Posts

September 11, 2014

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6:30 AM | Prenatal SSRI exposure and autism risk: a dilemma for mums-to-be with depression
Amy Green summarises a population-based study of young children which looks at prenatal exposure to SSRI antidepressants and the social responsiveness symptoms of autism. The post Prenatal SSRI exposure and autism risk: a dilemma for mums-to-be with depression appeared first on The Mental Elf.

September 10, 2014

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2:00 PM | Have You Fallen Victim to the Guru Effect?
Four years ago a paper by Dan Sperber published in the Review of Philosophy and Psychology coined the term: The Guru Effect - the tendency for people to "judge profound what they have failed to grasp." The paper examines how self-professed Gurus have a knack for inspiring devotion through speaking ...Read More
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1:05 PM | Attachment Style, Alexithymia and Alcohol Craving
Research on alexithymia (1) has found significant positive associations between alexithymia, difficulties identifying feelings, difficulties describing feelings and alcohol problems (Thorberg, Young, Sullivan, & Lyvers, 2009; Thorberg, Young, Sullivan, Lyvers, Connor & Feeney, 2010). Individuals with alcohol-dependence and alexithymia report more … Continue reading →
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9:01 AM | Donepezil and D-cycloserine rescue behaviours in VPA exposed animals
In a post not-so-long-ago I talked about an interesting piece of research by Ahn and colleagues [1] suggesting that a ketogenic diet might yet hold some promise to "modify complex social behaviors and mitochondrial respiration" affected in the "prenatal valproic acid (VPA) rodent model of ASD [autism spectrum disorder]". The idea being that exposure to valproic acid (valproate) during the nine months that made us might carry some heightened risk for adverse effects on offspring development (see […]

Wellmann KA, Varlinskaya EI & Mooney SM (2014). D-Cycloserine Ameliorates Social Alterations That Result From Prenatal Exposure To Valproic Acid., Brain research bulletin, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25130667

Kim JW, Seung H, Kwon KJ, Ko MJ, Lee EJ, Oh HA, Choi CS, Kim KC, Gonzales EL, You JS & Choi DH (2014). Subchronic Treatment of Donepezil Rescues Impaired Social, Hyperactive, and Stereotypic Behavior in Valproic Acid-Induced Animal Model of Autism., PloS one, 9 (8) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25133713

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6:30 AM | Cannabis use in young people linked with lower high school completion and degree attainment
André Tomlin and Douglas Badenoch voice a note of caution about the Lancet Psychiatry meta-analysis of cannabis use in young people. The study links cannabis use in children with low educational attainment, cannabis dependence, illicit drug use and suicide attempts in later life. The post Cannabis use in young people linked with lower high school completion and degree attainment appeared first on The Mental Elf.

September 09, 2014

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8:35 AM | The gondii and generalised anxiety disorder
Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) has been absent from discussions on this blog for a while now. I'm going to remedy that today with this post talking about the paper from Markovitz and colleagues [1] who concluded: "T. gondii infection may play a role in the development of GAD [generalized anxiety disorder]"."You have saved our lives. We are eternally grateful"Based on participants taking part in the Detroit Neighborhood Health Study exposure to T. gondii "defined by seropositivity […]

Markovitz A, Simanek AM, Yolken R, Galea S, Koenen KC, Chen S & Aiello AE (2014). Toxoplasma gondii and anxiety disorders in a community-based sample., Brain, behavior, and immunity, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25124709

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6:30 AM | E-cigarettes: a review of the evidence-base for regulation
Sally Adams summarises a recent review of e-cigarettes, which looks at use, content, safety, effects on smokers and the potential for harm and benefit. The post E-cigarettes: a review of the evidence-base for regulation appeared first on The Mental Elf.

