Posts

July 22, 2014

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8:31 PM | Medical comorbidities in autism
A very quick micropost to direct you to the second version of the document: 'Medical comorbidities in autism spectrum disorders' published by Treating Autism, a group based here in Blighty.Covering a fair chunk of the peer-reviewed science examining the various medical comorbidities which seems to crop up with some regularity when a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is made, this free document (complete with a 6 page reference list) is pretty comprehensive.The message is quite a clear […]
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8:32 AM | Common variation and the genetics of autism
The paper by Trent Gaugler and colleagues [1] reporting that the genetic architecture of the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) seems in the most part to be due to "common variation" over and above "rare variants or spontaneous glitches" adds to the quite voluminous literature in this area.Everything in proportion? @ Wikipedia Based on an analysis of "a unique epidemiological sample from Sweden" researchers looked at DNA variations in some 3000 individuals with autism and asymptomatic […]

Gaugler T, Klei L, Sanders SJ, Bodea CA, Goldberg AP, Lee AB, Mahajan M, Manaa D, Pawitan Y, Reichert J & Ripke S (2014). Most genetic risk for autism resides with common variation., Nature genetics, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25038753

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6:30 AM | The adverse effects of psychiatric drugs and emergency department visits
A new study finds that psychiatric medications are implicated in many adverse drug events treated in US emergency departments. Nearly 1 in 10 of all adverse drug event visits to emergency departments are due to psychiatric drugs, including antidepressants, antipsychotics, lithium salts, sedatives, anxiolytics and stimulants. The post The adverse effects of psychiatric drugs and emergency department visits appeared first on The Mental Elf.

July 21, 2014

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7:24 AM | Autism and asthma yet again
"Asthma is approximately 35 % more common in autistic children".Pipe down @ Wikipedia That was the finding reported by Stanley Kotey and colleagues [1] based on their analysis of the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH) dataset, a resource looking at "the physical and emotional health of children ages 0-17 years of age" resident in the United States. I don't intend to dwell too much on the Kotey findings aside from pointing out: (a) the reported prevalence of autism […]

Kotey, S., Ertel, K. & Whitcomb, B. (2014). Co-occurrence of Autism and Asthma in a Nationally-Representative Sample of Children in the United States, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, DOI: 10.1007/s10803-014-2174-y

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7:00 AM | Comparison of chlorhexidine application methods on dental health of people with Down syndrome
Periodontal disease refers to issues relating to or affecting the tissues surrounding the neck and root of a tooth, It is a significant oral health problem for people with Down syndrome. It can be a cause of tooth loss and has a number of contributing factors, which includes poor oral hygiene. Antimicrobial agents like chlorhexidine [read the full story...]
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6:30 AM | Can intermittent fasting improve mood?
Intermittent fasting is all the rage these days, but is the practice backed up by any reliable research? Mark Horowitz investigates, but has he bitten off more than he can chew? The post Can intermittent fasting improve mood? appeared first on The Mental Elf.

July 18, 2014

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10:47 AM | Ultrafine particulate matter air pollution, mice and autism
Reading the headline "Study links air pollution to autism, schizophrenia" in a media piece about the study by Joshua Allen and colleagues* (open-access here) made me want to delve a little more into this research. I've talked before about air pollution and autism (see here) on this blog. Although a healthy degree of scepticism is to be expected with any autism correlation, particularly when it comes to something as generalised as air pollution (or pesticide exposure) there is a growing […]
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7:00 AM | Severe poverty associated with increased risk of hate crime against people with disabilities
People with disabilities are at increased risk of violence. Mencap’s end hate crime campaign, Stand By Me campaign suggested that as many as 9 out of 10 people with a learning disability had been a victim of hate crime and bullying. A recent systematic review (Hughes et al) suggested that adults with disabilities were at [read the full story...]
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6:30 AM | Fewer patients kill themselves in mental health units, but there are bigger benefits to home care
Suicides among mental health patients under home treatment are double the number of suicides in inpatient units, according to a new study published in The Lancet Psychiatry which looks at suicide rates in different mental health settings. The post Fewer patients kill themselves in mental health units, but there are bigger benefits to home care appeared first on The Mental Elf.

