Posts

November 18, 2014

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9:52 AM | Paediatric congenital heart disease and autism risk?
"Children aged 2-17 with CHD [congenital heart disease] were more likely than those without CHD to have had a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (crude OR, 4.6; 95% CI, 1.9-11.0) or intellectual disability (Crude OR, 9.1; 95% CI, 5.4-15.4)".The traveller @ Wikipedia That was a key conclusion reported in the study by Hilda Razzaghi and colleagues [1] based on their analysis of data from "the 1997-2011 National Health Interview Survey", a US initiative which aims to […]

Razzaghi H, Oster M & Reefhuis J (2014). Long Term Outcomes in Children with Congenital Heart Disease: National Health Interview Survey., The Journal of pediatrics, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25304924

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November 17, 2014

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9:41 AM | Social anxiety in one in four adults with autism
"Twenty-eight percent (14 of 50) of individuals with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for SAD [social anxiety disorder]"."I am Vulcan, sir. We embrace technicality."So said the findings reported by Susanne Bejerot and colleagues [1] (open-access) as part of their investigations looking at SAD occurrence among adults diagnosed with ASD. Once again the sometimes very disabling issue of anxiety resurfaces with autism in mind. Before going on, I'm […]

Bejerot S, Eriksson JM & Mörtberg E (2014). Social anxiety in adult autism spectrum disorder., Psychiatry research, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25200187

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November 16, 2014

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1:07 PM | The Hedonic Treadmill: Happiness Throughout a Lifetime
Perhaps once in your life you’ve found yourself at the gym. Out of all the machines you have at your disposal, you make your way to the treadmill because, why not? You get ready and start the machine. After about an hour you’ve walked a distance, but you’re still in the same place. You didn’t know i...The post The Hedonic Treadmill: Happiness Throughout a Lifetime appeared first on .

November 15, 2014

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9:40 AM | Milk has gotta lotta bottle?
"High milk intake was associated with higher mortality in one cohort of women and in another cohort of men, and with higher fracture incidence in women". Those were some of the conclusions reached in the study by Karl Michaëlsson and colleagues [1] (open-access) looking at milk consumption and "mortality and fractures in women and men". The BBC among other media have covered the study (see here).Take me out tonightBased on quite a large participant group (two actually) who completed a […]

Michaelsson, K., Wolk, A., Langenskiold, S., Basu, S., Warensjo Lemming, E., Melhus, H. & Byberg, L. (2014). Milk intake and risk of mortality and fractures in women and men: cohort studies, BMJ, 349 (oct27 1) DOI: 10.1136/bmj.g6015

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November 14, 2014

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9:40 AM | One fifth of schizophrenia cases linked to Toxoplasma gondii?
"The PAF [population attributable fraction] for schizophrenia in those exposed to T. gondii is tentatively 21.4%". That was the headline conclusion made by Prof. Gary Smith [1] in his modelling analysis estimating what percentage of cases of schizophrenia might involve the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii. Some of the accompanying media about this potentially very important finding can be found here and here.You don't need to study scaring, you just do it.Although no expert on the PAF - defined as […]

Smith, G. (2014). Estimating the population attributable fraction for schizophrenia when Toxoplasma gondii is assumed absent in human populations, Preventive Veterinary Medicine, DOI: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2014.10.009

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8:26 AM | Lower Zambezi National Park Mining Project is ‘Fatally Flawed’, Says Report
ZAMBIA––A recent scathing report, investigating the proposed Kangaluwi Copper Mine project in the Lower Zambezi National Park, draws attention to a number of pressing issues that have not been addressed by the Australian prospecting company, Zambezi Resources Limited (ZLR), saying that the information provided by the company is in fact “fatally flawed.” Independent mining experts…

November 13, 2014

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9:45 AM | More gluten sensitivity and schizophrenia
Dude means a regular sort of person..."Our study in 100 people with schizophrenia compared to 100 matched controls replicates a higher prevalence of gluten sensitivity and higher mean antigliadin IgG antibody levels [in] schizophrenia".So said one of the conclusions of the paper by Jessica Jackson and colleagues [1] as the results further stack up implicating immune function and diet in relation to at least some cases of schizophrenia. That being said, researchers did not find any […]

