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SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah doctors are looking for families of autistic children to enroll in what they call an innovative new study, testing medication for the symptoms of autism.
"This really is an innovative study. It's the first medication that's currently being investigated to help treat the symptoms directly related to autism," said Dr. Adam Schwebach from the Neurology Learning and Behavior Center in Salt Lake City.
Doctors and staff from the center and at Westside Medical in Clinton, Utah are among 14 groups around the country enrolling children in the clinical trial.
Schwebach says there's a theory in the field that children with autism don't break down certain enzymes in their gastrointestinal tract. Those enzymes are needed to digest protein, and our brains and bodies function on protein.
"This medication is simply designed to help children break down enzymes so they can build more proteins, in the hopes their brain works more efficiently, developing more neurotransmitters," he says.
"The theory would be that if your brain is not developing enough proteins or getting enough protein there may be some associated symptoms with that," Schwebach says.
He says there are three subcategories of symptoms associated with autism: problems with communication, social difficulty, and atypical or rigid behavior.
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He says the drug is a powder that will be spread over the child's food, and its ingredients are more natural supplements that the pharmaceutical company put in a concentrated form. He says the medication is currently under FDA investigation as well.
Schwebach says the study is best suited for children with a diagnosis of autism. They are looking for children to enroll through the end of the year. Clinical trial lasts 12 weeks. They hope to release the results within the next 12 to 18 months.
Those interested or wanting more information can call 801-614-5501 and ask for Amy, or call the clinic's main number 801-774-8888.