Scientists Discover Potential Cure To Autism, New Study Shows

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James Lynch Contributor
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Scientists have discovered a well known anti-epilepsy drug has the potential cure to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in a peer-reviewed study published Tuesday.

A group of scientists conducted a study at the Hector Institute for Translational Brain Research in Germany showing that lamotrigine, a medication used for seizures, was able to “switch off” autism in mice, New York Post reported. Lamotrigine was first approved for use in the U.S. in 1994 and sells for as little as $3 under the brand name lamictal. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Dozens Of Hospitals Have Closed In States That Expanded Medicaid, Research Shows)

ASD is a developmental disability affecting an estimated 5.4 million U.S. adults making up 2.2% of the population. Symptoms include difficulties with social interaction, repetitive behaviors, unusual sleeping habits, delayed language and movement skills, excessive worry and seizure disorders, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Autism is more common among individuals with a mutation in the MYT1L gene so the scientists in the breakthrough study tested the impact of “switching off” MYT1L on mice behavior.

Mice lacking MYT1L showed similar behavior changes to ASD including altered social patterns and hyperactivity. They also showed developmental delays, obesity, seizures and brain malformations, the study says. Applying lamotrigine was able to rescue electrophysical phenotypes in adult mice, serving as a potential therapeutic to patients with MYT1L deficiencies, according to the study.

Clinical trials studying lamotrigine in humans are now being planned, NY Post reported. The initial research has been limited to mice.