Pathways to New Treatments in ASD [Based on neuro biology]

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Pathways to new treatments in ASD [based on neurobiology]

– presently there are no neurobiology treatments for ASD
– most treatments for children with ASD are indeed behavioural & are aimed at improvement rather than cure
– treat for symptoms
– ASD is not a disease
– features are defined in DSM-V, & include:
– language impairment
– social impairment
– behavioural co-morbidity (repetitive behaviour)
– medical co-morbidity
– increasingly, children walk in with a genetic diagnosis (Fragile X syndrome); however, it is believed that approx only 1% of kids with an ASD diagnosis also have Fragile X syndrome, & 1/3 of kids with Fragile X syndrome have ASD (other 1/3 have social difficulties; & another 1/3 are bashful/shy) – long face / pronounce forehead – physical characteristic
– there are often elevated serotonin levels in kids with autism (found by Connor) – this is considered a bio-marker
– genetic & environmental risk factors (exposure to certain acids in early development)
for ASD
– there is nothing linking oxytocin to ASD
– a one-time intra-nasal oxytocin spray study relating to throwing ball showed positive changed in social behaviour [note: not a treatment, but a single study] for children with high-functioning ASD (be aware of safety issues as not approved sprays are available over the Internet)
– treat symptoms:
– check if have epilepsy
– check if constipated
– language / primary treatment outcomes are typically based around cognitions
– treatment for irritability/agitation
– treatment for attention
– treatment for social interactions (while being mindful of not being more intrusive)
– these do not have a high success rate; however, learning is noted to occur

Source: National Institute of Health Podcasts | Podcast date: 14 May 2016

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