Posts

January 31, 2015

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10:40 AM | Suramin and the Fragile X (Fmr1 knockout) mouse model (and autism)
Fancy some weekend reading? Well, you could do a lot worse than having a gander through the paper by Jane Naviaux and colleagues [1] (open-access) discussing the results of a whole host of analyses following the use of the antipurinergic agent suramin on a mouse model of Fragile X syndrome.Overprotective mother, forbidden road trip...Regular readers might remember some previous discussions about suramin - a pharmaceutic designed to treat African sleeping sickness - and autism which […]

Jane C Naviaux, Lin Wang, Kefeng Li, A Taylor Bright, William A Alaynick, Kenneth R Williams, Susan B Powell & Robert K Naviaux (2015). Antipurinergic therapy corrects the autism-like features in the fragile X (Fmr1 knockout) mouse model, Molecular Autism, Other:

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January 30, 2015

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10:02 AM | Diverse developmental trajectories in early years autism
"Findings confirm the heterogeneous nature of developmental trajectories in ASD [autism spectrum disorder]." That was the bottom line of the study by Peter Szatmari and colleagues [1] (open-access) tracking the developmental trajectory - autistic symptom severity and adaptive functioning - for a sample of "421 newly diagnosed preschool children with ASD 2 to 4 years old." Some accompanying media for the study can be found here.The Szatmari paper is open-access so it doesn't need any […]

Szatmari, P., Georgiades, S., Duku, E., Bennett, T., Bryson, S., Fombonne, E., Mirenda, P., Roberts, W., Smith, I., Vaillancourt, T. & Volden, J. (2015). Developmental Trajectories of Symptom Severity and Adaptive Functioning in an Inception Cohort of Preschool Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder, JAMA Psychiatry, DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.2463

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January 29, 2015

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9:38 AM | Autism spectrum symptomatology in individuals with Down syndrome
I was not surprised to read the findings of the paper from Marie Moore Channell and colleagues [1] (open-access) who "identified patterns of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] symptomatology, measured by the SRS [Social Responsiveness Scale], in individuals with DS [Down syndrome] who do not have comorbid ASD."You're not going Turbo, are you?Harking back to the paper by Georgina Warner and colleagues [2] discussed not-so-long-ago on this blog (see here), the idea that […]

Marie Moore Channell, B Allyson Phillips, Susan J Loveall, Frances A Conners, Paige M Bussanich & Laura Grofer Klinger (2015). Patterns of autism spectrum symptomatology in individuals with Down syndrome without comorbid autism spectrum disorder, Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Other:

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January 28, 2015

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10:03 AM | Urinary histidine as a marker of 'dioxin-induced' neurodevelopmental issues?
The paper by Muneko Nishijo and colleagues [1] (open-access) caught my eye recently and their continuing investigations into the potential effects of perinatal dioxin exposure on offspring neurodevelopmental outcomes. For a bit of background on this initiative based in Vietnam, I would refer readers to a previous post on this blog (see here).Your weakness is copper? Y-you're kidding right?In case you can't be bothered to follow that previous link, the idea was that exposure to TCDD […]

January 27, 2015

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9:33 AM | Siblings, genetics and the autisms (plural)
The paper by Ryan Yuen and colleagues [1] suggesting that most siblings with autism do not share the same genetic variations thought to contribute to the condition has garnered quite a few media headlines of late (see here and see here).Applying the concept of whole-genome sequencing whereby the complete genetic blueprint of a person is mapped to provide "the most comprehensive collection of an individual's genetic variation" [2], 340 genomes from 85 families with two children with a […]

Yuen, R., Thiruvahindrapuram, B., Merico, D., Walker, S., Tammimies, K., Hoang, N., Chrysler, C., Nalpathamkalam, T., Pellecchia, G., Liu, Y. & Gazzellone, M. (2015). Whole-genome sequencing of quartet families with autism spectrum disorder, Nature Medicine, DOI: 10.1038/nm.3792

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January 26, 2015

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9:44 AM | What factors are linked to behavioural crises in autism?
The question posed in the title of this post was asked and [partly] answered by the paper by Vincent Guinchat and colleagues [1] based on the analysis of 58 adolescents diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and "hospitalized for severe challenging behaviors." Challenging behaviours, by the way, refers to a whole spectrum of presentations which doesn't just include aggressive or violent behaviours (see here). Indeed, I recently talked about irritability and autism (see here), […]

Guinchat V, Cravero C, Diaz L, Périsse D, Xavier J, Amiet C, Gourfinkel-An I, Bodeau N, Wachtel L, Cohen D & Consoli A (2015). Acute behavioral crises in psychiatric inpatients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD): Recognition of concomitant medical or non-ASD psychiatric conditions predicts enhanced improvement., Research in developmental disabilities, 38C 242-255. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25575287

