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.

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Lack of studies of pharmacological interventions among adults with autism and learning disability leave clinicians with little guidance

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1 in 100 adults experience autism worldwide but little research exists on autism in adults. Adults with autism and learning disability may have distinct needs, and in particular challenging behaviour, which may increase their social isolation and reduce access to quality health care.

In her debut blog, Kate van Dooren looks at a systematic review from Canadian researchers who examined the evidence for the use of medications for challenging behaviours in adults with autism and learning disability.

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Lower use of mental health services by South Asian people with learning disabilities than white British comparison groups


The notion of double discrimination, where ethnicity and disability can form a double barrier to those seeking support, has long been recognised. Indeed, there was a clear requirement in the Valuing People strategy to identify resources to address these issues through work streams in local partnership boards. A recent report by the Foundation for People [read the full story…]

Estimated prevalence of sleep problems in adults with learning disabilities varies widely says systematic review


Life expectancy in people with learning disabilities has increased over recent years, and sleep problems become more common in people who are advancing in years. Sleep problems are also generally more common in people with learning disabilities than those without. The authors of this systematic review were interested to look at the way in which [read the full story…]

Review finds insufficient evidence base for the view that violence, sexual, or criminal risk can be predicted

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Normally, we at the Learning Disabilities Elf like to look at learning disability specific research, but we thought this review of the utility of risk assessment tools was interesting and relevant to people with learning disabilities who come into contact with psychiatric and criminal justice services. Risk assessment research stresses the dynamic nature of predictors [read the full story…]

Challenging behaviour training may change carer attributions whether or not these are the focus of training


We have posted previously about the impact of carer attributions regarding the behaviour of people with learning disabilities and the impact these can have on carer responses. The authors of this systematic review were interested in the effects of carer training in challenging and complex behaviour. The researchers searched the literature and included papers that [read the full story…]

Review highlights need for specific models to measure quality of life for people with learning disabilities

Analysis showed significant lack of robust evidence on impact or cost effectiveness

A key indicator of service outcomes for people with learning disabilities is quality of life. However, there continues to be debate in the literature about the best way to define this and the best way to measure it. Most of the major service providers in the UK for example have some form of routine outcome [read the full story…]

Organisational climates with good person-environment fit have reduced burnout in services for people with learning disabilities


Stress associated with working to support people with learning disabilities has been reported as a factor in staff burnout. This review of literature aimed to investigate whether there was a relationship between organisational climate and staff burnout. The search identified 21 articles which were included in the review. These were separated into two categories. The [read the full story…]

Review suggests evidence in favour of risperidone but warns of continued adverse events


This systematic review set out to look at the efficacy of atypical antipsychotic medication, also known as second generation antipsychotics, commonly used in the treatment of schizophrenia. There continues to be debate around whether these second-generation medications are safer or more effective than typical antipsychotics as they still can produce severe side effects. Other posts [read the full story…]

Little is known about public attitudes to people with learning disabilities from current research


National policy relating to the support of people with learning disabilities has social inclusion as a key aim. The success of this aim is affected by the response of the general public. The author of this review set out to look at general population based research into awareness, attitudes and beliefs regarding learning disabilities from [read the full story…]