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neurobiology of autism

Marcello Spinella marshmallow at earthlink.net
Mon Mar 29 19:10:57 EST 1999

This is entirely true. The evidence for this secretin is purely from
case studies and anecdotal reports at this point. I'm not sure how
others subsequently placed on sectretin have fared either (even in terms
of subjective perceptions of improvement).  Perhaps these warrant
empirical investigation, but to my knowledge none have been done yet. 
In light of the "facilitated communication" fiasco, a reasonable amount
of skepticism is probably a healthy idea.

On the surface, it did seem unlikely to me that a peripherally
adminstered peptide would pass the blood-brain barrier to create central
effects. It would seem even stranger if autism resulted predominantly
from a peripheral GI disturbance. Nonetheless, my knowledge of autism is
very limited.

F. Frank LeFever wrote:
> 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
> underwent
> >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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