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January 24, 2015

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10:34 AM | Hartnup disease in coeliac disease: lessons for 'some' autism?
The paper by Thomas Ciecierega and colleagues [1] (open-access) talking about 'refractory' coeliac disease (CD) - a lack of, or diminished response to a gluten-free diet (the primary management option for CD) - and the subsequent diagnosis of Hartnup disease in a young girl is fodder for today's brief post.I already had a big bowl of curly-toed weirdo for breakfast.Describing how authors first diagnosed her with CD but witnessed "only mild clinical and laboratory […]

January 23, 2015

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11:30 AM | NAC + risperidone = decreased irritability in autism?
It's been a while since I talked about NAC - N-acetylcysteine - on this blog with either autism or schizophrenia in mind (see here and see here respectively). Today I'm going to remedy that situation by bringing the paper by Nikoo and colleagues [1] to your attention, and their observation: "N-acetylcysteine can be considered as an adjuvant therapy for ADs [autistic disorders] with beneficial therapeutic outcomes." Adjuvant therapy by the way, refers to a sort of add-on therapy.We […]

January 22, 2015

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11:22 AM | At-risk kids avoiding an autism diagnosis?
The paper from Jonathan Green and colleagues [1] (open-access) discussing results based on a "two-site, two-arm assessor-blinded randomised controlled trial of families with an infant at familial high risk of autism aged 7–10 months, testing the adapted Video Interaction to Promote Positive Parenting (iBASIS-VIPP) versus no intervention" caught quite a few eyes recently. With accompanying media headlines such as 'Parents May Be Able to Lower Kids’ Autism Risk' you can imagine the […]

Jonathan Green, Tony Charman, Andrew Pickles, Ming W Wan, Mayada Elsabbagh, Vicky Slonims, Carol Taylor, Janet McNally, Rhonda Booth, Teodora Gliga & Emily J H Jones (2015). Parent-mediated intervention versus no intervention for infants at high risk of autism: a parallel, single-blind, randomised trial, The Lancet Psychiatry, Other:

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9:45 AM | Experts and autism screening triage
Whilst hopefully using the word 'triage' in the right way in the title of this post, I want to briefly talk today about the paper by Terisa Gabrielsen and colleagues [1] (full-text version here) and their observation that when it came to "brief but highly focused observations", a group of psychologists (well, two of them) "with toddler and autism expertise" missed over a third of cases of children who required additional examination/screening for autism or autistic traits.I am […]

Terisa P. Gabrielsen, Megan Farley, Leslie Speer, Michele Villalobos, Courtney N. Baker & Judith Miller (2015). Identifying Autism in a Brief Observation, Pediatrics, Other:

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January 21, 2015

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10:34 AM | Features of autism in childhood epilepsy
"In conclusion, features of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] were common in children with epilepsy regardless of cognitive ability."Whoa, whoa, whoa! Sorry, Blondie. I don't do backstorySo said Colin Reily and colleagues [1] in their paper examining facets of autism in cases of childhood epilepsy. Suggesting also that the Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ) might be "a useful screening instrument in this population, and combining parent and teacher forms was […]

Reilly C, Atkinson P, Das KB, Chin RF, Aylett SE, Burch V, Gillberg C, Scott RC & Neville BG (2014). Features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in childhood epilepsy: A population-based study., Epilepsy & behavior : E&B, 42C 86-92. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25529303

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January 20, 2015

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9:56 AM | Autism and low vitamin D at birth
Discussions about vitamin D (the 'sunshine' vitamin/hormone) and autism are not unfamiliar to this blog. Just last year (2014) I covered research talking about the possibility of a connection between vitamin D and [some] autism at least three times (see here and see here and see here), possibly more...but in my game, I'm the bad guy, and I live in the garbage.I wouldn't say that I'm an advocate for everything implied by the correlations being made between vitamin D levels and autism given that […]

Elisabeth Fernell, Susanne Bejerot, Joakim Westerlund, Carmela Miniscalco, Henry Simila, Darryl Eyles, Christopher Gillberg & Mats B Humble (2015). Autism spectrum disorder and low vitamin D at birth: a sibling control study., Molecular Autism, Other:

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January 19, 2015

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9:28 AM | Taking care of mum following receipt of an offspring autism diagnosis
The commentary by Elizabeth Karp & Alice Kuo [1] recently published in JAMA brought my attention back to the 2014 findings from Emily Feinberg and colleagues [2] (open-access) reporting on: "positive effects of PSE [problem-solving education] in reducing parenting stress and depressive symptoms during the critical postdiagnosis period" - that is, moves to taking care of maternal mental health after a child receives a diagnosis of autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD).This […]

