Posts

January 29, 2015

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9:38 AM | Autism spectrum symptomatology in individuals with Down syndrome
I was not surprised to read the findings of the paper from Marie Moore Channell and colleagues [1] (open-access) who "identified patterns of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] symptomatology, measured by the SRS [Social Responsiveness Scale], in individuals with DS [Down syndrome] who do not have comorbid ASD."You're not going Turbo, are you?Harking back to the paper by Georgina Warner and colleagues [2] discussed not-so-long-ago on this blog (see here), the idea that […]

Marie Moore Channell, B Allyson Phillips, Susan J Loveall, Frances A Conners, Paige M Bussanich & Laura Grofer Klinger (2015). Patterns of autism spectrum symptomatology in individuals with Down syndrome without comorbid autism spectrum disorder, Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Other:

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7:30 AM | E-therapy for eating disorders: review finds lack of evidence for digital treatment or prevention
Helen Bould summarises a new systematic review that finds a lack of evidence for the digital treatment or prevention of eating disorders. With so many new websites and apps popping up every week, why is there no reliable evidence of positive effect? The post E-therapy for eating disorders: review finds lack of evidence for digital treatment or prevention appeared first on The Mental Elf.

January 28, 2015

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2:30 PM | Whose Culture is it Anyway? Disentangling Culture and Eating Disorders – Part 4
The more I write about culture and eating disorders, the more I want to know. I keep finding more articles to add to the mix; I know I’m far from the first to be interested in how culture and eating disorders intersect, and for that matter, what counts as “culture.” Still, this has been a fascinating exploration so far! In case you’re curious, this is to be the second last post in the series for now at least. There will be one more after this, about eating disorders in […]
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10:03 AM | Urinary histidine as a marker of 'dioxin-induced' neurodevelopmental issues?
The paper by Muneko Nishijo and colleagues [1] (open-access) caught my eye recently and their continuing investigations into the potential effects of perinatal dioxin exposure on offspring neurodevelopmental outcomes. For a bit of background on this initiative based in Vietnam, I would refer readers to a previous post on this blog (see here).Your weakness is copper? Y-you're kidding right?In case you can't be bothered to follow that previous link, the idea was that exposure to TCDD […]
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7:30 AM | Reducing alcohol consumption in illicit drug users: new Cochrane review on psychotherapies
Olivia Maynard reports on a recent Cochrane review that investigates talking therapies for reducing alcohol consumption in illicit drug users. The reviewers found no differences in the effectiveness of different psychotherapies (motivational interviewing, brief interventions, CBT) and insufficient evidence to draw any meaningful conclusions. The post Reducing alcohol consumption in illicit drug users: new Cochrane review on psychotherapies appeared first on The Mental Elf.

January 27, 2015

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1:19 PM | Chasing the Scream…
I have just purchased a copy of this book which recently has received much publicity with The Huffington Post heralding this work and purporting it reveals the likely cause of addiction. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/the-real-cause-of-addicti_b_6506936.html I will be reviewing it in the next … Continue reading →
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9:33 AM | Siblings, genetics and the autisms (plural)
The paper by Ryan Yuen and colleagues [1] suggesting that most siblings with autism do not share the same genetic variations thought to contribute to the condition has garnered quite a few media headlines of late (see here and see here).Applying the concept of whole-genome sequencing whereby the complete genetic blueprint of a person is mapped to provide "the most comprehensive collection of an individual's genetic variation" [2], 340 genomes from 85 families with two children with a […]

Yuen, R., Thiruvahindrapuram, B., Merico, D., Walker, S., Tammimies, K., Hoang, N., Chrysler, C., Nalpathamkalam, T., Pellecchia, G., Liu, Y. & Gazzellone, M. (2015). Whole-genome sequencing of quartet families with autism spectrum disorder, Nature Medicine, DOI: 10.1038/nm.3792

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8:00 AM | Would you like to write for the Learning Disabilities Elf?
We are looking for people who have skills in reading, appraising and writing about learning disabilities evidence. If that sounds like you, please read more and drop us a line! The post Would you like to write for the Learning Disabilities Elf? appeared first on The Learning Disabilities Elf.
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7:30 AM | Helping people with depression return to work
Meg Fluharty reports on a new Cochrane review of interventions to improve return to work in depressed people. The review finds moderate quality evidence for a range of work-directed and clinical interventions that can help people with depression return to work. The post Helping people with depression return to work appeared first on The Mental Elf.

