Here is a copy of Dr. Eckstrom Thesis on Childhood Myotonic Dystrophy. Its pretty comprehensive and a bit technical. Click below to open a PDF Copy. The thesis is almost 90 pages long and full of a lot of good information. Dr. Eckstrom is one of the leaders in the knowledge of childhood myotonic dystrophy and Autism
While poking around looking for solutions and help in the autism area I found a lot of help and support. And I found a new drug that is being tested now in Phase II studies. Its being tested for a sister disease that has a lot in common with Myotonic Dystrophy. Fragile X is a triple repeat disease and has some symptoms similar to myotonic dystrophy kids. Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a genetic condition that causes intellectual disability, behavioral and learning challenges and various physical characteristics. Though FXS occurs in both genders, males are more frequently affected than females, and generally with greater severity.
Both of these diseases are single gene cause of mental retardation and autism. Perhaps the drug that treats one may be applicable to the other.
The good news is that there is a drug in late stage development that might help with autism in kids with myotonic dystrophy. This drug is called arbacofen and has been successfully tested in not only in kids with fragile X but also in other kids with autism as well. The outcome is promising and the studies are continuing. Its fairly advanced with studies in the Phase IIb, which means they are getting close to commercialization.
As many parents with children with myotonic dystrophy know a high percentage of kids with this disease have autism or autism spectrum disorder. Because the childhood form is not a separate disease this often cause a lack of support from the medical profession. This website is building awareness of the autism and ASD within the myotonic dystrophy community.
Often kids with DM1 and Autism disorders need help and assistance. I have found an organization that assits with Autistic kids and gives grants. The group is called Act-Today.
They are a great organization and have given many grants. Click on the name above to go to their website. Here are a few of the people that they have helped. This is a great organization and I would encourage you to visit their website. IF needed you can apply for a grant for assistance!.
In doing a little digging about autism and myotonic dystrophy, Fragile X is a disease that pops right to the top of the screen. This is also a triplet expansion disease and it has a couple of similarities especially to some of the childhood forms of myotonic dystrophy. Fragile x causes mental retardation (Global developmental delay) as well as many of the kids have Autism or Autism spectrum disorder. Here is a review of Autism and Fragile X
Autism or autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) is a behavioral diagnosis. The range of symptoms in autism vary and are generally characterized by an impaired ability to communicate and interact socially with other people. Sometimes children will not meet the diagnostic criteria for autism but will have “autistic-like features.”
The diagnosis of autism is usually made by a developmental or general pediatrician, neurologist, psychologist, psychiatrist, or other specialist. The diagnosis is made after evaluating the child using a number of different behavioral tools and tests. There is no blood test for autism, and imaging studies such as MRIs don’t diagnose the condition; it is purely a behavioral diagnosis similar to ADHD, ADD, etc.