Posts

September 30, 2014

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9:06 AM | Autoimmune thyroiditis and depressive disorder
"Our study demonstrates a strong association between anti-TPO levels, which are considered to be of diagnostic value for autoimmune thyroiditis... with uni- or bipolar depression.""Beware the bad cat bearing a grudge"So said the study published by Detlef Degner and colleagues [1]. Anti-TPO antibodies by the way, refers to anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies which, as the name suggests, are antibodies against thyroid peroxidase, an important step in the production of thyroid […]

Degner D, Haust M, Meller J, Rüther E & Reulbach U (2014). Association between autoimmune thyroiditis and depressive disorder in psychiatric outpatients., European archives of psychiatry and clinical neuroscience, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25193677

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September 29, 2014

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8:35 AM | Term vs. preterm birth and the presentation of autism
The paper by Katherine Bowers and colleagues [1] continues the interest in the concept of 'the autisms' with their observations on the presentation of autism (and its comorbidities) when looking at those "born preterm versus those born at term".We'd better get back, 'cause it'll be dark soon, and they mostly come at night... mostlyBased on an analysis of quite a healthy participant number heading up to 900 "males and females with autism spectrum disorder", authors reported on several phenotypic […]

Bowers K, Wink LK, Pottenger A, McDougle CJ & Erickson C (2014). Phenotypic differences in individuals with autism spectrum disorder born preterm and at term gestation., Autism : the international journal of research and practice, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25192860

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September 28, 2014

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8:09 PM | Autism across DSM-IV and DSM-5 descriptions
The paper/poster(?) by Harker & Stone [1] kinda says it all when it comes to the question: what changed in the description of autism between the DSM-IV-TR and DSM-5? The added bonus of comparing the US IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) description of autism with DSM-5 will, I assume, also be important to quite a few people not least when it comes to any further research which uses the datasets on numbers of cases for example (see here).I have little more to say aside from […]

September 27, 2014

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7:50 AM | Yes, people with autism do have headaches
I don't mean to be haughty but a sentence included in the paper by Victorio [1] led to the title of today's very quick post. Based on a chart review of patients diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) attending a neurology clinic, the author concluded that "ASD patients, despite being known to have indifference to pain, can experience headaches".Pain is something which has cropped up quite a bit in the autism research arena and has appeared more than once on this blog (see here and see […]

Victorio, M. (2014). EHMTI-0290. Headaches in patients with autism spectrum disorder, The Journal of Headache and Pain, 15 (Suppl 1) DOI: 10.1186/1129-2377-15-S1-B37

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September 26, 2014

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9:32 AM | Schizophrenia after child and adolescent psychiatric disorders
More of a 'bring to your attention' post today, as I bring to your attention(!) the paper by Cecilie Frejstrup Maibing and colleagues [1] who concluded: "The risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum disorders [SSD] after a child and adolescent psychiatric disorder was significantly increased particularly in the short term but also in the long-term period"."I coulda been a contender"The findings were based on an analysis of one of those very informative […]

September 25, 2014

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9:10 AM | Temporal trends in US autism prevalence: mainly real increase
"Diagnosed autism prevalence has risen dramatically in the U.S over the last several decades and continued to trend upward as of birth year 2005. The increase is mainly real and has occurred mostly since the late 1980s"."They call me Cha Cha because I'm the best dancer at St. Bernadette's"That was the conclusion reached in the paper by Cynthia Nevison [1] (open-access) following her analysis of temporal trends in autism diagnosis for birth years between 1970 and 2005. Based on an analysis […]

September 24, 2014

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10:58 AM | Psychiatric effects of childhood inflammation?
"Higher levels of the systemic inflammatory marker IL-6 [interleukin 6] in childhood are associated with an increased risk of developing depression and psychosis in young adulthood". So said the paper by Golam Khandaker and colleagues [1] looking at the growing link between inflammation and psychiatry.The bright light of Autumn @ Wikipedia The name Khandaker has appeared before on this blog (see here and see here), most recently with research looking at a possible link between […]

September 23, 2014

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1:38 PM | Maternal iron intake and offspring autism risk
Much like the discussions around the paper by Rogers and colleagues (see here) on treating autism in the first year of life, the media scrum around the findings from Rebecca Schmidt and colleagues [1] talking about maternal iron supplements and offspring autism spectrum disorder (ASD) risk preceded the publication of the paper by a few days. It's getting to be a pet-hate of mine that big headlines are being generated sometimes days before your average Jane or Joe can see the data upon which […]
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9:00 AM | Gut issues in autism impacting on drug availability and absorption
As indicated in a recent post, I was really rather pleased to see the paper by Andrew Heitzer and colleagues [1] (open-access) asking the important question: Should clinical trial research of psychotropic medication in autism control for gastrointestinal symptoms? Some media about the study can also be found here."You write "Born to Kill" on your helmet and you wear a peace button".The answer is of course, yes and not just when it comes to psychotropic medicines either, given that […]