January 26, 2015

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9:44 AM | What factors are linked to behavioural crises in autism?
The question posed in the title of this post was asked and [partly] answered by the paper by Vincent Guinchat and colleagues [1] based on the analysis of 58 adolescents diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and "hospitalized for severe challenging behaviors." Challenging behaviours, by the way, refers to a whole spectrum of presentations which doesn't just include aggressive or violent behaviours (see here). Indeed, I recently talked about irritability and autism (see here), […]

Guinchat V, Cravero C, Diaz L, Périsse D, Xavier J, Amiet C, Gourfinkel-An I, Bodeau N, Wachtel L, Cohen D & Consoli A (2015). Acute behavioral crises in psychiatric inpatients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD): Recognition of concomitant medical or non-ASD psychiatric conditions predicts enhanced improvement., Research in developmental disabilities, 38C 242-255. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25575287

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7:30 AM | We don’t know how to improve medicine adherence, says new Cochrane review
Helge Hasselmann reports on a new Cochrane systematic review of interventions for enhancing medication adherence, which finds insufficient evidence to draw any conclusions. The full health benefits of medicines will not be realised until better interventions and better studies are conducted in this area. The post We don’t know how to improve medicine adherence, says new Cochrane review appeared first on The Mental Elf.

January 25, 2015

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2:13 PM | Whose Culture is it Anyway? Disentangling Culture and Eating Disorders – Part 3
The articles I’ve looked at so far in this series (Becker, in part 1, and Keel and Klump in part 2) give us some insight into the idea that the link between “Western” societies and eating disorders is more complex than a simple matter of media exposure. But, having read these studies, I was still left a bit wanting in terms of unpacking that black box of “culture” that gets tossed around in scholarly and popular literature. What, exactly, are we talking about when […]

January 24, 2015

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10:34 AM | Hartnup disease in coeliac disease: lessons for 'some' autism?
The paper by Thomas Ciecierega and colleagues [1] (open-access) talking about 'refractory' coeliac disease (CD) - a lack of, or diminished response to a gluten-free diet (the primary management option for CD) - and the subsequent diagnosis of Hartnup disease in a young girl is fodder for today's brief post.I already had a big bowl of curly-toed weirdo for breakfast.Describing how authors first diagnosed her with CD but witnessed "only mild clinical and laboratory […]

January 23, 2015

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11:10 PM | Cool optical illusion–cross your eyes and try to align these circles
Try and cross your eyes to make the top gridded circles overlap. Give up? Try doing it on the bottom ones that are surrounded by the border. A lot easier, right? The square surrounding the circles helps your eyes stabilize as you cross them. Also notice how your eyes process the diagonal lines themselves. Your […]
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11:30 AM | NAC + risperidone = decreased irritability in autism?
It's been a while since I talked about NAC - N-acetylcysteine - on this blog with either autism or schizophrenia in mind (see here and see here respectively). Today I'm going to remedy that situation by bringing the paper by Nikoo and colleagues [1] to your attention, and their observation: "N-acetylcysteine can be considered as an adjuvant therapy for ADs [autistic disorders] with beneficial therapeutic outcomes." Adjuvant therapy by the way, refers to a sort of add-on therapy.We […]
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10:51 AM | The Relationship between Motivation to Change and Alcoholic Problem Severity.
New Guest Post From The Alcoholics Guide to Alcoholism   Do we have to Hit Rock Bottom to Recover? by alcoholicsguide There has been much recent debate about whether a person has to hit rock bottom in under to surrender and start … Continue reading →
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8:00 AM | Link between healthcare use and eating drinking and swallowing difficulties in people with learning disabilities
Estimates suggest that dysphagia affects 8% of all adults with learning disabilities and that 15% require some form of mealtime support. Here we report on a study that set out to look at the association between the need for support with eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties and the use of primary and secondary healthcare services. The post Link between healthcare use and eating drinking and swallowing difficulties in people with learning disabilities appeared first on The Learning […]
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7:30 AM | Social determinants of mental health: how our societies are making us mentally unwell and what we can do about it
Mark Horowitz summarises the new WHO and UCL Institute of Health Equity (Michael Marmot) report and research paper on social determinants of mental health. He concludes that it's time to focus on the root causes of mental distress, namely poverty, unemployment, poor education and social isolation. The post Social determinants of mental health: how our societies are making us mentally unwell and what we can do about it appeared first on The Mental Elf.

January 22, 2015

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11:22 AM | At-risk kids avoiding an autism diagnosis?
The paper from Jonathan Green and colleagues [1] (open-access) discussing results based on a "two-site, two-arm assessor-blinded randomised controlled trial of families with an infant at familial high risk of autism aged 7–10 months, testing the adapted Video Interaction to Promote Positive Parenting (iBASIS-VIPP) versus no intervention" caught quite a few eyes recently. With accompanying media headlines such as 'Parents May Be Able to Lower Kids’ Autism Risk' you can imagine the […]

Jonathan Green, Tony Charman, Andrew Pickles, Ming W Wan, Mayada Elsabbagh, Vicky Slonims, Carol Taylor, Janet McNally, Rhonda Booth, Teodora Gliga & Emily J H Jones (2015). Parent-mediated intervention versus no intervention for infants at high risk of autism: a parallel, single-blind, randomised trial, The Lancet Psychiatry, Other:

