A research study led by Maurizio Battino and Francesca Giampieri with a group of researchers from the Universidad Europea del Atlántico (European University of the Atlantic, UNEATLANTICO) published in the journal “Pharmacological Research”, various pharmacological, non-pharmacological, studies. and stem cell therapy to treat autism spectrum disorders. The research was also supported by Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang, China.
In recent years, an alarming increase in the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been observed. It is estimated that, in the United States, one in 59 children is diagnosed with ASD, while in Europe the number is one in 89 children. ASD is characterized by restricted and repetitive behavior patterns and difficulties in communication and social activities. Although several risk factors, both genetic and environmental, associated with ASD, have been identified, the causes of the condition are not yet fully understood.
Until now, medications prescribed for the management of ASD have mainly focused on controlling certain associated symptoms. However, none of them are effective in addressing the core symptoms of ASD, such as difficulties in communication and social interaction and the presence of restrictive and repetitive behaviors. In this context the need to explore alternative therapies arises.
These researchers created a study titled “Pharmacological, Non-Pharmacological, and Stem Cell Therapies for the Management of Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Focus on Human Studies,” in which they explore emerging therapies based on the use of stem cells. Studies have shown that hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cell transplantation in children with ASD has shown promising results. These stem cells stimulate the recruitment, proliferation and differentiation of native stem cells in the body, reducing inflammation and thus, alleviating some of the problems associated with ASD. These cells are characterized by their ability to self-renew and differentiate into different cell types, making them an attractive alternative type to regenerate damaged cells in the brains of people with ASD.
Although research studies are in their early stages, promising studies have been conducted in animal models and some clinical cases in humans. If positive results are confirmed, stem cell therapies may offer real hope for alleviating some of the challenges associated with ASD and developing new therapeutic approaches.
On the other hand, non-pharmacological therapies have also been researched to address comorbidities associated with ASD, such as immune dysfunction, gastrointestinal disorders, and gut microbiota dysbiosis. certain dietary supplements, such as certain vitamins, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, probiotics, and certain phytochemicals (eg, luteolin and sulforaphane); As well as simple dietary interventions, such as gluten-free and casein-free diets, have been considered to reduce such comorbidities and improve quality of life in individuals with ASD.
In summary, the complexity of ASD demands a multidimensional approach to its management. Current pharmacological therapies only address part of the symptoms and must be complemented with other more holistic therapeutic approaches to obtain better results. Stem cell transplantation and non-drug therapies may represent new hope for those facing the challenges of ASD. In addition, it is essential to continue promoting research in this field to discover more therapeutic advances and improve the quality of life of people with ASD.