Posts

December 01, 2014

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7:30 AM | Alcohol misuse and PTSD comorbidity: a significant problem lacking solutions
Current NICE guidelines state that PTSD should not be dealt with unless alcohol dependence is first treated. Paul Christiansen summarises a systematic review of the comorbidity between PTSD and alcohol misuse and wonders where the guidance leaves patients and professionals. The post Alcohol misuse and PTSD comorbidity: a significant problem lacking solutions appeared first on The Mental Elf.

November 29, 2014

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8:30 AM | NICE does increasing access to vitamin D supplements
If you happen to live in England or indeed other parts of the UK, you'll no doubt have heard about NICE - the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence - as the body charged with providing us with appropriate evidence-based guidance on all manner of treatments and technologies for all manner of different diagnoses and conditions. I've talked before on this blog about the NICE guidance in relation to the autism spectrum (see here for example).My name is Elisabeth Shaw, last survivor […]

Lucas RM, Ponsonby AL, Dear K, Valery PC, Taylor B, van der Mei I, McMichael AJ, Pender MP, Chapman C, Coulthard A & Kilpatrick TJ (2013). Vitamin D status: multifactorial contribution of environment, genes and other factors in healthy Australian adults across a latitude gradient., The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology, 136 300-8. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23395985

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November 28, 2014

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9:57 PM | Fat Talk Free Zone: What is the Impact of Fat Talk on Body Dissatisfaction?
There has been a veritable explosion of “anti-fat talk” movements in the body image and eating disorder prevention realms over the past few years. Indeed, campaigns like the Tri-Delta Sorority Fat Talk Free week have become relatively well known. Events like the “Southern Smash,” where participants literally smash scales are other iterations of this social phenomenon encouraging a more positive conversation around bodies. I am, of course, a fan of the idea that we […]

Sharpe H, Naumann U, Treasure J & Schmidt U (2013). Is fat talking a causal risk factor for body dissatisfaction? A systematic review and meta-analysis., The International journal of eating disorders, 46 (7) 643-52. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23818118

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9:42 AM | Is addiction an Attachment Disorder?
Here we cite and use excerpts from an interesting article (1) that suggests addiction is the consequence of insecure attachment to our caregivers in early childhood and that as the result addicts often learn to consume substances, or behave in … Continue reading →
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8:00 AM | Sex education programmes focused on ‘protection’ and ‘prevention’ with little attention given to supporting people to develop healthy, positive sexual relationships
Knowledge about sexuality is a key factor in helping people develop healthy relationships, maintain their sexual health and avoid potentially abusive situations, but how much do sexuality education programmes for people with learning disabilities help fulfil these aims? In her debut blog, Sian Anderson looks at a review of literature which looks at the effectiveness of sex education programmes and educational materials developed for people with mild or moderate learning disabilities. The post […]
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7:34 AM | The Autism-Spectrum Quotient: overlap between Asperger syndrome and schizophrenia
The paper by Tove Lugnegård and colleagues [1], including mention of one Maria Unenge Hallerbäck who has appeared on this blog previously, is fodder for today's discussions and their finding that a: "significant overlap of AQ [Autism-Spectrum Quotient] scores across the two diagnostic groups clearly reduces the discriminating power of the AQ in the separation of schizophrenia from AS [Asperger syndrome]."They say you're judged by the strength of your enemies.As per […]

Lugnegård T, Hallerbäck MU & Gillberg C (2014). Asperger syndrome and schizophrenia: Overlap of self-reported autistic traits using the Autism-spectrum Quotient (AQ)., Nordic journal of psychiatry, 1-7. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25389915

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7:30 AM | Anti-inflammatory drugs for depression: new review points to benefits, but more research needed
Helge Hasselmann highlights a recent systematic review of anti-inflammatory drugs for depression, which concludes that NSAIDs, in particular celecoxib, decreases depressive symptoms without increased risk of adverse effects. However, the meta-analysis has a number of draw-backs, which make the study findings far from convincing. The post Anti-inflammatory drugs for depression: new review points to benefits, but more research needed appeared first on The Mental Elf.

