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A promising clinical trial to reduce the severity of autistic disorders
Date:12/12/2012

This press release is available in French.

Although this therapy is not curative, it nevertheless reduced the autistic disorders' severity in three-quarters of the children. The researchers have filed a request for authorisation to perform a multi-centre European clinical trial in order to determine more precisely the population concerned by this therapy.

Details of this work have been published in the Translational Psychiatry review dated 11 December 2012.

Contribution made by the fundamental research on neuronal chloride

Previous work carried out by the team of researchers led by Yehezkel Ben-Ari in INSERM unit 901, the Institut de Neurobiologie de la Mditerrane (INMED) in Marseille, on intracellular chloride concentrations have demonstrated that they are abnormally high in immature neurons or neurons previously affected by epileptic seizures or other cerebral lesions. Many anxiolytics, analgesics and antiepileptics act by increasing the effects of GABA the brain's main chemical mediator which normally inhibits the neurons. When the cells contain a very high chloride concentration, however, GABA's effects are reversed. GABA no longer inhibits the neurons; the anxiolytic molecules accentuate these effects instead. These molecules have an excitatory effect, aggravating the disorder rather than alleviating it. This is what has been observed in the case of epilepsy: diazepam, an anxiolytic, actually aggravated the seizures in certain situations. The research team then showed the benefits of a diuretic in mitigating this effect.

From fundamental research to clinical research

Indirect experimental data suggest that the inhibitory transmitter GABA's action is modified in autism. Eric Lemonnier, a clinician at the CHRU of Brest, pointed out to Yehezkel Ben-Ari that valium is not prescribed to childre
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Contact: Press Office
presse@inserm.fr
INSERM (Institut national de la sant et de la recherche mdicale)
Source:Eurekalert

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