September 08, 2014

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8:22 AM | Homocysteine, MTHFR and schizophrenia studied AND meta-analysed
"Our study suggests that increased plasma total homocysteine levels may be associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia". Further: "The meta-analysis of the Japanese genetic association studies demonstrated a significant association between the MTHFR C677T polymorphism and schizophrenia".MTHFR (again!) @ Paul WhiteleySo said the results of the study and meta-analysis carried out by Akira Nishi and colleagues [1] (open-access) looking at the 'big H' alongside everyone's genetic […]

Nishi A, Numata S, Tajima A, Kinoshita M, Kikuchi K, Shimodera S, Tomotake M, Ohi K, Hashimoto R, Imoto I & Takeda M (2014). Meta-analyses of Blood Homocysteine Levels for Gender and Genetic Association Studies of the MTHFR C677T Polymorphism in Schizophrenia., Schizophrenia bulletin, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24535549

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7:00 AM | Eight stories in film showing people with learning disabilities living their own lives
Living your own life in your own home is something most of take for granted. It’s just something you do. We don’t tend to think about community, or independent living, or planning, we get on with it. This is not always the case for people with learning disabilities. In this post, we wanted to link [read the full story...] The post Eight stories in film showing people with learning disabilities living their own lives appeared first on The Learning Disabilities Elf.
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6:30 AM | Ketamine for depression: new review highlights the need for an RCT
Helge Hasselmann reviews a new systematic review of ketamine for depression, which highlights the need for an RCT to provide reliable data on the safety, tolerability and best route of administration. The post Ketamine for depression: new review highlights the need for an RCT appeared first on The Mental Elf.
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5:47 AM | Your Brain On Coffee
In this video the effects of caffeine on the brain are explained. Want to know the half life of caffeine? Watch the video.   Related posts:Brain-healthy lifestyle Video Games Affect The Brain, Good or Bad? Deep Brain Stimulation for Depression

September 06, 2014

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6:11 PM | Unpacking Recovery Part 5: Clinical Recovery Without a Clinic?
It can be somewhat controversial to suggest that untreated recovery from eating disorders is possible. Certainly, people have varied opinions about whether someone can enact the difficult behavioral and attitudinal changes necessary to recover without the help of (at the very least) a therapist and a dietitian. Nonetheless, we still hear stories about individuals who consider themselves recovered without having sought out external sources of professional support. When I think about untreated […]

Vandereycken W (2012). Self-change in eating disorders: is "spontaneous recovery" possible?, Eating disorders, 20 (2) 87-98. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22364341

Woods S (2004). Untreated recovery from eating disorders., Adolescence, 39 (154) 361-71. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15563044

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September 05, 2014

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9:04 AM | Extremes of a self-limiting diet in autism
I'll draw your attention to three papers in today's post which represent the extremes of where self-imposed dietary restrictions can potentially lead in relation to the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Issues with diet - outside of use of diet as an intervention measure - are something which have been talked about quite a bit in the autism research literature (see here)."You look like a gangster"The first paper by Baird & Ravindranath [1] describes a case report of an 11-year old with […]

Baird JS & Ravindranath TM (2014). Vitamin B Deficiencies in a Critically Ill Autistic Child With a Restricted Diet., Nutrition in clinical practice : official publication of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25112945

Gulko E, Collins LK, Murphy RC, Thornhill BA & Taragin BH (2014). MRI findings in pediatric patients with scurvy., Skeletal radiology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25109378

Keown K, Bothwell J & Jain S (2014). Nutritional implications of selective eating in a child with autism spectrum disorder., BMJ case reports, 2014 PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24654242

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6:30 AM | Can shared decision-making reduce health inequalities?
Ian Cummins reviews a recent systematic review of interventions designed to support SDM and asks: can shared decision-making reduce health inequalities? The post Can shared decision-making reduce health inequalities? appeared first on The Mental Elf.

