Wednesday, November 14, 2012

the new and brave drugs for autism - really?

so researchers have come up with a new drug that is being marketed (or premarketed i guess) as targeting the "underlying mechanism" for autism. when i read about it that really piqued my interest as sofar i`ve thought that autism is still considered an idiopathic condition (ie. no known cause). thats why drugs sofar have concentrated on alleviating the symptoms of the condition like anxiety, aggression and repetitive behaviour. so i was exited and i admit, sceptical, at the same time. i mean - something that would cure the underlying cause would indicate that a cause has been found - right? wrong

this whole thing is based on a few rat studies that show that about 15% of autism cases can be manufactured by a single-gene glitch. and in these cases it looks like the connections between neurons in the brain contain too much of the neurotransmitter glutamate. still this is way better than nothing - right? means that maybe they have figured out what actually cuases that imbalance? what causes that specific faulty gene being turned on. right? wrong

the drug in question works by balancing the amount of glutamate (a neurotransmitter). it really pisses me off how this can be called "adressing the underlying cause" of autism. in this area of epigenetics. really. i`m speechless. because you know what? the one thing that HAS been confirmed in studies is that the gene that in these 15% of cases where autism can be considered a genetic disease (in mostly male children from mathematically intelligent background), confers intelligence in most cases and can only PREDISPOSE you to the disorder. you have to do something to swich it on. you can all make intelligent guesses at what that might be, because i dont see any studies on that coming up in the nearest future.

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