Psychopharmacology

Study Finds Melatonin Eases Sleep Woes In Children With Autism

Source: 
MedicalXpress
Date Published: 
January 10, 2012
Abstract: 

A new Vanderbilt study shows that the over-the-counter supplement melatonin is promising in helping children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and their families, sleep better.

Dr. Eric London's Letter to the Editor of the New York Times

Source: 
New York Times
Date Published: 
January 1, 2012
Abstract: 

As a psychiatrist and the parent of an adult son with autism, I found “In Treating Disabled, Potent Drugs and Few Rules” (front page, Dec. 23) to be unfair and detrimental to the families of the developmentally disabled. Although any medication can be inappropriately administered, the wholesale denigration of psychotropic medication for this population is misplaced.

To the Editor:

As a psychiatrist and the parent of an adult son with autism, I found “In Treating Disabled, Potent Drugs and Few Rules” (front page, Dec. 23) to be unfair and detrimental to the families of the developmentally disabled. Although any medication can be inappropriately administered, the wholesale denigration of psychotropic medication for this population is misplaced.

People with autism do indeed have a brain disorder, and so using medications that treat the brain makes perfect sense. Many autistic patients have symptoms that warrant such medications for their own protection. These include behaviors like head banging, self-biting, sleeplessness and aggression.

I recently saw a patient in a developmental center who wore a helmet because of constant head-banging. When I asked what medications had been tried, staff members proudly told me that they had successfully avoided medicating this patient. But this decision came at a terrible cost to him, as his constant head-banging caused detachment of both retinas and blindness.

Articles implying that all psychotropic medications are inappropriate for this population do a terrible disservice. They make family members and staff members fearful of medications that can often make important quality-of-life improvements and, as a result, actually hurt the patients we desire to help.

ERIC LONDON
New York, Dec. 26, 2011

Seizure Damage Reversed In Rats By Inhibitory Drug Targeting Neurologic Pathways

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
December 19, 2011
Abstract: 

About half of newborns who have seizures go on to have long-term intellectual and memory deficits and cognitive disorders such as autism, but why this occurs has been unknown. In the December 14 Journal of Neuroscience, researchers at Children's Hospital Boston detail how early-life seizures disrupt normal brain development, and show in a rat model that it might be possible to reverse this pathology by giving certain drugs soon after the seizure.

Fetal Exposure to Epilepsy Drug Might Raise Autism Risk: Study

Source: 
US News & World Report
Date Published: 
December 5, 2011
Abstract: 

Children exposed to the epilepsy drug valproate have a nearly three times higher risk of having an autism spectrum disorder, new research finds.

Repetitive behaviors in adults with Autism Spectrum disorders significantly lessen with antidepressant treatment

Source: 
MedicalXpress
Date Published: 
December 5, 2011
Abstract: 

Restricted, repetitive behavior, such as compulsive arranging and rigid adherence to routines, is a defining symptom of autism spectrum disorders. A 12-week study showed that the antidepressant fluoxetine produced a greater decrease in repetitive behaviors and more overall improvement than placebo in adults with autism spectrum disorders.

Institute For Basic Research in New York seeking adults with Fragile X for New Clinical Trial

Source: 
October 17, 2011
Abstract: 

The Institute for Basic Research in Staten Island is seeking adult participants for a new Fragile X treatment trial. This is a large scale trial of AFQ056 from Novartis for people aged 18-45 who have Fragile X. AFQ056 is an mGluR5 antagonist. The current study is just for adults but the next step is to extend the trial to ages 12-17. After completing the 20 week trial, participants will be offered the option of taking this medication free of charge until it comes to market.

The Institute for Basic Research in Staten Island is seeking adult participants for a new Fragile X treatment trial. 

This is a large scale trial of AFQ056 from Novartis for people aged 18-45 who have Fragile X.  AFQ056 is an mGluR5 antagonist.  The current study is just for adults but the next step is to extend the trial to ages 12-17.  After completing the 20 week trial, participants will be offered the option of taking this medication free of charge until it comes to market.

The principal investigator on this study is Dr. Angelo Porto, Dept. of Psychology, Institute for Basic Research(IBR). porto_a@medscape.com or 718-494-8028

Additional information about AFQ056 and the study can be found at fraxa.org/getInvolved_studies.aspx

'Autistic' mice created – and treated

Source: 
New Scientist
Date Published: 
October 3, 2011
Abstract: 

A new strain of mice engineered to lack a gene with links to autism displays many of the hallmarks of the condition. It also responds to a drug in the same way as people with autism, which might open the way to new therapies for such people.

Autism-Related Study Discovers How Drug Interferes with Neuronal Cell Function

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
July 7, 2011
Abstract: 

This study examined mouse neuronal cells during pregnancy to discover how the drug actually interferes at a molecular level with prostaglandins, which are important for development and communication of cells in the brain.

Social Bonding in Prairie Voles Helps Guide Search for Autism Treatments

Source: 
Emory Woodruff Health Sciences Center
Date Published: 
April 28, 2011
Abstract: 

Researchers at the Center for Translational Social Neuroscience (CTSN) at Emory University are focusing on prairie voles as a new model to screen the effectiveness of drugs to treat autism. They are starting with D-cycloserine, a drug Emory researchers have shown enhances behavioral therapy for phobias and also promotes pair bonding among prairie voles. Giving female voles D-cycloserine, which is thought to facilitate learning and memory, can encourage them to bond with a new male more quickly than usual.

Treatment-resistant epilepsy common in idiopathic autism

Source: 
Eurek Alert
Date Published: 
April 19. 2011
Abstract: 

A new study found that treatment-resistant epilepsy (TRE) is common in idiopathic autism. Early age at the onset of seizures and delayed global development were associated with a higher frequency of resistance to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Full findings appear online in Epilepsia, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE).