One third of patients with idiopathic autism have treatment-resistant epilepsy, associated with earlier onset of seizures. In addition to insufficient response to medical treatment, they also have poorer responses to surgical procedures. Given these challenges, novel approaches to reduce seizure burden and improve quality of life for children and their caregivers are needed. Dr. Barbara Gracious and her study team are examining approaches based on findings from animal models of seizures, which have documented elevated oxidative stress that lowers through using antioxidant compounds. They are conducting the first human pilot study to examine whether N acetyl cysteine, an inexpensive but readily available nutritional supplement, reduces seizure frequency in 10 youth with autism.
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