November 27, 2014

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9:55 AM | FC is a technique that has no validity
FC, by the way, refers to Facilitated Communication, a controversial technique which as the name suggests relies on a facilitator to support "the hand or arm of a communicatively impaired individual while using a keyboard or other devices with the aim of helping the individual to point and thereby to communicate." The quote for the title of this post comes from the paper by Ralf Schlosser and colleagues [1] who following systematic review, found "unequivocal evidence for facilitator […]

Schlosser RW, Balandin S, Hemsley B, Iacono T, Probst P & von Tetzchner S (2014). Facilitated Communication and Authorship: A Systematic Review., Augmentative and alternative communication (Baltimore, Md. : 1985), 1-10. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25384895

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7:30 AM | Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia: a critique by Laws, Langford and Huda
Keith Laws, Alex Langford and Samei Huda provide a critique of the British Psychological Society Division of Clinical Psychology report published today. The post Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia: a critique by Laws, Langford and Huda appeared first on The Mental Elf.

November 26, 2014

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9:54 AM | The gut microbiome in Down Syndrome
The recent preliminary findings from Elena Biagi and colleagues [1] (open-access) reporting on the constitution of the gut microbiome - the collected bacteria which reside in the deepest, darkest recesses of our gastrointestinal (GI) tract - in a small number of cases of Down's syndrome caught my eye recently.It's a funny feeling being taken under the wing of a dragonPerhaps a little bit unusually looking at the gut microbiome because of the link between premature ageing in Down's syndrome […]

Biagi E, Candela M, Centanni M, Consolandi C, Rampelli S, Turroni S, Severgnini M, Peano C, Ghezzo A, Scurti M & Salvioli S (2014). Gut Microbiome in Down Syndrome., PloS one, 9 (11) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25386941

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8:00 AM | NICE multimorbidity guidance almost excluded people with learning disabilities
The NICE scoping guidelines on multimorbidity now thankfully include people with learning disabilities. However, the original scoping draft specifically excluded them, despite NHS England and the Department of Health commenting on the first draft. Here, Pauline Heslop, one of the authors of the Confidential Inquiry report and a key campaigner to get people with learning disabilities included in the scope, talks about some the issues this raises. The post NICE multimorbidity guidance almost […]
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7:30 AM | Stigma in bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder: time for a cultural shift.
Andrew Shepherd summarises a critical realist analysis that looks at experiences of stigma in people with bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder. He concludes that a profound social change in public and professional attitudes is necessary before mental health stigma can be effectively eradicated. The post Stigma in bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder: time for a cultural shift. appeared first on The Mental Elf.

November 25, 2014

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12:24 PM | Does Science Show What 12 Steps Know (part 1)?
How It Works Here we address a question I have asked myself many times – why does AA and other 12 step fellowships seem to have a better understanding of the alcoholic/addict and offer better treatment of them than that … Continue reading →
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8:20 AM | Serotonin - melatonin (and the in-betweeners) linked to autism
The paper by Pagan and colleagues [1] (open-access) looking at "serotonin, melatonin and the intermediate N-acetylserotonin (NAS) in a large cohort of patients with ASD [autism spectrum disorder] and their relatives" set the old grey-pink matter into action recently. Not only because I have some real interest in the starting material for these compounds - the aromatic amino acid known as tryptophan - but because this research group included some quite important analysis of the […]

Pagan C, Delorme R, Callebert J, Goubran-Botros H, Amsellem F, Drouot X, Boudebesse C, Le Dudal K, Ngo-Nguyen N, Laouamri H & Gillberg C (2014). The serotonin-N-acetylserotonin-melatonin pathway as a biomarker for autism spectrum disorders., Translational psychiatry, 4 PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25386956

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7:30 AM | Are treatments for borderline personality disorder cost-effective?
Our resident Elf Economist, Chris Sampson, reports on a new systematic review of economic evaluations for borderline personality disorder. Are any cost-effective? The post Are treatments for borderline personality disorder cost-effective? appeared first on The Mental Elf.

