Posts

October 17, 2014

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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 […]

October 11, 2014

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4:06 PM | Efficacy of foetal stem cell transplantation in autism...
The recent news that researchers might be one step closer to 'curing' type 1 diabetes following the publication of the paper by Pagliuca and colleagues [1] brought back into focus how stem cell therapy might hold some promise for all manner of conditions. The idea that researchers could generate "hundreds of millions of glucose-responsive β cells from hPSC [human pluripotent stem cells] in vitro" still faces a few challenges, including overcoming the immune assault central to the […]

Bradstreet JJ, Sych N, Antonucci N, Klunnik M, Ivankova O, Matyashchuk I, Demchuk M & Siniscalco D (2014). Efficacy of fetal stem cell transplantation in autism spectrum disorders: an open-labeled pilot study., Cell transplantation, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25302490

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8:48 AM | Yet more air pollution and autism risk research
Air pollution and autism risk. It's a topic which has cropped up a few times on this blog (see here and see here and see here) with the majority of the research (but not all) suggesting that there may be something to see when it comes to such a correlation.Enter then the paper by Amy Kalkbrenner and colleagues [1] to proceedings, and their conclusion: "Our study adds to previous work in California showing a relation between traffic-related air pollution and autism, and adds similar findings in […]

Kalkbrenner AE, Windham GC, Serre ML, Akita Y, Wang X, Hoffman K, Thayer BP & Daniels JL (2014). Particulate Matter Exposure, Prenatal and Postnatal Windows of Susceptibility, and Autism Spectrum Disorders., Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.), PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25286049

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October 10, 2014

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9:43 AM | Lack of Emotion Differentiation Propels Negative Urgency.
When I first came into recovery I was assigned a task which has gone on to shape much of my thinking about my alcoholism and addiction. I was prompted by my wife to sit with my emotions, that is, to … Continue reading →
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8:40 AM | Vitamin D supplement improves autistic behaviours?
I don't want to get too ahead of myself with this post talking about the paper by Feiyong Jia and colleagues [1] (open-access) who concluded: "Vitamin D supplementation may be effective in ameliorating the autistic behavioral problems in children with autism spectrum disorders [ASDs]".The idea however that issues with vitamin D seemingly present in quite a few cases of ASD [2] (see here too) but not all [3] might actually have more direct consequences for behavioural presentation […]

贾, �. (2014). Vitamin D Supplementation Improves Autistic Symptoms in a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asian Case Reports in Pediatrics, 02 (03) 21-24. DOI: 10.12677/ACRP.2014.23005

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7:00 AM | Survey of abuse of people with learning disabilities challenges view that women are not perpetrators and suggests known abuse is tip of iceberg
Today, we feature the debut blog of Professor Ruth Northway, who reflects on the implications of a paper which retrospective study looking at levels and types of abuse disclosed by people with learning disabilities referred to a psychology service. The post Survey of abuse of people with learning disabilities challenges view that women are not perpetrators and suggests known abuse is tip of iceberg appeared first on The Learning Disabilities Elf.
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6:30 AM | Efficacy of high vs. low-potency first-generation antipsychotics for schizophrenia
Laurence Palfreyman summarises 3 recent Cochrane reviews, which investigate high-potency versus low-potency first-generation antipsychotic drugs for schizophrenia. The reviews find little difference in efficacy between the high-potency antipsychotics Trifluoperazine, Haloperidol, Fluphenazine, and low-potency typical antipsychotics. The post Efficacy of high vs. low-potency first-generation antipsychotics for schizophrenia appeared first on The Mental Elf.

October 09, 2014

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9:00 PM | Second National Audit of Schizophrenia highlights lack of progress for service users and carers
André Tomlin summarises the second National Audit of Schizophrenia, which highlights that many people with schizophrenia are still not getting the high quality psychological and medical treatment they deserve. The post Second National Audit of Schizophrenia highlights lack of progress for service users and carers appeared first on The Mental Elf.
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9:41 AM | The need to act via non-recognition of emotional states.
One of my pet hates in experimental study is researchers suggesting that one can generalise findings from a non-clinical group of participants in a particular study to a clinical  group, not in the study. For example, most studies in Psychology … Continue reading →
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8:41 AM | Physical activity and fitness levels and autism
Although at present having to be slightly more cautious following some recent surgery (general anaesthetic is awesome by the way!), I normally consider myself to be quite an active person. Through previous discussions on this blog covering topics on the positive effects of walking (see here) and the physical+ benefits of the martial arts (see here) I'd like to think that there are quite a few ways and means that the population at large can easily increase their daily physical activity levels. […]

Tyler, K., MacDonald, M. & Menear, K. (2014). Physical Activity and Physical Fitness of School-Aged Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Autism Research and Treatment, 2014 1-6. DOI: 10.1155/2014/312163

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6:30 AM | Lost in anxiety: treatment-resistant anxiety in older people
Andrés Fonseca appraises a new systematic review of interventions for treatment-resistant anxiety in older people, which finds a disconcerting lack of evidence to help him support the many older patients he sees who are affected by anxiety disorders. The post Lost in anxiety: treatment-resistant anxiety in older people appeared first on The Mental Elf.

October 08, 2014

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8:34 AM | Alcohol and autism
I tread very carefully with this post today looking at some of the peer-reviewed research on the topic of alcohol use (and abuse) and autism without wishing to stigmatise nor generalise.I was brought to this important topic as a result of the recent paper by Tabata and colleagues [1] who discussed three case reports of alcoholism associated with a diagnosis of autism. For each person described in that report, a common theme describing alcohol being used as a means to "reduce anxiety" related to […]

Tabata K, Yoshida T & Naoe J (2014). Three cases of alcoholism with autism spectrum disorder., Alcohol and alcoholism (Oxford, Oxfordshire), 49 Suppl 1 PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25221235

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6:30 AM | Benzodiazepines linked to dementia risk: cause for concern or lacking causality?
Laurence Palfreyman highlights a recent BMJ study, which finds an association between Alzheimer's disease and benzodiazepine use. The post Benzodiazepines linked to dementia risk: cause for concern or lacking causality? appeared first on The Mental Elf.

October 07, 2014

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9:02 AM | Infection during pregnancy and offspring autism risk
The paper by Lee and colleagues [1] forms the starting material for today's blog post looking at hospitalisation for infection during pregnancy as potentially being a risk factor for receipt of a subsequent diagnosis for autism in offspring."Chaos is what killed the dinosaurs, darling"Based on data derived from one of those very useful Scandinavian health registries, authors observed "approximately a 30% increase in ASD [autism spectrum disorder] risk associated with any inpatient […]

Lee BK, Magnusson C, Gardner RM, Blomström S, Newschaffer CJ, Burstyn I, Karlsson H & Dalman C (2014). Maternal hospitalization with infection during pregnancy and risk of autism spectrum disorders., Brain, behavior, and immunity, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25218900

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