As people around the world recognize autism this month, researchers here in the U.S. are launching a new study focusing on cholesterol levels of children diagnosed with the disease. It's not that doctors think their cholesterol is too high, but too low and that could be making their symptoms worse.
Researchers at Ohio State University Medical Center launched an initial study with one simple idea. Since proper levels of cholesterol are essential for brain development and function, they wanted to see if increasing cholesterol could reduce symptoms of autism. In one pre-schooler's case, the results were very clear.
"Personally for us, the cholesterol has changed our life. It was exactly what she needed. Her development started almost immediately. She smiles again, she runs, she has awesome motor skills," Angela Barker, who's daughter has autism, said.
The team of researchers is now expanding the study with the National Institutes of Health. They note not every person with autism may benefit.
"It's very important that we not just rush out and try to give everybody with autism cholesterol because for some of them it may be harmful," Dr. Eugene Arnold with the Ohio State University Medical Center said.
Learn more about the possible cholesterol-autism link
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