Sandwiched between oil spills and militant lairs in the paper this morning, I found hope for millions of people.
The New York Times reported that a new drug therapy offers hope to children and adults suffering from a relatively common genetic flaw that causes autism and mild to severe retardation. According to the article, one child in five thousand is born with Fragile X Syndrome, which is the most common inherited cause of mental retardation. (Down Syndrome is not inherited.) Fragile X patients appear to experience an overload of brain signalling and the drug, manufactured by Novartis, appears to help by slowing down this excessive talk between brain cells. Researcher hope this will allow patients to form memories, learn and develop more normally. If further studies bolster these initial trials, performed in adults, the drug may also hope for patients with autism not caused by Fragile X. “This is perhaps the most promising therapeutic discovery ever for a gene-based behavioral disease,” said Dr. Edward M. Scolnick.