Posts

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 […]

October 31, 2014

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8:34 PM | Ancedotal Evidence provides insight into the “Dry Drunk”
Alcoholics Anonymous refers to the alcoholic who has stopped drinking, but who still demonstrates alcoholic attitudes and behaviors, as a “dry drunk.” Such individuals are said to have sobriety but not recovery. We will explore the dry drunk syndrome in more … Continue reading →
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4:05 PM | I Need How Many Calories? Caloric Needs in Bulimia Nervosa Patients
In the 1980s, a few studies came out suggesting that patients with bulimia nervosa (BN) require fewer calories for weight maintenance than anorexia nervosa patients (e.g., Newman, Halmi, & Marchi, 1987) and healthy female controls (e.g., Gwirtsman et al., 1989). Gwirtsman et al. (1989), after finding that patients with bulimia nervosa required few calories for weight maintenance than healthy volunteers, had these suggestions for clinicians: When bulimic patients are […]

de Zwaan, M., Aslam, Z. & Mitchell, J.E. (2002). Research on energy expenditure in individuals with eating disorders: a review., International Journal of Eating Disorders, 31 (4) 361-9. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11948641

Gwirtsman, H.E., Kaye, W.H., Obarzanek, E., George, D.T., Jimerson, D.C. & Ebert, M.H. (1989). Decreased caloric intake in normal-weight patients with bulimia: comparison with female volunteers., American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 49 (1) 86-92. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2912015

Kotler LA, Devlin MJ, Matthews DE & Walsh BT (2001). Total energy expenditure as measured by doubly-labeled water in outpatients with bulimia nervosa., International Journal of Eating Disorders, 29 (4) 470-6. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11285585

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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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8:00 AM | Evidence to guide treatment of dementia in people with learning disability may be lacking, but new areas of research might help
As people with learning disabilities are living longer, then they are also experiencing age related disorders such as dementia, where they have been shown to have a higher risk than the general population. Here we look at a review of the current state of knowledge which looks at a range of issues, from prevalence, assessment, treatment and future directions for research. The post Evidence to guide treatment of dementia in people with learning disability may be lacking, but new areas of […]
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7:30 AM | Bipolar disorder, suicide and criminality
Elena Marcus summarises a double case-cohort study, which investigates the risk of suicide and criminal behaviours in people with bipolar disorder and their siblings, compared with the general population. The post Bipolar disorder, suicide and criminality appeared first on The Mental Elf.

October 30, 2014

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8:19 PM | Neuroscientists Break into the Brain to Expose Its Workings
The brain is a dazzlingly complex web of somewhere around 100 billion neurons, each of which communicates with others through thousands of connections. The idea of manipulating such a complex system... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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10:04 AM | Gambling Disorder and Emotional Processing deficts
Following on from our recent blog on emotional dysfunction in sexual addiction we continue our series which explores the inherent role of  emotional dysfunction in all addictive disorders. We will explore eating disorders later. Here we use excerpts from a … Continue reading →
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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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7:30 AM | Collaborative care for adolescent depression: new RCT shows promise
Jennifer Laidlaw writes her debut blog on a recent RCT in JAMA about collaborative care for adolescent depression in primary care. The trial concludes that collaborative care is both feasible and effective in improving outcomes, but Jennifer highlights a number of limitations and questions for future research. The post Collaborative care for adolescent depression: new RCT shows promise appeared first on The Mental Elf.
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2:59 AM | Why the brain uses “sparse codes”
In 1972, Horace Barlow, great-grandson of Darwin, wrote an article in which he put forth “A neuron doctrine for perceptual psychology?” (The question mark at the end shows that Barlow was a contemplative guy.) With this doctrine, Barlow tried to relate the firing of neurons in sensory pathways with subjectively experienced sensation. One of the […]

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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7:30 AM | CBT versus psychodynamic psychotherapy for social anxiety disorder: long live the dodo or time for a change in research emphasis?
Andrew Shepherd appraises a study of the long-term outcomes of psychodynamic therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy in social anxiety disorder, which finds both therapies are efficacious in treating social anxiety disorder in the short- and long-term. The post CBT versus psychodynamic psychotherapy for social anxiety disorder: long live the dodo or time for a change in research emphasis? appeared first on The Mental Elf.

