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Alternative treatment for autism studied


For years the alternative healthcare community has been using a specific antioxidant to help treat some of the more severe symptoms of autism. Finally a research team has conducted a pilot study of N-Acetylcysteine or NAC on reducing symptoms such as repetitive behaviors and irritability for children with autism.

“We’re not talking about mild things. This is throwing, kicking, hitting, the child needing to be restrained,” explained Antonio Hardan, MD, the primary author of the new study. “It can affect learning, vocational activities and the child’s ability to participate in autism therapies.”

New treatment strategies for autism are a prioriy

Finding new medications and treatment strategies for autism is high priority for researchers as the numbers of children with the condition increase significantly each year.

Currently, antipsychotic medications are used to control irritability, mood swings and aggression. These drugs have side effects including weight gain, involuntary motor movements and metabolic syndrome increasing diabetes risk. NAC has few side effects including constipation, nausea, diarrhea and decreased appetite.

No effective medication for autism currently exists

“Today in 2012 we have no effective medication to treat repetitive behavior such as hand flapping or any other core features of autism,” Hardan stated. NAC could be the first treatment for repetitive behavior in autism if the results hold up in a full study.

During the 12-week trial, NAC reduced irritability scores from 13.1 to 7.2 on the Aberrant Behavior Checklist. The change is not as large as that of children on antipsychotics. Hardan warned that the type of NAC they used for the study was pharmaceutical-grade not over the counter.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Biological Psychiatry

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