Treatment of Autism in kids possible, Dubai centre study reveals

Dubai - Dr Hamza Alsayouf's study shows that 44 per cent of kids show improvement, 56 per cent of children show complete resolution of Autism signs

By Saman Haziq

Published: Thu 24 Dec 2020, 4:52 PM

Last updated: Thu 24 Dec 2020, 4:53 PM

A kid’s neuro and rehabilitation centre in Dubai has announced groundbreaking findings in the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in younger children.

Research conducted by Dubai’s Kids Neuro Clinic and Rehab Center on treatment of ASD, reveal that a complete cure of ASD core signs and symptoms in younger kids was possible by using a combination of FDA approved pharmacological medications and standard supportive therapies.

The breakthrough findings in ASD research were published in the international, peer-reviewed journal, Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment.

Autism is a lifelong debilitating neuro developmental disorder characterised by repetitive and restricted patterns of behaviour, difficulties with communication and social interaction.

Worldwide, the prevalence of ASD is increasing at an alarming rate yet understanding what causes the disorder remains unclear. Currently, ASD is considered to be a non-curable disorder.

However, recent findings published by Dr Hamza Alsayouf, consultant child neurologist and director at the Kids Neuro Clinic and Rehab Center in Dubai, provide promising hope. His pivotal study shares data which reveals pharmacological intervention resulted in an absolute and complete resolution of ASD core signs and symptoms in younger children aged four and older.

In this study, Dr Hamza said, 18 children diagnosed with ASD were successfully treated following treatment protocols developed by the Dubai Healthcare City based centre, using US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs risperidone and aripiprazole.

“Both drugs are used for the treatment of challenging behaviours such as irritability, aggression, and self-injury that coexist with ASD in children aged five and above. The findings reported in this study include 10 patients (56 per cent) showing unprecedented complete resolution of their core ASD signs and symptoms, while the remaining eight patients (44 per cent) exhibiting significant improvements in their symptoms ranging between 60 per cent and 80per cent,” he said.

“We are extremely pleased that our research is being published at an international platform. This is an area of much-needed focus. This study shows for the first time that, against the prevailing opinion, ASD signs and symptoms can indeed be completely resolved,” said Dr. Alsayouf.

Furthermore, he added, these improvements were reported stable with no regression observed during the follow-up period.

“Based on our extensive centre experience and applying in-depth scientific evidence, we have demonstrated that use of these medications can help to target the core signs and symptoms of ASD, and not just to treat behavioural issues. We strongly believe that ASD is neuro-psychiatric in nature and shares many features with other neuropsychiatric diseases and needs to be approached the same way,” said Dr. Alsayouf.

Factors that led to improvement in Autism

“We have found chronic use of these medications for more than one to two years is key as well as individualising treatment plans. Finding the optimal combination and tailoring doses of medications for each patient following a personalised approach is crucial and it is imperative to optimise overall patient outcome.”

In the study, Dr Alsayouf provided a treatment algorithm and explained every patient’s treatment journey, with the hope to stimulate further controlled clinical research.

This study shows that early tailored pharmacological intervention along with early intervention standard supportive therapies, can successfully treat core signs and symptoms in younger ASD patients.

It is anticipated that a double-blinded, placebo-controlled study will be performed to validate these findings and further support development of a cure for this chronic and devastating disorder.

As Dr. Alsayouf concluded, “While it may take us decades to uncover the underlying causes of ASD, this should not divert our attention away from treating this debilitating condition from what we know today. We believe our case series will prove to be a big eye-opener.” The study appears in volume 20 of Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment.

Dr Hamza Alsayouf with one of the children. Supplied photo
Dr Hamza Alsayouf with one of the children. Supplied photo

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