Posts

October 25, 2014

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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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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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October 14, 2014

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5:46 PM | PLOS Medicine’s Big Food Series: Shining a Spotlight on Industry’s Influence on Health
PLOS Medicine Deputy Editor, Paul Simpson, reflects on the PLOS Medicine Series on Big Food, which was published in 2012. ‘The Food Industry is Ripe for Scrutiny’ is the clarion call of the lead editorial that announced PLOS Medicine’s Big … Continue reading »The post PLOS Medicine’s Big Food Series: Shining a Spotlight on Industry’s Influence on Health appeared first on Speaking of Medicine.
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11:10 AM | Prenatal genetic testing and autism: a delicate subject
I realise that the paper by Lei-Shih Chen and colleagues [1] covers a most sensitive topic when it comes to the autism spectrum, exploring: "the attitudes toward PGT [prenatal genetic testing] and termination decisions of 42 parents of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]". Indeed, this is not the first time that this research group has looked at this area of autism research [2] and it seems like they will be talking about it further too (see here).I chose to discuss the most […]

Chen LS, Xu L, Dhar SU, Li M, Talwar D & Jung E (2014). Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Qualitative Study of Attitudes toward Prenatal Genetic Testing and Termination Decisions of Affected Pregnancies., Clinical genetics, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25251361

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October 13, 2014

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9:30 PM | Yes folks... broccoli chemical impacts on autism presentation
Please do not adjust your set. Broccoli, or least a chemical found in broccoli called sulforaphane has, under placebo-controlled, double-blind experimental conditions, been reported to impact on the presentation of autism according to the paper by Kanwaljit Singh and colleagues [1] (open-access).Eat your greens @ Fir0002/FlagstaffotosI had to do a bit of a double-take myself when I first read about these results (see here). Indeed, even the authors themselves seemed to be a […]

Kanwaljit Singh, Susan L. Connors, Eric A. Macklin, Kirby D. Smith, Jed W. Fahey, Paul Talalay & Andrew W. Zimmerman (2014). Sulforaphane treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), PNAS, Other:

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8:46 AM | Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for anxiety in autism
I'll readily admit that despite having a tinge of psychology running through my research career, I'm not overly enthused about the impact of the discipline on the autism spectrum down the years. I'm not necessarily just talking about the Freudian effect which set autism research back decades and shamefully added needless worry and stigma to those on the spectrum and their loved ones, but also the grand over-arching psychological theories which seemed, for example, to completely miss the […]

Ung D, Selles R, Small BJ & Storch EA (2014). A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety in Youth with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders., Child psychiatry and human development, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25246292

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October 11, 2014

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4:06 PM | Efficacy of foetal stem cell transplantation in autism...
The recent news that researchers might be one step closer to 'curing' type 1 diabetes following the publication of the paper by Pagliuca and colleagues [1] brought back into focus how stem cell therapy might hold some promise for all manner of conditions. The idea that researchers could generate "hundreds of millions of glucose-responsive β cells from hPSC [human pluripotent stem cells] in vitro" still faces a few challenges, including overcoming the immune assault central to the […]

Bradstreet JJ, Sych N, Antonucci N, Klunnik M, Ivankova O, Matyashchuk I, Demchuk M & Siniscalco D (2014). Efficacy of fetal stem cell transplantation in autism spectrum disorders: an open-labeled pilot study., Cell transplantation, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25302490

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8:48 AM | Yet more air pollution and autism risk research
Air pollution and autism risk. It's a topic which has cropped up a few times on this blog (see here and see here and see here) with the majority of the research (but not all) suggesting that there may be something to see when it comes to such a correlation.Enter then the paper by Amy Kalkbrenner and colleagues [1] to proceedings, and their conclusion: "Our study adds to previous work in California showing a relation between traffic-related air pollution and autism, and adds similar findings in […]

Kalkbrenner AE, Windham GC, Serre ML, Akita Y, Wang X, Hoffman K, Thayer BP & Daniels JL (2014). Particulate Matter Exposure, Prenatal and Postnatal Windows of Susceptibility, and Autism Spectrum Disorders., Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.), PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25286049

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October 10, 2014

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8:40 AM | Vitamin D supplement improves autistic behaviours?
I don't want to get too ahead of myself with this post talking about the paper by Feiyong Jia and colleagues [1] (open-access) who concluded: "Vitamin D supplementation may be effective in ameliorating the autistic behavioral problems in children with autism spectrum disorders [ASDs]".The idea however that issues with vitamin D seemingly present in quite a few cases of ASD [2] (see here too) but not all [3] might actually have more direct consequences for behavioural presentation […]

贾, �. (2014). Vitamin D Supplementation Improves Autistic Symptoms in a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asian Case Reports in Pediatrics, 02 (03) 21-24. DOI: 10.12677/ACRP.2014.23005

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2:14 AM | PhD scholarships available
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October 09, 2014

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8:41 AM | Physical activity and fitness levels and autism
Although at present having to be slightly more cautious following some recent surgery (general anaesthetic is awesome by the way!), I normally consider myself to be quite an active person. Through previous discussions on this blog covering topics on the positive effects of walking (see here) and the physical+ benefits of the martial arts (see here) I'd like to think that there are quite a few ways and means that the population at large can easily increase their daily physical activity levels. […]

Tyler, K., MacDonald, M. & Menear, K. (2014). Physical Activity and Physical Fitness of School-Aged Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Autism Research and Treatment, 2014 1-6. DOI: 10.1155/2014/312163

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