Autism Research: October 11, 2013 Week in review

CC BY-SA by Egan Snow

CC BY-SA by Egan Snow

N-Acetyl Cysteine offers new hope for autism

As more and more research reveals the role of oxidative stress and inflammation in various psychiatric disorders like autism and schizophrenia, therapeutic research is focusing on finding out drugs that can help reduce the inflammation and neuronal disintegration. One such substance is N-Acetyl Cysteine, touted as a potential anti-inflammatory agent. It is a monoamine that reduces oxidative stress, promotes glutathione (an anti-oxidant), promotes new nerve growth and reduces neuronal degeneration. It also seems to have action on reducing the mitochondrial dysfunction in cells in neuropsychiatric disorders. Multiple trials have confirmed that N-AC helps in schizophrenia, unipolar disorder as well as depression. Its role in autism needs to be confirmed with larger trials.

Balm for Autism

Yesterday, Autism Daily Newscast ran an opinion piece questioning the validity of the new balm that claims to calm down the symptoms of autism and ASD. It’s been dubbed a miracle cure by some.  Olfaction is the process of how the brain makes sense of the sense of smell, and how smells have an inherent effect on brain function. the blam cream contains chemicals which desensitize chemical receptors in the brain. It does not however, explain how the phytochemicals (basically human manufactured chemicals) affect the brain by calming and desensitising the brain to smells.

Gene deletion explored as a cause for Autism and ASD (Update)

A new study has revealed that the process of backing up and copying genetic pathways is not always present in people with a diagnosis of Autism or ASD. The paper, published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, and undertaken by a team from Mount Sinai pinpointed the problems may come during cell autophagy (when cells renew themselves). This is the first finding that small deletions impacting one or two genes appear to be common in autism, and that these deletions contribute to risk of development of this disorder. Autism Daily Newscast wrote a lengthier piece on this research earlier this week.

Oxytocin is passé, now ReAttach

Paula Bartholomeus, the founder of Viki’s View has advanced her vast experience with autism and formed a new therapy called ReAttach. The therapy is aimed at improving sensory integration, training the memory to store, retrieve, register and process data faster in corroboration with surrounding objects and training the mind for social skills and cognition. The therapy acknowledges the fact that children with autism fall along a very wide spectrum as regards, skills, intelligence, perception, etc and customize the programs to suit the need of each child. Typically, 5 sitting s over 3 months are essential but more might be needed based on the intensity of the problems.

Developing coping methods, promoting self-development and helping develop a realistic self-concept are some of the other aims of ReAttach. Within just three months, positive changes can be seen as regards speech, behavior and social integration.