According to a new peer-reviewed study published on Tuesday in Molecular Psychiatry journal, a $3-per-pill epilepsy drug could be used to “switch off” autism symptoms in mice.
This follows a breakthrough discovery by scientists.
$3 Epilepsy Drug Reverses Changes to Brain Cells Linked to Autism
A neurodevelopmental condition called Autism Spectrum Disorder affects how individuals perceive and interact with the world around them.
In the United States, an estimated 5.4 million adults, or 2.2% of the population, live with the condition and one in 44 children is diagnosed with it. Autism is often associated with other abnormalities, such as epilepsy and hyperactivity, according to the data published by the CDCP.
According to the study, researchers who are currently based in Germany discovered a medication called lamotrigine (a drug founded in America and designed to prevent seizures) can help reduce behavioral and social issues associated with autism.
Scientists have discovered the epilepsy drug Lamotrigine, which costs less than $3 per pill and is typically used to treat epilepsy and bipolar disorder, may be used to treat the symptoms of autism in mice.
Scientists have discovered a $3 epilepsy drug that can “switch off” autism symptoms. pic.twitter.com/yCz35NtY7M
— Daily Loud (@DailyLoud) February 16, 2023
The drug works by reversing changes to brain cells caused by a genetic mutation that is linked to autism; it can alleviate brain cell dysfunction to counteract the behavioral abnormalities that are typical of autism.
According to lead researcher Moritz Mall, the drug treatment has shown to be effective even after the absence of MYT1L already impaired brain development during the organism’s developmental phase.
Promising Results for Lamotrigine in Countering Behavioral Abnormalities
Research has been extensively investigating the molecular abnormalities that contribute to ASD for years; one of the proteins identified as having a role in various neuronal diseases is MYT1L.
Lamotrigine, which is priced at approximately $3 per pill, has been found to reverse changes to brain cells that occur due to a genetic mutation, which in turn can help in countering behavioral abnormalities associated with autism.
If this works, it will be re-branded, reinvented, and sold for thousands a pill.
Scientists 'CURE autism' using $3 epilepsy drug in mice – in potential breakthroughhttps://t.co/zei1sKOApk
— Dmturk (@abledanm) February 14, 2023
To test the effects of the MYT1L protein on autism symptoms, a team of experts at HITBR “turned off” MYT1L in both mice and human nerve cells through genetic modifications.
This resulted in electrophysiological hyperactivation in the neurons of both mice and humans, which impaired their nerve function.
However, after being treated with lamotrigine, the mice’s social behavior and motor skills were significantly improved. The researchers hope these findings will pave the way for further research and testing in human clinical trials.
If successful, this could be a significant breakthrough in the treatment of ASD, a condition for which there is currently no cure.
It’s important to note that while these findings are exciting, they have only been tested on mice and human cells. Much more research is needed before the drug can be considered a potential cure or treatment for humans with autism.