WASHINGTON, April 15 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say a new discovery suggests autism might be more easily diagnosed and its effects more reversible than has been thought.
The researchers led by the George Washington University Medical Center say they have identified a way to detect the disorder using blood and have discovered that drugs that affect the methylation state of genes might reverse autism's effects. That type of drug is already being used in some cancer treatments.
"As the mother of a now 22-year-old son with an autism spectrum disorder, I hope our studies, as well as those of others, will lead to therapies that are designed to address specific deficiencies that are caused by autism, thus improving the lives of affected individuals," Professor Valerie Hu, one of the researchers, said. "Since autism is very diverse in the array of symptoms present in any given individual, it is first necessary to be able to identify specific deficits in each individual in order to design and then prescribe the best treatment."
The complex study is reported in the online edition of The FASEB Journal.