Feinberg E, Augustyn M, Fitzgerald E, Sandler J, Ferreira-Cesar Suarez Z, Chen N, Cabral H, Beardslee W & Silverstein M (2014). Improving maternal mental health after a child's diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder: results from a randomized clinical trial., JAMA pediatrics, 168 (1) 40-6. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24217336

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January 17, 2015

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10:25 AM | What can physical activity do for ADHD?
In answer to the question posed in the title of this post, I might refer you to the paper by Susanne Ziereis & Petra Jansen [1] who concluded that results of their research study looking at the impact of two 12-week training programs "support the hypothesis that long-term PA [physical activity] has a positive effect on executive functions of children with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder]."That's the funny thing about birthdays, they're kind of an annual […]

Ziereis S & Jansen P (2015). Effects of physical activity on executive function and motor performance in children with ADHD., Research in developmental disabilities, 38C 181-191. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25561359

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January 16, 2015

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9:52 AM | The gut and 15q Duplication Syndrome
"The results indicate that GI [gastrointestinal] symptoms are common in Dup15q syndrome and may have an atypical presentation."Let's just say I'm Frankenstein's monster. And I'm looking for my creator.That was the conclusion reached in the paper by Elias Shaaya and colleagues [1] following a review of medical records for a small-ish group of participants diagnosed with chromosome 15q duplication syndrome (dup15q syndrome), a genetic condition "involving copy number gains of the […]

Shaaya, E., Pollack, S., Boronat, S., Davis-Cooper, S., Zella, G. & Thibert, R. (2015). Gastrointestinal Problems in 15q Duplication Syndrome, European Journal of Medical Genetics, DOI: 10.1016/j.ejmg.2014.12.012

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January 15, 2015

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10:10 AM | Maternal thyroid autoantibody and offspring autism risk
I have, on this blog, previously mentioned the paper by Alan Brown and colleagues [1] suggesting that: "The prevalence of maternal TPO-Ab+ [thyroid peroxidase antibody] was significantly increased in pregnancies giving rise to autism cases (6.15%) compared to controls (3.54%)." It was during some discussion on the suggested diagnosis of Down syndrome disintegrative disorder (see here) and the idea that some signs and symptoms of regressive autism (?) might overlap with TPO antibodies […]

Brown, A., Surcel, H., Hinkka-Yli-Salomäki, S., Cheslack-Postava, K., Bao, Y. & Sourander, A. (2015). Maternal thyroid autoantibody and elevated risk of autism in a national birth cohort, Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 57 86-92. DOI: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2014.10.010

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January 14, 2015

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10:11 AM | Autism research in Jamaica
For the past couple of years I've been tracking some rather interesting publications coming out of data from Jamaica on the topic of autism / autism spectrum disorder (ASD) specifically looking at the possible overlap between genes and various environmental factors. I thought now would be a good time to bring this collection of papers to the blogging table and summarise their findings based on the analysis of data collected from The Jamaican Autism study. The fact that their latest […]

January 13, 2015

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9:58 AM | Autism diagnosis as a predictor of slow colonic transit
Slow colonic transit is all about issues with the speed of gastrointestinal (GI) motility and how as well as deriving nourishment from our food/drink, the other important task which our gut undertakes is the removal of waste, which it generally does pretty well. The paper by Zainab Ridha and colleagues [1] suggested that a diagnosis of autism might be over-represented when it came to their review of children referred for "nuclear transit studies", that is measuring bowel transit by […]

Ridha Z, Quinn R & Croaker GD (2014). Predictors of slow colonic transit in children., Pediatric surgery international, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25549892

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January 12, 2015

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9:35 AM | Ritual circumcision and risk of autism
A quote to begin: "We confirmed our hypothesis that boys who undergo ritual circumcision may run a greater risk of developing ASD [autism spectrum disorder].""Objetos dispersos" de Xulio Formoso 2008That was the rather surprising finding reported by Morten Frisch & Jacob Simonsen [1] (open-access) following their register-based cohort study based in Denmark. Some of the media following this paper can be seen here.I'll be honest with you and say that my brow furrowed somewhat upon […]

Frisch, M. & Simonsen, J. (2015). Ritual circumcision and risk of autism spectrum disorder in 0- to 9-year-old boys: national cohort study in Denmark, Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, DOI: 10.1177/0141076814565942

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January 09, 2015

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9:35 AM | Early mortality in mums of children with autism or intellectual disability
I know the paper by Jenny Fairthorne and colleagues [1] (open-access) is probably not the happiest thing to read with their conclusion that: "During the study period, mothers of children with intellectual disability or ASD [autism spectrum disorder] had more than twice the risk of death" but their message is nonetheless an important one.Based on data derived from "state-wide databases" covering women living in Western Australia who gave birth between 1983 and 2005, […]