November 24, 2014

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9:29 AM | Finland, parental migration and offspring Asperger syndrome
A quote from the paper by Venla Lehti and colleagues [1] to start things off: "The study showed that children whose parents are both immigrants have a significantly lower likelihood of being diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome than those with two Finnish parents."Can I cook, or can't I?Based on an analysis of data derived from "the Finnish Hospital Discharge Register" and "the Finnish Medical Birth Register", researchers looked at the records of children with a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome […]
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8:00 AM | Achieving increases in active support through practice leadership needs systematic development of skills and management focus says exploratory study
Active support is about ensuring staff have working practices and organisational procedures to improve levels of participation and engagement in activities. In her debut blog for the Learning Disabilities Elf, Louise Philips describes a study which set out to look at whether the quality of practice leadership was a factor in developing active support. Louise also sets out an excellent breakdown of exactly what practice leadership is what managers need to do to ensure this framework for […]
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7:30 AM | It’s not what you say: Examining the non-verbal behaviours of psychiatrists and patients
Chris Pell considers the findings of a recent observational study of non-verbal behaviour and communication in meetings of psychiatrists and patients with schizophrenia. The post It’s not what you say: Examining the non-verbal behaviours of psychiatrists and patients appeared first on The Mental Elf.

November 23, 2014

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11:18 AM | Addiction – as even a child could understand.
This is an excellent animation of what makes us addicts and also what recovery is and how it is achieved – explained in the most simple way possible. Recommended.
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11:03 AM | The Thrill Comes, Goes and is Gone!

November 22, 2014

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8:26 AM | Children as research participants: assessing competence
I was brought to writing about this topic after reading an interesting post by Virginia Hughes titled: Personhood Week: Do Kids Count? Among the various points raised in that article was some discussion about minors having medical autonomy and how this might impinge on areas outside of just medical decision-making. It also reminded me about something which was raised on more than one occasion when I undertook a stint on a University Ethics committee...Most people involved in the […]

November 21, 2014

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10:58 AM | Genomic instability not linked to autism?
An eyebrow was raised upon reading the findings reported by Penelope Main and colleagues [1] concluding that: "it appears unlikely that genomic instability is a feature of the aetiology of autism." Based on results derived in part from "the cytokinesis-block micronucleus cytome (CBMN-cyt) assay" [2] looking at markers of DNA damage, authors reported very little to see in their small cohort of children with autism (n=35) compared with siblings (n=27) and asymptomatic controls (n=25) although […]
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8:00 AM | Judgements about learning disability services quality based on snapshot experiences were not sufficient to understand service performance in Australian study
What needs to be done to ensure quality services for adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities and how can organisations ensure that this is done consistently? Here, Nick Burton describes the findings of an Australian study that uses observational methodology to look in great detail at what was happening for a number of people in small 24hr staffed houses for four to six people. The post Judgements about learning disability services quality based on snapshot experiences were not […]
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7:30 AM | Lifestyle changes for cognition and dementia: better than a new drug?
Should all molecular research institutes looking at neurodegenerative diseases be replaced by parks, playgrounds and cycle paths? Mark Horowitz highlights a recent systematic review of modifiable risk factors associated with cognition and dementia, which suggests that from a public health perspective, there may be some sense in this idea. The post Lifestyle changes for cognition and dementia: better than a new drug? appeared first on The Mental Elf.
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5:30 AM | Striatal time cells, transgenic birdsongs, stuttering mice and more – Birdsong4 Sattelite and #SFN14 Notes
Joe Paton from the Saltzman lab – Time encoding cells in the rodent striatum. You can use an operant conditioning train animals to press a lever and get a reward. Using a fixed interval paradigm, you then do not reward the animal for lever presses until a certain time interval is passed. Animals will learn […]
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