September 04, 2014

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4:51 PM | Dark Material: Reflections on a Suicide Conference
There is a great value in quality academic work carried out with integrity. However, especially in psychiatry, we must remember what, and who, we are working for. Understanding psychic pain requires more than measuring brain chemicals and gene associations. In order to help those who are driven to end their existence, we may need to question ours.
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8:51 AM | Epigenetic processes and autism: focusing on immune function?
Although the title of this post talks about the science of epigenetics in autism, I'm actually going to be talking about two papers today, one of which also covers exposure to prenatal immune activation and what effect that might have on epigenetic processes in the mouse brain. This may also be relevant to at least some autism..."Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy. And ideas are bulletproof"First off we have the paper from Nardone and colleagues [1] (open-access) which, following […]

Nardone, S., Sharan Sams, D., Reuveni, E., Getselter, D., Oron, O., Karpuj, M. & Elliott, E. (2014). DNA methylation analysis of the autistic brain reveals multiple dysregulated biological pathways, Translational Psychiatry, 4 (9) DOI: 10.1038/tp.2014.70

Basil, P., Li, Q., Dempster, E., Mill, J., Sham, P., Wong, C. & McAlonan, G. (2014). Prenatal maternal immune activation causes epigenetic differences in adolescent mouse brain, Translational Psychiatry, 4 (9) DOI: 10.1038/tp.2014.80

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6:30 AM | Placebo for depression: are some sugar pills better than others?
Joe Judge revels in a new network meta-analysis looking at placebo for depression published in BMC Medicine, which has been supplemented by a series of commentaries and blogs. Thought-provoking stuff! The post Placebo for depression: are some sugar pills better than others? appeared first on The Mental Elf.

September 03, 2014

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12:01 PM | Negative Urgency Mediates Relationship Between Alexithymia and Dysregulated Behaviors
Following on for our very recent blog which described the neural mechanisms implicated in negative urgency we now look at at an article which attempts to  bring together some of our most consuming research interests by attempting to explain whether … Continue reading →
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8:36 AM | An observation-based classifier for rapid detection of autism risk
"Keep clear of the moors"Among the many researchers and research groups admired on this blog for their contribution to the world of autism research, the name Dennis Wall is fast becoming a real favourite. Aside from mention of the words 'systems biology' in his profile at Stanford University, I'm particularly interested in the way the Wall research group are looking at trying to apply machine-learning approaches to things like autism assessment.I've covered a few of their past research reports […]

M Duda, J A Kosmicki & D P Wall (2014). Testing the accuracy of an observation-based classifier for rapid detection of autism risk, Translational Psychiatry, 4 Other:

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6:30 AM | Mentalization based treatment for borderline personality disorder: a pragmatic trial but with statistical uncertainty
Andrew Shepherd summarises a matched control study that explores the effectiveness of day hospital Mentalization-Based Treatment for patients with severe Borderline Personality Disorder. The post Mentalization based treatment for borderline personality disorder: a pragmatic trial but with statistical uncertainty appeared first on The Mental Elf.

September 02, 2014

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8:33 AM | The epigenetics of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
"These data are consistent with evidence of multisystem dysregulation in CFS [Chronic Fatigue Syndrome] and implicate the involvement of DNA modifications in CFS pathology". So said the paper by Wilfred de Vega and colleagues [1] (open-access here) which, I think, represents a bit of a first for CFS with their examination of the possible role of epigenetic modifications in relation to the condition(s) [2].Ladies first @ Wikipedia I have to say that I was really quite excited […]

de Vega WC, Vernon SD & McGowan PO (2014). DNA Methylation Modifications Associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome., PloS one, 9 (8) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25111603

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6:30 AM | Interpersonal therapy and imipramine may be effective at reducing suicidal ideation in depression, but more research needed
Susie Johnson considers how effective conventional depression treatments are at reducing suicidal ideation in depression. The new study she summarises concludes that interpersonal therapy and antidepressants can also reduce suicidal ideation. The post Interpersonal therapy and imipramine may be effective at reducing suicidal ideation in depression, but more research needed appeared first on The Mental Elf.
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3:46 AM | Unpacking Recovery Part 4: Are We All on the Same Page?
Another issue in defining and understanding recovery is that patients and clinicians may have different opinions about what recovery looks like and how to get there. Certainly, there is a body of literature from the critical feminist tradition in particular that explores how at times, patients can “follow the rules” of treatment systems to achieve a semblance of “recovery,” from a weight restoration and nutrition stabilization perspective, but feels nothing like a full […]

