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Deaconess Looking for Participants in Autism Clinical Trial

9 September, 2016

Chances are you know someone with Autism.  Data shows it affects 1 in every 50 kids.

Researchers at Deaconess are looking for children to take part in a national clinical trial of a new drug to treat common autism-related symptoms.

Deaconess is one of only 20 clinics in the U.S. to take part.

Families of people with autism have long pushed for more research and better treatment options.

“So many of the autistic kids and their families are just frustrated because there’s not good treatment options out there and their left doing behavioral interventions,” says Deaconess Clinic Family Medicine’s, Dr. Dusten Wessel.

But that could all change.

Research suggests that many children with autism seem to avoid certain types of food, among those: protein.

“They can’t break down the protein like they’re supposed to,” said Wessel, “and in doing so, they can’t make the normal amount of a neurotransmitter in their brain.”

Since they avoid eating protein, they aren’t getting the essential amino acids in their diet which are the building blocks of those important neurotransmitters.

The thought is that because they’re not having normal levels of the neurotransmitters, that could be effecting their behavior and also their brain development.

The study involves taking a medication, that occurs naturally in the human body but is lacking in kids diagnosed with autism.

“Really what’s exciting to me about this study is that there are no medications on the market that really treat the core problem with autism,” says Wessel, “we treat the symptoms.”

To participate your child needs to:

  • be between the ages of 3 and 8
  • not be allergic to pork products
  • have no other dietary restrictions other than nut allergies
  • meet the diagnostic requirements for Autistic Disorder
  • not be taking certain dietary supplements or medications
  • not have any other significant medical or neurological symptoms

There are no pills, blood draws or needles involved. The drug is simply sprinkled on top of or mixed in with the child’s food.

We are told this drug is among the first to look at the potential root cause of autism and try to treat that.

No previous diagnosis of autism is required to participate in the study.

If you are interested in signing up or learning more information about the trial, call the Research Institute of Deaconess Clinic at 812-474-7184 or toll-free at 877-654-0311.

They can also be reached by email at

More information about the trials can be found here.

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