Posts

April 22, 2015

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6:30 AM | Personality disorder: time for more attention and debate
Andrew Shepherd summarises a recent series of papers in The Lancet which look at the latest research on personality disorders. This includes evidence on classification, prevalence, diagnosis, treatment and the experience of personality disorder across the life course. The post Personality disorder: time for more attention and debate appeared first on The Mental Elf.

April 21, 2015

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8:31 AM | Jessica Biesiekierski on non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS)
It's not often that I dedicate a blog post to a specific individual and their views and opinions on a particular topic. Today however, I'm doing just that to provide you with a link to the paper from Jessica Biesiekierski on the topic of non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) [1] (open-access).The reason? Well, aside from being one of the primary protagonists in the research topic of gluten-related ills outside of the autoimmune condition known as coeliac (celiac) disease (itself the […]

Biesiekierski, J. & Iven, J. (2015). Non-coeliac gluten sensitivity: piecing the puzzle together, United European Gastroenterology Journal, 3 (2) 160-165. DOI: 10.1177/2050640615578388

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6:30 AM | Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy to prevent depression
André Tomlin presents the results of the PREVENT RCT published today in The Lancet, which investigates the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy compared with maintenance antidepressant treatment in the prevention of depressive relapse or recurrence. The post Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy to prevent depression appeared first on The Mental Elf.

April 20, 2015

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8:51 AM | Tics are common in adults with autism
The title of this post comes from a quote included in the paper by Ursula Kahl and colleagues [1] based on their study of the "phenomenology and characteristics" of tics in adults diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with a small control group of adults with Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS). A tic by the way, is a "sudden, fast, repeated movement or sound."This is not the first time that tics have been examined with the autism spectrum in mind. The paper from […]

Kahl, U., Schunke, O., Schöttle, D., David, N., Brandt, V., Bäumer, T., Roessner, V., Münchau, A. & Ganos, C. (2015). Tic Phenomenology and Tic Awareness in Adults With Autism, Movement Disorders Clinical Practice, DOI: 10.1002/mdc3.12154

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7:00 AM | Can early intervention reduce challenging behaviour in children with learning disabilities?
Children with learning disabilities are more likely to have challenging behaviours and as a result are more at risk of social exclusion, deprivation, physical harm and abuse. In her debut blog, Alix Dixon considers the findings of a recent literature review of early interventions for children with challenging behaviours and their families. The post Can early intervention reduce challenging behaviour in children with learning disabilities? appeared first on The Learning Disabilities Elf.
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6:30 AM | E-cigarettes and teenagers: cause for concern?
Marcus Munafò appraises a recent cross-sectional survey, which looks at associations between e-cigarette access and smoking and drinking behaviours in teenagers. The post E-cigarettes and teenagers: cause for concern? appeared first on The Mental Elf.

April 18, 2015

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9:22 AM | Autistic traits in adult-onset psychiatric disorders?
"To conclude, the presentation of ALTs [autistic-like traits/symptoms] at the sub-threshold or threshold level may be closely associated with BPD [bipolar disorder] and SZ [schizophrenia]."That was the conclusion reached in the paper by Junko Matsuo and colleagues [1] (open-access here) based on their analysis of nearly 300 adults aged between 25-59 years including those diagnosed with "MDD [major depressive disorder], n=125; bipolar disorder, n=56; […]

Matsuo J, Kamio Y, Takahashi H, Ota M, Teraishi T, Hori H, Nagashima A, Takei R, Higuchi T, Motohashi N & Kunugi H (2015). Autistic-Like Traits in Adult Patients with Mood Disorders and Schizophrenia., PloS one, 10 (4) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25838109

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April 17, 2015

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2:33 PM | Top 8 Neuroscience and Behavior Podcasts
Get those auditory neurons firing! This blogpost is an update to my post from 3 years ago on neuroscience podcasts. I’m a complete podcast addict and really believe that podcasts are the way of the future–they’re a great way to learn on the go, while you do chores, or exercise. Also, you can control the speed of what you’re listening […]
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7:52 AM | Higher cancer mortality rates associated with mental illness
The findings reported by Steve Kisely and colleagues [1] were of some interest recently and their assertion that despite cancer incidence being "the same as the general population for most psychiatric disorders" or even slightly reduced when a diagnosis of schizophrenia was for example received, mortality due to cancer was "increased in psychiatric patients."Such findings were based on their examination of: "Mental health records [that] were linked with cancer registrations and death […]

Kisely S, Forsyth S & Lawrence D (2015). Why do psychiatric patients have higher cancer mortality rates when cancer incidence is the same or lower?, The Australian and New Zealand journal of psychiatry, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25829481

