Targeting The Cause Of Autism: Medicine's Next Big Thing?

Rosemary

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Currently there are more children being diagnosed with autism than cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined.

Watch Targeting the Cause of Autism: Medicines Next Big Thing? and see how doctors at Ohio State University are investigating childrens digestive systems, cholesterol and a certain Alzheimers drug in three trials where theyre searching for answers.

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"Theres no medication for core autism symptoms, L. Eugene Arnold, M.D.,
professor emeritus of psychiatry at Ohio State University said.

But that could be changing. Doctors are targeting a child's digestive system. Some believe that might be one source of the problem.

Proteins can get through that shouldnt, that should be digested first, and there might be a reaction in the nervous system, Dr. Arnold explained.

The inability to digest protein affects the release of amino acids, the building blocks essential for brain function. Children in this study are given digestive enzymes. The goal: see if they clear up issues in the gut, and in turn, improve behavior.

In a second study, doctors are investigating whether cholesterol plays a role in autism.

There may be a subgroup who have autism because of low cholesterol, Dr. Arnold said.

Experts believe some autistic children are missing an enzyme that makes cholesterol, which is needed for normal brain development.

In a third trial, doctors are testing an approved Alzheimer's drug to treat autism. Investigators are examining whether Namenda can help with motor skills and expressive language. What may work for one child, may not work for another.


There are different reasons for different people having autism, Dr. Arnold explained.

These three trials are getting to the root of a mysterious disorder that impacts one out of every 110 children.

Dr. Arnold says finding the cause is critical. Thirty-five billion dollars is spent on caring for people with autism each year in the United States.

http://www.ivanhoe.com/channels/p_channelstory.cfm?storyid=24764
 

Rosemary

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Cholesterol in ASD: Characterization and Treatment

Cholesterol in ASD: Characterization and Treatment

http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00965068

Purpose...Background:

- Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are developmental disabilities characterized by impaired social interaction and repetitive and/or stereotypical behaviors. Research studies suggest that some individuals with ASD have very low blood cholesterol levels. This low cholesterol level and other abnormal sterol levels may be important markers for subtypes of ASD. Providing additional cholesterol to the diets of children with ASD may help improve behavior.

- These findings will guide the medical community in identifying individuals who should be tested for sterol disorders. This study will also help researchers learn whether adding extra cholesterol to the diet will improve behavioral and other autism spectrum characteristics seen in individuals with ASD and low cholesterol.
 

Rosemary

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i think HIV uses cholesterol to replicate or something....? wonder if XMRV does, too...
Yes......James Hildreth has explored this hypothesis for a long time: he says that "cholesterol is somehow essential" to HIV, For instance, HIV-1 relies on specialized structures known as lipid rafts, which are rich in cholesterol, to infect new cells.
 

taniaaust1

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I've always had high cholestrol even when a teen. My cholestrol was so bad at one point (i think i was about 15 at the time), that i doctor told me if i didnt stick to a strict low cholestrol diet that i'd be dead before i was 21.

guess im not that subgroup.
 

JillBohr

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If HIV uses cholestrol to replicate, then I would think we want to have low cholesterol. Perhaps the ASD subjects have low cholesterol because it is their body's natural mechanism to defend itself.