Israeli scientists make breakthrough in Autism Spectrum Disorder research
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Researchers in Israel have discovered there is a direct connection between levels of nitric oxide (NO) in the brain and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and this may lead to potential new treatments not only for ASD but for other psychiatric and neurological conditions as well, the Jerusalem Post reports.
The research was carried out by Dr. Haitham Amal and his team from the School of Pharmacy in the Faculty of Medicine at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and has been published in the Advanced Science journal under the title “The NO Answer for Autism Spectrum Disorder.”
The study showed that increased levels of NO in the brain give rise to increased indicators of autism, JPost reports. On the other hand, lowered levels of NO in the brains of mice resulted in decreased autism indicators.
“Our research showed – in an extraordinary way – that inhibiting the production of NO, specifically in brain neuron cells in mouse models of autism, causes a decrease in autism-like symptoms,” Amal told JPost.
“By inhibiting the production of NO on lab animals, they became more ‘social,’ and less repetitiveness was observed in their behavior. Additionally, the animals showed interest in new objects and were less anxious. Finally, the decrease in NO levels led to a significant improvement in neuronal indices.”
“This discovery can have implications on the relationship of NO with other neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, or psychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder,” Amal added. “I am hopeful that with our new understanding of the NO mechanism, we can begin to develop therapeutic drugs and help millions of children and adults living with autism around the world.”
If you are interested in articles produced by Worthy News, please check out our FREE sydication service available to churches or online Christian ministries. To find out more, visit Worthy Plugins.