As reported yesterday in Autism Daily Newscast, a new study has come closer to nature in finding out a way to treat symptoms of autism. Using hot baths to elevate body temperature and trick the body into reacting like there is an infection and using worms to alter gut signals and reduce inflammation. The idea was to break the chain of inflammation and thereby alter the symptoms of the disorder. The study findings were presented at American College of Neuropsychopharmacology meeting in Hollywood. The idea of the study stems from the fact that symptoms of autism have been seen to improve when the child has fever. This implies that there is reduction of inflammation which somehow also affects the brain and subsides symptoms by improving body’s immune responses.
New test likely to help diagnose adults with autism
Dr. Susanne Berejot and her team of researchers have come up with a new tool to help diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorders for adults. The research conducted at the Karolinska Intitute of Sweden was published in the Molecular Autism journal this week. The team has revamped the existing test RAADS-R (Ritvo Autism and Asperger Diagnostic Scale-Revised). They have simplified this diagnostic test and made it into a self-screening questionnaire of 14 questions. This new test is called as the RAADS-14 Screen. The scale has 3 sub-scales to measure difficulties in the three most vital parts of the autism spectrum disorder- social anxiety, mentation difficulty and oversensitive senses. Based on whether the symptoms appeared in childhood or later in life, the answers are segregated to arrive at the diagnosis. The research and the test are unique because they have helped differentiate autism from other psychiatric disorders which other tests never did. Dr. Berejot claims that the first five questions alone will be enough to get a clear diagnosis of autism.
Paternal age linked to higher possibility of autism
A new study has showed that higher paternal age could increase the risk of the child having neuropsychiatric disorders like autism and even schizophrenia. The frequency of mutations increases with age not only in mothers, but in fathers too. Maria Milekic of Columbia University reported the research findings at the annual meeting of American College of Neuropsychopharmacology in Florida. The team of scientists found that there are changes that take place beyond the genetic code, in the way they are expressed in the offspring. This is called as an epigenetic effect. The study conducted using old mice found that epigenetic loss of DNA methylation took place with increasing age increasing risk for mentation disorders like autism. DNA methylation is a vital process in genetic development and a problem here could have far reaching effects.
Probiotics- possible therapy for autism-like behavior
Researchers from the California Institute of Technology investigates the effects of probiotics on mice gut flora and found reduction of symptoms akin to those seen in children with autism. The study published in the journal Cell reported that with the help of Bacteroides fragilis implanted in the gut of autism-like mice, they found reduction in anxiety, better social interaction and reduced digging activity.