Arbaclofen found to diminish social anxietyThe preliminary findings of a study conducted by scientists revealed that an experimental pill that was designed for treating fragile x syndrome might help patients to enhance their social skills. Fragile x syndrome refers to a certain genetic condition related to mental retardation or intellectual impairment. Study on the medication is still conducted by the scientists who are researching the efficacy of the drug in helping social withdrawal among those suffering from autism. But it is not yet revealed on whether the medication actually works or not and developers even have no idea as to what might be its cost. Still, no one knows of other medications currently in development could do a much better job, either when used in place of it or when used together with the new medication.

The causes of fragile X syndrome

Still, results obtained so far seems to be quite promising and scientists feel that the drug ‘could be a very useful model in development of viable treatments for dealing with autism’, according to a medical director of FRAXA Research Foundation, Dr. Michael Tranfaglia. The foundation is a nonprofit organization that seeks better medication for autism or fragile X syndrome. Normally, Fragile x syndrome results after the gene involved with fragile x for mental retardation protein is lost. Medical experts say that in United States, this condition is present in about 100, 000 people. The condition has a potential of leading to other more serious conditions like epilepsy, mental retardation, abnormal body growth and autism. Presently, there is no known treatment for this condition- fragile X syndrome.

Normally, brain wiring is significantly weakened by lack of this gene, according to Stephen Warren of Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta. Those people who are suffering from this condition are usually required to spend most of their time in group homes, even though they can still work like other people. There are several studies which are underway on this medication, referred to as arbaclofen. Scientists hope that it will be the much waited cure for fragile X syndrome alongside other conditions related to autism. Seaside Therapeutics funded this new study, which was jointly done by scientists from MIND Institute at University of California and Rush University Medical Center of Chicago. The study was the second one of three phases required under the law for any drug to gain the approval of U.S Food and Drug Administration.

How the study was conducted

During the study, a known professor of pediatrics, Dr. Elizabeth Berry Kravis tested the medication for a period of more than 15 months. The 63 participants received the inactive placebo or the drug in an extended six week treatment. Participants who used the medication were able to relate socially with other people. The drug was able to effectively diminish their social anxiety to a great extent. This kind of improvement is definitely good news for people suffering from autism, especially children.