A. WHAT IS AUTISM?
Autism is an intricate neuro- developmental disorder in children that becomes visible during the first three years. A child with autism finds it difficult to comprehend simple things like understanding, perception, solving problem, speech, social interactions and behavior. This slows down their normal functioning making them dependent on people around them. Children suffering from autism need special attention.
SYMPTOMS OF AUTISM
Some of the signs and symptoms of autism are as follows:
- Inability to communicate effectively using non-verbal behaviour and body language like expressions, postures, gestures, and eye contact
- Impaired ability in developing and maintaining peer relationships
- Inability to initiate or participate in conversations
- Slow or impaired development of spoken language
- Repetitive behavior such as twirling or rocking considered as obsessive by some
- Excessive attachment with material objects and reduced human connections
- Inability to connect to one’s own name
- Heightened sensory responses that can cause sensitivity to loud noises or discomfort with the sensation of touch etc.
- Shortened attention span
- Self-infliction of pain
- Aggressive behaviour towards others like biting, scratching, pulling others hair, throwing objects etc.
- Appetite for inedible and non-nutritive items like chalk, paper, sand, paint, dirt (This phenomenon is called as pica and is generally seen in a moderate to severe form in children with autism.)
CAUSES OF AUTISM
The cause of autism has always been debatable and cannot be credited to a single known cause. There are some excerpts brought forward by doctors, researchers and scientists which are mentioned below:
A structural or a functional damage to the nervous system can produce autism.
A change in the structure of a gene, often called as a mutation, can be responsible for abnormal brain development leading to autistic features. Alternatively, non-genetic factors like certain perinatal complications such as maternal bleeding in between three months into the pregnancy, the presence of meconium in the amniotic fluid, insufficient nutrient intake during pregnancy etc.
Environmental factors (mercury poisoning, maternal stress and exposure to strong medications, toxins, infections or radiations) may also be responsible for autism.
It is essential to realize that no particular individual or event can be held responsible for the child’s diagnosis. Investing in the child’s care and treatment can go milestones in helping a child with autism.
Structural changesin the brain
B. STEM CELL THERAPY FOR AUTISM
OBJECTIVE RADIOLOGICAL EVIDENCE OF IMPROVEMENT AFTER CELL THERAPY IN A CASE OF AUTISM
- New approach: How stem cells work in autism
The two key pathologies linked with autism are lack of oxygen supply to the brain and immune degeneration. These factors are directly linked with the slow functioning of the brain. Additionally an imbalance in the brain activity can lead to formations linked with autism.
Researches and doctors are working at regenerative therapy using cells as the prospective therapy for children showing signs of autism. The whole concept is that the stem cells should hold the capacity to add in different cells and structure specialized cells from the mother cell. These cells can help repair the affected neural tissue at the molecular, structural and functional level. They get to the core of the neuropathology of autism with the help of paracrine disciplinary functions. It is able to regulate cell differentiation, tissue and organ repair and anti-inflammatory actions.
THE NEUROGEN OUTCOME IN AUTISM
At NeuroGen BSI, one of the best Autism Centres, we have effectively treated over 1800 through Cell Therapy in India. We have published the world’s first clinical study on the effect of stem cells in autism in 32 patients in the International Journal “Stem Cell International.” The path breaking results observed through this study has demonstrated the safety and efficacy of Cell therapy.
After the successful completion of cell therapy, our patients have shown remarkable improvements in various aspects. The behaviour patterns that are observed in children with autism such as hyperactivity, engaging in stereotypical and repetitive motor mannerisms have decreased significantly. Immense improvements are also seen in their sensory aspects and motor activities. Several parents have also reported that the concentration and the attention span of their children are much better than before.
THE OVERALL IMPROVEMENTS THAT ARE SEEN IN PATIENTS AFTER CELL THERAPY ARE
- Reduction in self stimulatory behaviour
- Improvement in eye contact
- Improvement in speech
- Improvement in communication skills
- Improvement in social interactions
- Reduction in aggressive behaviour
The medical results of the autism patients treated to date with Cell therapy. at NeuroGen BSI shows that 91% of these patients showed an overall improvement on Clinical Global Impression II (CGI-II) scale. Symptomatic improvements included 70% improvement in eye contact, 60% initiated socializing, 56% initiated social smile, 55% started maintaining peer relationships, self stimulating behavior decrease in 55%, 54% reduced echolalia (repetitive) speech,72% showed reduced hyperactivity, 66% showed reduced repetitive motor mannerisms and 48% showed reduced aggressive behaviour.
These functional enhancements that have been seen in our patients can be co-related with the improvements in the brain metabolism as well that is observed in the PET-CT (Positron emission tomography- computerized tomography) scans of the patients.
The traditional methods to treatment for autism can be categorized as nonmedical and biomedical treatments. Nonmedical interventions include behavioural and educational approaches along with sensory and communication with other therapies. Biomedical treatments include diet modification, treatment of the gut, immune system regulation and more.