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neurobiology of autism

F. Frank LeFever flefever at ix.netcom.com
Sat Mar 27 22:39:15 EST 1999

The secretin idea came in for discussion in one of the neuropsychology
listservers (i.e. listserver for neuropsychologists, not an open
newsgroup) a few months ago, and the consensus was that the evidence so
far was very shaky, inconclusive.

So far as this study goes, some obvious questions suggest themselves:
improved behavior simply on the basis of relief of ANY disturbing
(peripheral) condition?  Hawthorne or placebo effect?  Any double blind
precautions? If pre- and post-treatment evaluations made by members of
study team, role of child's greater familiarity and ease with examiners
on post-treatment occasion?

F. Frank LeFever, Ph.D.
New York Neuropsychology Group

In <36FCF515.664D at earthlink.net> Marcello Spinella
<marshmallow at earthlink.net> writes: 
>This might be of interest:
>J Assoc Acad Minor Phys 1998;9(1):9-15 
>Improved social and language skills after secretin administration in
>patients with autistic spectrum disorders.
>Horvath K, Stefanatos G, Sokolski KN, Wachtel R, Nabors L, Tildon JT
>We report three children with autistic spectrum disorders who
>upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and intravenous administration of
>secretin to stimulate pancreaticobiliary secretion. All three had an
>increased pancreaticobiliary secretory response when compared with
>nonautistic patients (7.5 to 10 mL/min versus 1 to 2 mL/min). Within 5
>weeks of the secretin infusion, a significant amelioration of the
>children's gastrointestinal symptoms was observed, as was a dramatic
>improvement in their behavior, manifested by improved eye contact,
>alertness, and expansion of expressive language. These clinical
>observations suggest an association between gastrointestinal and brain
>function in patients with autistic behavior. 
>PMID: 9585670, UI: 98246761

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