July 17, 2014

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9:02 AM | Childhood Maltreatment Predicts Later Alcoholism
Ample evidence exists for higher rates of substance abuse and dependence among maltreated individuals (1) so much so that alcoholism and addiction for many represent a developmental cascade. In clinical samples undergoing treatment for substance use disorders, between one third and … Continue reading →
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6:47 AM | Blood lead levels and childhood behaviour
"Blood lead concentrations, even at a mean concentration of 6.4 µg/dL, were associated with increased risk of behavioral problems in Chinese preschool children, including internalizing and pervasive developmental problems". That was the conclusion of the study by Jianghong Liu and colleagues [1] looking at blood lead levels in preschoolers aged 3-5 years resident in Jiangsu province in China. Some associated media accompanying this study can be viewed here including the text: […]
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6:30 AM | Incredible Years Parent Training has a role in improving outcomes for all children
Fiona Warner-Gale presents the findings of a meta-analytic review of the Incredible Years Parent Training programme, which is found to be effective at modifying disruptive and prosocial child behaviour. This evidence will be of interest to many, including policymakers, planners and practitioners. The post Incredible Years Parent Training has a role in improving outcomes for all children appeared first on The Mental Elf.

July 16, 2014

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11:54 AM | Age of first drink predicts subsequent alcohol dependence?
  The age of onset to begin regular drinking is an important predictor of age of first alcohol problem and subsequent alcohol dependence (1,2),  as well as greater severity and persistence of problems with illicit drugs (3). For individuals that … Continue reading →
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8:50 AM | Organic acids as biomarkers of autism?
Whilst I am always a little cautious about the use of the word 'biomarker' when applied to a heterogeneous condition like autism, even the autisms, I am nevertheless always intrigued at any reasonable prospect reported in the scientific literature. So it was when I read the paper by Joanna Kałużna-Czaplińska and colleagues [1] and their assertion that "there is a significant metabolic difference between autistic and non-autistic children" and onwards that "21 metabolites […]
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6:30 AM | Lifetime risk of treated mental disorders
This new study concludes that approximately one-third of the Danish population will receive treatment in secondary care for a mental disorder across their lifetime. Should we be talking about 1 in 3, rather than 1 in 4? The post Lifetime risk of treated mental disorders appeared first on The Mental Elf.
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5:09 AM | AMEE 2014 and preparing for a conference
This year I will be attending the AMEE conference in Milan, Italy. The AMEE Conference provides an opportunity for all with an interest in medical and health professions education to meet together to hear about what’s new in the area, to share ideas and to network with colleagues from around the world. During my career […] Related posts:2008 Conference on Happiness and Its Causes E-Mental Health Summit and Health 2.0 Conference Gel Health, Conference About The Patient Experience […]

July 15, 2014

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8:44 PM | Do Actions Speak Louder than Feelings? [Video]
    // Editor’s note: Brain Basics from Scientific American Mind is a series of short video primers on the brain and how we feel, think and act. Below is a synopsis of the tenth video in... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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6:30 AM | Childhood abuse and adverse life events interact synergistically to produce a high risk for psychotic experiences
This recent study concludes that childhood abuse creates an enduring vulnerability to psychosis that is realised in the event of exposure to further stressors and risk factors, such as separation, bereavement, or being involved in an accident or physical attack. The post Childhood abuse and adverse life events interact synergistically to produce a high risk for psychotic experiences appeared first on The Mental Elf.

July 14, 2014

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12:29 PM | Stress and emotional dysregulation are markers of later risk of alcoholism.
The offspring of alcohol dependent individuals are at increased risk for alcohol and drug dependence in young adulthood over that seen in the general population (1-4). Twin and adoption studies reveal that the heritability for alcohol dependence is between 40–60% … Continue reading →
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9:02 AM | Joint hypermobility, gait and autism
I have already made mention of the paper by Maya Shetreat-Klein and colleagues [1] on this blog as part of a post on the potential usefulness of kata training for at least some people on the autism spectrum (see here). Based on an analysis of 38 children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and a similar number of asymptomatic controls (all medication free), researchers set about recording "the characteristics of gait and prevalence of toe walking, the range of passive joint mobility, […]

Shetreat-Klein M, Shinnar S & Rapin I (2014). Abnormalities of joint mobility and gait in children with autism spectrum disorders., Brain & development, 36 (2) 91-6. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22401670

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7:00 AM | Costs of CBT for anger management tested against ‘as usual’ day service
Last week we posted about the publication of a new manual for therapists engaged in providing cognitive behavioural therapy to people with learning disabilities . In that post, we drew attention to two randomised trials that had been done in the early 2000’s whose findings were m anger – encouraging. This latest study adds a [read the full story...]
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6:30 AM | New meta-analysis supports the use of mindfulness for depression, but not anxiety
This study confirms that mindfulness based interventions (MBIs) are valid for the treatment of current depressive episodes, and it identifies the need for more studies to investigate the possibility that MBIs might also be of value in treating anxiety disorders. The post New meta-analysis supports the use of mindfulness for depression, but not anxiety appeared first on The Mental Elf.
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5:06 AM | Young People on Psychosis
Hands on description of psychosis and it’s consequences. An enthralling short film made by John Richardson (former service user) and Belinda Giles. Surrounding the experience of psychosis and the positive role the Early Intervention service can play in that often rocky voyage. Featuring captivating personal insights alongside a tightly woven narrative. Provocatively packed with vintage […] Related posts:Cannabis use in young people: The risk for schizophrenia Should young people […]