Jackson J, Eaton W, Cascella N, Fasano A, Santora D, Sullivan K, Feldman S, Raley H, McMahon RP, Carpenter WT Jr & Demyanovich H (2014). Gluten sensitivity and relationship to psychiatric symptoms in people with schizophrenia., Schizophrenia research, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25311778

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November 12, 2014

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9:53 AM | An inflammatory autism subtype?
The paper from Harumi Jyonouchi and colleagues [1] (open-access) continues a theme from this author with their suggestion of "an imbalance in the production of inflammatory (IL-1ß and IL-6) and counterregulatory (IL-10) cytokines by ‘flare’ ASD-IS [autism spectrum disorder - inflammatory subtype] monocytes".Panic on the streets of Birmingham...'Flare' ASD-IS in this case refers to a coding given to a small participant group (n=24) who were: "defined as those […]

November 11, 2014

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9:50 AM | Psychiatric comorbidity in post H1N1 vaccination narcolespy?
I can imagine that the paper by Atilla Szakács and colleagues [1] is likely to draw some rather differing opinions about potential importance based on their subject matter and methods/participant numbers looking at the frequency of psychiatric comorbidity among those with narcolepsy including narcolepsy post H1N1 vaccination. The fact that autism - "pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (i.e., atypical autism)" - is mentioned as one of the comorbidity in the […]

Szakács A, Hallböök T, Tideman P, Darin N & Wentz E (2014). Psychiatric Comorbidity and Cognitive Profile in Children With Narcolepsy With or Without Association to the H1N1 Influenza Vaccination., Sleep, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25325473

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November 10, 2014

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7:26 PM | New Mersenne primes not discovered
The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, the premier distributed-computing prime finding initiative, has reported that $M_{32582657} = 2^{32,582,657}-1$, the 44th Mersenne prime to be discovered, is also the 44th Mersenne Prime in numerical order. It was found by Steven Boone and Curtis Cooper in 2006 (Cooper also discovered the current largest prime as reported here in February), but until... Read more »
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8:01 AM | Metabolomics and autism: the continuing search for biomarkers
I'm always a happy bunny when some of my own research findings receive something like independent replication. So it was when I read the monster paper from Paul West and colleagues [1] (open-access) reporting results based on not one, not two, not three, not even four, but five mass spectrometric methods looking for potential biomarkers for autism. Metabolomics in action (see here for an introduction to this topic).Rosina @ Wikipedia The particular reason for my excitement was […]

West, P., Amaral, D., Bais, P., Smith, A., Egnash, L., Ross, M., Palmer, J., Fontaine, B., Conard, K., Corbett, B. & Cezar, G. (2014). Metabolomics as a Tool for Discovery of Biomarkers of Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Blood Plasma of Children, PLoS ONE, 9 (11) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112445

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November 08, 2014

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9:51 AM | UK Millennium Cohort Study: School and the disabled child
Quite recently the BBC News online ran with the headline: "Disabled children's behaviour 'deteriorates at school'". The story revolved around the findings reported by Rebecca Fauth and colleagues [1] (open-access) looking at "the extent to which the associations between disability and behaviour are linked to children’s developmental stage and thus may be ‘grown out of’ as children enter school and move out of the early years". I should add that, at the time of writing, the […]

Connelly R & Platt L (2014). Cohort Profile: UK Millennium Cohort Study (MCS)., International journal of epidemiology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24550246

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November 07, 2014

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9:11 AM | Treating depression: exercise or anti-inflammatory meds?
Reiterating my primary caveat on this blog about not giving anything that looks, sounds or smells like medical and/or clinical advice, I'm bringing three papers to the research blogging table today, all published in the JAMA journal family and all talking about depression / depressive symptoms.See my hat... @ Wikipedia First up is the paper by Ole Köhler and colleagues [1] reviewing "the antidepressant and possible adverse effects of anti-inflammatory interventions". Some […]

