Posts

October 23, 2014

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8:46 AM | Postpartum depression and the broader autism phenotype?
"The findings suggest that pregnant women with BAP [broader autism phenotype] have an elevated risk for PPD [postpartum depression]".That was the conclusion reached by Ryosuke Asano and colleagues [1] based on their analysis of data derived from the Hamamatsu Birth Cohort (HBC) Study [2]. The idea being that the more subtle presentation of issues linked to a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (the BAP) might predispose to a great likelihood of other behavioural or […]

Asano, R., Tsuchiya, K., Takei, N., Harada, T., Kugizaki, Y., Nakahara, R., Nakayasu, C., Okumura, A., Suzuki, Y., Takagai, S. & Mori, N. (2014). Broader autism phenotype as a risk factor for postpartum depression: Hamamatsu Birth Cohort (HBC) Study, Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 8 (12) 1672-1678. DOI: 10.1016/j.rasd.2014.08.010

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6:30 AM | Do mental health websites improve help-seeking in adolescents?
Maxine Howard summarises the findings of a recent review of online mental health services for young people, which finds little evidence to suggest that websites increase help-seeking in adolescents. The post Do mental health websites improve help-seeking in adolescents? appeared first on The Mental Elf.

October 22, 2014

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9:54 AM | So sex addicts have similar emotional difficulties as other addictive disorders?
We have in previous blogs discussed how substance addiction seems to have emotional processing and regulation deficits at the heart of their manifestation and act as pathomechanisms in propelling these disorders to eventual  chronicity. In the next series of blogs … Continue reading →
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8:26 AM | Autism, parental concerns and socioeconomic status
I'd like to think that there are some rather important messages to be taken from the paper by Xiang Sun and colleagues [1] on level of parental concern, socioeconomic status (SES) and risk of autism. Not only did the authors conclude that: "a higher SES was not associated with the risk of having ASC [autism spectrum conditions]" they also found that: "No child met ASC criteria where parents expressed no concerns".Do you prefer "fashion victim" or "ensembly challenged"?SES - including […]

Sun, X., Allison, C., Auyeung, B., Baron-Cohen, S. & Brayne, C. (2014). Parental concerns, socioeconomic status, and the risk of autism spectrum conditions in a population-based study, Research in Developmental Disabilities, 35 (12) 3678-3688. DOI: 10.1016/j.ridd.2014.07.037

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6:30 AM | Long duration of untreated psychosis is associated with a range of poor outcomes
Joe Judge appraises a recent systematic review and meta-analysis looking at the duration of untreated psychosis as a predictor of long-term outcomes in schizophrenia. The post Long duration of untreated psychosis is associated with a range of poor outcomes appeared first on The Mental Elf.

October 21, 2014

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8:53 AM | Antibiotics and childhood obesity: a weighty correlation
It's been a few weeks since the publication of the paper by L. Charles Bailey and colleagues [1] correlating early multiple exposure to broad spectrum antibiotics with obesity in infancy. On purpose I've left it a while before talking about this research so as to let the scientific dust settle a little and get a flavour for some of the discussions about this research (see here and see here).You're a true vulgarian, aren't you?A few details about the Bailey study first:Looking at the […]

Bailey LC, Forrest CB, Zhang P, Richards TM, Livshits A & DeRusso PA (2014). Association of Antibiotics in Infancy With Early Childhood Obesity., JAMA pediatrics, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25265089

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6:30 AM | Mental health anti-stigma programs are (broadly) successful
Dave Steele reports on a recent meta-analysis of mental health anti-stigma programs, which on the whole are found to be effective at reducing the stigma associated with mental disorders. The post Mental health anti-stigma programs are (broadly) successful appeared first on The Mental Elf.

October 20, 2014

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8:36 AM | Reasons for visiting ER by those with autism
ER - Emergency Room - or as we call it here in Blighty Accident & Emergency (A & E), is never a particularly desirable place to visit given the emphasis on illness or injury of yourself or loved one. That being said, staff there do a sterling job sometimes under very stressful circumstances, responding to all-manner of complaints, some of which are life-threatening.The paper by Dorothea Iannuzzi and colleagues [1] sought to identify some of the medical reasons why ER […]

Iannuzzi DA, Cheng ER, Broder-Fingert S & Bauman ML (2014). Brief Report: Emergency Department Utilization by Individuals with Autism., Journal of autism and developmental disorders, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25261249

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8:03 AM | Are emotional processing deficits inherited in alcoholics?
Throughout our blogs so far we have looked at who the vulnerability to later alcoholism is transmitted genetic via family members. The task for science is answering the question – “What exactly is inherited in this vulnerability?” Again via various blogs … Continue reading →
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7:00 AM | Postural care pathway for people with learning disabilities
Many people with learning disabilities have physical disabilities that restrict their movement and put them at risk of developing body shape distortions. Here we report on the development of a new postural care pathway, produced by the Postural Care Community Interest Company. The post Postural care pathway for people with learning disabilities appeared first on The Learning Disabilities Elf.
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6:30 AM | Smoking cessation in the emergency setting
Olivia Maynard summarises a systematic review of smoking cessation interventions in the emergency setting, which highlights the poor quality and heterogenous nature of the published trials in this field. The post Smoking cessation in the emergency setting appeared first on The Mental Elf.

