April 04, 2011, USA TODAY
A new set of analyses offers sobering news in the long search for effective treatments for autism. Researchers concluded that medications are of little help to most autistic children. Although intensive behavioral therapies can be effective, they don't work for everyone, and doctors don't have a way to predict which children will benefit, according to three reviews in today's Pediatrics. About one in 110 children have autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To help make sense of available research, the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality commissioned scientists to examine three types of treatment: behavioral therapy, antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs, and an enzyme called secretin. They found:
The strongest evidence involves secretin and clearly shows that the enzyme doesn't work in autism, says Zachary Warren of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, lead author of one of the studies.
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