October 28, 2014

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7:42 AM | Zinc and depression
"Low dietary zinc intake is associated with a greater incidence of depression in both men and women, as shown in two prospective cohorts".At the risk of overdoing the whole 'you are what you eat' sentiment, today I'm addressing a portion of the peer-reviewed research literature linking issues with zinc availability to depression. That opening quote by the way, comes from the paper by Khanrin Phungamla Vashum and colleagues [1] who looked at self-reported dietary intake of zinc based on […]

Vashum KP, McEvoy M, Milton AH, McElduff P, Hure A, Byles J & Attia J (2014). Dietary zinc is associated with a lower incidence of depression: findings from two Australian cohorts., Journal of affective disorders, 166 249-57. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25012438

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7:30 AM | Breastfeeding and postpartum depression
Clinical Psychologist Sarah McDonald writes her debut blog on a recent cohort study of breastfeeding and postpartum depression, which concludes that the effect of breastfeeding on maternal depression is extremely heterogeneous. The post Breastfeeding and postpartum depression appeared first on The Mental Elf.

October 27, 2014

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8:37 AM | Diagnosing autism late: after psychosis
The case report from Marly Simoncini and colleagues [1] (open-access) is the topic of today's post. Describing the case of Mr. A, a young man who attempted suicide during a psychotic episode, the paper tracks the developmental history and diagnostic evaluation of this person culminating in a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) "that had been completely overlooked".The best thing we can do is go on with our daily routineThe paper is open-access and I would encourage readers to take […]

Simoncini, M., Miniati, M., Vanelli, F., Callari, A., Vannucchi, G., Mauri, M. & Dell’Osso, L. (2014). Lifetime Autism Spectrum Features in a Patient with a Psychotic Mixed Episode Who Attempted Suicide, Case Reports in Psychiatry, 2014 1-4. DOI: 10.1155/2014/459524

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8:00 AM | Direct training with accessible materials improves knowledge of medication and capacity to consent in small group of adults with learning disabilities
People with learning disabiilties may be on multiple medications and be on them for long periods of time. They need access to the best possible support to help them make decisions about their medications. In this post, we look at an action research study that offered training to people to see if it improved their knowledge and their capacity to consent. The post Direct training with accessible materials improves knowledge of medication and capacity to consent in small group of adults with […]
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7:30 AM | Cognitive therapy plus antidepressants for depression
Patrick Kennedy-Williams highlights a new large-scale RCT of combined cognitive therapy plus antidepressants for major depressive disorder. The trial finds that this combination is effective, but only in patients with severe non-chronic depression. The post Cognitive therapy plus antidepressants for depression appeared first on The Mental Elf.

October 25, 2014

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6:46 PM | Is the songbird vocal learning pathway specialized for song and independent from other tasks?
First off, I wanted to say I’m working in a songbird lab now, so while I’m keeping this a general neuroscience blog, you’re probably going to start seeing more blogposts about bird brains. So, is the bird vocal learning pathway specialized for song and independent from other tasks? A new paper by the Okanoya lab […]
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7:47 AM | Autism and intolerance of uncertainty
Good morning, gentlemen, the temperature is 110 degrees'Change' is often mentioned as something potentially problematic for many on the autism spectrum, and how unexpected change can sometimes have profound effects in terms of those so-called 'challenging behaviours' or when it comes to the presentation of important comorbidity such as anxiety. Like many others from the outside looking in, I was always taught that change as a more general concept was the important issue in autism, but recently […]

Boulter C, Freeston M, South M & Rodgers J (2014). Intolerance of uncertainty as a framework for understanding anxiety in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders., Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 44 (6) 1391-402. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24272526

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October 24, 2014

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7:00 AM | Lack of studies of pharmacological interventions among adults with autism and learning disability leave clinicians with little guidance
1 in 100 adults experience autism worldwide but little research exists on autism in adults. Adults with autism and learning disability may have distinct needs, and in particular challenging behaviour, which may increase their social isolation and reduce access to quality health care. In her debut blog, Kate van Dooren looks at a systematic review from Canadian researchers who examined the evidence for the use of medications for challenging behaviours in adults with autism and learning […]
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6:51 AM | Autism, siblings and DSM-5 Social Communication Disorder
A quick post to bring to your attention the paper by Meghan Miller and colleagues [1] who concluded that: "Pragmatic language problems are present in some siblings of children with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] as early as 36 months of age". Further: "As the new DSM-5 diagnosis of Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder (SCD) is thought to occur more frequently in family members of individuals with ASD, it is possible that some of these siblings will meet criteria for SCD as […]
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6:30 AM | One new drug a week: club drugs and novel psychoactive substances
Meg Fluharty summarises a recent report from the Royal College of Psychiatrists and explores why novel psychoactive substances and club drugs need a different response from UK treatment providers. The post One new drug a week: club drugs and novel psychoactive substances appeared first on The Mental Elf.

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.
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