Posts

November 28, 2014

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7:34 AM | The Autism-Spectrum Quotient: overlap between Asperger syndrome and schizophrenia
The paper by Tove Lugnegård and colleagues [1], including mention of one Maria Unenge Hallerbäck who has appeared on this blog previously, is fodder for today's discussions and their finding that a: "significant overlap of AQ [Autism-Spectrum Quotient] scores across the two diagnostic groups clearly reduces the discriminating power of the AQ in the separation of schizophrenia from AS [Asperger syndrome]."They say you're judged by the strength of your enemies.As per […]

Lugnegård T, Hallerbäck MU & Gillberg C (2014). Asperger syndrome and schizophrenia: Overlap of self-reported autistic traits using the Autism-spectrum Quotient (AQ)., Nordic journal of psychiatry, 1-7. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25389915

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November 27, 2014

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9:55 AM | FC is a technique that has no validity
FC, by the way, refers to Facilitated Communication, a controversial technique which as the name suggests relies on a facilitator to support "the hand or arm of a communicatively impaired individual while using a keyboard or other devices with the aim of helping the individual to point and thereby to communicate." The quote for the title of this post comes from the paper by Ralf Schlosser and colleagues [1] who following systematic review, found "unequivocal evidence for facilitator […]

Schlosser RW, Balandin S, Hemsley B, Iacono T, Probst P & von Tetzchner S (2014). Facilitated Communication and Authorship: A Systematic Review., Augmentative and alternative communication (Baltimore, Md. : 1985), 1-10. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25384895

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November 26, 2014

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9:54 AM | The gut microbiome in Down Syndrome
The recent preliminary findings from Elena Biagi and colleagues [1] (open-access) reporting on the constitution of the gut microbiome - the collected bacteria which reside in the deepest, darkest recesses of our gastrointestinal (GI) tract - in a small number of cases of Down's syndrome caught my eye recently.It's a funny feeling being taken under the wing of a dragonPerhaps a little bit unusually looking at the gut microbiome because of the link between premature ageing in Down's syndrome […]

Biagi E, Candela M, Centanni M, Consolandi C, Rampelli S, Turroni S, Severgnini M, Peano C, Ghezzo A, Scurti M & Salvioli S (2014). Gut Microbiome in Down Syndrome., PloS one, 9 (11) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25386941

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November 25, 2014

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8:20 AM | Serotonin - melatonin (and the in-betweeners) linked to autism
The paper by Pagan and colleagues [1] (open-access) looking at "serotonin, melatonin and the intermediate N-acetylserotonin (NAS) in a large cohort of patients with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and their relatives" set the old grey-pink matter into action recently. Not only because I have some real interest in the starting material for these compounds - the aromatic amino acid known as tryptophan - but because this research group included some quite important analysis of the […]

Pagan C, Delorme R, Callebert J, Goubran-Botros H, Amsellem F, Drouot X, Boudebesse C, Le Dudal K, Ngo-Nguyen N, Laouamri H & Gillberg C (2014). The serotonin-N-acetylserotonin-melatonin pathway as a biomarker for autism spectrum disorders., Translational psychiatry, 4 PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25386956

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November 24, 2014

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9:29 AM | Finland, parental migration and offspring Asperger syndrome
A quote from the paper by Venla Lehti and colleagues [1] to start things off: "The study showed that children whose parents are both immigrants have a significantly lower likelihood of being diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome than those with two Finnish parents."Can I cook, or can't I?Based on an analysis of data derived from "the Finnish Hospital Discharge Register" and "the Finnish Medical Birth Register", researchers looked at the records of children with a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome […]

November 22, 2014

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8:26 AM | Children as research participants: assessing competence
I was brought to writing about this topic after reading an interesting post by Virginia Hughes titled: Personhood Week: Do Kids Count? Among the various points raised in that article was some discussion about minors having medical autonomy and how this might impinge on areas outside of just medical decision-making. It also reminded me about something which was raised on more than one occasion when I undertook a stint on a University Ethics committee...Most people involved in the […]

November 21, 2014

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10:58 AM | Genomic instability not linked to autism?
An eyebrow was raised upon reading the findings reported by Penelope Main and colleagues [1] concluding that: "it appears unlikely that genomic instability is a feature of the aetiology of autism." Based on results derived in part from "the cytokinesis-block micronucleus cytome (CBMN-cyt) assay" [2] looking at markers of DNA damage, authors reported very little to see in their small cohort of children with autism (n=35) compared with siblings (n=27) and asymptomatic controls (n=25) although […]

November 20, 2014

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10:30 AM | Intestinal permeability: an emerging scientific area (also with autism in mind)
What is the intestinal barrier? What is intestinal permeability? What factors affect the permeability of the intestinal barrier? How do you measure intestinal permeability? How might [altered] intestinal permeability link to health, well-being and various clinical diagnoses?The new triad @ Bischoff SC et al. 2014These are some of the questions tackled by the excellent open-access review by Stephan Bischoff and colleagues [1] which I would like to draw your attention to […]

November 19, 2014

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9:57 AM | Down Syndrome Disintegrative Disorder
"Down syndrome disintegrative disorder seems an appropriate name for this newly recognized clinical association, which may be due to autoimmunity.""Hi, everyone. I'm Olaf and I like warm hugs!"That was the bottom line of the study published by Gordon Worley and colleagues [1] reviewing a small number of cases (N=11) of children diagnosed with Down's syndrome presenting at clinic "with a history of new-onset... or worsening... autistic characteristics" among other things. Based on some […]

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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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