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demonstrate oxytocin signaling alterations in mice lacking opioid receptors (16), and Michetti and coworkers identify a series of pathological features (including defects in glutamatergic neurotransmission) in reeler mice (17).Taken together, these mouse studies confirm the importance of IGF-1, oxytocin, and glutamate signaling in the pathogenesis of ASD, as extensively described in several clinical studies presented in this e-book. Translational approaches to the biology of autism: false dawn or a new era? doi: 10.1038/mp.2012.102 Pubmed Abstract | Pubmed Full Text | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar 2. Are there cultural differences in parental interest in early diagnosis and genetic risk assessment for autism spectrum disorder? doi:10.3389/fped.2014.00032 Pubmed Abstract | Pubmed Full Text | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar 3. The use of medications approved for Alzheimer’s disease in autism spectrum disorder: a systematic review. doi:10.3389/fped.2014.00087 Pubmed Abstract | Pubmed Full Text | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar 4. Treatments for biomedical abnormalities associated with autism spectrum disorder. doi:10.3389/fped.2014.00066 Pubmed Abstract | Pubmed Full Text | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar 5. Potential therapeutic use of the ketogenic diet in autism spectrum disorders. doi:10.3389/fped.2014.00069 Pubmed Abstract | Pubmed Full Text | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar 6.Research on outcome of interventions is currently an active field of investigation, though data available do not allow to answer the question of “what works for whom” in ASD.
This new conceptualization paves the way to a modern treatment approach to this group of disorders once thought as hard wired and not amenable of changing, as discussed in the papers by Pini and colleagues (6) and Canitano (7).
The role of melatonin in the establishment of circadian rhythms and the synchronization of peripheral oscillators is probably linked to the synchrony of motor, emotional, and social rhythms that are altered in ASD.
New ASD treatments are emerging and deserve to be mentioned.
A number of novel medications have been used off-label in various studies, including drugs approved for Alzheimer’s disease, as reviewed by Rossignol and Frye (3).
Potential therapeutic benefits of melatonin in the recovery of circadian rhythms have been demonstrated in a growing number of studies in ASD.
Developmental behavioral interventions that emphasize synchrony (in some cases combined with melatonin) seem to provide substantial improvement in ASD, as reviewed by Tordjman (8) and reported by Fulton (9).
Drugs commonly used to treat mitochondrial diseases such as L-carnitine, complex B vitamins, antioxidants etc.
have been found to improve ASD symptoms in some studies, but results are still conflicting and more research is needed.
In this e-book, we present 16 articles addressing several different aspects of both clinical and basic research on ASD.
A particular emphasis is put on the efforts that are currently made to identify reliable diagnostic markers and novel therapeutic strategies, as well as on the progress of ongoing clinical trials.