October 18, 2014

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9:30 AM | More epigenetics, EN-2 and autism... the plot thickens
I don't mind admitting that I was to some extent 'winging it' with my previous post on epigenetics and Engrailed-2 (EN-2) as a consequence of the findings reported by Jill James and colleagues [1] with autism in mind. Although an avid follower of the science of epigenetics when (cautiously) applied to autism, I am by no means any authority on the subject matter particularly when it comes to the nitty-gritty details. You can probably therefore expect similar things in my latest […]

James SJ, Shpyleva S, Melnyk S, Pavliv O & Pogribny IP (2014). Elevated 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in the Engrailed-2 (EN-2) promoter is associated with increased gene expression and decreased MeCP2 binding in autism cerebellum., Translational psychiatry, 4 PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25290267

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October 17, 2014

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9:22 AM | Altered ghrelin levels in boys with autism
"Honey, it's the '90s, remember?"Saudi Arabia and autism research? It must be at least one author from the research tag-team that is Mostafa and Al-Ayadhi.Indeed, in today's post it is Laila Al-Ayadhi featured on the paper by Felwah S. Al-Zaid and colleagues [1] (open-access) who concluded on: "a potential role for the hormone ghrelin in the pathogenesis of autism".Ghrelin, by the way, is often called the 'hunger hormone' as a result of its effects in relation to energy homoeostasis. […]

Al-Zaid FS, Alhader AA & Al-Ayadhi LY (2014). Altered ghrelin levels in boys with autism: a novel finding associated with hormonal dysregulation., Scientific reports, 4 6478. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25257829

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7:00 AM | Higher risk of vitamin D deficiency for people with learning disabilities
To date there has been little research on vitamin D deficiency in people with learning disabilities. In this debut blog by Brant Cebulla, we look at a new case control study which sets out to answer some key questions and consider areas for further research. The post Higher risk of vitamin D deficiency for people with learning disabilities appeared first on The Learning Disabilities Elf.
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6:30 AM | Antidepressants for depression in pregnancy: new systematic review says the jury’s still out
Nikki Newhouse summarises a recent US health technology assessment of antidepressants for depression in pregnancy and the postpartum period, which concludes that the evidence remains inconclusive about the benefits and harms of antidepressants for depression in pregnancy. The post Antidepressants for depression in pregnancy: new systematic review says the jury’s still out appeared first on The Mental Elf.

October 16, 2014

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9:59 PM | Of mice and birds – what is a zebra finch, really?
 Zebra finch genetics The zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata, is an Australian songbird with a black and white striped breast, used by neuroscientists as a model organism to study the learning and production of a complex motor behavior–birdsong. Like other songbirds[1], zebra finches are genetically predisposed to learn their species’ particular song, but they have to […]
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8:59 AM | MicroRNAs and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
"No one User wrote me! I'm worth millions of their man-years!"Not so long ago I posted an entry talking about microRNAs and autism (see here). As well as including some rather interesting, if preliminary findings, that particular piece of work also served to introduce yet another layer of complexity to our genome and its expression: microRNAs.I was therefore always going to be more than a little intrigued by the results published by Ekua Brenu and colleagues [1] and their observations on […]

Brenu EW, Ashton KJ, Batovska J, Staines DR & Marshall-Gradisnik SM (2014). High-Throughput Sequencing of Plasma MicroRNA in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis., PloS one, 9 (9) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25238588

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6:30 AM | Tricyclic antidepressants for ADHD in children and adolescents: Cochrane review finds no evidence to support prescribing
Helge Hasselman summarises a Cochrane review of tricyclic antidepressants for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adolescents, which finds low quality evidence and no justification for prescribing these drugs in this group of patients. The post Tricyclic antidepressants for ADHD in children and adolescents: Cochrane review finds no evidence to support prescribing appeared first on The Mental Elf.

October 15, 2014

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7:59 PM | A Brief History of Treating Addiction as an Emotional Processing Disorder
Originally posted on Inside the alcoholic brain:A constant thread throughout our blogs so far has been an assertion that alcoholism and addiction are primarily emotional regulation and processing disorders. So we were thus  very interested to find this article…
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3:29 PM | Trauma research needs to be more global and accessible
Imagine a 7-year old boy living in India. One day, his father gets drunk and kills his mother. The boy is a witness to the homicide, and develops a high fever as a response. Imagine you’re the mental health professional … Continue reading →

Fodor, K., Unterhitzenberger, J., Chou, C., Kartal, D., Leistner, S., Milosavljevic, M., Nocon, A., Soler, L., White, J., Yoo, S. & Alisic, E. (2014). Is traumatic stress research global? A bibliometric analysis, European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 5 DOI: 10.3402/ejpt.v5.23269