September 22, 2014

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7:32 AM | Omega-3 fatty acids and ADHD
With a title like that, this post could turn out to be quite a long winded blog entry. As it happens, I'm not going to subject you, dear reader, to such a literary onslaught but rather focus my attention on the paper by Elizabeth Hawkey & Joel Nigg [1] who undertook two meta-analyses and concluded that: "Omega-3 levels are reduced in children with ADHD [attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder]" and "Dietary supplementation appears to create modest improvements in symptoms"."Maybe the 80s […]

Hawkey E & Nigg JT (2014). Omega-3 fatty acid and ADHD: Blood level analysis and meta-analytic extension of supplementation trials., Clinical psychology review, 34 (6) 496-505. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25181335

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September 20, 2014

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8:51 AM | Antibiotics and risk of pediatric Crohn's disease
I couldn't let the meta-analysis from Ryan Ungaro and colleagues [1] pass without a brief mention. Concluding that: "Exposure to antibiotics appears to increase the odds of being newly diagnosed with CD [Crohn's disease] but not UC [ulcerative colitis]" and further: "This risk is most marked in children diagnosed with CD", the implications from this and other findings in this area may be far-reaching.I've talked before on this blog about antibiotic exposure and risk of […]

September 19, 2014

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8:08 AM | Increasing parental age and autism severity?
An interesting paper by David Geier and colleagues [1] (open-access here) caught my eye recently, concluding that there was a lack of support for the suggestion that: "increasing parental age was associated with increasing autism spectrum disorder phenotypic severity"."the snozzberries taste like snozzberries".Before progressing through the paper and its possible implications, the eagle-eyed out there might have already spotted the name Dr Brian Hooker on the authorship list of the Geier paper. […]

Geier DA, Hooker BS, Kern JK, Sykes LK & Geier MR (2014). An Evaluation of the Effect of Increasing Parental Age on the Phenotypic Severity of Autism Spectrum Disorder., Journal of child neurology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25163730

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September 18, 2014

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8:50 AM | Anxiety and sensory over-responsivity linked to gut issues in autism
"The name's Lonnegan! Doyle Lonnegan!"Consider this micropost an extension of some previous discussions on this blog about how gastrointestinal (GI) issues present in cases of autism might show some connection to the presence of anxiety and sensory issues (see here). Today I'm discussing further research by Micah Mazurek and colleagues [1] which follows a previous publication by this author [2] on this topic.In the latest paper, Dr Mazurek and colleagues describe the course of abdominal pain in […]

Mazurek, M., Keefer, A., Shui, A. & Vasa, R. (2014). One-year course and predictors of abdominal pain in children with autism spectrum disorders: The role of anxiety and sensory over-responsivity, Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 8 (11) 1508-1515. DOI: 10.1016/j.rasd.2014.07.018

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September 17, 2014

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10:29 AM | Autoimmune disease risk and eating disorders
"We were set up. The cops were waiting for us.""We observed an association between eating disorders and several autoimmune diseases with different genetic backgrounds. Our findings support the link between immune-mediated mechanisms and development of eating disorders".So said the paper by Anu Raevuori and colleagues [1] (open-access) based on an analysis of over 2300 people "treated at the Eating Disorder Unit of Helsinki University Central Hospital between 1995 and 2010" compared with […]

September 16, 2014

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6:50 AM | The schizophrenias (plural)
A micropost if you will, to draw your attention to the paper by Javier Arnedo and colleagues [1] mentioning the concept of 'the schizophrenias' (plural). Some media coverage of this paper can be found here and here. The crux of the paper is that although currently unified by a diagnostic label, schizophrenia seems to be comprised of various conditions: "caused by a moderate number of separate genotypic networks associated with several distinct clinical syndromes"."... dogs and cats living […]

Javier Arnedo, Dragan M. Svrakic, Coral del Val, Rocío Romero-Zaliz, Helena Hernández-Cuervo, Molecular Genetics of Schizophrenia Consortium, Ayman H. Fanous, Michele T. Pato, Carlos N. Pato, Gabriel A. de Erausquin & C. Robert Cloninger (2014). Uncovering the Hidden Risk Architecture of the Schizophrenias: Confirmation in Three Independent Genome-Wide Association Studies, The American Journal of Psychiatry, Other:

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September 15, 2014

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8:47 AM | Zinc and copper and autism
The paper by Li and colleagues [1] looking at serum copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) levels in a group of participants diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the source material for today's post. Highlighting how "mean serum Zn levels and Zn/Cu ratio were significantly lower in children with ASD compared with normal cases... whereas serum Cu levels were significantly higher" the continued focus on the metallome in autism carries on at a pace. I should at this point out that I'm not […]