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7:00 AM | Trajectory of dementia: is it different for people with Down syndrome?
Down syndrome is the most common cause of learning disability in the UK and increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s dementia is well documented. In her debut blog, Silvana Mengoni looks at a paper which uses three case studies to consider some interesting trajectories of dementia which raise some interesting questions. The post Trajectory of dementia: is it different for people with Down syndrome? appeared first on The Learning Disabilities Elf.
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6:30 AM | Dementia risk factors in people with mild cognitive impairment
Akshay Nair summarises a recent systematic review and meta-analysis of modifiable predictors of dementia in mild cognitive impairment. The meta-analysis finds that diabetes and the presence of any neuropsychiatric symptoms significantly predicted the conversion of mild cognitive impairment to dementia. The post Dementia risk factors in people with mild cognitive impairment appeared first on The Mental Elf.
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5:54 AM | Lithium
I came across an impressive poem through an interpretation of the poem in the British Journal of General Practice. Lithium After the arc of ECT and the blunt concussion of pills, they gave him lithium to cling to— the psychiatrist’s stone. A metal that floats on water, must be kept in kerosene, can be drawn […] Related posts:Do It Yourself Lithium Kit, Dutch Innovation Jack Nicholson Supported Hydrogen and Solar Power in 1978 Genes Predict Reponse to Lithium Addition for […]

April 16, 2015

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10:30 AM | A Retrained Brain? Part 2
Here we conclude our two part blog on possible brain mechanisms which may be altered via the practice of mindfulness meditation. We will be adding more on the role of  meditation in the next few blogs as it does appear to … Continue reading →
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10:10 AM | Re-Training the Addicted Brain: A Review of Hypothesized Neurobiological Mechanisms of Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention
Part 1 Here we have a comprehensive but hypothetical review of what effect mindfulness meditation may be having on the addicted brain. First we look at areas of the brain effected in addiction and in relapse before looking at how … Continue reading →
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9:21 AM | Paternal sperm epigenetic differences and offspring autism risk
"These data suggest that epigenetic differences in paternal sperm may contribute to autism risk in offspring."So said the preliminary study results published by Jason Feinberg and colleagues [1]  (open-access) looking at "paternal semen biosamples obtained from an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) enriched-risk pregnancy cohort, the Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation (EARLI) cohort." Researchers analysed 44 semen samples to ascertain whether DNA methylation differences - one […]

Jason I Feinberg, Kelly M Bakulski, Andrew E Jaffe, Rakel Tryggvadottir, Shannon C Brown, Lynn R Goldman, Lisa A Croen, Irva Hertz-Picciotto, Craig J Newschaffer, M Daniele Fallin & Andrew P Feinberg (2015). Paternal sperm DNA methylation associated with early signs of autism risk in an autism-enriched cohort, International Journal of Epidemiology, Other:

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6:30 AM | Screening for bipolar spectrum disorders (MDQ, BSDS and HCL-32)
Elena Marcus appraises a recent meta-analysis of screening for bipolar spectrum disorders, which concludes that the MDQ and HCL-32 tools are supported by more evidence than the BSDS tool. The post Screening for bipolar spectrum disorders (MDQ, BSDS and HCL-32) appeared first on The Mental Elf.

April 15, 2015

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2:00 PM | The 'worm' with the potential to determine elections by manipulating your vote
It has become commonplace to see a "worm" based on the reactions of a tiny sample of audience members running across our screens during televised presidential debates. Psychologists tested whether the worm can influence our voting intentions and the results are worrying in the extreme.Read More
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7:31 AM | Maternal diabetes and offspring autism risk... again
"In this large, multiethnic clinical cohort of singleton children born at 28 to 44 weeks’ gestation, exposure to maternal GDM [gestational diabetes mellitus] diagnosed by 26 weeks’ gestation was associated with risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] in offspring."That was the conclusion reached by Anny Xiang and colleagues [1] (open-access) following their analysis of some 3300 children diagnosed with ASD as part of a wider cohort of over 300,000 children […]

Xiang, A., Wang, X., Martinez, M., Walthall, J., Curry, E., Page, K., Buchanan, T., Coleman, K. & Getahun, D. (2015). Association of Maternal Diabetes With Autism in Offspring, JAMA, 313 (14) 1425. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2015.2707

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7:00 AM | Using actors with learning disabilities during training to improve doctors’ communication and diagnostic skills
Poor communication between people with learning disabilities, their carers and health professionals has been cited as an element of the explanation of health inequalities faced by people with learning disabilities. In his debut blog, Tom Crossland looks at one study which used actors with learning disabilities as 'standardised patients' in the training of medical students in order to see if this might improve communication and diagnostic skills. The post Using actors with learning disabilities […]
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6:30 AM | Varenicline and the risk of neuropsychiatric adverse events and death
Natasha Clarke publishes her debut Mental Elf blog about a new systematic review and meta-analysis investigating the risk of neuropsychiatric adverse events associated with the smoking cessation drug varenicline. The post Varenicline and the risk of neuropsychiatric adverse events and death appeared first on The Mental Elf.

