Our society is dealing with a neurological disorder for many years, and now it is turning into a social curse. The curse like this neurological disorder is not totally curable and still now it’s under study because of the basis of this brain disease, which is strongly genetic.
The name of this neurological disorder is autism or ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders). The name ASD is perfect to describe this brain disease because it does not deal with only 1 symptom or disorder but it is responsible for a broad spectrum of autistic disorders.
According to the CDC data report of 2010, 1 out of 68 children is suffering from autism in U.S. and many articles are already written on symptoms of autistic disorders. That’s why, now most of the people including parents know the symptoms of autistic disorders.
And the common autistic symptoms are,
- Lack of verbal communication
- Cognitive disabilities
- Repetitive behavior
- Stereotyped behavior
Knowing symptoms is not sufficient to cure this life time brain disorder. We need proper medications and target therapies to cure this neurological as well as genetic disorder from its root.
As autism is strongly genetic, we always think that genetic mutation or CNV (Copy Number Variation) can be a reason for abnormal genetic expressions to cause autism. Current studies also reveal some points on these parameters. But the formation of free radicals, ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) and per-oxides can be a cause of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders).
Our cells consist of different antioxidant mechanisms with many oxidoreductase enzymes to reduce free radicals and per-oxidation. But a weakened antioxidant system can enhance the formation of free radicals, super oxides and peroxides. The amount of free radicals may influence the disruption of cells by damaging cell membranes.
NAC (a new antioxidant):
N-acetylcysteine is as an antioxidant, in which cysteine is a building block amino acid of protein (sulfur containing amino acid), found in our system. The addition of acetyl group makes it an amino acid byproduct as well as a strong antioxidant.
The study was done by researchers at Stanford University in 2012 with samples of 33 autistic children. NAC (N-acetylcysteine) was applied on half of the total children. After the experimental period of 12 weeks, the result came with a surprise.
The experimental result states that NAC treated children with autism spectrum disorders and abnormal behavior shows improvement, as compared to the sample children who are not treated throughout the experiment.
How Does NAC Work?
NAC simply enhances Glutathione synthesis. Glutathione (GSSG) is one of our cellular components and a part of our self antioxidant system. Glutathione reductase helps to reduce glutathione, GSH (reduced glutathione). The -SH group of N-acetylcysteine may help to form reduced glutathione to eliminate the free radicals with the help of an enzyme glutathione peroxidase.
So, by eliminating free radicals and reducing per-oxidation, NAC prevents cleaving carbon-carbon bond of fatty acid in cell membranes, otherwise cell membranes are going to rupture due to administration of free radicals and peroxides. The neurotransmitters carry the brain signals from one neuronal tissue to another one. So, implementation of NAC supports the neuron cell membranes to enhance the brain signals and impulses.
So, NAC should be in the spotlight, though it is under study and autism is caused by free radicals and oxidants along with several other factors.
As autism is genetic, so our treatment should also go in the same path. HBOT (Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy) can be a way to enhance the impulses and to reduce the autistic symptoms day by day. An early diagnosis of autistic symptoms on or before the age of 3 can help to treat autism as early as possible. Behavioral interventions and medications are essential to make an autistic child social and verbal. But intervention is not enough to reduce autistic disorders. So besides interventions, HBOT with specially designed hyperbaric chambers improve social activity with a supply of oxygen at higher atmospheric pressure to all body tissues and cells through the body fluids.
It was calculated that a patient or a child with autistic brain takes 500 milliseconds to make a response but in case of normal one, it needs only 200 milliseconds.
HBOT with 100% pure oxygen improves the damaged neuronal tissues to enhance the impulses and brain signals to some extent, which gives improved social skills, cognitive abilities and learning abilities to an autistic one.
A new discovery of NAC gives a ray of hope that medication may cure autism in future, though HBOT is one and only current supportive way to improve ASD.