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Study: drug temporarily reversed autism symptoms in mice

Sometimes, a medication intended for one type of medical condition is able to help with a completely different condition. A recent study indicates that this may be the case for the drug suramin.

This drug has been around for a long time. The drug is typically used as a treatment for African sleeping sickness, a parasitic disease. The above-mentioned study indicates that it might be able to do something else: temporarily reverse autism symptoms.

The study involved mice with autism. The study found that, when the mice were given suramin, cell communication normalized and the mice began to exhibit behavior that they normally wouldn't (like exploring new areas).

It is thought that future studies might be conducted with human children as subjects to see if the medication would have similar effects on humans with autism.

An important thing to note is that, even if suramin is found to have similar effects when it comes to autism in humans, it has some drawbacks which make it so it is unlikely to ever be a widely used treatment for the condition. In the mouse study, the autism-reversing effects were only temporary. This is problematic, given that a continual treatment of suramin really isn't a viable option given that it can have some rather severe side effects.

This does not, however, mean that the study's findings are a dead-end and shouldn't be looked into anymore. Learning more about why suramin has the effects it does may be able to help point researchers to medications which could provide more long-term help to autism sufferers.

One hopes that researchers will continue to keep an eye out for treatments that could help autism sufferers and individuals with other development disabilities deal with the symptoms of their conditions. The symptoms of developmental disabilities can have a wide range of impacts. In some cases, such symptoms make holding employment something that simply isn't possible.

Individuals with developmental disabilities who can't work may be able to make a claim for Social Security Disability benefits. The many rules and requirements that need to be met to qualify for such benefits can sometimes leave individuals feeling daunted and intimidated when it comes to the application process. This is why having the guidance of a disability attorney can be so helpful when applying for such benefits; such attorneys can explain the application process and can help applicants with its various steps.

Source: Disability Scoop, "Study Points To Possibility Of Reversing Autism Symptoms," Michelle Diament, June 17, 2014

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