April 14, 2015

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8:08 AM | Immune signature in ME/CFS detected in cerebrospinal fluid
The research tag-team that is Mady Hornig and Ian Lipkin are fairly frequently mentioned on this blog. If it's not to do with their studies in autism research (see here for a recent mention) it is with their ground-breaking work looking at chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) in mind (see here for example).Indeed their latest paper [1] extends some recent findings (see here) on immune involvement in relation to CFS/ME [2] with a focus on examinations in cerebrospinal […]

Hornig, M., Gottschalk, G., Peterson, D., Knox, K., Schultz, A., Eddy, M., Che, X. & Lipkin, W. (2015). Cytokine network analysis of cerebrospinal fluid in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, Molecular Psychiatry, DOI: 10.1038/mp.2015.29

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6:30 AM | A multitude of systematic reviews on dementia diagnosis
Clarissa Giebel highlights 5 new Cochrane reviews on dementia diagnosis, focusing on the Mini-Cog, IQCODE and MMSE diagnostic tests. The post A multitude of systematic reviews on dementia diagnosis appeared first on The Mental Elf.

April 13, 2015

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7:00 AM | Individual Service Funds work well for people, but we also need to learn from when things don’t go so well
Individual Service Funds offer the opportunity for flexible, person centred responses by providers. But in order to achieve this flexibility, commissioners need to break down larger block contracts to make funds available. Here, Nick Burton looks at an evaluation of such a disaggregation of funds that took place in the London Borough of Southwark. The post Individual Service Funds work well for people, but we also need to learn from when things don’t go so well appeared first on The […]
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6:30 AM | Do we stigmatise mental illness more as we age?
Raluca Lucacel writes her debut blog about an age-period-cohort analysis, which investigates how attitudes towards people with mental illness worsen during the course of life. The post Do we stigmatise mental illness more as we age? appeared first on The Mental Elf.
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5:38 AM | Interoception and body awareness in autism
"Interoception: the sense of the physiological condition of the body" [1].This was an important concept detailed in the paper by Lisa Fiene and Charlotte Brownlow [2] with autism in mind. Looking at how adults diagnosed with an ASD (autism spectrum disorder) "interpret elements of the interoceptive sense, which includes thirst, hunger, temperature, satiety" researchers questioned those on the spectrum (n=74) and asymptomatic controls (n=228) with "self-reported perceptions of body […]

Fiene L & Brownlow C (2015). Investigating interoception and body awareness in adults with and without autism spectrum disorder., Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25808391

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April 10, 2015

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7:32 PM | Not So Fast: Is There a Connection Between Religious Fasting and Eating Disorders?
I’ve always wondered about how being encouraged to fast for religious reasons might impact those who are vulnerable to eating disorders and those who already have eating disorders. I can’t imagine it would be easy to be around others who were fasting in the name of religion while struggling with an eating disorder. Equally, I can certainly see the dangers of participating in fasting for those who are predisposed to eating disorders. Despite not being religious myself, however, I […]
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9:48 AM | More ophthalmic findings in autism
"Ophthalmic pathology was noted in 26.9 % of patients with ASD [autism spectrum disorder], of which 22 % had significant refractive errors and 8.6 % had strabismus."That was the conclusion reached in the paper by Emrah Utku Kabatas and colleagues [1] based on the premise that: "Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) frequently have ophthalmologic disorders"; that is, issues with the anatomy and function of the eyes.We've been here before. I'll take you back to the post that I […]

Kabatas EU, Ozer PA, Ertugrul GT, Kurtul BE, Bodur S & Alan BE (2015). Initial Ophthalmic Findings in Turkish Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder., Journal of autism and developmental disorders, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25800865

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7:00 AM | Can self-injurious behaviour be reduced by medication in individuals with intellectual disabilities?
Self injurious behaviour in people with learning disabilities, as well as causing physical harm, can have a major impact on quality of life. It is not entirely clear why people engage in self injurious behaviours, but one theory suggests that it may be connected with an opiate euphoria. If this is so, it might be that medications that blocked these opiates might impact on levels of SIB. Here, Rachel Allen looks at a systematic review that set out to address that question. The post Can […]
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6:30 AM | The antidepressant effects of ketamine are confirmed by a new systematic review and meta-analysis
Helge Hasselmann summarises a new systematic review and meta-analysis, which confirms the antidepressant effects of ketamine. The post The antidepressant effects of ketamine are confirmed by a new systematic review and meta-analysis appeared first on The Mental Elf.

April 09, 2015

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6:30 PM | Intolerance of Uncertainty Linked to Craving
Another common area I feel addiction has with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is intolerance of uncertainty (IU). In fact it is also associated with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)- there is actually a high co-morbidity  (at least around 40% comorbidity) … Continue reading →
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