin DM, Schieve LA, Jamieson DJ, Rice C & Bearman P (2015). Association Between Assisted Reproductive Technology Conception and Autism in California, 1997-2007., American journal of public health, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25790396

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April 04, 2015

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8:55 AM | No evidence for efficacy of omega-3 fatty acids on [autism] core symptom domains
To quote from the study by Deepali Mankad and colleagues [1] (open-access): "This study does not support high dose supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids in young children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]."Only yesterday I was discussing the results from Bos and colleagues [2] (see here) and the idea that inattention might be a target behaviour for supplementation with PUFAs [polyunsaturated fatty acids] with (and without) ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] in mind. […]

Mankad, D., Dupuis, A., Smile, S., Roberts, W., Brian, J., Lui, T., Genore, L., Zaghloul, D., Iaboni, A., Marcon, P. & Anagnostou, E. (2015). A randomized, placebo controlled trial of omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of young children with autism, Molecular Autism, 6 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s13229-015-0010-7

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April 03, 2015

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9:03 PM | California Faith Groups Divided Over Right-To-Die Bill
Many Christian denominations officially oppose legislation that would legalize medically assisted suicide. But some individual churches, pastors and congregants are lending support to the cause.
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8:29 AM | Improving inattention in boys with and without ADHD
The [truncated] PubMed listing of the abstract by Dienke Bos and colleagues [1] does little justice to the results reported by this group looking at the effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on the behaviour of boys both diagnosed with ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) and those who are described as 'typically developing'.Luckily the paper is open-access (see here) and one can get a true flavour of what happened to this cohort of boys with and without a diagnosis of […]

Bos DJ, Oranje B, Veerhoek ES, Van Diepen RM, Weusten JM, Demmelmair H, Koletzko B, de Sain-van der Velden MG, Eilander A, Hoeksma M & Durston S (2015). Reduced symptoms of inattention after Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation in boys with and without Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder., Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25790022

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April 02, 2015

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12:58 PM | Zimbabwe’s Plan to Export Wild Elephants: The Full Audio Interviews
Over the last few months, there have been ongoing and alarming reports about a group of elephant calves held captive in enclosures in the Hwange National Park,  Zimbabwe’s flagship wilderness area. Inside sources, people on the ground in the park, have said that these animals were snatched from their wild herds, rounded up in a facility, and are now being readied…
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7:12 AM | Physical activity and sleep in autism
Sleep issues are not an uncommon feature for quite a few people on the autism spectrum (see here).Autism research has provided some pretty strong evidence to support that last sentence and how sleep, or a lack of it in terms of quality and/or quantity, might not be optimal for people on the autism spectrum (as it isn't for those not on the spectrum).The hows and whys of sleep affecting the behavioural presentation of autism are still a little in the air outside of what is known more generally […]

Wachob D & Lorenzi DG (2015). Brief Report: Influence of Physical Activity on Sleep Quality in Children with Autism., Journal of autism and developmental disorders, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25791123

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April 01, 2015

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5:23 PM | Battle of the Nobel Laureates
How Einstein and Schrödinger’s Quest for a Unified Field Theory led to a ClashContinue reading on Medium »
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5:00 PM | Signals and Snapshots from Semaphore: Musings on Design Guidelines for Urban Fractals
The fractal idea revisited in an attempt to make the concept clearer on a day-to-day, more visceral basis. In my first blog for TNOC I outlined my concept of an ‘urban fractal’ and noted my fascination with the idea that “one might be able to identify patterns in urban systems that could provide a systematic … Continue reading Signals and Snapshots from Semaphore: Musings on Design Guidelines for Urban Fractals →
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9:37 AM | Gulf War agents and delayed onset of symptoms in mice
I was recently intrigued by the findings reported by Zuchra Zakirova and colleagues [1] (open-access) on what happened to mice following 'acute' exposure to pyridostigmine bromide (PB) and the pesticide permethrin (PER) in the context of these compounds being "key contributors to the etiology of GWI [Gulf War Illness] post deployment to the Persian GW [Gulf War]."I've covered the topic of Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) before on this blog (see here) and how, […]

Zakirova, Z., Tweed, M., Crynen, G., Reed, J., Abdullah, L., Nissanka, N., Mullan, M., Mullan, M., Mathura, V., Crawford, F. & Ait-Ghezala, G. (2015). Gulf War Agent Exposure Causes Impairment of Long-Term Memory Formation and Neuropathological Changes in a Mouse Model of Gulf War Illness, PLOS ONE, 10 (3) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0119579

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March 31, 2015

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8:35 AM | Is anhedonia a key component of depression comorbid to autism?
Anhedonia: the inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable.Although by no means an expert on anhedonia (or much else), I believe that it is a concept quite important when it comes to making a diagnosis of depression although the precise hows and whys of connecting anhedonia to other symptoms are still the source of some discussion [1].The paper from Vicki Bitsika & Christopher Sharpley [2] brings the concepts of anhedonia and depression into […]

