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Antioxidant shows promise as treatment for certain features of autism, Stanford study finds
Date:5/29/2012

cal-grade NAC used in the study, and that the over-the-counter version may not produce the same results. "When you open the bottle from the drugstore and expose the pills to air and sunlight, it gets oxidized and becomes less effective," he said.

Although the study did not test how NAC works, the researchers speculated on two possible mechanisms of action. NAC increases the capacity of the body's main antioxidant network, which some previous studies have suggested is deficient in autism. In addition, other research has suggested that autism is related to an imbalance in excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters in the brain. NAC can modulate the glutamatergic family of excitatory neurotransmitters, which might be useful in autism.

The scientists are now applying for funding to conduct a large, multicenter trial in which they hope to replicate their findings.

"This was a pilot study," Hardan said. "Final conclusions cannot be made before we do a larger trial."


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Contact: Erin Digitale
digitale@stanford.edu
650-724-9175
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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