Ole Köhler, Michael E. Benros, Merete Nordentoft, Michael E. Farkouh, Rupa L. Iyengar, Ole Mors & Jesper Krogh (2014). Effect of Anti-inflammatory Treatment on Depression, Depressive Symptoms, and Adverse Effects, JAMA Psychiatry, Other:

Snehal M. Pinto Pereira, Marie-Claude Geoffroy & Christine Power (2014). Depressive Symptoms and Physical Activity During 3 Decades in Adult Life, JAMA Psychiatry, Other:

Toseeb, U., Brage, S., Corder, K., Dunn, V., Jones, P., Owens, M., St Clair, M., van Sluijs, E. & Goodyer, I. (2014). Exercise and Depressive Symptoms in Adolescents, JAMA Pediatrics, DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.1794

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November 06, 2014

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9:30 AM | Neurotensin, autism and tail-chasing Bull Terrriers?
I'm not kidding.The paper by Tsilioni and colleagues [1] (open-access) did indeed look at serum levels of neurotensin and corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) in a cohort of children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) alongside levels in tail-chasing Bull Terrier dogs as compared to unaffected [non tail-chasing] Bull Terriers (BTs) and Labrador Retriever dogs. You may well smirk or even laugh at such research but, as per the recent [preliminary] broccoli chemical - […]

Tsilioni I, Dodman N, Petra AI, Taliou A, Francis K, Moon-Fanelli A, Shuster L & Theoharides TC (2014). Elevated serum neurotensin and CRH levels in children with autistic spectrum disorders and tail-chasing Bull Terriers with a phenotype similar to autism., Translational psychiatry, 4 PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25313509

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November 05, 2014

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11:32 PM | Music Videos from iGEM
A number of iGEM teams made parody music videos. A couple of my favourites are here:Plasmid'outai from the INSA-Lyon team which has a nice Bollywood fell to it.The St2ool Project from the Valencia Biocampus team- a parody of YMCA.There was also a Katy Perry parody I liked, but I haven't been able to find the video yet, I'll update this post when/if I find it.
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11:13 PM | Gold!
Congratulations to the Macquarie IGEM team, who are the first Australian team to ever win a gold medal at an iGEM competition! Congrats to all of the other medal and award winners (full results here), especially the Grand Prize winners, Heidelberg in the undergrad category, and UC Davis in the overgrad category.The 2014 iGEM contestants-the Macquarie team and myself are in the very front, slightly left of the centre
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9:39 AM | (Partly) explaining the increase in the prevalence of autism
"Changes in reporting practices can account for most (60%) of the increase in the observed prevalence of ASDs [autism spectrum disorders] in children born from 1980 through 1991 in Denmark."Prince of Denmark @ Wikipedia That was the headline conclusion reported by Stefan Nygaard Hansen and colleagues [1] based on an analysis of births in Denmark between 1st January 1980 and 31st December 1991 (N=677,915) followed up until 31st December 2011 (or "until ASD diagnosis, […]

Hansen, S., Schendel, D. & Parner, E. (2014). Explaining the Increase in the Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders, JAMA Pediatrics, DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.1893

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November 04, 2014

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7:08 PM | Hints of major changes in 2014 RFS mandates
As the election season winds down, we expect the Obama administration to release the long awaited volumes of renewable fuel that should be blended for 2014 (which the RFS law specifies EPA should have released November 2013).  A recent article linked … Continue reading →
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10:01 AM | Producers and consumers of autism research: never the twain shall meet?
I was interested to read the paper by Elizabeth Pellicano and colleagues [1] (open-access) investigating "the views of community involvement in autism research both from the perspectives of autism researchers and of community members, including autistic adults, family members and practitioners". Quite a few results are reported including the idea that researchers "were skeptical about the possibilities of dramatically increasing community engagement, while community members themselves spoke […]

Pellicano E, Dinsmore A & Charman T (2014). Views on Researcher-Community Engagement in Autism Research in the United Kingdom: A Mixed-Methods Study., PloS one, 9 (10) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25303222

