Researchers have found that a specific antioxidant, calledN-Acetylcysteine (NAC), may reduce irritability in children withautism. The pilot trial, conducted by researchers at Stanford UniversitySchool of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, involved31 children aged 3 to 12 years with autism . The study is published in Biological Psychiatry . The researchers found that NAC reduced irritability and repetitivebehaviors of the children.
However, before NAC can be recommendedfor children with autism, larger trials are needed in order toverify results from the pilot trial. Between 60-70% of children with the disorder suffer fromirritability. Antonio Hardan, M.D., an associate professor ofpsychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford and director of theAutism and Developmental Disabilities Clinic at Packard Children’sexplained: “We’re not talking about mild things: This is throwing, kicking,hitting, the child needing to be restrained. It can affectlearning, vocational activities and the child’s ability toparticipate in autism therapies.” One of the top priorities for researchers is to find newmedications to treat autism and its symptoms. At present,aggression, irritability, and mood swings are all associatedfeatures of the disorder and are treated with second-generationantipsychotics.
However, these medications cause serious adverse effects including: involuntary motor movements metabolic syndrome – which increases the risk of developing diabetes weight gain According to the researchers, the side effects of NAC are usuallymild. These adverse effects include decreased appetite, diarrhea , constipation , and nausea. Another major problem of autism is the state of drug treatments forits core features, such as repetitive behaviors, social deficits,and language impairment. Hardan said: “Today, in 2012, we have noeffective medication to treat repetitive behavior such as handflapping or any other core features of autism.” If results from this trial can be confirmed in larger trials, NACcould be the first drug available to treat repetitive behavior inautism. Desiccant Rotor Dehumidifier
The children who participated in the study were physically healthyand had no plans to change their established autism treatmentsduring the trial. The children were given either NAC or placebo for12 weeks and were assessed before the study and then every 4 weeksduring the trial. The researchers used a number or differentsurveys in order to measure social behaviors, problem behaviors,adverse effects, and autistic preoccupations. The researchers found that NAC reduced irritability scores from13.1 to 7.2 on the Aberrant Behavior Checklist, a clinical scalefor evaluating irritability. Wet Film Humidifier Manufacturer
Although, NAC did not reduceirritability as much as antipsychotics, “this is still apotentially valuable tool to have before jumping on these bigguns,” said Hardan. In addition, the team found that NAC also reduced repetitive andstereotyped behaviors in the study participants. Hardan explained: “One of the reasons I wanted to do this trial was that NAC is beingused by community practitioners who focus on alternative,non-traditional therapies. But there is no strong scientificevidence to support these interventions. Somebody needs to look atthem.” According to Hardan, the NAC used in the trial is different fromthe NAC for sale as a dietary supplement at pharmacies and grocerystores, and that the over-the-counter version may not produce thesame results. Household Dehumidifier Manufacturer
Hardan explained: “When you open the bottle from the drugstore andexpose the pills to air and sunlight, it gets oxidized and becomesless effective.” Even though the team did not examine how NAC works, they believethat it increases the capacity of the body’s main antioxidantnetwork. Furthermore, other studies has indicated that the disorderis associated to an imbalance in excitatory and inhibitoryneurotransmitters in the brain. NAC can modulate the glutamatergicfamily of excitatory neurotransmitters, which might be useful inautism. Hardan concluded: “This was a pilot study. Final conclusions cannotbe made before we do a larger trial.” Written By Grace Rattue Copyright: Medical News Today Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today Additional References Citations.