Noordenbos, G. & Seubring, A. (2006). Criteria for Recovery from Eating Disorders According to Patients and Therapists, Eating Disorders, 14 (1) 41-54. DOI: 10.1080/10640260500296756

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September 01, 2014

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8:26 PM | Explaining how negative Negative Urgency can be.
In various blogs we have suggested that one of the main aspects of addictive behaviours is to act as the result of distress-based impulsivity or negative urgency. Here we explore in more details what we mean by that term negative … Continue reading →
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7:32 AM | Lithium for mood disorder symptoms in autism?
Modern classroom? @ Wikipedia The paper published by Matthew Siegel and colleagues [1] talking about some preliminary observations on the use of lithium where symptoms of mood disorder might be present in cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) caught my eye recently. Concluding that: "lithium may be a medication of interest for those who exhibit two or more mood disorder symptoms, particularly mania or euphoria/elevated mood" the sentiments of more research-to-do in this area […]

Siegel M, Beresford CA, Bunker M, Verdi M, Vishnevetsky D, Karlsson C, Teer O, Stedman A & Smith KA (2014). Preliminary Investigation of Lithium for Mood Disorder Symptoms in Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder., Journal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25093602

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6:30 AM | Promoting safer sex in people with severe mental illness
Caroline Tomes summarises a recent systematic review which finds that behavioural interventions can result in short-term increases in safer sex in people with severe mental illness. The post Promoting safer sex in people with severe mental illness appeared first on The Mental Elf.

August 30, 2014

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7:34 AM | Under-recognised co-occurring conditions in autism
A brief post to direct you to the paper by Nicolaidis and colleagues [1] talking about primary care for adults on the autism spectrum and mention of an issue quite important to this blog: "the recognition of associated conditions"."When 900 years old you reach, look as good you will not".Alongside the announcement of what seems like an interesting workshop organised by the US IACC (Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee) titled: "IACC Workshop on Under-Recognized Co-Occurring […]

August 29, 2014

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7:52 AM | Oxytocin and autism: the hype?
Consider some excerpts from two recent papers looking at oxytocin (OXT) - the "love hormone"(!) - and the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs)...“It’s not the years, honey. It’s the mileage”"These findings indicate that dysregulated OXT biology is not uniquely associated with ASD social phenotypes as widely theorized, but instead variation in OXT biology contributes to important individual differences in human social functioning, including the severe social impairments which […]

Parker, K., Garner, J., Libove, R., Hyde, S., Hornbeak, K., Carson, D., Liao, C., Phillips, J., Hallmayer, J. & Hardan, A. & (2014). Plasma oxytocin concentrations and OXTR polymorphisms predict social impairments in children with and without autism spectrum disorder, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1402236111

Guastella AJ, Gray KM, Rinehart NJ, Alvares GA, Tonge BJ, Hickie IB, Keating CM, Cacciotti-Saija C & Einfeld SL (2014). The effects of a course of intranasal oxytocin on social behaviors in youth diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders: a randomized controlled trial., Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25087908

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7:00 AM | Census analysis shows numbers of people with learning disabilities in in-patient beds falling from 2010-13
Following the uncovering of abuse at Winterbourne View by the BBC’s Panorama team, the Government committed to a programme of action to address what were recognised as system wide failures in the care and support of adults with learning disabilities described as having complex challenging behaviours. (Transforming Care) The Transforming Care document set out a [read the full story...] The post Census analysis shows numbers of people with learning disabilities in in-patient beds falling […]
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6:30 AM | People with mental illness are more likely to be victims of homicide than perpetrators of homicide
Dave Steele reports on a recent observational case series published in the Lancet Psychiatry, which concludes that patients with mental illness are two and a half times more likely to be victims of homicide than the general population. The post People with mental illness are more likely to be victims of homicide than perpetrators of homicide appeared first on The Mental Elf.
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