Stem Cell Therapy for Autism Shows Promise
Autism refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. There are various types of autism caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences.
Autism’s most-obvious signs tend to appear between 2 and 3 years of age. In some cases, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Some developmental delays associated with autism can be identified and addressed even earlier.
According to a new study, stem cell treatment for autism shows promising results but the investigators and other experts emphasize that the therapy is still in the early stages and much more research is needed.
The study was carried out at The Duke University and it included 25 children, ages 2-6, with autism and assessed whether a transfusion of the youngsters’ own umbilical cord blood containing rare stem cells would help treat their autism.
Behavioral improvements were reported in 70 percent of the patients, according to the study in the journal Stem Cells.
A second, larger trial is now underway and the researchers hope they will find a long-term treatment for autism
Experts however believe that many unanswered questions remain and the study authors agree much more work needs to be done. This initial trial was a safety study, meaning doctors and the children’s families knew the therapy was being administered and one of the shortcomings of the study was that there was no comparison between treated and non-treated children.
But at the end of the study, even some children who were not speaking very much had big increases in their vocabulary and their functional speech. Many children were able to attend to play and have meaningful communication in a way that they weren’t before. Some children had less repetitive behaviors than they did when they came onto the study.
Adapted from a post on webmd. Please visit this url for more information: