"These studies are examples of how discoveries made at the molecular level can really be brought to bear on autism treatment," commented Dr. Dawson. "Our hope is that if these trials with syndromes that are closely related to ASD are successful, we can translate the knowledge gained to treatment studies of individuals with ASD. This is the first step toward developing medicines that target the core symptoms of ASD."
Another trial will focus on treating anxiety, which affects 1 in 4 affected individuals with ASD. Anxiety can be extremely debilitating for individuals with ASD, and can even hinder their responsiveness to behavioral interventions. Few medications have been tested to treat anxiety. One funded study will examine the ability of the medication Mirtazapine to treat anxiety symptoms in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial in children and adolescents with ASD (Mirtazapine Treatment of Anxiety in Children and Adolescents with Pervasive Developmental Disorders, David Posey, M.D., Indiana University School of Medicine).
Another new study from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School will focus on understanding sleep disturbances, a challenge that affects many people with autism and their families. This study by Robert Stickgold, M.D. will examine the nature of sleep disturbances in ASD, using state-of-the-art EEG techniques and also examining how such disturbances may affect memory
|Contact: Jane E. Rubinstein|