Fairthorne J, Hammond G, Bourke J, Jacoby P & Leonard H (2014). Early Mortality and Primary Causes of Death in Mothers of Children with Intellectual Disability or Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Retrospective Cohort Study., PloS one, 9 (12) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25535971

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January 08, 2015

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9:49 AM | Abdominal discomfort syndrome in a subset of ME/CFS
"The findings show that ADS [abdominal discomfort syndrome] is a characteristic of a subset of patients with ME/CFS [Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome] and that increased bacterial translocation (leaky gut) is associated with ADS symptoms."Right there. God does not build in straight lines.So said the study by Michael Maes and colleagues [1] looking at both gastrointestinal (GI) symptom presentation in diagnosed cases of ME/CFS and "the IgA and IgM responses […]

Maes M, Leunis JC, Geffard M & Berk M (2014). Evidence for the existence of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) with and without abdominal discomfort (irritable bowel) syndrome., Neuro endocrinology letters, 35 (6) 445-453. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25433843

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January 07, 2015

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9:55 AM | Inflaming inflammation and autism: linking microglial activation and neuronal activity
It has been quite a few weeks since the publication of the paper by Simone Gupta and colleagues [1] (open-access) talking about "observations [that] provide pathways and candidate genes that highlight the interplay between innate immunity and neuronal activity in the aetiology of autism."I'm a wrecker. I wreck things, professionally. I mean.At the time of publication in early December (2014), there was quite a bit of media interest in the findings as per reports such as this one and […]

Gupta S, Ellis SE, Ashar FN, Moes A, Bader JS, Zhan J, West AB & Arking DE (2014). Transcriptome analysis reveals dysregulation of innate immune response genes and neuronal activity-dependent genes in autism., Nature communications, 5 5748. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25494366

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January 06, 2015

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9:40 AM | Olanzapine, gut bacteria and weight gain in mice
"These results collectively provide strong evidence for a mechanism underlying olanzapine-induced weight gain in mouse and a hypothesis for clinical translation in human patients."That was the summary statement derived from data published by Andrew Morgan and colleagues [1] (open-access) looking at how some of those trillions of wee beasties which colonise humans and animals (the microbiome) may very well influence response to medicines... at least in mice. The authors' specific focus on […]

Morgan AP, Crowley JJ, Nonneman RJ, Quackenbush CR, Miller CN, Ryan AK, Bogue MA, Paredes SH, Yourstone S, Carroll IM & Kawula TH (2014). The Antipsychotic Olanzapine Interacts with the Gut Microbiome to Cause Weight Gain in Mouse., PloS one, 9 (12) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25506936

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January 05, 2015

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9:27 AM | Systematic reviews and autism
There were a few reasons why I wanted to bring the commentary from Sven Bölte [1] on the topic of systematic reviews and autism research to your attention. One particular sentence included in the text stuck out for me: "... systematic reviews do not always tell the whole truth either" reflective of how we perhaps should always be a little cautious in the way we interpret science even when faced with the platinum standard that is the systematic review (with or without […]

January 03, 2015

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10:17 AM | Anti-epileptic meds and pediatric serum vitamin D levels
No, I am not becoming obsessed with the sunshine vitamin/hormone despite us being only a few days into 2015 and this being my second post on vitamin D. It's just the way that the research posts fall; although regular readers will probably have noticed I do enjoy reading the various research on all-things vitamin D.There has been an awakening...The research fodder for today's post is the paper by Yun-Jin Lee and colleagues [1] who measured 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels (in serum) for […]

Lee YJ, Park KM, Kim YM, Yeon GM & Nam SO (2014). Longitudinal Change of Vitamin D Status in Children With Epilepsy on Antiepileptic Drugs: Prevalence and Risk Factors., Pediatric neurology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25492388

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January 02, 2015

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8:19 AM | Vitamin D and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome continued
Hello again and a very warm welcome back to Questioning Answers in 2015. The year, according to a popular sequel, we were all supposed to be benefiting from hoverboards and wearing self-drying clothes. It didn't quite work out like that (although there are still 52 weeks left for such dreams to come to fruition).When we got adopted by a bald guy, I thought this would be more like Annie.We start the new blogging year with a few comments on a rather interesting, if disappointing, set of results […]

Witham MD, Adams F, McSwiggan S, Kennedy G, Kabir G, Belch JJ & Khan F (2014). Effect of intermittent vitamin D3 on vascular function and symptoms in chronic fatigue syndrome - A randomised controlled trial., Nutrition, metabolism, and cardiovascular diseases : NMCD, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25455721

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