Recent research by the Boston Children’s Hospital suggested that two existing classes of drugs – carbamazepine, used to treat epilepsy, and mTOR inhibitors – could possibly pave the way for treating autism.
Their findings pointed to autism sufferers lacking a process known as autophagy, in which cells digest their damaged and aging mitochondria, allowing healthy ones to take their place.
Autophagy has been linked to Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, but this was the first study which suggested people with autism have the same defect.
While test results have been promising, these are still at a rudimentary stage with the tests being done on just neutrons and live mice.
We therefore caution parents of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) not to try out these medications without the proper assessment and advice of a medical doctor.
Up to now, the most scientifically proven method of treating ASD remains applied behaviour analysis (ABA) conducted by an experienced and well-trained therapist with proper program and supervision in place to monitor the pace of progress of the child.