Bitsika, V. & Sharpley, C. (2015). Differences in the Prevalence, Severity and Symptom Profiles of Depression in Boys and Adolescents with an Autism Spectrum Disorder versus Normally Developing Controls, International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 62 (2) 158-167. DOI: 10.1080/1034912X.2014.998179

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March 30, 2015

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7:24 PM | Feeling the Ocean’s Beating Heart
In one single heartbeat, one immeasurably powerful pulse, the Indian Ocean has changed my life: On this expedition I had the most moving and beautiful dive. Moving—because we were riding the high-speed incoming spring tide that courses through Grande Passe, the main pass from the open sea into the Aldabra lagoon. At the turn of…
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7:20 AM | Asthma and ADHD (again)
"Asthmatic children had a higher risk of also having ADHD."That was the conclusion reached by Kirsten Holmberg and colleagues [1] based on their analysis of rates of ADHD, and other variables found "through the Swedish Twin Register, linked to the Swedish Medical Birth Register, the National Patient Register and the Prescribed Drug Register." Said data came from over 20,000 twins who's parents were questioned when children were aged 9 or 12 years.For those unfamiliar with the proposed […]

Holmberg K, Lundholm C, Anckarsäter H, Larsson H & Almqvist C (2015). Impact of asthma medication and familial factors on the association between childhood asthma and ADHD A combined twin- and register-based study., Clinical and experimental allergy : journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25772649

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4:40 AM | In Dublin, beheading expositor speaks freely, potential victim censored
by Paul Braterman "And if he insists on being killed … then at the end, by the authority of the ruling body, it's done." Sheikh Kamal El Mekki, who expounds with apparent approval the law on beheading ex-Muslims, spoke this...

March 29, 2015

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8:39 AM | Sera from children with autism inducing autistic features in rats?
"The autism sera injected rats demonstrated developmental delay and deficits in social communication, interaction, and novelty."That was one of the findings reported in the paper by Syed Faraz Kazim and colleagues [1] (open-access) who, among other things, injected intracerebroventricularly sera collected from children with autism into newborn rats and examined behavioural effects compared with injections of sera from asymptomatic controls. Actually, that was only one part of the […]

Kazim, S., Cardenas-Aguayo, M., Arif, M., Blanchard, J., Fayyaz, F., Grundke-Iqbal, I. & Iqbal, K. (2015). Sera from Children with Autism Induce Autistic Features Which Can Be Rescued with a CNTF Small Peptide Mimetic in Rats, PLOS ONE, 10 (3) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118627

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March 28, 2015

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8:27 AM | Screening for autism in preterm infants
"A positive screen on the M-CHAT [Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers] occurs more commonly in very preterm infants than those born at term."So said the study by Peter Gray and colleagues [1] as the topic of preterm status - that is, babies born alive before 37 weeks of pregnancy - potentially being linked to a greater risk of autism or at least, increased risk of screening positive for autism, crops up yet again on this blog (see here).Gray et al examined a cohort of children […]

Gray PH, Edwards DM, O'Callaghan MJ & Gibbons K (2015). Screening for autism spectrum disorder in very preterm infants during early childhood., Early human development, 91 (4) 271-276. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25766314

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March 27, 2015

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10:02 AM | Inflammation impairs social cognitive processing
A quote to begin: "acute inflammation can lead to decreases in the ability to accurately and reliably comprehend emotional information from others."It comes from the article published by Mona Moieni and colleagues [1] who examined a concept familiar to many people with a connection to autism either personally or professionally: Theory of Mind (ToM). Rather interestingly, Moieni et al "examined whether exposure to an experimental inflammatory challenge led to changes in ToM." […]

Moieni M, Irwin MR, Jevtic I, Breen EC & Eisenberger NI (2015). Inflammation impairs social cognitive processing: a randomized controlled trial of endotoxin., Brain, behavior, and immunity, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25770082

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March 26, 2015

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11:39 AM | Autism increases risk of nonaffective psychotic disorder and bipolar disorder
Published at the same time and in the same journal as the 'MoBa does bowel issues in autism' paper from Bresnahan and colleagues [1], the study results from Jean-Paul Selten et al [2] reporting that "A diagnosis of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] is associated with a substantially increased risk for NAPD [nonaffective psychotic disorder] and BD [bipolar disorder]" has, at the time of writing this post, received little or no press attention in comparison despite […]

Selten JP, Lundberg M, Rai D & Magnusson C (2015). Risks for Nonaffective Psychotic Disorder and Bipolar Disorder in Young People With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Population-Based Study., JAMA psychiatry, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25806797

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