Existing drug improves stimulus processing in children with autism


A safe medicine for high blood pressure helps children with autism to better process stimuli; a study by Amsterdam UMC proves this. In addition, the researchers developed an algorithm that helps predict which children this drug works for. “This method provides a first tailor-made treatment in child and adolescent psychiatry,” said lead researcher Hilgo Bruining. The research is published in Biological Psychiatry CNII.

Autism: nature and extent

The world’s first placebo-controlled autism trial combined with brain videos (EEG) shows that some children with a developmental disability benefit from this drug. Bumetanide is normally prescribed in people with high blood pressure. It now appears that it also has an effect in the brains of children who have difficulty processing information. Their stimulus balance is then not optimal, the brain is over- or under-stimulated.
The researchers now show that bumetanide can influence the stimulus balance by reducing the chlorine concentration in the brain cells. “The big question was whether the drug has an effect on stimulus processing and whether and for whom this leads to an improvement in symptoms,” says child psychiatrist Hilgo Bruining. “By analyzing the brain activity with a brain video before and after the treatment with bumetanide, it appears that this drug can influence the stimulus balance.”

Model predicts who it works for

Using an EEG, the brain video, the researchers developed a model that can predict which children will benefit from the drug and which will not. “It should be done with just prescribing something for these children with autism symptoms,” says Bruining. “We have found a method that allows us to see quite precisely for which child this drug will work. We do this by looking at the stimulus balance in the brain with a new EEG analysis. By combining this data with clinical data, we get an algorithm with which we can predict who the drug will work for. This drug has no serious side effects like antipsychotics or ritalin.”

Release labels

Bruining advocates precision psychiatry. By focusing on stimulus processing and thus on the cause of the symptoms, he wants to give each child a unique treatment. Bruining previously showed that children on the autism spectrum can have both overstimulated and understimulated brains.

Existing drug improves stimulus processing in children with autism
Source link Existing drug improves stimulus processing in children with autism

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