A study published today in the journal Science today, says that a drug that was given to pregnant mice prevented autism-like behavior in their offspring.
According to researchers, they’re on the right track in testing the medicine in children with the disorder. Yehezkel Ben-Ari, the lead researcher at the Mediterranean Institute of Neurobiology in Marseille France, said in a telephone interview, that the study supports the rationale for using the medicine, called bumetanide. The drug was marketed under the brand name Bumex. Bumex is used for water retention in people with congestive heart failure.
“When we started our trail, it was a hypothesis, we had no evidence whatsoever,” Ben-Ari said of the mid-stage children. “This research doesn’t prove it, but it does validate our strategy.”
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are no drugs that can cure autism or treat its core problem. The research done on the effects of Bumetanide on a neurotransmitter in the brain can alter autism-like behavior in offspring. The transmitter acts as a stimulant on neurons in the brain before birth, but it still has a breaking effect afterward.
Andrew Zimmerman, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Susan Connors of Harvard Medical School, said the abnormal neurotransmitter functions “may be a persistent and treatable feature” of autism spectrum disorders beyond infancy.
A study of 8 year olds in 2008 showed that one in 88 children were living with the condition in the U.S., according to the CDC.
Image Credit: neurochlore.net