Much research suggests that around 40 percent of all children with autism also have epilepsy. This finding proposes that the two are linked, and a study published from the Boston Children’s Hospital suggests that a drug that has already demonstrated success and safety in children could prevent autism from developing after seizures.
Researcher Dr. Frances Jensen says that seizures overstimulate the mTOR pathway, a biochemical pathway also linked to autism. This overstimulation affects the circuitry within a child’s brain.
In the study, rats that were given the drug rapamycin before and after seizures had decreased autism-like symptoms. Rapamycin works by inhibiting mTOR signaling, which reduces seizure activity and prevented seizure-induced changes in the brain. By blocking the mTOR pathway, the treatment prevents seizures and autism later in life, as suggested by this study.
Rapamycin is an existing drug; it is FDA approved. Through research, it is suggested this drug has many uses. Because the drug targets the mTOR pathway, which is involved in many cellular processes, the drug has potential for multiple uses.
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