The Alfred Hospital and Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
12 February, 2008
A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial of Brainsway®'s Deep TMS device for the treatment of autism has begun at the Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia.
Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by abnormalities in speech and communication, impaired social functioning, and repetitive behaviors and interests. The term "Autism spectrum disorders" or ASD is often used to include autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). Epidemiological research suggests that ASDs affect at least 60 per 10,000 youths, with estimates as high as 120 per 10,000.
The pathophysiology of autism has been studied extensively in the last decade. Abnormal neuronal connectivity has been implicated in a growing body of research. In addition, areas of over and/or under neuronal activation have been detected on functional MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). rTMS has been studied in individuals with high functioning autism. rTMS treatment was found to have an electrophysiological effect and to reduce repetitive behaviors and improve social functioning.
The current trial is designed to explore possible beneficial effects of Brainsway's transcranial magnetic stimulation device on the "theory of mind" (social communication) of adults with autism and/or Asperger syndrome. The trial will include between 20 and 42 subjects. The Principal Investigator of the trial is Prof. Paul Fitzgerald.