Li SO, Wang JL, Bjørklund G, Zhao WN & Yin CH (2014). Serum copper and zinc levels in individuals with autism spectrum disorders., Neuroreport, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25162784

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September 12, 2014

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3:47 PM | Insulin, growth hormone and risk of schizophrenia?
"Overall, the present findings suggest that metabolic and hormonal disturbances such as effects on insulin and growth hormone may represent a vulnerability factor to develop mental disorders". That was the conclusion reported by van Beveren and colleagues [1] (open-access) looking at "disruption of insulin and growth factor signaling pathways as an increased risk factor for schizophrenia"."Years ago you served my father in the Clone Wars"Drawing on data derived from participants taking part […]

van Beveren NJ, Schwarz E, Noll R, Guest PC, Meijer C, de Haan L & Bahn S (2014). Evidence for disturbed insulin and growth hormone signaling as potential risk factors in the development of schizophrenia., Translational psychiatry, 4 PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25158005

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September 11, 2014

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1:55 PM | Treating autism in the first year of life
I had been waiting y'know. Waiting a while for the paper by Sally Rogers and colleagues [1] to finally appear quite a few days after the media headlines about 'reducing', 'reversing' and even 'eliminating' the signs and symptoms of autism in early infancy had appeared. Personally, I prefer the New Scientist headline: 'Early autism intervention speeds infant development' given the text of the paper. I should perhaps also add the words 'for some' to that sentence as you will hopefully […]

S. J. Rogers, L. Vismara, A. L. Wagner, C. McCormick, G. Young & S. Ozonoff (2014). Autism Treatment in the First Year of Life: A Pilot Study of Infant Start, a Parent-Implemented Intervention for Symptomatic Infants, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Other:

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8:42 AM | Omega-3 fatty acids rescues Fragile X phenotypes in Fmr1-Ko mice
"These results demonstrate that n-3 PUFAs dietary supplementation, although not a panacea, has a considerable therapeutic value for FXS [Fragile X syndrome] and potentially for ASD [autism spectrum disorder], suggesting a major mediating role of neuroinflammatory mechanisms".A view @ Wikipedia That was the conclusion reached by Susanna Pietropaolo and colleagues [1] who "evaluated the impact of n-3 PUFA dietary supplementation in a mouse model of fragile X syndrome […]

Pietropaolo S, Goubran MG, Joffre C, Aubert A, Lemaire-Mayo V, Crusio WE & Layé S (2014). Dietary supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids rescues fragile X phenotypes in Fmr1-Ko mice., Psychoneuroendocrinology, 49C 119-129. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25080404

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September 10, 2014

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9:01 AM | Donepezil and D-cycloserine rescue behaviours in VPA exposed animals
In a post not-so-long-ago I talked about an interesting piece of research by Ahn and colleagues [1] suggesting that a ketogenic diet might yet hold some promise to "modify complex social behaviors and mitochondrial respiration" affected in the "prenatal valproic acid (VPA) rodent model of ASD [autism spectrum disorder]". The idea being that exposure to valproic acid (valproate) during the nine months that made us might carry some heightened risk for adverse effects on offspring development (see […]

Wellmann KA, Varlinskaya EI & Mooney SM (2014). D-Cycloserine Ameliorates Social Alterations That Result From Prenatal Exposure To Valproic Acid., Brain research bulletin, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25130667

Kim JW, Seung H, Kwon KJ, Ko MJ, Lee EJ, Oh HA, Choi CS, Kim KC, Gonzales EL, You JS & Choi DH (2014). Subchronic Treatment of Donepezil Rescues Impaired Social, Hyperactive, and Stereotypic Behavior in Valproic Acid-Induced Animal Model of Autism., PloS one, 9 (8) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25133713

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September 09, 2014

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8:35 AM | The gondii and generalised anxiety disorder
Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) has been absent from discussions on this blog for a while now. I'm going to remedy that today with this post talking about the paper from Markovitz and colleagues [1] who concluded: "T. gondii infection may play a role in the development of GAD [generalized anxiety disorder]"."You have saved our lives. We are eternally grateful"Based on participants taking part in the Detroit Neighborhood Health Study exposure to T. gondii "defined by seropositivity […]

Markovitz A, Simanek AM, Yolken R, Galea S, Koenen KC, Chen S & Aiello AE (2014). Toxoplasma gondii and anxiety disorders in a community-based sample., Brain, behavior, and immunity, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25124709