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9:45 AM | Experts and autism screening triage
Whilst hopefully using the word 'triage' in the right way in the title of this post, I want to briefly talk today about the paper by Terisa Gabrielsen and colleagues [1] (full-text version here) and their observation that when it came to "brief but highly focused observations", a group of psychologists (well, two of them) "with toddler and autism expertise" missed over a third of cases of children who required additional examination/screening for autism or autistic traits.I am […]

Terisa P. Gabrielsen, Megan Farley, Leslie Speer, Michele Villalobos, Courtney N. Baker & Judith Miller (2015). Identifying Autism in a Brief Observation, Pediatrics, Other:

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7:30 AM | Do British newspapers breach suicide reporting guidelines?
Caroline Tomes highlights a new study that explores suicide reporting in the arts sections of British newspapers. The study concludes that there is poor compliance with suicide reporting guidelines in British newspapers, but further research is needed before we can generalise these findings. The post Do British newspapers breach suicide reporting guidelines? appeared first on The Mental Elf.

January 21, 2015

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11:00 PM | Did Facebook Just Finally Kill Off Hoax News?
Yesterday Facebook updated the News Feed to attempt to prevent the spread of hoax news stories. What will the fallout look like?Read More
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3:15 PM | Whose Culture is it Anyway? Disentangling Culture and Eating Disorders – Part 2
In this post I’ll continue on the trend of considering the “culture bound” nature of eating disorders by looking at another commonly-cited article about eating disorders and culture. In this article, Keel & Klump (2003) look at the cultural and historical facets of anorexia and bulimia. They looked at whether eating disorders were present in other sociohistorical and cultural contexts in order to determine whether AN and BN are “culture […]
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3:00 PM | From Active to Recovering Alcoholic – The Role of Self Schema in Recovery
Guest Blog Filling the Empty Self by alcoholicsguide In the first part of this two part blog – we looked at how addicts in recovery move from a more negative (perhaps chronically negative) self schema to a more positive recovering self … Continue reading →
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10:34 AM | Features of autism in childhood epilepsy
"In conclusion, features of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] were common in children with epilepsy regardless of cognitive ability."Whoa, whoa, whoa! Sorry, Blondie. I don't do backstorySo said Colin Reily and colleagues [1] in their paper examining facets of autism in cases of childhood epilepsy. Suggesting also that the Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ) might be "a useful screening instrument in this population, and combining parent and teacher forms was […]

Reilly C, Atkinson P, Das KB, Chin RF, Aylett SE, Burch V, Gillberg C, Scott RC & Neville BG (2014). Features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in childhood epilepsy: A population-based study., Epilepsy & behavior : E&B, 42C 86-92. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25529303

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7:30 AM | Psychotherapy for medically unexplained physical symptoms
Ioana Cristea reviews a recent Cochrane systematic review on non-pharmacological interventions for medically unexplained physical symptoms (MUPS). The review finds that psychotherapies for MUPS led to reduced symptom severity, but were associated with a higher drop-out rate than usual care. The post Psychotherapy for medically unexplained physical symptoms appeared first on The Mental Elf.

January 20, 2015

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12:00 PM | Don't Be Taken in by The Nonsense Science of "Cell Memory Theory"
According to a story doing the rounds on social media, organ transplant patients can take on the personalities of their donors. Don't believe the hype.Read More
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11:28 AM | Shame
In the next few weeks we will be looking at Shame and Addiction – shame leads to the self pity and depression that can drive drinking and relapse – nicely summed up here in this quote from  The Little Prince. … Continue reading →
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9:56 AM | Autism and low vitamin D at birth
Discussions about vitamin D (the 'sunshine' vitamin/hormone) and autism are not unfamiliar to this blog. Just last year (2014) I covered research talking about the possibility of a connection between vitamin D and [some] autism at least three times (see here and see here and see here), possibly more...but in my game, I'm the bad guy, and I live in the garbage.I wouldn't say that I'm an advocate for everything implied by the correlations being made between vitamin D levels and autism given that […]

Elisabeth Fernell, Susanne Bejerot, Joakim Westerlund, Carmela Miniscalco, Henry Simila, Darryl Eyles, Christopher Gillberg & Mats B Humble (2015). Autism spectrum disorder and low vitamin D at birth: a sibling control study., Molecular Autism, Other:

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7:30 AM | Online social networking and psychosis
Nikki Newhouse reports on a recent systematic review of online social networking and psychosis. Her blog explores the potential benefits and harms of online social networking for people with psychosis, and reflects on some of the challenges facing researchers working in the field. The post Online social networking and psychosis appeared first on The Mental Elf.
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