July 13, 2014

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5:08 PM | North Sea Jazz 2014
The marriage between hip hop and jazz is difficult. Robert Glasper is one of the experts trying to combine these two with great results. Enjoy this video. It’s over after tonight, the Nort Sea Jazz festival 2014 of which for me Robert Glasper was a highlight, together with Stevie Wonder. Another highlight was the legendary […] Related posts:North Sea Jazz Tips The Berliner Philharmoniker at Home by Digital Concert Hall Golden Age of Jazz in Pictures

July 12, 2014

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3:36 PM | Organic food: meta-analysed
A very quick post to direct you to the paper by Barański and colleagues [1] which is currently making a few headlines and sparking some debate (see here and see here) with their assertions: "the concentrations of a range of antioxidants such as polyphenolics were found to be substantially higher in organic crops/crop-based foods" and "the frequency of occurrence of pesticide residues was found to be four times higher in conventional crops, which also contained significantly […]

Barański M, Srednicka-Tober D, Volakakis N, Seal C, Sanderson R, Stewart GB, Benbrook C, Biavati B, Markellou E, Giotis C & Gromadzka-Ostrowska J (2014). Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses., The British journal of nutrition, 1-18. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24968103

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July 11, 2014

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8:48 AM | Maternal C-Reactive Protein (CRP) and offspring schizophrenia
A big quote to start this post: "This finding provides the most robust evidence to date that maternal inflammation may play a significant role in schizophrenia, with possible implications for identifying preventive strategies and pathogenic mechanisms in schizophrenia and other neurodevelopmental disorders".Ophelia @ Wikipedia The source for this quote was the paper by Sarah Canetta and colleagues [1] based on an analysis of serum samples from mums for C-reactive protein (CRP) as […]

Canetta, S., Sourander, A., Surcel, H., Hinkka-Yli-Salomäki, S., Leiviskä, J., Kellendonk, C., McKeague, I. & Brown, A. (2014). Elevated Maternal C-Reactive Protein and Increased Risk of Schizophrenia in a National Birth Cohort, American Journal of Psychiatry, DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2014.13121579

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7:00 AM | Bradley report commission identifies solid progress, but still work to be done
Five years ago, Lord Bradley published his report looking at the situation of people with mental health problems and people with learning disabilities in the criminal justice system. The Bradley report made a number of recommendations and this summer sees the publication of a progress report on these recommendations. The Bradley commission, established as an [read the full story...]
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6:30 AM | Shared decision making in antipsychotic prescribing: the perspective of psychiatrists
Shared decision making is now commonplace, but will this approach ever be fully embraced in relation to antipsychotic prescribing? Liz Hughes reports on a recent qualitative study of consultant psychiatrists' experiences that sheds some light on the issue. The post Shared decision making in antipsychotic prescribing: the perspective of psychiatrists appeared first on The Mental Elf.

July 10, 2014

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10:24 AM | Why a “Spiritual Solution” to a Neurobiological Disease?
In the first in a series of blogs we discuss the topic of why does the solution to one’s alcoholism and addiction require a spiritual recovery. This is a much asked question within academic research, although the health benefits of … Continue reading →
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7:34 AM | Viral exposure and autism
A whole slew of articles published by Ivan Gentile and colleagues based at the University of Naples (Italy) brought me to writing this post looking at some of the literature on viral exposures and autism. Viruses, in case you didn't know, are some of nature's survivors, infecting host cells and reproducing, onwards hopeful of finding more (un)willing cells/organisms to infect. Humankind have developed various biological defence mechanisms against the viral (and bacterial) onslaught that we all […]

Gentile I, Zappulo E, Bonavolta R, Maresca R, Messana T, Buonomo AR, Portella G, Sorrentino R, Settimi A, Pascotto A & Borgia G (2014). Prevalence and Titre of Antibodies to Cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr Virus in Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder., In vivo (Athens, Greece), 28 (4) 621-626. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24982232

Gentile I, Zappulo E, Bonavolta R, Maresca R, Riccio MP, Buonomo AR, Portella G, Settimi A, Pascotto A, Borgia G & Bravaccio C (2014). Exposure to Varicella Zoster Virus Is Higher in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder than in Healthy Controls. Results from a Case-control Study., In vivo (Athens, Greece), 28 (4) 627-631. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24982233

Gentile I, Zappulo E, Bonavolta R, Maresca R, Riccio MP, Buonomo AR, Portella G, Vallefuoco L, Settimi A, Pascotto A & Borgia G (2014). Prevalence of Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2 Antibodies in Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorders., In vivo (Athens, Greece), 28 (4) 667-671. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24982239

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