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September 08, 2014

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8:22 AM | Homocysteine, MTHFR and schizophrenia studied AND meta-analysed
"Our study suggests that increased plasma total homocysteine levels may be associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia". Further: "The meta-analysis of the Japanese genetic association studies demonstrated a significant association between the MTHFR C677T polymorphism and schizophrenia".MTHFR (again!) @ Paul WhiteleySo said the results of the study and meta-analysis carried out by Akira Nishi and colleagues [1] (open-access) looking at the 'big H' alongside everyone's genetic […]

Nishi A, Numata S, Tajima A, Kinoshita M, Kikuchi K, Shimodera S, Tomotake M, Ohi K, Hashimoto R, Imoto I & Takeda M (2014). Meta-analyses of Blood Homocysteine Levels for Gender and Genetic Association Studies of the MTHFR C677T Polymorphism in Schizophrenia., Schizophrenia bulletin, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24535549

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September 05, 2014

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9:04 AM | Extremes of a self-limiting diet in autism
I'll draw your attention to three papers in today's post which represent the extremes of where self-imposed dietary restrictions can potentially lead in relation to the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Issues with diet - outside of use of diet as an intervention measure - are something which have been talked about quite a bit in the autism research literature (see here)."You look like a gangster"The first paper by Baird & Ravindranath [1] describes a case report of an 11-year old with […]

Baird JS & Ravindranath TM (2014). Vitamin B Deficiencies in a Critically Ill Autistic Child With a Restricted Diet., Nutrition in clinical practice : official publication of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25112945

Gulko E, Collins LK, Murphy RC, Thornhill BA & Taragin BH (2014). MRI findings in pediatric patients with scurvy., Skeletal radiology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25109378

Keown K, Bothwell J & Jain S (2014). Nutritional implications of selective eating in a child with autism spectrum disorder., BMJ case reports, 2014 PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24654242

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September 04, 2014

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8:51 AM | Epigenetic processes and autism: focusing on immune function?
Although the title of this post talks about the science of epigenetics in autism, I'm actually going to be talking about two papers today, one of which also covers exposure to prenatal immune activation and what effect that might have on epigenetic processes in the mouse brain. This may also be relevant to at least some autism..."Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy. And ideas are bulletproof"First off we have the paper from Nardone and colleagues [1] (open-access) which, following […]

Nardone, S., Sharan Sams, D., Reuveni, E., Getselter, D., Oron, O., Karpuj, M. & Elliott, E. (2014). DNA methylation analysis of the autistic brain reveals multiple dysregulated biological pathways, Translational Psychiatry, 4 (9) DOI: 10.1038/tp.2014.70

Basil, P., Li, Q., Dempster, E., Mill, J., Sham, P., Wong, C. & McAlonan, G. (2014). Prenatal maternal immune activation causes epigenetic differences in adolescent mouse brain, Translational Psychiatry, 4 (9) DOI: 10.1038/tp.2014.80

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September 03, 2014

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8:36 AM | An observation-based classifier for rapid detection of autism risk
"Keep clear of the moors"Among the many researchers and research groups admired on this blog for their contribution to the world of autism research, the name Dennis Wall is fast becoming a real favourite. Aside from mention of the words 'systems biology' in his profile at Stanford University, I'm particularly interested in the way the Wall research group are looking at trying to apply machine-learning approaches to things like autism assessment.I've covered a few of their past research reports […]

M Duda, J A Kosmicki & D P Wall (2014). Testing the accuracy of an observation-based classifier for rapid detection of autism risk, Translational Psychiatry, 4 Other:

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September 02, 2014

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8:33 AM | The epigenetics of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
"These data are consistent with evidence of multisystem dysregulation in CFS [Chronic Fatigue Syndrome] and implicate the involvement of DNA modifications in CFS pathology". So said the paper by Wilfred de Vega and colleagues [1] (open-access here) which, I think, represents a bit of a first for CFS with their examination of the possible role of epigenetic modifications in relation to the condition(s) [2].Ladies first @ Wikipedia I have to say that I was really quite excited […]

de Vega WC, Vernon SD & McGowan PO (2014). DNA Methylation Modifications Associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome., PloS one, 9 (8) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25111603

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September 01, 2014

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7:32 AM | Lithium for mood disorder symptoms in autism?
Modern classroom? @ Wikipedia The paper published by Matthew Siegel and colleagues [1] talking about some preliminary observations on the use of lithium where symptoms of mood disorder might be present in cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) caught my eye recently. Concluding that: "lithium may be a medication of interest for those who exhibit two or more mood disorder symptoms, particularly mania or euphoria/elevated mood" the sentiments of more research-to-do in this area […]

Siegel M, Beresford CA, Bunker M, Verdi M, Vishnevetsky D, Karlsson C, Teer O, Stedman A & Smith KA (2014). Preliminary Investigation of Lithium for Mood Disorder Symptoms in Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder., Journal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25093602

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