Chinese Researchers Say Prescription Drug for Oedema Improves Autism Symptoms by Targeting Brain's Chemical Messengers

Bumetanide—a prescription drug for oedema improves some of the signs in youngsters with autism spectrum disorders and has no vital side effects, according to new research from doctors in China and the UK.

Published in Translational Psychiatry, the research demonstrates for the first time that the drug improves the signs by decreasing the ratio of the GABA to glutamate in the brain. GABA and glutamate are both neurotransmitters—chemical messengers that help nerve cells in the brain communicate.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental illness to affect one in 160 children worldwide. It’s characterized by impairments in social communication, which manifest as problems with understanding feelings and with non-verbal communication, akin to eye contact and smiling, and unable to develop, maintain and understand social connections.

People suffering from ASD end to have limited interests and show repetitive behavior. In mild cases of ASD, individuals are able to live independently; however, for some, the condition can be severe, requiring life-long care and assistance.

Current remedies for ASD at preschool age are mainly behavioral interventions, resembling using play and joint activities between dad and mom and their child to spice up language, social and cognitive expertise.

Nevertheless, with limited resources, there’s an inequality in entry to these remedies worldwide, notably in developing nations.

Earlier research in rats and small medical trials involving children with ASD recommend that the drug bumetanide, which has been accredited to be used in oedema, a condition that results in a build-up of fluid in the body, may help alleviate symptoms of ASD.