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9:16 AM | Hookworm infection and microchallenge for coeliac disease?
I'm getting rather baffled by some of the literature appearing with the autoimmune condition coeliac (celiac) disease in mind. The paper by Kalliokoski and colleagues [1] started the bafflement ball rolling with their suggestion that: "administration of IgA-deficient celiac disease patient serum or total IgG induces both deterioration of the intestinal mucosa and clinical features of celiac disease in mice". Then came the paper from Namatovu and colleagues [2] who concluded that: […]

Croese J, Giacomin P, Navarro S, Clouston A, McCann L, Dougall A, Ferreira I, Susianto A, O'Rourke P, Howlett M & McCarthy J (2014). Experimental hookworm infection and gluten microchallenge promote tolerance in celiac disease., The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25248819

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6:30 AM | Medication in advanced dementia: how can we judge what is appropriate?
Caroline Struthers appraises a recent US cross-sectional study of the use of medications of “questionable benefit” in nursing home residents with advanced dementia. She concludes that all medications are of questionable value if they have side effects which might have a negative impact on quality of life or are likely to cause harm. The post Medication in advanced dementia: how can we judge what is appropriate? appeared first on The Mental Elf.

October 14, 2014

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5:03 PM | Family history of alcoholism interacts with alcohol to affect brain regions involved in behavioral inhibition
We cite and quote directly from a very interesting article on how a family history of alcoholism contributes to impulsivity, the one psychological domain that turns up repeatedly and is supported in studies of alcoholics, addicts and those at risk … Continue reading →
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11:10 AM | Prenatal genetic testing and autism: a delicate subject
I realise that the paper by Lei-Shih Chen and colleagues [1] covers a most sensitive topic when it comes to the autism spectrum, exploring: "the attitudes toward PGT [prenatal genetic testing] and termination decisions of 42 parents of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]". Indeed, this is not the first time that this research group has looked at this area of autism research [2] and it seems like they will be talking about it further too (see here).I chose to discuss the most […]

Chen LS, Xu L, Dhar SU, Li M, Talwar D & Jung E (2014). Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Qualitative Study of Attitudes toward Prenatal Genetic Testing and Termination Decisions of Affected Pregnancies., Clinical genetics, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25251361

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6:30 AM | Cyberbullying and mental health in young people
Elly O'Brien summarises a recent US survey of adolescents, which investigates the relationship between cyberbullying, mental health and substance use problems, and the moderating role of family dinners. The post Cyberbullying and mental health in young people appeared first on The Mental Elf.

October 13, 2014

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9:30 PM | Yes folks... broccoli chemical impacts on autism presentation
Please do not adjust your set. Broccoli, or least a chemical found in broccoli called sulforaphane has, under placebo-controlled, double-blind experimental conditions, been reported to impact on the presentation of autism according to the paper by Kanwaljit Singh and colleagues [1] (open-access).Eat your greens @ Fir0002/FlagstaffotosI had to do a bit of a double-take myself when I first read about these results (see here). Indeed, even the authors themselves seemed to be a […]

Kanwaljit Singh, Susan L. Connors, Eric A. Macklin, Kirby D. Smith, Jed W. Fahey, Paul Talalay & Andrew W. Zimmerman (2014). Sulforaphane treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), PNAS, Other:

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8:46 AM | Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for anxiety in autism
I'll readily admit that despite having a tinge of psychology running through my research career, I'm not overly enthused about the impact of the discipline on the autism spectrum down the years. I'm not necessarily just talking about the Freudian effect which set autism research back decades and shamefully added needless worry and stigma to those on the spectrum and their loved ones, but also the grand over-arching psychological theories which seemed, for example, to completely miss the […]

Ung D, Selles R, Small BJ & Storch EA (2014). A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety in Youth with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders., Child psychiatry and human development, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25246292

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7:00 AM | National event for people with learning disabilities provides clear proposals for inclusion and development
Earlier this year, a national event organised by and for people with learning disabilities looked at the closure of long stay institutions. Here we reflect on the proceedings and the positive and constructive proposals that emerged. The post National event for people with learning disabilities provides clear proposals for inclusion and development appeared first on The Learning Disabilities Elf.
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6:30 AM | Reducing benzodiazepine prescribing in primary care
Liz Hughes summarises two recent studies (1 systematic review and 1 RCT) that both investigate brief interventions for reducing the use of benzodiazepines in primary care. The post Reducing benzodiazepine prescribing in primary care appeared first on The Mental Elf.

October 12, 2014

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3:44 PM | Reflections on EDAC-ATAC 2014 Conference
Last week I had the opportunity to attend and present at the Eating Disorders Association of Canada (EDAC-ATAC) Biennial Conference in Vancouver, BC. I was presenting part of my Masters thesis, which felt great. I always love talking to clinicians in the field, and I found that this was a very practical and applied-focused conference. I sometimes feel like somewhat of an outsider at eating disorders conferences as I am “research only”- I do not have the credentials to counsel or […]
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