Doctors targeting cause of autism

August 30, 2010

According to, males are four-times more likely to have autism than are females.

Research shows about one out of every 110 children has some form of autism. About 500,000 children under the age of 21 have autism.

According to the Mayo Clinic, children with autism show symptoms in three major areas in terms of development: language development, behavior, and social interaction.

Examples of social skill challenges are: poor eye contact, resists cuddling and holding, doesn't respond to his or her name, and retreats to time alone as opposed to time with others.

A few symptoms of language development include: starting to talk later than 2 years of age, doesn't know how to put together words and sentences, and an inability to start a conversation or hold onto one.

Lastly, behavioral concerns consist of: becoming perturbed when daily or routine things change, constant movement, and unusual sensitivity to light. Although there is no cure for autism, there are medications that can be taken in order to keep irritability, tantrums, and aggression at bay.

TRIALS SEARCHING FOR AN ANSWER: Although many trials and studies have been conducted looking for answers and cures to autism, three recent studies were conducted that may present some more answers.

In one trial, doctors targeted the child's digestive system. Research showed that certain proteins can get through the child's digestive system that should be digested first. This affects the nervous system because the proteins are not being broken down.

A second trial involved the investigation of whether or not cholesterol affects autism. Children with low cholesterol are at higher risk of developing autism.

Furthermore, some doctors believe certain children are missing a key enzyme that produces cholesterol. By lacking this enzyme, brain development is affected, and autism may be the result.

A third and final trial looked at a drug called Namenda. Currently, Namenda is used to help treat Alzheimer's, but some researchers believe this may also be an effective drug for improving motor skills and language in autistic children. Some side effects of Namenda include dizziness, headaches and pain. Allergic reactions such as rash, hives, and itching may occur as well.


Eileen Scahill, Media Relations Manager
Ohio State University Medical Center
Columbus, OH

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