Pervasive Developmental Disorder Otherwise Not Specified- PDDOS (Autism) is a puzzling condition with a spectrum of behaviors that range from high functioning to muzzled debilitation. The impact of this disease is not only on the individual with the condition but with the family that is caring for the affected person. There is no proper medical explanation about autism and therefore its diagnosis continues to be difficult as behavioral observations can be sometimes misleading. The news that scientists have recently succeeded to find a biological marker is a big step towards early detection and possibly working towards finding a possible cure to this condition. On May 16, it was reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine that a hormone that regulates blood pressure could be one of those signposts. Scientists found that low concentrations of the molecule — called arginine vasopressin, or AVP — in the cerebrospinal fluid corresponded to autism-like social behavior in male monkeys, while a high AVP concentration signaled the most social animals. And they discovered similar results when looking at AVP concentrations in the cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF, of a small group of boys.
This discovery should be a cause for some cautious optimism and if further tests confirm that indeed arginine vasopressin (AVP) corresponds to autism like behavior, then scientists can begin a process of trying to find a cure to the autism condition. For individuals with autism and their families this is a first step towards hope that one day this condition can be treated.
David Angwenyi, Ph.D