Posts

November 28, 2014

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8:00 AM | Sex education programmes focused on ‘protection’ and ‘prevention’ with little attention given to supporting people to develop healthy, positive sexual relationships
Knowledge about sexuality is a key factor in helping people develop healthy relationships, maintain their sexual health and avoid potentially abusive situations, but how much do sexuality education programmes for people with learning disabilities help fulfil these aims? In her debut blog, Sian Anderson looks at a review of literature which looks at the effectiveness of sex education programmes and educational materials developed for people with mild or moderate learning disabilities. The post […]
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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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7:30 AM | Anti-inflammatory drugs for depression: new review points to benefits, but more research needed
Helge Hasselmann highlights a recent systematic review of anti-inflammatory drugs for depression, which concludes that NSAIDs, in particular celecoxib, decreases depressive symptoms without increased risk of adverse effects. However, the meta-analysis has a number of draw-backs, which make the study findings far from convincing. The post Anti-inflammatory drugs for depression: new review points to benefits, but more research needed appeared first on The Mental Elf.

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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7:30 AM | Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia: a critique by Laws, Langford and Huda
Keith Laws, Alex Langford and Samei Huda provide a critique of the British Psychological Society Division of Clinical Psychology report published today. The post Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia: a critique by Laws, Langford and Huda appeared first on The Mental Elf.

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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8:00 AM | NICE multimorbidity guidance almost excluded people with learning disabilities
The NICE scoping guidelines on multimorbidity now thankfully include people with learning disabilities. However, the original scoping draft specifically excluded them, despite NHS England and the Department of Health commenting on the first draft. Here, Pauline Heslop, one of the authors of the Confidential Inquiry report and a key campaigner to get people with learning disabilities included in the scope, talks about some the issues this raises. The post NICE multimorbidity guidance almost […]
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7:30 AM | Stigma in bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder: time for a cultural shift.
Andrew Shepherd summarises a critical realist analysis that looks at experiences of stigma in people with bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder. He concludes that a profound social change in public and professional attitudes is necessary before mental health stigma can be effectively eradicated. The post Stigma in bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder: time for a cultural shift. appeared first on The Mental Elf.

November 25, 2014

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12:24 PM | Does Science Show What 12 Steps Know (part 1)?
How It Works Here we address a question I have asked myself many times – why does AA and other 12 step fellowships seem to have a better understanding of the alcoholic/addict and offer better treatment of them than that … Continue reading →
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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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7:30 AM | Are treatments for borderline personality disorder cost-effective?
Our resident Elf Economist, Chris Sampson, reports on a new systematic review of economic evaluations for borderline personality disorder. Are any cost-effective? The post Are treatments for borderline personality disorder cost-effective? appeared first on The Mental Elf.

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 […]
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8:00 AM | Achieving increases in active support through practice leadership needs systematic development of skills and management focus says exploratory study
Active support is about ensuring staff have working practices and organisational procedures to improve levels of participation and engagement in activities. In her debut blog for the Learning Disabilities Elf, Louise Philips describes a study which set out to look at whether the quality of practice leadership was a factor in developing active support. Louise also sets out an excellent breakdown of exactly what practice leadership is what managers need to do to ensure this framework for […]
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7:30 AM | It’s not what you say: Examining the non-verbal behaviours of psychiatrists and patients
Chris Pell considers the findings of a recent observational study of non-verbal behaviour and communication in meetings of psychiatrists and patients with schizophrenia. The post It’s not what you say: Examining the non-verbal behaviours of psychiatrists and patients appeared first on The Mental Elf.

November 23, 2014

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11:18 AM | Addiction – as even a child could understand.
This is an excellent animation of what makes us addicts and also what recovery is and how it is achieved – explained in the most simple way possible. Recommended.
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11:03 AM | The Thrill Comes, Goes and is Gone!

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 […]
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8:00 AM | Judgements about learning disability services quality based on snapshot experiences were not sufficient to understand service performance in Australian study
What needs to be done to ensure quality services for adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities and how can organisations ensure that this is done consistently? Here, Nick Burton describes the findings of an Australian study that uses observational methodology to look in great detail at what was happening for a number of people in small 24hr staffed houses for four to six people. The post Judgements about learning disability services quality based on snapshot experiences were not […]
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7:30 AM | Lifestyle changes for cognition and dementia: better than a new drug?
Should all molecular research institutes looking at neurodegenerative diseases be replaced by parks, playgrounds and cycle paths? Mark Horowitz highlights a recent systematic review of modifiable risk factors associated with cognition and dementia, which suggests that from a public health perspective, there may be some sense in this idea. The post Lifestyle changes for cognition and dementia: better than a new drug? appeared first on The Mental Elf.
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5:30 AM | Striatal time cells, transgenic birdsongs, stuttering mice and more – Birdsong4 Sattelite and #SFN14 Notes
Joe Paton from the Saltzman lab – Time encoding cells in the rodent striatum. You can use an operant conditioning train animals to press a lever and get a reward. Using a fixed interval paradigm, you then do not reward the animal for lever presses until a certain time interval is passed. Animals will learn […]

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 […]
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7:30 AM | Improving mental health literacy in the classroom: new HeadStrong RCT
Lisa Burscheidt reports on an RCT of the Headspace mental health literacy intervention and the impact it has on the mental health literacy, stigma, help-seeking and mental health of a group of young people in Australia. The post Improving mental health literacy in the classroom: new HeadStrong RCT appeared first on The Mental Elf.

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 […]
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7:30 AM | Online and social networking interventions for depression in young people
Nikki Newhouse reports on a recent systematic review that brings together 22 studies which investigate a range of online CBT and social networking interventions designed to help young people with depression. The post Online and social networking interventions for depression in young people appeared first on The Mental Elf.

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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8:00 AM | Parenting skills support programme effective for some parents, but must be tailored to individual circumstances
Parents of children with learning disability and/or autism in seeking support with parenting skills, may have need of support with specific skills relevant to supporting their child with a disability. Here, Kate van Dooren looks at a 'pragmatic non-randomised' study which evaluated a parent programme called 'Riding the Rapids' to se what happened to parents those parents who followed the programme The post Parenting skills support programme effective for some parents, but must be tailored to […]

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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