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November 03, 2014

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9:13 AM | Probiotics to counter heavy metal toxicity?
"In summary, this work has demonstrated the potential value of long-term probiotic-based interventions to counter mercury and arsenic exposure in vulnerable populations, particularly in pregnant women".Sounds like an '80s man to me...That was one of the primary conclusions reported by Jordan Bisanz and colleagues [1] (open-access) examining "at-risk populations of pregnant women and in children in Mwanza, Tanzania". The idea being that alongside the use of metal chelating medicines such […]

Jordan E. Bisanz, Megan K. Enos, Joseph R. Mwanga, John Changalucha, Jeremy P. Burton, Gregory B. Gloor & Gregor Reid (2014). Randomized Open-Label Pilot Study of the Influence of Probiotics and the Gut Microbiome on Toxic Metal Levels in Tanzanian Pregnant Women and School Children, mBio, Other:

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5:25 AM | Time Turned to Stone, Part 1: Time as interval
by Paul Braterman I have recently visited two very different sites where time is turned to stone, where just looking at the rocks shows the passage of enormous lengths of time, dwarfing all of recorded human history. At the first...

November 02, 2014

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2:09 AM | Greetings from Boston
I'm in Boston along with the Macquarie iGEM team attending the iGEM Giant Jamboree. iGEM is the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition where teams of undergraduate students from around the world showcase their synthetic biology research achievements. This year there are 245 teams with over 2500 participants attending the iGEM Giant Jamboree. In addition to the Macquarie University team, there are two other Australian teams from Melbourne University and Sydney University.The […]

November 01, 2014

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10:07 AM | Early childhood atopy and autism risk
De profundis clamo ad te, domineRegular readers will probably have heard something like this before so I'm sorry if I'm repeating myself: "The presence of any atopic disease in early childhood increased the risk of developing ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder]... and ASD [autism spectrum disorder]... in later life".So said Mu-Hong Chen and colleagues [1] with yet another 'big data' paper coming out of Taiwan.There is little point in me turning this research into some […]

Chen MH, Su TP, Chen YS, Hsu JW, Huang KL, Chang WH, Chen TJ, Pan TL & Bai YM (2014). Is atopy in early childhood a risk factor for ADHD and ASD? A longitudinal study., Journal of psychosomatic research, 77 (4) 316-21. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25280829

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October 31, 2014

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10:06 PM | Rapa Expedition: The Difficulties of Leaving Paradise
After living here in far southern French Polynesia for the past few weeks, leaving is difficult. We've come to love the waters and the life they hold, but will especially miss the wonderful people that call this place home.
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9:06 AM | Caesarean section births and autism risk?
It was a familiar story. Big media headlines such as: Caesarean sections 'may increase risk of autism' appearing all over, but when it came to finding the study behind the headlines, the publishing journal seemed to be trailing a little way behind. We've been in a similar situation before."As the flames rose to her Roman nose"Anyhow, the paper by Eileen Curran and colleagues [1] (open-access) has finally made it to the research table and hence is fodder for today's ramblings with the […]

Curran EA, O'Neill SM, Cryan JF, Kenny LC, Dinan TG, Khashan AS & Kearney PM (2014). Research Review: Birth by caesarean section and development of autism spectrum disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis., Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25348074

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October 30, 2014

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1:58 PM | Balancing the Patient Experience with Evidence-Based Medicine
Recently, Dr. Peter Kramer published an intriguing, well-written, but poorly reasoned and potentially dangerous “thought piece” in the New York Times. His article, “Why Doctors Need Stories,” contains several logical flaws and erroneous arguments, but the overarching concept is a classic “straw man” argument.
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8:44 AM | Pain and adolescent Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
"We found a higher prevalence of severe pain among adolescents with CFS [Chronic Fatigue Syndrome] and lowered pain thresholds compared with HCs [healthy controls]".That was the headline generated by the study from Anette Winger and colleagues [1] (open-access) looking to describe several parameters tied into experience of pain in the context of CFS. Further: "The total sum of bodily symptoms represented a heavy burden with great functional consequences".Your hokey pokey […]

Winger, A., Kvarstein, G., Wyller, V., Sulheim, D., Fagermoen, E., Smastuen, M. & Helseth, S. (2014). Pain and pressure pain thresholds in adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome and healthy controls: a cross-sectional study, BMJ Open, 4 (10) DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005920

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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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